Sunday, March 27

Introducing Beeswax Modeling

Here is a story I created for Toucie when we were ready to begin beeswax modeling this spring.

We spread a blanket under the lilacs where the bees were working, had a pretty tray of apple slices and crackers and a tiny bowl of fragrant honey to dip them in, and a brand new package of golden Stockmar beeswax at hand. Toucie began dipping into the honey and apples as I began the story.

Nestled deep in the woods there is a tiny city. The folks that live there love their city very much (after all they built it their very own selves!) and take very good care of each other there. There is always plenty of delicious food, the babies there are always well cared for, and the rooms (each one exactly like the other) are all snug and well crafted. It is a very busy place as each one has special work to do and does it cheerfully and well. Even the Queen, in her royal chambers at the center of the city, stays busy with her special work of tucking new eggs each into their own cozy cradle. 

This tiny city is a beehive and the folk that live and work there are, of course, the bees!

In the Spring and Summer and Autumn, when flowers are blooming, I’m sure that you’ve seen the bee-folk humming merrily as they move all about over the land visiting blossoms. Look, here is one now…watch her as she forages, sipping a little nectar here and a little nectar there. Sometimes as she flies she gathers yellow flower dust into her little leg-baskets as she goes. But today she is gathering nectar. She visits hundreds of flowers! She is collecting nectar to bring home to the hive-city, sometimes sipping a little for herself. Now both her tummy and her nectar bag are quite full of nectar and she is flying home with her heavy load. 

In the city, there are many sisters waiting to help her. She gives them the nectar from her bag and they take it away to make it into golden honey. (This will be the food that all the bee folk will need in the cold months when there are no flowers blooming on the land.) Sometimes our little bee brings her nectar to her sisters and then flies right off again to collect more, but today her tummy is so full that she must rest. She climbs to the ceiling of the hive where some of the other full bee-folk are already gathered. She tucks up her wings and smooths her pretty yellow-and-brown jacket and takes a nice, long nap. 

While she is resting something wonderful happens….for when she wakes up and stretches and straightens her little jacket, she finds that all eight of her jacket pockets are full of wax! She takes it out of her pockets and presses it, and pulls it, and pushes it, and kneads it until it is smooth and soft, fragrant and golden. This beeswax is precious and important…it is what the bee-folk use to build their entire city! Beeswax forms the perfect walls of all the snug little houses, all the little honey pots and their lids, all the little cradles for the growing baby bee-folk…what a wonderful thing our bee has done! She takes her bit of beeswax and puts it together with the wax that her sisters have made, then off into the blue sky she buzzes, in search of more blossoms.

The bee-folk work so very hard that they often make more honey and more beeswax than they need for their city. Sometimes there is a gentle and careful person, a “beekeeper” who cares for and protects bees in their hive-city and is able to share in their honey and beeswax. So, somewhere there is a city of beefolk and a careful beekeeper who together made it so that we could have this treasure.

I split the Stockmar bar in two and gave Toucie her piece of wax during the part of the story where the bee "kneads it until it is smooth and soft, fragrant and golden" and we warmed it in our hands for the rest of the story. 

It was wonderful to watch her as she held the beeswax knowing how much work had gone into making it and what a treasure it was! She worked for a long time to draw a form out of her lump of beeswax...when she was done she showed me- it was a honeybee!

Here is the verse we say when we begin work with beeswax...I borrowed bits and pieces of other rhymes to formulate this one:

From the bees, this gift of gold
Is here for us to warm and hold.
Fragrant beeswax in our hand
Is full of goodness from the land.

Saturday, March 26

Cherry Blossom Festival

flowering cherry

Not very many pictures from the Sakura Festival this was a rainy day :(

The next day the sun peeked out again and we were able to enjoy the beautiful blossoms of the season.

Thursday, March 24

Spring Equinox!

Welcome Spring!

Folks around here have started mowing their lawns again...but not us. Look at this tapestry of "weeds"! So much more beautiful than "lawn"!

We collected some of those sweet violets to decorate our traditional Equinox can see last year's version here.

New babies to celebrate the season with :)

Ahhhh...the we know it's spring!

To mark this beautiful spring day, we gathered with friends and took a hike into the nearby woods to picnic near the river.

(the menu was :
Curried Tofu Salad
Tunisian Pressed Sandwiches
Raw Veggies and Hummus
Fresh Fruit, bread and raw Goat Cheese)

But perhaps the most wonderful part of the day was that we found the woods overrun with ephemeral wildflowers!!

Saturday, March 19

St. Patrick's Day Shenaningans

The twins are home for Spring Break (!!!), so we started our St. Patty's Day with Irish Breakfast tea and a scone bake-off (between Sodie and I).

(I have to confess that hers were actually a tiny bit better than mine...apparently she's been getting in a lot of scone-practice at college, baking them for any occasion that arises).

We both used this recipe...delish!

Then we headed off into the woods for a morning hike.

We checked on the old letterbox that we hid last year.

Wow...yeah, this is how they get when they know you have a camera out.

Please note the green attire...we were absolutely un-pinchable!

Back at home we had some fresh green pesto over pasta for lunch (look at our billy goat trying to get some attention!)

And then Mado helped Toucie build this Leprechaun know, just in case....

Later, Toucie found this inside, so there must have been a Leprechaun passing by who needed a nice napping place to visit as he was travelling through these parts.

Oh - I might ought to have warned you to avert your eyes if you are sensitive to the sight of MASSIVE amounts of green food coloring. This is cake batter. I don't know what else to say about that, except that, yes, I am guilty.

The rest of our day somehow escaped my camera...there was music and dancing and this horrible song from the 80's (but I have to educate my teenagers...I take that duty very seriously), as well as the books, the Bairin Breac, and our traditional Corned Beef and Colcanon dinner which you can see in last year's posts here.

Happy St. Pat's!

Wednesday, March 16

Great Green Garbanzos!

Look at these drool-worthy recipes....or these

With the quart or so of green garbanzos that we picked up at our local international foods market...

...we ended up just going the simplest route. ..a quick steam-boil in salted water.

Then we just popped them out of their husks and ate them like edamame...mmmm!

Look how cute they are :)

Now we've got to get some more so we can try some of the other yummy looking recipes!

Saturday, March 5

An interesting sort of canvas for a new kind of art....

"good guy" on the front

"bad guy" on the back


wearing Grammy's wig!

"she's got the whole world on her head" (??!!)

sometimes she paints by herself

sometimes she allows guest painters


doesn't even know who "the avatar" is, but she looks
like an "air-bender"!

She's a beauty!