A Dream Come True

My lifelong dream of becoming a beekeeper has finally come true.  As a little girl, I spent hours observing the bumbles in my Dad’s vegetable garden.  I quietly followed them from blossom to blossom, with my little camera, hoping to catch a perfect shot.  I would save my money to pay for film and developing, only to discover a packet of blurry photos.  But, I persevered!  To this day, I am still that little girl at heart, chasing the bumbles, hoping for that perfect shot.  Let’s just say, I am so thankful for digital photography!

As you can imagine, we have been busy as a BEE here at Indigo Acres!

Take a look..


A Look at Our Bee Keeping Adventure!

When the bees are shipped, they arrive at the local post office.  When the postman handed me our bee order, he looked a bit nervous to say the least!  20,000 bees, buzzing away! The were placed in the back of the JEEP and we were on our way home.

Once we arrived home, we were ready to place 20,000 bees in their new home.

The queen bees are suited up and so excited!
Wifey opening one of the bee boxes

We set up two hives, to start.  10,000 bees in each hive.  If something goes wrong with the first hive, there is a second hive to share food and/or bees, thus providing support for the weaker colony.

A tiny box, fit for a queen!
Inside this little box is the queen bee.  She is the one with the red dot on her back. What a beauty!  
The cork is removed from the queen cage, allowing access to the yummy queen candy.  In a matter of days, the worker bees will eat through the candy, releasing their queen!
The queen cage is placed, between the middle frames, in the bottom brood box.  The candy end needs to point face up.  If one of the worker bees dies, it could block the opening for the queen to escape.
Adding the bees to their new home.  Pour and shake!
Save the Queen! Look at all of those worker bees, trying to free their queen! Amazing!
Success!  I can’t wait until next Wednesday, when we will open the hives and see what our little friends have been doing with their time…

I feel like someone just gave me 20,000 puppies!  We have made another dream come true, here at Indigo Acres.  I checked on my little friends this morning.  I was so excited to see that they were already bring pollen back to the hives. Between the fruit trees and those beautiful dandelions, they have a great Spring food source.


Check back next week for more fun updates!  I guess it’s time to take off my bee suit and put on my painting clothes.  I need to finish painting the new chicken cottage today!

Have a magical weekend and enjoy some time with Mother Nature.  You won’t regret it!

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…



When Fashion & Nature Collide: May Edition

Spring has finally sprung in West Michigan!  The fruit trees are beginning to bloom and the bees are buzzing!  Nature is a constant inspiration for not only my art and photography, but in my daily life.  Just walk outside…the smell of Spring…a bird’s love song…it doesn’t take much and my senses explode!  Today, take a moment to be still and notice nature’s breathtaking beauty…


On the third Wednesday of each month, we celebrate the beautiful collision between nature and fashion. Keep in mind, my focus will be to share a detailed background of my critter photography, featured in the current edition. I highly recommend you visit the other three posts, from The Arty Plantsman (botanical photography), LisMorePaper (Artist) and 3C Style (Fashion) to present you with “When Fashion & Nature Collide” in its entirety.

With that being said, I hope you enjoy the third edition of…

When Fashion and Nature Collide

May Edition

Photo Feb 28, 2 11 01 PM

Critter Photography Features

Buff Laced Polish Hen:Photo Mar 28, 5 40 32 PM There is something magical about the polish chicken! I instantly fell in love with this breed, not only for their unique style, but for their quirky personality. These birds are extremely friendly, but can be a bit wacky, due to their limited vision.

Paintings of this stunning bird date back to the 15th century.  Although these birds travelled throughout Europe and England, they did not find their route to the United States until the early to mid 1800’s.

The polish hen is not always a reliable layer, but our sweet Flo lays a nice sized white egg, almost every day!

These amazing birds are my favorite, here at Indigo Acres!  They sure know how to spread joy and make a bad hair day look fabulous!


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Fashion Inspiration by 3C Style, Photography of 3C Style by Marie-Claude Viola, Nature Photography by Roda


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Box Elder Bug: (Boisea trivittata) is a North American species.  It is found in trees such as maple, ash and boxelder, feeding primarily on developing seeds from the trees. They will also feed on leaves, if necessary.

These bugs are strong-smelling and will release a pungent scent upon being disturbed. At this point, the Box Elder Bugs are not classified as pests, but they can do damage to growing fruit, in the fall, as they prepare to overwinter.

photo may 11, 12 56 02 pm
Fashion Inspiration by 3C Style, Photography of 3C Style by Marie-Claude Viola, Nature Photography by Roda


Blue Morpho Butterfly: This stunning butterfly is among the largest in the world, with wings spanning from 5-8 inches.  It is found in the tropical forests of Mexico, Central America and South America.  Photo Feb 28, 2 11 01 PM

This vivid, iridescent blue coloring (of the male) is an illusion from the microscopic scales, on the back of the wings, which reflect the light.  The undersides of the Morpho’s wings are a dull brown, with many eye spots.  These provide camouflage against predators.




These beautiful creatures have smell receptors on their antennas and taste sensors on their feet. Unfortunately, the Blue Morphos have a life span of only 115 days, which means most of their time is spent eating and reproducing.


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Fashion Inspiration by 3C Style, Photography of 3C Style by Marie-Claude Viola, Nature Photography by Roda


Meet Mama

Partridge Plymouth Rock Hen:  This rare and dual purpose breed truly stands out among the flock.  Look at those rust and teal feathers…wow!  These hens are strong layers of large brown eggs.  They are cold hardy and excellent mamas!

This breed enjoys free-ranging and are extremely friendly.  A Partridge Plymouth Rock is a must in a backyard flock!



photo may 11, 1 21 29 pm
Fashion Inspiration by 3C Style, Photography of 3C Style by Marie-Claude Viola, Nature Photography by Roda


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Western Conifer Seed Bug: (Leptoglossus occidentalis) this species is from the coreidae family, otherwise known as the leaf-footed bugs or stink bugs.  It is native to North America, west of the Rocky Mountains.  The Western Conifer Seed Bug is known as an invasive species in parts of Europe.

These beautifully artistic creatures are able to fly and make a buzzing noise when airborne.  Their main defense is to spray an offending smell when disturbed.

The Western Conifer Seed Bug spends its days feeding on sap of developing conifer cones.  This little “sap sucker” causes the seeds to misdevelop, thus labeling it as a minor tree pest in North America.

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Fashion Inspiration by 3C Style, Photography of 3C Style by Marie-Claude Viola, Nature Photography by Roda

For a look at the big picture of “When Fashion and Nature Collide”, don’t forget to visit the rest of the team:

This incredible cartoon of our team was created by Lisa! Don’t we look fabulous!!

The Arty Plantsman




Mark your calendars! You won’t want to miss the 4th Edition of “When Fashion and Nature Collide”, on June 20th. Did you miss the March and April Editions?  No worries…

March Edition

April Edition

“There is something magical about being nestled among a field of wildflowers or resting on a fern covered forest floor, waiting for gifts from Mother Nature. For me, it is not just about photography…it is about being one with magnificent creatures, up close and personal.”
~ Roda


Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…

*For more nature inspired photography by Roda, visit…

Nature’s Lens

©Growing Self & Nature’s Lens, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Growing Self & Nature’s Lens with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All photographs belong to Growing Self & Nature’s Lens.