Sunday

{ The Best-Of .. Winnie Diaries }

Hello Friends : )

   We've been thinking about doing this for a long time - making a page of links, leading to some of our favorite blogs from the past ..

   Aaaaanyway, here's a start : )

 enjoy !!

loVe,
p&j



{Blue Moon} 


{ Message in a Bottle } 


{Building - Miss Winnie - Act One} 


{ Current Winnie Collage }


{ Venice Beach, behind the scenes } 


{ Before it was BeesWax .. The Untold Story behind Pollen Arts }


{ SHAME on you TARGET - an Etsy Rip Off.. ; ( } 


{Flight of the Hummingbird} 


 { Unveiling the Bees - a long night }


{Juwels and her Concrete Wave}


{ when sparks fly - part one of many } 


{Around the Water Cooler } 


{ A caterpillar's story .. } 


{Camping at the Creek} 


{ Flora Fort }


{ The Moth & The Spider } 


{San Marcos Guatemala}  


{ Bees in an Apple Tree } 


{Woodland Gypsies}


{ kids at the farm } Part One. 


{Crossing the Mojave by night - Part/ Book: One}


{Crossing the Mojave by night - Part Two - the Finish }


{ Magic's Final Trick, Onward } 


{Farewell to the Pound}


{Ode to Yesterday} 


 { My Robin Williams Status & The Status of the World }


 { the day juwels skydived from the stork }


{ Dudy Calls - HelL-A } 


{a dip in the springs}


{Butter Flight}


{Field of Flowers}


{ County Fair }


{ Robin Hood - part - 1 }


{ Robin Hood - part 2 - } Smoke and Ghosts ..


{ Robin Hood - Smoke and Ghosts - part 3 }


{ poke me full of holes .. and see what comes out ; ) }


{ I loVe the Fort !! }  


{ Welcome to the Roost }


{ 10,950 days later ... }


{ a Venice happening }


{ Hen House @ the Hive } 


{Sweetness & Sorrow - The Plight of the Honey Bee}


 { Journals from our First Family Trip - Day One } .. part two and three below : )


 { Journals from the Trip - Day Two }


{ Camp Cougar - Day 3 }


{ Pawning off the Homeless on Leonardo Dicaprio }


{ Juwels Bee-Day Adventure }


{ Stream of Consciousness Riff on Off the Grid. Not at all what I've been asked to write : }





enjoy !! 

loVe, 

p&j


... and here's a few vids from our youtube that you might like : )

   If you're viewing this on your email, you'll have to click over to the blog to see the videos : )



































Wednesday

{ Fair Share Honey's Perspective on the Flow Hive }

alOha Friends : )

   We've been hearing a lot about the "Flow Hive" over the past week or two, and people want to know what we think. 

   We were considering just saying, "Anything that gets more people interested in bees and beekeeping is good by me" but then we kept thinking .. and here's our thoughts. 

   The short answer is .. we're not into it.

   But here's more .. 

_______

A Note to new friends visiting *** I know this article is being passed around to a lot of people who don't know or follow us, so here's a little background on what we're up to.

   We're p&j (peter & juwels). We're beeswax candle makers and small scale beekeepers. We offer free wild hive and swarm removals in the community, and all the hives that we keep are started from wild bees, not mail order.

    Here's a short bio video on the pollen arts family: 

    
You can also find us on instagram. 

And Facebook : )


.... continuing on

  

    As with most of their marketing, it's all about the honey .. 


   I'm seeing kids carrying Gallons of honey, and big bottles being drained from small hives. It feels a little like a gold rush, enticing people's greed and amplifying excitement through their lack of knowledge. Because when it comes down to it .. if you're going to leave any honey for the bees and the bee babies, you don't get nearly what they're showing.  

   This pic shows a 5 gallon pail coming out of a two stack hive ?? A thick hose tapped into every frame : ( 

   Looks a little Orwellian to me. The box below the one that's being drained  is called the brood box, "brood" is babies .. hungry babies, nurse bees, workers & the Queen.

   First of all, you can't get 5 gals out of a single box - that's just marketing -  and secondly, if you did drain it ... what would the colony eat downstairs ??

    This product seems, to us, unnecessary, misleading, more disruptive, and especially dangerous in the way that it's telling New-bees that hives need no care, and that, like a soda fountain, you can just turn on the tap whenever you want.

   This is not the way we should be selling people on beekeeping. I'm seeing a lot of people spending a lot of money only to have their hives starve, swarm away, or be taken over by moths or beetles or mites while the lazy beekeepers twiddle their thumbs and waits for the flow.

    There are many potential problems and heartaches when it comes to keeping bees .. but harvesting honey is not one of them. 




   Here's the pitch video for anyone who hasn't seen it. The whole premiss of the product is that we don't have to open the hive and "stress the bees" but then they claim to have a symbiotic relationship with the bees ... how do you do that without opening the hive? 

   Any good beekeeper's going to open the hive, and maybe with this gadget you don't have to open the hive on that one occasion to harvest the honey, but this process, rupturing thousands of cells while be bees are at work, causes a lot of destruction and chaos in the hive, and it's only easier for the beekeeper, not the bees. For somebody who truly cares about the bees and wants to treat them well ... you'd be better off doing it the old fashion way and putting in the time to do it right.

  _____________


   The flow hive claims not to disturb the bees, but the way it's designed, when you turn the crank, it actually breaks apart thousands of artificial cells in odd places inside each comb, and then the bees have to clean up the mess and produce more wax to sew the whole thing back together. (If you're confused about this, watch the pitch video up there and skip to 2:11. There you'll see how the inseam breaks, and these are constantly re-broken during harvest ..)

   When you harvest traditionally, only the caps are shaved off the comb and then they're spun in an extractor. When the comb goes back in, the walls are all fully in tacked, and the comb only has to be filled and capped, not laboriously sewn back together like the flow design. 

   Which seems more disturbing to you? This thing's being sold like it's better for the bees, and that's just not true ..     

   With a first-year hive,  in these days of drought, your biggest issue will most likely be How to keep your bees alive when they're running out of food, not how easily to take their food away. We live in the desert, and nearly All of our first-year hives ran out of food, and we had to find the healthiest way to get them through the winter and keep them from dying or swarming. (We used organic evaporated cane juice rather than the less-than-food-grade corn syrup which was suggested to us.) So how much worse would this have been  if we had this honey on tap, and just cranked the lever every time we saw comb filling?

   If and when you take honey from the hive is a thing that should be done with love and care .. not through the drive through window. You -have- to go in the hive, and the bees are surprisingly mellow about it.

    Here's a video of a Huge 5-year-old bee colony that we removed from a barn wall before the just owner sprayed them, and you can see the neighborhood kids, without suits or veils, eating honey from the comb and playing around. These are wild bees who aren't farmiliar with the hand of man. Do they seem disturbed? And this is with us cutting the whole hive up and moving it around. So how disturbing do you think it is during harvest time when the beekeepers just slide a few frames out and brush them off?

   As long as the bees have enough food, they don't fret too much on sharing ... but this invention seems to advocate taking without first looking in to see they have the stores to spare. Seems a little grabby to me ..  .



    **** Skip to 8:35 to see into the hive : )   

      So in my eyes, this doesn't seem to save the bees any heartache, if anything it just facilitates lazy, greedy beekeeping, and these guys are laughing all the way to the bank.  

    For people who don't know much about beekeeping, staying out of the hive all together is a bad idea. You need to peek in there to make sure they still have a Queen, that she's laying well,  to check for mites (and treat naturally if so ... garlic powder is a good way) also, wax moths can destroy a hive, and when we have the pleasure to go looking around in our hives, we know just were to look for moth cocoons (normally in the grooves under the frames) and we pull those little intruders out of there with a flick of the hive tool.

   Staying out of the hive is neglect, period. And ... besides the benefit to the bees, looking around the hive and seeing the Queen laying, the nurse bees feeding, and the new-bees chewing their way out and emerging from the capped cells is a kind of bliss and meditation for us. We loVe gently moving through the frames and seeing into their world, and if you're keeping bees, you should too.

    Another thing that jumped out at me the moment I saw the design, was that you never want to harvest a frame of honey unless the bees have capped all the cells. The way honey works is that the bees move the flower nectar into the cells and then certain bees have the job of fanning the nectar (which is more watery than honey). This pulls the moisture out, and when the nectar is thick and dry and now technically honey, the bees will cap the cells for storage. With the flow design, all you can see is a tiny portion of the frame edge, but you don't know if there is still uncapped nectar farther down the frame. If you just tap the honey and too much nectar (watery nectar) mixes in, you can have problems with mold forming in your honey. Their drying process is very important, and they monitor it to a fine calculation, and we'd never harvest honey without first seeing that it's true blue honey, and you can't do that without popping in for a friendly visit.

   Honey harvest is fun if you've had a good year and built a strong hive! Have you ever seen somebody slide that hot knife through honey comb and watch the golden goodness flow out? It's as satisfying as popping bubble wrap ... honey filled bubble wrap, so why would you want to rob yourself of that experience? 

   A novice beekeeper (which is the only kind I'd see wanting this product) should want to cut that wax .. or crush and strain that comb. It's your big payout and prize for raising healthy bees and having a good year. A big beekeeper would never use this ... they have methods to cut and spin combs by the hundreds. It's barbaric the way the big guys do it .. but they do it fast and cheap, and I just don't see them sitting there watching a trickle run out ..




   I had to laugh a little when they started talking about all the "back breaking" labor involved in honey processing. It's the same way that all those infomercials start, "Are you tired of breaking your back to open that jelly jar???" ... insert the house wife, all red and perspired and hair frazzled like she's been mauled by a bear, and she's nodding her head to this disembodied voice, "Er Herrr !!" 

   But real beekeepers know better.

   The media men always invent a problem and then claim to fix it. Going into the hive is not a problem, it's the solution to problems. And now that you know you have to go in anyway, pulling a couple frames of honey is not a big deal .. and it's exciting : ) But if you do what this product suggests, your bees will most likely be battling something inside the hive while you're out there drizzling their hard earned honey on your pancakes. You need to go into the hive for many reasons, and a big one it to make sure that there's enough food before you start collecting rent.

   Anyone who's ever had honey out around beehives ... or even left a can of pop out at the end of the season when the bees need food, will know that bees will team on that sweetness. I'm at a loss to know how you could have thirty thousand bees in the hive and have a jar of honey trickling out back, and they don't seem to notice. Honey harvesting should always be done off-site. It's our shared don't-ask-don't-tell with the bees. We sneak the honey away and process it back home, but the bees don't want to see it going on right there under their sweet little feelers. 

   Another issue I see with this design is that it lacks ventilation .. these flow frames extend all the way out to the clear plastic sidewalls (your little TV screen inspection station) .. and in any other hive, there would be open space on both ends of the frames. Bees walk around that space, and air can flow to cure honey and help reduce the occurrence of mold. This thing is glued tight to both ends with no breathing room. I've never seen bees build themselves in like this in the wild, or in a standard hive.     

   A couple side notes that will probably seem finicky to people who don't keep bees - bees don't like plastic. If you give them empty frames where they can build their own comb and also frames with plastic foundation, they'll always leave the plastic for absolute last. They'll build everywhere else before they touch that plastic. 

   We let our bees build their comb how they'd like, and some bees will build smaller comb (depending on their breed) and some will build larger .. or mix it up in a way that we can't pretend to understand. Plastic doesn't give them this choice. We bought a hive from a swam guy down south, and he had a sheet of plastic foundation starter in there, and the bees actually hung a new sheet of 100% wax comb out in front of the plastic so they didn't have to touch it. They know what they like, and they don't like plastic ... if you give them no other choice, they'll build off it, but they might also be making plans to move out.

   Bees are very smart ... they talk through pheromones, communicate through dance (in the dark), and they will notice that something is wrong with this strange comb ... that the honey is slowly disappearing  from within. This is going to stress the bees for a longer period of time rather than if you just snuck the frames away and replaced them with empties. I'm thinking they'll figure out that something is wrong with this comb and stop using it. The product only works if and when the bees go in and seal up the slots in the plastic comb where they're broken during harvest, and I just don't see them doing that over and over. Einstein's definition of stupidity is .. doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Bees will only put honey in those magic combs so many times, only to find them broken and empty and in need of repair, before they say F this man .. Bees are not dumb. And this is a lot of work/ stress for the bees to do over and over.

   Another note on plastic. The bees keep the hive at around 95 degrees, even in the winter, and with those observation windows it's going to get even hotter in there ... do you really want your honey cooking in that hot plastic? Even if the jokers at the FDA declares some type of plastic food grade, it's still made from petroleum which is toxic. 

   I don't know if the guys mention this, but the only way to make sure that those fancy frames have only honey and no bee larva inside, is to segregate the box with a queen excluder so the queen can't get up there and lay (a queen excluder is a sheet of metal grating that's too small for the larger queen to fit through.) This upsets her because she feels like she can't move around her own hive and lay where she wants .... (we give our queens free reign of the whole hive, and she lays upstairs, too.) And one of the main reasons for bees to swarm away (which is a thing that the queen suggests to the colony) is when she feels like she's running out of room to lay. So this product, and the segregation that is needed for its function, will up the chances that your bees will move out on you ... 

   If you don't use an excluder, you'd have no idea if there's be larva in the frames before you crank that metal mechanism and spill all the honey (and the bug juice) down onto your pancakes .. yum : )

    Have you ever seen bee larva? They're basically little white maggots full of puss like goop. (some people eat them as super food .. ewwww) I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want that white mess crushed and running blindly down into my honey .. not to mention that it could cause mold : (
 


   Sorry to rain on anybody's parade .. I love innovation, but this product feels a lot like telling people they can keep chickens locked down in their kitchen cabinets to enjoy Fresh Eggs.

   People need to be informed and loving if they're going to raise any kind of creature, esspecially when You're sharing Their food source .. and the marketing here talks nothing about being a good beekeeper and everything about take-take-taking away. 

   In the beginning of the season last year we only took a small sampling of honey from our biggest hive, but we had a happy time caring for them and learning more about these fascinating creatures. 

   We won't be using the Drain Hive in our apiaries ...

loVe,
p&j 

{Pollen Arts}  &  {Fair Share Honey} 





my queen bee working with her colonies : )














  

Friday

{ 33% OFF 2nd's SALE !! }

  alOha Friends ; )


Time for another 2nd's Sale !! 
 All pieces are 33% off ... 

   None of the candles are dented or broken .. near perfect, but we just don't want to throw anymore of our best 2nd's back in the melter ... hundreds have gone in there already ; (  

   We have eccentrically high standards for what we send to collectors or stores ... so .. we're doing this little trunk show ; ) 

  Now's the time to save some cash and get some awesome candles !! 

 loVe, 
 p&j 

*****Everyone who comes to our studio and looks through our seconds always says, "WHY are these seconds !!??" They're practically perfect - and burn bee-autifuly !! *****



******************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Here are some examples of some of the very --worst-- 2nd's .. most aren't even this bad, we just wanted to show the extreme. Most times it's just a few bubbles - not even breaking the surface ; ) 



  The owl itself comes out perfect most times .. but we've gone through spans where we were plagued with these tiny bubbles - lot's of owls - whoot ; )



Most times the bubbles on the key are on an edge. 



And a few have these micro-bubbles ...

Ready ... GO !!





Copy name and price of each candle you'd like, and let us know how may of each : )



 
Click HERE to see the full inventory !!





     



Monday

{ Big News BIG NeWs !! }

I've been putting this off .. 

At first, I guess I didn't want not to externalize the happy news and possibly lose some of it to evaporation. 

So we've kept it in our hearts and swirling in our giddy bellies ... but at the same time we quietly posted this soundbite online and buzzed with delight (in fact, this is the way we told our family and friends ... just a random sound file titled
 { The Sounds of Anticipation }.

So time has passed, and passed well. 

I've searched for the perfect words to say, but I finally just settled on the diagram below : )

loVe !!!

-p&j .. & .. c&e .. & ?


   ** We don't know that it's twins ... the "babies" reference below is directed at you, babies : ) Although juwels keeps talking about triplets. Brave girl ....





    .... Oh, and for those of you who don't follow us on Facebook or Instagram -  I shaved my head.

Yes : )

    And no, it has nothing to do with becoming a father. I've been talking about it for years.









 

Saturday

{ Follow Your Dreams }




*** Audio Blog ^ Up there : )

   I had an interesting dream last night, lucid. I know a lot of you know about lucid dreaming, but it's where you look around while you're dreaming and realize that you're dreaming. This shouldn't be very hard to do because things rarely make sense in your dream, hence the retelling of dreams which normally goes, "I was at my house, but it wasn't my house because this place was three stories tall and the walls were purple" .. that's what they call a "dream sign" .. the added two stories and purple walls, nonsense, but your brain actually shuts down the logic center when you're dreaming.

   It's a complicated thing when you realize that you're dreaming in the dream. For me, it normally happens in a stressful dream, like last night, because you're really trying to figure things out, find a solution, and with that tiny bit of stress induced logic, sometimes you'll look around and say, "This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful life. This is a dream."

   But like I said, to awaken is complicated. For one, most times you can't stay asleep once you realize that you're asleep. It's a bit of a shocker, and it will normally pull you out of your dreams. This is unfortunate, because once you find out that you're dreaming, you can do anything ... or many things. Flying is one of my favorites. And if it was a stressful dream, you're instantly liberated from that situation, knowing it's not real.

   Staying asleep it tricky, especially if you take a moment to think that your body is lying someplace, paralyzed below the sheets, while you run wild in the dream world. Many artists and inventors find their works in dreams. The murder mystery novel I wrote came directly from a dream, and I'm constantly waking up with new ideas and realizations to write down. What a strange thing that we take for granted, that DMT trip that all must take every night - cats, dogs, priests, and school teachers, there's no opting out on these out of body travels and hallucinations.   

   Another interesting thing to consider: Once you know you're dreaming, you'll also have to accept the fact that nothing you're seeing around you exists, not the trees or the sky or the people around you. The physical surroundings won't pose much of a problem - once you become a dream artist (which I am not) you can change the sky, make it stormy, sunny, add a rainbow, but the people can be difficult.

   Example - the first lucid dream I ever had took place in the Winnie back when we were living on the city streets in Venice, and Juwels was there with me. She's in most of my dreams. Anyway, in the dream, I was getting into it with some homeless guy who was outside the Winnie's window making a ruckus. I told him to go get drunk and crazy someplace else, not wanting the cops or the neighbors to roll by and see him there outside our rig and think that we were together.

   The guy finally walked away with his cart, and when I popped my head back into the Winnie, I was annoyed that he even knew which motorhome was ours, thinking he might be nagry with me and vandalize it later when we were away. But then I looked down at my feet and saw that there was carpet. "Oh," I said in relief, "but this isn't our Winnie, we have bamboo floors." But when I turned back around to look at the front cab, it looked just like ours. I must have been having a strong night of awareness, because I burst out with, "This doesn't make sense. This is a dream! I'm dreaming !!"

   I was so excited that I ran over to juwels, who was sitting in a rolling computer chair (which was another thing that we don't have in the real Winnie) and I spun her chair around and yelled, "Babe, I'm dreaming! I'm dreaming!!"

   I didn't take a moment to consider that if I was dreaming and nothing was real, that would mean that juwels wasn't real either. But when I swiveled her chair around, still hollering about how I'd figured out that I was in a dream, I was a shocked to find that she had turned into a mannequin. I turned away from the thing to see that my other friend who was there was also sitting lifeless as a mannequin, and there was a baby mannequin lying on the floor. The bum, the carpet, the Winnie and everyone else, except for me, where not real, and I became panicked, saying, "I'm all alone, I'm All Alone!!"

   And then I woke up.

   Anyway, one of the spookiest things about the lucid dreaming deal is the "dream people" because although you create them, they aren't exactly robots to be controlled, they have their own agenda, and if you tell them that you think you're dreaming, they'll almost always tell you that you're not. In fact, they can get angry about it if you push the topic.

   I was sitting in a kitchen once with a few guys when I realize that I was dreaming, and I told them I was dreaming.

   "No you're not," they said.
 
   "Yes, I am. I can tell."

   This went back and forth, until one finally said, "So what if you are ?!!?"

   "So then none of this is real, and I can do anything I want," I said, picking up a stack of plates and dropping them on the ground.

   "What are you doing???" he yelled as they shattered.

   "It's not real," I said, "And you're not real either. I made you up."

   And then I woke up.

   So the key is to stay asleep, and awake in the dream, and stay cool about it. Nobody likes to be told that they don't exist, not even dream people. 

   I've had dreams were I've told juwels that it was all a dream, and rather than turning into a mannequin, she would just look up at me with her big brown eyes, so sad, and that would rip me from the dream. I've approached her before in the dream telling her that she could stay, and that I would play along with it, and that kind of worked. 

   But last night when I realized I was dreaming, in the middle of a beekeeping dream, I didn't tell her or anyone else that I knew I was dreaming, I just looked at the hives, all single stack hives (and we only have doubles, triples and quadruples) and I thought, these aren't my hives, I must be dreaming. It was a stressful dream with a fire and the fire truck and groups of men and all of our hives swarming away, and when I realized that it was all made up, I had the urge to spin around and yell, "This is all a dream !!" but thought better of it. Juwels was there, and there were all the men in uniform, working, and they wouldn't be too happy with me if I yanked the curtain down.

   So I turned back into the field, and saw Juwels standing there looking worried about the hives and the bees, and I thought that I'd give her a big hug, showing her I wanted her there and cared for her even in this made up reality, and then I was going to whisper in her ear that it was all just a dream and that we should go away from the drama and go have fun. But when I hugged her, she wouldn't hug me back. It was the strangest thing, like she knew that I knew. I asked her why she wouldn't hug me back, but she was barely animated. I tried it again later, and the same thing happened. I was happy that I'd awoken in the dream, and that I could stop worrying about the bees, but then I fell back into the dream and laid in the grass and just watched everybody hurrying around in their roles.

   We sleep 1/3 of our lives. That means that I've been asleep in this dream world for over 11 years. And the subconscious plays tricks on us in this other consciousness, not always fun. I'm fascinated with these years we spend paralyzed in bed with our logic sensors turned off, and little by little, I've been trying to wake up to these scenes and fly around the room or bring back the dead.

   There are some really interesting Stanford studies on lucid dreaming, one of which where they play back a recording to the test subject (in their own voice) which says, "Hey - Brian, you're dreaming. Look around. This is all just a dream."

   Maybe I'll try that : ?

That's all for dreaming for now, loVe,

 p&j

Tuesday

{ Spouting about Holiday }


    Juwels is taking a nap. She’s been  taking one almost every day these past couple of weeks. She’s deep charging before the holiday rush. I told her to figure out which muscles in her shoulder normally seize up on her every holiday, and work them, stretch them, strengthen them. Get acupuncture –before- you're hurt. I can’t have her talking about her “dead arm” again this season. It’s too painful, for me, gritting my teeth and helpless to help.

   “Should we cancel these orders?” I’ll ask. “I can just tell them that we’re dead. They’ll find other indie artists to support.”

   But we could find uses for the money, and we both know this, so she declines, not wanting to stop in the first place, but just mentioning that her arm has no felling, and that she’s looking down on it and not knowing who’s arm it is, but I’m a fixer, and wish I had some Caractacus Potts skills to help swipe those candles, and fry those eggs and wash those dishes, but I don’t, so I just pre-trim her wicks and "fire" her from time to time. This happened last year, and I did her job and mine, and banished her to bed with a hot water bottle. Oh, the holiday’s are fun. That feast of feasts where no other animal could ever catch so many fish in such a time, and even if they could, how could they eat them ? Unnatural, this holiday harvest, but I didn’t make the rules to the game, and we just brace ourselves.    

   We’ve been doing this long enough to know what’s coming, growing each year, well, besides that first year when we accepted an order to supply the entire Anthropologie franchise  with a twist ending of, surprise, a feature in the holiday catalogue and web sales. Ha Ha Ha …

   We've got stories about drowning in milk and honey …

   That was madness. Seriously madness. Sixteen hour shifts, everyday, and “days” consisting of 7pm to 11, 12, or 1pm the next day.  Not sure why we worked through the nights - I think we just slowly burned ourselves later and later into the night, and woke up later and later, until we'd crossed over that daily divide. Vampires? 
   We were freshly moved from sunny Los Angeles to the mountain, shacked up in a warehouse (we couldn’t fit the wax alone for that single order in the Winnie … by the way, I always found it crazy that Anthro would be so bold as to book a forty-eight-thousand dollar order with us after seeing the etsy interview where we made no secret of the fact that we’d just started out and operated off the tiny four burner stove in our 24 foot Winnebago. How did they think we’d get it all done in two months … a month and a half, really. But I figured they just thought about buying and not making, and thought, “they’ll figure it out.”

   We almost didn't ...  
   And to top it all off, we’d just invested most of our etsy interview money in a booth at the California Gift Show (this was before we knew about Anthropologie) but we went to the show anyway, no refunds, and we booked a ton of indie stores. And all this before we’d really done the math to see if it made sense to do wholesale at all, where we'd be selling everything 50% off… Shut up and GO! Ha Ha Ha. . The American Dream, but forget about sleep.) 
   That order alone could be a chapter or three. The shop heater was out, and the studio mates who worked below us could be cold and strange and inconsiderate. The roof leaked, but that didn’t matter because it was so cold inside that the puddles froze. We were on the backside of the building, in a shadow, with ice slicks, and game-show-style pallet stacks on hour 28 of the shift. 

   And Juwels broke her pinky as we frantically yanked pallet straps, and one snapped back on her.

   She cried, more from exhaustion than pain, but I'm sure it hurt. And the truck driver just stood there with a stupid look on his face, waiting beside us with his floor dolly and idling truck in the snow, and I wanted to scream at him to go away and stop staring at us. And I wished he’d just told us that he was in no big hurry when we’d talked about our crazy last shift before the shipping deadline. Maybe we wouldn’t have snapped that strap? Maybe it was just a warning of something bigger? 

   And this was just the internet segment of their order, less than half, and on we worked, eating cereal and fried eggs at four in the morning, and choking down green powdered super foods in place of salads.

   I didn’t want the money anymore. I just wanted the job to be done and over, and to have the two of us set free from this crazy contract.

   Since we had little money in our startup, there was an investor involved in dealing with the realities of producing this order. She was a woman from a 1950's novel, a small but very wise and powerful woman from the Hollywood hills. We used to watch her cats and plants and swim naked in her pool while she was off in Paris for fashion week. Those were good little getaways. The Winnie would have a break from the streets and the nasty notes and tickets left below her wiper back in Venice and sit empty and at a severe angle in Barbara's magnolia shaded driveway.

   Anthro wouldn’t pay until thirty (45) days after they inventoried the product, but we tightened our belts and got it done in a blur of beeswax and red sleepless eyes. We sent that spooky amount of money back to Hollywood with a thank you card and a gift certificate for a float in a local deprivation chamber. 

   Done? 

   No. 

   Then we got to work on the pre-booked store orders and tag teamed etsy sales. That was our first holiday, happening at the end of a nightmare move, but at the beginning of a movement. Last holiday wasn’t as bad. Chia did break her leg in the middle of the madness and had to live in the house (under the table) and be carried out every two hours through the night to "go potty" .. but she's potty trained now, both of them are since ezzie had to move in and go out nightly, too. She doesn't like being alone ... But we had a helper, two helpers, and this year, we’re doing it mostly alone, intentionally, and we’ll be cutting back on wholesale and cutting it all off a tad early if need bee. We’re not looking for Everest : ) 
   Aaaaanyway ... more true stories to come. And !! To all our friends who think they’ll bee getting pollen arts goodies for friends and family this holiday, feel free to send your orders in advance. We'd loVe to get some of it going now !! And you can even pay later if you’d like : ) We trust our friends !! We're just looking to dig some irrigation channels to future fields and be as sustainable as possible : ) 

    Here's a list of all our candles - { Click } 


We'll make sure you get a Free Bee !!

 ---- > email us at pollen arts (a)t) g male : ) 

loVe !!!! 
p&j .. & c&e .. &?

Sunday

{ Bees in an Apple Tree }

alOha Friends : ) 

    We got a call the other day while we were off walking in the woods with the goats (and Maya the chicken - Juwels insisted) and we found out that there was a late swarm stranded on the other end of town. (It's fun never knowing when you're going to get one of these calls. In the morning, you've got one plan and in the evening, you're up in somebody's apple tree with a crowd gathering on the sidewalk.) 

   When bees swarm at this time of year, it's pretty much a suicide mission. The flowers have all froze, so they can't make honey or wax, and they'd basically just die in a tree : ( So were were very happy to come to the rescue !! 




 

     Here's a few pics from the catch - the bees are living with us now, happy and warm : )



   We were just talking to a beekeeper friend of ours up here in Flag, and when he mentioned that he doesn't waste his time trying to catch swarms anymore, we told him that he should refer any calls to us. 

   He's been the bee guy up here for over 30 years, and everybody knows him, and this suggestion turned out to be a good move because just 3 days later, he had a lead for us : ) 


   Hey said the bees were on the ground (not such a good sign as they should be hanging in a tree) but we suited up and head out to see what was going on and if we could save them. 

   The cluster was tiny, and I poked around with a finger to see if the queen was in there, but we decided that we better just get them into the box and not scare them into the air. if they didn't have a queen, they wouldn't be a functional colony, but we can always combine them with one of our other small hives : )  



   We had a whole box of fresh honeycomb from one of the hives we recently lost, so these bees would have a place to live and lay right off the bat and not have to build comb from scratch. A lot of the time when people try and catch a swarm, the bees just leave again, so having extra motivation for them to stay really helps.  



   Most times, swarms are starving when you get to them, so we brought along a cocktail of spring water and organic evaporated cane juice as food, and I had the idea to sprinkle it into the empty comb before placing it over the bees. This tempted them up from the grass and into the box, and they ate with glee : ) 



   As I was sitting there waiting for the bees to climb aboard, a neighbor across the street came walking over and said, "You guys have bees over there, too?" 

   I asked him if they had bees, and he pointed to a beautiful overturned octopus of an apple tree, and said, "Yeah, a bunch of them."

   He told us that an old fence had been taken down a few days ago, and that the bees had come from there. He also mentioned that he didn't know what to do with them, and he was worried about his kids, so he'd sprayed them the other night with long distance wasp spray : ( 

   Next season, we're going to start advertising like crazy, so everyone will know who to call when they see a swarm : ) 

   Luckily he didn't kill them ... probably just shot into the tree and ran like hell, and we were able to inadvertently find out about them through his neighbor's call.  

 



   We checked out the cluster. It was much bigger than the one on the lawn, and we figured they must have been from the same swarm. A few minutes later, I saw another clump lower in the tree, so we got ready to catch them, too, and reunite the family : )



This is the smaller clump - not sure why they split off. Maybe they were getting too hot together ?


   Luckily, we'd brought along the bee vac. We plugged it in at the second house and got to work !



   I got a big bunch of them, and then emptied the chamber into the hive, and we wondered if we'd gotten the queen in that batch. 

   Normally, if you get the queen in the box, you'll see bees standing on the edge of the box and "fanning" ... this is when they stick their butts in the air, and fan the pheromone to the others in the tree,  saying, "Come on down here .. the queen has moved !!" 

   And we were happy to see a bunch of striped bee butts in the air after the first round : ) While I was back up in the tree, Juwels flipped through the frames and somehow found the queen !! She was a tiny queen, a sweet little pixie : )  


   I did two more passes with the bee vac (this is rigged up to have very low power, just enough to move them down into the vented chamber) and every time I'd empty the load, less and less bees would go back up into the tree (the queen leaves some kind of scent on the spot in the tree, and it takes the bees a little while to figure out that she's in the box and not in the tree anymore.)
  
   The lady of the house loaned us some perfume, and after I'd removed all the bees from the spot for the last time, I sprayed the area with the perfume - strong stuff - and that threw the others off the scent, and they just kind of hovered around. 



   We asked if we could leave the box under the tree until after dark, when it got cold, and she was happy to help in anyway, and when we came back at around 8pm, there wasn't a single bee in the tree, and everybody had moved in : ) 

   We covered up the entrance, strapped everything down, and let the little girls ride in the truck with us.

   The catch was a success, and they're now happily part of the Fair Share Honey crew !!

Thanks for reading, loVe,

 p&j   


Here's a couple videos of other swarms and hive relocations we've worked with : ) 



and ... 

 




















tags: flagstaff, arizona, bee removal, hive removal, 
swarm removal, friendly bee relocation, flagstaff beekeepers