Friday, April 27, 2007

The bees ate my pottery wheel

"The bees ate my pottery wheel" - that was the subject line of the e-mail that I read first yesterday morning. And it continued to be the subject of my thoughts as I dug up another raised bed in the garden this morning.

I could have been digging fence post holes for sheep fence, (CJ, left, born Easter morning is one of the 23 reasons for sheep fence) or gathering rock for the foundation on the garden cottage, or burning brush to get rid of the ticks, or clearing scrub from the area we want to make into pasture, or any one of an almost endless list of things that all seem to need to be done, Now!
But I had decided to dig the bed for the carrots - so, the carrots ate my garden cottage!

To back track a little -
Because I am writing this blog, it is about me and my perceptions. But I am not doing this homestead thing alone. Not only are Shawn and Lena here throwing balls in this juggling act we call Foxbriar Farm, there are many, many people working on this project.

Our dear friends, Robin and Summer, actually own the land that is Foxbriar and have collected much of the human community that is attached to it. They are also funding much of the infrastructure.

Summer wrote the quote above. Yesterday was her birthday. We have been e-mailing back and forth, worrying about Colony Collapse Disorder and wondering what we could do and how it will affect our farming aspirations. Shawn had contacted a "bee guy" in northwestern Arkansas about getting bees. Researchers cite cell phones, GMO crops and a fungus as possible causes of the bee die-off. We don't have anybody raising crops up here on Fox mountain, cell phones don't work up here... and fungus, well it grows great, in all forms, but hopefully local bees who are not being trucked about the country would be immune. And the forests here at Foxbriar are starting to bloom with bee food - like the honey suckle belo

We thought we could get bees and they should be safe here. But bees are expensive - and you need hives and supers and a smoker and other bee gear.

So, Summer (and Robin!) offered the funds to cover Beeing at Foxbriar. We are going to pick up the little buzzers on Sunday and we are researching everything we can find on bees right now, during breaks from carving, weaving, crocheting, felting and packing orders.
But Summer's e-mail pointed out the trade-offs that we are all making, and that everyone makes in their daily lives. She could have had her long-desired pottery wheel for her birthday. She's wanted it for .... well... I really hate figuring out that the years are moving faster... let's just say a very long time.

Instead, we are all going together and getting bees. I hope they thrive and grow and give all of us many years of pollination and honey and bees wax. Thanks Summer!

There are many others helping with this adventure. My parents have provided support way beyond filling up the truck with diesel (and that costs a mint!); getting us baby chickies; and spending a week of their busy schedule out here slashing through catbriar and wild rose bushes and Icky, Icky Ticks to help us get horse fence up. Shawn's folks have helped out whenever we asked, and even when we didn't!

Our wonderful customers have helped by being patient when orders are a bit delayed because we are trying to get a barn up - and by their continued loyalty in purchasing from us while things are a wee bit chaotic. This enterprise seems to bring out the most wonderful people. We have had customers e-mail and offer housing for the sheep. Others opened their homes to us as we were moving. Many people who started out as customers and business associates have become dear friends.

And as we get rolling other people are chipping in, with offers of pasture, money for motar for the garden cottage and many other things. I am terrible at remembering to say "Thank You,"
but I do appreciate everyone and their help. If I start listing off people, I will inevitably leave out the most important ones and feel guilty forever more (I'm still sorry Lisa!), so, here and now I'll just say thank you. And get back to work...

Back to juggling resources - Summer's bees ate her pottery wheel, Sheep fence may just eat the chicken house....
Only 24 hours in a day - right now I have 23 orders to ship - then - do I plant in the garden, cut cordwood for the cottage, build fence for the sheep, do book work for the business, make stock for the store, do marketing for the shop.....

And then there's a gift or investment of money from a friend for the farm. Do we buy fence for the sheep, motar for the cottage, perhaps some windows, grown-up chickens to eat ticks, grass seed to plant some pasture or herbs for the bee garden or....

Your comments, suggestions, energy, wishes, prayers and thoughts are always welcome. Send an e-mail - or come dig fence post holes!

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