Category Archives: Beekeeping

Not about that….

image

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.”

ahem.

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

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

wpid-IMG_20130617_103123.jpg

 

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 every.single.one. 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?

IMG_20130430_173446

“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.

IMG_20130501_074420

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.

IMG_20130501_083814

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??

IMG_20130502_082239

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.

IMG_20130503_135219

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?

IMG_20130504_084420

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.

IMG_20130504_181404

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.

298116_10152783227665697_627655059_n

 

IMG_20130504_181418

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.

IMG_20130505_082528

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.

IMG_20130506_075224

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

IMG_20130508_182726

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?

IMG_20130509_162651

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.

IMG_20130509_162730

IMG_20130509_162959

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

IMG_20130514_091249

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.

IMG_20121218_113125

IMG_20121218_085914

IMG_20121218_085904

IMG_20120831_095134

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.

img_1821

IMG_20121125_182236

IMG_20121125_182415

(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.

 

IMG_20121123_082155

IMG_20130101_141624

IMG_20121124_081215

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

IMG_20121026_125055

IMG_20121007_145423

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.
1346009044142

1346008921437

IMG_7386

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

I keep bees.

IMG_20120903_160602

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.

1346008926364

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

img_1876

img_1894

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.

img_1874

IMG_20121216_082533

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.

IMG_20121124_080745

I avoid consuming electricity when possible.

IMG_20121217_095030

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.

IMG_20121124_081102

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.

IMG_20121006_115650

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.

Bees and Birth

There is something thrilling and exhausting about being on call. As the due date approaches for one of my clients, I start having this relationship with my phone that’s kind of like discovering I have a 6th finger on one hand. I carry it every with me, and I pick at it. I open and close it (because my phone is old-school, ok!) and I poke at it, willing it to tell me the state of said-person’s cervix. Yeah, weird, I know.

Then we try to guess if it’s actually labour, if it’s real labour, when should I get there, blah blah blah. And finally the call is made and I go over, after throwing snacks into a bag and arranging childcare for my sweet girl.

And then I’m off.

It’s so quiet. The moments as I’m driving to a woman in labour. The drive is so quiet. I don’t play any music. I focus on keeping my energy calm and I reflect, what could be coming? Who knows!

I approach a birth the same way I approach the bees.

Before I break open a hive, I check my energy levels. I focus on getting calm and relaxed. After all, I don’t want to antagonize an already delicate situation. Because if I am calm and focused, I get stung less. It’s a win-win situation really.

It’s strange to compare assisting a woman in labour to beekeeping but to me, it’s the most natural thing in the world. Two worlds unto themselves that flow in and out. And knowing that they’ve been around for so long and will continue to ebb and flow so much longer than my short life. It’s humbling. Bees and Birth.

Amanda As A Bee!!!

The blog Amanda As A Bee all started when I started keeping bees and a friend of mine said, “Oh Amanda, you should really have a blog!” Another friend gave me this little metal garden figure of a girl with funky hair dressed as a bee on a bicycle. Yeah, random. And I said, “Oh it’s me as a bee.”

This blog has taken twists and turns that I did not expect. In a little more than 3 years, I have gained and lost a lot of beehives, made new friends, moved to a farm, then to a boat, then had a baby, who then had a heart condition, then moved back on land and like a good book, I’ve come back to the beginning. Bees!

Last night I waited until little nutling was asleep and off I waltzed to go pick up a hive. On Pender, no less. Someone I’d delivered bees to a couple years ago made me up a hive as a thank you. Well, Brian and Sue, thank you! I thought this would be the first summer I’d face without bees since moving to Pender.

I have had an upwards of 25 hives but over the last couple years with Gabrielle in and out of the hospital at crucial beekeeping times, the bees have suffered. When it was time to put my 6 hives to bed for the winter last year, Gabrielle’s surgery was bumped up because her heart was failing. Sorry bees, but baby wins.

After getting home with a hive in the back of our tiny truck, I fully suited up and asked Marc (unsuited) if he would help me carry this not-strapped-together hive down to the field. Poor guy, I was trying to be sympathetic but I was more concerned with the bees than his overall health when I said, “If you get stung, put the box down slowly then you can yell and jump around.” Yeah, I’m a good wife… More importantly, he is a very supportive husband.

(Yeah, I know this is a bumble bee but it was a pretty picture to take while my bees were getting settled)

The bees are in full sun with a field full of yellow buttercups. It could not be more perfect. And I could not be more happy.

I have an extra suit, if you wanna come join in on the fun! Let me paint you the picture. The hum of happy bees, the bright sun warming your back, the delicate waft of honey as you’re surrounded by buzzing and flowers and summer. Yes, it’s a perfect moment. Just ignore the stingers.

Welcome Bees!