We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

The Weekend

Lughnasa                                                                              Waning Summer Moon

religious school kids with Rabbi Jamie

religious school kids with Rabbi Jamie

Up and out the door too early yesterday to write, too tired when I got home around 5:30. A long day. An education training session at Temple Emmanuel in Denver. A huge building, lots of cash there. Flowing cut stone for an outer wall, inside modern metal sculpture, lots of wood, a huge reception area, a Sisterhood Lounge, a more than gymnasium sized hall, divided by foldout doors, and lots of folks milling about.

(just noticed that the full waning summer moon stands about 4 degrees over Black Mountain in the dark early morning sky. Southwest. My cataracts give it four rays, two straight out from sides, two up and down at a slight angle.)

The sessions were ok. The food was great, lots of veggies and fruit and hard boiled eggs. All of us from Beth Evergreen had to leave early because we had an outdoor experience afternoon in Genesee Park, the oldest of the Denver Mountain Parks. Denver owns several parks in the Front Range, especially in and around Evergreen and Morrison. Genesee might mean shining valley.

religious school at Jeffco Action Center, packing Thanksgiving meals

religious school at Jeffco Action Center, packing Thanksgiving meals

This was a ropes course for the purpose of team building. The students who will be in the religious school this fall and their parents came, as did Debra and me. We were the only teachers there. I knew a few of the adults, none of the kids.

No ropes for me. I did put on a harness (reminded me of the harnesses for sled dogs) and a blue helmet. Most of the rope  features were reached by spikes driven into the trees and were high enough to require both a rope attached to the harness and managed by a Genesee Outdoor Adventure employee and the helmet.

Wasn’t the heights or the difficulty of the features that made me not go up. I realized only this morning that it had to do my with introversion and in particular my dislike of having others watch me exercise. That’s why I go to On the Move Fitness for two sessions, then follow the workouts on my own. If somebody watches me, I get self-conscious and screw up. I suppose this is something I could overcome with time and opportunity, but yesterday wasn’t enough of either.

Artemis Hives

Artemis Hives

The day before, Saturday, I went over to Rich’s, also early in the morning to help him harvest honey. We cranked his hives down from the high wire on which they hang, much like a ropes course feature, and checked first his flow hive and then a honey super on another of the four hives he has on his primary line. He has a pulley system with which he lowers and raises the hives. They’re heavy even with the mechanical advantage of a four rope pulley. Unfortunately, for reasons I don’t understand, Rich has no honey in his flow hive or in the honey super. The colonies themselves looked healthy.

Afterward, Rich and I went over to the Muddy Buck and had some coffee. His daughter was still asleep at his house.

Kate had a good day yesterday. Unfortunately, I missed it out gallivanting for Jewish education. We’re investigating medical marijuana, specifically strains used by cancer patients for nausea induced by chemo. Kate may have a bong in her future.

 

Bees, Nausea, Beth Evergreen

Lughnasa                                                                     Waning Summer Moon

At 7 I’m off to Evergreen to Rich Levine’s. We’re going to harvest honey from one honey super and try to use the flow hive. The flow hive is an invention by an Australian beekeeper that has the bees put honey in plastic frames instead of a honey super. An ingenious torquing mechanism uncaps the honey and it flows through a tube into jars or a bucket. Mine came just after Kate and I decided to move to Colorado, so I’d hung up my beesuit. I have it Rich. Hope it works. That was five years ago now, and they’ve come up with improvements. Rich has one of the new ones, too.

Kate’s growing more frustrated with her nausea and I don’t blame her. Imagine if, on any day, you could be debilitated, often without warning. Imagine, further, if that debilitation resulted in weight loss and as a direct result, loss in strength and stamina. Her gall bladder ultrasound came back normal. We’re in an odd situation now of hoping that at least some test will show something. Normal is usually a good result in any medical test, but when you have something unexplained. Well. What we want now is something diagnostic, and that something treatable.

I put up 7 lesson plans, or at least what qualify in my very rookie way, as lesson plans. Each lesson plan has to relate to the overall theme for the year, reconstruction and the b’nai mitzvah experience, yet stand alone. Here’s an example. Might be used before Simchat Torah, when the reading of the Torah finishes and then starts over again.

Understanding the centrality of Torah in Jewish life

Intro. What is Torah? Why is the Torah read through, then repeated? Discussion

Lesson content:

a. Write, in Hebrew, the names of the books of the Torah

b. A conversation about the broader and deeper meaning of Torah.

c. What stories shape your life? Family stories? Childhood stories? Books, movies, anime

Finish: Dance with the Torah scrolls. (a common practice on Simchat Torah)

I’m moving further and further into the life of Beth Evergreen. Kabbalah, mussar, Jewish Studies Sampler Sundays (or, as Rabbi Jamie said at the annual meeting on Thursday: Jesuss) teaching bar and bat mitzvah students about this central ritual in Jewish life. Participating in a mussar group focused on spreading mussar in congregational life. Getting to know well at least a few members: Marilyn, Jamie, Tara, Rich, Alan, Anshel, Sally, Ron, Susan, Sheri. Seems both odd and normal. Odd in that I’m a pagan; normal in that I love this community and want to help sustain it.

 

 

 

Recent Workers at Our House

Beltane                                                                          Sumi-e Moon

Recent workers at our house:

20180601_144856_00120180601_14484120180530_15061720180530_15052220180530_150512

Beezzy

Beltane                                                                            Sumi-e Moon

Snowtires off and away. Oil changed. A/C an issue that took all day yesterday with no joy on finding a leak. Frustrating. Rear brakes had to be replaced, too. That’s fine. Tires and brakes in good operating order are a must for mountain driving. The A/C is also a must with my Nordic Goddess always eager to have the temperature regime of her genetic homeland. Hopefully all will be finished by noon or so today.

20180522_174843

Ruth and Kate made this. Kate’s from yesterday looks as good.

Kate continues to gain stamina and increase range of motion for her right shoulder. She made challah yesterday, and challah rolls. With some tweaking thanks to a high altitude info sheet from King Arthur Flour she’s really got it going on. This is beautiful challah and rolls. She gave one to Tara yesterday and we’ll give the rolls to Sally today when we visit her in Golden.

Yesterday late afternoon we went over Tara and Arjan’s home for a session with their bees. Like Rabbi Jamie and Dan, they’re first year beekeepers. They’ve got the derigeur, for the Front Range, electric fence. Bear strength. Bears really like honey. And we’ve got bears.It was fun seeing their enthusiasm and a healthy hive.

Tara, Arjan and bees

Tara, Arjan and bees

Their Italians are much more docile than my Minnesota Hygienics. The four built out frames I gave them were filling up with pollen, honey and brood. They’re queen right and the colony is growing. They moved slowly, did a hive check looking at each frame while I stood off to the side and examined them, too.

Their home is on Kilimanjaro Drive. You’ll get the naming convention when you know we passed Jungfrau, Annapurna and Zugspitz drives as well. Kilimanjaro is long and winds way back into the mountains east of Evergreen. The views are wonderful with the continental divide just visible to the northeast. Still snowpacked. It was a clement mountain evening with blue sky, lots of rock and pine trees. And friends.

 

Life in the Big Mountains

Beltane                                                                                     Sumi-e Moon

Yesterday at 8 am Kate went to P.T. and I went to On the Move Fitness. They’re next door to each other. While Kate continued rehabbing her shoulder, I went through my new workout for the second time. The previous session had ouched my lower back some, so Deb modified some of the exercises.

I felt so righteous about having my workout done at 8 am, I relaxed until time for mussar at 1 pm. Anyhow new workout under my belt.

Over to C.J.’s Chicago Dogs to pick up a couple of Italian Beefs for supper. Tasty and nostalgic. Good Chicago memories. I’ve always liked Chicago and spent a good bit of time there earlier in my life.

Then, a little t.v., Midsomer Murders and reading a new book, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, a post-modern feminist riff on the story of Jekyll and Hyde. It includes Dr. Moreau and Sherlock Holmes as characters. Fun. Been doing a lot of heavy lifting with books like the Order of Time, qabbalah and the Dead Sea Scrolls, so something just for entertainment.

Today our first Blizzaks go off and away, three and a half winters of service, time to buy a new set for the upcoming winter. Oil change. Air conditioning rejuvenation. Lot of driving today. Going over to Tara Saltzman for tea and bees. She and Arjan want to talk about their bees, maybe I’ll do a hive inspection.

Memorial day weekend. Feels holidayish already. Camper races have started, 285 will be a parking lot later today. Lots of preliminary complaining by locals. Fortunately we don’t have to drive 285 unless we choose to, so we can work around holiday traffic.

D-Day

Spring                                                                    Mountain Moon

kitchen aidToday is D-Day on Shadow Mountain. Dishwasher Day, that is. Sometime between 8 and 12, the cliched “window”, Best Buy, yes, that old home town favorite, will deliver and install our new Kitchen Aid dishwasher. After five weeks plus of hand washing dishes (the horror!) we’ll go back to the way dishes were meant to be washed, with lots of chugging and rushing and whirring. This has been a sufficiently long and frustrating process that I’ll not believe it’s over until the new appliance is snug in its home and has run its first few cycles.

Rich Levine wrote yesterday to say that our bee equipment is out in the wild now, helping other, new beekeepers. Tara Saltzman, CBE’s director of religious education, felt more comfortable using our half body bee suit. A hive tool, twenty of our built out frames, two hive boxes, bee brush, smoker and pellets went to the bee project. It feels good that they’re in use rather than sitting in our garage and it particularly feels good that they’re encouraging others to learn about bees.

IMAG0784We have more hive boxes, more honey supers, plus all the equipment needed to harvest and bottle honey. We brought the bee stuff with us on the chance that we would want to pick up bee keeping here, but now it’s unlikely. With both gardening and beekeeping the challenges altitude presented might have been overcome, they can be, but that first year enthusiasm after the move, 2015, got absorbed by prostate cancer. In 2016 Jon told me he and Jen were getting divorced. That took our attention for a full year and a half to which I added knee replacement surgery and Kate added Sjogren’s. Unless we decide to purchase a greenhouse, our horticultural life will remain muted.

Kate had her third session of p.t. and I took the time to go to King Soopers and get some groceries. She’s a had a small set back with her appetite, but her progress has given her confidence. This will be only a to be expected dip. Nothing’s linear.

Today's work

Today’s work

Meanwhile I have decluttered the loft. As I work, I pile up books and paper, file folders and magazines, creating temporary archival mounds. When I get to a place where I can poke my head up over the transom and see some light, the mounds lose their archival charm and become just clutter. The act of reshelving books, creating file folders for loose papers, organizing magazines has an energizing effect, both in the satisfaction of a more organized space and in the psychic sense of a new time beginning.

Today is filing, organizing magazines and a task new to me, creating storage for my sumi-e work. Most of it is practice, but there are a few keepers. I don’t understand the value of practice work yet, so I’m going to keep almost all of it even though my instinct is to throw it away. This means finding a way to archive large flat pieces of paper in a way that doesn’t fold or mutilate them. I have some ideas, folded cardboard, removing a few maps from my flat file storage. When I get to working on it, I’ll invent something.

That, plus the dishwasher, is what Tuesday will be about.

 

Hiving

Spring                                                                        Mountain Moon

The Levine hive suspension method

The Levine hive suspension method

Drove over to Rich Levine’s in Evergreen, up on Alpine drive. I took with me two hive boxes, twenty filled out frames, a half bee suit and a veil, smoker, pellets, bee brush, and a hive tool. Rich carried the hive boxes and frames up to his deck cum study where his bees live on a wire.

We hived a three-pound box of bees into one of my old hive boxes. This involves spraying down around 10,000 bees with sugar water, removing the tin can that has fed them on their trip from the bee supplier, in this case all the way from the Western Slope, and easing the queen cage out. Once the queen cage was out, we removed a small cork in the end of the tiny wooden container and replaced it with a marshmallow. This allows the workers and queen to eat away at the marshmallow, releasing her gradually and hopefully encouraging the colony to accept her. They may not and if they don’t they’ll kill her. If they do, your hive is queen right.

Queen cage

Queen cage

After putting the marshmallow in the queen cage, we removed four frames from the middle of the hive box, turned the box over so the space for the can faced down toward the hive floor and whacked the can. Since it was chilly and since we’d sprayed them liberally with sugar water, the workers fell into the bottom of the hive. I took my hive tool and spread them around on the bottom. They’re a squirming, moving mass, whirring. With the workers in the base of the hive, the other four frames return to the hive box and the queen cage is placed between two of the frames, marshmallow end down.

BEES 3 poiund package

Since there are no flowers or other blossoms out right now, the colony must be fed sugar water until they can find something to eat. Rich purchase a feeding system new to me. It involves four holes cut into a hive box cover, just the right size for four mason jars put in them upside down. Punch a few holes in the lid, fill the jar with sugar water, invert.

The fifteen or so people there, many of whom would take a hive box and a three-pound box of bees home and repeat the hiving process there, watched with both fascination and a bit of trepidation. Afterward we had lunch, hotdogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers and veggie hot dogs. Rich is a vegetarian.

I left a little early. I’ve become part of Beth Evergreen’s community at the synagogue, but I’m still nascent as part of the community outside of it. At first I thought it meant something negative, the feeling of being an outsider; but, I realized no, it was only a part of the process of coming to belong there, too. I’m an introvert and cast as the expert so being with so many strangers, I knew only four people, and looked to for answers wore me out. Normal, really.

 

Rivers and Mountains, Bees and Kate

Spring                                                            Mountain Moon

fan kuan, travelers among mountains and streams

Fan Kuan (960-1030, a.c.e.), travelers among mountains and streams, Song Dynasty

So my mind is filling with rocks, pines, mountain streams, magpies and mountain lions; a sign that the mountain theme has begun to take hold. I plan to spend this spring and summer sketching and photographing rock formations, mountains, summits, animals, water, trees and other plants, then interpreting them with sumi-e. I’m continuing to read the shan-shui (mountains and rivers) poets, moving back into the world of Chinese classical painting.

Qabbalah study continues. We’re investigating time and the qabbalists have their own unique approach to it. Here’s an example. To experience what I would call sacred time-they use the phrase eternal time-qabbalists want us to pay closer attention to what I would call ordinary time. This is far different from trying to collapse the hold of ordinary time through meditation or koans or mystical experience. The easiest example is the week. In the qabbalist’s world we count six ordinary days, then we experience shabbat. Shabbat is a time out of time, a moment in the week when the observer exits the world as usually experienced and enters sacred time. But. It’s observable as sacred time because of its contrast to the six days that precede it and the six that follow it. Thus we can find sacred time through attention to measured/ordinary time.

honey supers after the harvest, 2013

honey supers after the harvest, 2013

Getting ready to hive bees for Beth Evergreen on Saturday morning. Had to dig around in all the bee stuff we brought from Andover since Rich Levine, local bee enthusiast, needed a hive box and twenty frames plus accessories. I had enough. Getting out the hive tool, scraping propolis off the frames, moving supers put me right back into beekeeper mode. Still don’t think I’m willing to do it here, too much hassle with the need for a bear proof enclosure which means strong electric fencing. I will enjoy helping others, though.

Singapore, 2016

Singapore, 2016

Kate’s gained almost five pounds! This after a long period of weight loss. I called her my incredible shrinking wife. Our consult with Betsy, the nutritionist for New West Physicians, was a turning point.

Kate’s building momentum. The Sjogren’s conference left her feeling less alone with this nasty disease since there were hundreds in attendance from all across the U.S. who not only have it, but have similar experiences to hers. She also had her second session of physical therapy this morning and continues to be excited and enthusiastic about it.

Makes me smile.

 

 

Homey

Spring                                                                        Mountain Moon

the political side

the political side

Played domestic goddess yesterday. Wash dishes. Make taco meat. Three loads of laundry. Feed dogs twice. Make supper. Pick up. Take out the trash this morning. The duties of an ordinary housewife of the 1950’s, coupled with raising the kids, would have been physically and mentally exhausting. No wonder they wanted to go to work. It’s easier.

Whole process getting simpler, better understood, flowing with the tao of the moment which is nurture and be nurtured.

We went to see Jackie yesterday at Aspen Roots. Better coiffed now. I’m enjoying the well groomed look. It’s all persona. Cut the hair. Let it grow. Trim the beard. Let it flow. Just different. Since this look is less counter cultural, I feel it less. It’s a way of hiding in plain sight.

Cleaned up

Cleaned up

Decided a few days ago that I’d stick, for now, to my resistance workouts and some modest cardio before and after them. That’s three days a week, leaving me four days to do house work or take care of other matters. It’s better because I’m not feeling short changed on those days I usually do my longer and high intensity cardio. I’m good at getting back to the routine after I’ve changed it, so it’s only a matter of time.

Today is a workout day but before that I’m going to fold laundry and wash my bee suit. Hiving some bees on Saturday morning for Beth Evergreen and I want to look spiffy. Part of the well-coiffed thing, I guess. Can’t find my hive tool or my full body bee suit. Gotta be here somewhere, but I can’t find them.

Kabbalah tonight. More on time.

housework_thumbWhich brings me back to housework. Housework, in its earthy, basic realm, is a microcosm of the Great Wheel. It’s a cycle that never finishes, food must be bought and cooked, trash discarded, dishes cleaned. Then again and again and again. Likewise clothing gets soiled and must be washed, folded, put away. Toilets and counters and floors and windows get dirty, then cleaned, then dirty, then cleaned. It’s a great wheel because it relates to the true life needs of us all and is, as a result, repetitive, but powerful.

 

Bees, Dogs, Hearts and Shoulders

Winter                                                                   Imbolc Moon

20180119_095931Rigel’s blood work so far is encouraging. Her liver values are back to normal. This may be a sudden old age shift to intolerance of chicken protein. The rabbit diet food is on its way from Chewy.com. Her appetite is good. If she gains weight on the new diet, that may be all we need to know. Fingers crossed.

Went over to Rich Levine’s yesterday for more bee conversation. He put the flow hive together. It looks very cool. If it works as advertised, it could eliminate the need for honey supers and the back breaking, hot, sweaty work of extraction.

IMAG0873

Kate uncapping a honey frame

I agreed to talk to the religious school about bee symbology since they’re going to decorate their hive boxes in a couple of weeks. When the school, and Rabbi Jamie apparently, hive their bee packages, I’ll assist. And, I imagine, support the hives as they grow over the course of the summer. A good way to keep my hand in without having to do all the work myself.

Snowing today. Yeah! The forests are dry. The Smoky the Bear signs which give us a hint about the future of our homes are all set on High fire danger. In January. That means really bad news for reservoirs and the 2018 fire season unless we get a lot of snow between now and May or so.

We’ve had four, maybe five inches so far and the snow’s still falling. Supposed to last all day. Could be bigger than predicted, which would be more than fine.

2011 01 09_1223

Two Olsons

Kate’s got a big week coming up. Monday she has a nuclear stress test for her heart and a visit, on the same day, with the electrophys doc. Next Monday she has an appointment with David Schneider at Panorama Ortho for a shoulder consult. Her right shoulder is painful and weak. The pain interferes with her sleep, so getting it fixed has become a priority.

We don’t expect the heart work up to show more than normal aging. It’s a followup to the tough times she had at Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. Better now. Stress may be a larger factor than we know.

Rigel’s work up on her GI tract will come back next week. Hope it points in the same direction as Dr. Bayliss thinks.

 

 

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