Vermont Zombie Honey Bees caused by Parasitic Fly

The honey bees at the Golden Stage Inn are waiting out the winter to make another delicious batch of local Vermont honey this summer, but always on a backyard beekeeper’s mind is the threat of what is known as “Colony Collapse Disorder.” While the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder remains a mystery and may be more complicated than one simple answer, a parasitic fly may have something to do with it. Before October 2013, this parasite had not been observed any further East than South Dakota…but a recent spotting will cause concern for Vermont beekeepers this summer. The phenomenon of ‘Zombie Bees’ (or even ‘ZomBees‘) has reached Vermont and now threatens the East Coast. See where Zombie Honey Bees have been spotted across the United States using this map, and visit www.zombiewatch.org to help monitor the spread of the ZomBee syndrome through citizen science.

Vermont Zombie Honey Bee killed by Parasitic Fly

Save our pollinators!

The parasitic fly causing the zombie-like infection is called Apocephalus borealis, and has been known since the 1920′s as a parasite of yellow jackets and bumble bees. John Hafernik discovered that the zombie fly infected honey bees as well in 2008, just two years after colony collapse disorder began to affect honey bees and their hives. Apocephalus borealis lays its eggs in the stomach of the honeybee. The infected honey bee leaves its hive, exhibiting symptoms such as nocturnal activity, attraction to light, and disoriented, spasmodic movement. It is this convulsive movement that the term “ZomBee” came from, as the bees move very similarly to zombies in Hollywood movies. They are not actually undead; they simply appear to be. When the eggs hatch, the honey bee dies. Unfortunately, Vermont was the first state in the East Coast to record a sighting of this parasitic attack back in October 2013 in Burlington. It is unknown whether these Vermont zombie honey bees are an isolated case or a forewarning of more Apocephalus borealis infestations to come.

Colony collapse disorder is a serious threat to both backyard beekeepers and large-scale, commercial beekeepers. Since 1/3 of the fruits and vegetables we eat depend upon bees to be pollinated, this disorder doesn’t just affect the insects – it affects our cuisine and nutrition as people!  Vermont zombie honey bees may be a new threat to beehives across Vermont or even New England, which is why it’s important to continue research and become a beekeeper! Even if you are not a beekeeper and don’t plan on keeping honeybees, you can help in other ways. Purchase local Vermont honey as your sweetener. Welcome beekeepers to your community. Know what chemicals and pesticides have been found to harm honey bees and contribute to colony collapse disorder. Plant a bee-friendly garden with native wildflowers. Learning about bees is not just environmentally-conscious…it is fascinating and fun!!

Bzzzz. -Sophi Veltrop, Golden Stage Inn Undead Insect Researcher

Northern Stage presents “Good People”

Now through March 23rd, take a trip to Northern Stage, located in Briggs Opera House at White River Junction, Vermont. Northern Stage is a 45 minute drive north of our Southern Vermont Bed and Breakfast. The show Good People opened on March 5th, and will be playing through March 23rd. This contemporary drama is set in South Boston and, like any good piece of theater, tells of hardship and struggle. A working class woman loses her job and faces real challenges with a warm heart, dancing around the question of what makes a person a good person. The classic American story blends humor with humanity, suspense with social inquiry. See a preview of rehearsal and commentary below! As they say in the video, “Good People” is one of the most produced plays in America this year; it is a treat to have this show running at Northern Stage in Vermont!

The script was written by Pulitzer prize-winner David Lindsay-Abaire, and the show is directed by Carol Dunne. Tickets are $15-60, with group rates available.
A stunning review of Northern Stage’s “Good People” in the Rutland Herald called the main lead “a fully dynamic perfomance…with flair,” and said the production was the best since 2012. Stay at our Southern Vermont Bed and Breakfast on your way to the play, and make an evening of it with dinner at a nearby restaurant in White River Junction, such as Elixir or Tuckerbox. Coming next to Northern Stage in April…the Spitfire Grill!

Action!

-Sophi Veltrop, Golden Stage Inn Secretary of the Arts

Classes at Fletcher Farm School for the Arts and Crafts: March 2014

While waiting out this final stretch of winter, make use of your indoor time with classes at Fletcher Farm School for the Arts and Crafts. Though the snow may keep you inside, you can keep your hands and mind active and create something beautiful and useful. March classes at Fletcher Farm School range across a number of topics, including felting, basketry, weaving and printing. Classes are usually welcoming to every level, so that the “What is felting?!” beginners like me can have just as much fun as experienced print-makers and weavers who are looking for something new. All classes at Fletcher Farm School are from 9 am to 4 pm with a half hour lunch break at noon.

Learn to weave miniature baskets at a Vermont crafts school! There are many classes at Fletcher Farm School to choose from.

March 15-16: Felt a Flying Owl with Sue Carey

Using wool primarily sourced from Vermont sheep, create your own realistic owl (6-8 inch wingspan). Combining the techniques of wet felting and needle felting, beginning and intermediate felters will leave the class with a beautiful ornament. In addition, the class provides you with a felting needle which you may take home for future felt projects, and a valuable source of knowledge and information regarding various needle and wool types.

March 22: Weave Miniature Baskets with Judy Nevin

Adorable baskets can add to your decor or hold small objects at your desk. Carve the handles and rims yourself before weaving together an Aztec-inspired basket an a Cathead Oval basket. I can imagine my ten-year-old self loving these baskets for my stuffed animals and dolls!

March 23: Weave a Landscape with Carolyn Scott

I had no idea you could weave a landscape – or anything framed and picturesque – until reading about the March offerings for classes at Fletcher Farm School for the Arts and Crafts. Even beginning crafters can design a landscape using simple knotting, embroidery and weaving skills. Ready to hang on the wall the minute you leave!

Weave a gorgeous and strong chair seat using old neckties! Just one of many classes at Fletcher Farm School in VT

March 29-30: Weave a Necktie Chair Seat with Joyce Fuller

That’s right – re-purpose those old neckties into a gorgeous and innovative piece of furniture! Basic sewing skills are required for this class. You will create a strong seat cushion with your own hands, giving new life to both those old neckties and a chair or rocker whose woven or rush seat has been busted. If you need extra ties they will be available for purchase.

 

Solarplate printmaking is one of the classes at Fletcher Farm School offered this March.

March 29-30: Solarplate Printmaking with Roger Hyndman

Transform original images into high-quality etchings. Using the sun’s UV light and no acids at all, you can develop these plates in tap water! The only other tools involved will be your creativity and images and basic tools of the printmaker. Participate in critiques and learn a variety of techniques. Use an Intaglio Press to create limited edition etchings. This class appeals to students of all levels, and artists involved in any media!

Stay at the Golden Stage Inn for your arts and crafts travel weekends, and try out the classes at Fletcher Farm School for the Arts and Crafts for a uniquely creative way to stay busy this March!

Stay Green and enjoy Vermont local food with our sustainable B&B!

Did you know the Golden Stage Inn is a member of Vermont Fresh Network and Green Hotels in the Green Mountain State?

Our VT B&B is sustainable, green, environmentally-conscious and eco-friendly

Our bed and breakfast is proud of making a commitment to being sustainable, green, eco-friendly…whatever the trendy term may be for caring responsibly about our environment! This means serving Vermont local foods and using green products at the inn. Being eco-friendly is especially important in the state of Vermont, where the natural beauty and wildlife of mountains, forests and waterways is central to VT identity. As a member of Green Hotels of the Green Mountain State, we recycle and compost as much as possible, in addition to buying recycled products when we can. Julie recently noticed that every cleaning product used at the inn is eco-friendly, a development to be proud of! Every time plumbing is redone, such as with toilets and shower heads, Golden Stage Inn uses low-flow appliances to replace old plumbing, thus conserving water. All these efforts are testament to an ever-evolving and continual effort to green our bed and breakfast business. Green Hotels of the Green Mountains must show “a commitment to pollution prevention and exemplary environmental stewardship,” as the website says. We hope you can see this stewardship each time you stay at our Southeastern VT inn!

We are a member of the Vermont Fresh Network as an inn and B&B

We are also pleased to be a part of the Vermont Fresh Network, which allows us to connect with many Vermont local food producers as we prepare breakfasts and goodies for guests. Some of our farm-to-table partners include Cabot Creamery Cooperative, Jersey Girls Farm Cafe and Market, Wellwood Orchards, and Crowley Cheese. The bacon served at breakfast is smoked just down the road at Singleton’s General Store. Most importantly, we supply our own eggs, honey, and sometimes herbs from our backyard free-range hens and honeybee hives. Summer offers fresh local fruit and vegetables from farms in the Okemo Valley…and it would be blasphemous to not have an ample supply of Vermont maple syrup on hand for your morning pancakes and waffles!

For the Golden Stage Inn, sustainability is about more than Vermont local foods, green cleaning products and memberships. Sustainability is a mentality, a conversation, and a way of life. We hope you’ll see for yourself that Vermont is committed to the environment in so many ways, and that our local connections and economies can do wonders to maintaining a safe and green world for future generations.

 

Vermont Maple Sugar Weekend

Lucky for those with a sweet tooth and love for all things maple, Golden Stage Inn is one of the few bed and breakfasts in VT offering a special for Vermont Maple Sugar Open House Weekend.

Our Gone Sugarin’ Weekend will be filled with maple-bedecked breakfasts and afternoon treats as the smell of this delicate sugar made from the power of photosynthesis wafts through the kitchen doors to the rest of the inn. Mention the special when you make a reservation at our bed and breakfast for the weekend of March 22nd and 23rd and receive a complimentary bottle of local maple syrup from the innkeepers upon your arrival. If your mouth is already watering, try one of these recipes from Vermont Maple Sugar Maker’s Association.

Fun facts:

  • Vermont produces more than 40% of the nation’s maple syrup.
  • It takes 40 gallons of sap to create just a single gallon of maple syrup!
  • Hannah Teter, Olympic gold medal winner, credited VT maple syrup as her key to success.
  • A grove of maple trees is called a ‘Sugarbush’  and are tapped in January and February.
  • The Golden Stage Inn’s ‘Gone Sugarin’ Special is featured in BnB Finder’s blog.

 

Interested in touring local sugar shacks that produce Vermont maple syrup?

Let us know and we’ll connect you with several great maple syrup producers within driving distance of the inn. You’ll be astonished with how much hard work – on the part of both the people and the maple trees! – goes into a single ounce of syrup, or a single piece of maple candy. I recently came across a unique Vermont product that uses exclusively Vermont-produced maple sugar, and is mainly sold in Vermont and a few surrounding states… Yolo (a made up word standing for ‘you only live once’) produces popcorn snacks, including those lightly popped with maple syrup. Yummy! Restaurants in the area are hopping on board with the maple theme as well and including delicious syrup in various supper recipes. We’d be happy to recommend a maple-themed dinner reservation for you. There are also several maple-themed libations produced in Vermont, including Boyden Valley Winery’s Maple Reserve and Maple Creme Liqueur, Vermont Gold Ultra Premium Vodka, and several beers from Vermont breweries including Rock Art, Lawson’s Finest Liquids and Long Trail Brewery.

Processing maple syrup is still a career that many in Vermont depend upon for their livelihood. Maple products are a source of pride for Vermont residents, and provide an edible connection to an integral part of Vermont’s history and economic development.

Watch the video below to learn about how processing Vermont maple sugar is both a career and a lifestyle, as well as a family tradition and Vermont emblem.

This March, sugarin’ season sure will be sweet!

-Sophi Veltrop, The Golden Stage Inn

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