August’s Harvest

These days, on Honey Grove, we might just be, as busy as our bees, who spend every day, from sunrise to sundown out, under the clear blue sky, gathering nectar.












And while the bees make honey, we are doing our fair share of gathering too. The Honey Grove Harvest has officially begun.
















We are picking and preserving and pickling. We are making jams and freezing beans and braiding garlic. And, being the food-centric pair that we are, we are also finding delicious ways to enjoy the fruits of our labours in the here and now.












We have not been to the grocery store in some time.  Between the garden’s abundance and the fact that we are simply too busy to get in the car and drive anywhere, most dinners come straight out of the garden.
















Well, perhaps I should say the garden and the sea.  A 27.5 pound Spring Salmon was recently caught by Mark and bless that fish, for he is keeping us with very full bellies.
















Yes, there are tomatoes…












And there are beans…( oh my stars are there beans)












And, while the garden grows, the sounds from the hen house have really amped up. Our chickens Betty, Abigail, Emily, Gerty, Harriet and Matilda have started laying the most beautiful eggs!












As for the ducks, no eggs just yet.  They are spending their days pond-side lounging, in dappled sunlight, while foolish slugs offer themselves unknowingly. They are growing fat and their contentment is palpable.












Yes, ducks are growing, chickens are laying and flowers are blooming. When I am not harvesting vegetables I am mostly harvesting flowers.  Some of the flowers are drying.












Others have been submerged in oil.  Bottles of medicinal buds and petals line the kitchen windows.












The medicinal flowers that are not found in our garden can be found in the fields nearby. I was lucky enough to harvest St. Johnswort a few short weeks ago, before it all went to seed.












I had to work fast, as I also had the help of Ruth, our neighbor’s goat.












These topical salves and oils will be mostly for our own use, but there are also plans to sell a few of these magical potions along with honey and other farm products in the soon-to-be Farm Shop. I say soon, but it may be some months before we see the full manifestation of this idea.












I should also tell you that there have been some trips off the Farm too.  One lovely day was spent at the Farmer’s Market with our Bee Club, talking to folks about honeybee life-cycles and pollination and all things bee related.












The observation hive was perhaps the most exciting part, it drew children from near and far, in the same way that I imagine the Pied Pipers flute once did.












Speaking of bees, some of our hives have had the opportunity to go up into the alpine to gather fireweed nectar.












They will be spending a couple weeks here. Not to shabby.












Their days will be spent flying under blue skies, in fresh alpine air, gathering fireweed nectar.












Yes, these are indeed full days and if I thought we were busy before, I think perhaps all of that was just a warm up.  But despite the doing, we also manage to spend some time not working. Every afternoon there is a river or an ocean swim, and at night  there are always stars to watch, which is perfect since we are too exhausted to do anything but lie down.












Yes, all things on Honey Grove are fruiting and blooming and summer is at it’s marvelous abundant hight.  The tasks are many, the work is constant, but the gratitude might just be infinite. Until now, I didn’t know that joy and exhaustion could be experienced together.
















So there you have it.  August at Honey Grove.  Now I must sign off.  Time to take the honey off the hives.  Here I go.

Summer Blessings to All. May you be in the midst of a beautiful day.

Nao, Mark and Gus ( Gus sends his love from under a shady hedge, where he spends the whole day until he hears the word “River”)

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July’s Bounty

Summer has arrived at Honey Grove in all it’s sweet and “almost” overwhelming abundance. The days are warm and the skies are blue and we are awe struck by the fruits of our labours.












Our days are full and our harvest has already begun.  We live outside almost permanently now.  My feet look like they belong to some kind of tree creature, some forest- dwelling-shoeless-wildling.  The dirt is fixed under our fingernails, but we do our best to scrub them clean before we go to town (which is hardly ever these days, because every hour in the day is asking for our attention here on the land). The days are long and blessed. They are followed by deep restorative sleeps, our eyes close when the sky grows dark and they do not open again until our Rooster Ron welcomes the new day.












The cottage is full of travelling folks with different accents and faraway lives.  They come to Honey Grove and settle into country life for a day or two or three or more.  Many come as strangers and leave as friends.  When we are not weeding and watering and digging and planting, we are hosting, making fresh breads and garden bouquets. We are cleaning towels and airing linens.  As I write I realize that my hands feel awkward on a computer keyboard, they have become more adept to holding onto spades and hoes, to picking up chickens and pinching the stems from peas and cherries.  Speaking of cherries, the bees did a fine job pollinating this spring and our trees are laden with fat juicy fruit.  Lucky for us, some dear friends came from the city this past weekend and helped us pick them.












Our lovely friend Caitlin even made this gorgeous pie.












I must admit that when we are not working, we are eating. Sometimes we are even eating while we are working, because who can honestly put every single cherry straight into the basket? (I have also been known to eat an entire salad whilst weeding in the veg plot, and why not?)












Oh and there is more news… after the tremendous sadness we experienced as a result of the baby ducks we recently lost, the lovely woman we got them from contacted us to say that “she had read our blog and wondered if we would like to try again.”  She offered us 6 more baby ducklings, the siblings of those we lost. We hesitated for a moment, but after much careful consideration and serious coop renovation, we said yes.   And so we have ducks again, swimming and stretching and playing in their pool.  We have them fenced and netted in until they are big enough to venture round their meadow more freely. They are as safe as they can be, save me moving into the coop with them, which I almost considered. eh eh













Mark’s Hops are growing, heading up toward the sky. I swear you can almost see them moving they grow so fast.
















And while they climb, Mark is still brewing.  His latest brew is called: The Sleeping Giant, it is a wonderfully refreshing extra hoppy ESB (Extra Special Bitter).  Sometimes, after a long day, under a straw hat, he enjoys a pint whilst watering the orchard.  And who can blame him?












And the garlic was harvested, on the first morning that rain threatened (at 6:00 am, in my pajamas).












And braided…












with the help of visiting friends.












Oh, and our good neighbors down the road offered us 16 grape vines free of charge so that we can plant our very own vineyard, which will be producing in 5 short years.  We have yet to build their supportive structure.  This weeks project.












As for the bees, well, they are loving all the blooms of summer and so am I!  That Victorian flower garden we planted, it’s up!  And we are all basking in it’s beauty.












And some of our calendula blooms are drying so we can use their petals in our beeswax salves.












As for Gus, he has taken to hammock lounging.  He jumps in on his own accord.












And so, there is not a spare second unaccounted for these days, the fullness of this season fills our days to the brim.












May this find you in the midst of a  beautiful day, doing something you Love.

Nao and Mark, Gus, The Birds, Blooms and  Bees.


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