Bee-ing

Beltane                      Waning Flower Moon

Tomorrow morning Mark Nordeen and I will zip up our white bee suits, put on Wellies and gloves, secure the veiled bonnet that makes us look like prim Victorian ladies headed for a stroll in Hyde Park circa 1880 and do the third check on the bee hive.

When I checked it a week ago, I saw capped cells and a lot of activity.  As I’ve watched scouts come and go over the last week, I’ve noticed that between 1/4 and 1/3 of them return with pollen on their hind legs.  This is a key transition, meaning they will be able to make their own food, wax and propolis.

As each new piece has become a part of our overall property, the gestalt increases.  It grows in size, has grown in size, from the first decisions about boulder walls and perennial flowers, through bulb planting, hosta and ferns, the multiplication and division of iris, day lilies, true lilies, hosta, bug bane, ligularia, dicentra.  When Kate began to grow vegetables, the gestalt pushed out some more.

Hiring Ecological Gardens and putting in the orchard last fall has pushed the boundaries of the whole further out, while integrating it more.  The bees have added an animal component, a lively and complex bee-ing.

Growing vegetable plants from seed under lights, then planting them outside adds another layer.  The work that Ecological Gardens plans for May 26 and May 27 will enrich it yet again.

The feeling is hard to express, but wonderful.  Mabye the bee hive is a good analogy.  It feels to me like the whole property has become an interdependent whole, with the land working for us and us working for the land.  I’m not talking about just food production.  The beauty of the flowers, the grace of the ferns, the broad green presence of the hosta are part of it, too.  Each part feeds into and amplifies the other.  The bees enhance the fruit trees, the vegetables and the flowers; in turn they provide pollen to the hive.  We care for the whole and harvest food, aesthetic pleasure and a sense of connectedness.

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