Monday, August 3, 2009

Keeping the Bees Happy

It's really weird, not farming anymore.  Our lives went through a rather abrupt change a little over a month ago, when it became clear to us that the only way we could ever hope to gain long term security in our lives and own a home, especially a home on a bit of acreage, would be to stop farming, get "real" jobs (ones with a regular paycheck), and commit to a whole new path for ourselves. This has not been easy on either of us- no matter how great our new jobs are- and they are both great in so many ways- it is just a tremendous change for all of us, even the cats.

Packy is slowly becoming accustomed to getting to work very early in the morning- 4:00 am on many days- to bake bread at the Blue Scorcher Bakery.  I am learning that doing outreach, education and fundraising to help further the good work of  land conservation by the North Coast Land Conservancy involves spending an awful lot of time indoors in front of a computer. I'm going to have to start intentionally exercising, something I haven't had to do in years. 

Eddie and Squeaky are getting used to being on their own all day long, and alternate between being wildly happy to see us when we get home, presenting us with all the exciting things they killed while we were at work, to ignoring us with that "Oh, were you looking for me?  I didn't notice", completely intentional indifference that only a cat (or a recently spurned lover) can really pull off effectively.

So many edible flowers, no time to take them to Cannon Beach

Farm customers and friends have been so kind and supportive, but understandably cranky and sad that there are no late summer lettuce and leafy green starts, or Ball Jar Bouquets, or lavender wreaths.  

It's all a little weird and somewhat gloomy, especially since we still don't even know yet if all this sacrifice has been worth it- believe it or not, the purchase is still not a done deal.  The Bank People now have all the information they can possibly have about us, and they have to decide if they think we are really committed to this new path that we are on, and if we can really take on the responsibility of  home ownership.  I know, I know.  It's frustrating.  Anyone who actually knows us knows we are up to it.  We know we would live on rice and beans, ride our bikes to work, and forgo any small luxury for years before we would ever miss a mortgage payment, but these people don't know us personally, and so need some convincing.  We should know sometime this week.   Needless to say, all fingers crossed, candles lit, prayers said and offerings made are welcome.  

There is one group that is pretty much ecstatic that we have stopped farming: The Bees. The bees are finally having a fantastic year, after the last couple of scary spring/summers that were far too cold and wet at all the wrong times. This year we are seeing thousands of bees- mostly bumble bees and honey bees from our hive- busily fighting over rights to the best flowers, all of which are blooming their heads off right now.  I just don't have time anymore to keep the flowers properly dead-headed but the bees don't mind.  When you walk past the lavender, the rows hum and vibrate to the sound of happy productivity, and that makes me feel good.

The cutting flower rows have just exploded into bloom in the last few weeks.

So far my favorite new dahlia from Old House Gardens is 'Old Gold'.  
Stunning! But it does have competition.  I'll try to post more photos soon...

If all that comes out of this summer's flower harvest is a lot of happy, healthy bees, then it will still have been a good year.   I sometimes stand there looking out at all the flowers and mentally compose bouquets with them, watching the new dahlias that I got from Old House Gardens this year open and bloom for the first time, and muse about what other flowers I would combine them with. I rejoice seeing old favorites bloom again after a long winter's absence.   I have the thought that I should cut them, do something with them, but I just can't make myself- we have no time for markets anymore, and I would rather see them in the garden making the bees happy than try to make bouquets.  It's just too hard to think about anything right now other than, "Arrgh! Bank People!  Just tell us Yes or No!"  I think we are all- me, Packy, the cats, the plants- somewhat preoccupied with wondering where we will be blooming this time next year.

We'll let you know as soon as we know.

Fingers crossed.

I don't even really like candy pink flowers, or cactus dahlias, for that matter.
But this beauty that my friend Jay gave me (no idea what it's name is)
is so gorgeous, I forget that it's pink and cactus-y and just think "Wow".