• Tag Archives Artemis
  • Bee Diary: Bottling 2011

    Lughnasa                                                      Waxing Harvest Moon

    The honey harvest has moved to the bottling stage.  Kate has dozens of jars filled already, quarter pint, half pint, pint and quart (peanut butter jars). We’ll give them out as gifts, tips for good service, for barter.

    I’d say our harvest this year was twice what it was last year, an amount that seems to make sense, so I think two colonies is plenty.

    Mark Odegard’s label, utilizing art work from a friend of his in Duluth, is snazzy.  It features a northern Artemis, bow pulled with geese flying above her.  I’m going to Duluth this week or next to deliver payment for the art work.  Honey.

    Kate’s quick treatment of my multiple stings:  cold shower, benadryl and prednisone minimized the post-sting trauma.  I have no psychological aversion to the bees; they were just doing their bee thing, so bee-keeping will continue as part of our gardening, orchard, apiary set-up here.

    The honey harvest has this strange phenomena associated with it, one I imagine farmers feel when they harvest crops in the fall.  All the work, hiving the packages, feeding them, putting pollen in, adding hive boxes and doing reversals, putting on a queen excluder and slapping on the honey supers all lead to this one day, removing the honey supers, extracting the honey and bottling it.  All that work and a very quick finish.  Very satisfying, but a little strange in the brevity of the final, sought after act, the penultimate purpose of all of it.

    The ultimate purpose, of course, is honey consumption.

    Almost done with the bee work for the year.  I’m reading to lay down my smoker and hive tool and to pick up the Oxford Latin Dictionary.  Ovid will get more time now.



  • Senescence

    Lughnasa                                                    Waxing Honey Extraction Moon

    Walked in the garden alone.  Yep, it’s an old time spiritual, much loved in the churches of my youth.  It also describes my morning turn among our vegetables and in our orchard.

    The garlic has come out already.  The potatoes have a while yet to go.  The beans have gone from green bean material to soup beans, waiting now for the pods to dry on the vine.  A few onions remain, as for the tomatoes, there are a lot of possibilities, but as the weather cools, will they ripen?  In the orchard we’ve had more productivity than any year so far, a few cherries, lots of currants, many dropped plums, but a few now maturing on the tree.  The apples, in their plastic sandwich bags, have begun to swell on the honeycrisp tree, but on the other, a green apple, they’re not a lot bigger than when the bags went on in July.  Our blueberries came and disappeared into the mouths of birds.

    The wild grape harvest looks like it will be a big one this year.  These vines are everywhere on our property, but the ones that produce the most fruit hang in dense layers over the northern fence that fronts our orchard.  Picking the wild grapes usually marks the end of the gardening year here at Artemis Hives and Gardens, at least the food gardening.

    The fall flowers of course begin to bloom then, the asters, the mums, the monkshod, the clematis.  It’s also the time to plant bulbs, tulips and daffodils, lilies and croci. It is, too, the time that the garlic bulbs harvested in July, yield up cloves from the largest bulbs for planting.  I like planting the garlic in late August, early September.  Garlic is a counter culture crop, sown in the fall and harvested mid-summer.

    Senescence has fascinated me for a long time.  Earlier in my life the process of degradation that rotted wood, turned leaves into humus and prepared more soil got my attention.  An early interest, I suppose, in the great chain of being (note the lower case here, less Scholastic, more Great Wheel).   Now I’ve noticed another key aspect of senescence; it is the time of harvest.  Yes, in the plant world, the dying of the plant’s above earth body follows or is in step with the giving of its fruit.  That is, aging produces

    This is also the time when gardening begins to wane in interest for me.  My energies now turn to novels, research for tours at the MIA, preparing for the fall issue selection process at the Sierra Club and the upcoming legislative session.

    Now, too, the cruise, which begins in October, looms closer and the loose ends for it need to be tidied.  The Brazilian visa.  New luggage.  Check the clothes.  Rent a tux. (yes.  I’m gonna do it.  3 formal nights a week on the cruise.  i’ll pretend it’s halloween every one of those nights.  i’ll be some seriously weird expatriate Muscovite on the run from Putin’s secret police.  something like that.)

  • Still Alive.

    Beltane                                                              Waxing Garlic Moon

    Oh, boy.  I’ve not gone a day without a post in a long time.  Yesterday went by so fast.

    Worked on Latin for a bit, but a brightening day pulled me outside.  I plucked tulip detritus out of a bed where some tomato plants needed to go.  These were full grown ones, liable to produce tomatoes as opposed to my healthy, but still immature seedling started back in April.

    At the Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers meeting Tuesday I learned that honey filling what could be brood frames means the bees in colonies 2 and 3 felt crowded.  I got out my honey supers, scraped them free of propolis, something I realized I could have done last fall, and excess wax, then plopped two each on 2 & 3.   These are the colonies that will be allowed to die out over the winter.  Colony 1 already has its 3rd hive box on with the queen producing brood at a quick pace.  All three of these colonies started out on drawn comb which reduces the initial work load significantly and allows the bees to focus on brood raising, foraging and honey and pollen collecting.

    All of this means Artemis hives have positioned themselves for the start of the honey flow.

    Then it was quick get into my nicer clothes for a 3 hour stint at the Netroots Convention in downtown Minneapolis.  I volunteered for service at the Sierra Club table in the convention’s exhibit hall.  We highlighted our Beyond Coal campaign.  I got into a snit with an organizer who felt that chairs should be anathema at tables.  He feels this creates a climate that forces staff and volunteers out into the stream of traffic, pressing cards and information into people’s hands, getting names and addresses.  At 64 standing on a concrete floor for 3 and 4 hours in a row is not something I choose to do.  A chair gives me an opportunity to take a break now and then.   Which I need.

    The organizer’s view saw volunteers as numbers useful for gaining more numbers, rather than people.  This is an instrumentalist view of the person, an error in judgment not unusual among utopians who willingly sacrifice today’s people in service of a better future.  It ignores the true and only reason for organizing which is to gain a better life for others, a better life which begins in the present, not in some imagined or hoped for more powerful future.

    Do we need to sacrifice to move our political ideas forward?  Of course.  Do we need to sacrifice our health and well-being?  Only in extreme situations.  Which the Netroots Convention in the Minneapolis Convention center is not.

    After three hours of hawking underwear (I’ll explain later) and moving beyond coal as a source of electrical generation, I drove over to the Walker where I began a two session seminar at the Walker Art Center on THE BLURRING OF ART AND LIFE: IMPACT OF MASS CULTURE ON ART. Taught by an art historian from Hamline College, Roslye Ultan, this seminar approaches modern and contemporary art especially since Dada and Marcel DuChamp.  There are ten or eleven of us in the class, all women save for me and all Walker guides save for me.

    This means I find in myself cast in the unusual role of traditionalist.  The MIA is an encyclopedic museum with an emphasis on the historicality and the geographicality of art from the earliest to the most recent, extending from a 20,000 year old Venus Figurine to a finished last year installation, Dreaming of St. Adorno by living artist, Siah Armajani.

    Roslye takes her art historical cue from DuChamp who said he wanted to put art in the service of the mind.  Rosalye has expanded on or extended this idea into an assertion that it is not the object that is the universal, transcendent work but the idea given form in the object.  Seemingly entrenching my traditionalist orientation, I disagreed, holding out for the work of art itself as the what that transcended time.

    She tried to tell me this was not right, but I am not easily budged by an argument from authority, so we had a tussle.  A mild one.  I backed off, as I often do in classroom settings, not wanting to waste other peoples time.  In this instance, as the class progressed, I found the tussle invigorated the class, gave it an edge and increased my focus.

    That was two instances of conflict in one day.  On the drive home I turned them both over in my mind, like teasing a hole in a tooth.  Was I too much in the argument with the organizer?  Yes, my tone was over the top.  Did I regret?  Tone, yes. Content, no.  I’ll apologize for the tone to him today.  But not the need to treat volunteers as people not instruments.

    The tussle in the class left me with no negative hangover.  In fact, when I put the two together, I realized they meant I’m alive and still living.  I felt good about that.

  • Bee Diary: Hive Inspections

    Beltane                                                    Waxing Garlic Moon

    Colony #1:  This is the colony in which my queen release went well.  She’s been busy.  The second hive box, on only a week, has all the brood frames with brood, some full, some partial, so I went ahead and added another hive box.  This is the colony I’m going to keep as a parent colony for next spring.  I’ve decided I want to manage the other two for maximum honey and then let them die out in the fall.

    Colony #2:  The first of the one’s where the queen got to her job a week late because I didn’t handle the release well. (at least I didn’t kill her, which I did last year)  This colony seems to be putting a lot of honey in the two supers I added in place of a second hive box.  Not sure what that means, but it for sure means we’re not ready for another set of supers quite yet.

    Colony #3:  The second late queened colony.  This colony has brood in the bottom of the two honey supers I added last week, and seems to be storing honey in the top one.  Again, I don’t know what this means, but this one is not ready for another two supers yet either.  I plan to check both of them mid-week, just in case they accelerate the brood production process.

    Once again, these bees are placid, friendly, and diligent.  Great colleagues in our life here.  I feel lucky to have them.

    Artemis, our patron goddess, has several images, as do most of the Greek pantheon, but this one always causes some consternation.  What’s with all those blobs on her chest?  Though a common explanation suggests they are breasts, symbolizing her role as a fertility goddess, some scholarship suggests they may instead be bull’s testicles or gourds, both also potent symbols of fertility in Asia.

    I saw this statue in a museum near the ancient city of Ephesus.  From nearby it was also possible to see the one remaining pillar from her great temple, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.  Now, it looks bereft, a lone monument in a not too well tended field.

    On the same trip Kate and I went to Delos, the site of the Delian Leagues treasury during the glory days of Greece.  Artemis and her brother Apollo were born on this island. It’s a small, uninspiring rocky island, but it has a storied past that makes it more than repay a visit.

  • Precious

    Imbolc                                                  Waning Bridgit Moon

    Sheepshead tonight.  I took in honey for Ed, Dick, Roy and Bill plus honeycake that Kate made from our honey.  Artemis Hives honors the ancient Greek Goddess of the hunt who also had honeybees within her domain.  Worshippers took to her altar honeycake as an offering.  My original idea was to call Artemis honey, “The honeycake honey” and include honeycake recipe and a bit about Artemis with each sale.  Might still happen, some year.

    The card gods were good to me tonight, again.  They gave me three good hands when I dealt, a good position when playing sheepshead.  Ed and Bill both spoke about their wives with Bill reporting the good news that Regina’s cancer score has already begun to trend down after only a brief time on the hormone therapy.  That’s the kind of news it’s good to hear.

    Ed’s wife has challenges surrounding a knee replacement gone bad compounded by her other health related issues.  She’s in a transitional living facility right now while they try to calm her body down.

    As life goes on, I appreciate more and more the precious nature of the relationships I have at this sheepshead table, at the Museum, among the Sierra Club folks and the Woolly Mammoths.  Each place enriches me and gives me a place to just be, be who I am.  What a gift.

    So, good night to you and to Artemis Hives matron Goddess.

  • What is Analysis for?

    Lughnasa                                   New (Artemis) Moon

    This month is the Artemis moon because Artemis is the goddess of honeybees and the name goddess for our hives.  Why this month?  Because the end of August is the usual time for honey extraction among beekeepers in our area.  Our brand new extraction equipment is in en route to us from Dadant Bee Supplies in 5 boxes of approximately 34 pounds each.  Some assembly required.

    The honey labels, designed by fellow Woolly and graphic artist Mark (LockMan) Odegard, are spectacular.  Literally.  You’ll have to see them.  I’ll post an image when I have a photograph.  Odie offered to do this design work because he always wanted to keep bees himself.  His work displays  long study and careful craftmanship.

    A short bit on a longer topic.  Analysis.  A New York Times Magazine piece, My Life In Therapy, raised a question I’ve pondered many times.  That is, does therapy accomplish anything? The author, Daphne Merkin, seems to say no, or mostly no; but, her criteria, character change, is, I think, precisely the wrong measure and gives rise to the dilemma that haunts her piece.

    Ms. Merkin started in therapy early, at age 10, and has experienced several therapists, most of them Freudian if I read between the lines.  I didn’t get started so early, age 24 or so, but I saw therapists and counselors from several schools:  existentialist, bumbling pastoral counseling, Adlerian until I hit the big hole in my therapeutic road, treatment for alcoholism.  My month long stint in a Hazelden outpatient program spelled the end of my bouncing from this to that trying to sort out the unusual strategies I had for getting in my own way, many of them, near as I could figure out, related to grief over my mother’s sudden death at 46.

    Getting sober made a lot of things come clear that had been foggy.  Without the medication and confusion of drinking, a lot of my life snapped into focus.  Not fast enough however to have prevented a second marriage while I was still drinking.  That marriage, like the first one, ended up in the divorce courts.

    Raeone and I parted ways in 1988, but not before I sought therapy once again.  This time I landed, and I don’t recall how, in the offices of John Desteian, a Jungian analyst.  John himself and the Jungian paradigm in particular fit me.  Exploration of dreams, the linkage between imagination and self-knowledge and Jung’s special attention to the creative combined to move me forward on that most ancientrail of all, self-knowledge.  John encouraged me and forced me deeper in my self-exploration, helping me see the very real boxes I constructed, boxes that prevented me from getting to the core of my self and my true pilgrimage.

    It took a long time, maybe 18  years off and on, perhaps mostly off, but at certain points weekly for a couple of years at a whack.  Over the course of time I did not go through a character change.  I went through a dramatic change in self-acceptance.  Those melancholic mood swings?  Yes, probably somewhat related to my mother’s death.  Now though they presage a return to creative activity, an ingathering of energy and self collecting itself for a push forward.  The ministry?  An aspect of my three-part self certainly– scholar, monk and poet–but not well related, since the monk is a meditative, solitary archetype for the religious life and the ministry has an extroverted, communal structure.  A better fit?  Writing, solitary work.

    The writing has not been a royal road to success, measured in the externals of publishing and money-making and those are real measures.  It did, however, let me focus on creativity, on the domestic front:  cooking, husband, father, gardener and now bee-keeper and on the inner work of the religious or faith pilgrimage.  It’s not that I’ve not written, I have. Six novels.  Many short stories and essays.  This blog and many handwritten journals.  The shift did allow what I call my Self to lead me rather than the demands of the culture or my own ratocinations based on expectations from childhood.

    No, I do not believe the goal of therapy or analysis is character change, a goal that may not be achievable at all.  Rather, I see the goal of analysis as the clarification of self, stripping away the accretions of fear, role, pleasing others, traps which cause us to shut some or even all of our self away as unworthy or unnecessary or unwanted,  and in that clarification coming to design a life congruent with the Self, one that nurtures and explores its unique possibilities.  This may mean dramatic role changes; it did for me, moving from the ministry to the study.  This may mean accepting parts of your self that seem unacceptable, for me melancholy and introversion and my need to write, all of which felt unwanted at one time or the other.  This may mean moving from a place of external success to a place of internal satisfaction.  It has for me.

    Analysis with John Desteian, using the insights of Carl Jung, helped me achieve a goal I didn’t even know I had, becoming more like who I already was.