Archive for June, 2013


Toss, Keep, or Give Away

June 7, 2013

You know how some people say that for every one thing that enters their house some other thing leaves?  I’m not one of those people.  You know how some people say a place for everything and everything in its place?  I’m not one of those people either.  But it is becoming abundantly clear to me that we have too much stuff. 

The reason I’m in this predicament is because I’m so darn eco-conscious.  I am loath to add to the landfills.  I feel bad about our single trashcan of non-recyclables, non-compostables that gets put out each week – and I’m wracked with guilt when we have extra things – like the four broken and totally unsalvageable lawn chairs we put out this past week. Somehow, in the broken logic of my brain I think it makes more sense for four broken lawn chairs to be piled behind my garage than put in the landfill. 

But wait, couldn’t I do something clever and somehow recycle those chairs or chair parts? In short.  No.  I am not that clever, talented, nor skilled.  I would love to be able to create art from cast-offs.  But it hasn’t happened in the last 50+ years of my life and I just don’t think it is realistic that I’m suddenly going to become a cast-off artist.  I also have a feeling that a move in that direction would lead to more questionable items in my trust rather that fewer.  Now if I knew an artist who wanted broken lawn chairs…

Of course there are a goodly number of things in my possession that can go on to Goodwill (or substitute the name of your favorite donation-accepting charity).  For instance, I have a laundry basket of clothes that need to be evaluated by the daughter for just that purpose.  Unfortunately, the cat thinks the laundry basket of cast-offs is a very comfy place to sleep. So now, not only do I need to sort those into keepers, tossers, and give-aways – I have to rewash the whole kit and kaboodle.

I’ve noticed that over time some items change their position in the keeper, tosser, give-away categories. My garage attic has a number of items from my children’s infancies – a crib, toys, and car seats for instance.  Well, there is no point in keeping the car seats nor the crib, they do not meet the present safety standards (I don’t know how my children survived.)  And the toys, given they are now covered with over a decade’s worth of dirt, I don’t think anyone would believe they could be made clean enough for an infant ever again.  Still, it is hard to jump the breach from Goodwill to landfill.  I may let Goodwill make the decision, after I hose them off. 

To complicate matters psychologically, I am part of a theatre company and every non-tossable now looks like a potential prop.  The crib, for instance, might we not do a play someday that requires a crib?  I can’t let my mind go that route.  I need to assure myself that someone else will always have a crib we can borrow, that I do not, single-handedly, need to save every possible potential prop. Besides, isn’t it better to give some money to Goodwill when we need a crib than to hoard one in my attic? 

Of course the theatre company has acquired a number of props already (many from Goodwill, in fact).  Luckily another board member has taken on the task of storing them.  If they were in my garage that area would just keep growing as I transferred more and more items to the prop pile. 

Yes, I’m feeling an increasing urge to purge.  But where to start?  The top of the house?  The garage?  The basement?  I’m beginning to understand why this large-scale purging of stuff hasn’t happened before (except when we moved, and even then a remarkable amount just got packed and moved with us).  I suspect I will need to be a role model for others in the household, so first purging-place will have to be my room – or more specifically – my half of the room – which won’t be nearly as satisfying as an entire room…maybe I’ll just go take a bath.


Bee buzz

June 2, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, the same day I installed the four hives, I received a phone call.  It was the librarian from a nearby town and would I be willing to talk to her preschool story group about bees? 

Well of course I was.

Now it has been quite awhile since I have talked to 3 and 4 year olds, so it took a bit of thought.  What would my take-away message be for these little folks?  I decided it was “if they’re fuzzy, let them bee.” 

Minier Library Story Hour 3I figured that most little people, often learned from their big people, are rather scared of bees.  I wanted to talk to them about why bees are good (pollination and honey) and how they really don’t want to sting and only will  if they or their hive is threatened.  Wasps, on the other hand, while they do pollinate, they don’t make honey, and they can sting you over and over with no compunction (but I didn’t use the word “compunction”).

Minier Library Story Hour



I filled out the talk with other bits of bee facts. Things like that other bees make honey too, just not extra honey (I wonder what bumblebee honey tastes like?).  I talked about swarms a little (mostly because the Moms thought it was interesting).  There was the ever popular description of honey as “bee spit”,  and of course there was the modeling of the beekeeper garb.

This past week the Prairie State Journal (a weekly regional paper, but, alas, with no online presence) came out and I was splashed all over the front page (these pictures and a couple more). 

Meanwhile, my bees up by the house in the topbar hive are doing fine. We’ve had an awful lot of rain the last few days though – about 3” (which is a lot for us) – including a flash flood in the park next door on Friday and numerous flooded roads and fields.  I haven’t had a chance to check my bees this weekend because of a community theater production.  And I need to check the bees I started for my friend.  Soon.  I’ll add it to the never ending to do list.