Friday, May 20, 2016

welcome home newbees

They're here at last and all is right with the world again, I really missed having a bee presence in the garden.

I hope to choose a mythological name for this colony but since we keep calling them the new bees maybe it should just be The Newbees -- for now at least.

I was surprised to learn that honeybee colonies have personalities and preferences just like everyone else -- these honeybees use a different entrance than our last ones and they look a little different as well. And they might be just a little more fierce.

We purchased what is called a nuc -- a nucleus colony -- with a queen and about 20,000 worker bees already established on five frames. I picked up a nuc for someone else as well so drove home with two nucs and two bees on the loose in the car. Nothing happened though. The next day it was easy to lift the frames out and place them in the brood box quickly before the rain started up again.

Afterwards I realized I forgot to put on the entrance reducer so went to the hive unprotected. One honeybee got caught in my hair, I tried to get her out and she stung the top of my ear. I was sorry for her that it happened and was reminded of my mistake of not wearing head protection for the next few days.

If getting stung was a message of some sort, I think it would've been that I wasn't listening to my wiser self who knew perfectly well the bees were excited so a person should cover up.

All of this bee-ness got me going on the beekeeper quilt again.

The hawthorn tree is further along than the photo shows, I'm just starting to stitch the flowers. It's a spontaneous undertaking, I don't know what comes next or when but hope there will be more.

I've been enjoying a cup of Earl Grey tea with honey and milk in the afternoons lately. It's sort of a reward for whatever I think I should be rewarded for.

Lots of wishes to be made with all the dandelion puffs. I love that people in my neighborhood are starting to leave their dandelions alone and not spray or otherwise kill them. Local beekeepers are successfully creating awareness on the importance of dandelions for bees, especially in early spring.

Five things I want to do:

1) name the bees
2) finish reading Celeste's Garden Delights
3) begin a list of common names for all the plants in our gardens. Linda Rago says in Wear a Sprig of Thyme that plant common names are their real names, the ones they've named themselves and told to humans -- and we all like to be called by our real names.
4) continue to sow seeds every week, I usually give up by the end of June (a tip from an expert)
5) start taking notes like this, should work for lectures, podcasts, etc. too

Welcome home, Newbees.

And happy weekending to you. xo

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

lilac honey


I'm happy to say that Bringing in the May takes all 31 days.

Cards were made. Bliss and hope are part of an ongoing process to create a personal oracle deck.  The idea is to choose a paper image that conjures up the spirit of a seasonal word and then paste it onto the face of an old card. I imagine that as the oracle cards and I get to know each other, an image alone will be sufficient so at that point I'll probably peel off the word.

Lilac honey was made. First I picked lilac stems from different bushes, then I filled a small jar with the blossoms and filled it again with local raw honey. The fragrance in the room was intoxicating. It will be strained after a few days because lilac blossoms are naturally slightly bitter...but infused in honey...let's just say the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.

I love a tablespoon of herbal vinegar added to water as a source of minerals and to enhance digestion -- think I'll include a spoonful of the lilac honey too, as Dr. Jarvis recommends in the old-time classic Folk Medicine.

In Vermont folk medicine there is an extremely simple prescription for replenishing...the body. It is as follows: 2 t. of honey and 2 t. of apple cider vinegar, taken in a glass of water one or more times a day...the blend tastes like a glass of apple cider. The vinegar brings across from the apple its mineral content, the honey brings across the minerals in the nectar of flowers. ~Dr. D.C. Jarvis

Makes me pretty happy to see the bright and tender new growth of the spruce trees. And oh, the colors of sun child dandelion playing with moon child lunaria....more happy.

We are having coolish days with a 100% chance of more rain tonight. 

Weather means more when you have a garden. There's nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans. ~Marcelene Cox

Thanks for visiting and may all your gardens grow, inside and out. xx

Sunday, May 1, 2016

bringing in the may

It's been snowing and/or raining here the past three or four days, I've lost track. Corty's tulips are still standing strong, they close up tightly against the weather. I'm learning that tulips have quite the personality too...the way they flop around when placed in a they just can't hold still.

The cold frame in the garden is plumb full so some things had to be brought inside -- the mini greenhouses winter-sown with lupine, Mexican primrose and California poppies worked out pretty well considering I've done basically nothing since the day they were planted. I will definitely do it again next winter.

Presenting #4 of the indigo-dyed napkins -- they were quite stained in their previous life. 

A-Maying rituals -- hanging the calendar moon cloth.

And stitching a hawthorn tree drawn onto linen with the magic pen -- the linen has been basted onto a lighter cotton cloth and the blossoms will be pink because that was the color of our first hawthorn tree blossoms.

P.S. Did you know that the white May flower often referred to on Beltane (May Day) is the hawthorn blossom?

Another ritual is bringing in the May with a bouquet of honeysuckle branches.

Lastly, I'm sending you a joyful May with this lovely song. xo

Friday, April 22, 2016

a gathering of kindreds

A gathering of kindreds. April 2013 moon cloth.

Kindly green person in my garden.

April 2016 moon cloth.

Dandelions in the garden wondering where their bee sisters are.

Bowl of full moon goodness.

First hibiscus blossom of the year.

Weathered tree stump, a spell the earth has cast.

And lastly, this quote that explains everything about are the spell the universe has cast. ~Phyllis Curott

Friday, April 15, 2016

promise & pain of spring

I'm crocheting around my phone cord for fun and also to distinguish it from the others (I use the term crocheting loosely). There are too many charging cables at our house -- why does the shape have to be different for every chargeable device, I wonder.

Violet blossoms are especially abundant this year. I picked quite a few the other day, a good thing because we are expecting 14" of snow over the next few days. Here I made a salad with violet blossoms, tender baby kale leaves growing on second year kale plants, arugula and feta cheese drizzled with olive oil and a bit of violet vinegar left from last year. 

Violet flowers on a violet plate, flower-topped paperclips, and a tiny 9-patch I stitched a while back.

Vinegar was made. Violets are good for soothing both named and unnamed grief -- more about violets here and here. It's called fairy vinegar because violets crossed over from the fairy realm. That's what I believe anyway.

I read recently that the season of Spring is both promising and painful. I'd never thought of it as being particularly painful...until this year. Now I get it. Things end, things don't come back, things die.

The bees died. Just like that. One day they were fine and the next day they weren't. I want to blame the wasp takeover of last fall but really can't say for sure. I've cleaned and scraped propolis, wax, and more from most of the 30 frames inside the foundation boxes and am now hoping to attract a swarm. If not, I'll try to purchase a colony from a local bee supplier.

That's where the promise of Spring comes in. And I'm ready. xx

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

egg spell

An egg spell. During the dark moon I wrote my deepest desires on the egg and tomorrow on the new moon I will plant it in the earth. To mark the spot and nurture growth, I will plant pansies over the egg. I realize that everything I desire, I likely already have. But a simple ritual awakens and stirs a part of my being in a way like no other. I call it magic.

Knitting is like growing cloth. I've been growing dishcloths.

And planting a few pansies in a mossy basket.

And planting potatoes in a periwinkle potato bag for the first time.

I love this writing by Wendell Berry, a gift for you today. xx

Sowing the seed, my hand is one with the earth.
Wanting the seed to grow, my mind is one with the light.
Hoeing the crop, my hands are one with the rain.
Having cared for the plants, my mind is one with the air.
Hungry and trusting, my mind is one with the earth.
Eating the fruit, my body is one with the earth.
                                                               ~Wendell Berry

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

moon clouds

We've had a heatwave here -- it was in the 70s again yesterday so I watered all the recently-planted trees in our yard. Last night I went outside to walk around and take photos of the night -- the sky was cloudy but the full moon shone brightly through them.  Then during sleeping hours it started snowing and it snowed all day long today -- we have over 19" of snow! Heavy wet snow I might add, I tried to keep the house on the warm side in case the power went out.

The moon cloth I worked on this afternoon reminds me a little of those moon clouds or even a moon halo. It's an older piece that doesn't require anything from me other than a needle and some thread, no decision-making required. Which can be so nice.

Now is the time where the edges of winter and spring (or summer and autumn) overlap. A spring snow clearly fits the description but I'm thinking about what other edges might overlap, both literally and figuratively....

Wishing you a happy spring and may mother moon shine brightly upon you. xx