on various things
We checked the bees this weekend. We sold a lot of our hives this season in preparation for moving to land we don’t own - yet. Building up hive numbers is easy to do, properly too easy. We hope that come the next spring we are setting up our hives somewhere new. Fingers crossed. Sunday saw us check the home hive in the garden and what we found is the hive is a little on the weak side. The reason for this is that we have had a very warm late summer early autumn which has meant the hive is still productive and busy. This also means that because the bees are productive they have been eating the stores they have built up recently. Factor in the dry summer where the flowers in the garden have had a short flowering season and this has meant the bees have been unable to replace what they have eaten. To get them through the winter we will need to feed them a sugar syrup mix. We would prefer them to have enough honey and normally they would if our summer had not been so warm and the flowering season so short. Given that the we are in autumn it is unlikely they will be able to build them up their stores by foraging to a point that it will get them through the winter so we need to help them along. Each season as beekeepers we learn something new and this year has been no different.
If you wish you can upgrade to a paid subscription you can check out a video I made about what we do when we check our bees.
“When you look at the clouds they are not symmetrical. They do not form fours and they do not come along in cubes, but you know at once that they are not a mess…. They are wiggly but, in a way, orderly, although it is difficult for us to describe that kind of order. Now, take a look at yourselves. You are all wiggly…. We are just like clouds, rocks and starts. Look at the way the stars are arranged. Do you criticize the way the stars are arranged?”
Alan W Watts, “The Tao of Philosophy” via “Phosphorescence” Julia Baird
It’s Tuesday and I am writing under a blanket on the couch snuggled inside with a cup of tea. The dogs are snoozing in various parts of the house. I opened the door to let them out earlier and Atlas got down the steps to the path before turning around and heading back inside. Eos didn’t even make it that far. It is bitterly cold. It hailed earlier. I chat to a friend on insta and she has too early snow. We had this happen last week. A brief but chilling cold snap which seem to send ice into my bones. I realise that I need a proper autumn, a means to slowly ease myself into the notion of winter, at least a month or two to adjust to the idea of cold. I need time to seek out the comfort of slippers and woolly jumpers. I need to prepare for my hibernation. In the book “Wintering” Katherine May explores the idea of preparing for winter hibernation. She talks of checking and locating suitable clothing. Of stock piling projects for the winter months and so forth. Me, well, the winter jumpers are never truly put away they are always lurking in a draw even in summer and my project preparation involves setting up seedlings on the windowsill. I realise that the magic of autumn sowing is the promise you make to yourself that spring is on the horizon. As the little seeds start to sprout I know that as I watch them grow over winter it will be the best kind of company as I hibernate away.
I’ve been asked how I established my reading habits. Questions like - how do I make time to read? What are you reading? So here are some thoughts:
I do what I call nibble reading. I read multiple books at once, nibbling on a little each day, usual a chapter or a section within a chapter. It does mean it is a slow burn and I often find it can take me a year to read a book.
I try and not use my socials or watch anything after 9pm and this is my solid reading time until bed time. Weekends I am a bit more flexible. I am not sleeping well at the moment so I try and keep a routine before bed which includes reading.
I have week day reads and weekend reads. Week day books tend to be things I am reading to learn from while weekend reads tend to be a bit more for pleasure.
Embrace the bath book. I have one book (usually a garden writer) which is small and light and it is my bath reading book - again another one that can take ages to read but worth it.
If I am at a loose end or doom scrolling too much I am trying to develop the habit of checking in with myself and ask if it is the best use of my time (sounds very parental). Some times you just need to blob but other times I know I will feel better if I read a page or two rather than stare at a screen. I do enough of that at work.
Current week day reads include the following:
"How to grow the flowers” by Marianne Mogendorff and Camila Romain - I usually always have some kind of gardening book on the go.
“Thunder and Lighting - cracking open the writer’s craft” by Natalie Goldberg - I like having something related to writing on the reading pile. I linked to Amazon but you should be able to pick up a second hand copy if you are interested.
“Plan and Play, Play and Plan - defining your Art practice” by Janwillem Schrofer - reading this one to work out ways to develop my artist practice - listen to me artist practice….
“Impressionist Gardens” by Judith Bumpus - Really enjoyed visiting an impressionist art exhibitions recently and look at this book as inspiration to find new ways to capture the garden. I just look at a pic or two a night. Again you should be able to pick this one up second hand.
“Phosphorescence” Julia Baird - I usually have what I call a pleasure read which is the last book I read before sleep time. This one has been a delight to read.
“The secret lives of Colour” Kassia St Clair - I’m reading this as part of my art book creation research. It is gorgeous.
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