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

Friday, December 29, 2017

Baby It's COLD Outside!

Yep, we're having a little cold spell here.  It's about nine o'clock (morning time) and the real feel outside is 19 degrees.  Yikes . . .  that's really cold for the locals - now those Yankee folks that have moved in down here can say what they want but in a couple of years, they'll be cold too. Tomorrow will be in the 40's so it'll be a heat wave compared to what we've been having with temps predicted below freezing at night for the next week. 
I have stopped heating my little greenhouse.  I've brought all the plants inside that I definitely want to overwinter.  The others will probably freeze but I can buy new plants cheaper than trying to keep them alive.
Pencil Cactus Cuttings

All the birdbaths have water but it's frozen and I can put water out but it freezes immediately.  So I've decided to buy another heated dog water bowl and put outside for the birds.  The one in the chicken house is great and I enjoy the birds in the yard.
Well now the weather folks are saying "mostly cloudy with flurries" (47% chance so we'll probably have a blizzard).  And it's warmed up 23 degrees now.
The chickens are out but they're crazy - Little Kitty and Lily are nice and snug in the house with me.  Stay inside and keep warm.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Dinner by Candlelight

The Little Chitlins (my grandkids) came for overnight on Friday.  We have great fun along with extreme exhaustion for me!  Lily has to go to the "doggy hotel" since she is not kid friendly.  And Little Kitty is terrified of them - lots of noise!!!
Anyhow, my friend Judy said when her granddaughters come, they have candlelight dinners.  What a great idea - how fun would that be!  So that's what we did - they got to strike the match, light the candles and blow them out when finished with supper.  And these are brass candle holders that I have had for a lifetime I think.  They will keep the same ones - small, medium and large and we will use them forever.  It was such a fun thing and so exciting to play with fire - we will do it all the time now. 
And speaking of "supper" - when I was growing up - we had breakfast, dinner and supper.  We didn't have lunch and then dinner - oh well, times change.  But I still call it supper on occasion.  And we do the "Mabel, Mabel, elbows on the table!"
And when they come again, we will roast marshmallows outside with a real fire.  The weather outside was frightful, inside was so delightful, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.  (it actually did snow)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving Trivia

In the News and Observer today (which I still get delivered to my door every day), there was an editorial about Thanksgiving. Since I looked at the answers at the bottom, I'll give the answers with the questions.
How long was the first Thanksgiving feast?  3 days
What was the name of the Native American leader of the Wampanaog Indian tribe who forged an alliance with the English settlers and attended the first Thanksgiving feast with 90 of his men?  Massasoit
What was the name of the first ship on which the Pilgrims originally sailed? Speedwell (the Speedwell was taking on water so the passengers and crew transferred to the Mayflower)
What was the year of America's first Thanksgiving as designated by the federal government?  1789 by George Washington
Which president made it a national holiday? Abraham Lincoln
And Abraham Lincoln was the first president to pardon a turkey at the urging of his son who had taken a liking to the bird and given it the name "Tom".
Well now you know - there were several other questions but enough of a good thing.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Two for One

Well some days are just more productive than others. 
I finally caught one of those pesky mouses last night.  Yes, another one bites the dust.  And just when I thought everything was fine, I found/saw a dead possum in the garage.  Don't know the story behind that but thank goodness I found it before it got "ripe" if you know what I mean!
Now on to my boring life - Lily and I did not go for a walk (we had to stay at home to make sure David did not fall off the ladder cleaning the gutters), used the last of my gift card (thank you as they say Daughter #2) for another hair do, and moved stuff around getting the tree up and all that rot.
And now I'm having a glass of wine with some Boursin Cheese (Garlic and Fine Herbs) and Ritz crackers (my favorite).
And no photo - nobody wants to see dead mouses and possums and Ritz crackers. 
More later . . . .

Monday, November 13, 2017

Bee Look and See

We've had two nights of really cold weather and I was concerned about Hive #1.  I didn't see any bees flying in and out and looked under the hive and saw no bees.  Hive #2 had a few bees flying and I could see a large clump of bees on the screened bottom board.  (it's difficult to look under a hive without laying on the ground but anyhow I got it done)  So today with sun and warmer temps in the 50's, I looked at both hives around lunchtime.  Both hives are active and bees were going in and out.   I'll open the hives and do a quick check when it warms up for a couple of days - it's damp and wet today. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Good Life

I have a tenant in my henhouse!  It's a little frog and the first time I saw him was in the water bowl.  He looked pretty content and I figured he would move along.  That has been weeks ago and the little fella is still there.  He'll be in the water bowl or sitting right beside it - the other day he was in the nest box beside the egg (better a frog than a snake).  He has food, shelter, water and seems to have settled in with the girls. 
Lily took care of another possum last night -it's been awhile since one has been in the yard but Lily continues to do her job.  She's exhausted this morning and I am too since I had to put that possum in the trash in the middle of the night so she would stop barking (trash pickup today thank goodness). 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Reunion and Facebook

We had a family reunion Sunday (my Father's family) and it was really nice to see everyone.  Our group gets smaller every year.  As I've said before, I'm one of the older generation now.
Everything I took was eaten and I mean everything - I made my Mom's Powered Sugar Cookies, Pigs in a Blanket (of course, Carolina Packer Hot Dogs) and Deviled Eggs (real eggs from my chickens). 

One of my cousins (Sue) had this to say - she found me on Facebook (my first and maiden last name) and for several weeks was chatting or whatever you do on Facebook.  Then it dawned on this other person she really didn't know who the heck Sue was and what was she talking about "going to the reunion".  Well, long story short, this person was not me and had no idea who Sue was or anything about the Family!  Sue has not unfriended this person but is not "talking" to her now.  This just cracks me up - that's why I don't do Facebook - it's crazy out there in Internet Land.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Ginger, Sunflowers and Lantana

Several years ago, I planted one piece of a ginger plant.  Can't remember now who passed it along but it has done really well this year.

And I was really, really late in planting sunflowers but here they are and they've done well too.  I love the sunflowers planted along the highways.

I also bought some lantanas for $1.00 and they are thriving.  Butterflies and all types of bees love these flowers.  All of them were yellow but for a buck, what do you expect.
Animal update - everybody is fine.  One dog (Lily), one cat (Little Kitty), two chickens (never named) and I think about 15-16 goldfish and lots of bees. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Bee Check August

I met Mr. Ellis Friday at Percy Flowers Store (of course we had to get a hot dog).  I needed four frames to fill out a super so Mr. Ellis brought them. And we talked about bees, our friend Jess, possums in my yard and how to take care of them and lots of other stuff.

Hive #1 August, 2017
So Saturday morning I opened both hives. 
Hive #1 - this is such a strong hive but the top super was empty.  There were bees working but none of the supers had honey on them.  So I took this super off and the top brood box has four empty frames so they still have plenty of room.  They need to finish filling that out before winter. Lots of bees in this hive but I didn't look in any more of the supers - it was very hot. 
Hive #2 August, 2017
Hive #2 - the top super was full so I added a super.  I'm not feeding them right now but I'll check at the end of the week and then decide if I need to start feeding again. 
All in all everything looked good.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Hive #2 July, 2017
I checked Hive #2 last Friday to see if the Queen was out of her cage and what was happening in the hive.  The Queen was out and I saw her - she looked healthy.  I'm feeding this hive while they get established. 
I also checked Hive #1 - so many bees in this hive.
As most of you know, it's been unbearably hot so the bees are working hard to keep their hive at the right temperature. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Queen #2

The Queen that got away!
Yes, that is correct.  Queen #2 for Hive #2 which I made a split from Hive #1 on the first of July.  In my haste and lack of patience, ignorance and on and on, I opened the hive on July 5th and this is what happened . . . . the queen had not been released from her little cage.  There was lots of candy left in the cage and I thought she would be out by then or should be out so I popped the top off and she flew away.  And she did not fly back in even though I wanted her to and it was a slim possibility that she would.  So I checked the hive later and she was not there.  I was told the queen will sometimes fly back in the hive - just wait a day or two and see what happens. 
So Saturday I checked and no queen!  Mr. Ellis picked me up a queen and dropped her off today.  She is safely in the hive waiting to be released sometime next week by the bees - not me!  I am feeding the hive and have taken the top super off.  And I will keep my hands off the hive. 

Hive #2

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Extracting Honey

It's about time!  I think it has been three years since I took honey from my hives.  It is such a process - the getting ready part is a lot of work and then the cleaning up is more - there's literally honey everywhere. 
I use the extractor from our local beekeeping association.  Plastic on the floor, table and anywhere in the general vicinity.  I use plastic containers to hold the supers since the honey will leak all over the place if it's not in some type of container.  Five gallon food grade plastic buckets hold the honey - after extracting I will let it sit for a week or more before putting in jars.  And yes I have this thing - I don't use plastic jars - I really like glass and I have more than enough. 
I took the honey on Friday morning and it was an all day job and continued thru Saturday.  I took off 19 frames of fully capped honey and I got about three quarters of a five gallon bucket - that's a lot of honey. I hope it's enough for all those folks I have promised honey to and that want honey. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Harry Potter - 20 Years Ago


It's been 20 years since the first Harry Potter book was published!  It seems like yesterday really.  Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published in Britain on June 26, 1997.  Since then, it has sold more than 450 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 79 languages. 
My favorite characters - Harry, Ron and Hermoine.
Although I have all the books, I have never finished reading the whole series.  Probably considered a sin by some but just haven't gotten back into it - 20 years - well, other things have happened since then.  But maybe I'll give it a go.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Big House

So today I checked the bees.  I know - it has been awhile - lots and lots of bees.  Checked the top two supers and they're full of honey.  I can't take the honey right now so I added a deep to the top of the hive.  This is a temporary fix but will give them some room and give me some time.  I have braced each side in case we have windy days and/or storms.  So now there's a deep, four supers and another deep on top. 
June 2017
So for those folks that have waited patiently for honey, it's coming!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day

Memorial Day began as Decoration Day, recognizing the family tradition of placing flowers on graves to honor the soldiers, sailors and Marines of the Civil War.  John A. Logan, commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union soldiers, made these celebrations official in 1868, establishing May 30 as the day for veterans to honor their dead comrades.
Even before the war ended, women’s groups across much of the South were gathering informally to decorate the graves of Confederate dead.  Many in the South regarded the holiday as a Northern commemoration and chose dates other than May 30 to remember their Civil War dead. 
Confederate Memorial Day is celebrated in North Carolina on May 10.  May 10 marks the anniversaries of the death of Thomas Jonathan 'Stonewall' Jackson (a general in the Confederate army) in 1863 and the capture of Jefferson Davis in 1865.
After World War I, there was further debate over whether the country should honor its war dead with a single holiday or whether World War I dead would have their own holiday on Armistice Day in November. The debate continued until after World War II, when the current purpose of the holidays became established:  Memorial Day for honoring the dead, and Armistice Day, renamed Veterans Day, for honoring and thanking the living.
In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to be celebrated the last Monday in May.
The American flag should be hung at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day, then raised to the top of the staff. And since 2000, when the U.S. Congress passed legislation, all Americans are encouraged to pause for a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time.

Fatalities from U.S. Wars and Conflicts
American Revolution (1775-1783)4,435
War of 1812 (1812-1815)2,260
Mexican War (1846-1848)13,283
Civil War (1861-1865)620,000
Spanish-American War (1898-1902) 385
World War I (1917-1918)116,516
World War II (1941-1945)405,399
Korean War (1950-1953)36,574
Vietnam War (1964-1975)58,220
Gulf War (1990-1991)383
Afghanistan War (2001-present)2,381
Iraq War (2003-2012)

Let us never forget the lives that have been lost and the sacrifices made by so many.



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Andy Griffith Show

TV is just horrible these days and I cancelled Netflix (computer/tv/instructions not good - I'm a little slow) so maybe later I'll try it again.  In the meantime, I'm watching PBS and other stuff like The Andy Griffith Show. 
So I have some questions and I know I can Google for answers but think about this - Andy is probably the most likeable guy and never hardly ever gets upset.  He's just a happy fella.  What makes him so happy - certainly not his love life or lack thereof.  Does he have any family other than Aunt Bea - where are his parents and any siblings?  What happened to Opie's mother and why is she never, ever mentioned.  I know it's a TV program but did you know they have Bible Study lessons based on this show.  Yep, it's true.
Mayberry Bible Study Guide: vol 2
Well I just read this post to check for spelling, etc and started laughing.  Obviously I need to get a life!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

You know . . . .

Well occasionally I have been known to rant and rave about stuff so today I'm on my soapbox about YOU KNOWYou know you must say it at least a thousand times a day - my grandchildren will grow up thinking you know is an established part of our language - not so, my little kiddies!
I listen to talk radio and the guy on one of my favorite programs (no longer the case) must say you know every fifth or sixth word out of his mouth.  Not only is he on the radio and should try a little more to sound like he has some sense but honestly does he never listen to his broadcasts.  Trump and his family (just an observation) never say you know.  Their speaking abilities are excellent so if the President and his family can do it so should everyone else. 
You know can be included in the so-called discourse particles, that is those linguistic units of spoken language which have no real meaning, their function being merely a pragmatic one. You know is also sometimes used to allow us time to think when we are speaking.  As people develop a speech pattern over time -- and unless they make a concentrated effort to avoid them -- the filler words become normal, to the point that they do not even know they are using them. 
I'll admit I repeat myself (I know I do and I'll blame it on old age) but I'm really trying to stop saying the dreaded term.  Now go forth my friends and listen to yourself and stop saying YOU KNOW!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Double Duty

March 2017
Mr. Ellis came Friday and we checked the bees.  We did see the Queen in the bottom brood box and lots and lots of bees.  No drones yet but they should be coming soon. 
There was not much honey in the hive so Mr. Ellis and I agreed I needed to start feeding before they starved which can happen so quickly.  Since there were so many bees in the hive I have put two jars of sugar syrup on the front of the hive. It looks crazy but works. 
I'm planning to get a Queen in about three weeks and then do a split unless I have a swarm before then. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Rusty Patched Bumblebee - Endangered Species

The Rusty Patched Bumblebee on Tuesday became the first officially endangered bee species in the continental U.S. overcoming objections from some business interests and a last-minute delay ordered by the Trump administration. The bees have an enormous range of 13 states including Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.  Rusty patched bumblebees nest in underground colonies, sometimes in fields, causing worry for farmers.   
Over the past two decades, the bee has declined in nearly 90 percent of its range.  The list of suspected causes for the disappearance, according to the agency, reads like an environmental most-wanted list: farm pesticides, household herbicides, human development over bee habitat, disease and climate change.
So now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will devise a plan for returning the Rusty Patched Bumblebee to a "healthy and secure condition". 
A couple of years ago, I happened upon a nest in the ground in my garden - I didn't know what type of bumblebee it was but probably the Rusty Patched Bumblebee. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring - Hallelujah!

Hopefully we're past the freezing weather we've been having - whatever you do, don't cut your shrubs back - they will be okay.  Well, that's my tip for the day.

Planted onions today and moved some Bachelor Buttons to a little bed in the garden.  They are such sweet flowers.  The Triplets were a big help in the garden as usual - thank goodness they are laying eggs now.  And I checked the bees too.  My one and only hive is doing well.
Sunday I went to Isabelle Bowen Henderson's House and Gardens on Oberlin Road in Raleigh. It's always interesting to see other gardens and inside the house too.  Then I went to a couple of Open Houses - one on St. Mary's St ($899,000) and the other in Cameron Park (only $800,000).  This is just for fun - definitely not in my price range - maybe in my next life!  

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Blustery Day and Bee Check

I think I started this post Wednesday or a couple of days ago (of course I can't remember).  Anyhow read on and I added an update for today.
I hope I spelled that right - what I might say is WINDY as in Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day.  The weather has been a roller coaster ride lately. The last time I checked the bees (or I should say my one and only hive) was in December.  I really try not to disturb them - just makes more work when they have to put their house back together.  But with this warm and crazy weather we're having I will check them in the next day or so.   
Daffodils are blooming, daylilies are coming up, hydrangeas are budding - it's early times but you can't do much about the weather.  Yesterday I started cleaning my flower beds  - not only are they full of weeds already but they're over full of plants.  I need to do a little thinning and pass along some plants. 
I have a mouse in the house!  Yes, you would think with a dog and a cat in and out it wouldn't happen but that little mouse is smarter than me.  I have sticky strips and I'll catch that little fella soon.  Lily did take care of a possum night before last - I know that possum wasn't dead when I threw it over the fence but I couldn't kill it - yikes.  She was gone the next morning - just lucky I went out and saved her life.
I have been quilting and trying to "tidy up" around the house and yard.  It's a lot of work getting rid of stuff you have accumulated for years and years.
Take care my friends and enjoy every day. 
So it's Saturday - the weather is wonderful.  Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 70's.  I did check the bees today.  They're doing fine, have plenty of food and working hard, lots of bees in the hive.  I didn't change anything. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

It takes a while

Since it's gonna be below freezing temps for the next couple of days and nights, I finally decided taking hot water to the chickens twice a day would be stupid not be the best idea in the world.  So I went back to Tractor Supply on Friday (the day before the blizzard) to get some kind of heated water
bowl for those girls.  They had a chicken heater apparatus which cost almost $50 (yowee) or a heated dog bowl for $19.99.  Well, you know which one came home with me - yep, the dog bowl. 
Farm Innovators Round Heated Pet Bowl, 6 qt.
It works great - does not heat the water but keeps it from freezing.  I checked on the girls this morning and they were in their house and said "no thanks, we're not coming out right now" but their water was not frozen!  Yippee! And I went out late afternoon (they were still in their house) and one of the little girls had laid an egg.  Yep, even in this cold and their water was fine. 

They have plenty of food and water that's not frozen - what more can a chicken ask for?
Yes, the ultimate in gift giving - a chicken swing and it's only $29.99.

The Chicken Swing

No, this is not a joke!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Have you heard . . . .

"As we are getting closer to our event Friday night and into Saturday we are getting a better idea of what we will see. It is looking more likely(not 100%) that we will see some snow during the period mentioned above. There are many model solutions suggesting a decent amount of snow for us and it's looking like this event should be primarily snow."  WRAL Weather Forecast 1/4/2017

Yikes !!!!!!!!!!
If you haven't heard then you must be out of the country- there's a chance we will get snow late Friday night and Saturday morning. 
So since I'm trying to be ahead of the game this year, I stopped by the grocery store late this afternoon - are you kidding!  Everybody in town was there - well, I didn't need milk or bread but I did need a couple of other things to make some soup and eggs since those chickens of mine are on vacation. 
Whew, glad I don't need anything else because by tomorrow evening the shelves will be empty.  You better get going now if you want anything.