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

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity.
John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to 'clean up' the bird's vocabulary.
Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even more rude. John, in desperation, threw up his hands, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer.
For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.
Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arm and said;
"I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior."
John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude.
As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird spoke-up, very softly;
"May I ask what the turkey did?"

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pineapple Sage

The pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) is blooming right now in the garden and the bees just love it.  I was out this morning and bees, bumblebees and all sorts of other insects were on the plant.  We're going to have some cold weather in the next couple of days - maybe our first frost.  
Roxy in her favorite spot these days - on top of the water heater!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Feeding Bees

Hive #6
Checked the hives again around the first of October.  Hive #6 was a little on the lean side so I'm feeding that hive now.  All the other hives looked fine. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Murder and Mayhem

Chicken Update - I think a hawk got one of the triplets.  That's the only thing I can figure out happened - here one day and gone the next.  I did find some feathers near the bee hives so guess he/she stopped there to have a little snack.  The neighbors dogs got in the yard and chased one of the hens till she just had a heart attack (my diagnosis).  The neighbor did take the chicken to the vet but she passed away on the way there.  This was one of the original Americanas.  Lily was inside and those damn dogs bark all the time anyhow and I guess she figured it was a normal day.  Those dogs (dachshunds - I think she has four or five) are annoying as hell on a good day but this just about put me over the top! 
So I have six hens now and only two that are laying (the triplets minus one so now they are twins) on any kind of regular basis.
It has been a tough year so far for so many, many reasons. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Fall Bee Checkup

Yesterday Mr. Ellis came and we checked the hives.  I have not taken any honey this year and have really not taken very good care of the bees.  It was a pleasant surprise to find all the hives full of bees, food and looking good for going into the winter.
Did move the super from Hive #6 to Nuc #2.  Hive #6 has two brood boxes (deeps, whatever you call them) and they still had room in the top brood box.  Nuc #2 was full so this will give them some room.  Hive #4 and Nuc #1 looked good. Did see some drones - they'll be gone soon - better enjoy their priviliged life while they're still around.
Treated all the hives with Apilife VAR for varroa mites.  It's the least invasive treatment you can use that I know of and since I'm not getting any honey this year, now was the time.  Apilife Var is formulation of Thymol, Eucalytol, Menthol, and Camphor.
I'll recheck the bees in about three weeks and retreat again.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July Bees

Even though it was extremely hot today, I checked all the hives.  No changes made to any of the hives.  They still have some space in each hive.  No ants but some hive beetles.  No wax moths - all the hives are full of bees so that shouldn't be an issue. 
I'll wait till September and then decide if I'll take any honey this year.  I don't want to feed the bees during the winter and if I take all their food supply, that's what I'll end up doing.  All four hives look good and healthy.

These photos of the hives were taken about 8 o'clock tonight.  No photo of Hive #4. 

Nuc #2

Nuc #1

Hive #6

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Patriotic Quilts

Red, White and Blue - is there anything that shouts 4th of July more!  Some of my patriotic quilts and wallhangings.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Well, it happened - a hawk got one of the Triplets.  That's the only solution I have as to what happened to my little hen.  Probably sometime Sunday while I was away and the girls were down in the garden.  I've seen hawks before but not recently.  Lily got a possum the other night but I know that's not what happened.  Anyhow, sad but life is tough.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Battleship USS North Carolina

On Memorial Day, May 26, 2014, at 5:45 PM, people of all generations from across the state will gather together on the deck of the USS North Carolina to pay their respects.

This year the battleship will welcome guest of honor and key note speaker Brigadier General Robert F. Castellvi, Commanding General, Marine Corps Installations, East/Commander, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
The event will conclude with military musical arrangements provided by the 440th NC Army National Guard Band and a 21-gun salute.

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. 
Regardless of the exact date or location of its origins, one thing is clear – Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.
On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.

Thank you to all who have served and continue to serve.

Friday, May 23, 2014


I've had a good crop of strawberries this year. 
Usually the birds get to them before me and I've
kept those pesky chickens out.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Big House for the Swarm

Making Honey 2014

Swarm Hive Nuc 4/9/14

Swarm Hive in Brood Box
It's been almost a month since I caught the swarm so it was way past time to check on them and the other hives.  The swarm hive was busting at the seams.  They were ready for more space and lots of bees in the hive. 
Nuc #1 - Added a super.
Hive #4 - Not a lot of bees in this hive.  They looked okay - just changed out 2 supers and 2 brood frames.  They will give them plenty of room for the time being.
Hive #6 - When we checked the bees in April, there wasn't a queen so we moved a frame with queen cells to this hive.  They have a queen but didn't change anything.  They still have plenty of space.

Will check again in about two weeks.  And I cut the grass while I was suited up - didn't matter one way or the other - the bees were busy working and not concerned with me.

Friday, April 11, 2014

1st Swarm 2014

1st Swarm of Season April 9, 2014
I thought the Queen was in the Nuc Box late Wednesday  evening and I put some sugar syrup out as an extra incentive to make this their new home.

Bees that I didn't get in the Nuc Box.

Thursday morning - the queen did not go in the Nuc Box yesterday!

They moved over to the bench about lunch time Thursday.
So after thinking on Wednesday evening that I had the Queen in the Nuc Box found out Thursday morning that was not the case.  It was more difficult than I thought getting the queen from between the slats on the picket fence.  She must have been in the middle somewhere.  Anyhow they moved around lunch time to the bench (thank goodness and how lucky was that for me).  Sprayed them with a little sugar syrup and put the Nuc Box under the bench and just brushed them in.  Nice swarm and hope they stay in their new home.
Nuc #2 in their new home Friday morning.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Two of the Triplets

On the goldfish pond - March 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring - where are you . . . .

This full-disk image from NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite was captured at 11:45 UTC (7:45 a.m. EDT) and shows the Americas on March 20, 2014. This date marks the start of astronomical spring in the northern hemisphere.

The vernal equinox, or beginning of astronomical spring for the northern hemisphere, occurred at 12:57 PM on March 20 - well, I don't know what happened but Spring has not Sprung in my neck of the woods. 
The weather tonight is crazy - rain clearing in the evening hours making way for clears skies and cold temperatures. Lows dipping into the mid to upper 20s. Northwest winds will be gusty as a high pressure system moves into our area. Wind chills Wednesday morning could be in the teens. 
Holy Batman!!!!!!!! My bees don't know what's going on but they know it's best to stay inside.  I'm still feeding all four hives and thank goodness I have made it thru the winter without losing a hive.  I haven't checked them - been gone all the good weather days we've had but hope to get it done soon.  Have bought new frames for supers and brood box.  Some of my equipment is so old - need to replace some and help those girls any way I can.
I want to complain about hot weather - bring it on!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Cold Weather and Snow

It doesn't look like much but it's a solid sheet of ice out there.  The coldest temps we've had in a long time - it's 15 degrees this morning.    
On February 19, it thundered during the early morning hours - so snow in 10 days - so we're right on schedule.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Retired People

Yesterday I was at one of those big warehouse stores, buying a large bag of Purina dog chow for my loyal pet Owen, the Wonder Dog (name changed to protect the innocent), and was in the check-out line when a woman behind me asked if I had a dog.
What did she think I had an elephant?
So because I'm retired and have little to do, on impulse, I told her that no, I didn't have a dog, I was starting the Purina Diet again. I added that I probably shouldn't, because I ended up in the hospital last time, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.
I told her that it was essentially a Perfect Diet and that the way that it works is to load your pants pockets with Purina Nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete, (certified), so it works well and I was going to try it again.
(I have to mention here that practically everyone in line was now enthralled with my story.)
Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care because the dog food poisoned me?
I told her no, I had stopped to pee on a fire hydrant and a car hit me.
I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard.
Better watch what you ask retired people. They have all the time in the world to think of crazy things to say.

(this little story has been around for a long time but it just passed my way recently)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


I'm hoping this means Spring is on the way.  I did hear lots of thunder early this morning when a rain shower passed thru - you know what that means . . . . snow in 10 days.  Believe it or not but it does happen.  Hope we get an EASY button this time.  I'm ready for some warm days.

old folklore that if you hear thunder in the Winter, then you will get snow in the next 10 days - See more at:
old folklore that if you hear thunder in the Winter, then you will get snow in the next 10 days. - See more at:
old folklore that if you hear thunder in the Winter, then you will get snow in the next 10 days. - See more at:

Friday, February 14, 2014

Poetry Contest

The “All Australian” poetry contest to select the Aussie Poet Laureate  is held every 5 years in the Sydney Opera house.
The judges would select a word at random that would be given to the finalists five minutes before the start of the final competition. Each finalist would study the word and were required to come up with a short four line poem that contained the selected word.

Last September, the contest came down to 2 finalists – a British immigrant PhD graduate from University of Melbourne and an outback Aborigine from Waga Waga, estimated to be about 75 years old.

The word selected by the judges was ‘TIMBUKTU’.
The graduate won the coin toss and elected to recite his poem first. Stepping to the microphone, he said:
Slowly across the desert sand,
Trekked a lonely caravan.
Men on camels two by two
Destination - Timbuktu .

The audience applauded loudly, no way the old aboriginal could top that they thought.

Without a sound, the old Aborigine slowly and calmly made his way to the microphone, took a deep breath and recited in a deep voice:

Me and Tim a huntin' went,
We met three whores in a pop up tent.
They were three, and we was two
So I bucked one, and Timbuktu.

Needless to say, the elected Poet Laureate for the next five years will be an original Australian native.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snow Days

We've had some more snow and enough of a good thing is enough!
But since I'm inside and don't drive in this mess, I've been quilting and watching some old movies.  I have a VCR and I know - don't even go there - I'm way behind with technology but VCR tapes are 39 cents at the Salvation Army.  That's cheap entertainment any way you look at it.  So here's a sampling of what I've been watching the past couple of days. I love Cher in most anything and Three Amigos is so dumb.  Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt are great in Girls Just Want to Have Fun.  Love Birdcage and What About Bob?  - hilarious! And for serious stuff - Cast Away - what a great movie. Sixteen Candles - I love all of Molly Ringwald's movies.  

I'm easily entertained and this is cheap entertainment. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow and Burr Cold

Why do we have wild weather at night?  Snow, tornadoes, rainstorms always seem to happen at night.  We waited all day for snow and finally it happened during the night.  I guess we have about 3 inches which is more than enough.  It's not going anywhere cause the temps are low and will stay that way for a couple more days.  Right now it's 19 and tonight's low will be 7 - good heavens it'll be cold!
The chickens were still in the coup when I went out this morning.  Had to knock off the snow on the greenhouse, give the chicks some water and freeze my arse off in the process.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What's In a Name?

Do you remember the famous Olympic skier Picabo Street (pronounced Pee-Ka-Boo)?

Well, Picabo is not just an athlete.
She is now a nurse currently working at an Intensive Care Unit of a large metropolitan hospital.
She is not permitted to answer the hospital telephones any longer.
It caused too much confusion when she would answer the phone and say,
Picabo, I.C.U.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Last Will and Testament

Death, even when you know it's gonna happen, is always unexpected and everyone reacts to death in a different way.  Some grieve, some not so much and some are just concerned with "what am I going to get and is there any money hidden somewhere".  Relatives, of course, are the worst when someone dies without a will - even if there's no money or property they're concerned with someone else getting something - God only knows what - but you can bet they want it because they feel entitled and they loved this person more than anyone else.  Or maybe the deceased had told them they were going to make a will and leave everything to them and this person just happened to die before it could be done.  Trust me, this happens!  When that clock stops, it's done and over - no extra time to get your s___ together.

So speaking from experience, do yourself and your family a huge favor and make a Last Will and Testament.  It doesn't have to be anything fancy.  There are all kinds of forms on the internet
( or you can do a handwritten will which North Carolina will accept.  Legally you don't have to make a will but in North Carolina if you don't have a will, your property will be distributed according to state law.  And that's another story altogether since you might have wanted to skip some of your relatives. 

There's always "turkey birds" in every family - they just come out in droves with their feathers ruffled when something like this happens - almost like vultures.  Not pretty . . . . 

Monday, January 6, 2014