Inner Iris 6-18-17

Today it was quite chilly with brief periods of sun. The sunlight allowed me to take today’s photos.  I have found that entire white iris are challenging for me to photograph, so I was pleased and grateful to capture portraits of these beauties before they are done for the season.  They live in my neighbor’s yard.
cool sunshine glitters
bouncing off iris petals
sparkling enjoyment
~ Raven Ariana Simons ©2017
late afternoon light
allows a glimpse within
soft inner iris
~ Raven Ariana Simons ©2017
I love this little fly that look like he/she is looking out over a vast expanse.
This hover fly says “hi” from a neighbor’s flower and looks nice with the iris photos. Amazing that these insects were out in the cold!
wee friends in the cold
pollinating champions
both are little flies
~ Raven Ariana Simons ©2017
Bright Blessings, Namaste, Namu Amida Butsu
Our hearts give thanks for the Grace in the Universe!


Come As You Are – 3/13/15, 3/14/15, 3/15/15

3:15:15 reflections and koi 1 sig“Although my eyes, blinded by passions, do not see the brilliant light which embraces me,
the Great Compassion never tires, always casting its light upon me.”
~ Shinran Shonin

Our old cat Velvet on 3/13/14 (she crossed the Rainbow Bridge that autumn).  RIP Dear One!

Our old cat Velvet on 3/13/14 (she crossed the Rainbow Bridge that autumn of 2014). RIP Dear One!

Click here for the post of photos from March 13, 2012, 2013, and more 2014.

Friday, March 13, 2015 – Today is golden with sunlight and the forsythia in full bloom.
3:13:15 f sig 3:13:15 close sig 3:13:15 f 1 sig“That Buddha, in the causal stage, made the universal Vow:
When beings hear my Name and think on me, I will come to welcome each of them,
Not discriminating at all between the poor and the rich and wellborn,
Not discriminating between the inferior and the highly gifted,
Not choosing the learned and those upholding pure precepts,
Nor rejecting those who break precepts and whose evil karma is profound.
Solely making beings turn about and abundantly say the Nien-Fo,
I can make bits of rubble change into gold.”
~ Hymn by Tz’u-min, cited by Fa-chao in the Wu-hui fa-shih tsan (Shorter Pure Land Liturgy of Nien-Fo Chant in Five Stages)

3:13:15 f 4 sig 3:13:15 f 3 sig 3:13:15 close nice sig“each blossom is filled
pollen, nectar, and longing
to bee completed”
~ Raven Ariana Simons

Honeybee gathering blue pollen from Siberian squill on 3/14/15.

Honeybee gathering blue pollen from Siberian squill on 3/14/15.

Click here for the post of photos from March 14, 2012, 2013, and more 2014.

Saturday March 14, 2015 – Today I saw a tiny beetle that looked like a miniature lady bug with black and red spots.  I haven’t looked this one up to see if it is actually some type of ladybug.  My Oregon grape is coming into bloom and the mason bees (osmia) are out and about.  My neighbors’ violets smelled heavenly.
3:14:15 nice b sig 3:14:15 v fr sig 3:14:15 osmia cl sig“True entrusting means that you’re able to truly relate to another being. Not only human beings but with plants and animals. Even those things that cannot speak, you’re able to hear their feelings. Namu-amida-butsu.”
~ Ichitaro
3:14:15 side v n a sig 3:14:15 side o cl sig 3:14:15 v sp sig“buds swell to bursting
sweet smells and nectar laden
beckon insect friends”
~ Raven Ariana Simons

Christmas cactus re-blooming on 3/15/14.

Christmas cactus re-blooming on 3/15/14.

Click here for the post of photos from March 15, 2012, 2013, and more 2014.

Sunday, March 15, 2015 – Today was exceptionally warm and we actually had a record high of 73 degrees F. at 3:00 P.M. MDT.  This is a quote from a local newspaper, “The warm temperatures are nearly 20 degrees warmer than normal temperatures for mid-March.” This made it a lovely day for sangha in the park and listening to and sharing wise words about our mindfulness practice and compassion.  We also learned about and practiced walking meditation.  I want to express heartfelt gratitude to our wonderful Practice Leader, Mr. Christopher “Myoshin” Ross-Leibow, and his lovely wife, Linnea, for their work service and also to the rest of the members of the Sangha. where we are truly welcome to “come as we are”.
3:15:15 Amida Buddha sm sig 3:15:15 falling water sig 3:15:15 koi and reflections 1 sig 3:15:15 koi 1 sig“Among all living things
mountains and rivers,
grasses and trees,
even the sounds of blowing winds
and rising waves –
there is nothing
that is not the nembutsu”
~ Ippen
3:15:15 old tree sig 3:15:15 falling water 1 sig 3:15:15 koi 2 sig 3:15:15 Amida Buddha 1 sm sig“we walk heal to toe
massaging sweet mother earth
with our mindful feet”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
3:15:15 koi and reflections sigOur hearts give thanks for the Grace of the Universe!
Bright Bee Blessings, Namaste, and Namu Amida Butsu ~ Raven

Three Sunny Days in March – 3/7/15, 3/8/15, 3/9/15

3:9:15 sunset sig“Now when the primrose makes a splendid show,
And lilies face the March-winds in full blow,
And humbler growths as moved with one desire
Put on, to welcome spring, their best attire…”
~ William Wordsworth

Cedar waxwing on 3/7/14.

Cedar waxwing on 3/7/14.

Click here for post with photos from March 7, 2012, 2013, and more 2014.

Saturday, March 7, 2015 – Today was a day full of birds staking out territory and I even saw a tussle between a couple of male starlings, though I was only able to get the “sing off” before they went after each other.  I also have a cute blue jay who seemed to look on in an incredulous way.
3:7:15 sing off a sig 3:7:15 look up 1 sig“Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer. ”
~ Geoffrey B. Charlesworth
3:7:15 good s sig “as the jay looks on
male starlings fall from the tree
engaged in battle”
~ Raven Ariana Simons3:7:15 j 1 sig

Crocus on 3/8/14.

Crocus on 3/8/14.

Click here for post with photos from March 8, 2012, 2013, and more 2014.

Sunday, March 8, 2015 – I saw my first flower flies (hoverflies) today and the first mason bee (osmia) and a cute little honeybee gathering pollen.
3:8:15 ff 1 a sig 3:8:15 side ff sig“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
3:8:15 osmia sig“a fine sunny day
as pollinators emerge
from their winter’s sleep”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
3:8:15 hb munch 1 sig

Seagulls on March 9, 2014.

Seagulls on March 9, 2014.

Click here for post with photos from March 9, 2012, 2013, and more 2014.

Monday, March 9, 2015 – The crocus are still in bloom, the aspen catkin buds lengthen, and the Oregon grape is also coming into bloom.  We also had a lovely sunset which is stars at the beginning of this post.
3:9:15 aspen a sig3:9:15 p c sig “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
~ Rachel Carson
3:9:15 o g open sig 3:9:15 hb a sig“cheerful spring flowers
food for the insect people
brings hope to my heart”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
3:9:15 c s cl sigOur hearts give thanks for the Grace in the Universe!
Bright Bee Blessings and Namaste ~ Raven


Jewels in the Melting Snow and Ladies out for a Drink 2/27/15

2:27:15 dr l 1 sig“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
Click here for past February 27 photos (2012, 2013, and more 2014).

Rain on hazel twig on 2/27/14.

Rain on hazel twig on 2/27/14.

Friday, February 27, 2015 – Today was very interesting because I’ve been having conversations about a new contraption called the “flow hive” that supposedly takes the work out of beekeeping.  My personal opinion of this invention is that it takes the mindfulness, skillfulness, kindness, compassion, and joy out of being a beekeeper.  I care about my bees and keep them for themselves rather than for the honey they produce.  In fact, my intuition was to leave them all of their honey in 2014.  I’ve been actively interested in and educating people locally about native pollinators since the early 1980’s.  I love biodiversity for its own sake.

This lady implores you to look around at the world and the creatures that share it with you with kind and compassionate eyes.  Taken at the urban oasis on 2/27/15

This lady implores you to look around at the world and the creatures that share it with you with kind and compassionate eyes and take action to end ecocide.  Photo at the urban oasis on 2/27/15

Most of my friends and family on Facebook know I am a beekeeper I have had many tags and posts to my timeline about this “flow hive” because the average person thinks this is a great thing and I’d enjoy learning about it.  Perhaps I’d even like to own one for myself.  This is not the case.  In fact, I think that it is a disaster in the making for the bees (as if they didn’t have enough problems).  The Winnebago Diaries (FB friends and fellow beekeepers) articulate concerns about the “flow hive” beautifully in this post.  Their FB page is Fair Share Honey.
2:27:15 hb cute sigI wasn’t originally going to post any of the honeybee photos I took today but given the online conversations I have had, decided I’d add them in with the melting snow and little water jewels on the emerging pollinator food (clover and dandelions).  I chose my quotes because I believe that education about what is truly happening to the earth and the biodiversity that keeps it livable for all is a key factor for getting grassroots efforts going.  The only way we can “save” our fellow creatures, soil, air, earth, water, and ourselves is if we all learn about the challenges we are facing, the ecocide that is happening, and do something.  I’ll start with my favorite quote from Margaret Mead ~ “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” 
2:27:15 cl d sig  2:27:15 fat drop sig2:27:15 interesting sig“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”
~ Robert Frost
2:27:15 fat drop sig 2:27:15 dr l sig 2:27:15 melting snow cl 1 sig“it can start with words
or images that move us
to protect the earth”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
2:27:15 dandy sigOur hearts give thanks for the Grace in the Universe!
Bright Bee Blessings and Namaste ~ Raven

Pollen for Grace 2/18/15

“Until it seems that the whole city (Venice/Venus)
will be covered with golden pollen shaken
from the bell towers, lilies plundered
with the weight of massive bees …”
~ H. D.
2:18:15 pollen butt sig 2:18:15 grace hive sig
Flashback – Saturday, February 18, 2012 – Here are two female sparrows on an aspen.
February 18, 2012 sigFlashback – Monday, February 18, 2013 – I love this photo looking out in the Great Salt Lake. I think that this is Antelope Island, the farther shore.
Februay 18, 2013 sigFlashback – Tuesday, February 18, 2014 – The ducks have started their courtship and mating behavior at the pond 🙂
February 18, 2014Wednesday, February 18, 2015 – A long time neighbor just sold his house. He is a professional photographer, horseman, beekeeper and all around nice person.  I had a very surprising experience a couple of days before he had to be gone when I asked when he was moving his bees.  He explained to me that a friend of his had taken most of his empty boxes but that his thriving hive was not welcome by the new owners of the property and that he was afraid that the bees would die if moved to his new house.  He wondered if I’d give them a home.  I asked when they needed to be moved and he said a couple of days.

Wowza!  I must give a big thank you to my hubby and son for scrambling to get them moved in time.  Last summer, my intuition was to leave all honey for YoMama Hive and my neighbor did the same for this one.  His hive has four deep boxes, so you can imagine how heavy they were.  I guess there were some tense moments when, despite heavy straps, the boxes started separating as they were trundled down the street and into my backyard and across bumpy places!  They’re here now and it looks like the ladies have settled in. I have named them Grace Hive 🙂  These ladies are Carniolans and have already been bringing in pollen!  The Italians of YoMama Hive have been pollen laden, too.
2:18:15 in sig2:18:15 two out fr sig 2:18:15 p two flying sig “Words were her plague and words were her redemption.”
~ H. D.
2:18:15 face to face sig 2:18:15 peeker 1 sig 2:18:15 pollen sig“would you like my bees
you’ll need to move them quickly
so Grace came to me”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
2:18:15 resting with pollen sigOur hearts give thanks for the Grace in the Universe!
Bright Bee Blessings and Namaste ~ Raven

First Native Bee of the New Year 2/13/15

2:13:15 native bee a sig“Love the earth and sun and the animals,
Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
Stand up for the stupid and crazy,
Devote your income and labor to others,
Hate tyrants, argue not concerning God,
Have patience and indulgence toward the people,
Take off your hat to nothing known or unknown,
or to any man or number of men,
Go freely with powerful uneducated persons,
And with the young, and with the mothers or families,
Re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book,
Dismiss whatever insults your own soul;
And your very flesh shall be a great poem….
And have the richest fluency, not only in its words,
But in the silent lines of its lips and face,
And between the lashes of your eyes, and
In every motion and joint of your body.”
~ Walt Whitman ~
Preface to Leaves of Grass, 1855 edition
Flashback – Monday, February 13, 2012 – This green orchid has been hanging in there. My white ones were curling up today and the single unopened blossom may not open. I love this picture because it looks like there is a magic piano behind the orchid, so I call it “The Ghost Piano”  🙂
February 13, 2012 sigFlashback – Wednesday, February 13, 2013 – These ornamental grasses have yesterday’s bird’s nest behind them.
February 13, 2013 sig
Flashback – Thursday, February 13, 2014 – This is an American widgeon after a downpour in a few moments of stillness at the pond.
February 13, 2014Friday – February 13, 2015 – Today was a little chillier, but still sunny and nice.  I saw my first native bee, probably a leaf-cutter bee (megachile sp.) 🙂
2:13:15 white crocus nb sig 2:13:15 nb sig 2:13:15 wc nb sig“solitary bee
you have survived the winter
grateful to see you”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
2:13:15 side nb sig 2:13:15 wc nb a sig 2:13:15 yc nb bum sig“bottoms up you seek
pollen and early nectar
diving in crocus”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
2:13:15 cute sigOur hearts give thanks for the Grace in the Universe!
Bright Bee Blessings and Namaste ~ Raven

First Flowers 2/11/15

2:11:15 bum sigThe temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers.

Flashback – Saturday, February 11, 2012 – Candle (candle light vigil), reflection and terracotta bowl for today.
February 11, 2012 sigFlashback – Monday, February 11, 2013 – Here are three icicles on my neighbor’s juniper.
February 11, 2013 sigFlashback – Tuesday, February 11, 2014 – It is lovely to see birds at dawn 🙂
February 11, 2014Wednesday, February 11, 2015 – Today the sun was out and also the first of the crocus.  I spied the little jumping spider, some flies, a beetle and the ladies out gathering pollen.
2:11:15 bee sig 2:11:15 two c cl sig 2:11:15 back sig 2:11:15 wings sig‘Tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes!
~ William Wordsworth

2:11:15 purple 2 sig 2:11:15 emerg sig 2:11:15 close crocus sig 2:11:15 flying sig“the crocus emerge
bees blessing a sunny day
gathering pollen”
~ Raven Ariana Simons

2:11:15 bee 1 sigOur hearts give thanks for the Grace in the Universe!
Bright Bee Blessings and Namaste ~ Raven