Sunday, September 23, 2018


This afternoon I'm heading over to AlvĂ©ole, the beekeeping company who have taught me most of what I know about honeybees, to extract the honey from my frames and bring it home in a pail.  I've opted to leave a fair amount of honey on the frames that still remain on my roof deck, to support the bees over the winter, plus I am planning to add a whole lot of syrup, because the hive and the bees are going to over-winter on the roof, carefully insulated against the cold, and I'm hoping the winter won't be too harsh, because I don't go onto the roof during winter and I won't easily be able to check on them.

Here are a couple of photos of my frames of bees.

So I'll participate in my extraction, bring home my pail of honey, and start figuring out how to get it into little jars without the entire kitchen turning into one sticky mess.

I've always considered myself the most urban person, but in the last two summers I have grown potatoes, garlic, ginger, Welsh onions, leeks, basil, rosemary, tomatoes, snow peas, arugula, rhubarb, but most of all what I have grown is my brain and my powers of observation.  This isn't much of an accomplishment compared to people who farm and grow things for a living, but it's going to have to sustain me for the long winter ahead.  Traditionally, I don't do well in winter.  I don't like the cold, hate sports, and though I have lots of scope for snow shovelling, because I have plenty of neighbours in addition to a wide sidewalk of my own, nothing really tempts me to want to go outside between January and April.  I'm a lot like the bees in that respect: warm weather has me hanging out at the front door or on the roof or doing things around town.  Cold weather has me hunkered down inside wondering if anyone is going to visit me, and if so, will they do it on a day when I don't have to wash the road salt off the floors?

I will post more photos of my actual honey and the extraction process later on today.

Saturday, September 22, 2018


This morning I received an email from a young woman named Julie who with her little son Ariel had been one of Ivaan's photographic subjects in the late 1990s on Queen Street West.   With Julie's permission, I am reproducing a portion of her email here.

Hello Eya,

I am writing to you after only now seeing a beautiful website and blog dedicated to your late husband Ivaan Kotulsky's legacy.

In 1998, I lived in the Queen Street area (right at Tecumseth) with my young son. I had the privilege of meeting Ivaan at his shop. He was so lovely to me and I enjoyed our chats. I think he knew I was a young mom with very little money that couldn't afford to buy his art, but he didn't treat me any different than a serious customer. But what touched me was the photographs he took of my son and I. I was 19 yrs old and I didn't realize the impact at that time. I only remember him taking a photograph on two occasions, but I am aware that 5 photos exist (one I saw listed as being part of the Toronto history archive - and I had never seen the photo in my life - so I was blown away. 

Ivaan personally gave me three photographs. I was truly thankful but it wasn't until years later that I began to digest the impact. These photographs are magical, and they represent a time of my life that I look back on so fondly. Ivaan's presence in the Queen West community was truly special. 

I hope you don't mind me sharing this story with you. In another photo I'm holding my son and the photo shows his face, but not mine (just the back of my head). I will take the photograph i found online.

I am truly sorry for your loss. Ivaan was a gifted and beautiful soul. I am touched by the blog you created in his memory.

warmest regards,


Julie and Ariel, circa 1997 ©City of Toronto Archives
It's always a real pleasure to hear from people whose paths Ivaan crossed years ago, so I replied to Julie right away.  She sent me a second photo of her and Ariel.  It's kind of daunting to hear that Ariel is now 21.  I've invited them to come by the shop and choose a couple of pieces of Ivaan's metal art to "close the loop" as it were.  He'd be thrilled to know Julie took the trouble to look me up and get in touch with me and he would definitely insist that I give each of them a gift from him.

Here's a screen shot of the second photo of Julie and Ariel.  It must have been taken on the same day. I can't wait to meet them both.

Julie and Ariel, circa 1997 ©City of Toronto Archives.