The Queen of Honey Grove

Last night, I dreamed I received a red sealed envelope, hand-delivered to me, from The Queen. The envelope contained a letter, written in elegant script and signed by The Queen of Honey Grove Farm. It appeared that she, and her royal entourage were soon to visit us. According to the letter it would be on Tuesday afternoon, around tea-time. We (Mark and I) were to be available for any questions that the queen might have, in our finest clothes of course, having scrubbed the dirt from beneath our fingernails and wearing shoes. The wearing of shoes, seemed to be of the utmost importance.

My first thought upon opening the letter was, “Oh dear, I will never get my fingernails clean,” and my second, was to wonder, what sort of questions she might possibly have? Moments later, as if studying for an entrace exam to Harvard, I found myself rapidly preparing answers for the infinite possibility of questions that The Queen of Honey Grove may or may not ask. I began to sweat. My head was spinning with compost techniques and beekeeping practices and tomato fertilizer recipes. If only she would come on Friday I thought, then at least I would have more time to prepare. Luckily, before the dream turned into a nightmare, I began to realize the hilarity of the task I had set for myself and the sheer impossibility of my undertaking. To have the correct answer to ANY and ALL of the questions that The Queen of Honey Grove might ask…Imagine! Even the chickens had a good-ol-cluck over this one. “You’re kidding they said, are you really trying to find the answers to all things within the farming/beekeeping/horticultural-universe? Good gawd girl, take a dust bath, you’ve lost it.”

Thanking the chickens for their insight, I began to see that it was a rather tall order. And then, just like that I woke up, from my dream yes, but from something else too, something I can only describe as a “self-created-illusion-of-pressure.”  You see, I am beginning to recognize, that I have lived most of my life, as though the Queen of Honey Grove IS coming to tea on Tuesday. There is a strong and over-powering belief system that all things must be perfect for her arrival, all gardens weeded, all chickens laying, all bees thriving, all fruit trees fruiting, all dishes done, and everyone happy, healthy and well (the happines part being essential). Ohmygawd that was fun to write! What is it about writing something down that makes the most serious thing take-your-knees-out-funny? Please bare with me while I laugh my head off for a good-long-while. There. Okay, the hilarity has passed, for the moment at least, but I do hope it will return. Please, (and I say this on my knees now to the greater powers that be) I ask, “let there be many more times in this good life in which I will be able to see the humor in my painstaking addiction to perfection. Let me have the good sense, from time to time at least, to go down to the garden to collect a bowl of salad greens without weeding for another hour, at the end of the day, before dinner.”

And so, if you have been wondering where we have been, then you need not wonder a second longer. We have simply been preparing to be visited by The Queen, this, despite the fact, that she does not actually exist.  Yes, our days are full and long and non-stop, fueled by a combination of inspiration and invisible-time-lines that have something to do with imaginary queens. (oh I do hope you are laughing at the delightful pair of sweet fools we are, such dedication, such heart, such foolishness) eh eh. But, sometimes, at the end of a long day we have the wisdom to take a pint of Mark’s ale down to the orchard with us, and we sit there, in our hammock and watch the bees come home at dusk.

And in the afternoon we have been known to go for a river swim, or to sip a cold drink in our new reclining chairs. Last friday night, we even had a spontaneous campfire sing-along with our dear friends under a starry sky. So all is not lost. And a few nights ago, Mark fired up his oven with the sole purpose of making dinner in it, all this, simply because he could not resist the urge to try it out, even though it is not yet completely finished, because of the myriad of other things that ask for our attention each and every day. And what a delicious dinner it was. The smell of the laburnum tree wafting over us, as we cut into our local free-range chicken and wood-fire baked root vegetables, before tucking into our just-picked-garden-salad (complete with wild-rose petals and baby dill and all the sweetness of Honey Grove).













Two weeks ago, we even paused long enough to offer an apiary tour to a group of young Waldorf school children, and what a time we all had!

There is nothing like sitting and with honeybees, on a sunny day, in good company.

But now, I must be off, back to work. Hopefully though, with a bit more ease, and a lot more humour. And so I bid you farewell.

Blessings and Gratitude Always,

Nao, Mark, Gus and All at Honey Grove.

P.S- Gus would like it to be known that he does not believe in the hierarchical structures of any kind. He has no interest in Kings or Queens or Governments. He still holds true to his one and only secret of the universe, which is “not to worry, all you need is love” (and several ocean swims a week).










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Spring Musings~

I spent this past weekend, sitting in a Yurt, in a circle of skirted women, writing in multicolored pens, about the things found below the surface, about the beautiful and the broken places that make this human experience. For two days, we wrote our stories and the stories of our mothers and grandmothers. For two days, we stood on the edge of our known world and peered into those places that live on the other-side of reason, those places that swell with heart and are fueled by mystery. And as my pen glided across the big white pages of my crisp new sketch-book, the words became the threads, that wove the stories of heart.












Some days later, looking over those words, just after dawn, just after a dream, with a cup of black smoky tea (cardamon and rose petal infused) and a morning sky in the backdrop, I saw from the corner of my eye, what I can only describe as my muse. I saw her there, illumined in the morning light, but not with my seeing eyes. I saw her with another kind of vision. I saw her with the eyes that look in and not out, and I came to realize that my muse has always lived there inside, although she is not always awake. And so, I had to ask myself, “What is it that stirs her to life?” And that is when I heard the answer. I heard it with the ears that listen to the voice that comes from inside. I heard “she awakens with my love, my wild love for a place, or a person, or an experience.” And well, all of this is to tell you, that these days, my muse is very much awake, that together, we are smelling apple-blossoms and eating dandelion leaves and planting beans. For my heart you see, is wildly in love with this place called Honey Grove, and there is just so very much to love.












Like bees who are getting drunk on the nectar of dandelions.












And gardens that have begun to grow…
















Every tender leaf, welcoming the light and water of sky.
























And Mark’s oven roof, oh how it has begun to take shape. And Mark, my love, who is bringing his idea to life with such heart and dedication.












Meanwhile, I am still planting seeds.













And singing to the bees every chance I get. Singing with my muse in the bee-yard.

















And now I leave you with a scrap of writing that came out of last weekend’s workshop.


The journey used to involve airplanes and backpacks and faraway places,

but that has all changed now.

These days the journey is between the house and the chicken coop,

between the garden and the beehives.

These days the journey is in and down.

It is here and now.

It is following the path of heart, following that mysterious beckoning that comes from inside, the one that leads directly to the mystery, past the edge of knowing, over the bank of treacherous expectation, above the field of “me.”

And so I let go.

Let go into the hum of beehives,

into the rhythm of compost turning,

into the lifting of warm eggs into a wire basket.













May this find you in the midst of a beautiful spring day~ Thank you for your company.

Nao and Mark and Gus and all at Honey Grove.













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