Well, hello again! I spent little time on my phone or online this summer, and it was so good. I got caught up in my daily lists of productive projects around the house (more on that below) that I somehow tricked myself into always being otherwise occupied instead of looking at Instagram. And before I knew it, I’d realize mid-afternoon that I hadn’t looked at my phone or even brought it downstairs all day. It was lovely, and freed up so much brain space to think! And now, we’re back at work and school and the fall routine. It’s starting to feel fall-ish in the mornings. The angles of the sun have noticeably changed and there’s a light party around noon in the kitchen when the sun hits the string of disco balls. Dusk comes sooner, and the chickens are in for the night just after 7:00. It’s dark when we get up for school and work, but light when the boys catch the morning school bus. Afternoons are hot and sunny.
Much of my summer was spent purging and deep cleaning those places that had just not been dealt with since moving here (I’m looking at you, garage) or had just been gathering things that we didn’t really need to keep (hello, storage closet). I managed to purge things from all of the places, selling a few things, giving away many and leaving all of this beautiful, free, open and usable space. And it has been the smoothest transition back into the fall routine in recent memory. (I’m quite confident those things are related.) Every morning when I open my purged and tidied drawers to find clothes for the day I’m delighted all over again. My rational brain tells me that external things shouldn’t make such a difference to my internal workings, but they absolutely do. I could go on and on - just clean one drawer (take everything out, get rid of whatever you don’t use or like, put what is left back neatly) and see how delighted you are next time you need something from that space. It’s like magic, I promise.
The bees. I’d been feeling a bit guilty about not doing a whole lot with the bees this season. One thing I did earlier in the summer when I suspected that the one hive we had at the time was going to swarm was to set up the empty hive next to it as a cozy new home (narrow entrance, solid floor, a bit of beeswax and lemongrass oil under the cover). You cannot imagine my stunned and euphoric surprise when I discovered that it had worked. I jumped, fist-pumped in the air, and whooped. I couldn’t believe that they had taken up my offer. So we’re back to up two hives, which makes me so very happy. (Ecstatic, really.) I sat with them for awhile this morning, and they are looking so healthy and active. I’m hoping to maybe harvest a bit of honey soon - we left it all for them last fall, since we had lost one hive, and we wanted them to have plenty to get them through. But I would really like a few jars for the pantry.
One thing I’ve recognized about myself over the past few years is my methodology for learning about things, and it’s captured perfectly in my new-recipe method. When I’m looking for a recipe for a new-to-me dish, I will intensely read all of the things about that dish and what it should ideally be. I will them read many recipes for that thing, sometimes dozens. I will then “ignore” everything I’ve read and make something up. Which, of course, isn’t ignoring at all, but letting my brain work it all out in the background. This connects back to the bees - I couldn’t explain to you exactly why I knew they were going to swarm. I haven’t done much bee reading over the past year or so, so whatever knowledge there is, tucked away in the depths of my brain, is not at the forefront and ready for me to slow down and explain in words. I do think that much of it from the many books I have read is in there, though, along with all of my previous experiences with them, and I can unconsciously and efficiently do the processing when I get out of my own way. Fascinating. The process of writing this out reminded me of listening to something (a radio show? podcast? not sure) on this very subject. Which then led me to do a quick search and come up with this concise article on the subject. In part:
“Intuition or gut feelings are also the result of a lot of processing that happens in the brain. Research suggests that the brain is a large predictive machine, constantly comparing incoming sensory information and current experiences against stored knowledge and memories of previous experiences, and predicting what will come next. This is described in what scientists call the “predictive processing framework”.”
Isn’t that just the most fascinating thing? Your gut might just be right for a thousand reasons your brain has just filtered through without you even realizing it.
Happy September to you - I hope that the seasonal transition is going smoothly for you, too.