Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Hint of Spring . . .

On a hill over looking Hamilton Gardens http://www.hamiltongardens.co.nz/ , there is the old city cemetary. I happened to be up there today collecting tree samples and saw the first snowdrops of the season, I also noticed some of the early cherry trees budding and heard a tui - that was the bonus !

The cemetary isn`t used for burials anymore, unless you have a family plot, it is a very peaceful place to be with many of Hamilton`s early settlers resting there, plus a large soldiers plot. The saddest part for me is the childrens area, so little and so many - often from one family . . .
Still, spring is heralding her coming with buds bursting and bright, clear days.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Winter Bees - Sylvia Plath Poetry . .

Below are 2 of my favourite Sylvia Plath poems centered around bees with her very unusual understanding and slightly mad interpretations. Sylvia, born in Boston USA, had a short but interesting life, suffering from depression after a breakdown during her college years. Her father kept bees and had written 2 books about bees - Sylvia had a very close relationship with her father and was devastated after he died.
Her marriage to English poet Ted Hughes produced 2 children, but the unhappy, unbalanced woman committed suicide in 1963 in England.


Sylvia Plath 1932-1963

This is the easy time, there is nothing doing.

I have whirled the midwife`s extractor,
I have my honey,
Six jars of it,
Six cat`s eyes in the wine cellar,

Wintering in a dark without window
At the heart of the house
Next to the last tenants rancid jam
and the bottles of empty glitters ....
Sir So-and-So`s gin.

This is the room I have never been in
This is the room I could never breathe in.
The black bunched in there likle a bat,
No light
But the torch and its faint

Chinese yellow on appalling objects ....
Black asininity. Decay.
It is they who own me.
Neither cruel nor indifferent,

Only ignorant.
This is the time of hanging on for the bees...the bees
so slow I hardly know them,
Filing like soldiers
To the syrup tin

To make up the honey I`ve taken.
Tate and Lyle keeps them going,
The refined snow.
It is Tate and Lyle they live on, instead of flowers.
They take it. The cold sets in.

Now they ball in a mass,
Mind against all that white.
The smile of the snow is white.
It spreads itself out, a mile long body of Meissen,

Into which, on warm days,
They can only carry their dead.
The bees are all women,
Maids and the long royal lady.
They have got rid of the men,

The blunt, clumpsy stumblers, the boors.
Winter is for women ....
The woman, still at her knitting,
At the cradle of Spanish walnut,
Her body a bulb in the cold and too dumb to think.

Will the hive survive, will the gladiolas
Succeed in banking their fires
To enter another year ?
What will they taste of, the Christmas roses ?
The bees are flying. They taste the spring.


Square as a chair and almost too heavy to lift.
I would say it was the coffin of a midget
Or a square baby
Were there not such a din in it.

The box is locked, it is dangerous.
I have to live with it overnight
And I can't keep away from it.
There are no windows, so I can't see what is in there.
There is only a little grid, no exit.

I put my eye to the grid.
It is dark, dark,
With the swarmy feeling of African hands
Minute and shrunk for export,
Black on black, angrily clambering.

How can I let them out?
It is the noise that appalls me most of all,
The unintelligible syllables.
It is like a Roman mob,
Small, taken one by one, but my god, together!

I lay my ear to furious Latin.
I am not a Caesar.
I have simply ordered a box of maniacs.
They can be sent back.
They can die, I need feed them nothing, I am the owner.

I wonder how hungry they are.
I wonder if they would forget me
If I just undid the locks and stood back and turned into a tree.
There is the laburnum, its blond colonnades,
And the petticoats of the cherry.

They might ignore me immediately
In my moon suit and funeral veil.
I am no source of honey
So why should they turn on me?
Tomorrow I will be sweet God, I will set them free.

The box is only temporary.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Starting the next Venture . . .

Abit blurred I know, but hey its a start to my next venture !! My son Cameron manages a printing firm and very kindly, for his dear old Mum, printed my business cards and they are cool. Bright yellow with black writing, the bee being drawn by my youngest daughter, Ellena, on the lovely Mothers Day card she made for me - I love it, so decided to use it for my cards. Ora means pure in the Maori language. I will get the stickers for the honey jars in the same design.
Don`t you love that happy bee ? ? - although those wings might prove a tad useless - at least she hasn`t got a sting !

Favourite Reading . .

Above are some of my `bee` titles, ( my copy of `Robbing the Bees` is lent out) I do have a small collection of much older, some from last century, beekeeping books and a huge, some would say, over-the-top amount of infomation I have gathered about bees, beekeeping, anything remotely connected to bees - especially historical .

Most of the books I have had to send overseas for, the older ones I have found at second-hand book shops. My blogger friend Julia very kindly sent me a copy of her book `The Sweet Life` which is full of her beautiful photos and well written story of her and her family`s first year of beekeeping - her blog is great also, check out `Henhouse Pottery` .

One book I would recommend reading for all beekeepers and anyone who cares about what is happening to our world, is `Fruitless Fall` by Rowan Jacobsen - you know how everyone scoffed at Rachel Carson after she wrote `Silent Spring` ( another `must` read for all humans), well, the day has come my friends, and we are are going to have to work very hard to make things right or even , just abit better . . .

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Winter morning market place . .

On a brisk, sunny winter`s morning the monthly farmers market is held at Tamahere, a small district on the outskirts of Hamilton city. The market, which has over 100 stalls, is held in the grounds of St Stephans, a delightful old wooden church, surrounded by trees and gravestones. In fact, the oldest and largest Rhododendron tree grows in this churchyard.

The stalls sell everything from fresh fruit, veges, all seasonal and fresh from the orchards that surround this area, plus nuts, coffee, yummy pastries, honey and home-made crafts. I particularly enjoy the plant stalls as they are always good value for money and healthy plants. A friend has a herb nursery and she always does very well at this market. I never buy eggs anywhere else as I know they come from happy chookies who roam free - the eggs look and taste different anyway !
This is a very popular market, one of many held around NZ on a Sat or Sun. It has grown hugely, is a great place for a wander around, taste the cheeses, sip a good hot coffee, have a yarn to someone you know and take life abit more gently then usual . .
There is often music playing, a South American group with their flutes, youngsters busking - nothing to loud and distracting - all in all, a very pleasent morning spent.