April 2011 Newsletter

Greetings Dear Purrfumery Friends!

I'm back! For the last month or so I have been taking extra time to smell the flowers… I have redefined the last days of winter and first weeks of spring as a time of reflection and rest followed by a gradual reemergence into new and old routines. I am following the rhythms of nature – just like the flowers and plants in the Perfumer's Garden, I tucked myself away from the rain. When the sun warmed me up, I raised my head in celebration!

Bouquets and Bee Swarms

Speaking of the Perfumer's Garden, it is absolutely amazing in spring. The lilacs, irises and freesia are full and beautiful and fragrant! And the bees! They are getting ready to swarm and always put on a spectacular show! Have you ever experienced a bee swarm? I hope you do sometime! Here's what happens: In a healthy hive, like the one in the Perfumer's Garden, bees multiply and make a new queen by feeding a worker bee a nutritious secretion from their bodies called Royal Jelly. Half of the bees stay in the hive and the other half take their new queen and look for a new hive. Since they don't know how long it will be until they're settled, they gorge themselves on honey before they venture out into the world. When they leave the hive it's incredible – imagine a giant cloud of bees and the amazing hum of their buzzing little bodies… When I experience a swarm, I watch in complete awe – these busy bees produce the natural materials I use to create my perfumes and other scents. I couldn't do it without them! They pollinate roses, lavender, and even vanilla, to name just a few plants and flowers.

Spring Fling Sale

newsletter-15-a I am commemorating this year's spectacular bee season with a sale that is sure to delight you, my dear Purrfumery friends! From April 11-30, all liquid perfumes, crème perfumes, eau de parfum, colognes and limited edition perfumes will be Buy 1, Get 1 Half Off. All hail the queen bee! This is a marvelous opportunity to try a scent you have been coveting, and get another one of equal or lesser value at half the regular price. (Psst! Don't forget that Mother's Day is right around the corner on Sunday, May 8!) To get in on the fun, email me at laurie@purrfumery.com or call the Purrfumery at 510-528-8040. I will take Spring Fling orders via email and phone only. Let the scent event of the year begin!

Bunny Hop Is Also A Kitty Stop

I always make time to do things I enjoy, such as volunteering and giving back to my community. Lately, I have been decorating the windows at RabbitEARS Pet Supply in downtown El Cerrito. I love to watch my bunny friends hop around and wiggle their adorable, furry noses! Bunnies are gorgeous and so fun to hold and pet! But there is a dark side to a bunny's life: Each year around Easter, people buy them on a whim and pop one into a basket to give as a gift. While RabbitEARS and other animal-supporting organizations love the idea of people adopting rabbits, they want people to be sure they are committed to these animals before they bring them home. Through the end of April, RabbitEARS is hosting a Make Mine Chocolate event that includes chocolate and coffee tastings by Socolo Chocalatier and Catahoula Coffee. Yum! RabbitEARS hopes the event will encourage parents to take a chocolate bunny home to their children instead of a real one. The store will also have coffee and chocolate packages for sale – all proceeds will go to rabbit rescue and education. From 1 to 5 on Easter Sunday, April 24, stop by RabbitEARS and meet the coffee roaster and chocolate makers in person and enjoy a free cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate! RabbitEARS is a wonderful place to learn about animals. You'll meet rescued rabbits Potter, Checkers, Scout, Racine, Pearl, Satcho and Twinky, Lilly, Tomatillo and others! You may also sign up for classes on bunny training, grooming and medical needs. Rabbit adoptions will resume in May. While you're there, visit rescued kitty Macha, who needs a home, and stock up on healthy pet food, treats and holistic products. To learn more about RabbitEARS, visit www.rabbitears.org

Bee Book Author Event

Judith Adamson, author of "Backyard Beekeepers of the Bay Area," will be signing books here at the Purrfumery in late spring or early summer. I will be in touch with a date and time soon. I am delighted to host Judith – she visited the Purrfumery when she was researching and writing her book and interviewed me about my beekeeping ways. I made it into her book! Stay tuned for details on the Purrfumery's very first author event!


Back to the Swarm

I only told you half of the bee swarm story, my dear Purrfumery friends. Here's the other half: When bees swarm, they buzz away in search of a new place to live. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee they will find a new hive, so responsible beekeepers (like me!) try to capture them in a "nuc" or swarm box and then give them away to another beekeeper who needs them. A beekeeper's goal is to be sure the bees have a place to go so they will survive and flourish. We need bees – the more the merrier – and they are in trouble! When the bees swarm, I go on bee patrol to locate them. If they are in a tree limb I can clip the branch and then bang the branch against the nuc box, which I will later put in a hive or give away to another beekeeper. If I'm lucky, the bulk of the bees fly into the nuc box with their queen, and the rest of the swarm locate them by the pheromone the queen bee emanates. Done! It's great when the queen is in the nuc box and the bees are content – they wiggle their little butts up and down around the entry to the nuc box indicating all is well. Unfortunately, it isn't always so easy. One year I tried for four days to capture a swarm for another beekeeper. The bees were hanging out in a giant jasmine vine that was too tangled for me to easily put in the nuc box without disturbing them and wrecking the beautiful vine. I decided I had to think like a bee if I was ever going to capture them! I took a piece of the vine and a frame from a hive and made a little bridge to the nuc box, which already had beeswax frames in it. I hoped for the best and let them be, so to speak. The next day, they were all in the nuc box! They had marched over the bridge I made them and decided they'd move on in. Mission accomplished! People often ask me if I am afraid of being stung when the bees swarm. No! Swarming bees have gorged themselves on honey to prepare for their exodus – they are drunk and happy and generally won't sting you. I have never been stung during a bee swarm. I do wear my veil and gloves, though!

Happiness Is...

From capturing bees to sowing seeds, I embrace and enjoy the hustle-bustle and the quiet reverence of the Purrfumery and the Perfumer's Garden. Creating gorgeous, natural scents is my very own labor of love – I put all my attention and effort into making sure each product and package is luxurious and beautiful. I realize that keeping my business small and avoiding mass production means my Purrfumery friends sometimes have to wait for me. Thank you to those of you who placed orders while I was on vacation in March! I really appreciated your patience! I hope to be part of your lives for years to come, my dear Purrfumery friends. Enjoy these glorious days of spring and keep in touch! Come see me at the Purrfumery! Peace, love, purrfume, and kitty cats, ~XOXO, Laurie