All The Newest Buzz

We interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you this very important announcement.

…Drum roll please…

WE HAVE BEES!!

Yup, that’s right. We just picked up our new hive from the bee supply place. (If you’re interested in where we get our bees and supplies, you can follow this link here.) They usually have 2 deliveries in the spring and we signed up for the first possible delivery!

When we arrived to pick up the bees, it was like “Move-In Day” at college. There was a line of cars to pull into the small parking lot and no open spaces, two lines to check out and people getting irritated with the wait.

Bees all packed and ready for transport!

But, as with all things in life, everything that’s worth having is worth waiting for. And bees are always worth the wait!

We plopped the bee carrier in the back with a few other supplies we purchased. Once we got in and shut the doors, I realized that we were in the car with a few hundred bees.

A FEW HUNDRED BEES!! Buzzing away right behind us!! Ahhhh!!

I had to take a few deep breaths and remember that they’re locked into the bee carrier. But still, it was a few seconds of panic. I’m usually in a hood with the ability to run away (if necessary). There’s no running away in the car!

We all made it home safe and sound. And while we were opening the container, OF COURSE it began to sleet/snow.

So we tried to hustle the ladies into the hive before they got wet. Unfortunately, we lost a fair number that either hit the wet deck or couldn’t find the hive before it got cold that night. I hate to see all the dead girls on the deck – I feel responsible for the ones who didn’t make it.

But I know that nature has to take its course. And the hive will bounce back (much) bigger and better than ever. We just have to give it time and the best fighting chance to survive.

Zee Bear Zapper fence!! And yes, we unfortunately still have some of the white stuff 🙁

And to help give them a leg up against the bears this year, we put up an electric fence. The fence is literally called the “Quick Bear Fence” from Premier 1 Supplies. We also purchased the solar energizer so no crazy car batteries that may run our of juice at the worst time.

We had a wooden fence up last year, and I walked out of the house to see a bear chowing down on the pushed-over hive in November. I scared the bear away using the car (which is a story unto itself), but the damage was done and the hive flew the coop. Fingers crossed that the electric fence keeps those bears’ sticky paws out of the honey this year!

Mindfulness in the Garden

When I moved back to New Hampshire after being diagnosed, I really wanted to change my lifestyle. I knew I needed to decrease my stress level (a proven primary cause of inflammation) and boost my immune system. Before the move to New England, I was living in Florida, with organic fruits and vegetables everywhere you looked.

But in New Hampshire? Not so much!

Growing up, we always had a garden and I used to LOVE LOVE LOVE eating tomatoes and beans and strawberries right off the vine. There is something so delicious and satisfying about growing your own food. Taking a seed, seeing it sprout, and nurturing it to flourish gives you a new perspective on life and what living really means.

I don’t always wear gloves. But when I do, I’m in my happy place.

So a greenhouse and three raised beds later, we have a garden! It has been such an awesome learning experience. My garden is my happy place and a great place for me to practice mindfulness meditation. Every moment I get a chance to play in the dirt is a moment well spent.

What the heck does gardening have to do with mindfulness? Everything! I’m a tactile/kinesthetic person, so getting my hands in the dirt is incredibly relaxing for me. Getting my hands in the ground is like becoming one with the earth. I don’t need to think about anything…I can just be.

I never see the garden as work. I see it as a place to relax. A place I can absorb the beauty around me from every angle. A place I can breathe.

My happy place
My happy place. And yes, those are tomatoes growing out the vents of the greenhouse!

My tomatoes don’t care that I’m not wearing makeup. My beets don’t judge me or cause any drama. It’s a place I can put my hair up and let it all go. I can be myself, flaws and all, and create a beautiful world to surround me.

My garden, just like life, is what I make it. The more effort I put in, the more it grows. And the more it grows, the more I grow…emotionally AND spiritually.

Plus I get to reward myself with strawberries 🙂

How do you practice mindfulness meditation? Let me know in the comments below!

The Homestead’s been Ransacked!

By CRITTERS!!

Living in New Hampshire, we get a LOT of interesting animal situations. Bears, moose, deer, crazy birds, raccoons…you name it, we got it. Sharing the neighborhood with such wild animals helps remind us that we humans are in THEIR backyard, not visa versa. Mother Nature is an amazing thing to be respected. And boy, she sure demands respect!

A teenage bear strolling through our driveway last fall
A teenage bear strolling through our driveway last fall

Two years ago, we had a mama bear (with her 3 cubs) destroy our grill. We’ve also had a family of broad-winged hawks nesting in our back yard for the past few years, and they help keep the chipmunks and squirrels in check. The chipmunks are awfully cute, but they still get feisty. And they just ransacked my greenhouse!

I had LITERALLY just started my pumpkin and spaghetti squash seeds yesterday. I like to start things from seed for a few reasons…I can be as organic as possible, using heirloom and non-GMO seeds. I can also control the amount and types of pesticides (none) and fertilizer (all organic). It’s also very therapeutic to get your hands in the dirt and watch something grow and flourish. Gardening is a huge mental and physical release for me, and starting from scratch is the best way to get the most out of the hobby.

So I planted these seeds in my small compostable peat pods in the greenhouse. Yesterday. JUST yesterday. And this morning, I come out to a disaster!

The chipmunks dug out the seeds and had a midnight snack! They also dug holes in the strawberry containers, making me believe they tried to find a good spot to bury the seeds they didn’t eat. Are they already getting prepared for fall?!? I mean, seriously! These are MY seeds, you darn buggers!

WTF!?!? CHIPMUNKS!!!
WTF!?!? CHIPMUNKS!!!

Just last week, we had an invader at the honey bee hive, too! The bee feeder (a sugar water liquid feeder) was tossed down the hill one morning, broken into pieces and the top was punctured. A new large scratch at the front of the hive shows that they tried (and failed) to get in – thank goodness!

The bees were safe, but shaken up. They were a little more reactive than normal to our presence at the hive the next day. Based on the holes, the critter was bigger than a squirrel, but smaller than a bear. Our best guess is that it was a raccoon. Stealing our bee’s sugar water!

Raccoon scratches?
Raccoon scratches?

Message: received. So now, we have a nightly routine to share our homestead outdoor space. Every day at dusk, we close up the greenhouse completely, checking for any stowaway critters, and bring in the sugar water from the hive. The living, breathing homestead has nightly needs…a nightly “get ready for bed” routine. Who would have thought?

Mother Nature. Coming to get ‘cha.