Category Archives: Beekeeping

Baby plants, Baby Bees and just Babies


Obviously we start with the best first. Babies!

I would say casually that they are popping out. But I must give credit to these beautiful women and how hard they work to birth their babies. However it happens, however long it takes, I am always amazed at the strength it takes to have a baby.


And to think that the journey doesn’t end when the baby comes out, it is just the beginning. My daughter seems to know this well. Pip, her doll, got left outside overnight by the woodshed. Gabrielle is nursing Pip back to health after her cold and lonely night.








The sun is returning to Pender Island. Glorious Spring Sun! The seeds are bursting and uncurling tiny leaves. And we have sewn seeds and while we wait for them to sprout, we run off to the beach to find rocks to paint.






And my bees! Well they are doing really well, thanks for asking. They still have honey in the hive after minimal feeding. That means that their location is exactly right for them. If they have enough food to sustain them through the Winter, then they will burst this Summer. As soon as there are drones in the hive, I will look at splitting them.

Spring! Spring is by far better than Winter!

We Winter Bees


I set to winterizing the bees today. Sugar syrup and some meds. I only have one hive with mites which is surprising as mites are one of those things that you just assume your bees have. Think of it like, if you went to Africa and lived there for six months, you’d expect to come home with a parasite of some kind. The honeybees are European. This land is not their land. Thus they do not always get along with their neighbours, and sometimes attract parasites. Such a shame really.

The bees have more honey in their hives than I was expecting as it has been a bit rainy here. But it’s good news as we go into Winter, not knowing how harsh it may be or when they will get a chance to fly again. Did you know that bees born in the next few weeks will live for a few months? But bees born in Summer only live for 6 weeks. The bees in the Summer are worked ragged and from all the working and storing up, they wear themselves out sooner. The whole point of being a Winter Bee is to sit around and try not to eat all the stores before Spring finds you. Often I think of myself as a Winter Bee. I like sitting around and eating.




Gabrielle is more of a Summer Bee. She likes running, picking flowers and pretending to slurp nectar from them. She likes flying back to her hive and dropping off the goods then buzzing off again. As a Winter Bee, watching a Summer Bee, I am going to live a shorter life from sheer second-hand exhaustion.

So I made these pumpkin cookies. Because I’m a Winter Bee and I like eating. And they were amazing. The recipe is online HERE. They are not healthy for you. I am getting it right out there in the open. Seriously, the only thing remotely “healthy” is the pumpkin. Oh but they are yummy and almost like cake. The icing tops it all off perfectly.

So I got a bag full of apples and I only had to give Krista, my friend, a few pumpkin cookies. Good trade!


Gabrielle took a ton of pictures of me raking up leaves. But they were mostly pictures of my knees. So you get to see this one instead. The garden has a blanket of leaves on half the beds, and it is cozy and ready for a little rest. Yes, rest little Garden, because we are going to work you this summer!

And to the little long-lived Winter Bees, stay warm and cozy, eating your honey and drinking your tea. Play rummy or scrabble and be well. I’ll miss you! Adieu.

Not about that….


So, when Marc found out he had a hernia, I said, “Oh, so you want to be quite private about this?”

My question is valid. He is a very private person.

He responded by saying, “Well, you can tell people. but don’t do a blog post about it or anything.”


So I’m not doing a blog post about it.


Anyway, he had his hernia surgery on Monday and since then he has been on the couch recuperating. In the time since he found out and was suffering with his hernia, I attended two births. We’ve been just a touch busy around here lately.


But we’ve found our way. The babies have still been taken care of. As you can see from the picture above, they are getting ready for dinner. I have been doing the “blue” and “pink” jobs around here including mowing the lawn. Twice.


The first attempt was a little skewed as I was figuring out how the mower worked and uh… apparently I can’t mow in a straight line. So, the lawn looked kinda like a bad haircut. But the second time it is much better. I’m actually proud to say I did it instead of hoping someone else takes the blame for the choppy grass with stray ends.



In between all this birthing and hernia-ing and gardening and summer-ing that has befallen us, we have been enjoying the sun. (Yeah, I actually have a tan! In Canada! Who ever heard of such a ridiculous thing?!) We have peas popping out of every corner of the pea row and Gabrielle has taken it upon herself to search out and chomp The chard is being nibbled in stir fries, fried rice, and even burgers. Chard omelette? Yes please!

And the tomatoes are turning yellow. Oooo yum!

There is a hum over the garden now as the garden is wreathed in blackberry bushes. The bees are all over it. Every kind of bee. Mason bees, bumble bees and honey bees all slurping up that sweet nectar. The hive smells like honey and the frames are hiding purple nectar in every corner! Go bees!

We are happy and busy. And healing. Thanks for stopping in.

(See Marc, I didn’t blog about your hernia! Well, not the whole post!)

Whatchoo’ talkin’ about?


“Whatchoo talking about?” Is one of Gabrielle’s most favourite things to say these days. She wants to know what is happening, why I said something, why we are doing something else and what road everyone lives on. So, I have to remember or find out what road every one of her friends live on. Also, she is a bit confused when I say Cora doesn’t live on a road. She lives on a boat. Otherwise, the world is categorized by streets of where everyone lives.


The constant talking, which I’ve been waiting for, it is exhausting! When my mom offered to take Gabrielle for a sleep over, I heartily agreed. I spent the last two days with a lot of silence. And in the absence of toddler tears which appear frequently, I sipped tea and did not say one word.


Gabrielle is a proper little lady, who carries her bag out to the car to get groceries, because she believes in green living. When we were in Vancouver, she was asking for a fern “sweeper” to clean up the dirty roads and was dismayed to find out that ferns do not grow in cities. “What ferns don’t grow in cities about, Mommy?” Yeah, does that question even make sense??


Gabrielle’s inquisitive nature about every living and non living thing on the planet can often be invigorating too. Her brain soaks up every single thing, so it can take us as long as I will allow to walk from our front door to the car. Because she’s poking the bugs, collecting rocks or sticks or leaves, singing about her cousins, and asking me a thousand questions. Bless.


This wheel barrow is filled with tomato plants. The tomatoes are forming on our bushes and we have two long rows of tomato plants. Marc says that every day I should look up a recipe that uses copious amounts of tomatoes so that when it dumps tomatoes, I’ll be ready. Do you have any favourite tomato recipes that you care to share, in anticipation of these beauts?


I had this phenomenal weekend a couple weeks ago where I visited friends, went to a book sale, went to the yarn store, picked up bees with a friend dressed completely in flowers (I love her!) and that was only Saturday. Sunday, I spent at a birth. Yup, I don’t use the word phenomenal lightly.


So to pick up bees, in case you’re wondering, I drove up to Cobble Hill from Victoria (about an hour) with a friend, loaded all these boxes of humming bees into the back of the truck. We tried to wedge them in really tight so they wouldn’t bang around because the boxes are made of mesh wrapped around a wooden frame. We only had one empty cardboard box fly out of the truck on the highway and no bees were harmed in our transporation.




The ferry workers can be quite gracious with the transportation of live stock like bees, if you call ahead. They put me in the shade and let me park on the ferry where I wanted. Then I got home and dumped the bees into their new homes and headed to bed. It is always a full day when dealing with bees.


So then the next day, I was up to my armpits in the beehive when I got the call that labour was really rocking. I stripped out of my bee suit and grabbed my doula bag and headed out on the next ferry. I got there with plenty of time before the baby arrived, and I traveled all the way to Vancouver (that means two ferries, and an hour waiting in between ferries) and got to assist in such a sweet sweet birth.


The blonde mohawk on this baby stole my heart. Seriously, heart was a puddle on the floor…


My mom watched Gabrielle while I was at the birth, which meant that she had to catch a ferry and sort of meet us in transit. But because of this funky arrangement, I got my birthday present from her. One of them being these fancy feather earrings all the way from the Northwest Territories. As a doula, I think that hippy garb is part of the package, I mean, if you want to be taken seriously. (I am totally joking…) Feather earrings equal major hippy points. Can ya feel it?


There are two things about the picture above that I love. Obviously, my daughter and her daisy chain. But perhaps something overlooked by a quick glance, she is holding beeswax. She is swiping at it with one finger like it is her “smart phone” and she takes pictures, she texts her friend Paisley, and then she makes phone calls to Grampa. How cool is it that my kid imagines with bee-comb? Plainly, she is completely my daughter.



Plainly, Marc lives in a house with all girls. And he tolerates it so so well.


To reward this toleration, I have decided to knit him socks. This is my first pair of man socks and it is totally intimidating. Yeah, his feet are huge. Especially since the last pair of socks I knit were for Gabrielle. I should have geared up gradually for this. But 6 days in, I am almost done one *gulp* sock!

Now that the baby we were waiting for arrived right on time, we are headed camping. I’m sure there will be scads of pictures to follow. Happy Mid May, Friends.


The ways I am a Hippy.

Oh boy. So I was looking through my pictures from this fall and winter, and I came across so many that would provide plenty of evidence of my hippy nature, that it was overwhelming. I am actually convincing myself that I have well-earned the title of Hippy. As my friends commented, labels schmabels, it doesn’t matter. But it’s funny. So shall we begin?

I live on a Gulf Island.
The Gulf Islands are known for their alternative ways. There is an excellent book by Brian Brett called Trauma Farm, about his farm on Salt Spring Island. (One of the islands in the Gulf Island conglomerate.) He confesses (or exalts) that he often goes off for brisk jaunts late at night wearing only gum boots. Only gum boots. I’ll let that sink in.





On that note, my kid is naked a lot.
yup, a lot. I have quite a few pictures to prove it. And we believe in communal baths among the wee ones…. because apparently I have a lot of pictures of Gabrielle bathing with other children.




(I might have to give Gabrielle double hippy points for the photo above. Naked Toddler Yoga is a whole new level)

I knit and I keep my knitting in a basket.
This is like a chic hippy fad on Pender. Get a cool African basket and put groceries, Farmers Market produce or knitting in it. I totally bought into this fad. And I feel cool when I do it.





I take photos of the following because I think it’s funny…



Ok perhaps the mustache picture isn’t very hippy. But I couldn’t work out any better excuse to get this picture into a blog post. Isn’t that bumper sticker awesome?? And the fact that it is on a PT Cruiser. It was a great moment.

I’m totally sold on baby-wearing.



Gabrielle also chooses to wear her baby. Clearly it is amazing!

I keep bees.


I lived on a boat.
We were on that boat for 13 months. Most of Gabrielle’s first year was on the boat. We loved living small and consuming little. Even though we are land-living now, we still consider ourselves to be living small and consuming little and that is part of the hippy lifestyle we are certainly on board with.


Kale chips are one of my favourite snacks.For serious. They are tasty.



Not only do I drink out of mason jars, but yesterday I tried to felt a cover for one of them so I could use it as a travel mug.I’m not sure if this hippy move can be overstated. I had this brilliant thought and this brilliant idea. So I phoned up my friend for a play date and we felted mason jar covers together. Yes, for real. And yeah, she had all her own felting stuff too. My felted cover is ugly as a three-horned toad and needs some decorating but it was worth a try. Now, I’m working on knitting a sleeve for my mason jar. I haven’t given up yet.



I accessorize with feathers.
This basically seals it for me. I just renewed my passport and Marc opened it up to see the picture and laughed at me. “You have your feather earrings in your passport picture!” He teased. Yup. That’s what kind of good hippy I am.


I avoid consuming electricity when possible.


Alright, this one could be because I’m pretty cheap. I hate spending money where it doesn’t need to be spent. So heat, I prefer a wood stove. I prefer to hang dry my clothes.


This is a manual coffee grinder. I own one from when we lived on the boat and did not have power. I do not use this now unless I have no other choice. The fact that I own one has to give hippy points in itself.


I’m incredibly attacted to VW Westfalias.I have owned one. We sold it when it constantly broke down on us. But we have regretted selling it and it would not be surprising to find ourselves in the possession of one again. When I drove my westfalia (when it was not broken down on the side of the road) I was grinning ear to ear. I couldn’t tell if strangers were smiling at me because I looked so darn happy, or because it was such a cool vehicle.

The simple fact that this post is much longer than the one previous may speak for itself. We may have a mushroom identification book next to a New York Times best seller but nothing in this world is completely here or there anyway. Being very present, making time to enjoy each other, and living small are values that are very important to us. They lean us toward that hippy lifestyle. I suppose if you were gonna give us a label, I could live with that one.

Oh and how could I forget this one. One of the ways I am most hippy is that I am a doula!

End of story.