No! It really can’t have been over a year since I have last posted our progress. Time is a tricky concept. There is never enough of it, as it rushes by relentlessly. It never really seems to matter how hard we work, there is ever an endless list of more. It is, though, very gratifying in retrospect to look back over this past year and see the monumental amounts we did accomplish.
This past year, for the first of our four years here, we had help from two hired hands. I tacked up a poster with a job description on the board in our tiny post office, and this past spring, we hired the two able bodies that responded. Steven worked endless hours chipping vast piles of branches for mulch that we use in all of our garden beds. He also worked with me days upon days weeding the vegetable, herb, and flower gardens. Tanner spent many hours on the tractor mowing our multi acres of grass, trimming deadwood from many of the trees, building tent platforms for our guests, and laying a beautiful brick patio for a fire pit, near the house. Together they worked on clearing thick brush from around the pond so that for the first time in a very long time we can see the pond from many vantage points on the property. Every part of the property all summer long looked tended and polished and this made me very happy.
A year ago, this past May, we began planning stages for transforming an old grain barn into a beautiful art studio and living space. Restoration began with jacking up the southeast corner of the building that had sunk into the ground about 9 inches. We added timbers under the structure for more support, and braced up the 4 corners. Large windows that face the pond, a double entry door, and multiple south facing windows were added. Removal of the bee hive from the upstairs wall was a fascinating process. The bees were gently vacuumed into a large container and transported to a farm close by and placed in hives. I miss watching the constant movement of bees in and out of the small hole in the upper south facing wall, but we honored them in a way by calling this place the Bee House Studio.
This summer we hosted our first 4 day art retreat in the Bee House Studio. We had 9 women come together, one from as far away as Pennsylvania. This next year we have 4 art retreats and 1 writing retreat planned. What a journey it has been and continues to be, to bring our vision to light and to gather kindred spirits together to celebrate and create together.
I have placed a small chalk board on the kitchen counter to remind those who visit, the power of gathering together. It reads:
This is the power of gathering: it inspires us, delightfully, to be more hopeful, more joyful, more thoughtful: in a word, more alive. -Alice Waters