For the first time in many, many years the Magic Garden has no bee hives. It's such an odd sensation to look out our kitchen window and not see the usual stream of morning foragers flying high into the sky. Odder still to walk amongst the oxalis and see only one honey bee gathering nectar, perhaps a passing visitor from the feral colony in the old oak, a half mile away.
This single acre parcel has a long history with honey bees. The home was built in 1920, and when cleaning out an antiquated shed we found a rusted hive tool buried in the dirt. Mr. George A. Bartholomew Sr., spiritual artist, original house builder and lecturing Theosophist, must have been a beekeeper himself.
Our Magic Garden hive stands are bare because all the ladies and their brethren were trucked down to the almond orchards this week to perform their duty and service to mankind. (I'm munching on a handful of tasty nuts as I write.) Even Fig Tree Hive, our flagship and garden matriarch, had to go. This year colony losses were down across the country, 40%- 60% according to Paramount's Dr. Gordy Wardell, and although not quite that extreme, our apiary was no exception. Consequently, every last hive had to go to work!
I assuaged my pangs of sadness with the dawn chorus of birds, the colorful blooms of lily, narcissus, camellia and rosemary and the pleasing sight of a single, yellow-faced bumble bee.
Life is always beautiful and good.