Beekeeping, Gardening and Quilting in Eastern Wake County, North Carolina

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blue Moon

Once in a Blue Moon
"Blue moon" appears to have been a colloquial expression long before it developed its calendrical senses. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first reference to a blue moon comes from a proverb recorded in 1528:
If they say the moon is blue,We must believe that it is true.
Saying the moon was blue was equivalent to saying the moon was made of green (or cream) cheese; it indicated an obvious absurdity. In the 19th century, the phrase until a blue moon developed, meaning "never." The phrase, once in a blue moon today has come to mean "every now and then" or "rarely"—whether it gained that meaning through association with the lunar event remains uncertain.

The most common explanation (by NASA and the American Heritage Dictionary) defines a "Blue Moon" as two full moons in a single month - this occurs about every 2-1/2 years on average.

This month (12/09) it occured on Dec 2 and again on the 31st. But the weather is supposed to be rainy - not sure if we'll see it or not!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Feeding the Birds

In the summer, I never feed the birds - I feel there's enough around without me having to help out. But in the winter, I really feel the birds struggle finding enough food. Especially since we continue to destroy their habitat. I have lots of hollies for the birds and bees and other food sources in the yard and I try to keep fresh water for everybody.
We're supposed to have some really cold (the weatherman said BITTER) weather toward the end of this week so I bit the bullet and bought some bird seed. I just put up the feeders and I'm waiting - they'll be along.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dodged the bullet!

We dodged the bullet again - no snow in our area but lots of rain. It seems it has rained the whole month of December and more on the way for Christmas.
Hope all of you have a happy holiday. I'll be back in 2010.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Turnips and Carrots

The garden is done for this year but I did pull up some carrots and turnips. The carrots were planted from seed but the turnips are volunteers.
I've cooked the carrots - just roasted in the oven with potatoes and onions - so good.
I'm not much of a turnip eater!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

To Be a Bee

Q: How long do honeybees live?
A: Drones live from 3 to 10 weeks, if food is scarce or winter arrives, they are usually evicted from the hive. A worker bee's life span is shorter in summer than in winter and can range from 1 to 6 months. The queen can live from 2 to 5 years.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Lily has been busy looking for squirrels.
Life is good!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Entrance Reducers

I had planned on looking in the hives one more time before cold weather but it just didn't happen. They should have enough food for the winter and they have been flying even in this rainy, messy weather we've been having.

Entrance reducers are just strips of wood with a small opening for the bees to come in and out. I had to improvise on one of the hives - I didn't have an entrance reducer so I just used a scrap piece of wood - the bees won't care.

I put the entrance reducers on the hives late in the day since it was to be so cold that night and it dipped down in the 20's. So glad I've got that done.
Yesterday (Sat) was cold and today is rainy - not quite so cold but the bees won't be flying.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Quilt Show - Clayton Visual Arts

My quilting bee group is having a show at the Clayton Center Gallery in Clayton.

The show will run thru the end of the month and if you happen to be in the Clayton area (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm) - it's a great show. Wide variety of quilts and techniques.

No - I didn't put anything in the show - maybe in 2010.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


This is my gourd crop for this year. Turned out pretty good for not planting any gourds!

Monday, December 7, 2009


I had several comments about the oranges and lowering cholesterol so I thought I'd add a little more information.

Six Foods that Lower Cholesterol - this was in the Parade section of our newspaper several months ago. So here's the list:

Oranges - Oats - Beans and Lentils - Sardines - Pistachio Nuts - Chocolate

You should avoid foods full of saturated fat such as red meat, butter and cheese, margarine, fried food and processed products that contain trans fat.

16% of adult Americans have high cholesterol - and what does that mean you might ask - well, if you read what's below you'll know more but basically if you eat fast food, stuff that is so, so good but not good for you, etc., your arteries will clog and you'll be in a mess.

Your blood cholesterol level has a lot to do with your chances of getting heart disease. High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. Heart disease is the number one killer of women and men in the United States.
When there is too much cholesterol (a fat-like substance) in your blood, it builds up in the walls of your arteries. Over time, this buildup causes "hardening of the arteries" so that arteries become narrowed and blood flow to the heart is slowed down or blocked. The blood carries oxygen to the heart, and if enough blood and oxygen cannot reach your heart, you may suffer chest pain. If the blood supply to a portion of the heart is completely cut off by a blockage, the result is a heart attack.
High blood cholesterol itself does not cause symptoms, so many people are unaware that their cholesterol level is too high. It is important to find out what your cholesterol numbers are because lowering cholesterol levels that are too high lessens the risk for developing heart disease and reduces the chance of a heart attack or dying of heart disease, even if you already have it. Cholesterol lowering is important for everyone--younger, middle age, and older adults; women and men; and people with or without heart disease.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Greenhouse Work Bench

With my expert carpentry skills, I have made a workbench for the greenhouse. It's all scrap/used lumber that I had and it turned out pretty good I think.

I wanted a bottom shelf and room for storage underneath for buckets and stuff and the top shelf to be wide enough for a good work space. It's about 2' x 6' and about 2-1/2' in height.

I'm really trying not to put everything in the world in there but I have a lot of stuff. It's been in the barn or here and there so we'll see but it'll be great to have it all together. Organized chaos!
It's really turned out to be a great space.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Crazy Law - Salvia (Diviner's Sage)

Salvia divinorum, a mint-like herb with hallucinogenic properties, will be illegal to possess, sell or manufacture. The first two offenses are infractions; the third is a misdemeanor.

It's still all right to grow and harvest it for landscaping.

Salvia divinorum (Diviner's Sage) is a unique visionary herb that has been used for centuries by Mazatec Indian shamans for healing and religious ceremonies or decorative purposes.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Laws in NC

Legislators passed 577 laws while they were in Raleigh this year. They all took effect 12/2/09.

You might want to know this . . . . .

Texting while driving becomes expensive - a misdemeanor that carries a minimum fine of $100.

License plate frames become illegal if they cover the state name or registration stickers. Lawbreakers (ha!) will be warned for the next year; after that police can hand out fines.

Porta-potties get new respect (yes, this was what they put in the N&O). It will be misdemeanor to steal, vandalize or deface a portable toilet or the trucks that pump them out.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Full Cold Moon

The Full Cold Moon; or the Full Long Nights Moon
During this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and nights are at their longest and darkest. It is also sometimes called the Moon before Yule. The term Long Night Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long, and because the Moon is above the horizon for a long time. The midwinter full Moon has a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite a low Sun.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Freedom From Want

This painting is also known as Thanksgiving Dinner. This was the third installment of Rockwell's famous Four Freedoms series.
The Four Freedoms paintings were inspired by a speech given before the United States Congress on January 6, 1941, by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Roosevelt enumerated four basic freedoms to which every person was entitled.
The first was freedom of speech. Second was freedom to worship. Third was freedom from want. Fourth was freedom from fear.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Raft Swamp Farms

These great folks came to our bee meeting last month and talked about their farm and their bees. They have (if I remember correctly) about 8 hives around the farm.

Raft Swamp Farms is a 150-acre tract of land in the Antioch District of Hoke County, North Carolina, bordered on the west by Raft Swamp Creek.

A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Raft Swamp Farms hosts an organic farm incubator program where individuals can learn the art and craft of sustainable organic farming.
Interested individuals may apply to be incubator farmers at Raft Swamp Farms. Leases are available for small tracts of land. Incubator farmers receive hands-on training in organic methods and farm business management, have access to a community barn and shared farm equipment, and market their produce to residents of Hoke and other nearby counties.

This doesn't sound like such a bad deal if you want to learn about farming in the Old North State and to have equipment - well, sounds good to me.

Nice folks and if you're out their way, stop in to see them.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Orange Juice

Did you know . . . . . . .

There is more vitamin C in a single orange than in a full glass of industrial orange juice.
Truly fresh orange juice only lasts a few days. It if last for weeks (or months), it's an industrial product.
Until the Florida orange growers launched a campaign in the early 20th century to deal with their surplus crop, the only people who drank orange juice were Floridians who had a tree in their backyard.

Eating an orange (the inside not just the juice of an orange) lowers your cholesterol.
Brazil produces more oranges than the United States.
Orange trees are a symbol of love and marriage in many cultures.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

To Be A Bee

Q: Do honeybees sleep?

A: Honeybees sometimes exhibit sleep behavior, although not exactly as humans experience it. Research has shown, however, that their muscles relax, body temperature decreases, movement is at a minimum, and reaction to stimuli is slowed.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ida and the Bees

We've had a lot of rain - 3" yesterday mid afternoon. I'll check this morning and I feel sure the rain gauge is full. Lots of rain and crazy animals in the house.

The bees are fine but definitely not flying in this weather. Thank goodness they have plenty of food.

The swarm hive box was not painted and it looks a mess - it's okay but just won't last as long as the others.

Hive #4 - all the girls are inside their house which is where I headed after taking these photos.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day 2009

Let us never forget the sacrifices made for our freedom . . . .

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sesame Street 40th Anniversary

Sesame Street is forty years old today. Amazing! My girls and I watched this and I enjoyed it as much as they did. Bert and Ernie, Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster - I love them all.

Joan Ganz Cooney had the idea for "Sesame Street". She and other concerned people formed the Children's Television Workshop to develop this brand-new idea.

The first show was on November 10, 1969 and now it's the most popular children's TV show in the world. Sesame Street has layers of meanings in each show. There are some jokes for younger children (physical comedy) and some jokes for older kids and adults.

C is for Celebrity - there is a long waiting list of famous people who want to appear on the program.

N is for Neighborhood - the show is filled with girls and boys, young and old, and people of all races and backgrounds.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Greenhouse - DONE!

I've been busy working on my greenhouse. I've had some great help (my sister and brother-in-law) - they have a greenhouse about three times the size of mine, so they're very knowledgeable in the how and how-to department.

About 90% of this greenhouse is from recycled materials - I really tried to reuse materials and save money.

This is the finished product - isn't it great! Not very large but it will give me plenty of space to play around. I've already put some stuff inside.

My neighbor gave me these work tables - they are cement type roof pieces - two by two - they sit on metal pipes that fit in a long piece of concrete that sits on a cinderblock. The two pieces do not join up in the middle but an open space is left for the water to run off. These came from Fallon's Nursery and Greenhouse many years ago and my neighbor has used them for twenty years or so. Now my turn. Lots of good workspace.
I'm so excited to get this done - yipee!!!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


MOLES - those little critters that should be outside in the garden or yard. Several have shown up lately in the kitchen under the stove - and how might I know that - well, I start smelling something a little stinky and sure enough, when I pull out the stove, there's a dead one!
Somebody keeps bringing them in the house and I guess they run under the stove thinking they'll be safe but they're toast either way! I'm thinking there's one under the refrigerator . . . .

Monday, November 2, 2009

Full Beaver Moon

This was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter.

It is sometimes also referred to as the Frosty Moon and as this is also the next full moon after the Harvest Moon, it can also be referred to as the Hunters' Moon. With the leaves falling and the deer fattened, it is time to hunt. Since the fields have been reaped, hunters can ride over the stubble, and can more easily see the fox, also other animals, which have come out to glean and can be caught for a thanksgiving banquet after the harvest.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Contrary to popular belief, no federal rule mandates that U.S. states or territories observe daylight saving time.

So why is a transportation authority (Interstate Commerce Commission) in charge of time laws? It all dates back to the heyday of railroads.
"In the early 19th century … localities set their own time," said Bill Mosley, a public affairs officer at the U.S. Department of Transportation.
"It was kind of a crazy quilt of time, time zones, and time usage. When the railroads came in, that necessitated more standardization of time so that railroad schedules could be published."
In 1883 the U.S. railroad industry established official time zones with a set standard time within each zone. Congress eventually came on board, signing the railroad time zone system into law in 1918.
The only federal regulatory agency in existence at that time happened to be the Interstate Commerce Commission, so Congress granted the agency authority over time zones and any future modifications that might be necessary.
Part of the 1918 law also legislated for the observance of daylight saving time nationwide. That section of the act was repealed the following year, and daylight saving time thereafter became a matter left up to local jurisdictions.
Daylight saving time was observed nationally again during World War II but was not uniformly practiced after the war's end.
Finally, in 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which standardized the start and end dates for daylight saving time but allowed individual states to remain on standard time if their legislatures allowed it.
There's lots more information about Daylight Savings Time but enough is enough. It's always hard to get used to the time change whether it's spring or fall.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Quilt

Almost finished for Halloween - need to finish the binding and take out all the pins. It started as a panel and I added the squares around each block and the piano key border. Used lots of scraps from my stash.

I love this quilt!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hollywood Squares

Hollywood Squares: These great questions and answers are from the days when ' Hollywood Squares' game show responses were spontaneous, not scripted, as they are now. Peter Marshall was the host asking the questions, of course . . .

Q. If you were pregnant for two years, what would you give birth to?
A. Paul Lynde: Whatever it is, it would never be afraid of the dark..

Q. Do female frogs croak?
A. Paul Lynde: If you hold their little heads under water long enough.

Q. If you're going to make a parachute jump, at least how high should you be?
A. Charley Weaver: Three days of steady drinking should do it.

Q. You've been having trouble going to sleep. Are you probably a man or a woman?
A. Don Knotts: That's what's been keeping me awake.

Q. Charley, you've just decided to grow strawberries. Are you going to get any during the first year?
A. Charley Weaver: Of course not, I'm too busy growing strawberries.

Q. In bowling, what's a perfect score?
A. Rose Marie: Ralph, the pin boy.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Folk Art Bugs

At an auction Saturday night, I bought these folk art bugs. They're signed by Tim or Jim Out '05 .

The large bug is about 30" in length, about 9" wide - the smaller bug is about 26-28", about 4" height, they're solid wood and the colors are still great.

Not sure where they're going - there's a hole in the back for hanging but just great pieces.

Friday, October 23, 2009

FInally - Checking the Bees

I'm so far behind this year and lax in my beekeeping but yesterday I checked all my hives. Did a little rearranging and will look again in a couple of weeks and do some more rearranging. They are busy and bringing in pollen. Lots of bees and thank goodness - lots of food in the hives.
I had ants in the hives - the bees don't seem to mind and I'll put some more used motor oil around the bottom of the hives to keep those little critters out.

There were some hive beetles but not enough to be concerned about. Just a few at the top of a couple of the hives.
Nuc #1 has the least amount of activity of any of the hives and I was concerned there were some problems in the hive. They were full of bees and doing fine. When you open a hive, you just never know what you'll find.
Nuc #2 - a different cover was put on top - there was a little moisture in the top of this hive so there might have been a little leakage. Also this hive had three brood boxes and a super - combined two of the brood boxes and put the bottom on top and the super in the middle.
Hive #4 and the Swarm hive were fine - nothing was changed on those hives.