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

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My Christmas Present


Monday, December 21, 2015

Dog Treats

Lily helping with the baking.

Christmas 2015

Tree protection - ornament eating dog on the loose!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Elf on the Shelf

It's the first of December and it's time to get that little Elf out of the closet or wherever he has been hiding.  I've made all three grandchildren a pillowcase for the holidays with Elf on the Shelf fabric.  They're all the same so no disagreements over this one or that one being mine. 
The Elf on the Shelf®: A Christmas Tradition is a cleverly rhymed children’s book explaining the story of Santa’s scout elves, who are sent to be Santa’s eyes and ears at children’s homes around the world! 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

November Flowers

It's almost Turkey Day and I've got zinnas and marigolds blooming.  It's chilly this morning (mid 50's) and I'm sure we'll have a frost soon and these little flowers will be toast. 

But I have sasanquas (fall camellias) blooming and they are just lovely.  The camellias have started budding and they'll be blooming later when it's really cold and dreary.  I am not a cold weather person! 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Sweet Potatoes 2015

Since 1971, North Carolina has ranked as the No. 1 sweet potato producing state in the U.S. Its hot, moist climate and rich, fertile soil are ideal for cultivating sweet potatoes, averaging at nearly 50% of the U.S. supply. According to the USDA, North Carolina harvested nearly 50,000 acres of sweet potatoes in 2010, the same amount produced by California, Louisiana and Mississippi combined – also top producing states. Sampson, Nash and Johnston are the top producing counties accounting for about half of the state’s supply.
So with all that said, I planted sweet potatoes this year - Beauregard - which originated in Louisiana in 1987. Considering I did absolutely nothing, I got a really good crop.  I remember eating sweet potatoes growing up - my Mom baked them in the oven and they would turn this horrible brown color and look like death warmed over (this was before microwaves and saran wrap).  But they were good and a staple in our household.
Disclaimer: I don't know who is holding those sweet potatoes but they look similar to mine.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Chickens and Eggs

So things have changed with my chickens.  I only have three now - all Barred Rock which are great but it's like having triplets!  After many long months of bickering they have settled down and are living the good life.
Time passed and no eggs so I called the man I bought them from and expressed my concern (mainly, did I get roosters - what's going on here).  Well he assured me I would know if they were roosters and every chicken is different so give them time.  Good things come to those who wait (is that right?)  Anyhow, I was cleaning the coop a couple of weeks ago and over in the darkest corner was a nest with 17 eggs - I know - where was I when all this was happening - who knows!  So fixed that and now I'm getting eggs on a regular basis.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Alfred Hitchcock

Well, Happy Halloween! 
"Alfred Hitchcock Presents" is on Antenna TV all day - a marathon for Halloween.  I love watching these now but when I was a teenager they scared the bejesus out of me.  I could barely get thru the whole show before I chickened out and cut off the tv (this was black and white tv days).  And after that was over, The Twilight Zone came on and it was beyond scary. 
So hope everybody gets some treats tonight.

Monday, October 5, 2015

I'm still alive and kicking ....

Lots going on but nothing earth shattering.  I don't know how people do Facebook and all that crap.  I can't even do a blog once in three months.  And trust me, nobody needs to know what I do - I'm about as dull a dirt.
But all that said, I'll be back soon.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Moon Craters

 I was down at the river last week - yep, it was hot.  The river is brackish and the water flows in and out and varies from day to day - sometimes hour to hour.  A large variety of fish, wildlife and now a alligator (which I usually see every time I'm there).  The water was out as far as I've seen it.  These photos are from the "sandy waterhole" which is connected to the river.  Usually this area is covered with 2-3 feet of water.  These are bream beds along the edge - they really do look like moon craters.

So I fished a little - caught some nice bream and the next day the water was back to normal and all this was covered up.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Bee Checkup and Hot Weather

We're having a heat wave!  No kidding - it's really hot.  So the bees are hanging around outside during late afternoon and evening.  They all get back inside before the morning and of course if there's bad weather.

I checked the hives on Saturday morning.  Nuc #3 was gone - there were only a few bees in the box.  They were there on Wednesday.  I saw a lot of activity but sometime in between they left.  Who knows why, I certainly don't. 
Hive #4 - took off 4 full frames of honey.
Nuc #1 - took off 5 full frames of honey.
Nuc #2 - took off a full super (10 frames) of honey
No hive beetles, lots of bees - everything looks good.
So I have three hives right now - don't plan on making any more nucs - things didn't go well this year with that so maybe I'll try again next year or not.
Lots in the news lately about bees.  Bayer certainly has their name out there and well they should since they provide the pesticides that kill the bees - talking out the side of their mouth.  I have issues with the pesticide companies - I could rant for hours and hours about them. But enough about that . . . . 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Poor Lily

Lily is exhausted!  Taking care of business in the yard and protecting our chickens is hard work and it's always at night!  Possums, possums, and more possums are hanging around - if they only knew they'd travel down the road.  So in the morning Lily is ready for bed- another one last night.
FYI - I'm not a possum fan.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Baby Bluebirds

Three baby bluebirds in the front yard!  On Friday afternoon I saw this little fella and then on Saturday morning I saw all three!  The parent birds will feed them for about 7 to 14 days and they'll stay in the vicinity of the house during this time. So I should be see them around the yard for a couple of weeks.  Very soon after the nesting cycle has been completed the parent birds will start over. They may raise as many as 3 broods in a season.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Duck is Gone ...

Well, saying the duck is gone reminded me of BB King's song "The Thrill is Gone".  B.B. King was an American blues musician, singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at No. 6 on its 2011 list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. He was considered one of the most influential blues musicians of all time, earning the nickname "The King of the Blues", and one of the "Three Kings of the Blues Guitar".  He just recently went to the great beyond.
But back to the duck - he just left.  Who knows why - such a random thing anyway.  The grass is always greener I guess.
Bees are busy and so am I - trying to keep ahead of the weeds and grass growing.   I've started extracting honey. I'm a little early this year but missed last year completely.  The supers were full and rather than buy more I just took off  22 full frames of honey - this is a work in progress and I hope to finish this weekend.
I bought some containers from WallyWorld to put the full frames in until I'm ready to extract.  These are just the right size and have a cover that snaps shut.  I can get 10 frames in a container, close the top and leave until I have time or energy to extract the honey.  And I put the empty frames in the other container (I bought two) until I need to put them on the hives or just put them out for the bees to clean.  Works great and less messy than putting them in the empty super and honey dripping all over the place.  Honey extracting is messy to say the least.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Out with the Old ... In with the New

Always something new at my house - this is a duck that has magically appeared in the front yard.  I saw him Monday and he seems right at home now.  I'm giving him water, bread and some corn.  Well, I can't leave him out there with nothing to eat - good heavens!  I thought he was hanging around a nest but the males leave the females to do all the work with that (go figure).  So I guess he just can't fly.  Can't see anything wrong with him and he's friendly enough. 
But unfortunately Dumpling (my white and black hen) has gone to chicken heaven.  She just died a natural death the best I can tell.  But she lived a good life (as all the chickens at my house do) but sad.  Now I'm down to four chickens and the duck.  Don't know what I'll do about that.
To be continued . . . . .

Monday, April 20, 2015

Extra Insurance

Checked the bees today.  Added another super to Nuc #2.  It was leaning a little and we're supposed to have thunderstorms rolling in tonight so I thought I might shore it up a little.  Never hurts to be prepared or maybe over prepared. 
Added super to Hive #4 and did nothing to Nuc #1.  The bees are busy bringing in pollen and lots of bees in each hive.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Color Yellow

You all know what I'm talking about - POLLEN!  Everything (and I mean everything) has a coat of yellow pollen on it. 

Mr. Ellis came on Good Friday and we opened the hives.  Everything looked - no hive beetles yet, lots of bees and big drones. 
Hive #4 - reversed the deeps and put super on top.
Nuc #1 - no change, still feeding, least amount of bees in hive.
Nuc #2 - added super in between top two supers.  So many bees in this hive!

I've planted tomato and pepper plants.  Planted potatoes (Yukon Gold) and onion sets last week.  A little late on potatoes but we'll see how they do.  The strawberry plants are all over the place.

Friday, April 3, 2015


Well this is a sad state of affairs - my hydrangeas were hit really hard with the last cold spell.  We had temps that were below freezing - not much and only one night - but enough to freeze any buds that had new growth. 
The hydrangeas are putting out new growth at the bottom of the plant now so I know they're not dead but it's a pitiful mess.  Needless to say, I'll have no blooms this year.  No pruning until next year. 
My oakleaf hydrangeas were not affected by the freeze which seems strange since they had new growth too. 
Now if you look closely at the photo on the right side you can see the Little Kitty sitting inside the lattice.  She's nice and warm and snug under there.
Warm (really warm) temps today.  Thank goodness!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Chicken Talk and Old Folks Home

It's a miracle!  Eggs, eggs and more eggs.  All my old hens are laying right now.  I think they must have heard me talking about sending them to the old folks home.  They sure have surprised me - they're all at least seven years old. I'm pretty sure this won't last but more eggs than I can eat this week.
The weather has improved - we'll still have a couple of chilly nights, maybe even a frost, but for the most part I sure hope winter has gone away.  I worked in the garden and the weeds have taken over - doesn't take but a minute it seems.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Spring and a Blue Egg

Spring has sprung at my house - forsythia, daffodils, and camillas are blooming.  Weeds are popping up everywhere and the bees are buzzing. 
A blue egg yesterday from Dumpling - she is 7 years old and this is the first egg in years. Every year I struggle with getting rid of my four old hens.  What to do - do you keep feeding them forever or believe those Craigslist ads that say "loving home and will not eat - bring your unwanted animals to our house".  I have an egg every day for breakfast and lots of company for Lily and the cats so I guess they'll continue to stay and I'll probably continue to complain about them.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Slushy Mess

A slushy mess this morning.  Freezing drizzle, snow flurries last night and continuing this morning and temps not yet out of the freezing mark.  No power for a little while this morning but now everything is up and running.  So glad to have power and heat - we are such creatures of habit.  The animals got up and went back to bed - what a life! 
My camellia limbs are hanging so low - afraid they might break with the weight of this slush.  The pines, magnolias and other trees are weighted down too.  Supposed to stay cold a little while longer - highs today low to mid thirties. Tomorrow highs in the mid to upper 30s.
This stuff might hang around another day or so.
So I'm off to quilt some and piddle (my usual snow day activities).  Be safe!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Turtle Dove Nest

This nest is in a pin oak tree near the beehives and on a low branch (maybe 8 ft or so).  It looks like a mourning dove or turtle dove (Zenaida macroura) nest.  They really build a sloppy nest but it always seems to hold together.  Sometimes you can see through it from the bottom. The construction of the nest takes about 10 hours total, with the doves working together over the course of 2–4 days. The male brings twigs, grass stems and pine needles to the female, who then weaves them into a nest about 8 inches across. The transaction is a bit unusual because the male stands on the female's back while transferring the material from his beak to hers. They might abandon this nest and start over - this nest looks like a work in progress. 

It's still cold as bejesus today - a very chilly 9 degrees this morning.  But in all this cold, I'm getting eggs - hard to believe. Staying inside and doing important stuff (Pinterest, blogs, piddling, the usual).
mourning dove's (Zenaida macroura

Read more :
mourning dove's (Zenaida macroura

Read more :

10 hours total, with the doves working together over the course of 2–4 days. The male brings twigs, grass stems and pine needles to the female,

Read more :

The construction of the nest takes about 10 hours total, with the doves working together over the course of 2–4 days. The male brings twigs, grass stems and pine needles to the female, who then weaves them into a nest about 8 inches across. The transaction is a bit unusual because the male stands on the female's back while transferring the material from his beak to hers.

Read more :
he construction of the nest takes about 10 hours total, with the doves working together over the course of 2–4 days. The male brings twigs, grass stems and pine needles to the female, who then weaves them into a nest about 8 inches across. The transaction is a bit unusual because the male stands on the female's back while transferring the material from his beak to hers.

Read more :

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Chickens and Bees and Sleet

Another day in the coop for the girls - they don't do well in the sleet and snow and they can stay inside and be nice and warm.  I gave them some cracked corn this morning which is always a special treat.

The bees are nice and snug in their hive.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


My first brown egg this year! 
No details here but I only have one of the triplets and four old hens.  She has not laid in months and months so it was egg-citing to get an egg yesterday.  And the fact that it's so doggone cold right now.  Low 20's this morning and even colder this coming week.  Yoweee!
I bought some regular eggs and let me tell you they are not good.  Just can't eat those things.  So next I bought some organic eggs which are better but pretty pricey.  So I need a couple more hens and I'll be back in business.  Just need to wait a couple of weeks for warmer weather.  I like to get teenagers (pullets) rather than baby chicks.  Baby chicks are cute but two cats and a dog that would just gobble them up - well, that's too exciting for our house.  

Monday, February 9, 2015

Busy Bees

Nuc #2
The bees are busy!  Yesterday was just gorgeous, warm temps, the trees are budding out, bluebirds getting ready to nest in the garden - just a beautiful day.  Unfortunately I was working but that's the way it goes some days. Today will be warm again but a little rain this afternoon - still, all in all, nothing to complain about.
This is Nuc #2 - they are taking the sugar water and "busy as bees".  I may have to replace the brood box.  Might not be able to see but the box is splitting on the corners.  A little duct tape will do for now.  Will definitely need help changing all that. Hope I can do a split on that hive. The other two hives are busy too. 
I have a waiting list for honey already.  Since I didn't take honey last summer, there's none to be had.  A matter of taste but some folks think my honey is the best.  Thank you and I think so too!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Year Bee Check

Yesterday I checked the bees since the weather was nice and warm (mid 50's and higher).  Three of the hives were flying and lots of bees bringing in pollen but not the case with Hive #6.  Sure enough they had starved - just did not go up to the top brood box where there was honey.  It makes me sad but that's part of beekeeping - you're gonna have some loses.  So I moved that brood box to Hive #4.  Quickly checked the other hives - lots of bees and food.  But just to be safe, I have started feeding all three hives. 
Hive #4 and Nuc #1

Nuc #2
Three hives are enough for me to take care of but if I should get a swarm or two this spring, I won't be upset.  I've got lots of equipment sitting in the barn ready to use. 
We'll see.  I know we'll have several more cold months but the days are getting just a little longer.  Daffodils are coming up - can't wait to complain about being hot again.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Another Rainy Day

So it's raining this morning but thank goodness not so cold. The internet has vast overwhelming amounts of stuff and Roxy (the crazy cat sitting in my lap while I try to type) and I like to waste time as well as anybody else.
So here goes . . . . .
Beehive Cupcakes

Martha Stewart (of course)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Cold Weather

Beehives in Massachusetts
Beehives in West Ukraine

Thank goodness we don't have snow like this in our neck of the woods! Chill factor has been in the low teens for last couple of days.  Cold, I mean really cold for here. It really looks like snow outside this morning and it's still pretty doggone cold.  It thundered last week so you know what that means - yep, we're gonna get some snow - probably first of the week.  I know it's an old wives tale but we'll see!
My bees are snug in their hives, chickens are in their house, Lily, Roxy and the Little Kitty are in the house with me - we're all snug and warm.  Actually, Roxy is sitting in my lap as I type this (annoying as all get out) but you know how cats are ... it's all about them.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Yeow whee - another year has passed!  I can hardly believe it has come and gone.  So much happened last year - no need to tell all about that cause a lot of it was not good - let's just hope this year is much better. 

The best of last year is right here - another little cutie pie!

So I've been busy with life and three grandchildren, Lily, Roxy and the Little Kitty and my chickens.   Working a little part time job and trying to keep my head above water.  It has been a struggle! I almost forgot the bees - four hives going into the winter.  Let's hope they all survive.
So no great promises about blogging - it might happen and might not.
Hope everybody has a good new year - good health, friends to share good and bad times with, some fun and games thrown in here and there - all that would make me pretty happy.