Thursday, April 30, 2009

Prayer Flags for the Bees: Creative Chaos!

These beautiful dark pink blossoms surround the Hastings Sunrise parking lot near the school.

The dogwood is blooming in front of the LongHouse Church.

This is one of the most difficult lessons I teach--prayer flags for the bees. It's messy and it requires the students to stay focused and work fast. To make matters more complicated I decided to allow them to use paint as well as fabric pastels. I was really impressed with the work they made.

"Dear bees,
I hope you continue your traditions of dancing and surviving in your natural ways."

"Have a good sleep!"


The world needs to create a fine fabric marker. Some students ended up using the fine-liners that will wash out, but they can hang their flags indoors. The great thing about fabric pastels is that you iron them and then you can throw the fabric in the wash. The acrylic paint is also water-proof.

The students requested that we listened to The Beatles as they worked and so we worked and sang along to their greatest hits. This is such a wacky group of kids that they started taking off their paint shirts and decorating them too. I was impressed that the teacher let them have their fun. She is very laid back. Sigh. That was my last class with this group. I will miss teaching at Hastings Elementary. It's a really great school.

The Bee Garden is Shaping Up

Yesterday was a great day for me. I gardened in the morning and taught in the afternoon. The the weather was breezy and sunny, and the giddiness of spring was in the air. People stopped by the MOP garden and said how much they appreciated our work.

The brussel sprouts from winter are just about to bloom.

Jean and I marked out the path for the bee garden and our work party we weeded and added sea soil. Then we dug up the ground to make it more friable because it has become quite compacted with all the work on the fence and the weeding. I planted some yarrow and sage plants, just to have that feeling that something new is beginning to take root here.

Sharon digs out some dandelions. They can thrive in other parts of the MOP, just not in here!

We had some cute, shaggy visitors.

Meanwhile, around the neighborhood, April flowers are blooming.

These fluffy flowers don't look like a great pollen or nectar plant.

These look large enough for some bumble bee action, but no bees in sight.

This is a terribly invasive plant and should be removed from anywhere in Vancouver.

This looks like the kind of plant that would attract a variety of insect visitors. I will have to go and observe it later in the day when the nectar would be flowing.

Monday, April 27, 2009

MOPARRC Earth Day Tea Party

We were in the pink! April blossoms all around us. Music, dainties, duels with flower pistils. Gnomes, accordians, organically inclined trumpets, and sweets for the sweeties. Thanks to everyone who helped to make this a rollicking good time with pink pinkies raised.

Photos by Lori Weidenhammer, Sharon Kallis and Peter Courtemanche.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Earth Day Honeycomb

Yesterday we celebrated Earth Day by launching even more seed balls and decorating the new pollinator corridor.

I spent part of Tuesday evening gathering dandelions from one vacant lot to decorate another. Just before sundown a queen bumble bee was desperately gathering pollen before the flowers closed up for the night. I put the dandelions in water overnight and they opened late Wednesday morning in time to be used to make some ephemeral art.

On the way to the vacant lot the students laughed and chattered, playing "Hi, my name is Olive, my husband is Oliver and we sell olives!" They are generally a highly social group and know how to keep each other entertained. Once we'd done a count down and launched all the seed balls we got down to decorating the sidewalk with chalk and plant materials.

I like the way these students made a flower out of the hexagon form.

This repetition of the honeycomb pattern was a great way to give the sidewalk a kind of three dimensional feeling. Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Garden Gnomad at the MOP Garden

While we met at the Means of Production Garden Lois Klassen showed us her brand new art work called Garden Gnomad. This solar powered mobile unit can take your photo and make a post card that inserts your photo into the frame of another garden Lois has visited. It's really a great way to meet people and form conversations about gardening and growing your own food, which is one of Lois's passions.

Garden Gnomad is coming soon to an event near you! Don't be shy--step up and get your photo taken and join in the fun.