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 (babacarter@mac.com). 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!


Sunday was such a success, I'm all sold out!
See you June 24th!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Land Bees

Today I placed the second box on each of the hives up here at The Land. Now they have plenty of room to grow. If I could be here to check on them more often, I probably would have waited a couple of weeks while they filled out the first box. 

I to ably won't be back here to check on them for about a month. This way I won't have to worry about them running out of space and swarming. 

Stay sweet!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Managing 5 Hives

Taking Care of 200,000 Girls!

Did you know I'm managing 5 hives now?  

Two are in The Garden,  

one is in my neighbor's garden,

And two are in my dad and Pat's garden outside North San Juan, CA.

It's pretty exciting taking care of so many bees, but I'm finding it difficult to be separated from them, even by just a block. I see the bees in my garden every day and can see with a glance that everything is OK. I especially find myself worrying about my Gold Country bees.  They are in a very different climate and in a nectar desert when compared to the rich urban variety of gardens.  Instead of every day, I can only check on them about once a month! I leave for Dad and Pat's in a few hours.  It will be my second visit since installing them.

Right now only one hive is giving honey - my first hive that I captured from my neighbors garbage can - "Dave's Bees". When they're all producing I may be swimming in honey! But right now, my honey bucket is running low. Depending on how many people show up this Wednesday to buy honey, I may have to close up early and turn people away.  I have about 8 lbs now.  Last week I sold 20. 

But I'll be extracting more before the weekend so that I have plenty for all of you have asked to be able to come by on a weekend.  June 7 between 10:30 and noon.  Please come on by!

Until then, stay sweet!