Saturday, October 8, 2016

Beeladee: Accidental Honey Harvest!

I have been quite lax in my hive inspections this year. I decided this cool fall day would be perfect for a slow-paced, thorough inspection.

I opened the hive to find the ladies quite laid back, going about their business and paying no mind to me. 

My method of inspection is to pull all the bars of comb over to the left and inspect as I carefully place them back in place. I was about four bars into moving the comb when I saw that things were not quite right!

There was a whole bar of comb attached to the front, bottom, and back of the hive! I soon found that it had originally fallen and the bees just built it all in place. I went about removing this piece, placing it in a large bowl, covering it with a round tray. 

The bees then were a bit more riled up, although not as hot as I would have imagined. I continued my inspection. 

I was nearing the right wall when I noticed another comb had fallen! This one was fixed in place as was the last and even more full of capped honey! 

I had a time getting it out without if falling completely apart. I added it to the bowl. Several bees were becoming stuck in the honey. I shooed out as many as I could and covered the bowl.

As I finished my inspection I noticed there was a lot of capped honey and uncapped syrup. I saw a little brood, but not as much as I would have liked. Since the hive was upset, I decided to quickly close up and inspect again in 2-3 weeks. 

I put the bowl of comb, honey, and trapped bees in the freezer as this was the easiest way to deal with the situation. 


A couple of hours later, I removed the comb and began to break it up in a strainer bag. Upon warming up, several of the bees began to wake and move around. When finished, I took the bowl out next to the hive for the bees to clean and for the girls' sisters to lick the honey off and free them from their sticky situation!


Strainer set up in an out of the way place
so the honey can continue to drip from the comb




Crushing the comb to allow the honey to flow out


Bees cleaning up the leftover comb and honey

Sunday, September 4, 2016

I am an Attractive Older Woman!

In Texas, we now have a combined inspection/registration sticker. You must get your car inspected, then provide a unique number of proof from the receipt. I recently received an email that I had only a week left before my registration expired (I had forgotten about the first notice!) I immediately left to get an inspection, knowing there would be some time before the registration sticker arrived in the mail.

At the inspection place I was told the wait would be about 20 minutes and was directed inside to sit in the air-conditioned waiting room. As there was no one at the counter, I took a seat with two other men also waiting. As an employee came in, another man entered the building and approached the counter. I walked up and announced that I was next in line. The man who entered said he felt he was next. The employee stuck his head out the door and yelled to the young man who had directed me inside, "Who's next?".

The young man (I'll call John), yelled back, "An old lady!" Well, I could feel the warmth moving up my neck into my face. I knew I was the only woman in the place, so obviously this was me! I sat and waited my turn, trying to see the humor in this all, but feeling a bit shocked. The last man in, trying to alleviate my discomfort, announced that he was older than I and age was just a number.

Soon John entered, telling me he was finished. I approached the counter, smiled, and stated, "John, I am not an "old lady", but an attractive older woman!" He colored and apologized. We finished the transaction with small talk and I was soon ready to go.

As I pulled away, the shock of the comment continued to sting. I do have a lot of gray hair of which I often pull back out of the way. I am in what is called the "youth" of old age, but old age none the less. Should I color my hair and dress more carefully, or just accept myself with humor and grace? I am working on the latter. It may take some time!


Sunday, July 10, 2016

"Christmas in July" or "Birds vs Tomatoes!"

I feel my "freeze setback experiment" was a success. Even though my tomatoes ripened a couple of weeks after most others in this area, they did come back from dead-looking sticks and I did not have to start over with new tomatoes plants! Now for the next garden challenge: how to keep birds from pecking the tomatoes....(grrr...)

I read about the idea of putting plastic red Christmas balls out before the tomatoes turn red. Birds peck on the balls and lose interest in visiting the ripe tomatoes later. Next Christmas, I will buy a few to put in with my garden supplies. As it is, I have no red plastic balls to use as decoys. I found myself having to harvest earlier and earlier to get the tomatoes in before the birds started pecking at them. 

One evening while working in the garage, I noticed a box of various colored Christmas garland that had missed being put away in the attic. I decided the various sparkly colors might be a distraction from the juicy red tomatoes. I strung the garland all around my tomato cages, securing the ends with tie wraps. 

After a week, I have had no tomatoes that have been pecked on! My garden also looks very festive! If this works, I will pack the garland away with my garden supplies instead of in the attic!

Update: It's been a couple of weeks now. The garland has been a partial success. Smarter birds (like Mockingbirds) learn the tomatoes are there and go back to look. I think birds in general are still distracted by the shimmers and color. Someone suggested hanging old CDs (DVDs) around. I think I will save some of those as well as get red plastic Christmas balls for next year. I'll be packing this garland away in my garden supplies this fall as part of my spring bird deterrent! 

Festive Garden!

I will leave this one a little longer
to prove or disprove my experiment.
Normally it would be snacked on by now!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Freeze Setback; Opportunity for an Experiment!

While I do enjoy the fruits of my labor, my garden is for relaxation and enjoyment and I try to never stress over it. I take precautions in the cases of freeze or hail. Afterwards I just work with what is left and move on. This year is a good example of that.




I started my plants indoors in a makeshift greenhouse.
I draped a curtain over the bakers rack to retain heat from the window.


 
I prepared for a freeze that happened the week after I put my
plants out by putting pots and buckets over the new plants.
Unfortunately, new plants were severely affected by the freeze!
 
 
 
Knowing how tomatoes send out new leaves at the joints,
I decided to continue to water the damaged plants.
All but 4 tomatoes and peppers are have either recovered or
are sending out leaves at the joints!
 
It seems that this year's tomatoes and peppers will be an experiment. I will allow them to grow and note how they do. I'm interested to see whether the plants will be hardy after this setback.
 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Senior Discount!

There is no magic number representing "old age". Usually it is a state of mind or a reality of arthritis. One deals with the dawning of this idea over time. It creeps up and slowly you adjust. When thrust upon you it comes as a shock!

My shock started this way: I went to Bealls to shop. I had not been in some time. As I approached the check-out, I was asked to produce my Senior Discount Card! I stammered that I didn't have one and was politely asked if I wanted to sign up! The sales clerk "reminded me" that I would get 20% off since I came in on Tuesday! I barely heard her comments as I was mulling over this new info.... what was the magic age of a discount at Bealls: 55, 60, 65? How old did I look to this lady?! She hadn't even asked to see my driver's license!

The idea that this was an isolated incident, perpetuated by an unobservant sales lady was soon shattered! I was at a local tire dealership getting some long-needed work done on my car. Minutes dragged into hours as I watched infomercial after infomercial on the TV in the waiting area. Finally hunger drove me next door to the Taco Bell. I ordered a couple of small items to tide me over until my car was finished and sat down to eat. Soon the cashier showed up with an empty paper cup. She told me that I'd forgotten my cup. I accepted, but was a bit puzzled. Soon I approached the cashier and told her that she must be mistaken for I had brought my own water and hadn't ordered a drink. She told me that it was for my free "senior" tea! I'm not sure if the shock showed on my face, but I felt it! MY SENIOR TEA! There it was....obviously I look like a senior citizen!

I've decided to embrace the new "senior" me! I've actually looked up senior discounts on the internet and found I do qualify for some. During a recent trip to Whataburger, I boldly approached to counter and ordered my free cup of coffee. Sadly I wasn't carded, and it was handed over with a smile. I guess the new "senior" me is here to stay! Now, where did I put my keys?!

       We celebrated the 100th day of school by dressing as old people. 
  One of my students asked me why I was dressed up since I 
 was already old! I told her that I wasn't 100 years old!
(photo used with permission)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Beeladee: Christmas Eve with the Queen!

We've had quite warm temperatures this week leading up to Christmas. A couple of days have been in the low 80s! My garden and bees are loving it!

A significant cold front is forecast for this weekend. I planned a quick hive inspection to check food stores on the brood comb needed for the bees survive this cold snap.

I have been concerned about my hive since it went into winter with a very low population. ( Brood Break or New Queen ) Fortunately not many bees have been lost during our slight freezes.

I opened the hive with the sole intention of a quick check, not a thorough inspection. I did not want to break the propolis on each bar causing the bees to have to expend extra energy to reseal the bars against the cold. I moved the bars at first four at a time and, when I started seeing activity, two at a time. As I casually glanced over one frame, there she was... my golden queen! I was so excited since I haven't seen her in quite a while. I usually console myself with the fact that seeing evidence of a queen is just as good as seeing the queen, but I know that I'd much rather see the queen any old day! After all, she is special, she is THE QUEEN!

I carefully noted the presence of syrup. The rosemary is blooming and the bees have been quite busy. They did eat most of the capped honey they had stored going into the fall. If this cold snap continues too long, I'll supplement, but right now, there is enough syrup for them to cap.

Catching sight of the queen was an early Christmas present. It makes me smile! Long live the queen!

I centered the queen so she would be easy to spot in this shot!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Knitwit: Baby Hats!


To keep my hands busy, I usually knit on Sunday mornings during home church. I have knitted a variety of items over the years such as hats, scarves, cushion covers and socks.

A few months ago, I took stock of the various leftover yarn in my stash. None was enough for anything big. After considering several projects, I decided I would knit baby hats for one of the local hospitals. I contacted a friend who works with babies in a neonatal unit and she said the hospital would love to give them out to new parents!

Over the past few months I have knitted several baby hats in a variety of sizes. No two are exactly alike, since I make them up as I go along. The only constant is the needle size (8 double points) and a multiple of four stitches for each hat. A multiple of four lends itself to a many patterns and is an easy number to decrease.  

I have knitted for nearly 40 years now and enjoy it as much now as when I first learned!


Baby Hats (most are knitted, but a couple are crocheted)!