New bees

On Saturday, Luc and I drove down to Portland to pick up a nuc (nucleus beehive in a cardboard box) from Debbie Hutchings of Debbee’s Bees. It was positively loaded with bees and brood and they moved into the hive with no trouble. We have a Tanzanian top bar hive, which is a little different from the typical top bar hive in that it has straight sides. This allows us to install the bees and their brood and honey into the hive by simply transferring the frames directly into the top bar hive, as is done with a conventional hive.

Debbie is a chemical free beekeeper, raising bees that are descendant from bees her great grandfather brought from England in the mid 1800s. The bees are very gentle and rarely sting (except Meg, our black and white border collie, who may just resemble a skunk a little too much).

With all the distressing news about bees lately, it’s positively therapeutic to simply sit and watch them come and go. The hive is right in the garden this year, so I can do my veggie and bee admiring all at the same time.


Ghost snake

Ghost snake

The garter snake that patrols my three sisters garden left his skin behind. It is remarkably intact from head to toe.

Of birds and bees

A few observations on the local goings on:

Mallards frolicking: this morning I spied a pair of Mallard ducks doing the wild thing in our pond. I didn’t capture a picture because I was too busy watching them and well, once those images get onto the internet you can never get them back, right?


Bees being: the big cedar in our woods is once again occupied by a hive of feral bees. I’m going to feel warm and fuzzy from that discovery for a long time. I doubt that it is the perfect location for them, but it does my heart good to see wild bees.


Chicken brooding: Penny, our sometimes broody hen, has started sitting on eggs and will not be deterred. A couple of days ago, I set up the portable coop as a home for unwed chickens and stuck an egg in there for Penny to sit on. This morning I picked up 4 fertilized eggs from a friend and now she is brooding them for all she is worth. It is quite an ordeal to spend 23 3/4 hours per day for 3 weeks in a nest, but she was successful last year, and I anticipate that she will be this year as well. I’ve marked July 3rd in the calendar as hatch day. Six weeks after that, around August 14, Penny will leave the chicks to their own devices and join the rest of the flock as though nothing had happened. There will be much chick cuteness around here this summer.

Waiting for the rain to stop


My walking and fireside companion, Meg.

It’s the second cool and rainy day in a row, and once again I am warming my chilled bones in front of the fire in the cabin. Outside, everything is glowing green, and even though it is overcast, it feels like the forest is lit from within. On my walk, I spotted a large dragonfly sheltering from the rain under a leaf that was hanging over the trail. I’m sure this is not a rare spectacle, but I have lived all my life until now without noticing a dragonfly doing this before. I love how I can walk this tiny patch of forest daily and still encounter new things. I don’t worry that someday I will have seen all the things. I’m pretty sure the more I am here to look, the more I will see20130607_154056

The One Minute Guide to Inner Peace

I’m writing this from in front of the fire in our little cabin. It’s June, so it isn’t supposed to be so cold, but it’s been cold and rainy all day, so here I am. The rain is plinking on the metal roof, the wind is rustling the leaves and there’s an occasional pop from the wood stove, but other than that, I can hardly hear a thing. I brought a thermos of hot coffee with me and I can’t think of anything else that I want or need that could make things better. Well, that’s not quite true. It would be awfully nice if someone were to cook supper tonight. And, if truth be told, my bladder is starting to remind me of its limitations. I know if I run back to the house I’ll stay there, and listening to the rain on the roof is making a trip out to the bushes sound like more of an adventure than I’m willing to undertake at the moment.

These moments of perfection in life are so fleeting, it’s easy to miss them. It’s taking a while to get the chill out of the air in the cabin, and just when it’s truly cozy, I’ll have to return to the house to cook supper. Sigh.

Of course, it’s easy to get hung up on finding perfect moments. Those moments when, depending on your temperament, the weather is perfect or the house is spotless, or the scale has registered a sufficiently small amount that you can let yourself relax into the moment. But don’t let your mind wander because it is likely to find that you have a phone call to return, or a bill coming due, or a kid that has turned out to be as stubborn as you. Not to mention more existential concerns like how to respond to the prospect of near term extinction (don’t google it if you don’t know what I’m referring to – spare yourself) or what did the dog roll in this time.

If I have a spiritual practice it’s this: When I think of it, I tell my inner whiner to just shut the fuck up so I can enjoy the moment. And more and more often, I find it works. Your mileage may vary.