It’s a drizzly day in Southwest Washington, with much needed blessing of tender rain. My luggage is unpacked (including the start of a rye skep that customs let me keep!), my emails answered, the house cleaned, and the garden tended.
These days since returning from the Natural Beekeeping Trust’s gathering in Holland, “Learning From the Bees,” I’ve been letting myself take the time to absorb, digest, and begin to sort the enormity of the offerings—and the profound implications— of those three very precious days.
Good morning! I chose these two eggs this morning, to offer a model to my eyeballs on how they ought to look. Mine are at half-mast, and not nearly so bright and sunny It is Saturday morning, and we were up with conference events until around 11pm. The conference started just after noon, and the information poured into us in waves. By the end of the day, I felt as though the top of my head had popped off and a swarm of 60,000 ideas, surprises, confluences, and inspirations was spiraling around my head, all looking for a place to cluster. I won’t be able to let them all cluster here, but I’ll let them settle when I get home.
You are probably all pleased to know that this will be a shorter post today. I don’t have to cram two days worth of information in, as yesterday, and it was a blessedly slower day. This morning, as Ferry was loading up the skeps, Sun Hives, and propolis tinctures for the conference that starts tomorrow, Jacqueline, Joseph, and I headed off for a walking excursion in downtown Haarlem. This town center is a huge, ancient plaza, anchored by an exquisite cathedral that I was not willing to spend 2.50 Euro to go see. I’m getting thrifty. Things are expensive here with the exchange rate. Here I am, ready for any kind of weather…
Bear with me beeloveds: I worked until midnight again on a lovely post, hit the “publish” button, and it all went out into the cosmos, never to be seen again, so I am needing to put two days of adventures here. This might be a bit long… (more…)
Oh, goodness, where to begin, and how to share it all with you! Well, how about I let some pictures paint the image of our day? If there is a better way to spend your day than with bees and gardens—well, is there any such thing? Just let me sit among straw, bees, and skeps, and leave me here until I become a very happy fossil! This is a corner in Ferry’s sweet bee apiary, “Smart Beeing.” It is on the grounds of–oh please help me spell this right—the Vrij Waterland Biodynamisch Onderwijstuin, a huge garden installation next to one of Haarlem’s five Waldorf schools. A children’s garden is part of the project, and the Waldorf students are deeply bedded in nature there. Here, I rest after much walking, looking, exclaiming, and marveling.
Well, after a full year of planning and anticipating, Jacqueline and I are now in Harlaam, Holland with our bee friend Ferry and his lovely wife, Anna! Yesterday was a whirlwind of plane travel, customs, and more plane travel. I finally figured out how to move my photos to my computer (no small feat for a techno-wimp like me...). So, here we are on a rainy, blustery first day, making plans for bee fun. Today, we plan to visit Ferry's apiaries, which are stashed about town. Ferry has been making woven hives of many kinds, and his work is beautiful.…
Bee Friends: It’s the beginning weeks of summer, and the tail end of swarm season! Come celebrate the summer with an informal potluck picnic up at Jennifer Bargar’s place in Camas for this month’s bee club meeting on July 7th. We’ll meet at our regular time, from 10:30 to 1pm-ish. Jennifer has many hive styles, most filled with bees: Logs, BeeHaven boxes, a Cathedral hive, a Lang, top bar hives, and a skep. It’s always such an education to see how others set up their bee yards and gardens. Jen’s property includes a creek, and a large pond, with decks…
It is swarm season again!Before I had bees, I watched swarm videos, took swarm catching classes, and read bee books about safely gathering swarming bees. Mostly, gathering a swarm is pretty simple. Except when it’s not. Let me share a bit of my last week with you, and you be the judge as to how easy or complex—or both—gathering a swarm of bees can be.
Nine days ago, on the first sunny day we have had for weeks, two of my hives—Wing, and Gobnait—swarmed. I was sitting with a friend in my yard, with my back to the bees when I heard it. I leaped to my feet shouting “Swarm!” before I even turned around to see them tumbling into the air. I have come to know that sound. That awesome sound that like no other kind that floods my heart in a rush of adrenaline.
Wing, my SunHive was in the air for a long time, swaying this way and that in the air, and finally settling inside a large bush in my neighbor’s yard. While the swarm was still gathering itself, I hurried to grab my swarm gear basket, called a bee friend who wanted to help, and rushed back to the yard with gathering buckets of various sizes, plus my skep that I planned to house them in…(more…)
Welcome to our annual seed/plant swap! On May 5th, 10am-noon at the Camas Library, we’ll be bringing seeds and starts for bee friendly forage! We welcome the public and all who love bees to attend with your seedlings and seeds. We can guarantee you will meet some wonderful new neighbors, and learn to how be a better neighbor to the pollinators in your yard. Now, to make this work, we need YOU! Please, in the next two weeks, be looking around your yard for seedlings you could share. Herbs are especially welcome! We’ll fill our tables with all our bounty,…
Mark your calendars for April 7. From 10am to noon, we’ll be gathering at the Camas Library at 625 NE 4th Ave. in Camas, in the upstairs meeting rooms. There will be a $10.00 materials fee, and you may make more than one, if you wish.
We’ll be having a “crafty” bee meeting, making bait hives for catching swarms this spring! We’ve purchased two cases of recycled paper plant pots that are light-weight and sturdy enough for a season of “hunting” for bees.
I’ll be bringing propolis water to spray the interiors with, plus lots of old comb for you to place inside (bees love to be where other bees have been before. I think they like the smell of old comb as much as we do…).
I’ll also bring my lemongrass essential oil, to mimic the queen smell. Oh, and zip ties to fasten the pots together. You’ll go home with a bait hive to hang, and we expect your reports on whether bees found them enticing over the next couple of months!… (more…)