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Lessons from the Bees...

Five things we can learn from the Hive

as shared by Rev. Linda Patton-Cowie at Crieff Hills Manna Day :

1. Do your own job well

2. Remember it’s not all up to you

3. Bee Nourished

4. Communicate with others

5. And… Know what is most important!



1. A hive needs each of its members to perform their job well – the Queen, the workers and the drones. We all have a job to do as well. We are the body of Christ and we all have our own role to fill. It works best if we let everyone live into their own strengths. And we can’t do it all – we all have limits and we need other people. Do what you can, do it well, and then leave the rest up to others.


2. When a Queen Bee is no longer able to do her job she is replaced. The new queen is dependent on the constant care of her attendants. There is a time for all of us to welcome new leadership into our colonies and we all have a role in attending to those in leadership. For most of us, we know that there is a queen bee and I’m not it! We’re not the one in charge of the whole show – it’s not all up to us. It can be helpful to remember that.


3. Sometimes we all need to be fed. Beekeepers will feed their bees in the spring and fall. The bees know how much they need and they’re not afraid to accept it. We need to acknowledge our need to be fed too. An empty vessel can’t offer sustenance to anyone else, so don’t forget to refill your resources. Take time to enjoy creation. Take time to nourish yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Worker bees live only a 5-6 weeks in the summer so the bees that live in the winter are fed by the honey the bees made in the summer. We are often fed and sustained by those who have gone before us. As we too, by offering our love to others, may find that love outlives us and strengthens others, even after we ourselves are gone.


4. Bees are master communicators, as is shown by the intricate waggle dance. They are not afraid to share with others when they have found something good that can benefit them all; they don’t hoard this new found treasure for themselves. Communication is important to us too so keep talking and guiding others. We are bound together on this journey.


5. Know what is most important to you and protect it. Do what is most important first, especially when you feel overwhelmed. Bees protect their honey when they feel threatened as the beekeeper uses the smoker while opening the hive. Always be ready to protect what is most important to you in your life!


"The creation of honey is truly a miracle" writes Marion Robertson, Crieff Hills volunteer and explains the process of how honey is made on her website.…/




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Lent is a tree without blossom...


The historic beech tree at Dove House is a perfect illustration for this poem about Lent:


Lent is a tree without blossom, without leaf,

Barer than blackthorn in its winter sleep,

All unadorned.  Unlike Christmas which decrees

The setting-up, the dressing-up of trees,

Lent is a taking down, a stripping bare,

A starkness after all has been withdrawn

Of surplus and superfluous,

Leaving no hiding place, only an emptiness

Between black branches, a most precious space

Before the leaf, before the time of flowers;

Lest we should see only the leaf, the flower,

Lest we should miss the stars.

Jean M. Watt



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Bluebirds in January!

A Guest Post from Marion Robertson....


Yes, this in nothing new. For years, there have been bluebirds nesting here – in the summer.
But this frigid January we have a family of 4 bluebirds surviving on the abundant juniper berries. We accidentally encountered them as we were cleaning out nesting boxes and prepping them for spring use. It is quite the sight to see that indigo blue against the stark white snow. Very vivid.

2018 was a good year for birds here. Our nesting boxes fledged 90 TreeSwallows, 11 Bluebirds and 4 Chickadees. It was a first, in that, we had no baby bird losses. In all my years watching over the bluebird trail, I have never had a year with no mortalities. Myguess is that there was
abundant food, insect food, because of the rainy weather. It was also another first where a very ambitious pair of Tree Swallows hatched and raised 7 healthy babies.  A record for Crieff.

Now all we can do is to wait for the migratory arrivals in April.

Marion Robertson

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Looking for Peace and Quiet?


Happy New Year!

Looking for some peace and quiet after the busy holidays?
The Hermitage and Pines Suites are open all winter at Crieff.


The re-furnished Hermitage has already been enjoyed by several guests this winter.  Check out the photos below to see the new look of this cosy personal retreat house.


Thanks to Debbie Ellis for her painting of the Hermitage that captures the sense of tranquility so beautifully.


We look forward to your visit in 2018!










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Looking to a New Year

Crieff Hills has been blessed with another busy year.


Thank you to our staff and volunteers for all their hard work, and to all of you

who have visited Crieff Hills in the past year.  Whether you were here at Crieff

for a day, a weekend or a week, we hope it was a time of rest and renewal.


May the New Year bring joy, peace, and happiness to you and your family.

(The Spool Clock below was hand made at Crieff as part of the

Retirement with Meaning Retreat in the fall.)





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Are you ready?

Advent begins this weekend…are you ready for the journey?
Perhaps it is time for silent retreat, a hike in the woods, to walk the labyrinth, or to read a poem like this advent poem by Ruth Burgess:

In the strength of God the maker
we are going on a journey.
In the friendship of Jesus
we are going on a journey.
In the safeguarding of the Holy Spirit
we are going on a journey.
A star is shining.
Angels are busy.
Mary is pregnant.
Joseph is packing.
Advent is coming.
It’s time to go.
May God bless us with hope and wonder as we travel.

- Ruth Burgess, 'A sending'

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Celebrate Fall ....Fall Retreats and Fall Colours

Leaves remind us to just "Let Go".....

"Next time you are out for a walk, look for a leaf.
When you see one that is just for you,
take it in your hand.
Imagine it's journey -
first clinging to its home in the tree,
than a slow descent as the right time comes,
a resting on the ground.
Appreciate the leaf in your hand.
And let it be your teacher.
Let it invite you to unclutter,
surrender, let go, simplify.
What is the one thing leaf-like thing you can do today?
Is it something you will give away? A clutter to de-clutter?
Is it something you will relinquish - a thought, a mood, a bitterness?
What needs to be let go today?
Let the leaf be your guide."
- Janice MacLean, the Prayer Bench


If you are looking for a fall retreat there is still space in our Women's Retreat at Crieff Hills on Nov. 10-12 on "Living a Life of Prayer."
You are also welcome to join a wonderful one day retreat on Nov. 13 called "A Taste of Jubilee" or just come out to Crieff on your own some day and enjoy the fall colours on the trails.


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A Morning for the Birds

The sun was shining on Saturday for our fall Bird Banding event.


Thanks to all who joined us and especially to bird bander, Brian Pomfret and family!


                                       Northern Flicker (photo credit Katy Kolkman)


Birds Banded:

6 Field Sparrows

5 Black Capped Chickadees

1 Chipping Sparrow

1 Ruby Crowned Kinglet

1 Northern Flicker


Birds Observed:

Northern Harrier

Cedar Waxwings



9 Clouded Sulphur

2 Cabbage White

1 Painted Lady

1 Orange Sulphur

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On the way to the Office...

You never know who you might meet on the way to the office...I found this amphibian resting on top of the lamp post!


Nature lovers please join us this Saturday morning, September 30th for BIRD BANDING AND FALL HIKES!

Join Certified Bird Bander, Brian Pomfret, for a close up look at the birds. Drop by anytime during the morning (8:30am until noon).
Bring the whole family! There is no charge for this event, but donations are welcome. Refreshments will be available.
Hope to see you there!
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Monday Morning Sunrise at Crieff Hills


Today begins in beauty.... a view of the dawn sky gracing the field at Crieff Hills and a look down the road at a bright orange sun emerging.
If you like to get up with the birds please join us next Saturday, September 30 for our fall Bird Banding!  Drop by anytime after 8:30 to see birds being banded and released, and enjoy a hike on the trails.

“There’s a sunrise
and a sunset
every single day,
and they’re absolutely free.
Don’t miss so many of them.”
– Jo Walton


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March 12, 2018
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