Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Peace out loud and some bees

I am very pleased that some of my Goats for Peace buttons are on their way to Rhode Island to one of the teachers at the Nonviolvence Institute. This organization continues to teach the methods and traditions of nonviolent communication that spring from the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. By teaching through examples the principles and practices of non-violence, the organization believes they can foster communities that address potentially violent situations with nonviolent solutions. In some small little way, the goats' campaign is working, spreading slowly like dandelion seed. It hasn't reached North Korea yet, unfortunately. Or D.C. for that matter...but we'll keep on, and you can too.

In the meantime, you can buy a 10 pack, or even a 100 pack of the buttons, and pass them out at your picnics and barbecues and block parties. Pay no mind if people laugh and think it's a joke. That's ok. Humor can only help the cause, as it helps people relax. Just a week ago, I was chatting with a local farmer and he saw my 'Goats for Peace' button on the straw hat I was wearing. He read it out loud, and chuckled. Then we went on to talk about hay or something. But it's the fact that he said the word "peace" out loud that is so important. For if you say 'peace' out loud, it sends the energy of that specific word's essence to your heart, and it will grow into something with that essence - because stuff in your heart just doesn't sit there, it grows.
So it was with peace in my heart that I worked in the lavender field, thinking of other peace ambassadors on the farm. And I think the "Bees of Apifera" need to have a button too. They not only do their work peacefully side by side all over the farm, but they work in peace with us as we harvest the lavender. I have also learned that the bees show us when the lavender plants are ready to be harvested for dried bundles. You see, you want to cut that lavender at the optimum moment of nectar so the bundle, once dried, will have a good amount of oil/sweet smell to it. Once the lavender stalks shoot up, their buds sit waiting to open. If you go into the field during the warmer part of morning and there are no bees buzzing, the plants aren't ready. I had been checking our lavender Hidcote variety each day, and the bees weren't buzzing yet - until yesterday. So, "thank you bees" - what magnificent little beings. They make a cool sound, help make honey for heaven's sake, and they help this old, green farm girl know when to cut her crop - all the while not swarming and creating a violent upheaval.

Meanwhile, we continue to harvest our lavender crop. This year we have 1500 plants at almost full maturity. It takes me 1 hour to harvest 2 rows and another hour or more to rubberband them and hang them for drying. There are about 50 more rows to do. Next year, in '07 it'll be 3x that. Are we down hearted? NO! I am so naive in forgetting how intense the harvest is. But seeing how large the yields are compared to last year and working amongst my bee friends, many whom I remember from last year - all in a field we get to steward - this is a good way to spend the 4th.