Photo Friday: Bee Friended

Last night I interviewed a long-time friend, Tina, about her hobby.  She and her dad are beekeepers. Turns out her dad wanted to be a beekeeper since he was 10 years old.

Tina noticed a class at the community college and the rest is history. Dad is 83 years old now and still out their living 80 pound beehives along with Tina.

I learned a lot about bees and how they work, work, work.  I learned the origin of “freebie.” Yes, when you get something for nothing.  I learned about colony collapse.

I’m writing a feature for the local paper, but I bet I’ll have a bunch of info left to share on a STEM day.

For now, I’m sharing a photo I took in my flower garden.  Bees are rather friendly creatures. As Tina says, “They just want to work.”

Here’s a photo of my grandson petting one of our bees. Okay, the bee isn’t really ours, he belongs to a hive.  Isn’t it just so human to claim nature as ours?

Petting a bee

Going Casual in my Costco clothes and Eliza B’s

Today it’s cold and dreary.  I want summer.  But I’m practical, too. It’s that time of the month again: three deadlines all at once.  Lucky me.  I have a massage scheduled for this afternoon.

A white crochet knit sweater with a white camisole underneath, tops off my skinny jeans.  Both the sweater and jeans are Costco finds.  The cami is from The Loft. I took a tip from 50Feeling40, with a tunic top over skinnies.

I slipped on my Eliza B’s just because I want summer so bad.Costo clothes


I love my Eliza B’s.  For more about these wonderful, made to order American sandals click here.  My first pair lasted 10 years.



So probably everybody knows about these little loopy things, but me.  I thought they were only for keeping my slouch shoulder sweaters and shirts on the hanger. But NO.  I can wrap them around my bra strap, right at the top of my shoulder and voilà, the sweater stays even along the hemline.

costco clothes - 3

Philosophy and Ecology

Niagra Falls - 1

I was in fifth or sixth grade, the first time I questioned mankind’s desire to control Mother Nature. Teacher talked about Niagra Falls and how the fast flowing water was quickly eroding the beautiful Falls.  Two countries of engineer and experts set about to stop this from happening.  I raised my hand:

Might we be stopping something even more beautiful from happening?

After all, isn’t that the way the Grand Canyon got here? Teacher gave a now familiar expression.  The one that communicates “you ask too many questions.”

Years later, Dr. Koch, a PhD in ecology, spoke to my college class with the answer to my question:

Ecology is studying organisms and how they relate to one-another and their physical surrounding.  It’s not about mankind making things happen.

At the same time, mankind is, indeed, one of the organisms in the physical surrounding. In some ways, we are like the waterfowl carrying vegetation to new lands. Or like a bear carrying seeds on her coat, scruffed off, to take root acres away.

Our landscape would be much different without mankind inadvertently changing the environment.

We would be without honeybees.  The honeybee got here via Europe. Beekeepers say that

 “Every third bite we eat is from Honeybees.”

Before honeybees, pollination, for the most part, depended on wind.  Many of the foods we eat could not survive without the honeybees. And now agribusiness threatens bee colonies across the land.cone flower - 1

Europeans also brought earthworms. Without earthworms, the forest is covered with decaying leaves, which fed many plants and animals.  Earthworms make short work of leaf litter, changing the forest forever. Although an earthworm stays within the same acre of land throughout his life, it’s difficult to put a spade in the ground anywhere without finding one today.

Before the Pilgrims, cultivation as we know it didn’t exist.  Clearing land changed the ability to hold moisture and nutrients. Forests of Elm and Chestnuts disappeared due to changes in the ecosystem that mankind - 1

And what about the Carrier Pigeons? Hunting caused these native birds to become extinct.  These birds were so prevalent in the 19th century that migrating flocks darkened the sky from sunrise to sunset.  When they perched for the night, they left whole stands of trees limbless and the ground covered with rich, albeit nasty “fertilizer.” I can’t help but wonder what filled the space they left. Would we have as many English Sparrows?  What about Indigo Buntings and Scarlet Tangiers? Would we have as many Cardinals?

Zebra Mussels, Asian Carp, Kudzu, Moss Balls.  All invasive.  All changing the environment.  All introduced my mankind by accident or  on purpose.

Mankind seems to be the only sentient being that tries to control the ecology.  Two interesting reads on the subject are

As we go about trying to correct some of the problems mankind creates, it’s probably a good idea to remember the law of unintended consequences:

intervention in a complex system tends to create unanticipated and often undesirable outcomes.

English: Erosion caused by rabbits in a gully ...

English: Erosion caused by rabbits in a gully in South Australia. Category:Images of Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some unintended consequences might be positive, like vineyards in California. Some might be neutral, like the sparrows.  And some might be perverse.  Introducing rabbits for hunting in Australia, seemed like a good idea at the time.

As we try to undo some of the harm we’ve created by our attempts to control our environment, it is wise to remember we are part of the environment.  We don’t exist aside from the ecology in which we live.

It only takes observing a blade of grass poking through a sidewalk to realize it’s nothing but hubris to believe we can completely control our environment.

Gratitude Monday (Revisited) Lots More


Last year’s rhubarb looked gone to seed and looking pretty.

 This week, I tried to jot some things down. I think I might be missing some of the little things, the precious things, the everyday things.  All the things that slip right by me making me happy. Thursday, on my drive to volunteering, a smile popped into my brain.  I love writing for the Marengo Union Times and the McHenry Chronicle.  I get to write, learn new things, and meet a slew of interesting people.  This is a job that fits the me I love to be.

The role of a writer is to build the reader up, not to tea them down. – E. B. White

  • Warm weather and songbirds singing through open windows.  I love the sound of the wind rippling through the tree, lawnmowers in the distance, mixed in with cardinals singing and blue jays keep the peace.
  • Children laughing, and fighting; shouting encouragement, and whooping for joy as they play kickball next door.
  • “On Being” a Sunday morning NPR program with Krista Tippett.  This week she introduced me to the creator of  I think I met another best friend through the airways.
  • 20 new agents to query, one more rejection.  I’m that much closer to finding the right fit.  Like dating, I tell myself.  Not everyone is right for me.
  • Electric edgers. I love the way the edge of the sidewalk, the curb, and the flowerbeds make the grass stand at attention.  “That’s far enough,” They seem to say.  “End of my territory.” (Perhaps that’s actually my message to the grass.)
  • A change in diet.  I no longer need to take in 50% protein.  Now it’s 25% protein, 50% carbohydrates, and 30% fat. Yay for a little bread and butter.  Did someone say carrots and peas?  Maybe a baked potato.
  • A writers’ conference within driving distance, with a discount for community members.  It’s not booked and neither am I.
  • Rhubarb and Hilda’s Rhubarb crunch.  Enough to make and enough to share.  Nothing says summer is her than an over abundance of rhubarb.
  • Running into people I known for a couple of years and yet never met.  Oh my! A face to match the voice.  So good to meet you Jenny!
  • New ideas that get me pumped.  That’s all I’m saying right now.  You may just see some changes.
  • Tiny ballerinas in not so perfect formation.  I love dance, anyways, but there’s something special about beginners doing their best.  And especially special if one of the dancers is Miss G.
  • Spell-check and good glasses.  I worked from my iPad and the WordPress app yesterday.  I couldn’t find some key features, and my old eyes misses many mistakes.  And what happened to my title, drat it all?! Apologies all around, dear readers.

I love starting the week with a little gratitude.  It’s like the way the air smells after a thunderstorm: Filled with possibilities and freshness, and charged with electricity.  If you want to see more gratitude lists, join Laurel Reagan over at Alphabet Salad.  She’s the blogger who got me sharing.

TBT: May Coronation

It’s Thursday, so that means a trip down memory lane.  Please join me on my other blog as I reminisce about small town, friends, and nuns. Click here to  get there: Queen of the May  I hope this memory makes you smile as much as it did me.adela grade 1, toothless

OFOTW: She Knows Experts Among Us

This month, I went to my first ever “Listen to Your Mother” production.  No I wasn’t performing, just listening.  But next year…. Next year I’m auditioning.

The very day, just around the corner, I went to a “SheKnows Experts Among Us” cocktail party and meetup.  I got an invitation as a Media Influencer.  Yay!

I wore one of my Karina Dresses. I love these dresses because they are made in America, and maybe more importantly, they slip with no muss or fuss, right out of the package.  I wash mine in a lingerie bag and dry it on a hanger, but you can tumble dry. I can stuff it into a suitcase and it comes out perfect.  Karina makes dresses designed for several body types, so the cut is always flattering.

My platform flip-flops are from Candie on the clearance rack and my sweater is from Kohl’s.  It’s just slug over my shoulder, cuz the we

STEM Tuesday: The Human Microbiome and Birth

Did you ever think about birth and breast-feeding as part integral to health and wellness?

I can hear your thoughts and see your eyes rolling:

What? Do you think I’ve been living under a rock?

Today, I sharing a bit about newborns and the Human Microbiome.

Yes, I still so excited about this international project that I start talking about it like an enthused conspiracy theorist. Yes, Continue reading