Monday, June 27, 2011

Turn the other Cheek

This barn sits nestled between a river and the road I travel each day. These large apple crates seem to come and go, but are always here and full of apples come harvest time each fall.
And while perhaps it's not the most charming barn around, I love the crates and the various tractors that appear every now and then. Funny thing is, I drove by this barn every day for longer than I care to admit, wondering just where the orchard was that supplied all those apples. Longer than I care to admit as in over a year. There is a river behind it; how could there possibly be an orchard there?
Thing is, I was so caught up in the happenings each morning and evening that I forgot to look on the other side of the road.
 Who knows what one may find if they just have the courage to turn the other cheek.
You just may find something beautiful.

 I'm joining:
~Be well friends~

Friday, June 24, 2011

{this moment} - June sunset

I'm linking to Soulemama for a Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.

  Also linking to: 
show {off} your shot
~Happy Friday Friends!~

Thursday, June 23, 2011


There's nothing better than breaking up a long day spent at a desk than a brisk walk in the country to replenish the mind and soul. It's sort of tricky when you work in the city though.
Luckily for me, I recently discovered a little country oasis tucked in behind my office. It's situated along a major river that has been bypassed for development because of limited access.
It's a treasure trove of flora, rustic homes and wildlife.
It's a wonderful opportunity to recharge my batteries for the afternoon while soothing my barnheart.
But what really causes me to do a double take is this.
My first reaction, as I glanced towards the house, was they must be expats living in the Canadian suburban countryside. Then I came to my senses and realized this is how they must be getting their mail while Canada Post is on strike. Why didn't I think of that? 

Please, could someone south of the border send me one of these?

I'd be much obliged.

I'm joining:

~Be well friends!~

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Long live the Queen

After giving the bees time to unpack and settle into their new abode, it was time for a roll call and inspection of their quarters. And for the record, I did not make them stand at attention but I did try to bounce a quarter off a few of their beds, 'cause I've always wanted to do that.
After days and days of this view, my trepidation of actually snooping around inside grew just as much as I hoped the colony was growing. They've been drinking, on average, a mason jar full of sugar water each day while still bringing in pollen. 

There is always a flurry of activity at the hive entrance. I still have an entrance reducer in place, reducing the size of the entrance which in turn lends a helping hand to the bees by providing a smaller area to protect from robber bees. Because they are a small colony, often referred to as a 'nuc', of approximately 10,000 bees, they are considered weak which makes it more difficult to protect their hive. 
There was some burr comb built up inside the top of the inner cover which I've read can be scraped off and saved for future use in candles or cosmetics. 
Inside the hive, there was a flurry of activity. No kidding. Perhaps the smoker did the trick, but the bees were not aggressive; most of them continued working while simply ignoring my presence. Many of the workers were cleaning cells, their heads stuck in a cell. It gave new meaning to the saying 'she's got her head stuck in the sand'. I might just start saying 'she's got her head stuck in the comb'. heard it here first.

Speaking of comb, the next two outer frames from the original four were full of new comb and the next outer frame was a sight for sore eyes.
Uncapped honey was dripping out of the cells as I inspected the frame.

Of course, the most important reason for my inspection was to ensure there was a queen still in residence and that she was laying eggs. I had some difficulty finding new eggs but there was plenty of larvae which I considered a good sign. I searched one frame after another, and one of the first things I learned was that a frame covered in bees is heavy! I looked and looked, consulted my bee guide, rested my arms and went back and looked some more. I really had my doubts about finding her when finally, the last place I looked I found her. Funny how that happened, wouldn't you say? 

She was beautiful. Long, slender, short wings and almost completely brown from head to toe. I watched her as she walked across the frame, sang God Save the Queen and gently put the frame back so I could get my camera. I went back to the same frame so I could take her, no need to scroll down....there is no photo. She is apparently camera shy or my arms are weak. I'll leave it up to you to decide.

I'm joining:

~Bee well friends!~

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The hammock

So it's our third summer in the country.
And we're just finally getting around to hanging up the hammock.
It was Father's Day and it felt right. 
Who knows maybe next weekend we'll put out lawn furniture.
I kid. 
We don't have any.
I kid.
Though from the girl twin's demonstration above, you may not know it.
Hammock lessons, coming soon to a farm near you.

I'm linking to:

~Happy First Day of Summer Friends!~

Sunday, June 19, 2011

More than I can say

I miss you every single day.
I love you more than I can say.
I think of you every time I hear this play.

Happy Father's Day

 love you,
more than I can say,
Sarah P. McGillicuddy

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Fruits of my Labour

The last of the vegetable garden is finally in the ground. Now, of course, that it's finally dry enough to plant, it's really dry. How dry is it? It's so dry you can hear the soil sucking up the water. And I got my exercise in tonight traveling back and forth from the pond with watering can in hand, a few dozen times. Once finished,  I headed back around the pond, passing the fruit beds along the way and I realized how much the blackberries are like the Glimmer Twins, and the veggie patches are like a pair of newborns. One needs constant care, the other can be left to its own devices every now and then. Here's to growing up.

I'm linking to:

~Bee well friends~

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Favourite Country Road

There's an off the beaten path, a windy country road, full of stillness and solitude, that has become my favourite spot. Lots haven't been severed for country homes, so there are only a few farms to be found; as you travel along, the innumerable fence posts seem to stretch on and on forever before you pass another farm, or a barn. Only in such a place, can time stand still and a barn can seem almost forgotten. 
Perhaps one day all will be forgotten but this stone wall. If I had my druthers, I think I'd prefer the stone wall to stand the test of time. A remembrance of an era, when dwellings for animals and farm equipment preceded the importance of a dwelling for humans. 
Who knows, maybe one day we'll return to a time where our lives are swept through the simple tides of nourishing our bodies and minds as they become one with the land again. I'd sure like to be around to see that.

I'm linking to:

~Be well friends~

Friday, June 10, 2011

{this moment} - calm

I'm linking to Soulemama for a Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.

  Also linking to: 
That Friday Blog Hop

~Happy Friday Friends!~

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wanted: A cool breeze

It' still hot, humid and highly sticky in these parts and we've been keepin' ourselves indoors while everyone here at the old farmhouse has their eye on this little vintage fan. It was love at first sight when I caught a glimpse of her at a neighbours yard sale but the price was a little hard to swallow. They were asking 25 cents for it. Seriously,  25 cents and it works. 

As we hung out inside tonight, I finally convinced the male twin to help me change his flannel sheets to a cotton set. Changing the sheets on his bed is an ordeal. No lie. His room, we believe, was once the kitchen to the old farmhouse and it's a might small. The Artist built a bunk bed with a desk underneath and while it makes great use of such a small space, it's a two person job when it comes to changing the bedding. It can also get quite warm, way up there, even with the air conditioning running and on occasion the male twin has decided to sleep in a cooler room. Lately, each night he sighs and reminds me how this little fan would fit perfectly on the shelf that runs the length of his upper bunk. But they don't make these lovely vintage fans like they used to. Good thing too. The spacing between the metal guard is much larger than you would find today and could easily fit a hand or a paw inside and that would have tragic consequences. Please if you decide to bring one of these home, be cautious of when its used. In the meantime, she's a pretty little decoration, even if the return on my investment is a little long.

I can't change the direction of the wind,
but I can adjust my sails to reach my destination.
~Jimmy Dean~

~Bee well friends~

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The View from Here

As I waited for the male twin during his soccer practice tonight, I decided to break my routine.  I had the Artist's car, which has an all black interior; it was hot and humid and as I read my book, I could feel myself nodding off. I also had my camera with me, and as I gazed to my left I became fixated on a long gravel path that dipped out of sight while off in the distance I could see pink, lots of pink. So I packed up my troubles in my old kit bag and headed for the hills. It was refreshing, much, much cooler and as I reached the bottom of the path, this charming house smiled at me and said "cheese".
It reminds me of Green Gables, you know, the place where Anne Shirley and Lucy Maud stole our hearts. How I would love to sit by that window on a breezy afternoon with a good book or gaze at the stars above on a summer's eve. Lucy Maud eventually married, to a minister, with whom she moved to Ontario. And in the house next door to the manse, lived a young girl, eldest of four and eventual surrogate mother to the younger three after their mother died in childbirth. She was quite captivated by this famous lady next door. She would also become my grandmother and tell me stories of her childhood.
Isn't it lovely how many different scenes and memories can be played out, just within the space of a few feet?

Country soccer fields and a camera. The possibilities are endless.

 Linking to:
Outdoor Wednesday
Lovely Photo Wednesday
Wordish Wednesday 
Wordless Wednesday with Words 
Cottage Flora Thursday

~Bee well friends~

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

As Spring draws to a close

If a June night could talk, it would probably boast it invented romance.
~Bern Williams~

On a warm June evening, as the sun dips it's head behind the trees,
and the bull frogs croak their nightly chants,
I'm reminded of the translation of their song by my great grandmother.
Says one bull frog, "More room, more room."
And the other replies, "Can't have it, can't have it."

I hope wherever you are, you have a chance to enjoy a warm June evening,
preferably with a chorus of bull frogs. 


I'm linking to:

~Bee well friends~

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Dozen

Yesterday, on the eve of his twelfth birthday, the male twin was asked if he wanted to skip twelve and go directly to thirteen. He shook his head no. He was asked, "Oh, are you looking forward to the experience of being twelve?" Again, he shook his head no.
"No, I don't want to be a moody teenager", was his explanation. "Well, we certainly hope you don't become a moody teenager either" was my reply.
Something tells me, I still need to worry.

Happy Birthday Sweet Prince

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hive Talkin'

With sweaty palms, a stomach full of butterflies and trepidation knocking my knees together, I attempted my very first hive installation yesterday. I read and reread the process from three different books and trust me, it was more of a stall tactic than preparedness but when push came to shove, I was organized and ready, if not raring, to go.

The evening before, the Artist and I drove a few concessions over from the old farmhouse at the appointed rendezvous time of 9pm,  as assigned by the beekeeper's wife to bring our babies home. When we arrived we quickly realized  their property was cloaked with more mosquitoes than bees so our conversations were brief and clipped with swats to the left, swats to the right, and swats up and all around. It may have looked like we were doing the Macarena. Quite possibly. When I asked him if I should install the hive when I got home, he stared at me with disbelief for about three seconds before shouting "No, no, they'll eat you alive!" So you can see why I was a little hesitant when it actually came time to do the deed.

The photo above shows the basic hive, which right now is just the brood box, where the queen lays the eggs or brood, and resting on it is the nuc box, where the bees spent their first night at the old farmhouse.
For the past two years I've pictured a cute white beehive sitting across the pond, but after some discussions at the beekeeping course, I attended, about paints, chemicals and future legal requirements for hives, I decided to go as natural as I could and put a few coats of linseed oil on all the outer surfaces, which was much easier and faster than painting, although it will likely require more upkeep. Once the smoker remained lit, which was a feat itself, it was time to open the nuc box.

The bees started coming out in droves, and their constant buzzing was much louder than I expected but they weren't aggressive and I felt completely relaxed around them. Being covered from head to toe, may have had a little something to do with that. Or a lot.

My main goal was to transfer them to the new hive as quickly as possible without squishing any of the bees. It's recommended that the frames remain in the same order in the hive as they were in the nuc box. I also wanted to check for the queen. I'm fairly certain that I found her on the second frame, but it's not easy finding her and my experience is more than limited leaving me to second guess myself. Time will quickly tell in the meantime my fingers are crossed tightly.
Once the the frames were nestled in the new home, I set up a jar feeder to provide the bees a sugar-water feed. It's important that they have enough food to build up new comb on the new frames and there isn't always enough pollen to ensure they will have enough.

Quite a few bees remained in the nuc box, much more than I expected. I hated to leave them outside the hive but most sources recommend just leaving the box nearby and the bees will eventually make their way over to their new home. Sure enough, by the next morning, all but one had made her way over. I ceremoniously delivered the last one on my bee brush, gently dropping her off on the landing board and watched as she quickly scurried into the hive.  It was then that I considered how odd it seems that these wild animals are relying on me for their survival.
After two days, they have depleted two thirds of the sugar water mixture and they're bringing in pollen. It's a treat to watch them coming and going, laden with pollen. The landing board today looked busier than Toronto airport and no air traffic controllers were needed!

Here's to the revival of the honey bee and another Rural Revival at it's best.
I'm linking to:
Farmgirl Friday
Photo Story Friday
Homestead Barn Hop

~Bee well friends!~