Farm Days

Well, where to begin? Such a busy time here on Honey Grove. I have come to the conclusion, whilst weeding at dusk, that long spring days are a cosmic gift for the farmer. Light in the sky until 9:30pm has never been such a blessing as it is now. Yes, the tasks are many, but the days are long and it is a most excellent combination. The chickens think so too. Ron our rooster especially, he is a sun worshiper himself and has nearly figured out crowing, although I might be more inclined to call it “croaking” now.  Nothing like the sound of a teenage rooster.  Bless him.

Everyday the garden grows another inch and each evening after our supper we walk the perimeter of our property noticing the changes. If I am honest, I will tell you, that for me, for us, this evening stroll is nothing short of magical. As I write this, I know that I am not alone here. Anyone that has ever grown anything knows the joy that such simple pleasures brings. It is something more than satisfaction I think. There is sense of awe mixed in and a good dose of gratitude too. We recently had some good friends come to stay with us for 5 days. During those 5 days they helped on the farm and joined us on the “Evening Perimeter Walk” and now ever since their departure, they send e-mails on a regular basis, asking for us to please tell them “what’s new on the perimeter walk.” There is something contagious about it you see, about watching a garden come to life, about watching things grow, about having played a little part in it.

And while the garden grows so does the rest of the farm. Our cottage is seeing guests almost every week. New faces from many places have come to stay. We feel very lucky that so many have made Honey Grove a destination and have left such kind words in our guestbook, thank you. Your words mean more to us than we might be able to properly tell you.

So these last few weeks, we have been mulching like crazy with straw and bark mulch and all matter of things. Wheel barrow load after wheel barrow load, shovel full after shovel full.

And the bees have really started flying. They come back to their hives covered in bright orange pollen, sometimes so laden they seem to have trouble landing. It is a quite funny actually.

And another bear was spotted just down the way.  Oddly it is only Mark who sees them (we are still not sure why this is). Needless to say though, a decision to build an electric fence around the hives in the lower field was officially made.  A great fence was constructed by my brother Cohen who is visiting from Itlay. According to the wise old timers at the beeclub it’s the only way to go to keep the Island bears at bay. Thanks Cohen, I sleep better knowing our bees are safe.

So far the only fuzzy animal that has come near the fence is this one.  And although our signs are in French, hopefully people will get their meaning.  It is Canada after all.

Whatlese…well, a load of cedar shingles was delivered by a dear old friend, which means that work on our home has begun, off with vinyl siding, on with cedar shingles. Lovely friends came to help, thank you Lana Marie , James and Rachel!

And through this process and a myriad of others, I am pleased to say that I have made my peace with power tools and found a place for them in life. A most respectful place I might add. Today it is the compressor and the nail gun that I give my allegiance to.

Otherwise, the weeding and watering continues. The chickens keep clucking and the cottage still requires cleaning. The guests keep arriving and the days are full, full to over flow. Good thing there is a community of folks in this Valley to dance with, and do yoga with, and sing with, because sometimes a little trip off the property is the only thing that makes any sense. eh eh. Over-all though, we are well and grateful and just as keen and inspired as ever.

And if ever we get overwhelemed with tasks and wonder if we will ever get there ( where this there is I hardly know) I just remember that 8 months ago this:


was this:

Blessings to All,

Have an exquisite day~

Nao, Mark and Gus

Day by Day~

The chickens are growing.

So is the garden.

And, Mark’s precious hops are sending out their tender shoots too.

These days are full to the brim, the tasks spill over from one day to the next and despite our best intentions, we do not/cannot get them all done.  Sometimes it’s night fall that comes to tap us on the shoulder and encourage us to put our tools down. Other times it is hunger or thirst that sneaks up on us, suddenly shouting “take a break, eat, drink, refuel, refuel, refuel.” The doings here are many and they are constant. Such a lot happens every day that I am not even sure where to begin, or what to share.  I can tell you this though, the dirt that defines the lines of my hands is permanent and no amount of scrubbing seems to get it out.  My knees and shins are scrapped and cut and showing wear that I have not seen since I was a child, swinging from the branches of a choke cherry tree. Our skin has turned brown and we have new muscles along with some extra aches that were not there before, but mostly we just feel lucky, lucky that this is the life we get to live.

Every morning is a new day and when we wake we seem to have renewed vigor. The night restores us in miraculous ways, sleep is an amazing thing.  By the next evening we are exhausted again and we come back to the house wanting nothing other than a bath and bed. This exhaustion that I speak of, it is different than the one I used to know and I have to tell you, I like it a whole lot better.  This exhaustion invites hearty appetites and deep healing sleeps, everything tastes better after a hard days work and a good bed is such a heavenly luxury, as is warm water and soap.  This tiredness that I speak of now is nothing like that which comes from mental exertion, or from sitting at a computer for too long, or jet plane travel, or final exams.  It is a kind of exhaustion that comes with a deep down satisfaction, it makes putting your feet up and sipping tea at the end of a long day, an almost holy experience.  The light shines more golden on these times, if you know what I mean.

So we work in the garden from dawn until dusk.

While, Gus takes naps.

And so do the garter snakes, who spook us from time to time when they slither past us by the garden’s edge.

On bright sunny days, we check on the bees, who are all doing well.

And each night before we got to bed we turn on a radio in the apiary to keep the local bear family away.  Currently the bees are listening to the weather report (not that they need it, anyone that has bees, knows that bees “are the weather report”).  We are hoping to give them something more inspirational to listen to soon, like Joseph Campbell lectures or stories read by Richard Harris.

Otherwise, Mark still bakes bread 2 days a week at the bakery and in our oven at home for the guests.

As for the guests, well they keep arriving.  Mark’s lovely Mum and Dad just left and more guests arrived the same day.  There are more scheduled for this Thursday, and more for the Sunday after that, and more for the Thursday after that, and then the entire Month of June is almost fully booked….but all of this is a delight when you take it in stride, when you remember to eat and drink water and take breaks.

Sometimes we go the beach too.

We go with Guru Gus, who has taught as that diving into each new day, with everything we’ve got, is the only way to go.

May this find you in the midst of a beautiful day, doing what you love~

Nao, Mark, Gus, The Bees and Chickens.

PS- You may have noted a vast improvement in some of my photography, I am sorry to say that I am not responsible for these masterpieces, they are the work of Mark’s Dad Trevor.  Thanks Trevor!




In Love ~

If you came up the winding path to Honey Grove today, you would meet Spring face to face.

And, if Spring were a woman, she would be so beautiful and so radiant that you would be hard pressed to do anything other than stare in wild wonder.  The quality of green this time of year cannot be re-created (in fact, stop reading this post now and go to look out your window and you will see what I mean). I warn you though, enjoy her now, for in a few weeks time she will be gone and you will have to wait another whole year until she’s back. I can only think that such beauty has something to do with what the May Faeries get up to after we go to bed, well that, and the number of rainy days that April brought to us this year.

Whatever the case, the vivid tapestry of green that surrounds us here is more than visual, somehow it gets right inside you.  It is a color you can breath in and then taste.  It cleanses and soothes and nourishes the life force just by simply gazing upon it. (Don’t tell coca-cola I mentioned this, they will try to bottle my description and sell some cheap substitute in a cunning way). Oh Spring, I think I am in love with you.

And with this love, comes the willingness to give oneself entirely.  There is more energy available and less sleep required and there is infinite inspiration and constant awe. There is the desire to get as close as possible to this season, to write poetry, to dance and sing and be completely raptured.  There is the urge to get up with the dawn because you want nothing more than to join the birds in their morning chorus, because you understand what their song is about, and there is nothing else to do but open your heart and join them.

And so, everything else is abandoned, and you have to beg the rest of the world to please forgive you, but you are in love and simply unavailable for a short while because all of your attention is tied up. The dust in the house parties on and the paperwork on the desk gets higher and the ring around the tub gets blacker, but you can’t help it.  There are phone calls coming in from friends you love with all your heart, but there are not enough hours in the day to get back to them, and you hope they will forgive you for not picking up the phone, for being madly in love with Spring.

Mark and I have fallen head over heels for this season.  We rise early, have our tea and head outside.  We plant and we dig and we plant and we dig and we weed and we plant and we dig.  Somewhere in there we have lunch.  Mark’s Mum and Dad are here at Honey Grove, and lucky for us they too love this season.

And so, all four of us spend our days in the rain and the sun, we are outside planting and pruning, building chicken runs, fertilizing flowers, nurturing our baby orchard, watering….and watering some more.

Oh and more bees arrived!  They came from just up the road, in cardboard nuc boxes a few days ago and they have settled in beautifully in the lower field.

Otherwise, the chickens are getting big and some of the “hens” seem to be “cocka-doodle-dooing” eh eh.  (oh well)

As for Gus, well, he lulls about in the sun watching us, relaxing, stretching out and enjoying the activities around him.  As long as there is a pause in the day for a walk, a game of ball and a hearty meal he’s happy. He does his afternoon sun salutations on the grass followed by a long meditation, or so it appears.  He is open to offering wisdom to passersby pushing wheel barrows full of plants.  We call him Guru Gus or Baba G, for he knows the secrets of the universe, just look in those eyes and you can tell. According to Gus there are only two things you need to know to be happy in life, one is “not to worry”  the other is “to love with every fibre of your being.”

Otherwise, it’s a good thing the British make tea such a priority in their lives, or we might never stop.

So there you have it, we are all under the spell of spring here, blissful and totally taken~

Blessings to All,

Nao, Mark, Gus, The Bees (and, Mark’s Mum and Dad too)

PS- The photo’s are courtesy of Mark’s Father, Trevor Sims. Thanks Trevor!