Junior Beespeaker
July 9, 2007

The day in the orchard at VanDusen Gardens started out as overcast, but by four o'clock it was sweltering. I was especially lucky to have my six-year-old son join me as an assistant beespeaker. He helped me set up and take down the installation. He was very excited when other children came to leave messages for the bees and left several of his own: "Dear bees, my mother is crazy about bees. Do you like scary movies? Boo!" He fought imaginary dragons by the lily pond, listened to the bees in the auditory hive and drew pictures of bees to put inside the tent. I was afraid he'd be bored spending five hours with us in the gardens, but now he wants to do this every weekend.

Robin Ripley seemed to have a very productive day mending her tree. We sat and chatted while she hand-stitched patch after patch out of yellow and green thread. When the sun came out the solar sensors activated the attached cell phone vibrators, which made the leaves quiver. She made a lovely message for the bees using wool and maple keys.

I met someone with friends who raise bees to make beeswax furniture polish--another wonderful gift from the bees. It's great for conditioning wooden salad bowls and I even use it to polish my boots!