Tag Archives: Bees

The Current State of Bees

A few links to actions you can take, and organizations that need donations.

This first-of-its-kind report found bee-killing pesticides in more than half of the “bee-friendly” home garden plants sold at stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s — with no warning to consumers.

As a mom and organic gardener, I was shocked to learn that I may have unknowingly filled my backyard with hidden bee poisons.

So the next step of our campaign is to turn up the heat on Home Depot’s CEO Frank Blake and Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock.  They must stop selling these dangerous pesticides.

Write to them.

the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released rules and new labels for pesticides containing the neonicotinoids imidacloprid, dinotefuran, clothianidin and thiamethoxam. These labels feature a special warning and prohibit use of these products where bees are present. While this is a good sign, it’s not enough. We know that bees need more protection, and we need more research so that we can better understand the impacts of these and other pesticides on pollinator habitat.

Your work and enthusiasm has helped move the EPA, but we need “The Save America’s Pollinators Act” to pass Congress. If you haven’t already, can you call your representative right now to demand that “The Save America’s Pollinators Act” be included in the Farm Bill to protect pollinators?

Call them.

A bill was just introduced in Congress that would ban neonics until a scientific studies could prove no harm will come to bee populations from their use.

Passing this bill won’t be easy. Big Agriculture and chemical companies are already lobbying hard to defeat it. Massive public support is the only chance the bees have. Over 100,000 Greenpeace supporters helped raise the profile of this issue last month. Together we now have a chance to save the bees before it is too late.

Urge your representative to support the Save America’s Pollinators Act and save the bees!

And write to them.

Mrs. Obama understands the importance of pesticide-free organic gardening and the importance of bees for the health of our food supply, our families and our planet.

But since many home garden plants and seeds are pre-treated with these pesticides, the first lady could be poisoning bees without even realizing it.

Ask Michelle Obama to take a stand.

 

Donation opportunities:

A gift-matching donation to help Friends of the Earth.

EarthJustice also needs help fighting the recent approval of sulfoxaflor, another highly toxic chemical.

And Greenpeace has also been working hard.

A Month for Freyr: Bread and Honey

By necessity, the extent of what I had planned to do for our wedding has been trimmed back severely; however, we will still bake bread, and we will eat it with raw honey.

It must be the simplest thing, though bread for celiacs is never simple or cheap, that anyone can do as an offering, as a devotion, as a way of connecting. Even if the bread is store-bought. If it’s not pre-sliced, it probably works a little better, but he is ever understanding and rarely picky. The heart is what matters.

The grains of the land, the sun, the work, tending, tilling, hoping, waiting, harvesting, milling. Fields rippling in the wind.

(“Fields of Gold” unintentionally starts playing in my head.)

The bread mix and other things it needs, minus eggs, and the raw honey were ordered from Amazon, because I don’t seem to have half of my insurance anymore and the reason I would’ve gone downtown on Tuesday seems to be moot. Also, not having to carry all of it is a distinct bonus.

It will be good to resume the habit of eating raw honey every day, as he would like me to do.

The honey we’ve had has been called “raw” but it is filtered and looks like any other sort of honey, and I feel distrustful of it in terms of fulfilling his request.

I used to cook with sourwood honey when I lived in the south, and there is no source for sourwood up here (you can order it online, but I don’t know if anyone sells it raw), and when I told the man at the honey stand about my love of sourwood, he and the woman both gushed about it. I left with a large container of buckwheat honey, which has a depth and richness that is reminiscent of sourwood, and is overall very, very good. I will eat wildflower and clover honey if I have no other choice, but my preferences lie in the direction of things that are less overwhelmingly sweet.

I tasted honey made from tea trees, which is very expensive and was purchased for medicinal use for someone (facial application after electrolysis treatments), and thought it was intriguing in flavor, but the price point — goodness. Still, if some money lies around, it would be good to have on hand for medicinal purposes.

Making this bread for him, with him, and eating it together… that will be what binds us.

There will be fancy everything elsewhere, with his family. I think I may port my marriage cord over with me, so that we can use it where we both have a corporeal substance, and let his father have the honor of tying it.

Here, I may wind it about my wrist and hand, and the offering bread, the marriage bread.

I have, in recent days, been feeling softer and quieter. Both heavy and ungrounded. As if I am seeping into something, or vice versa. My chest aches over my heart. There is so little room inside the human body for a heart that is trying to become a mountain, a woodland, a lake.

There is a great deal of receptivity in the softness. Whatever is becoming me, or whatever I am becoming, the assent is total, and I drift slowly into a silent place that is like a grotto at the bottom of the ocean. Tide moves unstoppably. There is no argument in me against any of it; I accept it completely. Shifted by currents, and the vast oceans of the sea sweeping through me.

Honey Willow

Another petition for our bees.

He suggested I updated the title and tagline for my blog, though not the url, because that would be too confusing–also I’m unlikely to stop being Shannon Kotono, since the name he is giving me when we are married is going in the middle of my name.

I wondered if one of his suggested updates would be better after we were married, but he said something about technicalities with a hand wave.

As for the title, I was starting to feel odd about the terms his home/our home. Is it presumptuous to say ours, if I spend much of my elsewhere time there? If, I suppose especially, the people there accept me as someone who belongs there and they care for me, and things that belong to me are there (generally clothes, but they’re obviously my clothes)?

He thought the only way to make it something ours was to think of a name that suited both of us somehow. I couldn’t think of much, in part because what I kept thinking of reminded me of a very unpleasant person, which is not fair to us.

I kept coming back to this, however, and he suggested it independently, and so it is.

Rest

Another important bee petition.

I donated some money the other day to a fundraiser, also about bees.

My necklace came last night, and I opened the package enough to find out what was in it, but didn’t look further than glancing at the packing slip. It seems like I should save it for the wedding.  Which is now just slightly over a month away.

After his period of being furious about these recent circumstances, he came back to me and held on to me as if I were in danger of being evicted from him. I needed it. As much as I try to protest that I cannot possibly be important to anyone, let alone a god, further let alone a god that has many more interesting people to pay attention to, we do need each other, somehow, for some reason. I spent most of the intervening time with him, laying together in bed, not really talking, but being close to each other. I do not know how to be in a relationship that requires large amounts of conversation. I need these things. Silence. Closeness. Understanding.

Early this morning, I drew Isa, and just now, when I asked for one from Freyr, I drew Isa again.

There’s so much to do.

But rest, it says. Rest.

And he adds, warm, tender, nearly against my mouth, Rest. What can you do when you have nothing left to give? Rest. Sleep in my arms. The last bit a hovering question without quite necessitating a question mark, but neither an imperative. Something he wants me to do, but I have plenty of room to be uncomfortable about it for myriad reasons and need to not be that physically close to someone, or asleep in front of someone, which is a very vulnerable position, and so on.

But I think about going home and being wrapped in a robe that is somehow softer than silk, done in a shade to complement my eyes, with black trim, similar to my hair. And just laying down in his bed. Such a dense frame. Heavy wood. Deeply carven. A canopy, useful for shutting out the sunlight from the right, where there’s a fair sized window, and collecting the warmth from the fire on the left in cooler seasons.

Having him pass it along without my being aware of it, or before I get there, that we, or I, shouldn’t be disturbed, otherwise lovely, well-meaning people will fuss over me, because I am some sort of darling of theirs. When I can’t handle people. And he always knows when I can’t handle people. Even when I can’t handle spirits and wights.

I do feel very tired. I haven’t slept well since some time in June.

Bees and Dreams and Mostly Mundane Food

It isn’t a great surprise that I sign everything that comes up regarding the health and protection of bees. I’ve been doing it for years, though it has an additional level of meaning and importance, now. Please add your name.

I dreamt about a grocery store in which there were local people with small stands selling things from their own gardens inside it, and it was regulated/protected by an ancient Buddhist sect of warriors from some place that I am not certain exists on a map. I keep losing the name of it.

In it, I was a much younger boy, probably eighteen or nineteen at the most, who was there with a girl he had a desperate crush on, and someone who was a type of father figure to him (played by Jeff Bridges in his younger Tron days). The girl was more interested (by far) in the man, but hope springs eternal. I was running through the place at the end looking for mushrooms for her, because she had talked about how much she had liked them, and I was cursing myself for a fool in a myriad of ways for forgetting how much she liked mushrooms, when the woman (who was a witch; we somehow quietly acknowledged that we both knew this) I’d purchased two “pounds” (somehow three ordinary-sized bulbs each?) of garlic from was also selling shiitakes and button mushrooms. But by the time I’d run back there from the check out counter, the people selling things had disappeared and all of their booths were completely gone. I also couldn’t find any in the ordinary produce section, and I was running out of time, because they were both impatiently waiting for me and I was holding up the line (all of this being quite typical of things I would have an incapacitating panic attack over — inconveniencing other people seems to be one of my greatest fears, as sad as that is).

I wanted to spend more time with the garlic and mushroom growing witch-woman. While this was more than likely a stress-induced brain-cleaning dream, she stood out. She was a thin woman with short steel grey hair, glasses, and a face that had done its fair share of frowning at people in its lifetime, but she was not unpleasant to talk to at all. She was a little shorter than me, but I couldn’t tell if I had something like my own height or if I were a different height in the dream, so I’d cautiously put her in the 5’6 ‘average’ height range for white women. She was looking up at me when we spoke.

I think she’d likely had to struggle to be accepted in her community (the one in the dream, if nothing else) and that had caused a great deal of frowning and a mile-wide set of defensive fortifications, with a mix of walls, moats, and razor wire. But I had accepted and respected her, as well as the very high quality and vitality of her produce from the start — there was a woman beside her also selling mushrooms which I barely glanced at. Hers were… sort of limply generic, while the witch-woman’s thrummed with life. I had a feeling that I was getting an extra bulb of garlic in each of the sets of three for free, as well. Perhaps for respecting her and her skills.

I have dreams. Prophetic dreams, and all sorts of dreams. So I cannot help wondering if this were actually someone coming to meet me in an otherwise odd circumstance. If she sounds like someone to you, please let me know in the comments?

I do not comparatively have a lot of contact with female deities and spirits (Auðhelga and Beyla are the only people I see regularly), but I would like to change that.

We seem to have caught colds from the dinner at the restaurant. Impressive immune systems, all around.

My every intention for tomorrow was to buy groceries for us and for them, but I think their meal may be delayed until I have to go out again on Tuesday. Getting groceries for the mostly-human people in the house is very important, whereas I think they will be content with beverage offerings for the time being. There is some atrocious cinnamon schnappes that none of us would drink that Loki is happy with, though I’d love to uncover his cinnamon tea; I’m sure his son would enjoy partaking of it. Freyr likes honey-lemon-ginger tea, which I must partake of and do not mind at all. Odin seems to like coffee, though I don’t know how he takes it. He’s made it rather clear that he doesn’t share, aside from potentially the taste test to ensure it’s all right.

If he takes it sweetened, I don’t know the status of sugar in the house, but honey aplenty and we also have agave (and stevia, though somehow I think this would get some sort of world-shaking No).

As for cream, it’s just almond milk.

I don’t mind keeping a small amount of cream around. We all like whipping cream and it could get used up, especially if we made some minor excuse to procure maraschino cherries (Loki likes them! That’s a reason!). Or we could get soy creamer — Silk made a vanilla kind back in the early 2000s that appeased the coffee snobs around here very, very well, and I’ve still seen it on shelves. We’re not opposed to dairy, but V loves soy in all its permutations and Brand and I are almond milk people. Or at least I am, and he’s discovered his delicious it is.

We hope to begin making soy milk soon and using the leftover okara in various dishes, as its mainly fiber and protein and who couldn’t use more of that? Especially in place of rice in our standard beans with lots of garlic, red pepper, and jalapeno or habanero sauce. The added protein makes it even better for we veggie types (me).

V goes through soy milk at a rapid pace and I’ve read that you can cut down batches from $4-5 at the grocery to $1.50 or less. Plus you can make tofu, which is apparently much more delicious than anything you’ve ever tried, and then there’s the useful okara.

Honey went absolutely everywhere this morning and is still significantly present on the tv table we put this laptop on. There is a place that sells local honey that we brought home two mason jars full of. It’s listed as raw honey, but the jars were very hot when they were brought home, and I wonder if that was too warm for it to be considered raw, still, as it’s kept heated to make it liquid enough to be dispensed easily. It’s the transparent colour of most honeys. I’m used to the pale yellow opaque sort of raw honey.

I think I need to research the entire topic more. The raw honey I buy from the grocery is not local, but paid for with food stamps, which is a benefit. But local honey has its own benefits, particularly toward spring when we have tremendously unpleasant allergies.

I also need to find the time and energy to go to the greenmarket and see what sort of honey they have, these days, since the greenmarket also takes food stamps, and it is summer, and there should be lots of lovely things.