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summer slips by

July 8, 2012

turns out that when you’re simultaneously farming from sunup to sundown, planning a conference, preparing and playing music for a wedding and trying to keep up with eating, sleeping and having a life, there’s not much time left over for a blog. i have a handful of half-composed posts in my drafts box and many photos i would have loved to take if only i had my camera at the right moment. not unlike all the seeds we’ve planted in the past couple of months that have failed to germinate, or sprouted and then dried out in this extended drought. thank goodness for irrigation.

we just finished our 6th week of the CSA — 1/3 of the way through the summer season already. we’ve moved through spring spinach and peas to summer kale, chard, zucchini and beans. tomatoes, eggplants and raspberries are coming on, as well as succession after succession of our popular beets. this week i made my first bouquets of the season, and i’m looking forward to doing some wedding flowers later this summer.

in the noontime heat of monday and tuesday i inspected all four of our beehives, which this time of year requires dismantling a skyscraper of up to 7 boxes filled with bees, wax, honey, pollen, and brood. the main objective was to make sure the queens were healthy and laying eggs (which they all were) but in dismantling process, i scraped off several bits of stray honeycomb the bees had built between the boxes. i wanted to pop the honeycomb right in my mouth, but my full bee suit and the danger of stings were in the way, so i left them on a hive roof for the bees to reclaim.

on tuesday i stepped out at dusk to set mouse traps in the greenhouse, just in time to see the full reddish moon rise in the east. fireflies glided between the young orchard trees, and the air had turned from scorching to pleasantly balmy. i walked west across the darkening farm, past the blooming hyssop, ripening garlic, high tunnel and wheat to the beehives.

during the day, the hives hum with activity, inside and out, bees flying away and back in every direction. after dark the bees usually go inside for the night, but with the temperature still high, beards of bees draped from the front entrances. there was a hushed but massive whir of wings, circulating air through the four hives.

only a few bees remained on the comb remnants i’d left, and i gingerly picked a few up with my ungloved fingers, tasting the delicious warm honey. one bee buzzed around my head, warning me not to overstay my welcome, but i basked for a few more minutes in that meditative whir, savoring the heavenly sweetness on my tongue. the days are long this time of year, and it’s their beginnings and ends that are the most magical.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Cynthia Baxter permalink
    July 8, 2012 8:23 pm


  2. Lorna permalink
    July 10, 2012 12:35 am

    What a beautiful July 8 description of the edges of these long, high summer days, the bees, the plants, the fireflies, the light.

  3. amanda permalink
    July 13, 2012 12:42 pm

    you write like ernest hemingway or henry thoreau! sigh, i love these posts. let’s see a picture of you in full bee outfit!

    • thea maria permalink*
      July 13, 2012 1:44 pm

      i don’t know if i deserve that compliment, but thank you. i’ll try to take a picture next time i’m out with the bees.

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