Alvise Came to Town!

Dang!  I wanted to document each and every monthly angel, with its creator, Alvise Doglioni Majer.  This time I forgot.

We had lots of creativity to talk about, though, and the minute I saw her, I was smitten by July!  Thank you, Alvise.  She has now officially joined the other ladies in the Journey Around the Sun series.  The summer critter to be represented is the honey bee.  Alvise has two hives on his property now and will expand to four next year.  I particularly enjoy the face, halo and wings on this angel.  She has a bit of a summer tan.

I’m enjoying a bowl of beef barley soup on this rainy chill of an afternoon.  I’m glad I got out to the pond this morning…so sad, however, to find that pesticides were being sprayed in an area where young geese were feeding and the other birds were still busily harvesting worms surfaced after yesterday’s rain.  I just don’t understand why we are not more invested in caring for delicate ecosystems.  Why would the pristine turf of a sports field take priority?  The city of Calgary website explains that the presence of broadleaf weeds is a tripping and safely hazard.  But…I digress.  I’m praying for the conversion of the human heart, in so many ways.


Former archives.

Alvise Doglioni Majer’s Studio

Sunday Driving on Friday

April’s Angel

Road Trip and Angels



Picnics and Bees

A group of my dearest friends and I drove out to Chinook Honey Co. yesterday and shared in a picnic, an educational tour about the life of bees in a colony and a tour of Chinook Arch Meadery.

P1170423The weather was blustery, after four days of challenging weather, but the sun peeked out and our lively conversation and good food made a great start to the day.  I haven’t grabbed permission for any public photographs, but will give some highlights of the day.


2014 retirement picnic. I’m missing an archive of Pat’s to-die-for chocolate cake and fresh berries.

The educational tour was enlightening.  I have become really interested in the life of bees since viewing the film, The Vanishing Bees at the Marda Loop Social Justice film days.  You can access the entire documentary on YouTube.  I learned more specific information about honey bees, their specific hierarchy and the roles of each type of bee in the hive.

Sharing the details that I learned may show my ignorance…but, I’m also pretty excited to be continuing to learn.

I didn’t know that the worker bees are all female.

I didn’t know that the queen bee that emerges first, kills all other prospective royals and even the existing queen (if weak, old and unproductive).

I didn’t know that the life span of any given bee is only six weeks and that the constant production of new bees is paramount to the life of the colony.

I didn’t know that bees prefer to forage canola more than alfalfa.  Alfalfa is structured in such a way that when gathering from the plant, the bee is bopped in the noggin over and over again.  So, if in close proximity (within five kms. of the hive), the bee will prefer to forage canola.  The unfortunate thing, however, is that canola is being genetically modified while the alfalfa farmers seem to have made a commitment to sustain a natural crop.  Once the bees engage in genetically modified plants, there seems to be an issue with pollination success rates.

I was amazed by the size of colonies and the activities within the colonies, in the production of wax and honey.  I am awed by the specifics of the various processes and the overall industry of the hive.

P1170381 P1170383 P1170384 P1170385 P1170386 P1170387 P1170388 P1170391Beekeeping is an art and it was interesting looking at and seeing the specialized purpose for each part of a hive.

From this session, we went on to the meadery and learned about the process of making mead, an art that has been perfected for centuries.  We had opportunity to test from a generous list of mead produced on site.  This was a fun event!

P1170394P1170400 P1170401 P1170402 P1170405 P1170407 P1170408 P1170409 P1170411 P1170412 P1170413 P1170414 P1170415 P1170416 P1170419 P1170420 P1170421 P1170422I’ve posted an archive of the equipment here, just because I think it would be of interest to our family friend, Dave, of Cold Creek Winery’s in Frankford.  A good explanation was given about the process of making mead and the delicate balance that is required, given the ever-changing variables of honey.  It was a yummy treat to then sample the existing list of meads, my favourites being Melissa’s Gold and Bodacious Black Current.

Top the entire day off with a bit of gift shopping and yummy honey and Saskatoon berry icec ream scooped into the cone and it was an excellent day.  I cherish my friends and wish them good health and many adventures on their retirement.

P1170426Here’s a little clip from a British Columbia, Tugwell Creek Farm and Meadery, (very well done) just so that my readers can take a look at the equipment, rather than having me write about it.




June 20, 2014 In the Back Yard Garden

The first peony has bloomed. Blooming flowers in the gardens make me so happy, but as one thing stops blooming and another starts, one is reminded again of the passage of time and also the seasons. Anticipating summer, with such enthusiasm this year, causes a sort of hesitation in the gardens.  Beginnings lead to endings…and then new beginnings.  It all moves so fast.

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Oriental Poppies soon to bloom.


Asparagus progressing through a number of years…first harvest, likely next year.


What asparagus looks like as it sprouts from seed…years to establish a strong root system.


Second batch of rhubarb harvested this morning and stewing with strawberries on the stove top right now.


Mary’s strawberry plants blooming…dug four plants up when I attended her funeral in Lethbridge…now have a beautiful patch of plants.


Fresh basil.


The sunshine brought bees to pollinate this morning…a beautiful sight.

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Busy Bees!

I showed the grade four students a couple of Youtube videos about the essential nature of bees to our agriculture.

We talked about the differences between the physical traits of wasps and bees.  We talked about the differences between caricature and realism, along with some examples.

bee KathbeeThe students were dealing with lines of symmetry in math, so I decided to have them choose an imaginary line of symmetry and to create two different compositions, without crossing that line.  I also thought that by creating a sort of frame, we would avoid desk clean-up at the end of day.  I think that the students produced some amazing pieces.  After that, they wrote a poetic/informational or descriptive piece containing things they had learned about bees, honey production or collapse of hives.  Once they peer edited with a friend, they recreated their writings on bright yellow paper.

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Sidebar: Bees


Ok…so, it’s one in the morning and I know that I’ve been reading/writing/thinking too much.  I tried to sit in front of a dark and disturbing episode of Criminal Minds, as a distraction from my own MIND, but no such luck!  I came upon a blog and was totally charmed by the adventure of it all and the challenges that Catherine Jaffe takes on with her quick wit, amazing desire to learn and her love for all things BEES!

It brought to mind a friend of mine, Verna Reid, and her book, Construction of Self in the Work of Sharon Butala, Aganetha Dyck, Mary Meigs and Mary Pratt.  One of the women who assisted her in the exploration of women’s identity was Aganetha Dyck.  I was wondering if perhaps Catherine had explored the amazing art works of this inspirational and strong woman.  I DO find Aganetha’s work inspiring!  In a few short minutes, I found another blogger who has featured some images of her work and also, a short biography.  BEE inspired!

While on the subject, I’ve got to recommend Sue Monk Kidd’s, The Secret Life of Bees and Gail Anderson-Dargatz’ A Recipe For Bees, both excellent books!