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Posts Tagged ‘honey’

bee on flowerWe’ve all seen the summer photos of bees in flight, buzzing around the perfect flower, or sizing up blackberry blossoms.  I know I’ve taken great delight in watching bumble bees so laden with pollen they had trouble taking flight; high on the yellow dust, drunk on the nectar.  And just recently friends from America (the other side of the Sound) were quite impressed when a meat bee invaded our al fresco dining and made off with a helping of smoked salmon nearly the size of his body.  I’m sure his friends back at the nest were equally impressed.

I’ve spent most of this outrageously beautiful summer on the property landscaping it to make my life easier in the coming years.  My buddy, Lew, keeps telling me I won’t be able to keep up with the four acres much longer.  You gotta love that kind of optimism.  But just in case Lew is right, I’ve been busy laying down tarp (biodegradable) and covering it with mulch and stone.  In the last few months, I’ve covered a number of the tiers, the side of the house, the area below the deck and down the slopes with mulch and stone in spiffy patterns that spell OCD.  I have slid down said slopes, berry thorns pushing through my jeans, and I was regularly dive bombed by an angry varied thrush when I cut down two small trees close to her nest, but nothing could stop me from what needed to be done before (according to Lew) my bones turn to dust…until today.

In the Secret Life of Bees August (who is a beekeeper) tells Lily that you have to send love to the bees to keep them from stinging you.  Now, if you’ve been reading along for the last four years, you know that I go out of my way for the deer, bunnies, and birds (that crazy varied thrush seems to forget that I’m the one laying out the birdseed every morning, the one who makes sure they, along with the deer and bunnies have fresh water everyday).  I even mow and weed whack around slugs, little tufts of grass marking their spots, safe zones for slimers.  In other words, I send love to creatures great and small on the property all the time.  But today it wasn’t enough.  Today, after four years of working side by side, one of my pollinating pals turned on me and when I wasn’t looking, landed on the mesh portion of my glove and stung me…repeatedly.  I like to think of myself as someone who remains level-headed in a time of crisis…and for the most part, I am, especially when I’m not the one experiencing the crisis.  And though I  may forget many  important facts during a crisis, the facts I never forget are those at the extreme end of warning signs for impending doom.  New prescription?  I never read the first paragraph, but flip to the back to the “may cause swelling of the tongue, blocking breathing passageway, may cause blindness…” you get the picture.  So, as I’m pulling my glove off (bee still attached) and jumping up and down, this is what’s running through my head: Didn’t Ralph tell me that Peggy went into anaphylactic shock when she was stung?  Granted, it was in the neck, but I remember the words – paralysis, ambulance…  Now, those are important facts.  Fortunately, I had driven my SUV down on the property because it had all my tools in it, so hand throbbing, heart pounding…could this be the first signs of anaphylaxis?  I drive myself up to the house and rush in. Remedies…I need remedies.  First one that comes of mind is baking soda paste.  While that’s dripping all over the floor, I search the internet for remedies and come upon several.  Wait, I need to document the damage.   This is how my hand looked by the time I got to the house. beesIt kind of looks like a Thanksgiving turkey where my knuckles used to be, no?  Okay, back to the internet and remedies to stop the PAIN…smash fresh garlic and rub the juice on the area, crush basil and rub on the area, coat with honey (how ironic).  Fortunately, I had all three remedies in stock and used them all.  The whole time I’m rubbing the garlic and the crushed basil on my hand, I’m thinking about the fresh mozzarella and roasted tomatoes I have in the fridge.  I top off the garlic and basil with a smear of wildflower honey and then I read that I should wash the area with soap and water before applying any remedies.  But of course.  And so I do, and then I start all over again.

After a few hours the pain subsided, only a few twinges here and there.  I stood out on the deck overlooking the area where the “incident” occurred and heard the familiar buzz of my attacker as I watched my glove moving slowly across the property.

Photo of Bee found at http://tx.english-ch.com/teacher/julia/home/bees/

Photo of hand found at the end of my arm

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So I went down to Local Grown awhile back to see what was up with the guys and found Texas-Zen Rick (by way of Mississippi through Oklahoma) reminiscing with Lew about the good old days at the University of CA, Berkeley; you know, the sit ins, People’s Park, S.I. Hyakawa.  Now I won’t give away another person’s story, but the way Lew’s you-gotta-love-the-ACLU face was lit up, I knew Rick had hooked him with a fine stickin’-it-to-the-man tale.  As I said at the beginning, this was awhile back – more than a month ago – before the frost was on the mushrooms.   Somehow, and I can’t say just what that is, their conversation took a turn, and perhaps, I’m not saying  this is so, but perhaps at some point someone interjected their opinion on the rise and fall of the stock market, which, in turn, and mind you, I’m not a coffee drinker so I can’t keep up with the fast paced, intellectually stimulating discussions (many simultaneously) that go on around the table, but even with a cup of Calm rendering me nearly catatonic, I took note when talk turned to the rising price of peanut butter.

Fast forward to present day and lo and behold the outrageous rise in price of peanut butter came up again.  Seriously, I had no idea how many people were being affected by this lowly, yet costly, nut.  DZ, Texas-Zen Rick (by way of Mississippi through Oklahoma) and Lew not only chewed on the sharp rise in price, Lew was as disheartened to find the “chunky” variety had far fewer bits of peanuts and those he did find were much smaller than those in the good old days as I am about the decline of my bone density.  And then, I hope I’m not blowing DZ’s cover, but I heard her tell Texas Rick that she had his peanut butter in the car.   What?  Had DZ become an underground supplier offering drop bottom prices on the much-loved gooberous spread until she got her “clientele” hooked (at which time she’d jack up the cost)?  I waited, listened.  Like any good dealer, DZ tried to sway Lew away from his Skippy brand, like it was bad crack, over to her primo brand – the all natural peanut butter that you get at the co-op where the peanuts are piled in a hopper just waiting to be turned into a mass that looks more like…um, uh, ever changed a diaper?  The more I listened, the more I learned that peanut butter had been a staple in the lives of most folks; that sandwich they yearned to find in their school lunch box turned soggy mass from their leaky thermos; that peanutty spread they slathered on crackers; the necessary sap for ants on a log; the go to food for the 99%.    It was then I had to face a hard fact: I was an outsider .

You see, I didn’t grow up on peanut butter sandwiches, plain or with jelly (no, do not fret, it’s not because I was raised by the 1%).  Bologna (a luncheon meat of questionable content was the go to food my parents of the 99% relied upon).  I was the other side of 21 when I had my first peanut butter and jelly sandwich.   It was the wee hours of the morning.  I was in a happy, happy frame of mind, as were my friends, as we held these ancient massage gizmos to our foreheads and watched slides (Google it youngsters) of their side-of-the-road chapel wedding (I don’t recommend this – the massage gizmo to your forehead or the chapel).   In the midst of this happy, happy time, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich magically appeared before me.

Back then, I wasn’t as impressed with the peanut butter and jelly sandwich as I was with the brownies.   Today, however, though it may not make me want to jiggle the inside of my head with electric equipment,  a slather of peanut butter with a little honey and cinnamon on a  toasted slice of Screamin’ Banshee Rustic Bread, alongside a cup of chai is a great way to start my day before heading out to the woods to do a little hoein’.

So, DZ, if  you’re reading this, call me.  I’m jonesin’ for the good stuff!

Next:  The Red Tail Hawk and the Little Black Bird.

Warning:  Don’t even think about copying my original art work.  You know you want to.

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