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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! I wish all of you the best for the new year - friends and family to hang out with, good health and a healthy attitude, taking time to do some things you've wanted to for years, and once in a while give yourself a break and a pat on the back.  Lily's wish for the new year would be to catch one of those pesky squirrels.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cheetah - The Tarzan Chimp

Cheetah, a chimpanzee who starred alongside Tarzan in the franchise films of the early 1930s, died Saturday. He was thought to be 80 years old.
Cheetah was said to have performed in "Tarzan the Ape Man" (1932) and "Tarzan and His Mate" (1934), classic films about a man reared in the jungle starring Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan.
Around 1960, after living on Weissmuller's estate, Cheetah retired to Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor, Fla. While at the sanctuary, Cheetah enjoyed watching sports on television, listening to nondenominational Christian music, and occasionally throwing poop when he was feeling disgruntled.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Surprise Inside

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pound Cake

This is one of the mini pound cakes I made today with my fresh eggs.  This recipe makes 4 small loaf size cakes and 1 medium loaf.
I've used this recipe for years - if it sits for a day or so, it's even better, freezes well and good flavor.  These make great gifts.
Lily and I did a taste test - you know, just to be sure it was okay.

Cold Oven Pound Cake
2 sticks butter (room temperature)
3 c. sugar
1/2 c. Crisco shortening (room temperature)
5 eggs (room temperature)
3 c. sifted cake flour (I used regular all purpose flour)
1 c. milk (room temperature)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla flavoring
1 tsp. lemon flavoring
Cream butter, shortening and sugar.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Add flour and milk alternately.  Add baking powder to last of flour.  Add flavorings.  Pour into greased and floured tube pan.  Put in COLD OVEN.  Bake at 350 for 1 hr and 15 min.
Remove from oven.  Let stand 10 min in pan.  Turn out on serving plate.  Cover with cake cover.  Covering it while it's still warm helps bring out the flavor.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Lottery

No, no, no - not that kind of lottery.  I'm getting eggs (well, only one a day for the past couple of days) and I feel like I won the lottery.  It has been months.  I'm thinking August/Sept since those girls had any kind of action. 

Elly May, named after the one and only Elly May Clampett of The Beverly Hillbillies, is the provider!
I'll be making some pound cakes soon - they're the best when you have real eggs!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Turkey Day Thinking

FYI - neither one of those folks is me but we're related!
And I did some serious thinking too.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Last Bee Check

Warm again today with rain coming tonight so I did a final check of the hives.  Took a super off Hive #4 and moved 3 full frames from Nuc #1 to Nuc #3.  I looked in all the hives - just in the top super to see if they were full of honey.  All six hives looked good and hopefully will have enough food to last the winter.

Friday, November 18, 2011


I've been having some computer problems and have been dealing with a somewhat similar peggee! I'd stomp my foot if it would help - well, I have and it didn't help!
Hope to be up and running soon.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

NC State Fair

Construction Dude

The Vine Lady

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I was in Charleston last weekend with Baby Boy.  We had a great time - walked a lot, took a carriage ride around the town, had some wonderful food, and played in the park.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Garden Beds

I've been working in the garden trying to get a little ahead for next year.  I always wait until spring and then my beds aren't ready and I'm behind before I get started. I got two loads of leaf mulch a couple of weeks ago - buy 1, get 1 free - now that was a deal.
I've replaced the rotted boards.  I use treated 4x8's and the big box store will cut them in half so three 4x8's will make one bed.  I've added leaf mulch to some of the beds and will add more.  I also want to plant a cover crop on the beds.
Moved some of the strawberry plants to a new bed.  And generally trying to clean up a little - the mosquitos and hot weather about did me in this summer.  The mosquitos are still around but at least it's not so hot.
And we're supposed to have some rain the next day or so.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Bee Checkup

Thursday afternoon, Mr. Ellis and Jess (my favorite beekeepers) came over and we opened all the hives.  Our fall inspection - we might do one more in 3-4 weeks but everything looked really good.  All the hives had lots of brood and bees.  Couple of minor changes - put a super on #6 from #4 - they had 3 supers and two brood boxes so moved the top super over to #6 and that gives them more food for the winter. Also in #4, we took 4 frames with brood from the Swarm Hive and put in the second brood box.  There were several frames that had nothing on them.  Nuc #3, Nuc #1 and Nuc #4 - no changes were made.  In the Swarm Hive, we took off the top brood box - they were working but only 4 frames had any honey or brood so they were moved to #6.
It was great to have help and made quick work of checking the hives.  The bees are bringing in lots of pollen - goldenrod and aster.  I don't know what else but they are really busy.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Little Chicks

Steven and Sara have little baby chicks at the river.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hurricane Irene

I was fortunate and had no damage from Hurricane Irene but some of my neighbors at the river were not so lucky.
Lots of big trees down but nobody was injured - nothing that can't be repaired or replaced. 
Lots of firewood for Steven.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Checking Bees

This afternoon I opened all the hives and checked to see how much food they have after the hot, hot summer we've had and the earthquake and Hurricane Irene - we've had lots of different weather lately.
All the hives have plenty of food but I did move some frames around and took a super off the Swarm Hive and put on Nuc #4.  Some of the hives have empty frames and I'll rearrange those before cold weather.  They're still bringing in some pollen. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Pillow for Baby Boy

A friend gave me a small piece of fabric - kinda crazy looking fabric - a cat in a submarine with a polka dot octopus!  I made the cutest pillow for Baby Boy and he just loves it!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Hive #5

I checked Hive #5 today and they were lost to wax moths.  When I checked 7/25/11 they did not have a queen and even though I put 3 frames with good brood in the hive, it just wasn't enough. 
The weather has been so hot and we haven't had much rain.  We did get 2 inches this weekend so that will help everything and today is a little cooler.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Honey Production 2011

It has been a great year for honey at my house - 72 pints, 22 half pints and 6 quarts with comb.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Checking Bees and Hot Weather

We're in a record breaking heat wave - 5 days of temps over 100 - trust me, it feels like it's more.
I haven't checked the bees so this morning I thought the heat was reasonable - better than the last couple of days. 
Hive #5 is struggling - I did not see any indication of a queen and I saw the queen on 6/16/11.  Don't know what has happened.  Moved 3 frames with brood from #6 and Nuc #3.  Not sure if they will make a queen but it's worth trying.
Nuc #3, Nuc #4 and #6 all looked good - lots of bees and even saw some pollen being brought in.
The bees were a little testy and I was very, very hot by the time I finished.  Did not check the bigger hives - I'll save that for cooler weather. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Service Flag Quilt


One of my favorite quilts - this quilt was featured in the October 2005 issue of McCall's Quilting.

Service flags were first displayed during World War I - originally designed by WWI Army Captain Robert L. Queissner, 5th Ohio Infantry, in honor if his two sons who served in the war - they came to symbolize the hopes of every family who has a loved one in active duty.

Each blue star on a Service Flag represents a family member serving in the Armed Forces.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Beeyard - July, 2011

Late this afternoon, I put away the empty supers from extracting honey last week. I checked Hive#4 and they still had some space. Added super to Nuc #5 with 7 empty frames and 3 full frames of honey from Nuc #4.

Nuc #4 needed some space.

I'll probably do some more rearranging later next week. I need to check #6 for a queen. I could do some more extracting and take more honey - we'll see.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Extracting Honey

Sunday was honey extracting day!

I started with the Swarm Hive and had to use a ladder for getting the top two supers off - don't want to do that again. There were 6 supers and two deeps on this hive. But in looking thru the hive I found all the supers were not completely full - so I took a total of 3 supers (30 frames) off this hive. I moved the bottom super between the deeps - it had some brood and I was concerned about the queen moving up. That left two supers with honey for the bees.

That was a good start for the morning and the bees were calm and not so horribly hot.

So the extracting went good and I decided to take the honey from from Nuc #1 and Hive #4 - this was mid-afternoon. The bees were testy and it was VERY HOT! No stings but just irritated bees - not the best plan but it's done - the morning is definitely better. The other hives will be left alone - they need what they have for this hot summer and the winter months to come.

Hive #4 - took off 1 super with 9 frames.

Nuc #1 - took 4 frames and 9 frames from this hive.

So the total for the day was 52 frames - it was a lot of honey - about 3-five gallon buckets waiting to be put in jars.

I did check all the hives - Hive #6 that was queenless has lots of brood but I took off the second deep, left a full super of honey and they should be fine. They had not filled anything in the second deep and they just don't need the stress of trying to fill the space, the hot weather with no rain and no nectar flow. I will check for the queen - got to figure out the dates.

Hive #4 probably needs some empty supers - I may put an empty super on this hive when they get finished cleaning them up.

The small hives all looked fine. So my original plan had been to do this is two days but I got a little carried away and tried to do everything in one. Clean up is always more time consuming than you think. And I could have taken two more supers (about 20 frames) if I hadn't gotten carried away. But the bees need the honey more than me and I can do some more later.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


This was my first year trying potatoes in the garden.

Yukon Gold - they look good enough to eat!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kerrington's Quilt

Another baby quilt for a precious little girl and her special MOM - Jessica.
Kerrington Wynn Lam
April 23, 2011

The back is another favorite of mine - colorful little kitties.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Checking Bees

I was gonna extract honey today but things happened but I did check on some of the hives which took most of the morning.

Hive #6 - there was no queen and no brood. This is the hive that we split from Hive #4 on 5/19/11. Took 2 frames with brood and a queen cell from Nuc #4 and put in the bottom brood box. Took off the top super and put on Nuc #4.

Nuc #4 - they're doing great and saw the queen. They had 3 empty frames in the brood box. So with all the moving around, they have room now and still have brood. The queen is busy in that nuc. And the super that was added from Hive #6 has 9 frames.

Nuc #3 - they have 3 empty frames so they're okay.

Hive #5 - Saw the queen - put 2 empty brood frames in the brood box. And in moving things around, 9 frames in the super.

The two frames from the supers went into the freezer for use later as did the brood box frames from Hive #5.
I don't have any extra supers until I take some honey. I bought a super with frames from a local bee supplier and they're not the same size as what I have been getting. They have a new supplier and I guess they just don't match the old products exactly. The difference was enough so I couldn't close the hive top and robbing would be a big problem right now. It's a right good drive so I won't be taking them back - I'll just have to remember to keep all those frames in the same box. So that's how I ended up with just 9 frames in two supers.

When I take honey next weekend (hopefully), I will put a couple of empties in those two supers. Maybe even take a couple of more frames - they'll have time to fill them before cold weather.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Checking Hive #5 and Nuc #3

Today I opened Nuc #3 - the front of the hive is packed full of bees all the time so I wanted to check if they needed some space. I put this Nuc in a brood box on 5/13/11. They did - this Nuc looks really good.

Opened Hive #5 - I took the top super and moved to Nuc #3 and took one frame from Nuc #3 that had brood and moved to this hive.

I should have a laying queen by the 11th since we put the brood in on May 19.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nuc #4 in a Big Box

This is Nuc #4 - it's time to put these bees in a brood box.

Hive #5 - I did see two queen cells and some brood so that's a good sign. I'll check later for a queen. There are a lot of bees in this hive. This is the hive that's been queenless for a while and I took a frame from Nuc #3 that had eggs last week on the 19th. So they're doing what they're supposed to be doing - I sure hope I get a queen.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Splitting Hive #4

This afternoon Denton came over and helped me do a split on Hive #4. We took the second brood box off and it became Hive #6 - we think the queen is in this box but we never did find her in either and after we finished we decided she might be in the original brood box - when you don't find the queen - it's a quessing game. But there's definitely a queen.

And this frame had a couple of queen cells which were gently put back in place.
In Hive #4, we moved two frames up and put two empties in their place and the remainder of the frames in the top brood box were new. Hive #6 - we left all the frames as they were in the brood box and put an empty brood box with 8 new frames and two old in the second brood box. Then we put back the supers - two on Hive #6 and four on Hive #4.

My plans had been to split the Swarm Hive but decided instead to put an empty brood box on this hive. I like to have two brood boxes on my hives and splitting this hive would have left them with to much to do with the nectar flow ending soon. And we just put the six supers back on the hive.

It's always good to get another beekeepers opinion or hear what they're thinking - I wanted Denton to look at Hive #5 - this hive has evidently been queenless for a while now. So we took a frame from Nuc #3 which was full of eggs (which I did see today) and put in Hive #5 - we were sure not to get the queen (which we did see) and brushed off all the bees before changing around. I should have a queen cell or cells in about 5 days.

Nuc #1 looked good.

Nuc #4 is ready to be put in a big box (saw the queen) but decided to do that another day.

Every beekeeper is different and lots of information from Denton today. Denton said a day without getting stung by a bee is like a day without sunshine - I did get stung today! That's two for me this year - more than my normal.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Nuc in a Big Box

It's been several weeks since I added supers and checked on the bees. My plan was to get someone to help me and make a couple of splits but that just hasn't worked out - partly due to my schedule, the weather and I had to buy some supers before I could do anything.

So even though it was very overcast late this afternoon, I decided to get with the program and do what needed to be done!

Hive #4 - added an empty super - 2 brood boxes and 7 supers on this hive

Hive #5 and Nuc #1 - did a little switching around with some frames on those two but did not add a super - really needed to go down to the brood box but this was all I had time for today

Nuc #3 - put those bees in a brood box - they were out of space - I just took each frame and moved it into the brood box exactly as they were in the nuc box

Nuc #4 - left this nuc in the box but I did see the queen - they had one frame to fill up and I'll check them in another week

Swarm Hive - added another super - 1 brood box and 7 supers

Glad I got this done today - it's pouring rain now and we're supposed to get showers off and on all weekend.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Caterpillars in my garden.

They're eating machines.

Monday, May 2, 2011