Sunday, December 27, 2015

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

I'm a little late in well-wishing, but it's only the third day of Christmas today. ;-) I hope that you have all been enjoying your mid-winter celebrations with friends and family and that you are looking forward to a happy, prosperous new year! I meant to compose a new ditty for you this year like I did last year, but I got sidetracked by our trip to Florida. (Sighs of relief all around.)

However, I thought you'd enjoy this video of some honeybees on a queen palm in my dad's backyard. I caught this three days before Christmas.

Speaking of my dad's backyard, I'm finding it very difficult to return to New England. Even with the unusually warm winter we've been having up North, I love the warm (my DH says hot) weather here in Florida. Even though I left the south years ago, I still can't do winter (or the lack of pastelitos de guayaba y queso for breakfast).

Also, I'm totally envious of the ability to have a garden (and bee-keep) year-round. Although my dad took out most of his garden a few years ago, he's still got a lot of interesting things going on.

This is my dad's definition of not having a garden anymore.
Nope, absolutely nothing growing here.
The best part about his garden are the trees. It's always at least 10 degrees cooler in their shade, and they're filled with the sounds of wildlife -- like the buzzing of bees.

It's hard to pick a favorite tree in his yard. For me it's probably a tie between the jaboticaba with its graceful branches, gorgeous bark, and luscious dark fruit and the coffee trees with their glossy leaves and colorful berries. Although I avoid drinking coffee because I get a paradoxical effect and crash instead of waking up, I do enjoy a nibble on coffee fruit, which is pleasantly sweet, though it tastes nothing like coffee.

Coffee fruit

Trees/wild gardens seem to attract children, too. My kids get lost in the backyard jungle looking for lizards and other critters, climbing, experimenting. They get a kick, too, out of picking things that they know like pineapples, papaya, citrus as well as the oddities (for them) like sapodilla.

Ginger flower
I like the "messiness" of my dad's garden, and I asked him if he had planned it that way. He told me he used the "Rolando" method. Rolando is a friend of ours who also has a backyard jungle. When my dad asked Rolando how he went about deciding where to put his trees, and the answer was, "Wherever there's an open spot."

I've been struggling so much with planning, which is a fundamental step in every permaculture book I've read, that I just stalled. I believe I'll have to adopt this more chaotic approach, which is much more in line with my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants personality. In any case, I'm feeling inspired again to work on a permacultured yard in the new year.

So anyway, since I'm always planting things that my bees like, a messy garden is my sort-of-beekeeping goal for the new year. How about you? What are your beekeeping resolutions?


  1. What a beautiful yard your dad has! Such variety! I love seeing bees flying this time of year - mine are all cooped up on this 4 degree morning! It's so great you can visit and enjoy the warm (hot) weather. For this new years, I resolve to build that bumblebee house, turn more lawn into gardens (probably using the Rolando method) and hopefully do my first split and catch a swarm! Enjoy your time in the sun and Happy New Year to you and yours.

    1. Those sound like great plans! Can't wait to see the bumblebee house! Wishing you a happy and *healthy* new year to you and yours, too!

  2. Gosh, beekeeping resolutions? I hadn't thought of that! I guess I do have a couple, though. Planning on building a new top bar hive in January similar to Wyatt Mangum's design. I suppose my biggest goal is to harvest some honey and comb for the first time. If my existing hives are strong enough I would like to do a split or two as well.

    Happy New Year to you and your family!

    1. Well, perhaps "resolutions" is too strong of a word. "Goals" are good. A new hive sounds like a lot of fun! Will you try to retrofit your old one? Good luck getting honey and splits!

      Happy new year to you and all yours, too!


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