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

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sweet Potatoes

Johnston County produces more sweet potatoes than any other county in the nation. They grow nicely here. They love the deep sandy soil. They don't mind if their field gets a little weedy - they'll still produce a bumper crop. Bugs don't bother them. Heat doesn't bother them. Drought doesn't bother them, nor does excessive rain. The vines never get diseased, and they're actually quite pretty, especially when in bloom. They're extremely nutritious, they'll fill you up, and once cured properly, they'll keep longer than a Twinkie. What's not to like?

And there's a Sweet Potato Pie bluegrass band.

The Band: Sonya Stead (guitar), Missy Pyne (mandolin), Crystal Richardson (banjo), Ashley Davis (fiddle), Julie Brown (bass).
Best known for their harmonies and original music , they deliver the best bluegrass, country and gospel show around.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Curious Cat

I know this looks a little unsanitary but the dishwasher was being loaded - not unloaded.
Buddy gets in everything.
Funny Kitty

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


This is my Jeep - bought new in '93 (yep, that's 1993).
Over 299,000 miles on this car - it's been great - yes, there's some little stuff that could be better but it certainly didn't get put in the "cash for clunker" pile. Every time it rolls over another 1000, I get all excited and think it might make another thousand or so.

Oh and I forgot to say - SAME ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First Day of Fall

This is a big explanation just to say it's going to start turning cooler and the leaves on the trees will change colors and then it'll get colder . . . . football games, the NC State Fair, Halloween, and Jack Frost will come along.

The word autumn comes from the Old French word autompne (automne in modern French), and was later normalized to the original Latin word autumnus. There are rare examples of its use as early as the 12th century, but it became common by the 16th century.
Before the 16th century, harvest was the term usually used to refer to the season. However, as more people gradually moved from working the land to living in towns (especially those who could read and write, the only people whose use of language we now know), the word harvest lost its reference to the time of year and came to refer only to the actual activity of reaping, and fall, as well as autumn, began to replace it as a reference to the season.

The alternative word fall is now mostly a North American word for the season. It traces its origins to old Germanic languages. The exact derivation is unclear, the Old English fiƦll or feallan and the Old Norse fall all being possible candidates. However, these words all have the meaning "to fall from a height" and are clearly derived either from a common root or from each other. The term came to denote the season in the 16th century, a contraction of Middle English expressions like "fall of the leaf" and "fall of the year".

During the 20th century, English immigration to the colonies in North America was at its lowest point, and the new settlers took their language with them. While the term fall gradually became obsolescent in Britain, it became the more common term in North America, where autumn is nonetheless preferred in scientific and often in literary contexts.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Bee Buffet

In Wednesday's News and Observer, there's an article about honey and the different tastes.
A panel of three tasted buckwheat, sourwood, wildflower, cotton, gallberry, clary sage and clover honey. Their opinions are varied but I can tell you my honey tastes the best!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Blue Orchard Bee

It was interesting that Lee Calhoun does not have honey bee hives on his property. His main source of pollination is the Blue Orchard Bee or Mason Bee. Under the eaves of his open garage/storage shed, he has made "beeboards". He uses scraps of 2x6s and 2x8s and drills as many holes as possible about half an inch apart on the narrow side then nails the beeboards up under the eaves (do not drill completely through the board, leave 1/2 inch of wood at the back of each hole). The nesting sites must be close to the orchard as these bees fly about five hundred feet from the beeboard. And they must be under an eave or cover due to rain.
Another item of interest - deer fencing around his property and he traps the squirrels and moves them to another location. He puts electric fencing around his corn (a small plot) because of the racoons.
AND NO WEEDS ANYWHERE - not even a thought of one

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Heirloom Apple Tour

Heirloom Southern Apple Orchard "Show and Tell"
The Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension has organized a "show and tell" at Lee Calhoun's Heirloom Southern Apple Orchard.

Lee Calhoun is a nationally known expert on heirloom southern apples. He is the author of the very popular but sold-out book, Old Southern Apples, which gives the history of over 1,600 distinct southern apple varieties. For over 30 years, Lee has traveled around the south looking for long-lost apple varieties. Each one comes with its unique history and many are gorgeous to look at and have fascinating names (not to mention quite tasty!). Some were consumed fresh, while others were grown for cider or vinegar or for stewing.
Lee used to operate a nursery that sold grafted heirloom southern apple trees but has since retired. He mentored other nursery growers in the southeast who now offer the trees. Lee helped establish the Southern Heritage Apple Orchard at Horne Creek Living Historical Farm in Pinnacle, NC and still helps maintain those trees and dedicates himself to educating others.

It was a wonderful tour full of great information and Lee is a gifted speaker. It was interesting to see the trees and how he grows and takes care of his apple trees. Hundreds of trees - drawf, semi-drawf, plus figs, peach, grapes, and raised bed for vegetables. Some beautiful Japanese maples, bamboo, zinnas - just a wide variety of everything.

He answered all our questions - some more than once and was so informative - a very gracious host. His book is out of print but I found this one online for $500.00!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

To Be A Bee

Q: How is beeswax made?

A: A young worker honeybee eats lots of nectar or honey and later emits a drop of wax via one of eight glands on its underside. The wax hardens into a flake, which the bee (or one of its neighbors) then chews, mixing it with secretions until it's workable. Beeswax is used to build honeycomb.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pond Update

The pond has about filled up with water hyacinths. Out of buying about 20 or so goldfish, I've ended up with just six - three in this pond and three in the tub.
I'm just excited that I've got six - they were cheap but how many do you have to buy?

Yep, that's a big board across the back of the tub with a brick on top. It gives the cats somewhere to sit and during the hot, hot weather, it made the tub a little cooler. I had just fed these fish and you can see the fish food and a little fish on the right side.
Another water lily bloom.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Inside 9/11 National Geographic Channel

If you've never watched Inside 9/11: War on America and Inside 9/11: Zero Hour, it will be on the National Geographic Channel next week.

It still gives me chills - it's well worth watching. I'm as guilty as everyone else - we tend to forget this did happen and could happen again!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fall Flowers

The weather has been so nice - not that hot - just great fall weather. I know we'll have some more HOT weather - the week of the fair in October is either hotter than heck or rainy and that's a month away.

These are some flowers blooming in the yard right now. They sure are pretty and covered in all kinds of bees and bugs.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Saving the Bees - What We Know Now

This is an article from The New York Times (9/2/09) about the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)and what has been learned or not learned in the past three years. From what I've read, it's a combination of many, many things and not just one as was previously thought.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Settling "In""

Those kitties - they're just making themselves at home.
Growing like little weeds and they're just as sweet as can be.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Full Corn Moon

Full Corn Moon - This full moon's name is attributed to Native Americans because it marked when corn was supposed to be harvested. Most often, the September full moon is actually the Harvest Moon.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Honey for a Wedding

Somebody's getting married and I'm getting the honey jars ready - these make the nicest wedding favors.
I'll tie rafia around the lid and attach a small card with their names and date of the wedding.

Not only do they make pretty gifts, this is good honey!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about why mosquitos bite some folks and not others - I don't know about you but they're biting me at my house.

How about this . . . . . Currently the most effective repellents on the market often contain a chemical known as DEET, which has been associated in some studies with potential safety concerns, such as cancer and Gulf War syndrome. It also damages materials made of plastic. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has determined that DEET, when used as directed, is safe (well, we've all heard those words before).

If something is so strong it can damage plastic - well, it's tough - those mosquitos don't stand a chance.