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Productive Saturday

So yesterday was productive. I finished a knitting project, inspected my hive and planted some tomato plants. Today, I get to help install another package of bees. 

I'm beginning a torrid affair with Fair Isle knitting. I love the play of color on a project. This particular project was from a kit I purchased from the Feral Knitter.  Called the Foggy Cove Tam, it is a mix of blues, grays and browns that result in beutiful combination. My picture turned out pretty good too.




Observing the hive

I've just started reading Mark L. Wisnton's book "Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive." I'm enjoying thinking about the lessons; one of which came to me this week. Being present and observing. After many years of practicing Shambhala Buddhism, one would think that this lesson comes regularly and easy. However, I forget. I've been watching the girls this week. In fact, on Saturday, I was able to sit and watch them for 30-45 min stretches at a time. I watched them.

Observing was something I was able to also do this week at work. I watched my own reactions to things I disagreed with or things that would have been unsettling to me. It is a powerful thing to watch others and watch yourself as you interact. However, it takes practice to watch for your patterns in how you react to things. 


Once in a lifetime

There are some things that happen to you that are once in a lifetime events. This weekend, right in the middle of it, I had one of those events. I installed my first package of honeybees into my new hive. My friend Suzy was helping me and I said, "Suzy, this is a once in a lifetime thing." I stopped and appreciated what was happening and focused on being present with the experience.

I picked up my bees on Sunday morning. There were three pounds of them. 

I also get a queen in a cage. She is marked with a blue dot. There is a different dot for each year. She has a few attendants who are responsible for feeding her and protecting her.

One of the traditional methods is to spray the bees with sugar water, open the container, and shake them into the hive. I chose a different option. I simply opened the package and set the whole package in the hive and let them move to some of the empty frames. Originally, I did not put the queen cage in. However, after about an hour it was clear that the bees were confused and so I dropped the cage in. That seemed to help. After about three hours, the package was mostly empty. I removed it and replaced it with frames. 

Today, I opened up the hive to check the queen and she was out of the cage. I'll look next week to see how things are progressing. In the meantime I relish in the thought that this was a once in a lifetime event. An event that will happen again, but no longer the first time. 

Now, only time will tell if I'm a beekeeper.


Poverty and change

I'm a pretty lucky guy. For the last several years, I've been facilitating poverty simulations at work. The simulations are an opportunity for individuals to take on roles in families who are living on a very limited income. They live for one month; four fifteen minute weeks. Their job is to pay their bills, make sure the household stays safe, and unexpected challenges are met. After the hour of the experience their is a debrief, it is during that time people have the opportunity to share their feelings and thoughts. Yesterday, I facilitated the simulation for Leadership Triangle. The conversation was rich, including the courageous individuals sharing their stories of how they had experienced some of these same challenges in their own lives. We moved to talking about solutions and came to the conclusion that there are many different solutions to moving out of poverty. 

That was reiterated today when I got to see Dan Heath at the Triangle Community Foundation's What Matters luncheon. He talked about some of the aspects of his book. The rider, the elephant, and the path are all key elements in change. One of the points he made in his talk was that we need to find the bright spots, the successes, and figure out how to replicate those successes. I thought about this alot this afternoon and kept wondering if the stories of moving out of poverty were enough. We live in a culture that demands success. However, that success seems to be measured by more than simple class mobilization and/or happiness. Because of that, we miss the stories of success. That's a shame. 


Spring brings new beginnings

Last week was the first day of Spring. As you can see, it has been six years since I have written a blog entry and last weekend I made the commitment to start writing again. I have missed sharing my thoughts in this venue. I have come to love facebook, but I'm finding that I desire a greater opportunity to share my wishes, thoughts and hopes for my life and my world. 

This spring, I'm finding myself most excited about the opportunity to become a beekeeper. The journey has started. I have purchased some quality equipment from Brushy Mountain Bee Supply. I've built and painted the hive box and built frames with wax foundation. My friend Suzy, a great beekeeper has shared her thoughts and helped me build my first frame. I went to bee school. It was sponsored by the Durham Beekeepers Association and was held every Monday evening at Sarah Duke Gardens. Now I'm waiting for my package of bees that I've ordered from Big Oak Bee Farm in Raleigh.

Some other new beginnings for me to report. Over the winter, I have started to fall in love with stranded knitting; more specifically Fair Isle knitting. I did a few tams for holiday gifts and they turned out great. I've taken on another, more complicated tam with close to 11 different colors. I've signed up for a fair isle sweater design class in Berkely, CA in late summer. I'm sure I will be sharing more thoughts and pictures over the next few months.