Our farm is called “sunseitn” because the entire property is bathed in sun all day, apart from the rear of our house. Since we are in the south of Austria, it can get pretty hot in midsummer - it's a good thing that there are some beautiful forests and lakes nearby. I inherited the farm from my grandfather in 2005, who cultivated a vineyard and raised sheep. The buildings were successively expanded and converted. We cultivate vegetables, especially potatoes and beans, but also fruit and berry bushes. Besides bees we have 25 chickens, some ducks and two cats.
We are at about 400 meters above sea level at the foot of the Packalps. Our house is located in such a way that we have no direct neighbors and can therefore play music, drums or have campfire parties as and when we want. Our lifestyle can be described as hippie-like: relaxed, authentic, informal and free. In the meantime, many of our villagers (there are around 70 in total) are chilled out and visit us often. We have a clubhouse, organize a wide variety of workshops and also hold cultural festivals, such as putting up the maypole and lighting the Easter bonfire. Here at the farm we can really do whatever we want.
Our apiary is called bee happy because the name reminds us that life can also be easy. After all, everything is readily available to bring happiness, but sometimes we forget that and our heads get caught up in some trifle. We want to be free and happy and always be aware of it.
We are organic at heart and live by this principle. In our refrigerator, 98% is organic produce and most of it is seasonal and regional.
The conscious decision is central for me: is it necessary, do I need it, does it make me happier? All materials are reused by us in a cycle. There is neither waste nor rejects in beekeeping.
Of course, the beekeeping operation is also certified organic. In concrete terms, this means: the feed is organic sugar from Austria, buying of certified wax, not treating my beehives with toxic chemicals and setting them up where nature is unpolluted.
We have planted many trees and bushes on our farm, including special bee trees (thousand-blossom bushes) - not only a paradise for bees, but also for butterflies and insects of all kinds. I also mow our meadows only once in autumn, so many flowers bloom which you don't see anywhere else. In this way I promote biodiversity. We heat our house and that of my grandmother with a wood chip heating system. The wood comes from the area and I use the ashes in agriculture. In addition, we have a solar energy system on the roof.
Basically, I work alone at the beehives. My boys often come with me and also help. I try to involve them so that they know and understand all the steps involved in the work. The whole family helps with larger activities, such as extracting honey. All other work (hive repair, wax melting, candle casting, making beeswax cloths, bottling honey, etc.) falls within my area.