Welcome to The Pauley Principle!

The Pauli Principle, named for Wolfgang Pauli, deals with atoms and electron-sharing that results in new, stronger bonds. Think 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part oxygen, a shared delectable (!) electron and VOILA! Water!

Similarly, when you prepare whole food to share with family and friends, especially foods you've grown, something amazing happens. Meals become tastier and healthier. Your soul, not just your stomach, becomes fulfilled. You live life more abundantly as a result. During a shared meal, the bonds that people create grow stronger and become something new: GREATER than the sum of the parts! I give you The Pauley Principle.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gathering the Swarming Honeybees

In the spring, honeybees swarm as a colony of bees splits to make more room for the ones that stay in the hive. Around here, those that venture out of their old home to find a new one are good news for my friend Desiree. It helps her build her apiary!

Friends and neighbors watch for swarming bees. A quick phone call to Desiree and she flies into action, making plans to go to the rescue, a mission that has to happen within a time frame of 1 to 24 hours. After that, the workers who are out scouting for a new home will have shown the others in the swarm the way, and they'll be gone.

Look closely at this photo of a tree. At first glance you might think you see a hornet or squirrel nest in the center of the photo. It's actually swarming honeybees.

"A swarm is a big ball of bees, piled on top of each other," Desiree says. "When it's in a tree, the bees are all huddled together. We catch them and put them in our hive box, our super. If you can get the queen in, the rest will follow."

Usually, when there's a swarm of bees splitting away, and not an entire colony, the honeybees take a queen cell with them, an egg the queen has laid. The diet that is given to this bee larva determines what the bee will grow into, so when the workers are grooming a bee to become the new queen bee, she gets a unique queenly diet, "royal jelly"! Pretty cool!
Desiree says, "They only sting you when they feel threatened. When one stings, the pheromone (smell) will attract the others and they'll come after you. So, if you get stung once, it's best to leave."

The next day or later the same day, after the bees are settled in the super, Desiree takes them home to her beekeeping operation, Klover Hill Apiary, where she plans to build her bee numbers and continue trying new bee products, expanding from honey and lip balm into candles and soaps.
 I asked  Desiree where a person is most likely to find swarming bees. She says they can be in homes, barns, trees and mostly, around here, they seem to like lilac bushes. Since we have three large old lilac bushes at the farm, I invited her to investigate for swarming bees. None. Then we went to the barn, another place they might gather. Again, none, but that was a cool, rainy day. 

Apparently, honeybees like hot days because Desiree says she usually gets pretty sweaty when she has to put on all her gear to go after them! The last time she went to gather bees, it started pouring the rain, so she plugged the box, strapped it, and then heaved it into the bed of her pickup, getting hot, sweaty, and soaking wet! Then, when her son ended up getting a bee sting, she wondered why she ever decided to keep bees.

Like anything worth doing, if it were easy, wouldn't everyone be doing it? From talking to Desiree and seeing her photos, I know she loves the adventure of finding and retrieving swarming bees and she is dedicated to helping the planet. She will do this for many years to come. Thank goodness! Maybe she can help to increase the declining numbers of honeybees! 

The photos in this post are courtesy of Desiree Blaha-Poyner. To see more of her photos, you can Facebook "friend" her.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Connecting Past to Present in a Pioneer Cemetery

Jessi, making rubbings that helped to establish identity and dates.
My cousin Stephanie, her husband Dave, and my daughter Jessi recently went trekking to a grown-over pioneer cemetery. No road access meant we had a 3/4 mile trek through a soybean field up a knoll to the 2-acre enclosed cemetery. Not only was it fenced in, but totally surrounded by briars and thorny honey locust trees, like something out of the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty.

Stephanie and Dave, capturing this moment in time. Me, capturing them.

Dave, unearthing a forgotten headstone.
I had wanted to find this place ever since I heard about it several years ago. The cemetery had been shrouded in mystery but would hold clues from our past that would give us a keener understanding of our ancestors' lives, and it was situated on the very land where they lived!
Some headstones were small but ornate.

Some of the monuments toppled from their own weight and the ravages of time and weather.

Some had writing that was still  somewhat legible.
This crag of a tree speaks to the long-forgotten area.

Around thirty of our ancestors found their final resting places there, where now it appears to be an abandoned flower garden, overgrown with Solomon's Seal, Wild Columbine, Day Lilies, Violets, and Nettles. More flowers, but I've forgotten them. Our focus was on finding downed headstones and monuments, covered over with moss, lichens and dirt, and then connecting that person with our lives, our family tree. 

Solomon's Seal was prevalent and, I thought, fitting since this was on the original 400 acre land grant that my great great grandfather Solomon Salmon received after his Revolutionary War service. I know, there should be 6 or 7 greats before "grandfather" but our family tended to have children later in their lives!