Tag Archives: Spring

Spring is thick upon us. The pear trees are blooming, the blueberries are fertilizing, the morrel mushrooms are fruiting and going straight on our pizza. The cows in the field I walk by every day at work are learning to walk. They are so cute! The lambs are frollicking in the crew-cut grass and the peas are brandishing their new green petals.

We’ve got two big weddings coming up so our focus has been more on arranging that and less on the garden and the bees, it must be admitted. My brother is getting married to his lovely fiancee in a couple weeks in Calgary. Marc and I are flying out at a pukey hour of 5:30am and then we’re staying in a hotel we booked because of the reviews. Get this, it’s my favourite review so far,

Decor strange, staff friendly.

Bring on the strange decor! We stayed in a hostel in Inverness Scotland when we were travelling that could have suited that description perfectly. We’re talking purple walls with technicoloured handprints, lime green baseboards, a red door, zebra striped bedspread on an old iron bed frame. It was surreal. I’m hoping that this hotel brings us close to that experience again. One can only hope.

The second wedding coming up is Marc’s sister at the end of May. That one is a little closer to home, in Victoria. Weddings are such a joyous occasion and I’m really looking forward to them and to all of the planning being finished. Then we can get into the heat of summer with bees, vegetables, Farmer’s markets, pulling weeds in sundresses and sandals.

Pottery is going well and we did our first “bisque” firing at the beginning of the week. This process changes the clay to a ceramic material. It is the stage you do after the clay pots dry, but before you glaze the bowls/cups/plates. So now my works of “art” are rather pinkish, like old bubble gum. And they are waiting for their glaze bath which will come next. Also, we picked up some Earthenware clay. We’ve been using Raku clay which is grittier and for more decorative pots. I really wanted to get into the Earthenware clay because of it’s resilience and functionality. Above most things, I am practical. If I’m making mugs, bowls, and funny-shaped things (that I’ve been told, when it doubt, it’s an ash tray.) I want them to be useful. And did I mention, my teacher is very patient with me. I still have trouble centering the clay and I still ask silly questions, and he dutifully shows up, answers my questions, centers my clay, and generally puts up with my nonsense. Yes, there is lots of nonsense!

Did I mention I bring him cookies? It is my best form of currency… It’s amazing who will work for cookies. So far, my mechanic (which is essential) and my pottery teacher work for cookies so I consider myself a very lucky gal! Let’s see who will work for honey?!

Hope your merge from Winter to Spring is as welcome as it is for me! Happy April!

Spring Equinox

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Spring is the season for death and resurrection. And I’m not just talking about Easter. In both Christian and Pagan beliefs, there are religious rituals connected with the March Equinox. Don’t you just love that word? Equinox.

The daffodils are my first sign that Spring is here!

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There’s nothing like having fresh cut flowers on my desk at work to remind me of the wider world out there. And giving someone fresh cut flowers always receives a smile. At the brink of every season, I celebrate. I think I’m a sucker for change…

Today we were transplanting tomato seedlings.

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These tomatoes are my seedlings. They are Roma tomatoes (good for drying) and Scarlet Heirloom tomatoes (good for canning.)

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Spring is a season of growth. I intend to take advantage of this seasonal persuasion. Growing and expanding! Yes Please! I am growing not only seedlings, not only a hive of bees, not only a culture of yoghurt, I am growing a list of books! I have a recommended book on gardening, raising sheep, raising chickens, local food, small farming, and of course, bees!

It seems my hobbies could turn HUGE in no time at all, thanks to the season of Growing!

Cheerleader for Bees

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I’m not so much a keeper of bees. Moreso I would say that I’m a cheerleader of bees. Today my bees are flying. They are bringing in pink pollen to feed to the brood which means Hallelujah, the Queen is laying! This particular bee that Marc captured on film this afternoon was at Clam Bay Farms. They have crocuses, snow drops, and hazlenut trees that the bees can gather pollen from. This little bee, Miss Shee, was not only packing pollen away in her leg sacks (not a technical term) but she was also gathering nectar. GO Miss Shee Bee!!

p3020022Today was my last day off of the first weekend in March. What a glorious day it was. The temperatures peaked at 11C, which is plenty warm enough to have the bees flying. We went for a walk down on Medicine Beach. It was gorgeous. There are lots of arbutus trees at Medicine Beach Park. They will be giving out pollen by the end of the month on lovely Pender Island.

We spent the afternoon building bee hives. This is a common occurence here on Mondays. I have 27 supers (boxes) with 10 frames a box. That makes for a lot of sanding, a lot of gluing, nailing, staining, oh and did I mention Sanding! That is my job. I have an orbital sander that I prop up on the work bench to achieve maximum success with as little effort as possible.

p3020017Marc stands behind me, assembling, gluing, and nailing. We started with 270 to complete and I think we’re halfway. I hope the bees appreciate the effort.

If the weather keeps up, I’m hoping to feed my bees next weekend. I have to medicate them with their Spring dosage. They must be medicated for mites, for American Foulbrood and for Nosema. These are the three biggest killers of our dwindling honey bee population. The first is a pest, the second is a spore and the third is a parasite.

I’m also waiting for my pollen patties to arrive in the mail. This pollen is mixed with lard and icing sugar and formed into a hamburger-like pattie. It will help the bees build up to be big and strong so I can split their one hive into two by late Spring. The bees need pollen to make feed to their babies. Pollen is a complete protein for the bees, containing 21 amino acids. If the bees don’t have to go as far to gather the pollen, they can spend their energy gathering nectar which means honey, which means honey for me! (and them of course.)

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Me and My Beesuit

Bees feeding on Sugar Water

Bees feeding on Sugar Water