Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day #575 Taking a Sabbatical for a Month or So

I know that when I made the commitment to blog every day for 600 days, I felt bound and determined to keep to that promise. And so far, I haven’t missed a single day.
Life has gotten in the way, though. Two weeks from today I’ll be in surgery, looking at a month-long recovery period afterwards. The cow to my right here seems to be saying, "And here's what I think about that!"

Do you remember how, when I went to Disney World a few months back, I wrote and scheduled my blog posts ahead of time (without telling you until afterwards) so that in case I couldn’t get internet access, I wouldn’t miss any blog days? Then, when I came home, I posted pictures and shared stories from that trip.
I did that primarily because I make it a point never to put anything on the internet that says, “Oh, by the way, my house will be standing untended for a week or more. Please come rob away.”
This time, that stricture doesn’t apply, since I have house sitters and cat sitters and bird-feeder fillers and yard carers lined up by the ying-yang.
I’ve taken a good look at my energy level, which has been decreasing a little bit each day for the last couple of months. So, I’ve decided to take care of myself. I won’t be spending the energy it takes to post something every single day. In fact, I’m taking a sabbatical for a whole month. As much as I enjoy writing these posts, the blogging process has become a chore--something I have to find the energy for and then make myself do--and I don’t ever want to approach writing that way. The blog isn't the only thing I'm putting on hold. I'm not taking on any more editing clients for now.

Flowers and trees conserve their energy during the winter, pulling back as necessary. Bees cluster in the hive in the winter, keeping themselves warm enough for survival. I feel like this is what I'm doing. Withdrawing into my hive to gather strength for the coming endeavor. I plan to come back from this surgery not only healed, but thriving indeed.

I would appreciate any good thoughts you can send my way, both as I approach the surgery-day and as I recover afterwards.
I’ll be back with post #576 sometime in mid-to-late June, and I WILL finish the 600 days. Thank you for sticking with me.
p.s. Feel free to email me. I love hearing from you, although I might not be able to respond to your emails for a while.
BEEattitude for Day #575:
       Blessed are those who fly to the fields they can reach, leaving enough energy to get back home, for they shall find new stores of energy when it’s time to fly again.
The teeny details:
my books: Please buy them from an independent bookstore or directly from my website.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Day #574 Aurora Borealis from the ISS

Speaking of the moon, as we were yesterday, here’s a story from NASA: time-lapse photography of the earth taken by the astronaut crew of the International Space Station’s Expedition 30:
The green aurora borealis and aurora australis you’ll see in this video are precisely like what I saw years ago from the back deck of our house in Vermont. Seeing those green swirling, waving curtains above me was an awesome experience that’s almost impossible to describe. Now you get a chance to share it.
I’m glad that my friend Judi A. Winall, an incredible photographer whose Master’s Thesis I supervised, took the time to send the link to me.
BEEattitude for Day #574:
       Blessed are those who travel far and blessed are those who don’t, for they shall all see wonder if their eyes and their hearts are open.
The teeny details:
my books: Please buy them from an independent bookstore or directly from my website.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day #573 Moon Photos and Chicken Eggs

My friend Ellen Norton, who lives in Arizona, sent me this picture of the Super Moon last Saturday night.

Keep in mind that Ellen is not a professional photographer. Nor is she a professional astronomer. She was simply someone who read about the Super Moon in my blog last week and decided to try not only to see it,  but to reply to my challenge to photograph it.

Do you have any idea how good that makes me feel?

Although I started this blog simply as a way to spread information about honey bees and as a way to share with you my excitement about them, the blog has evolved, through many phases. I learned about bees; I planned for their arrival; I picked them up and installed them on my deck; I worked with them (and THOSE were days of a lot of ups and downs). But, most of all, I enjoyed them. I gloried in their sweet presence in my life.

You also shared my anguish when I developed an allergy to their stings, as I contemplated what I was going to do, how I was going to handle this new development. You saw them leave, and I'm sure you heard my cry, even though it was a written one.

Now I still talk about bees (sometimes), but I've found many other adventures to share with you. And sometimes, you've taken me up on those adventures, even though I've been unable to join in myself. Case in point: the Super Moon Saturday night. Calhoun GA was cloudy. Tempe AZ wasn't. Thank you, Ellen.

Example number 2:

When I wrote about getting over my fear of chickens, it inspired one of my blog-readers, Geri Taran, to install chickens in her back yard.
  •  Esmerelda is an Americauna 
  •  Tootsie is a Whiterock
  •  Roxie is a Barred Rock
  •  Isabella is a New Hampshire Red, and 
  •  Negrita is a Black Copper Marans. 

Now, I occasionally buy eggs from Geri, and I know they came not only from chickens I've met, but from chickens I know by name.

Moon photos and chicken eggs. Those, my friends, are only two of the many wonderful benefits to having kept a blog for all these days.

BEEattitude for Day #573:
       Blessed are those who explore new fields of flowers, for they shall find nectar and pollen they never knew existed.

The teeny details:
my books: Please buy them from an independent bookstore or directly from my website.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day #572 Bare Feet and Wet Slides

Yesterday I spent the day at the Harris Arts Center in Calhoun GA, signing books in the morning and conducting a writer’s workshop in the afternoon. One of the benefits of the workshop was that the attendees would get not only a copy of my writer’s workbook, but also handouts with writing exercises and additional “stuff” to think about--stuff that will hopefully help them to improve their writing.
One of the handouts was a copy of an essay I wrote for publication in July of 2010. It’s kind of fun, and I think you’ll be able to enjoy it even if you’re not a writer. Here it is:
Bare Feet and Wet Slides - Misplaced Modifiers
Last month I saw a lovely example of misplaced modifiers on my way to the AWC annual picnic. I love signs that are placed strategically half-way up a steep hill. They give me the perfect excuse to pause ostensibly to read them while in reality I am merely catching my breath.
I read somewhere or other of studies having been conducted in playgrounds, comparing an empty city lot, strewn with broken glass, rusty metal, and discarded splinter-ridden wood, to a scientifically-designed, primary-colored, splinter-free wonderland. Guess where the most injuries occurred? Uh-huh in the "safe" place. Which may be why rules and warning signs are posted in the so-called safe play areas.
At any rate, the ten or twelve RULES were clearly delineated. I admit I didn’t read them all. I got stuck on number three. Do Not, it said, Use Equipment When Wet. Hmm. When the equipment is wet? Or when I am wet? Regardless of what the intent of the rule was, whyever not? Slides are great fun when they’re wet. And if I’m the one who’s wet, what’s the difference?
In our litigious-minded society, such CYA signs are as ubiquitous as they are silly. It seems to me that I should be responsible for my own safety or for that of my children. Common sense and a few basic precepts of cause and effect truly ought to prevent most mishaps. Rather like judicious editing, which ought to prevent the publication of hogwash.
I made it to rule number five before I gave up. Bare Feet May Cause Injury. Hmm, again. I suppose any sort of foot might conceivably cause injury, whether or not it is bare, but only if that foot is used, inadvertently or intentionally, as a weapon. The fact that I can surmise what the rule-writer intended to say is not the point. The point is that our sloppy rule-writer did not say what he or she intended. First of all, rule number five is not really a rule; it’s a badly-phrased warning. Bare feet may result in injury would make more sense, although trying to keep children from running around barefoot on the off-hand chance that an injury might occur makes about as much sense as keeping wet people off the slides, or keeping people off the wet slides. At a retreat several years ago, I walked through glowing coals, hot enough to melt a car engine, and still have my feet intact. Bare feet may, therefore, not result in injury.
While we’re talking about the effective use of the English language – we are talking about that in one form or another – I should mention that when I was in seventh grade I was the star ghost-story raconteur at every sleep-over my friends and I had. I was, that is, until the fateful night I ruined a perfectly good story by describing a ghost who was inching its way up a staircase, making a clutching sound. Giggles erupted as eight little girls tried to figure out what a clutching sound would sound like. “The ghost was clutching at the banister,” I tried to explain, but it was too late. The mood was destroyed and I never did get to finish the story. Every time I got to the staircase, hilarity ensued.
So, maybe I’m over-sensitive about misplaced modifiers, but I do strongly object to the sloppy use of the English language. Rules that make no sense. Warnings that are just plain silly. Stories that never make it to the ghostly ending.
* * *
Just for the fun of it -- tell somebody a good story today.
BEEattitude for Day #572:
       Blessed are those who walk outside each day, for they shall--perhaps--see us bees and be gladdened by the sight.
The teeny details:
my books: Please buy them from an independent bookstore or directly from my website.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day #571 Miss Polly and Rabindranath Tagore

I’ve been thinking about death lately--not from any sort of morbid ponderings, but simply as a way of dealing with the fact that Miss Polly, my alarm cat, will be 16 in five more days.  When she came to me as a little rescue kitten, I couldn’t believe we’d have this long an association or that she’d become as much of a treasure to me as she is.

I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do when it’s time for her to go.
The first time a cat of mine died, there were ten others to ease my grief. Gradually, over the years, the numbers have dwindled, and now there are only two. It feels a bit like Agatha Christie’s amazing mystery And Then There Were None.

Just when I was beginning to get a bit depressed, though, I came across a quotation from Rabindranath Tagore (the one who wrote, “God respects me when I work, but God loves me when I sing”) that I'd written on a stray piece of paper -- there are a lot of those in my house...:
"Nirvana is not the blowing out of the candle. 
It is the extinguishing of the flame because day is come.”
--Rabindranath Tagore
I’m going to see a candle every time I look at Miss Polly from now on--for as long as I have with her until she passes into her special day.

p.s. Remember to look for the Super Moon tonight!

BEEattitude for Day #571:
       Blessed are those who appreciate the bees around them, for they shall feel a part of something bigger than themselves.
The teeny details:
my books: Please buy them from an independent bookstore or directly from my website.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Day #570 Super Moon

From sunset until 11:53 pm tomorrow, May 5th, you’ll have a chance to see a Super Moon. Put it on your calendar right now so you'll remember.
Here’s a picture of the Super Moon of March 2011 rising over Lincoln Center:
Super Moons occur when the moon is closest to the earth on the night of a full moon. This makes it appear a whole lot bigger and a whole lot brighter than usual. This happens seldom enough to make it a big event when it does.
If you get a good picture of the moon tomorrow night, send me a copy, and I’ll post it here on the blog.
BEEattitude for Day #570:
       Blessed are those who go out at night and look up. We bees don’t do that, but we’ve heard that people see wonders untold.
The teeny details:
my books: Please buy them from an independent bookstore or directly from my website.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day #569 Houses for Other Kinds of Bees

My dear friend Ellen Norton told me she’d installed some houses for native Mason Bees in her Arizona yard,, and even sent me the instructions for how to build one. She got information about the bees from the folks at The Pollen Path LLC (please note the copyright info beneath. If you choose to share it, please give credit where credit is due).
Incidentally, did you know that the Pollen Path is a Navajo term and relates to the life-giving properties of pollen?
I like to encourage any process that will help bees, whether honey bees or the native pollinators that like to live in these little works of art.

Here's Ellen's bee box:

And here's the information from The Pollen Path:
"Pollen Bee Habitat"
For Solitary Native Bees: Mason Bee, Hornface Bee, Leaf Cutter Bee, Green Metallic Bee, and Yellow Faced Bee, 
Delicate, blue, black reddish and golden bees with iridescent and luminous wings can pollinate up to 1,600 blossoms per day in your gardens.
These friendly, solitary non-aggressive creatures will lay 4-8 eggs per hole. They will then line the  hole with bee bread made of pollen and nectar for their young. The hole will then be packed with mud or plant cuttings.  Your bees will emerge in early spring.
Place your house as a nest or as garden ornamentation among your flowers in early spring, 2 to 3 feet off the ground facing the south or east sun.
These little bees will keep you and your gardens happy and tranquil all summer long.
Note: When you notice an opening in the seal of mud or plant cuttings, clean out the hole making way for future occupants.

The Pollen Path, LLC
PO Box 102
Elm Grove, WI 53122
copyright 06/1997
BEEattitude for Day #569:
       Blessed are those who sing as they work, for they shall be endlessly entertained.
The teeny details:
my books: Please buy them from an independent bookstore or directly from my website.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Day #568 Square Foot Gardening

Amazing what you can find on the internet. And amazing what people can find you.
Yesterday I received an email from someone named Christine, who said she’d discovered my blog while doing research on square foot gardening. Remember I told you about the raised garden kit I’d bought at Home Depot?
Well, she thought I might be interested in the FrugalDad site, where there are instructions on how to build a “square-foot” garden (actually four-feet square - the same size as the kit I bought) for under $50.
It sounded like a good idea, so I checked it out, and now I’d like to give you a chance to see it.
If you build one, send me a picture of it, and I’ll post it here on BeesKnees. For that matter, send me a picture of any ole garden you happen to have. Maybe it'll inspire me to finish mine.
BEEattitude for Day #568:
       Blessed are those who raise vegetables for us bees to pollinate, for they shall have good food and our music, too.

Happy Birthday, Veronica!
I’m so glad you were born!

The teeny details:
my books: Please buy them from an independent bookstore or directly from my website.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Day #567 Baby Bluebirds !

About all you can see in this picture is four bulgy dark blue tightly closed eyes. My granddaughter Savannah and I took a peek Monday afternoon while Mama Bluebird perched on the phone line overhead and eyed us suspiciously.

This year, I hope I’ll finally get to see the babies when they fly for the first time. I’ve never yet seen the bluebirds take off, although I did see the Carolina wren babies a couple of years ago, and my heart still feels all warm thinking about that sight.
BEEattitude for Day #567:
       Blessed are those who make nesting places available (for us bees as well as for those birds), for they shall have buzzing and songs to brighten their days.
The teeny details:
my books: Please buy them from an independent bookstore or directly from my website.