{ 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. 



   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 .. &?


{ 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,


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


{ A Meditation on the Backyard }

alOha : )

    We were just flipping through old videos on our Youtube channel, and I don't think we ever posted this one on the blog ...

     A meditation on the backyard : )

  ... . and almost silent film.



   .... oh, this one's fun too : )

{ the holy goat }