Thursday, August 27, 2015

Shana Tova, Or Shalom!

The Second Garden will be back at our regular scheduled time and place, this next Wednesday, September 2nd, 4:30 - 6pm for the second of three fundraisers.  This one is for Or Shalom Jewish Community and comes just in time for Rosh Hashanah. Please come to The Garden for your honey (or lotion, got lots!), and support a very special community.  It's where Carter and Lena were called to the Torah! It's a place as sweet as honey!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Back to School Honey Fundraiser a Great Success!

Following up on the fun of The Garden Bazaar, The Second Garden, Sugarplop Jams, and Brodie and Frankie's Love Bites had the first of three fundraisers yesterday.  Over 50 people visited the bees of The Garden and went home with some honey.  In doing so they helped to support 9 different schools! Denman, Miraloma, SF Community, K9 Comrades, SOTA, Sunnyside, Glen Park, Lowell, and Glenridge Coop each got a piece of the $387 raised!

Me and Candace

Ajaccio helps pour honey for his family

Thank you Candace for hanging out in the heat of The Garden with me raising money with your yummy jams and dog treats, Lena for helping make all the wonderful beeswax products with me, Adena for hosting one of my bee hives and giving up half a day to help me extract all the honey for the fundraiser, and Bill for taking these wonderful pictures.

I took this picture 

At the end of the day, all I had left were two packages of honeycomb and a few of the gift sizes of honey. I still have lots of lotion for sale, and the bees are busy making more honey for September 2nd when we raise money for Or Shalom Jewish Community, so I'm looking forward to another successful fundraiser.

Until then, stay sweet! 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

More Honey Fundraising!

Local honey that tastes good - and does good!

Last year I held three fundraisers in The Garden (you can check out my post from last year).  This year I'm doing it again with one small change.

Last summer we raised $333 for 3 different organizations: Denman Middle School PTSA, the National MS Society, and Or Shalom Jewish Community.  This time the school fundraiser will be for whatever school you want to donate to!

If you enjoyed The Garden Bazaar (if you were there, I know you did!), please come out and support The Second Garden in our fundraising efforts:

August 15, Noon - 4 pm, Back to School Fundraiser
When you come on August 15 and purchase honey, just tell me which school you want the donation made to and 50% of that sale will go to your school. Denman and SOTA get favored school status.  100% of the sale will go to these schools if you select one as your school!
The Garden Bazaar was such a hit, there may be just a little of that flavor on this day.

September 2, 4:30 - 6 pm, Or Shalom Jewish Community
Get your honey for the new year and support a wonderful synagogue -

September 13, 11 am - 3 pm, National MS Society
Another Second Sunday Brunch event. Instead of a potluck, guests are asked to bring a donation.  Further support The National MS Society by buying some honey and 100% goes to sponsor our team, people in purple for the National MS Society's Waves to Wine ride.  Waves to Wine is a two day fundraising bike ride. Our whole family will be riding 90 miles to help bring an end to this terrible disease.
My mother struggled with multiple sclerosis for many years.  When she passed, we formed our team in honor of her, the lady in purple, from the play for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf which she produced, directed and starred in when she was forced to retire because of MS.

The Garden is right next to the Sunnyside Conservatory on Monterey Blvd.  Bring a jar for $1 off your honey.  Hope to see you at one or more of these special honey sales.

Until then, stay sweet!  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Join me for a hive inspection!

Get up close and personal with my bee hives!

This Saturday, July 25th, I am inviting 3 lucky people to join me in a routine hive inspection.  We'll check on the health of the hives (one I already know isn't doing well :( - but I've ordered a new queen) and remove one or more frames of honey for later extraction. Afterwards we'll share some mead and honey that we just worked to remove from the hive! This is not a class. Just a chance to hang out with the bees, and see what a typical inspection is like. A donation of $25 will be greatly appreciated! 

I have 3 veils, but no other protective gear.  Inspite of what you may have seen on TV or YouTube, a body suit is really not necessary.  Some bee keepers do their bee keeping in shorts and a t-shirt! I think that's asking for trouble, so I always wear my veil, gloves and long shirt and pants.  When I have gotten stung through my clothes, it's not really a proper sting. Her stinger gets stuck in my clothes and not my skin.  Still hurts, but not as much, doesn't swell nearly as much, or last as long as a sting directly on the skin. 

So if you are one of the lucky few to join me, wear long sleeves and pants, closed toed shoes, and bring gloves (garden gloves would be great).

If you are interested in joining me, leave a comment or email me ( If this is successful I'll do it again sometime soon.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Second Sunday Brunch

Second Sunday Brunch Re-booted

Our first Second Sunday Brunch! 10/19/04


Every second Sunday of the month we used to have an open house pot-luck brunch in The Garden so that we could relax with our friends and family.  Sometimes we'd have just a few guests, and other times our garden was overflowing.  Much of our community were regulars, school friends, work friends, old friends, new friends, and, of course, family.   When people from our different communities intersected, something magical happened. The food was always delicious and plentiful. Smiles and laughter lit up The Garden. For a few hours, once a month, we had no worries, only joy.  Even the weather was touched by the magic; more often than not, the brunch days were sunny and pleasant! 


Our family misses the Second Sunday Brunches we used to have in The Garden.  The amazing food, good conversation and the chance to stay connected with our community was always a bright spot in our month But, alas, as the kids got bigger, it became harder to sustain the once a month commitment.  We’ve revisited it a few times, but nothing has ever gotten off the ground. 

In some ways, my Wednesday Honey Sales remind me of the Second Sunday Brunches. Like the brunches, I'm never sure who will show up, I've reconnected with many friends, and we often share food (besides the honey) and drink. And of course we are out in The Garden, tapping into the magic of this special place. Next Sunday, July 12th, my honey sale will be even more like a Second Sunday Brunch. Instead of just food and drink the "pot-luck" will include jewelry, marinades, art, live music (talented kids), and more.  All of it will be available to buy or trade. But like the Sunday Brunches, the smiles, laughter, good company will be plentiful and free! The Garden Bazaar will take place from noon to 4 in The Garden on July 12th, a second Sunday.  I didn't plan it that way. Is it a coincidence? I think not! The magic will be there, too!

Becca, our good friend and Lena’s kindergarten teacher, shared this with us long ago: 
Becca and Lena 4/14/08

Today we read about MLK and wrote "I have a
dream" wishes.  Lena said, "I have a dream that
everybody in the world would come to our brunch!"  I
thought that was sweet, and metaphoricaly speaking, it
is true to the spirit of the second sunday brunch. 
We're big fans.  Lena walked away mumbling "well, I
guess I'd need a mansion..."

In some ways, Lena's wish came true every second Sunday.  One, or more, of the most important people in our world came to The Garden, and over the course of the years of the Second Sunday Brunch, they all did. Now I'm hoping to revive it and, once again, share the magic with family, friends, and neighbors. I hope you'll be there.

I'm also planning another Second Sunday Honey Sale, but not till September.  It will be a fundraiser for the National MS Society.  I'm sure it will be another day filled with the magic of The Garden!

Until one second Sunday or the other, stay sweet!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Garden Bazaar!

Ladies and Gentlemen! 
Good people, young and old! 

Parents, bring your children. Children, bring your parents! 

Come in and see all that we have to offer! Jams! Honey! Lotions! Crafts! Music! and more! Do you have garden eggs? Bring them and trade for jam and fresh baked bread for your breakfast toast. Bring your garden bounty and trade for lotion to soothe skin, cracked after long hours toiling in the yard.

On July 12th The Garden will be transformed into a neighborhood bazaar. Rub elbows with neighbors while you investigate the "booths". Be entertained by musicians and actors. Maybe more! If there is anything you'd like to share or trade with your neighbors, please leave a comment (and picture if you have one) below and bring it with you on the 12th. The more the merrier!

Here is a little sample of what Lena and I will have out.  She is busy making friendship bracelets (if you want to preorder one, leave a comment below with a name or word, and she'll have it ready for you on the 12th).

I'll also be sharing some recently brewed beer and mead. If I have the time and energy (and I brew the week prior) I'll make spent grain bread. With honey, YUM!

I hope I see you here, in The Garden, on July 12th sometime between noon and 4pm!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Why The Second Garden?

Why the Second Garden? 

A few people have asked me how, or why, I came up with The Second Garden.  I gladly give the long or short version depending on how much time we have, or how busy The Garden is at the time. So here is the full version:

The House
The Library
Growing up, our family, like many families I'm guessing, gave names to the important places in our lives - the centers of family life.  And these names were almost always descriptive. We had Grandpa and Grandma's House, Cousin Geoffrey's House, our San Francisco home was 258. and when our family bought property in the Sierra Foothills of Nevada County it became The Land. And even on The Land, the different buildings we built took on names: we had The Library, The Cabin, The Shed, The House, The Barn.  I suppose the outhouse, was just "the outhouse" not "The Outhouse".  *Wait!* I take that back. Maybe it does merit capitalization.  It was a center of activity.  Ever seen a four seater bathroom? I kid you not!

The Barn

The Cabin

This trend of naming the places in our lives continued into young adulthood. Later we had Fair Oaks (sometimes called The Pink Palace), Shrader St, and - The Garden.

"The Garden" Created by Rachel Gerstein
258 took on this additional name when my cousins moved in. And it's stuck. It feels more inclusive than 258.  The Garden is home to four households and we all care for it and enjoy it.

Nice story. So why not just call it The Garden?

When it came time to name our wireless network, I called it, "The Garden". My first wireless network and it wasn't long before I had some major technical difficulties. I had to rename it. So that it would be easy for the household to recognize the new network, I renamed it, you guessed it, "The Second Garden".  Then when it came time to share my beer (remember, the beer came before the honey). 

I labeled it "Beer From The Second Garden". I felt I couldn't rightly call it "The Garden". How presumptuous would that be! But every time I tell this story, I feel a little bit more like I've got it backward. Out of all the gardens in the world, ours is the one that's second to Eden? Not likely. 

Well, with the birds chirping and the bees buzzing, laying on the grass, eyes closed, listening to the sound of the wind blowing through the palm fronds, it feels like it sometimes. So I'm sticking with it. And now "The Second Garden" begs a story and I like telling it. Besides, Second Garden Honey has a nice ring to it!

Carter put up this tile today.  The Pippenger's gave them to us months ago! Thanks, guys!

Stay Sweet!