Busy As A Bee

img_Issue 1-11The bee scene in Fried Green Tomatoes, in which Mary Stuart Masterson reaches through a swarm of bees to extract honey from a tree trunk, is one of the most memorable movie scenes I’ve ever seen.

I channeled Masterson (who did the scene without a stunt double) less than a decade later when I encouraged a swarm of bees to follow me from a shed to a different part of the yard then back again when I realized I was better off leaving them where they were.

My more recent bee experiences have been with the gentler, solitary kind, the mason bee (from the genus Osmia). Mason bees produce neither honey nor beeswax but play an important role in the pollination of our flowers and fruit trees. In fact, mason bees are such efficient pollinators, it takes just one mason bee to pollinate 12 pounds of cherries, while it takes 60 honey bees to do the same! Continue reading “Busy As A Bee”

Sorting Through Life

When it comes to decluttering, it took me most of my life—and several false starts—to get where I am. The biggest kick in the butt was the passing of my brother, a lifelong collector of pretty much anything. When he died, my siblings and I travelled to Manitoba to clear out his apartment in a matter of days. Overwhelmed by the amount of stuff he had, we needed to make quick decisions about what to keep and what to toss. We dropped off about 40 bags of clothing to Value Village and filled two recycling dumpers with decades of old magazines. Much of the rest went into storage for months until we could sort through it, trying to decide whether something was sentimentally valuable, monetarily valuable, useful to someone somewhere, or merely crap. Sometimes the lines blurred.

When we die, someone has to sort through and make sense of what’s left of our life: every single thing that we gathered and stored over the years. As the parent of an only child, I didn’t want to saddle my daughter with that burden.

I’d attempted decluttering before. Failed attempts involved a never-ending cycle of moving piles from one place to another. So while I didn’t know how to go about decluttering my life this recent time, I knew how not to go about it.

Then I read Marie Kondo’s Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up. The premise? Get rid of stuff first, then organize what’s left. The simplicity resonated with me, and I dove right in. Continue reading “Sorting Through Life”