Archive for the ‘Outdoors’ Category

The Buzzzzz

So most of you already know that I recently took up the hobby of apiary this past year.  And with no prior experience and little teaching on the subject it has been quite an adventure with a rather steep learning curve to say the least. My hive swarmed, I was stung several times, and to top it off, I didn’t collect any honey.

This hobby of mine however, has turned into quite the obsession for me, recently perpetuated by the documentary, Vanishing of the Bees (watch it!).  I’m sure most of you have heard of Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD for short, that is, the unexplained vanishing bee populations that have occurred throughout the US for the past several years. But there might be a few things you didn’t know so I’m going to climb on up to my soapbox and preach a little:

– That other countries have experienced a similar phenomenon?

– That the likely culprit stems from systemic pesticides typically used on large-scale commercial moncultures and produced by the company Bayer CropScience?  (Systematic pesticides are contained in the plants tissue and therefore cannot be washed off or removed by peeling the skin off a fruit of vegetable.)

– That little research has been done on the effect systematic pesticides have on multi-generational bee populations and the the EPA accepts research on the subject from the very company that manufactures the chemicals?

– That to begin with pesticides originated from leftover chemicals used in chemical warfare of WWII and re-engineered for use on crops? (The very substances we used to wage war on other humans, was now being ingested through our food. Brilliant. You got to do something with it, right?)

– That one out of every three bites we take is dependent on the pollination of a honeybee. 1 IN 3!!!

I don’t know about you, but this is all very disturbing to me.  The good news is, is that everyone can help in their own way.  Here are some things you can do:

– Watch the movie, Vanishing of the Bees, and educate others by spreading the news.

– Create bee-friendly habitat in your own backyard by planting bee-friendly flowers and providing a source of water for bees.

– Take up apiary

– Minimize the use of pesticides around your home and seek out natural and organic alternatives for dealing with pests.

– Buy local honey. A lot of honey in the US is supplied by China and contains filler ingredients.

– Eat organic fruits and vegetables when possible. People often argue the host cost of organic foods or that they aren’t concerned about the affect of pesticides on their health (ah, a little bit won’t kill me!) but it is important to have a more holistic and global viewpoint. Cheaper, inorganic foods come at a high cost to the overall health of humans and the planet. When you spend your cash, you cast a vote. If you buy at least some organic produce, your purchases, along with those of others, will send a signal to retailers, which will ultimately send a signal to farmers.

– Write to your local representatives and politicians, urging them to help save our bees.

– Sign the PAN (Pesticide Action Network) petition to the EPA.

To help out and do my part, not only will I continue apiary, but I plan on adding some bee-friendly plants to my garden next year and I’ve also decided to donate a portion of the sales from my hand-dyed scarves to various efforts geared at saving the bees. After all, I have them to thank for many of the wonderful plants that I get beautiful colors from!


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Mama Musky

Daffodils (top left), Horsetail (top right), Musk Ox Mamas (bottom)

In celebration of Mother’s Day we headed to the Musk Ox farm for their free day celebrating all the new moms and baby musk ox.  There were 11 this year, all named after state capitols…Tallahassee, Madison, Augustus.  They were all huddled up in the corner so we didn’t get a real close look but could tell they were cute.  Enjoyed live music and yummy bbq too!  (Oh, and take note of the mountain in the foreground, that is Lazy which I mentioned in my previous post.  The picnic table must be the first peak on the right.)

Also pictures of the daffodils in our front yard and some horsetail plants sprouting!  Spring is here!

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WJ & Suki (left), Mel with view to Pioneer Peak overlooking valley
Another winter outing, this time to the top of Lazy Mountain.  I still can’t for the life of me figure out why it is called that because it definitely isn’t a lazy climb!  This is to the first point, which everyone knows as the “picnic table”.  You can quite the view from up here.  This quickly became our favorite winter spot- close to town, a good work out  and do able within a decent amount of time.  I’ve never measured but I think it probably takes 1.5 hours to ascend and 5 minutes (yes, FIVE) to get back down.  I throw on my snowpants and slide down the whole way.  Incredibly terrifying and thrilling!  Even more so on a sled  and in the dark with headlamps! We had one run in with a moose up there this winter which was a little scary.   

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Bayli & Mel with doggies (left), Yugo napping (right)

Pictures from one of our outing this past winter at the Crevasse Moraine trailhead.  We met up with our niece Bayli and her husky Yugo for a nice walk through the woods. It was a beautiful and sunny day out and the dogs had a fun time running!  Yugo passed put on the way home….rear in the rear and head on the armrest in front!

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Birch Tree Tapping and Sap Extraction

It isn’t really the beginning of April but how time sure has flown by!  We’ve had rain, sun, snow, wind, sun and more sun this month and it is beginning to feel and look like spring, oh glorious spring!  You can feel an incredible energy in the air, a vibration of activity and growth as people, animals and plants awaken.  I guess this is why we have winter, it makes us really appreciate the spring.

April 1st, while indeed Fool’s Day, also marked a few anniversaries for Wayne and I.  It marked our sixth year of dating and also the day in which we set off from Boston in 2010 amid a torrential downpour headed South to Philly.  In fact, at this time last year we would have been visiting Wayne’s mom in Cloquet, Minnesota with nearly five weeks to go on the road trip.  I was hoping to get some more road trip blogs done but can’t seem to find memory card; Wayne must have packed it with him.  It is hard to believe it has been a year since we left our old life, our friends, our sunny second-storey flat.  How time does fly!

I think it has been going extra fast because I have been extra busy!  Work has been crazy but good.  (I’ll post more on that later.)  And, quite frankly, I have been a workshop junkie lately.  In the past month I’ve learned about goats, bees, and net zero energy buildings, I’ve tapped birch trees for sap (above photos), and embarked on an 8-week meditation class.  I have also planted two flats of seedlings (with 2+ to go), submitted a project to a design competition, felt firsthand the amazing healing powers of acupuncture, and am just wrapping up a four-week soul-searching session via an amazing book titled “Soul Coaching: 28 days to Discover you Authentic Self“.  What a whirlwind of activity.

There is plenty more on the horizon too!  I’ll keep you posted.

Wayne is off in Venezuela until the 28th having an amazing backpacking adventure in celebration of 30 years on earth and I’m sure he’ll have lots to share upon his return.  I, in the meantime am enjoying some alone time, doing some spring cleaning (inside and out), and feeling alive!

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Mel and Tauna amidst a near white-out.

(F.L. Wright’s) Taliesin Architect’s Estes Park Visitors’ Center (both at left). Wayne enjoying the spring weather in CO.

Jeez, it is so hard to remember where I left off with this roadtrip business!  I am determined to get all the pictures from our trip posted before a year has passed- that is only another three months until we have been here a year.  Wow.  I can’t believe how fast time goes by.

I last left off with a photo of the rock shop we wondered upon in Estes Park, CO.  Here are a few more pictures from the Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park area.  We stayed with my childhood best friend Tauna and her fiance Bryan in Denver and ventured out one day for some hiking (above picture).  It was quite snowy and even white-out conditions for a bit on our April excursion!  Very pretty though.
Also a few shots of the Visitor Center which was designed by students of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin school, hence the similarities to some of his previous architecture.

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Pink Morning

I captured a beautiful sunrise from our backyard the other week coming up over the mountains.  Sometimes it is nice to stop and pause, taking a moment to reflect on the beauty of winter, the varied colors making a presence…..dusty lilac skies, peach glowing mountains, icy blue snowbanks, fiery pink sunrises and blazing orange sunsets.

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