Recently on a trip to Green Gulch Farm to pick up my new carniolan bees, I found myself wandering around the farm's beautiful gardens. It is hard to describe the sense of peace and quiet one feels here, but it is as if you have just been dropped down in the middle of a slow zone, quiet, and with no cars. Everyone is walking at a pace I can only dream of. It is like opening your senses and heart to what is present. As many of you may know, this is the home of Green Gulch Zen Center and Green Gulch farm. The farm is located in a coastal canyon on the way to Stinson Beach or Muir Woods, depending on which turn you take. It is open for visitors who want to hike and I even noticed mountain bikers cutting through secret gates on the back side of the farm. They supply many San Francisco restaurants with fresh organic produce all year, most notably Greens Restaurant at Fort Mason. They also provide produce to the public at the SF Ferry Market and other markets (please check the farmer's market schedule at http://www.sfgate.com/listings/search.php?events). Their retreat center offers relevant classes throughout the year. Last year, around the same time, I was lucky enough to take my first bee-keeping class here. Alan Hawkins, an amazing bee keeper extraordinaire shared his experiences and skills as a seasoned beekeeper and about 30 of us attended. His approach to beekeeping is much like you would imagine it to be with his background in Buddhism; thoughtful, patient and with the intention of not harming any bees.
As of today, Tuesday, I am off to a rough start. Since bringing home the bees, we have had torrential down pours for two days. Some bees didn't make it into their hive. Last year, it was sunny and warm when I relocated them and they found their queen easily. The rain seems to have hindered this process. Let's hope today's sunny weather brings them out of their hive for fresh air and tasty pollen. More reports later on "beethrow" (as Glen calls it, since it looks like a metropolitan airport when they are coming and going)
After seeing Green Gulch's beautiful gardens you will want to have bees too!
Here are some photos that Glen took while the bees acclimated to their new home. Lisa helps me get the boxes ready to open. The bees arrive in a 3lb. box of approximately 20,000. I am really just doing it because I look so fabulous in my bee outfit!
I gently shake them into the frames. The girls are nibbling on sugar water that has been provided for them for their road trip from a farm in Chico, CA.The queen is in the box awaiting her new home, while her "sisters" feed her through the screen. I take the cork plug out and replace it with a small mini marshmallow. The queen and her sisters eat the marshmallow and release her into the hive over a few hours or days. It is a time-honored tradition. Yes, those are my bare hands.