Dream Symbols: What They Mean to You: Bees





The heat brings me back to the river. Today a tiny bee insisted on keeping me company. It hung around for quite a while. It never landed or stung; just hovered and buzzed near me. She got me thinking about a recent in-service I attended. The presenter reminded me that here in the US, we have 200+ native species of bees. Many are solitary, living near their plant host. Some are big, like the bumble bee. The honeybee is imported and not considered native to the US and can be quite aggressive in some situations towards our native bees.

I looked around the space where I sat and could not see any obvious plant she might be connected to. I moved my chair anyway. She got me thinking about the variety of her species and their dedicated work of pollination, which in turn helps bring us food, clothing, and other goods.

When I awaken in the morning with a dream that has my attention, I first ask: does this relate to my everyday life? Am I being warned about something? Am I uncomfortable enough with the dream to pay attention to some issue in my everyday life? If the immediate answer is no and I do not feel any immediate relationship or message on these levels, then I look at the dreams more carefully and symbolically.

So, I begin with: what do bees mean to me? And what do I know about bees? What type of bee appeared in my daydream time? What was it doing? How did the bee relate to me? The birds were quiet today. It’s the tiny bee that got my attention.

For me, bees symbolize unity, cooperative living, and working.  They seem to work for the good of the whole. Honeybees will leave a hive if they are threatened by disease, which can indicate an area’s environmental quality.  Honey and propolis, two honeybee products, are antifungal, antibiotic, and anti-microbial and play a role in medicine, cosmetics, skincare, and health.

According to Ted Andrews in Animal Speak, bees were associated with accomplishing the impossible. The ancients revered the bee for its wisdom or as a symbol of wisdom. Honey represents the sweetness of life.

However, pollinators are more than just honeybees. The Polliantor.org site says this:

    • “More than 1,000 of all pollinators are vertebrates such as birds, bats, and small mammals. Most (more than 200,000 species) are beneficial insects such as flies, beetles, wasps, ants, butterflies, moths, and bees.
    • In the U.S., pollination produces nearly $20 billion worth of products annually.
    • Monarch butterflies have declined by 90% in the last 20 years.
    • 25% of bumble bee species are thought to be in serious decline.”

I found this great offer from the pollinator.org site. They have planting guides for all types of ecoregional climates. I happen to be in the Eastern Broadleaf Forest area. The guides are colorful, with great tables and resource information. I highly recommend them.

What can we do today?

  1. Donate to your favorite nature organization. Support their work. Pick a local one, like a land trust, and one national. Spikenard Farm and Honey Bee Sanctuary, and Pollinator.org rely on donations to continue their great work.
  2. The Pollinator Partnership’s mission is to promote the health of pollinators, critical to food and ecosystems, through conservation, education, and research. Signature initiatives include the NAPPC (North American Pollinator Protection Campaign)National Pollinator Week, and the Ecoregional Planting Guides.”
  3. Buy Heirloom and organic seeds. There are so many great companies, often local, such as Truelove Seeds, to buy from and support.
  4. Plant pollinator-friendly plants; add more if you can.
  5. Consider replacing lawns with more natural foliage that supports our pollinators. At the Garden’s Gate has a practical chapter on how to do so.
  6. Start a seed-saving bank at your local library.
  7. Learn about one new beneficial bug. Learn to properly identify its habitat, how it mates, what it needs for food, and where it fits in with its local ecosystem.

What do bees mean to you? This tiny little bee reminded too of the many conservation efforts going on today. She reminded me that messages come in tiny ways to get us to pay attention. And synchronistically, I was asked to be on a committee where I get to help work with the land, add wildflowers and other native species creating a safe habitat for critters and folks alike. This project will be a community effort. I did not know this on Saturday while at the river but was asked on Sunday to help out: definitely a group effort. Pretty cool, right?

Sweet dreaming. Judith


Spring Garden Planning: Edible Flowers

For most gardeners, spring planning is just about done. Seeds have been purchased and started. Snow comes, soon melts, spring’s official beginning is around the corner, and birds have begun their mating songs.

Years ago I attended an herb class at a local herb farm. The owner prepared a beautiful glass urn of sun tea. The urn was filled with a variety of flowers, violets, johnny jump-ups, roses, lavender, herb blossoms, and more. This tea was refreshing. I was impressed and have not forgotten this experience.

Recently, I came across a new book from Rosalind Creasy, The Edible Flower Garden. Her cover and photography hooked my curiosity as the subject of edible flowers is limited. Rosalind is a well-known author and respected organic gardener. It is a stunning work with gorgeous photography that highlights the beauty of flowers and shows off culinary delights using flowers in a variety of ways. She has researched claims of edibles and addresses some of which are myths, such as stock. History shows it may have been eaten in times of famine but no other time. Therefore, stock is not on her list.

Edible Flowers Idea

I use blossoms in quiches. Small amounts of wild strawberry flowers when in bloom, rose petals, lavender. So many wild and common flowers are edible like the violet leaves pictured above. In my wild food classes, we used echinacea and dandelion blossoms, squash blossoms, and nasturtiums, for example. It all created a lovely palette for the eye in recipes as well as provided a variety of tastes. They inspire our creative juices, fill our senses with texture, color, and form. They are the stuff of poetry and stories. Yet in my travels, I have found folks a bit leery of using flowers in food.

4 Tips To Remember About Edible Flowers

  1. Flowers should never be used as food from stores. Store-bought flowers often come into our country from overseas and are chemically treated.
  2. Organic gardens, whether traditional landscapes or vegetable-based, do not have that concern. If you do not have a garden but a neighbor does, please ask questions. Make sure they are organic.
  3. If you have planters and need to give your plants extra food to maintain growth, please read labels carefully.
  4. Always check with a reliable source before picking or tasting anything you are not familiar with. For example, most mushrooms are poisonous. Pokeberry flowers and berries are not edible. Daffodils are not edible.

Title: The Edible Flower Garden
Author: Rosalind Creasy


What I like: Rosalind gives the reader an encyclopedia of flowers that are edible. Pictures are crisp and help to easily identify a flower accompanied by how to grow and how to prepare sections. She then provides us with photographs and recipes that are simply elegant. She rounds out her book with appendixes on planting and maintenance, pest and disease control. She has suggestions for nontoxic management if pests show up. Lastly, she has a well-organized section on seed sources.

I recently spoke to a library about the benefits of herb teas. The dried flowers contained in the herb blends were a hit. Folks who love to garden often have no idea that many common plants are edible. And that some of these flowers and plants contribute nourishment. Nourishment, provided from a variety of plant constituents, such as vitamins A, B, C, and calcium, all support our biology.

For those of you who are curious about edible flowers I highly recommend this book.

Enjoy. Judith

Red Raspberries: A sweet treat in your own back yard

rasberry, rasberriesBrambles, a thorny understory woody shrub that can take over land untended and challenge those of us who attempt to carve a space to plant, live and keep a yard in some semblance of order. Michael Pollan reminds us in his book, “Second Nature” “nothing (in nature) sits still well maybe for just a brief moment.” I think of the brambles that insist on filling in any space unused and once in the yard can be cut back but rarely are they gone for good. Brambles are also a wild life habitat providing refuge for many species.

Ideas to Serve Raspberries

This is a good thing as the berries are one of my favorite summertime treats.

  • Dry some of the berries I harvest for winter use.
  • Freeze them.
  • Serve as a breakfast treat on a cold winters morning when the chill reminds me that spring is far away.

If you have brambles at the edges of your property you can easily distinguish the red raspberry from the blackberry: look at the underside of the leaves. Red raspberry leaves have a silver green underside whereas blackberries do not.

Raspberry Berry Details

Name: Red Raspberry: Rubus idaeus (Rosaceae family)
Parts Used: leaves and fruit, perennial
Varieties: Rubus idaeus is considered the cultivated variety; Rubus strigosus is considered the wild variety.
Where found: temperate climates as these berries need a period of cold in order to flower

MediMindful Moment: Meet Nigel Palmer

In this episode of Cloud 9 Online’s MediMindful Moment Podcast, co-hosts Judith Dreyer, Jeff Nelder, and Henry Edinger interview Nigel Palmer, the Director, and Curriculum Developer for Sustainable Regenerative Gardening at The Institute Of Sustainable Nutrition. Nigel talks about his expertise in traditional gardening and why the garden is a quintessential mindfulness place.

Episode Highlights:

  • Nigel shares a little background about his work and his career, as an author. (1:18)
  • Nigel mentions his book entitled, The Regenerative Growers Guide To Garden Amendments. (2:03)
  • Nigel leads the mindful moment exercise. (3:53)
  • Nigel shares some of his practices when feeding his plants. (4:04)
  • Does Nigel see himself with purposeful energy into the present moment while gardening? (7:12)
  • How does the whole notion of impermanence play a role in traditional gardening? (9:09)
  • Nigel mentions one of the most amazing things about nature. (12:53)
  • Nigel shares his gardening program at The Institute Of Sustainable Nutrition. (20:52)
  • Nigel shares a couple of mindfulness tips in the garden and mindfulness tips in life. (24:59)

Key Quotes:

  • “It’s a lovely time to watch the clouds go by, to see the rustle of the wind in the trees. Or notice some birds that are going through their antics on the side of the lawn. Gardening is a quintessential mindless mindfulness exercise.” – Nigel Palmer
  • “We’re all in the flow of the universe, you can either participate or not. And we all make decisions as to how we spend our time, and what we do with our time. And we can either ignore the flow of the universe, we can go against the flow of the universe, or we could be part of it.” – Nigel Palmer
  • “You don’t need an amazing skill set. You don’t need all this infrastructure or these ideas, but what you need to do is go out into the garden and put your toes in there and put a seed in, it won’t grow unless you plant it, right? So, once you start planting these things, all of these things unravel.” – Nigel Palmer

Resources Mentioned:

MediMindful Moment Podcast: Meet Craig Floyd




In this episode of Cloud 9 Online’s MediMindful Moment Podcast, co-hosts Judith Dreyer, Jeff Nelder, and Henry Edinger interview Craig Floyd, Farm Manager of the Giving Garden at Coogan Farm, part of the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center. Tenth-generation farmer Craig Floyd talks about connecting people to nature through working in the soil and utilizing regenerative gardening practices.

Episode Highlights:

  • Judith shares that Craig is not only the Farm Manager but also the Master Gardener, and the planner along with hundreds of volunteers that provide organic food to the New London county food banks. (00:48)
  • What is Coogan Farm, and what do Craig’s people do at the farm? (1:18)
  • Craig shares that 100% of what they grow is donated to help feed the 32,000 food-insecure people in London County. (1:47)
  • Craig mentions that as of today, they have donated over 65,000 pounds of food. (2:11)
  • Jeff proceeds with the mindful moment exercise. (4:17)
  • Craig shares that they normally have 300 to 400 volunteers. (7:12)
  • Craig mentions that a lot of different people with special needs come and benefit in so many ways because they are interacting with the soil, and microbiology in the soil. (7:26)
  • Craig shares a story about two veterans that came into his garden. (7:48)
  • Henry mentions that Craig is helping people to live a mindful life. (8:42)
  • How is Craig feeling today? (9:08)
  • What does Craig feel when he’s at the farm? (9:22)
  • Craig mentions that he received an email from Hunts Brook Farm, and they wanted to donate 300 heads of lettuce, to the Gemma Moran Food Bank in London. (9:44)
  • Craig mentions that there are local farmers who have extra harvests and donate it to the food insecure. (11:21)
  • Craig shares that there are a lot of positive results, from neighbor to neighbor, and farm to farm that people don’t know. (11:48)
  • What role does mindfulness have to play in farming and gardening? (12:14)
  • Jeff mentions that Craig presented at TED Talk. (12:25)
  • Craig shares the feeling of being able to provide food to those standing in line at the mobile food pantry. (13:27)
  • What would Craig think if more people in the world could take dedicated time each day to be with Mother Nature and breathe? (13:58)
  • Craig shares another story about a young man that came in a parachute harness. (14:29)
  • Craig mentions that nature heals people. (19:29)

Key Quotes:

  • “This is not your normal garden. This is a regenerative no-till, no-spray garden, and the food is 80% better than anything you’ve ever put your mouth on nutritionally. So it’s really good, especially for those people that are in need.” Craig Floyd
  • “To be out there in that field with people, on a hot and sweaty day, watching the dragonflies, harvesting lettuce, and taking it to the food bank and seeing the smiles on everybody’s faces. Knowing that somebody was going to get some good lettuce today.” Craig Floyd
  • “You become one with Mother Nature. People don’t understand the strength of the garden, and what the garden can do for us. Whether you’re just a 73-year-old, 10th generation farmer, or whether you’re a young teenager, with special needs, unable to verbally communicate, what a garden does for us to be in the garden, and to be growing and knowing that we’re going to give somebody a meal.” Craig Floyd
  • “You need to get outside and volunteer in a garden or just put some parsley in the ground or something. Do something with the soil. You know, we are 90% better bacterial cells, what do you think the soil is? I mean, we are the soil. It just does so much good for us. You’ve got to get out in nature, people. Take your shoes off. Just enjoy it.” Craig Floyd

Resources Mentioned:

Through A Regenerative Giving Garden


Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: To Read is To Explore, Evolve, Embrace and Emerge: Part 1




Reading opens doors not only to our imagination but prods our inner worlds. We travel to unfamiliar landscapes. We explore new ideas, creative thoughts, and learn. Hopefully, we evolve within ourselves too, relating to the human condition through stories both fact and fiction. And lastly, we can emerge changed. We use our inner senses to feel and know the heart of things, the trials, and the suffering.  Some even ask us to question more.

Through the written word we can explore, evaluate, and embrace new values, connections, and maybe expand our inner horizons so that we may make a difference in the outer world. Books! I am a bibliophile, a deep lover of books, and the power of the written word.

As producer and host of the podcast series, Holistic Nature of Us, I talk to folks all over our country, Canada, and even South Africa. I come away inspired by tireless efforts to make a difference here on our planet, one action step, one community, one organization at a time. So, I thought it would be fun to create a podcast that highlights several books from so many outstanding and inspiring guests. My listeners come from all over the US but also the Netherlands, Australia, Poland, Ireland, and more. It’s truly been an exciting project.

So here goes: a podcast created in two parts. There are so many authors and books that I had to divide the list into two and create two podcasts. I hope you enjoy these summaries, why I liked them. I hope you will send us your likes and preferences too. So many of you have written comments and I am really grateful. Who inspires you? We’d love to know.  Enjoy and thanks. Judith

Listen here:

Transcript: Pod Part 1 Books Transcript

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