Archive for the ‘Bees’ Category

January in Guatemala

Friday, January 31st, 2014


I recently spent a lovely week in Guatemala, and Antigua in particular. It’s a charming town and the former capital of colonial Central America. It’s surrounded by forested hills and the tropical jungle is less than an hour away. Most homes have terracotta-tiled roofs, and their thick adobe walls are painted deep ochre, russet or azure. I stayed at the stunning Quinta Maconda, a colonial property that dates back to 1547 and currently a private residence and boutique hotel.











A favorite room, affectionately referred to as the “pagan chapel,” were several memorable meals were enjoyed:




Another glimpse: the wood storage area




Wandering through the giant Farmer’s Market, which was very colorful and bountiful with baskets overflowing with fruits, vegetables, beans, corn, and beautiful spices. I was looking for copal,  a tree resin used as incense that is similar to frankincense. In comes in various shapes and sizes, and contemporary Maya people light it in an incense burner in the morning to start the day. I love the way it smells:




Since I’m always on the lookout for ideas about how to live more sustainably as well as practical alternatives to plastics, I noticed these rattan woven trash bins:



And CFL’s in all the church lamps!


Driving into the jungle for some exploring, many fences  along the roads were made from planting small trees close together, an attractive and resourceful alternative to chain link:


One morning, I saw tiny stingless bees for the first time. They make the most delicious honey:





One of my favorite places in Antigua was La Tienda de Dona Gavi, a very cool shop where you can buy homemade ice creams, natural soaps, herbs and spices:




Other places worth checking out:

Coleccion 21

Casa de los Gigantes

La Casa de las Escudillas


Nim P’ot

Dona Maria Gordillo

Casa de Artes


To find out more about Quinta Maconda

See my Pinterest board about Guatemala

Honey Room by Wendy Wilder Larsen

Friday, April 26th, 2013



A whole room of beeswax—a smooth skin

inviting you in, tiles in tones of butterscotch

and amber, humming gold and warmth


a skin molded, embossed with lotus

luring caramel and sweet moan,

love makings in the afternoon


breathing fragrance in the scented air

tempting you to linger in that room

not wanting to get out of bed


staying on in the morning

under the drowsy covers

just a little longer


the scented time says ambrosia

you can’t be drunk enough

I am the jewel at the heart of the lotus


breath in the sweetness

open like the flower for the bee

who came on heavy wings to drink


honeycomb, my soul’s home

here I can stay, a place to say round

to say O, to say gold

to say hold




Wendy Wilder Larsen



  • This poem was written after seeing a whole room of beeswax installed at Lotusland, a botanic garden in Santa Barbara by the artist Penelope Stewart

in honor of the bees which we are losing from our planet.



The Humming Tree

Friday, June 8th, 2012



My friend and poet Wendy Wilder Larsen has kindly let me share this lovely poem she wrote. Artist Mary Heebner painted gorgeous blossoms and bees on the edges and John Balkwill printed it at Lumino Press.





Earth Day Weekend April 22-2012

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

This past weekend, I paid a visit to Sunland Water Gardens, a fish pond supplier where you can buy double decker pond kits for raising Tilapia on the bottom part and vegetables in floating gardens on the upper part, which are being constantly hydrated and nourished by the fish waste. I think this is such a brilliant idea and I can’t wait to get one of these for myself ! At the very least, you know where your fish and vegetables come from:)

I came up with an Earth Friendly way to drink my favorite on-the-go morning green shake by pouring it into re-purposed glass jars. The recipe is the same one I featured in my March Almanac http::// I’ve changed it slightly by using unsweetened Almond milk, which is almost half the calories of the regular one and I don’t freeze the bananas either. I also ran out of dates the other day, and used a teaspoon of 100% raw Manuka honey instead, which tasted great. I couldn’t believe I was drinking out of a large glass jar but it worked perfectly.


I went on the most wonderful wilderness hike I have been on in long time…

There were birds everywhere, bees buzzing around the wildflowers, ground squirrels and rabbits running across the path, ducks, bullfrogs and butterflies… It was magical.

Saw an example of why nature never ceases to amaze me: An acorn tree, created by an Acorn Woodpecker, which drills holes in dead trees, dead branches or even old telephone poles, to create a granary for collecting their acorns. When the acorns are collected, the woodpecker finds the hole that’s just the right size for the acorn, and as they dry out, they are moved to smaller holes. So clever.


On my way home, stopped by my local farmer’s market and stocked up on all sorts of organic vegetables and fruit and had a lovely lunch in my garden. I love celebrating how beautiful and amazing our planet earth is by caring for it all the while I’m enjoying being part of it.



For the Love of Honey, could I be a Beekeeper?

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Back in June, I was finding at least 5 dead bees a day near my pool or on my driveway. Yesterday, I interviewed experienced backyard Beekeeper Ruth Askren, and I learned that this grim discovery was a natural occurrence called the “dearth.” This seasonal dearth happens twice a year. First, right after the bees have been supremely busy, usually end of spring and secondly, towards the end of summer, when they have been flying from one flower to another, for days on end collecting pollen and they just exhaust themselves to death, literally.

Ruth is one of the volunteers at, describing themselves as” a group of organic, treatment-free beekeepers in Los Angeles, with branches now forming in other cities.” Like myself, they are part of the movement that rejects the use of pesticides and chemicals in our backyards, which harms not only the bees, but many other beneficial insects.

I met with Ruth because I am interested in beekeeping since my garden is a haven for bees, filled with lavender, alyssum, poppies and orange blossoms and I know just the right spot to put 2 hives (the minimum you should start with). Unfortunately the area I live in isn’t zoned for beekeeping, and it could be because the main concern is the possibility of being stung. Responsible beekeeping and the due diligence of proper beehive maintenance should prevent accidents. I wouldn’t want to get stung either! Do check with your local zoning laws in your area if you are interested in beekeeping. It would be wonderful if all of Los Angeles, like New York City, legalized beekeeping.

The bees really need our help and we really need the bees because they pollinate 80% of the world’s plants and 1 out of every 3-4 bites of food we eat is thanks to them.

Flowers that bees love: Alyssum, Anise and wild Anise, Poppies, Bee Balm, Sunflowers, Butterfly weed, Clover, Lavender, Thyme, Salvias, Echium, Cosmos and Coneflower.

My lavender filled bee haven garden
My lavender filled bee haven garden
Delicious organic local honey Ruth harvested and gave to me

Delicious organic local honey Ruth harvested and gave to me

The lovely Ruth and I

The lovely Ruth and I