Saturday, 4 February 2017

Life, death, and bread

Heavy title, but it's true. Moonchi, the sister of Jessica (the vibrant lady who has been cooking 3 meals a day for the six boys, interns, guest, Kwao, and Agape), died in child birth while her newborn baby survived. She was 18 years old.
The whole community feels the loss and her favourite songs have been playing from the loud speakers of her brother's bar for the last few days. Every day I'm more aware to give thanks for life and the wonderful Italian couple (Giulia and Alezandro) with their 5 month old girl Andrea.
Agape has to cook 3 meals a day now, so the pace of our internship has slowed accordingly and Lucy and I have had the chance to apply what we've learned and work on our own projects.

Still, we've had a Patois lesson, been to the bees, and distilled orange essential oil (35 mL this time!). How Agape manages with six boys and two interns is incredible and I'm trying to help out however I can.

Yesterday Kwao took, Lucy, the Italians, and I for a lush walk up a river gully to turquoise pools that he used to explore when he was young rasta. The forest is so full of sound and greenery, snails, and mind-blowing rock formations. I loved it!

Below are a few pictures from the last week. I also went snorkeling with Lion (also our guide to Black Sands beach), painted a sign for the outdoor oven that says "Good Journey Little Breads!", and showed a German couple around the town. Peter, a fellow Canadian (and fellow Bagel Baker!) lives up the hill from the gully and is an Eco-Architect with his Eco-Architect wife Julia. They're really lovely and brought little lettuce and arugula to plant in the Yerba Buena garden.

My thoughts are with Moonchi's family and the new baby at this time. I feel like I've met so many beautiful people and began to appreciate the language, land and sea. I know I'll come back to Strawberry Fields. There is so much love here!


Nevermind, pictures aren't working!

I'll post loads when I get home <3.

Me love you!

Kate xxxoooo

Friday, 27 January 2017

Good Vibes

In Jamaica over the past few weeks, I've met many diverse people.
Artists, herbalists, orange vendors, sailing teachers, coffee growers, dance instructors, vegan cooks, mothers, travelers, hiking guides, and many more.
But people don't seem to define themselves by their roles because they have so many hats and because personality and helping the community comes before personal achievement.
The common thread is: good vibes. :)
There is a lot of noise. Much more than in Canada.
Lucy and I met some incredible ladies who are teaching us some dance moves. Everyone here dancing from a very young age and music is everywhere.
I like this song that the oldest boy, Emanuel, plays in the car on the road to the bees or to Kingston:
Here is another one. (I have a long ways to go before I reach dance hall queen heights like this!).

Bee-wise, we have been feeding and checking on the bees in 2 locations, rendering wax, making lotion, swirling cinnamon soap, and celebrating the logwood blooms!
We also distilled pepper elder and have been showing the newly arrived Italian couple and their beautiful 5 month old baby (!!!) the nearby hikes.
We visited a coffee plantation and went for a day-long hike with a guide, Lion, who showed us the plants and their medicinal properties, cooked us fresh fish, and swam with us in a huge waterfall! (pictures to come).

I can hardly believe I'll be here for less than 2 weeks. The day-dreamesque quality of Jamaica still hasn't worn off. I'm looking forward to starting a top bar hive in Canada, but hope to soak up every ray of sunshine while I'm here.


Kate xoxox

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Computer 1: Kate 0

Believe me when I say I wrote the most beautiful blog post about soundscapes of Jamaica at night, but cannot upload the voice memo clips because of a combination of my lack of ability/desire to battle with technology at this moment, and a limited Wi-Fi connection. :) <3

So... here are a few photos instead!

Thinking of the snowy mountains back home and sending good vibes from Yerba Buena Farm. I can't wait to set what I'm learning here into motion back in Canmore <3.

Eating a June plum in the yard on a break. Juiced some of these too. Mmm...
Baby Kudjoe raking said yard. What a gem!

Co-intern Lucy and Sandra (a lovely lady who lives down the road) in front of Sandra's house.

Shantel's little sister in a chair her Dad made, watching Dora the Explorer at home. Shantel is a friend of Agape and Kwao's six boys.

Mixing peppermint soap. Safety first! Always. ;)

 Kwao in one of the bee yards! We have to work quickly when the clouds roll in, or risk facing unhappy bees.
Yesterday I got my first sting on my pinkie finger and it's a bit swollen, but Lucy really got nailed on our first hive taking abut 17 stings! She's amazing and has hardly complained, going back into the bees the next day. Check out her blog here:
More sights (and hopefully sounds!) to share soon.
Kate xxoo

Friday, 13 January 2017


Update Two!

Here are some photos from my first week in Jamaica!
We went to the market in Kingston yesterday and have also made sourdough bread in the brick oven, observed the bees, giving them a 1:1 feed of cane sugar and water to help them through the dearth, and had time to sketch some of my impressions of the area.
People here really value the power of community, and I feel so grateful to be a part of it.

Love from St. Mary's,

Kate xxxxx


Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Layering Up!


Writing from Agape and Kwao Adams' beeyard in Strawberry Fields, Jamaica near Annotto Bay and a cold front has hit!
With ocean breezes and a high around 27 degrees Celsius, my wonderful honey bee mentors and their visitors and neighbours are layering up with hats and long sleeves.
It's a bit chilly for the bees as well, though we have been able to check on them and give them some sugar water during the January dearth. (I just checked what it's like in Canmore and it's -19 degrees, but feels like -28. <3 I hope the bees are staying cozy there too!!).

Two interns, Mary and Bryan, left this morning after handing Lucy (a lovely little lady studying photography in Boston and my roommate) and I the bee torch.
Six dread-locked boys between the ages of 2 and 17 buzz about the Yerba Buena yard as well as two cats, three dogs, and a white-bearded goat.

A few nights ago, we distilled Sea Mint, or Lantana involucrata an aromatic herb we collected in the forest with a few of the boys and girls from town.
It smells amazing, like an indescribable root, and I'm looking forward to distilling more essential oils with Lucy and Agape.
Lantana involucrata - Sea Mint

We'll miss Bryan and Mary's energy around here, but it's great to have new people and neighbours visiting, like the couple who just arrived here from Austria.
Today we're fixing some hives and cleaning up after the wind storm.

Like the layers of the forest that surround me in complex green swaths, the bees building their comb and filling it with brood, pollen, and honey, my experiences are also compiling and I hope to share some of them here on this blog, as well as some of the diverse flora and fauna that I'm learning about!!


Kate xoxoxo