The Folks of Glen Ellen
Empty honey jar
One glance at Keats’s “To Autumn” poem had me mourning my empty honey jar. Keats claims this is the season of “the later flowers for the bees, until they think warm days will never cease …” So seeking fresh honey last week we wandered up to Oak Hill Farm. Sweetie and I have discovered over the years that Serge and Cheryl Labesque’s late summer honey is the best. By far. Produced from hives that Serge keeps at Ann Teller’s Oak Hill, the honey is Glen Ellen sweet, rich, viscous – and just what Keats imagined.
Not the land of milk and honey
Alas, the clerk at the Oak Hill farm store informed us they were out of honey. Labesque’s last jar sold earlier that day. Apparently Keats’s autumn of “o’er brimmed cells,” isn’t evident here in our village. But the lack of honey at Oak Hill didn’t stop me. Remembering, more or less, where the Labesques live (after years of their son Remy Labesque being in the same Cub Scout troop as our son) we headed to their house, hoping to buy honey directly from the producers. Somewhat poor of memory we had a short visit first with the Labesque's neighbor, Edmond Joseph. But finally, further alas and alack: no honey available even at the Labesque’s home.
Worker bees keep their cut
As Cheryl, wife to beekeeper Serge, and pretty knowledgeable about bees on her own, simply said, honey was in short supply this year. Serge always makes sure not to take too much honey, leaving the bees their fare share to live and prosper. Put that way, I agree, the bees deserve it more than I.
Cheryl made no dire cries of colony collapse disease, but simply urged me to wait in delightful anticipation for more honey, later in the year.
Meanwhile, sitting in the summer sun of the Labesque’s porch, Sweetie and I got a brief chance to talk to Labesque’s second son, Julian Labesque. He is completing studies to become a 3D animator and modeler specializing in game production. He’s the second artist in the family. Older brother Remy (the young scout mentioned earlier, now an adult and product designer living and working in San Francisco) is the artist responsible for the Carquinez and Arnold Drive corner mural on the Talisman tasting room. Remy’s whimsical map of downtown Glen Ellen is a tourist’s delight. I’ve seen many a visitor stand mid-street capturing that sign on camera. But we denizens of the village appreciate it, too. In fact, we'd love to see more murals gracing our village.
Scouts hike New Mexico
Speaking of Cubs and Boy Scouts, they make the news again today, as they did so often in the past. Long ago, boys in the local troop were easily available column fodder. Current members of Scout Troop 63, led by Brian Kemp, with plenty of help from his sweetie, Dawn, and other adults in the troop, are active in exploring and helping our environment.
The scouts from Troop 63 recently attended their annual Philmont Scout Ranch backpacking trip in Cimarron, N.M. That little trek entails 83-miles of back-country trails up to 12,000-feet with a 50-pound pack. Actually, as Collin Kemp, a neighbor and scout, informs me, Baldy Mountain is 12,443 feet and he tackled it twice. Little wonder that their leader Brian is also an Iraq veteran who can cajole the boys up and down mountains, over hard and rocky trails and has them loving the experience. That’s leadership.