Ever since I was a little girl, barefoot and skirted living in the mountains of interior British Columbia, I have associated each month of the year with a particular flower. Perhaps, I am more like a honeybee than I ever knew.
Snowdrops, for example, belong to February, and violets to March, and buttercups to April, and the wild columbine to May, and roses, well roses have always belonged to June. Both the wild kind that ramble along the hedgerows, and the garden varieties, the ones that the Victorians loved so very much.
I particularly love those big and blousey old-world roses. The ones that spend their days seducing the bees and inviting the passerby to plunge his nose directly into their perfumed faces, and to breath deep, until his heart begins to open in a way that he had quite forgotten that it could (this, hopefully after the bee has gone).
And some might say that my love for roses, or for flowers even, has coloured the very lens through which I experience life. So that my romantic eye settles always upon the beauty first, the poetry, the sweetness. Always turning my heart toward the light, even at the darkest hour.
And I am sure that there are good number of wise-ones who would caution such a romantic way, who would remind me that the shadow too exists alongside the light, and to embrace the wholeness of this human experience. That is, to find a place for all of it and not just the roses, if you see what I mean.
And I must admit, that as the years go by, I do see their point, and I have come to recognize that suffering is without question a great part of being alive on planet earth. That the shadow is a real place to be felt and known, a territory to be experienced and recognized and honoured even, but we need not dwell there forever. This is what I love perhaps most about the passage of time, that as the wheel turns and one cycle moves into the next, we are reminded that June will indeed come again, with it’s hedgerows of wild roses.
You see, I have recently come to recognize that these rose-coloured lenses, these are the lenses I have always worn. It seems I was born wearing them (and some might argue this is because of a privileged existence, for I live in a country where there is more than enough to eat and the water is still clean, and I would agree, this is indeed a privilege at these modern times).
And so, it is fair to say that these rose coloured lenses are not some kind of coping mechanism, developed to deal with some unspeakable or painful trauma, nor are they the result of living such a sheltered life that I know of nothing else to dim them. They are simply the lenses through which I see the world, and I am afraid I do not know why this is. That try as I might, I cannot give you an explanation for this. The truth is, I know no other way. This is the world I have always known, and it is, as far as I can tell, unbearably beautiful, even at it’s darkest hour, for to be alive at all, this is an astonishing thing.
And so, what you must remember, when you find yourself taking in my accounts of Honey Grove life, is that I am seeing the world though my rose-tinted glasses, and what I offer you here is my romantic and rather pastoral perception of country life. The others who live here, well, they might tell you that life here on Honey Grove is not always quite as rosey as my blog posts make it appear, eh eh. And I can hear them all laughing heartily now, for they would tell you of the many aspects of this homesteading experience that are far more challenging than I tend to share with the world. That there is more to it than fresh goats milk and freshly picked strawberries for breakfast.
And let it be said, that this is also true, that living on a farm is a lot of hard work. But this is true in the same way that the rose is undeniably beautiful, and I am starting to believe that these two truths can live quite happily alongside one another, just like the shadow and the light, just like the four us do, on these 5 acres with our bees and chickens and our gardens and our challenges (which you will never hear about here, wink).
Now, enough of my philosophical ponderings, here is what we have been up to (through the lens of this romantic gardener). The bees have found the blackberry flowers and the honey-flow has begun.
And they are tucking that sweetness away, in their snug little hives, behind their bear-proof fence, which has been keeping a family of bears out these past few weeks. Good heavens, we have never seen so many bears on Honey Grove as we have this year. I have taken to wearing a whistle round the property and not going anywhere without my trusty hound.
But changing the subject from bears back to flowers, I am now selling hand-tied bouquets of cut flowers alongside Mark’s bread and Katie’s muffins at the Saturday market.
So if you would like a bouquet of homegrown, Honey Grove harvested cut flowers, do stop by out blue tent next weekend. Every flower is grown here on Honey Grove, with organic methods and in full support of honeybees!
And while I have been busy making flower arrangements, Cohen and Katie have been putting on magnificent dinner parties, to celebrate the Honey Grove gardens.
And Herb Hill has come into it’s full radiant splendour.
Herb Hill was once (and not so long ago) a giant mound of stones in poor soil that we moved out of the space that is currently our vegetable garden. It is now the host of hundreds of flowers for bees, including oregano, thyme, mint and buckwheat.
And just on the other side of herb hill, moving round the orchard daily is Cohen’s chicken tractor, where happy chickens are being fed organic food and enjoying the wild forge of the lower field before they go into our freezer in a month’s time.
And their poop is being composted to make a rich nitrogen food for our blessed gardens~Otherwise, Guru Gus continues to remind us of all the beauty in the world, incase the challenges of daily life cause the rose coloured glasses to momentarily fall off, which believe me, they do!
And now I must leave you, for it is time to get back to work and to pick a giant bowl full of raspberries before the bears do.
Thank you for your company~
Nao, Mark, Cohen, Katie, Gus and all at Honey Grove.