With the farm in good hands, I snuck off for a quick backpacking adventure in Arizona this week. Because it’s already hot enough in Georgia, I escaped up to the Mogollon Rim, which forms the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau. At 8,000 feet the top of the Rim is pleasantly cooler than the desert below, and it is also one of the wettest parts of the state. The canyons along the intermittently flowing creeks had an incredibly diverse flora, and I was instantly smitten. The short vacation reminded me how important it is to slow down once in a while, to rest, but also how much happiness comes from appreciating the small parts of life that can be so easily overlooked, like admiring the fire-engine-red wings of a lichen moth or enjoying the concentrated sweetness of a tiny wild strawberry.
Back home, the farm weathered a powerful thunderstorm in my absence. It left limbs down and the power out, and knocked over a fair bit of the okra patch. The okra was mostly standing tall by the time I returned, and in fact seemed to have grown quite a bit and produced more than a few okra pods.
Bees have arrived back on the farm, though they are not ours. We had intended to start anew with beekeeping this year, but the time to order bees fell during our recovery from Hurricane Michael, when bigger priorities were being dealt with. Alas. Instead, these bees are from the commercial beekeepers who in recent years, after the bees finish providing pollination services for California’s almond industry, park the bees in Georgia until it’s time to return to California in the winter. Every place we go right now is full of the familiar buzz of honeybees: from the cucumber patch, to the crepe myrtles, to the peace-sign inflorescences of Bahia grass, the bees are finding floral resources all around. Even though they aren’t returning that pollen and nectar to hives we’ll harvest honey from, I do enjoy seeing and hearing them back en masse.