Where the Bees Will Live

A couple of decades ago, when in college, I took a Modern Literature class. In that class, our professor assigned us a series of books to read. One of those books was an autobiography written by a woman who lived very alone in a very remote location. It chronicled her life as she face so many struggles with nature and independence. I cannot remember the book or the author. I wish that I could because something in that book inspired me to want to someday keep bees. This solitary woman kept bees and her words were written in harmony with the comings and goings of the worker bees. At the time I read it, I didn’t realize how that small seed of interest in beekeeping would eventually blossom in my heart as it did. I wish I could again find that book somehow.

Here I am today, heading out soon to pick up my very first honey bees. I have read and read and watched and attended. I think I am ready. This isn’t like chickens, folks. Bees are complex. Very very very complex.

I have heard numerous beekeepers over the years talk about how keeping bees has transformed their lives. I have sat in rooms full of beekeepers and there I feel very much like I fit in. I am opening my mind up for this new adventure.

My family is along for the ride.

I am starting up both a traditional Langstroth hive…

and a more sustainable top bar hive.

When I first began looking, the top bars were hard to come by. But it seemed like that type of beehive was more in tune with my beekeeping philosophy. So, my father, based on my research and notes and some plans purchased from a couple of inspiring sources, meshed everything together and created the best top bar hive I could ever imagine.

It has air vents, a metal roof seam, a drop off bottom with screening for summer air conditioning, bars and follower boards, and an observation window to check on the progress of the bees. It is completely awesome! More than I could have hoped for.

(before painting)

And tomorrow night, it will be full of bees. I don’t know how that will impact things on our small farm, but I do know I am excited. I hope to have future updates to post soon!

Dancing Fun

I recently had the fun opportunity to photograph a great group of dancers.

They are wonderful to work with and after watching them dance on more than one occasion, they are amazingly talented on the dance floor.




A magical mix of motion and form.

They represent Sharon’s Dance Studio. To anyone thinking about learning a dance or two (or more), I can say first-hand the instruction is skillful.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with you and thanks for bringing a little bit of gracefulness into my world. View the rest of your session here.

Art Show

When we got notice of a school art show, it was obvious that my boy would be entering some works. He is a constant creator of art. So this was right up his alley.

Supplies were gathered.

The supplies sat for a while, almost overwhelming, until he had a creative idea. Before long, paint was going on canvas.

And clay was sculpted, fired and painted.

Little brother watched the work come to life. (yes he is shirtless. His paints are not washable and his painting clothes were dirty).

And he created some beautiful artwork that will hang on my walls and sit on my shelves for as long as I exist.

Spring Chickens

It’s hard to believe my chickens are, well, not spring chickens anymore.

The hens I got last year are all grown up and making eggs of their own now. It will soon be time to break out the freeze dried mealworms and Cheerios in celebration of their hatchday. They will be 1!

Since I have no idea when Omelette was born, we’ll celebrate his hatchday too.

The Vicious Tiger Living in My Yard

Outside in the wild growing jungle of my lilies and iris and other assorted perennials prowls a ferocious tiger.

He lurks and hides and waits for the proper moment to pounce on his prey…

…and then he naps.

He may look tough, but the only things I’ve ever seen fall victim to his prowess are some butterflies and a few grasshoppers.

Two Special Old Ladies

For the past 11 years, my life has been blessed by two very special girls.

They will be turning 12 this spring. 12 years has gone too fast. I remember my father once told me they just don’t make dogs live long enough. How true that is.

These two ladies have played out many shenanigans. They have many times protected me. They have watched over my babies as they grew into little boys. They have offered me their soft heads when I was sad. They have cowered in fear during fireworks and thunderstorms. Without a single doubt I know they would throw their lives down to save my own.

I am thankful they are both still in good health though they move slowly and sleep a lot. They stink and don’t see so well. Their hair is everywhere. They leave their footprints on the floors and the bedspreads…… and they have left their footprints across my heart and my years.

The fuzzy she’s curled up with in the picture below she’s had since she was a puppy. It’s her “woodchuck” and she still sleeps with it.

My blonde in the picture below is sleeping where she does at the feet of the boys. Always near them. The green toy next to her is her favorite toy from puppyhood. She long ago tore out the squeaker and she only has the energy now to play with it for a few minutes, but she always reaches for it when she wants to play.

My Baby and the Beanstalk

There are small quiet moments in each and every day that twist my heart up a little like a pretzel.

This one particular moment, my boys were outside doing whatever they do in the dirt. My baby (who’s 4 and not really a baby any more) came running up to me with all sorts of excitement radiating through his little body. He could hardly contain himself when he told me he found a beanstalk and it was going to grow all the way up high to the clouds and he was going to climb it someday and find me gold.

And his fat little fingers took my work-calloused hand and pulled me toward his find. It was this:

There went my heart. I wish so much I could make it be true that this casually unfurling fern could be what he believes it to be. And I hope beyond hope that he always sees so huge with those big chocolate eyes of his. Maybe he wont always see beanstalks in the heavens but whatever he sees, I would do anything to make sure it’s always that magical.

Sunny and The Claw

My flock of chickens has grown by two today.

I went to the store to buy food for my six chickens and ended up leaving with two of these:

My boys have named them Sunny and The Claw (the “The” is officially part of his/her name).

They are fuzzy and sweet and mostly sleeping under their heat lamp for now. They will grow up fast and before long will have moved out of their box in our kitchen and into the coop with the rest. We will shower them with affection in hopes they grow up to be docile and loving like the older chickens who live here.