“When the bee comes to your house, let her have beer; you may want to visit the bee’s house some day.” – Congo Proverb
Y’know what’s a cool problem to have? A list of thank you’s to write that’s super long and growing by the second. I want to personally give everyone honey and hugs but I only have lots of the latter. Even though I didn’t get that door painted in time, the Secret Bee Garden Party at Big Boss Brewing Company was a sweet success. We sold out of the limited edition Big Boss Bee t-shirts pretty early and had to start a sign up sheet for more. If you’d like one of these beauties, shoot me an email or give me a call and I’ll let you know when they’re ready. It’ll be soon.
You know what I kept thinking about while we were working on the garden and the mural in the months and days leading up to Saturday and at the same time getting to know everyone at Big Boss, crew and patrons alike? Community. Big Boss has mastered not only the craft of brewing amazing beer but also of building community. And their community is close and warm and welcoming and I image they invited us in like they do everyone who comes through their doors. Heck, Lynn Wynn even made cookies to sell at the event. My goodness. That’s also what I was thinking about on Saturday. Community. And how starting this nonprofit has brought so many incredible and talented people into my life. And that whole being on the right path stuff. Yeah, Universe. We talked to so many kind, supportive, interested and interesting folks and if there had been more of us we could have kept on talking. What a city! What a space! What a gathering! What a day! Thanks so much for coming out and sharing it with us!
The mural Jenny Eggleston and Abby Buley designed and worked on nonstop for a solid week with Joseph Giampino’s brilliant help was such a beautiful contribution. I still wanna run over there every day just to gaze up at in wonder. Visual Artist Jayne Walther came to visit the garden with me one day after I’d moved the hives there and spent some quiet time taking photographs of everything. She posed the question “If I were a bee what would I see” and created two of the most beautiful oil and cold wax paintings from the inspired imagining and donated them to be raffled to benefit Apiopolis, one on Saturday and one at a show she’s having in May. When it was time to draw the winning ticket, I tried to get my sister to pretend she was me like she used to when we were in high school and I didn’t want to make a phone call. But I guess that really wouldn’t have worked like that time I tried to hide from the school bus by hiding behind a tree when I was late didn’t work, since, y’know, I was standing right there, so I did pull the winning ticket. I admit when I drew the first one out of the bowl and it had my name on it, I really, really wanted to say it was my sister’s name so she could give it to me later but I didn’t. Someday, walls… But thank you, Jenny, Abby, Joseph and Jayne for your creative work and all the time you spent lovingly on it.
And thanks Wendy Kanable and Uli Gratzl for also being wearers of secret garden goggles and lovers of bees and for sharing the vision for the garden and the bee sanctuary and hustling to make it happen. And Uli, for painting faces on Saturday! Brad Wynn at Big Boss for saying yes and yes and yes and offering to host our first fundraiser and donate 10% of their sales. Wow! Wendy’s crew at Fine Lines Landscaping for working so hard for so many days to transform the area into the magical gathering space it is now. And for all the good folks Wendy and Uli connected with to donate materials and equipment and time and dollars: Viki Balkcum, Richard Kilby at Barefoot Press, Bradsher Landscape Supplies, Campbell Road Nursery, Jose Castillo Brick Paving Service, Bryan Conklin of Just Pondering, Allen Jones of HOMS and EcoBlend, Joe Rimbey of Rimbey Renovations, Smith Turf and Irrigation, Taylor’s Nursery, Triangle Equipment Rental, Mark Wlodarczak of Red Acorn Construction. And karakurtcreative, again and again and again, for putting together the flyers, updating the website, designing the t-shirts and updating the website again! Artists Marina Bosetti, Liz Kelly and Gretchen Quinn for hosting their Fall Pottery Open House and deciding to also make it a fundraiser for Apiopolis. David Wood and Craig Dean Architecture for their generous donations and listening skills. And Craig for helping me come up with the name Apiopolis over beers at Players Retreat two years ago. And David for bringing music to the garden and for helping me with that darned Square each time. Jay Winfrey for offering to bring his camera and flashes and taking amazing pictures throughout the day. Artists David Eichenberger, Abby Buley (again!), Shelley Smith and Leigh Salmon for having their fantastic work available for sale. Skillet Gilmore of Crawlspace Press for giving me my beloved dog Walter years ago and for hand-pulling a billion tiny cotton bags for the bee seed bombs at the very last second and for hooking me up with the cool team at Aardvark Screenprinting for the t-shirts. If you happen to visit Aardvark, Roscoe is partial to chicken treats and his old dog eyes will thank you more than you deserve. And Raleigh Food Corridor and Second Saturday and especially Jennifer Katherine Peeler Truman for once again including Apiopolis in the line up and for the vital work you do. And Helen Yoest of Bee Better. And so many more good people.
And y’know who also have hearts of gold? Musicians. Fellow beekeeper J. Chris Smith and Marc E. Smith are two of my longtime favorites both with and without Patty Hurst Shifter and I believe it will always be a thrill of my heart to hear them play. Caroline Mamoulides and Steve Howell of Pinto were also tremendous and so kind to offer to play. Saxophonist extraordinaire Ed Lyons was exactly that and his wife wouldn’t even let me give her a jar of honey. So grateful.
Which brings me back to the reason for it all. When my bees and I were at Marina, Liz and Gretchen’s Clay and Honey Open House, Marriot Little came around the corner, remarking over Marina’s beautiful art tiles. She started to ask me a question and then looked past me at the observation hive. She said “Bees! My daughter!” and disappeared. She came back a few moments later with Marriott Sheldon. Artist, educator and bee advocate, Marriott offered to create a bee shrine for the garden. We decided it could be a blessing at the beginning of the event and a way for us to pause and remember the reason for the celebration and the garden and the bee sanctuary. Marriott set the shrine up next to the hives. The bees were flying into the sunlight. The bees; these fascinating, beautiful creatures. As much as we need them, right now and because of us, they also need our help. So yes, when it was my turn to light a candle, I did make a wish and it was a big one.
So again, thank you for sharing the celebration with us and for being so kind and generous and supportive. On behalf of the bees, thank you.
(Great big beautiful Big Boss Bee Garden photo at the top by Jay Winfrey)