While we are on the topic of honey, I just want to put it out there that NOT all honey is equal. I am frustrated with the “business” side of the industry that chooses to market the processed stuff as natural, when in truth there is little left that is natural about it.
Like all living food, heating it to about 117 degrees kills all the enzymes along with many of its health benefits. The USDA and others have made us afraid to eat raw foods, which to me is crazy. And I get particularly nuts when I run into some poor unsuspecting mom who is spending a little more in her already-tight budget for processed honey, thinking she is doing right by her family. I’m not upset at her; I am upset at the machine that markets in a way that deceives her into spending her hard-earned dollars.
This song by the Archies played loud in my mind as I received my first bee stings of the season. They got me while I was reaching my hand into my beautiful lavender bush. Luckily, I am not allergic to the little guys. Dancing around in pain, I found myself scolding them. “Hey! Don’t you know that I am on your side? I planted bee-friendly plants just like MaryJane, Burt’s Bees and the rest suggested! I even follow the bee project, reading all I can on the plight of you guys. Did you not get the memo?”
While watching my finger swell, I was reminded of the scene from Bee Movie where Adam is lying in the hospital bed, hooked up to honey after stinging the mean lawyer guy. Somehow my anger dissipated at the thought that now I too have an injured bee on hand.
I have a very special place in my heart for my grandma Doris. And while I don’t tell her often enough, the fact that my eyes can well up with tears at the very mention of her name should speak volumes.
I am adopted, and at the age of eight I became a part of her family. I knew her before she became mine, since she taught Missionettes at a local church. The Missionette program was a program that helped to teach young girls the art of being “ladies.” I was a “bus kid,” bussed to church from the wrong side of the tracks. My grandma Doris, Auntie Wanda, Shirley and Harriett all had special strengths – characteristics that I aspired to as a young girl, and admire now as a woman. I was a good student, I think. I was focused, wanting so much to be like these amazing women.
Last week I was given the most amazing gift – time away camping on the Spokane River. Many times during my mini vacation, I found myself totally mystified that with all the things I had going on in my life, I was still able to just sit and relax. There is something about fresh air and bonfires that lend themselves to relaxation. I caught myself sitting by the fire literally thinking about nothing. I can’t remember the last time that I just sat and pondered air. There, I was content to listen to the water rushing, the talking and laughing, of the fellow campers and the occasional mosquito buzzing around my head. Even with the company of the mosquito, I sat there totally relaxed and happy. I melted into the scene as a bystander.
I have heard it said, “If you want friends, show yourself friendly.” I am blessed to say that I have never found it particularly hard to make friends. I do, however, feel that I have “realms” of friends. I have those that are acquaintances and those that are more than acquaintances but not best friends. Then there is my “inner circle,” that smaller group of gals that I will let my hair down with. It is with that inner circle of friends that my melancholy side can show, where I don’t have to be “on,” and my nerdy alter ego (who I call LaDonna), seems to feel so comfy that she takes up residence when they are around.
I genuinely love watching kids be kids. There is a sweetness and innocence in their inquiring minds. I love that they are not bound by the restrictions of time and don’t feel the need to worry about what someone might think; they aren’t willing to carry the weight of the world’s politics. As parents, having a little girl with a pink sundress stained with Kool-Aid, piggy-tails undone and misplaced shoes exposing dirty feet are the best testimonies to a great day and time well-spent.
They can reveal so much about us—not only to others, but to ourselves. The first time that our eyes met, I knew I was a goner. His big brown eyes, blonde hair and bad boy behavior had me. He spoke to my inner wild child, and I knew that if I stepped into this relationship I would spend the rest of my life captive to it. Yet I also knew that there was no holding back, and it was a leap I was all too willing to take.
There isn’t a farmgirl I have talked to who doesn’t have a similar story.
I have often considered writing a book entitled “Everything I Need to Know About Life, I Learned in the Garden”. It is true, really. I would have chapters like Everything is a Weed if It’s Growing In the Wrong Place, Proper Planning Makes Things Easier, Oftentimes You Just Have to Pull the Weeds to Make Room for the Good Stuff (And the Ones That Refuse to Leave May Need a Little Hoeing), Proper Soil Leads to a Healthy Crop, Wild Oats Always Leave Residual Work (But the Memories Make You Smile While You’re Tending the Mess), The Right Tools Make All the Chores Easier, and Grow Where You are Planted.
Alexandra Wilson, Our New Rural Farmgirl, is a budding rural farmgirl living in Palmer, the agricultural seat of Alaska. Alex is a graduate student at Alaska Pacific University pursuing an M.S. in Outdoor and Environmental Education. She lives and works on the university’s 700 acre environmental education center, Spring Creek Farm. When Alex has time outside of school, she loves to rock climb, repurpose found objects, cross-country ski on the hay fields, travel, practice yoga, and cook with new-fangled ingredients.
Alex grew up near the Twin Cities and went to college in Madison, Wisconsin—both places where perfectly painted barns and rolling green farmland are just a short drive away. After college, she taught at a rural middle school in South Korea where she biked past verdant rice paddies and old women selling home-grown produce from sidewalk stoops. She was introduced to MaryJanesFarm after returning, and found in it what she’d been searching for—a group of incredible women living their lives in ways that benefit their families, their communities, and the greater environment. What an amazing group of farmgirls to be a part of!
Libbie Zenger Previous Rural Farmgirl, June 2010 – Jan 2012 Libbie’s a small town farmgirl who lives in the high-desert Sevier Valley of Central Utah on a 140-year-old farm with her husband and two darling little farmboys — as well as 30 ewes; 60 new little lambs; a handful of rams; a lovely milk cow, Evelynn; an old horse, Doc; two dogs; a bunch o’ chickens; and two kitties.
René Groom Previous Rural Farmgirl, April 2009 – May 2010 René lives in Washington state’s wine country. She grew up in the dry-land wheat fields of E. Washington, where learning to drive the family truck and tractors, and “snipe hunting,” were rites of passage. She has dirt under her nails and in her veins. In true farmgirl fashion, there is no place on Earth she would rather be than on the farm.