Tuesday, May 31, 2016


It's a May cloth. I plan to work on it into the night since it's already the last day of May...if you know the feeling of snowflakes in your brain when something finally reveals itself, then you know how I felt when it came to me. A branch of May we'll bring to you is a line from the Cambridge May Song. 

This year I'm planting polyculture beds in the Buddha garden. That means mixing it all up for better growth, more beneficial insects, less harmful insects, and more beauty. This excites me to no end because even though I always intermingle vegetables with flowers, usually all the green beans are together and all the peppers together, etc. to make rotation easier. But this year there will be a few bush beans here and a few over there. A pepper plant here and another one there and there. Carrots over there and carrots here. Sunflowers wherever. Like that.

My planting ritual is a little different this year too. I still whisper grow-baby-grow while placing each plant (or seed) into its new home. But now there's more. I promise the plant deva (spirit) the plant has a good home by watering it immediately with water from the big enamel pot, filled earlier and warmed by the sun. Saying I will take care of you.

And all of a sudden tedious changed into sacred.


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 vase...like 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