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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spiderweb Quilt

This is a "spiderweb quilt" I'm working on - I thought I had made more blocks but unfortunately, I'm about halfway finished.
I really like this quilt - easy and uses lots of scraps.
To be continued . . . . .

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Bees

We've had another rainy spell but Sunday afternoon the bees were flying. After Mr. Ellis and I opened the hives on the 20th, I took off all the entrance reducers but went back a couple of days later and put them back on. We had some cold nights and it probably made no difference to the bees but it made me feel better.
I'll probably leave them on for the time being. In the 60's today and looks like a good week weatherwise.

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's a Whopper!

IT'S A WHOPPER! 3" Extra, Extra Large - brought to you by Dumpling.
And just in case you're wondering, she laid a regular sized egg the next day and is doing fine.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Little Black Hen

Another hen added to our little flock from a friend - a beautiful black Amerucana that is already laying - a greenish color egg.
So now I'm getting seven eggs a day - the other hens are ignoring her but she seems happy.

Four in one nest - three in the other.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Busting at the Seams

Just in time - when we opened the hives last Thursday, these hives were busting at the seams. By putting a brood box on these hives, it will give the bees plenty of room to expand and hopefully keep them in the hive and not swarm.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Making Foundation

This is a frame that was put in a brood box sometime last year - I must have been missing the right size at the time. This is what happens - they have filled out the bottom without any foundation being provided by me. So it went back into the hive just like it came out. They'll fill in the missing sections.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Queen Bee

Hive #6

When looking in Hive #6 on Thursday, we saw the queen which is a BIG EVENT for most beekeepers - it surely is for me. Well, I'm trying to express in words what she looked like but if you're not a beekeeper, she looks like a roach, elongated body and a darker color than the worker bees.

My skills as a photographer were poor but we could only look quickly - we didn't want her to fly away - and I was trying to look and take pictures too. Queens move very quickly and are hard to find in the hive. Hope you can see her in both photos - she's a beauty.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bee Inspections

On Thursday, Mr. Ellis and I opened the hives for spring inspection. I wanted to add a brood box to Nuc #1, Nuc #2 and Hive #6. My goal is to have two full brood boxes on each hive at the end of the season. That should give them enough stores to last all winter without feeding.

The empty brood boxes were put between the original brood box and the super. Normally I would have put a super on top since this is the beginning of our nectar flow and I will later after they have filled the brood box. Weather conditions and the nectar flow will determine what happens in the summer months.

Perfect day to open the hives and the bees were as gentle as the breeze. My bees are very gentle, easy to open and check, and a pleasure to work - they continued working while we worked.

These photos show good brood pattern, lots of bees with pollen coming in, big drones and capped honey - just what you want to see when opening the hive.

Friday, March 20, 2009

First Day of Spring - Camillas

This year has been great weather for camillas. I have several in my yard - some are over 30 years old. They are wonderful plants - beautiful flowers, foliage all year and basically maintenance free.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

House Beautiful April 2009

In the April issue of House Beautiful magazine in "Everywhere We Look ..." is Honeycomb.
"Bees are one of the classic mofits of interior design, thanks largely to Napoleon. But their geometric marvel - the honeycomb - has been adopted by designers as a perfect building block of pattern. It can make a traditional room look modern and a modern room look traditional."

Lamps, chest of drawers, fabric, trim, and my favorite "Kate Spade" dinnerware.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


It seems like a long time since we've seen the sun - it didn't rain on Tuesday and we got some sunshine. The chickens found some dry dirt and wanted to sit on the deck - those silly chickens!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St Patrick's Day

This is my "green" for St. Patrick's Day.

It's a Christmas Tree Quilt I've been working on and maybe will be finished by Christmas of 2009.

Have a great St. Patrick's Day - drink something green!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Goldfish Cover

I've made a cover for the goldfish pond. I looked out the window the other morning and there was a HUGE crane checking out the fish. I about had a heart attack and especially when I went out and couldn't see a fish in site. Not only that, the crane came back -those fish looked tasty!

So with my extraordinary carpenter skills, I put a wire cover over the pond - not very attractive but it seems to be working. I can't tell if the crane got any of the fish but the majority of them seem to be there.

And the bees can still get water at the end of the pond on the flag iris and the birds too.

1st Bluebird Nest for 2009

The beginning of Spring for the bluebirds means setting up housekeeping and getting the house building on track. This is a photo of the bluebird house in the garden. They've started with moss as the base.

I blogged about them last year several times and hope I'll have 3 settings again this year.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Rain and more rain . . . .

It has been raining off and on since Thursday. Not hard, hard rain but nice soft rain but steady rain and more rain. All the animals are a little stir crazy (me too) but we're glad for the rain.

This morning (Sunday) the bees were out and about early cleaning house and this afternoon they were flying even though it was misting rain.

I let the chickens out when I collected the eggs (5 today) and they were a pain to get back in even though they were getting wet. Guess they were pretty stir crazy too.

To Be a Bee

Q: Do all honeybees sting?

A: No, only female honeybees (workers and queens) sting. Honeybees are fairly docile, unless they or their nest is disturbed. A worker bee, which has a barbed stinger, will die after stinging an enemy once. A queen can sting repeatedly; she uses her smooth stinger to kill other queens in the hive.

To Be a Bee from The Old Farmer's Almanac 2009 Gardening Calendar March

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Working in the Garden

Lily and the girls are helping me every chance they get making raised beds. They are bug crazy and can't wait for me to rake, dig or move some dirt.

But I'm getting 6 eggs most days - on a slow day just five.

Ethel is still a little "chicken" (not sure about the wording there but you get what I mean) so she's up near the coop. After Lily and I head out, she's down there in a flash.

When I look at these photos, I think I might be biting off more than I can chew with these beds. But I've already decided the one at the top will not be used this year for veggies. I dug some of the soil when it was wet and it's clumpy and hard so I've put damp newspaper on top of the soil and added straw from the chickens (it's been on the compost pile) and a layer of mulched leaves.

The weather has been perfect - I might say it's been a little warm. I believe I might have a little "redneck".

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Dreaded FRIDAY THE 13TH

The fear of Friday the 13th is called Paraskavedekatriaphobia, a word derived from the concatenation of the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή) (meaning Friday), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς) (meaning thirteen), attached to phobía (φοβία) (meaning fear).

According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed.

Well, I didn't even know there was a Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute and here in North Carolina no less! And if you can pronounce Paraskavedekatriaphobia, you have nothing to worry about anyway.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Hanging

A cowboy walked into a bar and ordered a whiskey. When the bartender delivered the drink, the cowboy asked, "Where is everybody?"

The bartender replied, "They've gone to the hanging."

"Hanging? Who are they hanging?"

"Brown Paper Pete," the bartender replied.

"What kind of name is that?" the cowboy asked.

"Well," said the bartender, "he wears a brown paper hat, brown paper shirt, brown paper trousers, and brown paper shoes."

"Weird guy." said the cowboy. "What are they hanging him for?"

"Rustling." said the bartender.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Full Worm Moon

As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this Moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation. To the settlers, it was also known as the Lenten Moon, and was considered to be the last full Moon of winter.

We are all worms, but I believe I am a glowworm.

Winston Churchill, English Statesman (1874-1965)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bees and Drinking Water

It's always interesting to see where the bees get their water.

This is just an old dog bowl in the garden - it's pretty nasty but the bees love to drink the water.

This is also in the garden - it's a long piece of bamboo - makes a nice trough for water and the bees don't mind that it's a little dirty.
I try to keep some clean water in several places around the yard - they're still drinking from the goldfish pond too. Another 80 degree day - just wonderful!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Warm Weather and Goldfish

Today was one of those glorious days - the goldfish were out and about soaking up the sun and warmth. They overwinter in the pond - several times this year (just last week), it would be frozen solid in the mornings. These are not any special type of goldfish - they've been in the pond a long time now.

The person who manages this pond (me) does not do a very good job at times. It needs to be cleaned this year but that's a job from h--- and I really have to feel the need! I try to do it at least every two (well, maybe three) years.

But they continue to live and have babies - there's a small black fish in the middle. That's how they start and then eventually turn gold.

The gucky stuff is water hyacinths that will not die and multiply like crazy. I got a few from a friend last year - they're very hardy!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Vermont Gold Rush

Maple Syrup - $60.00/gallon this year. It's like a gold rush. "Maple Syrup is the perfect product for our culinary times" said Barry Estabrook, Gourmet magazine. "It's a natural product, so it appeals on that level."

So HONEY prices should skyrocket this year too!

Monday, March 2, 2009

March Snow

We got about 2" of snow last night!
The bees, chickens and Lily are fine.

I'm so ready for warm weather.