Newsletter 23 Fall/Winter 2013
Around the Farm
One word suits the farm this year. Apples! All three orchards were loaded with beautiful, bug free fruit. I sprayed the garden orchard with Neem oil but didn’t spray the others. All trees did equally well. So apple sauce, apple chutney, dried apples and 34 gallons of cider. Our little cider press got a workout this year. I have increased my bee yards to 9 hives. I split strong colonies and doubled my number of hives. This is a passion that will always have new challenges and rewards for me. I love my girls and appreciate 110 pounds of honey they gave us this year. I take every opportunity to share and educate folks about the value of bees and their plight. Between pesticides, decreasing food sources and GMO’s, the bees need our help more than ever. If more folks, rural or urban, would have just 1 – 2 hives they might have a fighting chance. Nick has been Mr. Bee Carpenter, building any equipment I need for the girls. He also keeps busy working in the back 40 maintaining the prairies, wood lots and wetlands. His dedication to balancing the diversity of the land keeps him, the bees and all the other wild creatures very content. I have completed my Master Level Reiki courses and continue to share and treat folks with reiki energy. Heather and family are doing great. Noorah and Zayd both go to preschool half days and love it. They are eagerly awaiting the birth of their new brother December 26, 2014. And if that isn’t enough to keep Heather busy, she is going to nursing school too. Ahmed watches the kids at night while she takes one or two night classes each semester, whittling away the courses. Ahhh, youth. Kelly has moved on from AmeriCorps Montana to AmeriCorps Alaska, Talk about a perfect fit. She calls herself a glorified lunch lady but her job is working with high school students teaching them healthy eating habits and lifestyles. She and five other AmeriCorps workers live in a seven bedroom log cabin in Sitka. She loves the work, the weather and the people. A good fit. We are planning a visit before she leaves. We finally broke down after 32 years and erected a fence around the garden. The rabbits and deer would not leave my transplants alone and I ended up replanting certain plants three times before I said, "enough is enough." We should have done it years ago. The only interloper is Johnny Walker, our new stray orange cat who adopted us last fall. Somehow he finds a way in and lounges around the garden while I work. We had four groups of kids and adults visit the farm for eco-tours and painting. It continues to be a "field trip" that everyone loves. This year everyone got a lesson in beekeeping. Plenty of rain made for a very productive garden this year. The tomato yield was not so hot. However, with next door neighbors, Adam & Dru Montri, and their year round hoop houses and organic produce, we stay well fed. Great neighbors.
Nick met up with Jill Robinson (author of Jasper; Saving the Moon Bears) at an elementary school in Ann Arbor to share with students and staff the plight of the Chinese Moon Bear. Jill flew from China to the United Sates to embark on a nation-wide book tour to educate and raise funds for the sanctuary. A portion of the book sales go back to the sanctuary and we are happy to report the book sales are doing well. And of course our most popular event of the year:
The quiet, relaxed hours of Thursday & Friday have been an ongoing success so we will continue the tradition. But many of you still prefer the food & festivities of the big weekend hoopla. We welcome you whenever you decide to visit the farm and gallery. Originals, prints and books will be available. Remember parking can be a hassle. Since we only have our open house once a year, we rely on the common sense of you responsible drivers. Our parking lot will accommodate quite a few cars but please keep the circle drive open and flowing. There will also be parking just west of the farm, on the side of the road and across the street on our neighbor’s property. Signs will be posted. Some folks like to drop passengers off at the door and then park at the other spaces. Also, for you adventurous hikers, wear outdoor clothing and boots if you would like to hike the back 40 acres. Discover/explore all the areas highlighted in our Hazel Ridge Series books. If conditions (sloppy-muddy-soft trails) are not conducive to hiking, we will post "No hiking, please" on the entrance door of the gallery. Two reminders: 1.We do not take credit cards. 2. You may want to bring along a list of the books you already have so you know which ones you need/want. Feel free to bring along friends and family. All are welcome.
Jasper’s Story; Saving Moon Bears was released this spring and will be available at our open house. Click the link for a video of the sanctuary where Nick spent two weeks sketching and photographing these remarkable bears. http://www.animalsasia.org/index.php?UID=2DJGDM8B994 . T is for Titanic was selected as a finalist for the 2013 US Best Book Award by USA Book News, and D is for Desert: A World Deserts Alphabet is on the nomination list for 2015 The Grand Canyon Reader Award. Nick and I finished our fifth book in the Hazel Ridge series titled, I Love You Just Enough. It is the true story of daughter Heather finding a young baby wood duck and raising it through spring, summer and fall. She learns the lesson of loving just enough and letting go. It will be released Spring 2014. We will have an uncorrected review proof at the open house. Many of you have asked if another Legend is in the works. Yes, but it is a secret for now.
I love to recommend a good read so a couple are: Wild by Cheryl Strayd. It will grab you on the first paragraph and keep you hooked until you finish the last page. A true story of a gal who hiked more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Also, A Spring Without Bees; How Colony Collapse Disorder Has Endangered our Food Supply by Michael Schacker. His investigation is a melding of science and politics examining the many theories behind CCD and missing bees. In the end he offers suggestions of big and small things that we can all do.
Two quotes that I would like to share:
"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
~ Your past is a place of reference
not of residence ~
Ok, that’ll do for now. Have a safe, happy and healthy year. May the bee energy be with you.
Nick and Robbyn