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

Friday, May 29, 2009

Quilt Symposium - Peace College

If you're in town (Raleigh) this weekend, the Capital Quilters Guild is sponsoring the NC Quilt Symposium at Peace College. You'll see some beautiful quilts, vendors with lots of goodies for sale and the variety of work done by the quilters is just amazing.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Swarm Hive - Earthquake

When I added the new bottom board to the Swarm Hive, I evidently messed up the inner workings of the hive. This is the hive that has 5 shallow frames and 5 regular frames. The bees filled in the space for the shallow building their own comb without the regular foundation on the frame (hope this makes sense). Anyhow, the foundation must have gotten shaken loose or torn when moving the hive back and forth - maybe like an earthquake. So I'll give them a little more time to get everything back in shape and then check to see how they're doing. I know they have plenty of room with the empty super I added.

There's lots of bees hanging out in the front and that's not the norm till it gets much, much hotter. This photo was taken about 8:00 yesterday morning and it was not hot enough for them to be on the porch. None of the other bees are hanging out in the front of their hives.
They won't be moved around again that's for sure - as I've said before, everytime I open a hive, it's a different learning experience.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lasagna Gardening

The Green Aspect of Lasagna Gardening

I've blogged about Lasagna Gardening before and it's an easy way to get your gardening area ready for planting without killing yourself digging out weeds, etc.

And here's some tidbits from Patricia Lanza the author of "Lasagana Gardening" and the article

You're recycling waste: The materials used to create your a garden typically end up in landfills, Patricia says. By using barn litter, newspaper, grass clipping, leaves, chopped up limbs of trees and more in your garden, you are reducing waste and recycling!

You're not using chemicals: You shouldn't have to use any chemicals in lasagna gardening, Patricia says. You produce all-natural chemicals from your green and brown raw materials and you can consider the food and flowers you grow to be chemical-free.

You're conserving water: Patricia says lasagna gardening uses a quarter of the water a traditional garden uses because the materials are concentrated and stay moist. She suggests using a soaker hose to water your garden when you first plant, and then water as needed throughout the growing season.

And of course my helpers always ready and by my side.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Swarm Hive

Saturday I changed out the bottom board on the swarm hive. This is how it went - smoked a little in the front of the hive, then picked up the hive body (brood box and inner cover still on - this was a little awkward and extremely heavy, sat it on the wheelbarrow and kicked the old bottom board out of the way, put the new bottom board on and by now the bees were going nuts. So as quickly as I could, I put the hive body on the bottom board and got them straight - there were bees everywhere - it was pretty insane.
I did get stung on my foot (I always get stung on my feet ) but only once and that was it. I wish I could have gotten some photos but survival was at the top of my list.
So they were confused - not only could they not go in and out under the hive but their entrance reducer was gone and I added an empty super - they were jamb packed full in that brood box. I was going to change out some of those swallow frames and put in regular frames but they are doing fine with what they have and they were ready for me to leave or I should say I was ready to leave.

It was a major remodel for those girls. But all is well and they have everything they need now - a bottom board that's the right size, more room and a new entrance.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Bees

I haven't opened the hives since 4/23/09 The weather has not cooperated or I've been gone or just not the right time. So Saturday morning I opened all the hives.

Hive #6 which is the one the swarm came from and a nuc for Steve was taken did not need a super added. They had not filled any of the frames in the empty super that was added on 4/23/09. So I did a little rearranging and took some of the frames from the top super and put in the empty super in the middle. I wonder if there was another swarm and that's why the super isn't full. There were lots of bees - everything looked fine but out of all the hives, this was the strongest in April.

Hive #4 - well, they were just busting at the seams. You can look at the photo of the top cover and tell they're full. So after looking at the two supers on the hive, I added another empty super.

Nuc #1 - didn't add a super to this hive - they still had plenty of space.

Nuc #2 - well, they were packed full so an empty super was added.

I worked alone Saturday and the only problem was taking the top super off to see what was happening in the super that was added in April. The supers are beyond being heavy when full of honey and bees. But no need to add a super if they don't need the space - wax moths if you have alot of empty space and not enough bees! And I want the top super to stay on top so I'll know to leave that for winter and not harvest for honey.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

More Quilts

Some contemporary quilts from the
Morehead City Quilt Show.

New York Beauty

Reversible - black and red.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Garden Fence

I really thought I was done but I added two more beds to the garden space. So I had to move the fence which was not as difficult as I thought it would be - I have lots of space now. Sometimes my plans change after I'm finished or thought I was finished.
Tomatoes, onions, peppers, squash and cucumbers are planted and the strawberry plants.
I usually just have a couple of tomato plants but this year I have the time to devote to a garden. Although it looks easy and should be easy, it's like everything else - it takes a little work.

This is a tray of yellow crookneck squash and cucumbers (Burpee Seeds). They're the $1.oo seed cups that have lots of seedlings - I put them in a tray and what do you know - they all lived. So now I'll have plenty of cukes and squash and I got some zucchini too.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


My neighbors at the river have some rabbits (usually kept in cages) which they have been raising for eating (yuk). Well, this old rabbit was sitting in the grass minding his own business when Lily happened upon him. No, she didn't try to eat him but she sure was interested in trying to figure out what he was and what he was doing.

So this is the story - they got the rabbit for breeding - come to find out he was to old to cut the mustard and they tried to give him back but no such luck. Now they have this huge (and he is huge) old rabbit that's not good for anything. Poor old fellow, he has arthritis so he just hangs out in the grass trying to get thru the day in peace.
Thank goodness they put him in the pen while we were there. I'd rather somebody else have that rabbit for din-din - definitely not Lily!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Raccoon and Chickens

Raccoons and chickens are definitely not a good mix.
My friends at the river had a terrible experience with their chickens and several raccoons - unfortunately, they had to start over.
This is what happens when you're uninvited - this guy is definitely not a happy camper.
But thank goodness, the rooster and girls will continue to be safe.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Morehead City Quilt Show

I went to the Crystal Coast Quilters' Guild Quilt Show in Morehead City this weekend.
In conjunction with the 2009 show, CCQG hosted "Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece." This traveling exhibit of fifty-two art quilts is part of the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) whose mission is to raise awareness and fund research through art. Ami Simms is the curator for this extraordinary and moving exhibit. No photos could be taken of the Alzheimer's quilts but here's some "blue" quilts made by members of the guild.

Friday, May 15, 2009

To Be a Bee

Q: What do honeybees eat?

A: A queen eats only royal jelly (a glandular secretion of a worker bee). Worker bees eat royal jelly until they are 3 days old. After that, their diet changes to pollen, honey, nectar, and water. Drones have a diet similar to that of worker bees, although in different proportions.

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

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

National Egg Month

May is National Egg Month. I have eggs, eggs, and more eggs! The girls are just outdoing themselves.
A little trivia . . . . .
A hen requires about 24 to 26 hours to lay an egg. After the egg is laid, the hen starts all over again about 30 minutes later.
The white of a Large egg measures about 2 tablespoons’ worth of liquid, the yolk is about 1 tablespoon and the whole egg is about 3 tablespoons.
You can keep fresh, uncooked eggs in the shell refrigerated in their cartons for at least three weeks after you bring them home, with insignificant quality loss. Properly handled and stored, eggs rarely spoil. If you keep them long enough, eggs are more likely to simply dry up. But don’t leave eggs out. They’ll age more in one day at room temperature than they will in one week in the refrigerator.
The eggshell accounts for about 9 to 12% of an egg’s total weight, depending on egg size. The hen uses about the same amount of calcium carbonate and other minerals to make a shell, no matter how big the egg, so the shells of smaller eggs are usually thicker and stronger than the shells of larger eggs.
The chef’s hat, called a toque, is said to have a pleat for each of the many ways you can cook eggs. Beyond basic scrambled, fried, poached and baked eggs, you can cook eggs in the shell and turn them into omelets, frittatas, quiches and strata casseroles. In baking, eggs are used in cakes and cheesecakes, cookies, both stirred and baked custards, hard and soft meringues, pie fillings, souffles and even pastries, such as cream puffs and eclairs.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Full Flower Moon

May has three names for its full moon. The primary name that most folks associate with May is the Full Flower Moon, which is evident by the abundance of flowers during the month.

Full Corn Planting Moon is representative of the fact that corn has to be in the ground and growing in order for it to be ready before the frost hits in the fall.

Photo by Cate Kerr

Full Milk Moon is another name given to the full moon in May, it is the month that cows, goats, and sheep eat lots of nutrient rich weeds and plants that have just sprouted.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Baby Blue Birds

The blue birds have babies and they're very, very protective. I've been dive-bombed so I'm leaving them alone. They do have soft fuzz and maybe three babies in the nest. That's the best I'll be able to do with this hatching. They really don't like me messing around the box.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Iris are one of the easiest and prettiest plants in the garden - I have lots of different colors but I always see another color I want to add to the garden. They have been beautiful this spring.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Fencing OUT Pesky Chickens

Well you knew and I knew it was coming - having to put a fence around the raised beds. Yep, it had to be done before anything can be planted. Those pesky chickens - well, let me tell you, they will dig up anything and everything. Poop and scratch and not necessarily in that order!

Here they are - I'm trying to put up fence posts and they can't wait to see if there's a worm or a bug somewhere. Thank goodness they do their job - at least 5 eggs a day - most days 7. You would think I'd be up to my eyeballs in eggs but not the case - relatives, friends, neighbors all get some and I eat a few myself.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Homespun Quilt

This is a quilt top I just finished. At our quilt guild every year, we have a "yard sale" and this past year I bought a laundry basket (yes, the laundry basket was included) full of homespuns. Lots of scrap pieces but some 1/4 and 1/2 yard pieces.
It was amazing the amount of fabric in the basket - $7.00 for the whole lot. When I was cutting the blocks, I cut two of each fabric. I have enough to do another quilt and still have lots and lots of scraps left.

This pattern is from Kim Diehl Simple Traditions book. There's a couple of more quilts in the book I want to make.
I'm not ready to quilt this yet - it's about 56 x 62 so I'll quilt it on my regular sewing machine. It'll make a nice lap quilt.