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Eine Kleine Bee Swarm

Farm Fences Food Goats Honeybees Inspiration Morning Music nature Night time Outdoors Photographs Pies Saturday Travel Turkeys Vacation Vermont weeding

First off, weighing heavily on my mind and heart this weekend is the fact that I haven’t seen my white peacock, “Figaro”, for two days.

Where are you, Figaro?  Please come home soon.

Such a Sunday.  This morning we attended a concert given by youth at a summer music camp in the Carriage Barn of the historic Park McCullough House in North Bennington.  My two daughters are violinists and one was there as a camper, the other as an assistant staff member.  So lovely to see them playing side by side in the sea of young faces.  “Eine Kleine Nacht Music” and “Allegro -from Brandenburg Concerto #3 in G” were featured by their ensembles and I thought they were perfectly performed.  I always say that I have to pull them off the ceiling after orchestra nights, and this week’s practicing and performance yielded no exception.

Dear Julietta, a friend of the family’s, arrived for an afternoon of assistance on the farm.  She is an extremely hard-working young woman and interns in Rupert, Vermont at “Merck Forest” which focuses on sustainable agriculture and living.  She loves to come to our place and visit while weeding, tending the animals, working in the kitchen or just about anything.  She makes amazing biscotti, by the way, and today brought a recipe which featured her own homemade candied orange peel.  I ate almost all of it.

Following a lunch of scrambled eggs with chives and cheddar, we weeded the vegetable garden.  Julietta weeds like a fiend. I’d love to employ her every day and reveal the true Eden that is beneath the jungle-growth around here!  Let us just say that a dent was made.

While I ran a very brief errand, my bees swarmed.  Yes, they up and swarmed.  And flew away.

I arrived home and the fam announced that my bees had just gone. Over. There.  Over.  Those.  Trees.  Over.  Those.  Woods….gone.

Where are you honeybees?  Please come home soon.

It was one particular swarm, not all of my bees, thankfully.  I had just been saying to Julietta before I drove off that we would tend the bees after the garden work because I was afraid they were outgrowing their boxes.  My son had called it the day before, saying “Mom, I think the bees are going to swarm.”

“Swarm in July, let ’em fly” is what the farmers say.

So they flew.

By the way, this implies that if you catch the swarm and are able to rear them, then they’re not likely to develop and put up enough stores before winter to keep them through.  So maybe even if I had caught the swarm, I’d not have any more of a success story.  Just trying to comfort myself.

Julietta and I donned bee suits and dove into the other hives, adding honey supers to the industrious, removing old feeders from some that had drained their stores, and adding brood boxes to others that were growing so well.  We spent over an hour fussing over the honeybees and in our fussing found some honey-rich comb that had been attached to one of the hive tops.

Lastly, we scraped the wax comb and honey onto some platters and picked them over, removing the honey-drunk bees, so that we could harvest a bit for ourselves.  We spent at least an hour painstakingly removing each little gal, trying to spare their lives as we did so.  We collected three quart jars of comb and honey and came inside for the evening to dip salted popcorn into the dregs on the platter for a snack with a cup of tea.

And that, my friends, is the way to top off a full and glorious weekend.  August is around the corner and my youngest turns 17 on Monday.  Good friends from out-of-town are dropping by on Tuesday, 50 pies will have to be made and delivered Thursday through Saturday,  A friend that is hosting a round-table discussion on localvores at a nearby t.v. station has invited me as a guest on Wednesday and another wonderful photo-journalist friend is coming to follow my daughters and I around the farm on Thursday as she works on what is called “Farm Woman.”

I am grateful for my husband and son’s hard work in putting up new fencing (attempt Number 8 this summer) to keep the goats in their new pasture, for fat chicks and turkey poults becoming fatter and for layer hen and peafowl eggs in the incubator developing.  I’m thrilled that the Faverolle chicks were introduced to the 3 week old hatched out hens and they’re fast friends in the little coop.  I’m satisfied that deliveries of pies and zucchini chocolate cakes were made and the last of the eggs was used up in a Gingersnap recipe this afternoon.  And I’m feeling very fortunate for an outing yesterday to the Historical Society to take in a pretty fantastic writer’s workshop, presented by a local friend, inspiring me for SOMEday…when I may write more formally…

So many blessings, so many blessings.

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