Saturday, July 30, 2011

Who Knew? We All Feel The Connection!

Something unexpected happened this week … something amazing.

I was in the front yard, wanting to be outside and carve a spoon, perhaps even boil a possum skull that I’ve had laying around for over a year now. I asked Little Fire Faery if she would like to start a fire, which she did. It was just the two of us … Wendy was working, Precious was watching a movie, and Big Little Sister had a friend over and they were contentedly emailing each other across the 1 foot span.

Just as the flames sprung to life from the fire pit, Big Little Sister and friend came outside quickly. They put the computers down and voluntarily walked outside to play be near the fire. Then, a short time later, Precious came out to be with us. Little Fire Faery sat, in half lotus position, near the fire to meditate. Unfortunately, Wendy had work that needed to get done although I am sure she would have preferred to join us.

What called these girls out into Nature? Was it the primal urge to gather near the fire? Did the spirit of the fire beckon them to come and embrace its comfort and warmth?

Regardless of the cause, I felt a stab of disappointment with myself. If I had been more actively working on my storytelling, I would have been able to tell a story near the fire. I could have extended the fleeting joy that we shared. We could have entertained, and educated, ourselves, and each other, the way it has been done for time immemorial. Perhaps, it was an opportunity lost. Or, perhaps it was simply a gentle reminder of the importance of pursuing personal growth. I say, it was a nice way to end another day on this MooseBoots path.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Life Bee Good

If you've been following my MooseBoots journey, you know that I have bees.  This is the second year.  Last year, I am guessing, that I inadvertantly let the queen go when I installed them.  It was sad to watch the hive start to build and then slowly die.  This year, as I said before, I was better prepared.

Unfortunately, I have not been keep good records here on my blog.  Today, I rectify this.   I have been watching them over the last three months.  The difference between this year and last is striking!  Let me begin by telling you that "busy as a bee" is not just an idiom.  Those guys and gals are constantly working.  I love to stand by the entrance and watch them leave and return, pollen sacs swollen to the point that it seems impossible they can still fly.

Of course, then I get curious.  What are they eating?  Where are they foraging?  Once or twice I was completely dumbfounded.  Nothing was blooming ... but, wait ... there is pine pollen everywhere!  I never seem to find them where I expect.  Of course, to see them one must be very patient and still.  I am still not very good at that.  Bee Balm is apparently a misnomer, or not applicable to honey bees.  Milkweed, the staple of the Monarch butterfly (which, incidentally, were not so prolific last year) seems to satisfy their cravings.  I'll admit that the flowers are sweet.  I hear that they can be rendered into sugar, but have not tried it ... they go right into my mouth, one at a time.

Tonight, I went to get some picture of them to share here.  I found lots of others as well.  The Japanese Beetles have established something of a spa on the grape leaves.  The Bumble Bees are content to share the Milkweed.

And so, life is good here.  All creatures seem to exist in harmony here.  I am blessed to be a part of it and extraordinarily grateful to be allowed to observe and learn from all Nature offers. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

It's a Berry Good Time Of Year

OK, so the title is a bit cheesy.  But, I am in awe of the abundance Nature provides, and for the lessons she is willing to share with me.  When I really start lamenting the lack of progress, I get a new teaching right between the eyes.  That's the way my MooseBoots path works ... I am given what I need when it is appropriate!

This past weekend, I was out mowing the lawn.  Not so interesting?  Perhaps.  While wandering around the yard ... er, mowing ... I saw that we had some ripe strawberries.  I have been paying closer attention because I found ripe blue berries a few days before.  Anyway, I picked them and brought them in for Wendy and the girls.  Then, a short time later, I noticed that the serviceberry bushes had some ripe for the picking.  These ended up as a handful of sweet bliss for Wendy and the girls ... after I sampled one.  Continuing on, I spied red raspberries.  You guessed it, Wendy and the girls got a few more berries.  I also took note that the Black Raspberries are not yet ready.

It occurred to me at some point between all of the whine of the electric blade and the shouts of "Girls!" that I may have identified another tree in the blueberry patch in the woods behind the house.  By this time, I was grinning maniacally and itching to get into the woods to confirm my suspicion - this as opposed to itching because I had been in the woods, which is a completely different situation.

I asked if anyone wanted to come with me, but was eager to go and could not wait while everyone got ready.  We did decide that we needed to go strawberry picking at the local PYO place anyway.  So, I snuck off down the road, stopping to check on the hazel nut bushes.  I also wandered around the neighbor's yard and found a few more hazelnuts.  According to the other neighbor, hazelnut grew with abandon right here not so many years ago.

As I neared the field, I checked on the bunchberries, which are not even close to ready.  I entered the field carefully checking the blueberry bushes for ripening.  Those plants in the full sun have a few berries ready, but most do not.  It will be another week I guess.  I approached the tree with anxious hope and I was rewarded for my efforts ... a 12' (4 m) tall serviceberry with ripening berries.  It has been growing here for years and I had never been aware enough to see it.  The difference is that this year I saw the flowers and remember not knowing what the tree was.  It is growing in a small clump with some aspen and so I had never really seen the tree itself.

I must have returned home with a grin to rival the Cheshire Cat, because Wendy just stopped and smiled, saying, "I love your face."  I can only guess she was seeing the glee and exuberance and not necessarily the pleasing physical features.  Of course, we then packed up the girls and went to the strawberry fields to pick.

One of the lessons that I take from all of this is a re-enforcement of something our Nature Teacher has mentioned - we pattern on what we know.  These simple words ring so true in so many more ways than just nature.   I have noticed that I tend to find the same plants everywhere after I have "met" them - hazelnut, mugwort, serviceberry, sarsasparilla.

So, in honor of this abundance, and of my continued growth and learning, I declare this to be the Berry Moon.  Enjoy all the sweetness the month has to give.  Oh, don't forget to spread the sweetness, and share some berries, too.

NOTE:  All of the photos, except the last, were taken in our little 1/4 acre farm.