Aunt Linda here, on this breezy Tucson morning. As I write, the full moon shines powerfully in the west, as it sets. The bee yard is aglow. The beams of moonlight bounce off the hives; alight upon the honey house roof; shine through west facing doors and windows. The bees are hunkered down in their hives this morning. They will not launch into their foraging flights as early as they did in the summer. They are solar beings, and navigate with the sun. Being past the equinox , and with less sunlight available, their first flight begin later and their return home in the evening, earlier. They are also affected by cooler temperatures, and are not partial to the winds we have been having. We are all, bee and human, between night and day; between summer and winter. As the cycles of flow and blossoming constantly change, so do the stores of nectar, pollen and honey within the hive. The “inside” of a hive here in Tucson reflects the light yellow color/light aroma of Mesquite Flows from earlier in season, to the darker, stronger tasting and smelling honey of desert wildflowers of late summer and fall. The pollen comes in different colors as well. So it is that bees, in the process of their practicality, create mosaics of pollen and canvases of honey, depending on what is available to them regionally and seasonally. Below: you can see the variation of color and texture of pollen both on the bees’s “pollen baskets” on their hind legs, as well as in their “mosaic” of pollen stores within the hive.
By now you may be reveling in all the colors and tastes (and smells!) of honey. Visit your local beekeeper at a farmers market or health food store this weekend, and see how real and raw honey differs from the “honey bear honey” sold on many grocery store shelves. Bees have “honey stomachs” that they use to carry nectar back from the flowers, and into the hives to produce honey. The variation in plant nectars account for the variation on types of honey.
Note the difference in color of the very light Mesquite Honey (in the exquisite photo ABOVE – taken by Ben Johnson; you can learn more about this talented man at firstname.lastname@example.org) as compared with the deeper colored Cactus Flower honey (photo below).
Ingredients: raw honey and time How To:
This simple facial mask takes us from our own pores to the pores of plants. As you can see in the photos, the honey produced inside the hive literally reflects the environment around it. When we plant a garden or keep a hive, we move from being being a food consumer, to a participant in our food production. So, too, with our health products. It is wildly fun, and often more economical, to use your own honey (or to purchase directly from a local beekeeper!!! That is a powerful act which moves you closer the “source”), than to purchase a prepared product.
Honey has been used for skin repair and nourishment for thousands of years. Literally. It is a humectant, an anti-oxidant (darker, fall wildflower honey shows higher anti-oxidant levels than other types of honey, in scientific studies), and aroma “therapy” (is smells so, well, sweet!).
The idea here is as much about the Ritual as the Result. Enjoy the smells and sensations WHILE applying the honey. Place the attention we so easily abdicate to the external world within once again. Our attention is rarely our own anymore, and a ritual as simple and everyday as washing our faces, can be a vehicle to practice enjoying the moment.
1) Exfoliate, however you like. This allows the properties of the honey to do their magic, without the barriers of dirt and oils. Rinse. (Facials are not for everyday … at least not in my world. I like to do the facial mask in the shower, on days when I wash my hair (which is not everyday) in order to utilize the humidity that the shower provides to open pores. (Water is a precious element in the desert, and I like to use Permaculture wisdom of “stacking functions” in order to lessen my water use.) Truthfully, I do this facial mask less frequently than I should.
2) Right as you apply your conditioner, apply the honey to your face. Then wrap up your conditioning hair in a towel and step out of the shower for about 20 minutes. Who knows … during those magical twenty minutes you might even the feel the flights of the worker bees, the “waggle dance” as specific foraging information is passed along, the way the flowers tip and bend in the breeze, the smell of flower, the sacred offering of pollen at dawn. Once you have soaked up both the tangible and intangible properties of the fall facial mask, rinse (both face and hair, if you are doing a duo) and apply your favorite facial cream. Your skin will GLOW.
More Wild-Flower Foraging Fotos The photo above shows how the hairs on a bees body gather pollen; note head on left bee. The photos below show honey bees (and native bees) foraging in a variety of desert plants; and what “uncapped” honey looks like.