Bees and Seeds: A re-run

They go together like pigs and mud…well, you get the idea.

LISTEN UP! Master gardeners, green thumb hobbyists, beekeepers and garden variety humans who love to grow things… I just found out about an amazing opportunity at our annual New Mexico Bee Meeting in February 2019. Our very own Bernalillo County library has free seeds to give away. Yes, you heard that right. FREE SEEDS. All you beekeepers and green thumb master gardeners (or not)out there, make a note to visit. This is an incredible thing. Every season new seeds are made available to the public to plant.

Image result for images of bees and seeds

If you’ve ever priced out seeds at your local co-op or Burpees or those pricey heirloom catalogues, you will know that seeds are no longer cheap as dirt and readily attainable. They can cost upwards from $4 a packet.

ABQ-BernCO’s libraries have non-gmo and native plant seeds, specifically adapted for all 3 growing seasons and the high desert eco-system we live within. You will be able to choose from vegetable, herb and flowers packets. The collection is housed at the South Broadway Cultural Center, but you may request seeds from many library branches throughout Albuquerque. Just bring your Library Card along!!!

Even more spectacular, they offer classes on growing, harvesting and seed saving during the year.

The ABQ-BERNCO Seed Library was established in 2014 and has a mission of encouraging a community of water-wise home gardeners. The Seed Library aims to provide the access, tools, and skills to enable everyone to participate in this gardening community by offering free open-pollinated, non-gmo vegetable, herb and flower seeds to card holders and by offering free monthly garden-related programs to foster all levels of gardeners through growing, harvesting, seed saving and more—all within our unique high desert environment. 

Click on here to learn How the Seed Library Works

“Seed sovereignty” is picking up momentum around the world. If it sounds political, it is.

With the rise of genetically modified seeds (GMO’s), there has been a push by ag-industrial giants like Monsanto and Bayer to patent seeds. This would make it a criminal act to save seeds that they have patented. And, if the pollen from your “saved” seeds drifted to your neighbors GMO crop—in effect, “infecting” it with non-GMO stock—you might find yourself summoned to court by a lawsuit from these ag companies or their subsidiaries for a patent violation.

Seed sovereignty is about the freedom to save your own non-GMO seed stock and pass them on as a legacy to your children. For indigenous people, it is a rallying cry against the genocide of their land based culture. Funny that something so practical and wise, a practice small farmers annually have done for centuries— or for thousands of years as our indigenous brothers and sisters have demonstrated— is so threatening to the corporate ag establishment’s bottom line.

Here in New Mexico, our Indigenous pueblos have been saving seeds in beautifully hand molded pottery for generations. Seed saving is an ancient and important skill. It has allowed cultures over time to develop stronger seeds that are better adapted to our high desert climate, to increase seed diversity, and play a vital role in local food production. 

Seed saving and seed growing is a radical act. Giving away free seeds is a beautiful gift of Seed Sovereignty—a vote for food security, diversity and the freedom to choose what you want to eat, one household at a time.

Get your FREE seeds today!

Image result for images of seeds

Loving What Matters

February 14 was St. Valentines Day. Usually I spurn these “made for Hallmark” cultural holidays, finding them to be silly and sappy. It doesn’t mean I don’t observe it with my husband. But we don’t buy “stuff”. We usually just try to have a nice candle lit meal or some good wine and conversation—just to break the daily routine of passing like ships in the night.

So imagine my surprise when I heard that St. Valentine has been associated with bees. Some call him the Patron Saint of Bees, charged with ensuring the sweetness of honey and the protection of beekeepers.

Who really was St. Valentine?

Image result for St. Valentine image

St. Valentine was a Christian martyr who died in the 2nd c. The roots of Valentine’s Day date back to the year 496, when Pope Gelasius proclaimed that February 14 would be the feast day of St. Valentine of Rome, taking precedence over Lupercalia—a pagan Roman fertility festival long-celebrated February 13-15.

I must admit, if we poured our millions of consumer dollars spent on goofy stuffed animals and roses for Valentines Day into research for what ails the Bees —we’d be a lot further ahead. Cultural sacred cows blind us to what really matters.

So, well, St. Valentines Day has been reclaimed a little bit for me.

I think next year I’ll send money I would’ve used for a bottle of wine to the Bee research center in Minneapolis, MN.

Here’s to a little bee love…

Image result for bee love images

Are Bees cute?

I ask you, can we call a bee “cute”? I stand accused. I have used “cutesy” images of bees for my blog. It seems to appeal to something deep inside us. Something cuddly and accessible that even a child could love!

But does that truly speak to the nature of bees, whether honeybees or native bees? Or is this word fraught with baggage that does bees no favors? Rather belittling, reducing or otherwise making bees “playthings”?

Bees command respect, whether we like it or not. Merely because they sting! But will other living beings that don’t have such a stark survival tactic be respected in the same way?

The late Mary Oliver, rest in peace, left us with a dazzling amount of poetry and prose honoring the natural world. Her love of the creatures, plants and cycles of seasons is legendary. Her work was to observe well and bring back her field notes so that we as her readers might love the wild ones and places too.

But she warned us of the power of language and how we understand and relate to this unspeakably powerful and mysterious universe we live within.

In her book, Blue Pastures, Oliver writes about the language we use for the wild ones, the non-human world.

Oliver calls us to honor, reverence, respect.

“Cute”, “charming”, “adorable”, miss the mark. For what is perceived of in this way is stripped of dignity and authority. What is cute is entertainment and replaceable…diminutive, it is powerless. It is captureable, it is trainable, it is ours.

For it makes impossible the other view of nature, which is of a realm both sacred and intricate, as well as powerful, of which we are no more than a single part. Nature, the total of all of us, is the wheel that drives our world. Those who ride it willingly might yet catch a glimpse of a dazzling, even a spiritual restfulness, while those who are unwilling simply to hang on, who insist that the world must be piloted by man for his own benefit, will be dragged around and around all the same, gathering dust but no joy….

We are all wild, valorous, amazing. We are none of us “cute”.

Mary Oliver, Blue Pastures. ( Harcourt Brace & Co.: New York, NY)p.92-93

Through Mary Oliver’s eyes, I see differently. I will be more careful of my words when addressing the animal kingdom. I will remember her caution. Language defines, paints images, sways opinion, empowers or belittles. Words are important. Choose them carefully. Always.

Her task of asking us to see the world around us differently has taken root over almost a century. I pray her voice will change this generation’s relationship and the next, to the world of nature.

It is dark now, not the first curve of night but the last curve: my hour. The light will soon rise out of this necessary dark.

I go to my work, as I like to call it, being whimsical and serious at once. That is to walk, and look at things and listen, and write down words in a small notebook.

Mary Oliver, Blue Pastures (Harcourt Brace & Co.: New York, NY) p. 119-120.

And of course, my most favorite, quintessential Mary Oliver,

My Work is Loving the World

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird – 
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

Which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

Thank you Mary Oliver, for helping us see the world around us with new eyes.

Magic Mushrooms

At the end of this past year, 2018, a small article showed up in the Opinion section of the New York Times. I was grateful a bee friend of mine caught it and sent it to me.

Lilli Carré

Paul Stamets, a renown mycologist, had written briefly on his study of fungi as a way to reverse the devastation of varroa mites and their parasitic diseases visited on bee colonies—wild and honeybees.

I have followed his research for years, waiting for him to create the “silver bullet”, a mycelial remedy that we can finally, FINALLY, feed our bees to keep them from dying.

Stamets writes:

Our research shows that extracts from the living mycelial tissue of common wood conk mushrooms known to have antiviral properties significantly reduced these viruses in honeybee colonies, in one field test by 45,000 times, compared to control colonies. In the field tests, we used extracts from two species of wood conks, the red reishi and the amadou. The famous “Iceman” found in a glacier in 1991 in the Alps. carried amadou in a pouch 5,300 years ago. The red reishi has long been used as an immune-boosting tonic in Asia.

(Will Mushrooms be Magic for Threatened Bees? , NYT, December 28, 2018, Paul Stamets)

As the New Year dawns, wet, snowy and cold here in the Southwest, I feel a glimmer of hope.

Between the Stamets article and perhaps my bee dream, something sings in me that maybe this year can be different—less brutal for my bees, more resources for what ails them. Hope springs eternal…

I will be chasing down the wood conk mushroom extract from Paul Stamets in this new year. I am in love with mushrooms and the possibilities.

According to Wikipedia:

A fungus is any member of the group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds, as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, fungi, which is separate from the other eukaryotic life kingdoms of plants and animals.

We humans are made up of fungi and bacteria. Our bodies are veritable columns of bacteria made up of these most primitive forms of life species. Sometimes they can overrun our bodies in bad ways. I know. I am still getting over a serious respiratory virus that has inflamed my trachea for weeks on end, leaving me with a miserable cough.

Fortunately, my beneficial bugs have been hard at work and I am getting well.

Image result for Image of body biome

According to accredited practicing dietitian Chloe McLeod, “fungi is like bacteria – it’s found in the gut – and is an integral part of the microbiome (our gut’s ‘ecosystem’, if you will).

“While we are still researching this area, we know that a healthy microbiome is made up of both bacteria and fungi, as well as viruses – all of which are integral to maintaining good health. It’s important that these organisms remain in a beneficial balance, so not over-growing, or depleting. Some research shows that fungi found in the gut impacts inflammation and interacts with the immune system.”

As Stamets notes, in the right balance in nature, beneficial fungi can re-right itself.

Nature can repair itself with a little help from mycologists. Fungi outnumber plants by about 6 to 1; there are two million to four million fungal species, though only about 140,000 have been named so far. Our research underlines the need to save biodiversity for the discoveries to come. (Will Mushrooms be Magic for Threatened Bees? , NYT, December 28, 2018, Paul Stamets)

And so, in this new year, I give praise for the magic of mushrooms in my body and in the world around.

God save the bees! Praise be for fungi!

Image result for images bees foraging on mushrooms

Last Night I Dreamt…

My first remembered dream of 2019 was of bees. I kid you not.

I do dream, but haven’t been remembering them much of late.

But this one was blessedly clear, imprinted in living color on my memory as I awoke. I was left with a peaceful, joyful feeling as the dream washed away in the chill dawn of morn. I entitled it “Bees in the Kitchen”.

I am in the old farmhouse kitchen of my childhood. My tiniest hive of bees is just sitting there on the kitchen counter. They have died. I am storing them there. Suddenly, a bee begins to emerge from the doorway..than another…and another…and another! There are bees flying around the kitchen and I am amazed! Mom is there, but continues to cook, seemingly unperturbed by the bees in her kitchen. I tell one of my brother’s to help me seal them up so we can move them outside. I notice they are clinging to the hive and buzzing about, but not too far from their hive mates. They are alive! My bees have resurrected!

The world of dreams is one of my favorites. In a dreary, despairing world which often has way too much bad news, the night forest of our dreamworlds are populated with fantastical creatures, unexpected twists of fate, places, people that make no living sense in our waking days.

This dream was particularly comforting since the tiny hive featured in my December video did actually die. Some of you might remember me laying my head on the heartbeat of the hive, feeling the warmth in late November, noting the stirrings of a still living hive.

With a few cold snaps and 20 degree nights, I went to check them. They had perished. There was something so poignant about the demise of this tender little hive. I had nourished them into the Fall, hoping upon hope that they would grow large enough to make it through. It wasn’t to be. Their death matched my own dark feelings at the end of the year. I sobbed.

But as 2019 dawned, my bees were alive and well in the the dream time.

This vision will live in my imagination and tide me over until April when I can pop the tops of my bee hives to peek and see if my bigger, stronger colonies survived.

The mythical bees of my dream world reminded me that life springs eternal, even in the midst of death. Bees, as the messengers of resurrection, abundance, and fertility in many traditional and religious cultures, are icons of new life, of the coming Spring —even if the coldness around is daunting.

…Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night as I slept,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that it was God I had
here inside my heart. ”

Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

silhouette, wing, light, sky, sun, sunrise


They say it takes a village to raise a child.

Or 80,000 honeybees to raise a village.

Or a “hive mind” to solve the bee crisis.

You, my intrepid readers and supporters, are that Hive Mind. Many acting in one accord for the good of all.

Thank you friends, for your incredible generosity and support of Think Like a Bee this season. Some gave a little, A few gave a lot, but all gave some. I am humbled and deeply grateful. We have raised $2,500 to date from you, our pollinator community and beehive of support! Wahoo!

Think Like A Bee continues to seek how to act on behalf of honeybee and native bee issues—and since bees are “the canaries in the mine” for humans, it benefits you too!

For 2019, Think Like a Bee has identified a clean and healthy watershed (soil, water and air) for bees, pollinators, plants, critters and humans alike. Continuous habitat corridors around our city/town and forage availability all through the season are also critical.

To these ends we will initiate our #feedpollinators project with the City of Albuquerque in 2019 as well as our Rio Grande Watershed documentary, which will put students on the ground with land based communities —learning the issues as they interview. Look for the documentary trailer in 2019! It will come about thanks to what you have given financially!

May we continue to stick together and work for the commons in this new year.

I see many waking up from the hubris of profit driven greed, celebrity status, a fossil fuel economy and entitlement. May this precious gem of our blue green planet daily inspire us to value the ordinary sacred acts of many and the whole of our diverse biotic community. We have been gifted this incredible life for only a minute in the larger arc of time.

We have the world to live in on the condition that we will take good care of it. And to take good care of it, we have to know it. And to know it and to be willing to take care of it, we have to love it.

Wendell Berry (

Happy New Year!

Rio Grande Story Project

We have come to the end of our funding year. In 2019 we will continue our advocacy with City Hall and our #feedpollinators habitat expansion program, partnering with schools. We hope to continue our summer youth farming intern program to learn about pollinators and healthy food systems.

We have plans already in the works to complete a Rio Grande Watershed Documentary in 2019, to use as a teaching tool. A little seed money has allowed us to begin it with students at Taos UNM Media Arts Program….knowing that we must get the word out about our precious and fragile, threatened high desert watershed in New Mexico. We will shine a spotlight on the Mother of all rivers, the Rio Grande, endangered by fracking, industrial toxins and drought. Her waters sustain our foodshed, fill our faucets, feed the soil and critters and basically nourish our bodies and souls with beauty and recreation.

As we interview land based elders and Indigenous leaders, who live on a shoestring, we will give them generous honorariums to continue their work of seed sovereignty, Rio Grande water protector, organic farmer. For Pollinator sand human alike, water is life.

Think Like A Bee may be small, but like the hive, we are mighty in what we are accomplishing together in the local community!

We are the people we have been waiting for—now, in this 21st century— to preserve our watershed for bee, critter, plant, soil and human communities alike— seven generations hence.

Thank you for caring and showing your support through a donation in this generous season of light. We realize there are many options calling your name for end of the year gifts. The need is great…but consider this, Think Like A Bee donations will be plowed back into our local community. We have next to no overhead. We subsist on the generosity of people’s time, talent and kind gifts. Our goal is $5000.

Think Like A Bee is incorporated with the IRS as a 501-C(3), Federal Tax id #81-0856887. All financial gifts are tax exempt and gratefully accepted by PayPal donations or by check to: Think Like A Bee, 410 Morningside Dr. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108


With 40-50% losses of honeybees annually, your support of Think Like A Bee is contributing to the care of these tiniest of invertebrates everywhere. All insects, including bees are the keystones and building blocks of a healthy food system.

We face a Bugapocalypse.

…Thank you for being a part of the Hive Mind! The solution is how we work together to educate, advocate and create new ways of living in cooperation with all beings on this planet!

Earth Reproduced?


Winter Solstice is upon us. An earthly turning.

Daylight melts into the darkest night of the year…even as humans kindle their artificial lights in this “Season of lights”.

bokeh photography of multicolored lights
Go to's profile

I have many reflections about this magnificent, unequaled, intelligent planet of ours as the year comes to an end.

My thoughts come on the heels of COP24 in Katowice, Poland. Otherwise known as the Conference of Parties, this is an effort by Governments and nations to address climate change. The first one was 24 years ago in Berlin Germany. It came on the heels of the 1989 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The scientific community reported that global warming was due to increased carbon emissions. It was a manmade event.

Here we are 24 years later. Are we closer to a carbon neutral future? Can we even begin to imagine the catastrophic tipping point of rising temperatures in our carefully balanced biosphere?

There have been luminous individuals in these 24 years that humans have been at it—even as the rich and powerful nations desperately avoid responsibility in order to save their “lifestyles”, while the poor and drowning nations ring the alarm.

Prophets have arisen in their hometowns.

This year it was a young 15 year old Swedish girl. A prophetess. Greta Thunberg is a serious student of climate change. She has lived through a depression in her short life as she came to understand the science and the alarming apocalypse humans are bringing upon this beautiful and precious blue-green planet and all inhabitants. Our home. Her grief about this human driven 6th Great Extinction of Species has made her a tireless advocate.


This past weekend I watched an interview with the 1968 Apollo 8 astronaut crew called Earth Rise.

A photo they took has become one of the most reproduced photo ever.

Earthrise from the Moon, artwork

The astronaut’s voices were thick with emotion for their home as they saw the brilliant blue-green and white marble rising from deep in the inky black void of outer space. Compared to the cold grey starkness of the Moon’s surface, our planet drew their eyes over and over.

The astronauts knew they were being shot into space by NASA to study the moon, but over and over, they photographed planet Earth. They wondered aloud why we weren’t more fascinated by our own biosphere than the Moon—the only one we know that can support life in our universe.

With a newfound love of their “home”, the astronauts conveyed with hushed reverence how this view of Earth from the moon changed them. It was akin to a “religious” experience.

On this Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere, December 21 at 5:23pm EST, as the bees hang heavy in the pitch blackness of their hives, exuding infrared heat, thousands upon thousands of vibrating bodies trying to survive til Spring….

MuddyValley 1

Go into the darkness. Sit with all the creatures who know that darkness also has a heartbeat. Let the comforting blackness and velveteen inky depths of that dark night of Solstice draw you deeply into her womb.

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

—Wendell Berry

Then, kindle a flame as though to illumine the earth rising.


Pray for the courage and the wisdom to act in this new year with the young ones, the wild ones, the creaturely ones who are leading us to a new earth rising.

We can not reproduce this planet.



Think Like A Bee is incorporated with the IRS as a 501-C(3), Federal Tax id #81-0856887. All financial gifts are tax exempt and gratefully accepted by PayPal donations or by check to: 410 Morningside Dr. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108

Donate Button with Credit Cards

(Year End) Ode to Think Like A Bee

It’s the end of the year, 2018, and I’m feeling somewhat sentimental as I remember the long, warm, late summer bee days of light.




Now it’s fireside days…we huddle for warmth, kindling twinkly lights in the windows in expectation of the darkness that has been creeping slowly towards Winter Solstice…




My beehives, bless them, are supposed to be wrapped in the cold days of winter, moving in and out as a radiating, vibrating ball of light and heat. But it’s not so. The warming climate means they are flying almost year round. As the sun reaches her winter zenith here in the Southwest, days can heat up to a very comfy 45-50 degrees F. The bees are beckoned to come out and seek food. They burn up precious fuel, both in stored honey and invertebrate energy.

Honey Bee in Flight

Honey bee caught in flight in the garden at La Quinetire, Buais, Normandy, France


I visited my hives this past weekend with Calli.


The amazing Calli Russell  @

Calli is living with the TiLT community this year (Taos Initiative for Learning Together). As a videographer and documentary maker, she has graciously offered her skills to make an end of the year video for Think Like A Bee.

Meanwhile, alongside the hives with bees buzzing lazily around their entrances this weekend, I checked out my tiniest hive. Hoping against hope that her royal highness and queen’s court, would still have a beating heart.

Calli recorded what we found…




Watch for the complete video, with many more Think Like A Bee friends, coming to you in December!




We invite you to support Think Like A Bee in this generous season of light. There are many options calling your name for end of the year gifts, the need is great….but consider this, Think Like a Bee donations will be plowed back into our local community. We have next to no overhead. We subsist on the generosity of people’s time, talent and donations. Our goal is to raise $5000.

We have come to the end of our funding year, with a mere $2,000 in the bank and plans already in the works to complete a Rio Grande Watershed Documentary in 2019, to use as a teaching tool. A little seed money has allowed us to begin it….knowing that we must get the word out about our precious and fragile, threatened high desert watershed in New Mexico. We will shine a spotlight on the Rio Grande, which sustains our foodshed,  fills our faucets, feeds the soil and critters and basically nourishes our bodies and souls with beauty and recreation.

As we interview land based elders and Indigenous leaders, who usually live on a shoestring,  we will give them generous honorariums to continue their work of seed sovereignty, Rio Grande water protector, organic farmer.   Think Like A Bee may be small, but like the hive, we are mighty in what we are accomplishing together in the local community!


Mother of all rivers here in the New Mexico, The Rio Grande is also one of the most endangered rivers in the world. Fracking, Industrial waste, agriculture and development threaten her life, and ours.

For Pollinator and human alike, water is life.

We are the people we have been waiting for—now, in this 21st century— to preserve our watershed for bee, critter, plant, soil and human communities alike— seven generations hence.

Think Like A Bee is incorporated with the IRS as a 501-C(3), Federal Tax id #81-0856887. All financial gifts are tax exempt and gratefully accepted by PayPal donations or by check to: Think Like A Bee, 410 Morningside Dr. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108



Lament for a Watershed

Do you know the watershed in which you live?


Here in New Mexico, Albuquerque is located in the Middle Rio Grande Watershed. This River was named for its grandeur and size. Today the Rio Grande continues to support agriculture, recreation, culture and the health of human and all biotic life, though she is shrinking.

The Rio Grande is one of the most endangered rivers in not only North America, but globally.  Human exploitation—development, toxic industrial waste, agriculture —threaten her on every front.

This ribbon of water in a drought ridden state is critical for our food supply, health, and security.  If we continue to destroy this source of water—through the insanity of proposed fracking and the current poisonous, radioactive plumes from Los Alamos Nuclear Lab  —we will compromise all life along the once mighty Rio Grande. Her lovely flanks of habitat for pollinators, humans and all creaturely and plant life will no longer support life.

And then there is drought…the effects are seen in the burned out landscape the Rio Grande’s soothing waters cannot reach.

But still she meanders along the side of the road, lovely and blue/green, on the particular day that I was heading home from Taos, New Mexico.



Think Like A Bee has been awarded a seed grant to begin a process of creating a documentary about the Rio Grande Watershed.

The goal is to interview and collect stories of food growers and water protectors along the Rio Grande. We will be working with the Taos UNM Media Arts Lab to document stories of Land Based communities and elders whose people have been shaped by this great river and her watershed.


For centuries, many peoples have preserved this watershed for us today. New Mexico is rich in a unique and traditional food cultura. All you need to do is drive north along the Rio Grande, and you will see all the ways we depend on the river for food. From North to South, simple and sustainable growing practices have survived for many generations throughout New Mexico—from Chile peppers, the Three Sisters of squash/corn/beans to local apples and honey.

Even as climate change and drought are impacting natural systems such as migrations of wildlife and pollinator habitat, we must grow food to live.


Think Like A Bee hopes to put a spotlight on our precious river, calling us all to be watershed defenders.

Water is life.