Bless the Mothers


Mothers have been on my mind lately. My friend just lost her mother last week to cancer. My own mother passed just a year ago now. Chipper, the mama squirrel who has been visiting me for peanuts for four years now has not come around for several months now, and I fear the worst. In my beehives, the queen mothers are working hard to keep their little universes afloat: Some are thriving, some have failed… Continue reading

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Wake up, Mommy!

Wake up, Mommy!

It is cloudy and cool, this pre-equinox day at MillHaven. When I walked out to the garden shed to check on Blossom O’Possum, the ground was still soft from the rains of the past few days. I did not expect to find him there in the shed, and I didn’t.

It’s been two days since I released Blossom for the second time. Between the first release a couple weeks ago and this recent one, he’d been living in my guest bedroom with his litter pan, fancy cozy bed, and bowls of tempting possum morsels like banana, cat food, pureed vegetables, and garden bugs. Oh, and my homemade yogurt. He could never get enough of my organic yogurt… Continue reading

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Golden Rod flaming

Golden Rod flaming

The morning is overcast, with occasional bright bursts of sunlight. Up in the bee garden, late summer is making herself known on the tips of shriveling leaves, cracking flower stalks, and drooping sunflower heads laden with blackening seeds.

A few bright spots remain to sing of summer’s bounty and memories of lush abundance on the hillside of MillHaven. The goldenrod on her tall spikes lights up the yard like golden torches. The little blue and pink stars of borage still call to the bees. Deep purple asters are just beginning to pop like firecrackers… Continue reading

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Blossom sleeps in my slipper.

Last evening I sat nestled in the grass in the peach hues of the late-summer gloaming. Clippers in hand, I sat sifting dried stalks of phacelia through my fingers, breaking their seed heads into a paper bag. Across the yard in the still of twilight, the swift whose noisy nestlings sing in our chimney was busy diving headfirst to her babies carrying the last bugs of the day. Bella and Lucy, our Muscovies, wandered the bee yard on their short, thick legs like a pair of floating barges moving along green rivers of grass… Continue reading

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Singing the ancient song...

Singing the ancient song…

The morning of the “original” 9/11, I was scurrying about fixing a snack platter and drinks for the beginning of our very first Kindred Spirit Retreat in Jackson, Wyoming. At the time, I was a woman without a phone or a TV, so imagine my shock when the first out-of-state retreat participants arrived with eyes the size of dinner plates asking me if I’d “heard.”

No, I hadn’t. I sagged down into a plastic chair, my feet literally knocked out from under me in stunned disbelief. Continue reading

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My Sun Hive Adventure

Weaving in Beauty

Weaving in Beauty

Michael Joshin Thiele spoke as he always does—softly and deliberately: “How was this for you?” he asked in the most lilting German accent you will ever hear.

We circled around him, about fourteen of us hailing from different states and even different countries to attend the first-ever west-coast Sun Hive making class. In front of each one of us was one-half of a Sun Hive we had made to house bees. By magic, it seemed, we clumsy and mostly untrained weavers had managed to make one of the two rye-straw baskets that comprise a Sun Hive. When placed top to top, the hive forms a lovely egg shape.

I had constructed a top basket. It took me all day and some of the next. Sitting in front of me was the handsome young man who was gifting me his bottom basket. Only seven of the fourteen of us—me included—would be taking a completed hive home. I promised him I would be sending photos and “love letters” from the bees who will be calling this Sun Hive theirs. Continue reading

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Waking up from a long sleep.

Waking up from a long sleep.

My back lawn is very sad. Most of its lovely green face is beneath mud now, and in other places the grass is drowned beneath rain puddles. This has been a very wet season, a record-rain season I’m told. Carter dropped sheets of old plywood across the yard so we could walk without having our shoes sucked off by the mud. Of course, the ducks are elated. Do you have any idea how many worms surface and float in weather like this? Well, Lucy and Bella do… Continue reading

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Sophia last autumn.

Sophia last autumn.

Last fall, I did an unconventional thing—which is in itself nothing surprising—and brought a beehive inside. Sophia Hive was very small, and I believed I had nothing to lose bringing her in and placing her in a lovely, large acrylic fish tank outfitted with ventilation holes plus a plastic bee-highway leading to the great outdoors beyond my bedroom window. Continue reading

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Sophia inside

Sophia inside

A few weeks back, I woke up in the dark, happy and grateful that I’ve managed to carve out two-plus hours of quiet self-time before the day lights up in earnest. I sat with my morning coffee, watching the first gloaming of the morning, realizing that as circumstance would have it, I had no agenda for the day… Continue reading

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Bee whirly gig from hubby Carter!

Bee whirly gig from hubby Carter!

This is the time of year I always start worrying about the animals. It’s utterly foolish, I know, but when the cold winds start to overtake the land, I start wishing that the deer could have carport shelters from the ice rains. That the squirrels will have a warm nest. That the birds’ feet won’t freeze on ice-shrouded branches, nor the bees die of hunger.

The creatures have been getting along without me for some years now—millions, actually—but my heart frets for them come winter. And so in winter especially, I give gifts for the creatures in my city yard. Birds here have so much forage in the warm months they rarely bother with my feeders, but come winter, they all return: the pine siskins, juncos, towhees, and wrens, along with the ever-present chickadees and nuthatches… Continue reading

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