This week at Honey Grove, the sun shone for 7 full days and dandelions appeared over night. One day we woke up to a fuzzy carpet of yellow on the grass beneath our feet. And as all beekeepers know, those fuzzy yellow flowers invite fuzzy buzzing bees, and so, the dandelion honey flow begins. And our poor Gus learned about bees underfoot the hard way. It happened in an instant, one fine afternoon beneath a clear blue sky. First came the unmistakable yelp and then a mad dash across the front garden and into the house, with a whimper caught in his throat and his tail between his legs.
Gus has since recovered and as far as I can tell, he has completely forgotten. I am most certain of this because of the way he continues to run across the grass with the same wild abandon he always has, in complete disregard for bees on flowers. I have decided not to discourage him, as a few stings are hardly worth sacrificing the glee that comes from racing across a meadow in spring (if you don’t believe me, you have clearly never tried this). And when he is not gallivanting around the farm he has another job, one which he has only just recently acquired. I might also tell you, that this job is of significant importance, or at least it will be in a few weeks time, when the baby chicks leave the safety of the spare-room, and head outside to their coop. You see, Gus has been appointed Mother-Hen. He has joined us in caring for the baby chicks. Indeed, it is something that took us by complete surprise, for lots of, shall we say, obvious reasons. The main reason being that he is a canine whose favorite food happens to be free-range chicken (although I don’t think he has made this association yet). But, despite all of this, and on the advice of a wise friend who has plenty of experience in a variety of farming matters, we considered the possibility that this may be a good job for Gus. It was clearly explained to us that dogs can be excellent protectors for chicks and chickens, providing the dog you are working with has a certain demeanor, and is introduced to the chicks while they are still very young. And so, introductions were made. And the chicks seem very nonplussed about the big white Doodle dipping his fluffy white head into their warm nest.
Instead of licking his lips, Gus simply sniffed the chicks and looked down on them with gentleness. Later he lay down on the floor while the chicks walked around him, eager to get closer to his warm white fluffiness. Gus did not appear to mind a bit, he was as relaxed and casual as ever. It was a sight to behold. It is our hope that he will continue to develop a bond with the chicks so that later on when they are free-ranging in the lower field beneath the hungry hawks and eagles flying overhead, they will have a four legged friend looking out for them. I shall keep you posted.
Otherwise, we picked more nettles this week. Some we hung to dry.
And others were made into a batch of beer by Mark, (Chief brewer here at Honey Grove). Mark has decided to call this beer “Heavy Nettle. (Putting the Sting in Spring)” (We laughed long and hard about this label, but nobody we’ve told seems to find it quite as funny as we do, not sure what this says about our humour, but we’re not losing sleep over it). eh eh
Mark followed herbalist Susan Weed’s recipe and according to this wise woman, we shall only be waiting a week or two before it is ready to drink.
Yes, there is beer brewing and there are chicks growing and more seeds being planted. This is not to mention the Yurt Building Workshop that Mark does every weekend, or his part time job at the local brick-oven bakery (a shift he starts at 5 am, 2 days a week, making delicious European breads in a wood-fire oven) or the dance classes I’m teaching, or the lovely guests we have had in the cottage. ha ha. Yes, we are as busy as our bees these days. Forgive us dear friends for not answering our phone, or responding to your beautiful and inquiring e-mails. We love and appreciate each of you and we hold you in our hearts with every seed we plant and water. At this time of year there is just not enough time in the day, and the days are getting longer! We shall be in touch as soon as we can:)
There are also fruit trees on the edge of bloom, their little buds like lipstick tips just waiting for the right moment to burst open and give themselves to the world.
Yes, everyday is beautiful and new, and everyday there are endless things to do, and so we go through each day doing as much as we can, giving ourselves to the tasks at hand with everything we’ve got. By the end of the day we are exhausted and our cups of tea are sipped in silence before baths and early bed. But somehow it’s all worth it, every hour of hard work, every shovel full of dirt, every bucket of water carried to the orchard…every seed put into the earth, because nothing compares to spring’s blooms, to the bird song that wakes us in the morning, to the frog operas that bring down the house every evening, and to the love affairs that dandelions have with bees. If someone asked me the definition of magic, I would say, and without doubt, I would say, “the definition of magic, is Spring.”
Nao, Mark, Gus, The Birds and The Bees, The Flowers and The Trees~