Woolly Bear Patrol

Change is the constant and this fall, change has kept us on our toes.

First there is the weather. It’s about 70 degrees out tonight- as balmy as a midsummer’s eve and not exactly your typical late October in New Hampshire night. In the gardens this means that we don’t need to cut back the gardens yet. Everything is still lush and green. Flowers like Cosmos have relished this extended fall while some Flowers like the Sunflowers gave up the ghost anyways. Their time clock said it was time to be done with it, and so they were.

On the roads, woolly bear caterpillars are everywhere. Any walk is an exercise in saving woolly bears, stopping every few feet to pick one up and throw it to the side of the road. There seem to be a lot of lore about what the stripes on the woolly bears mean. This years their middle brown stripes are mostly very big which lore tells us means a mild winter. We shall see.

Our experiment with honeybees in the barn has gone well. The two hives on the second story have thrived. Traffic has been steady as they zip off to a big patch of Mustard Flower down in the hayfield. The beehive that survived the bear was down to a handful of live bees and we despaired of it. Much to our delight, that handful blossomed into a healthy colony. The handful must have contained a living queen for this to have happened.

The one worry about this recovered hive is that there hive is right outside the office windows where the bear attacked them in the first place. This makes them ripe for the return of Mr Bear. We would have moved this hive but you can’t move a hive less than four or five miles without the bees getting very confused about where is home. The colonies in the barn are new colonies that have only lived there. The bear killed all the other hives but this plucky one. Now we are trying a new method to protect them. Jim has put down sheets of plywood covered with two inch nails facing up. Another beekeeper swears this stops bears. Let’s hope this is true because it is the most menacing thing in our yard and one I can only hope none of the rest of us fall on.

It is almost time to post the new Flower Essences for 2013. When it is time for the new Flower Essences of the season to be released, the Angels and Elementals pull out every stunt in their handbook to get me to get the definitions down on paper and the Flower Essences ready to launch. This year they have had many of you dreaming of some of the new Essences, calling with precise descriptions of what you are looking for in the new collection and of course, there they are waiting for you, just as you knew they would be. I hope to have the definitions posted in a few days. Really! I am close!

In the office, Alli Howe made a heroic effort to hand letter and illustrate a Green Hope Farm Cookbook- now off at the printers.


All fall, Alli arrived each day with a new group of recipe illustrations, and we would all crowd around, ever enchanted by what she had drawn. Can’t wait to share this with you later this fall when it comes back from the printers. We named the book, The Things We Cook- A Green Hope Farm Cookbook!

Another lovely occurrence in the office is the return of Lizzy who has come back to do email. She arrives at six in the morning each day to answer your queries and take your orders. Grace comes with Miguel a couple hours later and then I get a few hours with Grace before Lizzy finishes in the office. Lizzy is really enjoying this balance of visiting with you all and taking care of one year old Grace, and I am loving my hours with Grace.

Next year she will be a more active participant in my Woolly bear Patrol. In the meantime she is quite enjoying our daily visit with the cows in the neighborhood.