Imbolc                                      New Moon (Awakening)

A virgin no more.  I went the whole last season without a single bee sting.  Today, when I brought food out to the hive, so they have something to eat until there are blossoms, I got stung.  Twice.  On the face and neck.  OUCH.  With the first one I forgot the wisdom from the weekend, threw up my hands, let loose with a few poorly chosen words and danced like ol’ St. Vitus.  The second came after I suited up and discovered that I had enclosed a bee inside my veil.  She was unhappy and it cost her.  When honeybees sting, their abdomen comes out along with the stinger.  So they die.

I’m glad it’s finally happened.  No more suspense.  I didn’t die, so I imagine I’ll react better next time.  Maybe.

While I was out there, I cleared the mulch from the garlic.  They like this kind of cool, wet weather.  We have daffodils breaking the surface.  Unfortunately, our magnolia tree thinks it’s mid-April.  That’s not good for its blooms.

The Awakening moon finds our land here doing just that.

Here’s something I’m playing around with.  I think there’s a difference between living on the land and living with the land.  To live on the land means we place our house there, perhaps a swing set, grass, maybe even a few flowers and trees, but our daily life happens on the land or in our dwelling.  To live with the land means some engagement with your land’s seasonal changes.  There’s something here I think.

The Moon of Full Flower

Beltane                     Full Flower Moon

The full flower moon rises tonight on beds full of daffodils, tulips, snowdrops and small blue flowers whose name I don’tdaffodils675 recall.  The furled hosta leaves that come up in a tightly packed spiral have begun to uncurl.  Dicentra have full leaves now, though no flowers yet.   A few iris have pushed blossoms up, a purple variety I particularly like opens early.  Even though they will not bear flowers until July the true lilies have already grown well past six inches, some with gentle leaves and others with leaves that look like a packed icanthus, an Egyptian temple column rising out of this northern soil.

My hydroponically started plants will stay outside today for four hours, working up to seven until they graduate to full time outdoor spots.  All of the three hundred plants began as heirloom seeds and have had no chemicals other than nutrient solution.   Unless we paid Seed Savers to ship us transplants, there is no other way to get heirloom plants that need growing time before the date of the last frost.  Too, the selection of vegetables and their varieties is of our choosing, not the nurseries.  I don’t have anything against nurseries; I just like to grow what I want, not what’s available.

The big daylilly move underway will make way for a full sun bed of sprawlers like squash, watermelon and cucumbers.  The perennial plants like the lilies, iris, daffodils, hosta, ferns, and hemerocallis have their complexity but I’ve majored in them for the last 14 years.  Now I understand their needs, their quirks, the rhythm of their lives and their care.  Vegetables, on the other hand, only this last two growing seasons have received any concentrated attention.  Their complexities are multiple because there are so many varieties and species with so many varying needs related to soil temperature, ph, nutrients, length and temperature of the growing season.

The learning curve has been steep for me so far, though the experience gained from the perennial plants has kept me from being overwhelmed.  In another couple of years I should have a good feel for what does well here and what does not.  After that, the vegetable garden will become more productive while at the same becoming easier to manage.

By that time, too, I hope to have had two successful bee-keeping years under my belt and have grown my colony to three hives or more, enough to justify purchasing an extractor.  At that point this should be an integrated and functioning micro-farm.  If it works well, I hope it will serve as a model for what can be done on 2.5 acres.  We’ll see.

The Bulb Came On

84  bar falls 29.97  0mph  NEE  dew-point 50  sunrise 6:33 sunset 7:53  Lughnasa

New (Harvest) Moon

When I began to plan the beds for the transplanted lilies and iris, I realized it would be good to dig in daffodils, too.  Daffodils, then Iris, then Lilies. But nobody sells daffodil bulbs in August.  They come out in late September, October.  The lily and iris placement will make digging in daffodils harder, more of a gymnastic act, since the daffodils go below the lilies which go below the iris.

Then, before I went to sleep last night, I had an aha.  I already have plenty of daffodil bulbs.  Planted.  I have around 600 daffodil bulbs in various places, so I got out the garden spade and went at an area.  Result?  Plenty of daffodil bulbs.  Now all I need is a cool, rainy day to plant all three.

Another matter.  About noon I got hungry and decided to go out for lunch.  I don’t do this often, usually only if I’m in the Cities, but for some reason I wanted to today.  Originally, I wanted to find a new Asian place that specializes in regional cuisines.  Couldn’t locate it.  Then I remembered the Jackson Street Bar and Grille.  I had not been there.  It  is in downtown Anoka.   So, I went there.

The bar stretches the entire length of the building, a good half-block.  New furnishings, including several wide-screen TV’s which, when I walked in, featured a blond country western singer.  Her song was “Come On Over.  I can’t get enough.”  There was also a Big Buck hunting video game.  You get the drift.

When the waitress came for my order, I ordered a bacon cheeseburger and tater tots.  This is not health food.  Over the last couple of weeks I have eaten more and more like a snowmobile racer or retro-guy.  When I put it this way, I reveal the conundrum.  It almost seems like somebody else has ordered the burgers, the Arby’s, the milkshakes, the Steak bites.  As a committed existentialist, I’m sure it was me and I know I’m responsible, yet I keep doing it.

Relentless in my self-analysis I tried to figure out why.  The usual hunch is stress, but I don’t feel stressed at all.  If I’m denial about that, it’s a pretty effective form.  An idea crossed my mind.  It may be that I’m so used to having a problem with myself to work on:  cigarettes, alcohol, relationships, exercise, writing that when I feel life is pretty good I ramp one up for consideration.  As I thought about it, this made some sense to me.  I’ll take a nap on it.