Monday, April 1, 2013

Chickens and bees and the Art Studio

Chickens AND bees :-)

I am guessing that not many artists' studios are surrounded by gardens filled with old roses, sunflowers, herbs and vegetables,  birds, bees and chickens AND ponies but if not, they are missing a unique opportunity to not only have first hand subjects to paint but to kick back and become one with their surroundings in a way that encourages creativity and thought.

The experience begins as the sun rises (this time of year) at 6:30 to peak over the tops of the trees to touch and warm the beehives (so the bees will wake up and forage!).  The wild birds have already been at full force however and the extra growth in the pasture next door has encouraged hundreds to roost in the wild plums....we sound like a bird sanctuary and can watch the sunflower seeds disappear as sand in an hour glass! 
The bees are new. It was not a hard decision to add bees to our mini farm.

I've often stopped at the bee displays at State Fairs and such and as everyone else, was intrigued with the glassed displays that allow you to watch the bees in action. And our studio is surrounded by wild roses, plum trees, our gardens and an assortment of tiny, beautiful little wildflowers growing throughout our yard. The decision came after some research and phone calls and a return call from a "Bee mentor" that kicked out butts into gear and a frantic scramble for hive supplies as the packaged bees were coming (fast) sort of made the decision for us :-) And for us, it was not about the honey. Lord knows there are plenty of honey producers out there. No it was about the pollination....and then discovering that hives world wide are declining. Maybe, just maybe, our one little hive can make a difference. 
Steve heading out with sugar water to fill the bee feeders

And we know one thing-they won't starve around here!
Blooming wild plum trees

The ponies make sure there are few wild daisies in the pasture but our "borrowed" pasture next door is now lush with wild plums, blackberries and thickets of high grass. The birds at our feeders have multiplied tremendously because of nearby cover that encourages their quantities :-)

It's been a cold spring and I am not sure if the roses will begin their early May parade but every year, the old roses are stunning.
Peonies in May
The May peonies are stunning as well with large cabbage sized pink balls of petals that I hope will prove appetizing to our bees.

Seven Sisters Roses growing around the perimeter of the herb and flower garden
Our herb and flower garden is next to the hive and last year our native plants such as Rubeckia, gloriosa daisies and coriopsis were stunning. Whatever bees were here before could not stay away from them or the Monarda. So in some deep inner core, we're feeling more than our visual connection with our subjects and surroundings. It's more of being one with where we are. We live here, our art studio is here and everything basic that has connected man to the earth is here. How much more do you really need?

Add to that, our Dorking hens (an ancient Roman breed with 5 toes) just laid their first egg yesterday! Time to build the nest boxes!  

Our first egg!
 HAPPY EASTER everyone!

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