Point of Departure When a Loved One has Passed

Author: Meera, September 24, 2018

After the news of the recent passing of my only sibling and the last member of my nuclear family, I moved an old chair beneath a plum tree on my farmette near the hives to  listen to the hum of bees and read the Georgics of Virgil.

 

For me, reading verse serves as a point of departure to an inward journey where I can find calm, utter silent prayers, seek forgiveness, spiral forth blessings, and come to terms with what has been left unspoken. In time, I find it is possible to surrender to what is and accept what cannot be changed.

 

 

The "Honor" rose...white blooming roses are beautiful under moonlight

Some plant flowers in remembrance of a deceased loved one. Pictured is the “Honor” rose

 

 

Beneath the dense canopy of the plum, I lost myself in reading the ancient verses of Virgil. The reclusive Roman scholar wrote his long poem of Georgics in four parts around 70 BCE. Virgil’s verses draw readers into pastoral landscapes where he describes nature, the seasons and their attributes, as well as the fullness and sadness of life.  I believe my brother would appreciate these verses  that show loss as an integral part of the natural world and our human existence. For me, Virgil’s poetry connects the mundane with the lofty.

 

 

Virgil’s verses speak to repetitive cycles–nature’s seasonal shifts occurring over the landscape, man’s domesticated animals going about their business, bees gathering pollen and nectar to bring forth honey. Some see these verses as primers on agricultural work and animal husbandry. What I derive from these poems is a loftier meaning: as much as change comes into our lives (whether through sorrow, suffering, loss, or war), the big picture is this–life goes on and there is sweetness for us to find.

 

 

A honeybee alights on a fountain for water

Bees need water (as most living creatures do) to sustain life

 

 

In Georgics IV about beekeeping, Virgil writes:

 

 

“First find your bees a settled, sure abode where neither winds can enter ( winds blow back the foragers with food returning home)

 

Nor sheep or butting kids tread down the flowers,  Nor heifer wandering wide upon the plain

 

Dash off the dew, and bruise the springing blades . . . .

 

The above is from another translation, but A.S. Kline offers a beautiful English translation from the Latin of Georgic IV, see, https://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Latin/VirgilGeorgicsIV.php

 

Virgil grew up in the rural Italian countryside where the peasantry lived close to the land. When the civil wars during Virgil’s lifetime caused many farms to go into states of disrepair and farmers to lose their land, Virgil’s family farm became a casualty of the times.

 

It’s believed that he subsequently regained his farm but the experience of loss had became indelibly imprinted in his consciousness because his writings deeply reflected the sadness of those who’d suffered loss. Perhaps because the reclusive bachelor and scholar did not enjoy robust health himself, Virgil wrote that the greatest wealth is health.

 

 

Finished jars reveal clear, light amber honey the bees made from springtime flowers

Honey is known as an ancient elixir for health

 

 

 

I thought about that as I sat listening to my bees and the sounds of nature around me. My brother had enjoyed good health before marching with other Marines through Vietnam’s fields of Agent Orange. In the last year of his life, health issues concerned him. But he didn’t dwell on that–farmers and soldiers seldom do.

 

I’m sure if he’d had a choice in the matter, he’d have preferred to breathe his last breath while fishing, surveying the expanse of a newly harvested field, or walking in the woods. Instead, he passed away while removing a sapling that a neighbor wanted pulled from her flowerbed. Death found him lying under an expansive sky on side of the road, the sun on his face, his breath gone, his heart still.

 

 

This angels in my garden serves as a visual cue to live life with gratitude

Angels cue us to live life with gratitude

 

Perhaps, he was ready. Fields and woods, rivers and streams, farms and fresh air have always called to me and my brother like some ancient voice in our DNA.

 

As kids during this time of year in late summer, we would race to the nearest watering hole to wade, throw rocks, or fish. Never uttering a word, we could spend hours sitting on a river bank in dappled shade, poles in hands, eyes on bobbins hoping for a nibble. Or, we would lie in a field of tall grain watching the clouds merge, split, and float across the expansive sky until they’d disappeared completely. It’s how I imagine my brother’s soul departed that fateful day–guided to the Great Beyond by a Spectacular Unseen Hand.

 

 

In the days ahead, I will take comfort in reading words written by my favorite observers of life like Virgil and philosophers of the world, both past and present.  I will read favorite passages in sacred texts. And I’ll refer to my own books on meditation and ritual. I hope the process empowers me to come to an untroubled, tranquil acceptance of the culmination of his life. What will be my destiny, too. May you rest in eternal peace my brother.

 

_____________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

More than 150 rituals for sound mind, strong body, and meaningful connections to the people around you

More than 150 rituals for sound mind, strong body, and meaningful connections to the people around you

 

 

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0719HHVRJ/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

 

 

Anyone can find peace, clarity, and focus...all it takes is a moment

Anyone can find peace, clarity, and focus…all it takes is a moment

 

 

 

http://tinyurl.com/y9vfw2t9

 

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Yesterday, after I’d fed and watered the chickens, I grabbed a two-gallon bucket and a ladder to pick some apricots for canning. But my morning didn’t go as planned when I spotted a cloud of bees swarming in the very fruit tree I was preparing to climb into. Nothing like a honeybee swarm to make you switch tasks in a hurry.

 

Honeybees clustered around the queen in a swarm

Honeybees clustered around the queen in a swarm

 

 

There’s a centuries-old saying among beekeepers: A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay . . . a swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon . . . a swarm of bees in July ain’t worth a fly. My beekeeper neighbor says simply, “A swarm in July . . . bye bye.” The rhyme echoed in my brain. Even early July? Should I try to save them? I donned my beekeeper suit and gathered together the items I would need for the rescue.

 

Ironically, in late winter I had hung a swarm catcher in the tree next to the swarm. A swarm catcher makes it easy to hive the bees since they are all inside the bucket-shaped unit with a small hole on one side and a large covered opening on the other. They go inside and you dump the bees into the hive box. I’ve had three swarms this year and not one of them went into the swarm catcher despite me putting attractant (a type of scented oil) in the vial inside the unit. Go figure!

 

Yesterday’s swarm wasn’t as big as the two I captured in May and June. I’m not even sure if I could save this one, but trying was better than losing them. I decided to help the small population along but putting into their hive some frames of comb and honey.

 

A swarm at this time of year (approaching the end of swarming season) will require extra food if the bees are to make it through autumn when they kick out the drones and then winter when their food and nectar sources become scarce.

 

Lavender and sunflowers are beloved by bees

Lavender and sunflowers are beloved by bees

 

 

I draw hope from the fact that August in the Bay Area brings blooms to certain species of eucalyptus and also star thistle. My bees also have access to lots of lavender. I have planted several types of it around my farmette.

 

 

 

Giant sunflowers in bloom

Giant sunflowers in bloom in dinner-plate size

 

 

The sunflowers in my garden are blooming now and will (thanks to consecutive planting) over the next several weeks. And I’ve got two raised beds designated as bee gardens full of blooming flowers and herbs like borage that attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.

 

 

It remains to be seen if this July swarm will have any worth at all. I think they’re going to need a lot of help. That means keeping my eyes on them as I take care of my chickens and keep the summer canning going.

 

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If you enjoy reading about the workings of an urban farmette and also appreciate a good, clean mystery, check out my Henny Penny Farmette series of cozy mysteries–A BEELINE TO MURDER, THE MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE, and A HIVE OF HOMICIDES.  I also write wellness and spirituality books–SACRED TRAVELS (soon to be updated to include color images), RITUALS FOR LIFE, and MY POCKET MEDITATIONS.

 

All my books are available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and other traditional and online bookstores everywhere.

 

 

All available online and in bookstores everywhere

Meera’s mystery series

 

More than 150 rituals for sound mind, strong body, and meaningful connections to the people around you

More than 150 rituals for sound mind, strong body, and meaningful connections to the people around you

Anyone can find peace, clarity, and focus...all it takes is a moment

Anyone can find peace, clarity, and focus…all it takes is a moment

 

 

 

 

 

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Nosema apis is a tiny one-cell parasite recently reclassified as a fungus. It causes a serious infection in bees that disrupts the health of the bee gut. The sick bee becomes not only disoriented and unable to do its normal activities such as foraging or caring for bee larva.

 

 

A honeybee alights on a fountain, searching for water

A foraging honeybee quenches its thirst on water fountain

 

 

Nosema is one, among many threats, to the global honeybee population. The infection has been associated with colony collapse disorder. But now science has shown that healing and improved survival rates from nosema (also known as nosemosis) is possible through the aid of probiotics.

 

In most instances, the fungus (that bees pick up as they ingest their food) causes no harm. But stress seems to create conditions for the fungus to invade and wreak havoc on the bee’s immune system. Just as probiotics support human gut microbiota (the microbe population in the human intestine) so, too, do probiotics appear to help the bee microbiota to better deal with a nosema infection.

 

 

Healthy bees on a frame

Healthy bees on a frame

 

 

 

In a Canadian study conducted by scientists at Université Laval in Quebec City, researchers discovered that they could lower the death rate of the bees suffering from nosema from 20 to 40 percent as compared to a control group by treating the sick bees with probiotics. In particular, a probiotic (P. apium) seemed to work best in the study.

 

Developing probiotics with specific microbes to contend with nosema is promising. But for beekeepers and scientists searching for the causes of colony collapse disorder, the work goes on to identify sources of stress that adversely affect the immune system of bees. For more information, see, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180517113819.htm

 

 

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If you enjoy reading about gardening and farming topics, check out my Henny Penny Farmette series of mysteries: A BEELINE TO MURDER, THE MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE, and A HIVE OF HOMICIDES (Kensington Publishing).

 

Each book is chocked full of tips for gardening, keeping bees and chickens, and growing heirloom fruits and vegetables. There are also plenty of delicious recipes to try. Find these books in hardcover, paperback, ore ebook formats on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, Walmart.com and other online retailers or purchase at traditional bookstores everywhere.–Meera Lester

 

 

 

All available online and in bookstores everywhere

All available online and in bookstores everywhere

 

A BEELINE TO MURDER (#1)      https://tinyurl.com/y6ue28xb

THE MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE (#2)      http://tinyurl.com/yd7pz7af

A HIVE OF HOMICIDES (#3)      http://tinyurl.com/ya5vhhpm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Springtime Projects on the Farmette

Author: Meera, March 29, 2018

After weeks of rain, Mother Nature has put on a robe of splendor.  Warm weather has arrived. Already, my beekeeper neighbor has had his honeybee hives send out three swarms.

 

April 13, 2016 bee swarm on Henny Penny Farmette

Previous bee swarm on Henny Penny Farmette

 

My own bee population seems to be swelling. I’ve fished out my swarm catcher, primed it with scented lemon oil, and placed in among the blossoms in a nearby apricot tree. I may be blessed with a swarm as well.

 

 

Our grapes are Thompson Seedless and Merlot

Our grapes are Thompson Seedless, Merlot, and golden Italian muscat

 

 

There are plenty of other springtime projects to attend to here on my farmette. I’ve got to reassemble my temporary grape arbor. Each year, I think we’ll build a permanent structure, but there never seems to be enough time.

 

 

My cell flats have organic plants up now and ready for placing in my garden or raised beds. I’d like to add some more chicken manure to the strawberries since they are rapidly growing and producing small fruit.

 

 

strawberries lg em

 

 

Other plants need a spring feeding–the citrus, apples, and apricots, for example. I usually do the feeding before the trees break bud, so I’m a little late.

 

 

 

This candy-stripe rose was a gift from a friend--a cutting from her rose that became a large bush in my care

This candy-stripe rose was a gift from a friend–a cutting from her rose that became a large bush in my care

 

 

 

I will be turning the compost pile and mulching all my rose bushes (which have already leafed out and are setting buds). Finally, I’d like to put up a couple more bird houses (mating is already in the air) and fill my hummingbird feeders.

 

 

These six-month-old hens love treats like greens from the garden

This–my original flock–was massacred by a wild predator, fox or coyote,  last year

 

 

I need to purchase baby chicks from the feedstore to start my new flock. Hubby and I will build a new, reinforced chicken run and expand the existing hen house.

 

 

Then, there’s the side walkway that needs pavers. Painting of the fences. Building a new porch. Widening the patio…the projects are seemingly endless, but that’s fine. We’ll have a lovely six months (maybe an occasional storm). The dry season is upon us.

 

And I’m ready for the Adirondack chair…oh, that’s right…we have to build it first!

 

 

Classic Adirondack Adirondack chair, surely created for the enjoyment of a a garden

Classic Adirondack Adirondack chair, for the enjoyment of a a garden

 

 

 

 

 

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If you enjoy reading about farming topics and you love a good cozy mystery, check out my  novels from Kensington Publishing–A BEELINE TO MURDER, THE MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE, and A HIVE OF HOMICIDES. All are available on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, and other online retailers as well as in bookstores everywhere.

 

 

 

My debut novel Sept. 2015

The debut novel for the Henny Penny Farmette series

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second book in the Henny Penny Farmette series

The second book in the Henny Penny Farmette series

 

 

 

 

 

COMING Sept. 2017

The second book in the Henny Penny Farmette series

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De-Bugging My Honeybee Hive Box of Beetles

Author: Meera, February 18, 2018

I’ve been dealing with a beetle problem in my honeybee hive since fall. When my knowledgeable beekeeper neighbor called to suggest opening the hive, I readily agreed.

 

The hive box "super" with ten frames of honey awaits separating and straining into buckets

Frames of honey in a hive box

 

 

 

The dreaded hive beetle–tinier than a honeybee–can destroy a hive. Its destruction isn’t on the bees themselves, but rather the comb, honey, and pollen. As the population of hive beetle increases and the destruction mounts, the bees will abandon the hive.

 

 

Previously, my neighbor had used two types of hive beetle traps in my hive–Beetle Bee-Gone was an all-natural, chemical-free sheet that looked like a fabric softener product for the dryer. We had placed this on top of the frames before closing the hive last fall. The other product was a narrow plastic tray inserted between the frames that held vegetable oil.

 

 

The drone (male bees) are vital for mating with the queen; after that, they are unnecessary and are elminated

The white hive box bee entrance; also an access for the hive beetle

 

 

We discovered that the sheet worked well, trapping lots of  hive beetles. But the frame with oil had no beetles. I dumped it. We checked the brood box–and were excited to see it full of unborn babies.

 

 

After harvesting eight frames of honey, we reversed the brood box, scraped away the burr comb, and positioned a super on top of the hive box with empty frames for spring honey. Before closing the hive, we inserted two clean sheets of Beetle Bee-Gone.

 

 

Today, the bees are active and out foraging for pollen. Flowers are everywhere and the fruit trees in the neighborhood have broken bud. It remains to be seen if the Bay Area gets any more rain or bitterly cold days ahead. Probably by April 1, I’ll hang the swarm catcher and hope to add a new population of bees to my colony.

 

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If you enjoy reading about keeping bees, growing heirloom vegetables and fruits, caring for chickens, or self care for healthy living, check out my Henny Penny Farmette series of cozy mysteries: A BEELINE TO MURDER, THE MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE, and HIVE OF HOMICIDES. Click on the URL below. Also see newest nonfiction for healthy living: RITUALS FOR LIFE.

 

 

http://tinyurl.com/ya5vhhpm

All available online and in bookstores everywhere

All available online and in bookstores everywhere

 

 

 

 

More than 150 rituals for sound mind, strong body, and meaningful connections to the people around you

More than 150 rituals for sound mind, strong body, and meaningful connections to the people around you

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Autumn Brings A Honey Harvest and Hive Treatment

Author: Meera, November 24, 2017

Harvesting sweet-tasting, amber-colored honey from my hives has become an autumn ritual. This past Sunday, my beekeeper neighbor and I opened, inspected, and removed ten frames of honey from the one hive I have left.

 

The other hive succumbed to stress, a hive beetle infestation, and a steady march of ants. This despite me keeping my hives (and the apiary) pristine, dry, and facing the sun.

 

Honey and comb

Honey and comb

 

 

I found a beetle (no larvae) in the super we removed from the hive box when I scraped the frames clean of wax and bee glue. The tiny black insect had established itself in a crack under a plug of wax. Bees can’t sting through the beetle’s hard shell.

 

Without a powerful way of combating an infestation of beetles, the hive becomes stressed.Thank goodness, my neighbor had just the treatment to eliminate any other unseen beetles from my hive box.

 

Beetle Bee Gone sheets are an all natural and chemical-free method for treating hive beetle. Bees munch on the sheet that then becomes a fuzzy trap that ensnares the beetles. The beetles die.

 

In cool weather, which is what we have now, the hive beetle moves to the interior, above the brood, and/or under the hive cover. When the weather gets warmer, the pests move downward and so the placement of the sheets must be moved down.

 

 

The treatment packet contains sheets

The treatment packet contains sheets

 

 

 

My neighbor also inserted under the hive box lid a small plastic trough (as long as a pencil) with holes. He poured vegetable oil into the trough until it was half full. This, too, is a natural treatment against the hive beetle. The pests drown.

 

I’m optimistic that these treatments (along with others I’m using for mites) will keep the hive protected over winter so that in spring, I’ll get a new swarm to grow my diminished colony.

 

 

The hive box "super" with ten frames of honey awaits separating and straining into buckets

Ten frames of honey await separating and straining into buckets

 

 

With the bees tended to, I turned my attention to the honey harvest. In all, the single super of ten frames produced roughly three gallons of honey once I’d prepped the frames and put them in the extractor. That’s more than enough  honey to get my family through the winter and to present as gifts to friends along with jars of fruit jams and homemade sweets come Christmas.

 

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If you enjoy reading about backyard beekeeping, caring for chickens, or growing organic vegetables, check out my Henny Penny Farmette series of books. All are available  through traditional and online bookstores. To see more, click on the link.

 

 

http://tinyurl.com/ya5vhhpm

 

The third novel in the Henny Penny Farmette series is out in time for holiday gift-giving

The third novel in the Henny Penny Farmette series is out in time for holiday gift-giving

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Hive of Homicides or Hive Demise

Author: Meera, June 21, 2017

The title of the third novel in my Henny Penny Farmette series suggests loss of bees and murderous intent. No beekeeper wants to lose a hive, regardless of how it happens–whether some invader wants to kill the bees, go after the honey, or use the hive as a host for proliferation of its own species.

 

 

 

A healthy hive box with lid removed

A healthy hive box with lid removed

 

I’m not one-hundred percent positive why I lost a hive this year. My best guess was that the demise was due (not to homicide but rather) to a tiny little pest, possibly a beetle that weakened it so that the bees and queen fled leading to the hive’s demise.

 

 

My beekeeper neighbor and I spotted a small beetle and treated for it. My best efforts to keep my small bee house and the area around it clean as well as doing frequent hive inspections wasn’t enough. Now, I’m considering moving my remaining hive onto a higher, drier, sunnier location.

 

 

Bee garden in June bloom

Bee garden in June bloom

 

 

I’ll do it at night which is the correct time to move bees. You just put a little strip of packing foam along the hive entrance, gently move the hive, and place it in the new location. Remove the foam strip so the bees can leave at dawn and make sure there’s a water source nearby.

 

 

These honeybees will visit a backyard fountain throughout the day

These honeybees will visit a backyard fountain throughout the day

 

 

The bees will likely accept the move if there is water and food in the area. I like planting perennial bee gardens and flowers and bulbs with high nectar value for bloom throughout the year.

 

 

Since hives can be compromised by wax moths, hive beetles, and other pests (as well as parasites and diseases), frequent inspections to decipher a problem and treat it before it destroys your hive is imperative.

 

With supers (smaller hive boxes with ten frames each) on the hive in June, the bees will forage on abundant flowers and produce honey that can be taken off in July. That’s also the time to inspect for mites because these populations tend to swell during summer.

 

 

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If you’re interested in beekeeping and other farmette topics, check out my Henny Penny Farmette series of mysteries. All are available to order online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailer sites as well as traditional bookstores everywhere.

 

 

Murders at a N. California winery is a catalyst for ex-cop turned farmette owner Abigail Mackenzie

This third novel in the series will be released Sept. 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Plant for the Pollinators

Author: Meera, June 20, 2017

I seldom need an occasion to put in another bed of flowers, but this is National Pollinator Week. I think a new bed is in order to attract local bees, birds, bats, and butterflies–all considered pollinators. Having these small creatures around benefits landscapes, gardens, and orchards.

 

Between showers and periods of sunlight, this beauty showed up in the bee garden

Between showers and periods of sunlight, this beauty showed up in the bee garden

 

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has noted that over 75 percent of our plants are pollinated by birds, animals, and insects. We can help ensure these creatures will be around for a long time if we restore their habitats and ensure they have food and water.

 

 

 

A longhorn bee is twice the size of a honeybee

A longhorn bee is twice the size of a honeybee

 

 

 

There are many lovely plants you can grow that don’t require a lot of care.

 

 

 

  • lavender
  • bee balm
  • echinacea
  • sage
  • cilantro
  • thyme
  • sunflowers
  • sweet alyssum
  • anemone
  • borage
  • geraniums
  • scented pelargoniums
  • mint

 

The florets are falling off and the seeds have formed on this giant sunflower head

Sunflowers are a favorite of bees and the seeds are loved by squirrels and birds

 

 

 

 

A tapestry of colorful herbs and flowers beautifies your landscape and pollinators love the diversity. If you don’t have a lot of space, grow some of these plants in planter boxes, clay pots, or other types of containers.

 

Robins drinking from a pottery saucer

Robins drinking from a pottery saucer

 

 

 

Put in a water feature, too, such as a table-top or larger fountain that recycles water. Even a pottery saucer filled each day can attract pollinators.

 

 

It won’t take long for the bees and hummingbirds to find the water. Their frequent visits are fun to watch, and they’ll likely be sipping throughout the day.

 

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If you enjoy reading about farmette topics, check out my Henny Penny Farmette series of cozy mysteries from Kensington Publishing. My newest novel includes delicious recipes, tips on keeping bees and chickens, and much more. Click on this URL for more information, http://tinyurl.com/ya5vhhpm

.

 

 

Coming Sept. 2017

Coming Sept. 2017

 

 

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Thanks to the drought-ending rain and the robust activity of our honeybees, my orchard has produced a phenomenal crop of cherries, apricots, and plums this year.

 

Apricots are plentiful this time of year and easy to dry for snacking when the season is over

Apricots are easy to make into jam or to dry for snacking

 

 

 

I picked some wild plums today. They’re unusually sweet so I will make them into jam this week. I think the apricots will be ready next week. Today, I’m getting ready for jam-making by taking down cases of canning jars from the storage shelf over the washer and dryer. I’ll need to get lemons, bags of sugar, pectin, and jar lids.

 

 

I made a test batch of the wild plum jam to make sure it tasted great before canning a lot of jars

Wild plums are small like cherries

 

 

The vegetable garden is also benefiting from bee activity. The summer Italian striped squash and the crooked neck squash plants are producing squash faster than we can eat them. The tomato vines are loaded, and I expect the corn to be ready soon, too.

 

 

 

 

Nothing beats fresh summer jams to brighten a dreary winter morning. This summer, I hope to make enough to last through 2017 winter into next spring. This past winter, I ran out of apricot jam because it is the one most of our neighbors, family, and friends prefer. But thanks to the rain and the bee activity, running out of jam won’t be a problem for next year.

 

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Like my honeybees, I’ve been busy this winter/spring, writing two nonfiction books for readers who embrace the path of yoga, healthy living, meditation, meaningful ritual, and mindfulness. To be released this year: My POCKET MEDITATIONS (July 2017) and MY DAILY RITUALS (Christmas 2017).

 

 

Check out MY POCKET MEDITATIONS, the newest forthcoming nonfiction title from Adams Media/Simon & Schuster, at http://tinyurl.com/l6lzorq

 

My Pocket Meditations: Anytime Exercises for Peace, Clarity, and Focus by [Lester, Meera]

 

 

COMING SOON: My newest offering in the Henny Penny Farmette mystery series,  A HIVE OF HOMICIDES (Kensington Publishing, Sept. 2017).

 

 

 

This cozy features a mystery to be solved, a hot romance, and delicious recipes

This cozy features a mystery to be solved, a hot romance, and delicious recipes

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second novel in the Henny Penny Farmette series comes out September 27, 2016

The MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE is the second novel in the Henny Penny Farmette series

 

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French Lavender–A Favorite of Pollinators

Author: Meera, March 1, 2017

It’s bare-root season, a special time of the year for me. I like to visit local nurseries and check out the new offerings of heirloom roses, fruit trees, berries, herbs, and flowers. No matter which nursery I visit, I always seem to spot the lavender first.

 

 

Honeybees love lavender

Honeybees love lavender

 

 

After we moved to the Henny Penny Farmette, we put in lots of French lavender. But after a few years, the stalks have grown old and woody.

 

Recently, on a visit to a nearby nursery, we purchased twenty one-gallon plants of French Lavender, an upright perennial that we’ve discovered blooms almost all year long in our Bay Area climate.

 

 

Pots of lavender await planting

One-gallon pots of lavender await planting

 

 

 

 

Now, they are hardening off in my garden until I get around to planting them.

 

 

The word “dentata” means toothed and a closer examination of the foliage reveals fringed indentations.

 

 

This aromatic, shrub has been around for centuries. Valued for its ornamental and medicinal properties, it also is used for soil erosion control. Once established, the lavender is drought tolerant.

 

 

Many gardeners love this lavender for its gray-green leaves. When other flowering plants in the garden have finished their blooming cycle, this lavender keeps producing tall spikes of bright purple florets.

 

 

Not as brilliant in color as the English or Spanish lavender, the French lavender is lovely grouped together in a single area where its flower stalks can sway in the wind. Our honeybees and other pollinators love it.

 

 

 

*          *          *

 

 

 

If you are a fan of cozy mysteries and love farmette topics like gardening of heirloom vegetables, herbs, and fruits as well as keeping chickens and bees, check out my Henny Penny Farmette series of cozy mysteries from Kensington Publishing.

 

 

The first book in the Henny Penny Farmette series, Kensington Books 2015

The debut novel in the Henny Penny Farmette series sold out its first printing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Besides a cozy mystery to solve, these books mix in delicious recipes, farming and gardening tips, facts about keeping bees and chickens, and morsels of farm wisdom.

 

 

The third novel in the Henny Penny Farmette series is due out in September 2017

COMING SOON– Sept. 2017, the third novel in the Henny Penny Farmette series

 

 

 

 

 

The second cozy  mystery in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Sept. 29, 2016

The second cozy mystery in the series

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