In my blog I plan to chat about nature, crafts, baking, gardening, beekeeping, family, and whatever else seems appropriate at the time. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Monday, September 30, 2013

It's Apple Picking Time

 When we bought this property, we had no idea it had an old apple tree on it.
 And this apple tree is happy as can be, that a beekeeper lives here!
 And I was happy that my Shug rigged up an apple picking apparatus using an apple picking basket and our paint roller handle!
My Shug helped me with some of the picking too.

 Lot's of apples to can (or 'put up' as they used to say in the olden days!)
 My neighbor loaned me an apple peeler, slicer, dicer thingy.  It slices it dices it takes the kids to school!
 It made the slicing go much faster.

 It seemed to not peel the skin off of the beginning and end of the apple, and it was a little awkward if the apples weren't round...but I just put the peels with a little bit of skin in a separate bowl

and made a pie.  I always use Martha Stewarts pate' brisee' recipe for pie crust!  It never fails.  Two sticks of butter peeps.  But, it never fails.
I used this many apples, only got six quarts and a pie...and have thrice that many to go!
 And all of those pictures were nice...but this is the reality of it all!!  This would be where we are living. I'm in the kitchen, my Shug is in the living room, and you can see the bedroom at the other end.
 I haven't room for a dishwasher so, and I have very little counter space...about a foot...
 and we make do!
 I had enough for a pie and a bit extra for a smaller pie.

 And my Shug thought he was being clever, by hiding
this spider under this pot holder!
 Happy last day of September!  Where has the summer gone!

Cindy Bee

Friday, September 27, 2013

Let's go for a walk...

It's ok if you are still in your pj's...I am too!
 I took these pics yesterday morning...
 I love walking on our land in the morning.
 It's so peaceful...
The bees aren't even up yet.
 our pond
 For those of you who have asked me if we live in a dark basement room....not at all.  This is the outside area of the room we are living in, with two big windows.  I look at it as having two rooms in the summer months.  One is a patio, with the sky for a ceiling! When it rains or snows, that room is closed.  And I'm preparing for a family reunion on Sunday.  If the room isn't open, the reunion will be postponed.

 And this is my little garden area.  I have two boxes on both sides of the driveway.
Love Verbena.  The purple flower.  The first time I ever saw Verbena was when I went to Mackinac Island.  It was a wonderful vacation.  We stayed at the Metivier Inn.  I've loved verbena since....because it brings back such good memories of that vacation.  Plants do that for me.  I always notice the plants while I'm on vacation.  Sometimes my souvenir of that vacation are seeds (ssshhhhh! don't tell!)
I actually used to be a Master Gardener.  Well, actually, I was an Advanced Master Gardener (blush), and a Master Naturalist, and the Coordinator of the Community Garden, and the President of the Master Gardener Association, and I taught garden classes through Continuing Education, and I got burnt out really bad, and I was ready to send my volunteer hours in......I had them all typed up and ready to hit send, and I said to myself..."Self, why are you doing all of this?  Do you even like to garden anymore?  Is it self-serving?  Why, Self?  Why?"  I never hit the send button peeps.  I quit it ALL that year.  ALL! Our house in town...I even had the back yard certified as a Backyard Habitat for the National Wildlife Federation.  Sometimes we have to step back and ask ourselves "Why?"
Now I have two small garden areas and a whole lot of land.  You know what I love more than gardening...watching nature.  Life has been too busy with this house building project, but when it's done...I'm going to have a beautiful home and hopefully time to do what I love, and I will see nature from every room in the house!
Right now...I'm trying to figure out what "my fire" is.....see last post.
Things change....we go through life seasons....
But anyway...
Have you ever smelled Lemon Verbena?  
Which is not the same as Verbena (above) I think it smells more lemon-y than a lemon!
Stir some hot tea with it...lemon-y I tell ya.

Cindy Bee

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What's your fire?

I just finished reading this book...."Saving CeeCee Honeycutt", by Beth Hoffman. 

I really enjoyed it, and I wanted to share a few bits of the book that made me think....
This one is kind of long, but hang with'll be worth it.

To set the scene...Aunt Tootie takes CeeCee to an old house that was almost torn down, and this takes place in Savannah, GA, so you can imagine the house..... 

     When we descended the back stairway, dried bug carcasses crunched beneath our feet.  "It sounds like we're walking on Rice Krispies," I said.  And my aunt laughed.
     Just as I thought we were going to leave, Aunt Tootie stopped in the hallway and closed her eyes.  "Oh, Cecelia, isn't it a wonder?"  she said with a look of ecstasy on her face.  "this house is alive with history.  I can feel it humming through the soles of my shoes."
     I looked down at the floor and waited.  But I didn't feel anything.
     "All right,"  she said, guiding me out the door, "Let's go home."
     As we headed to the car, I looked up at her.  "You sure do love saving old houses."
     "Oh yes,  I do.  It's my fire."
     "Your fire?"
     She glanced over her shoulder at the house, which was now bathed in a warm tint of yellow from the sun.  "Yes.  Everyone needs to find the one thing that brings out her passion.  It's what we do and share with the world that matters.  I believe it's important that we leave our communities in better shape than we found them.
     "Cecelia Rose, she said, reaching for my hand, "far too many people die with a heart that's gone flat with indifference, and it surely must be a terrible way to go.  Life will offer us amazing opportunities, but we've got to be wide-awake to recognize them."
     She rested her hands on my shoulders and looked into my eyes.  "If there's one thing I'd like most for you, it's that you'll find your calling in life.  That's where true happiness and purpose lies.  Whether it's taking care of abandoned animals, saving old houses from the wreckin' ball, or reading to the blind, you've got to find your fire, sugar.  You'll never be fulfilled if you don't."
     I thought about what she said, and as we climbed in to the car I looked at her thoughtfully.  "But how will I know what my fire is?"
     She pulled the keys from her handbag and started the engine, "Oh, you'll know.  One day you'll do something, see something, or get an idea that seems to pop up from nowhere.  And you'll feel a kind of stirring---like a warm flicker inside your chest.  When that happens, whatever you do, don't ignore it.  Open your mind and explore the idea.  Fan your flame.  And when you do, you'll have found it.".....

So I ask...what's your fire?

Cindy Bee

Monday, September 23, 2013

S'more beekeeping lessons....winter prep!

Yesterday I started preparing my hives for the winter.   Most people think beekeeping is like having someone in assisted living....they think you just tuck them away and forget about them!  Not so.  Someone has to pick up their hearing aid batteries, their Depends, their ace bandages for their have to move furniture, order hospital beds, hang up their clothes.....
wait a minute....
we're talking about bees.....
So, Vickie came over yesterday to help me prepare the hives for winter.  I think she found it very interesting.
I'll show you best I can what she saw...but first what she didn't see.  Look close at this picture.  There are bees flying all around her.  She's focusing on getting the smokers going and I'm not sure she realized how many bees were buzzing around her.
 Ok look closely at this picture.  It's kind of like going to World Wide Wrestling!   See the bee...about the third one from the right, that is bigger than the rest?  We'll call him Hulk Hogan!  That bee is called a drone.  They do very little in a hive.  Their main job is to mate with the queen.  They don't even feed themselves. So Scary Sheri and her pals come up and beat him up and kick him out.  Who needs bigger bees that only think about sex, and don't lift a wing to help themselves in the winter months, right?  It's hard enough to get through the winter on your own!  This particular hive was kicking the drones out yesterday.  We were standing there watching them do this dirty deed.  It's kind of sad.  They fight to the finish and the drone always loses...eventually.  These ladies will chew off the drones wings if they must.  Their ruthless!
 Now look closely at this picture.  See the bee a little right of the center with the yellow on her.  She is carrying pollen into the hive.  When you see honeybees with those little "baskets" on their body colored like that, it's pollen.

To get a hive ready for the winter, you go through it and see if there is enough honey to last them through the winter.  They need honey in the bottom larger boxes, called hive bodies, and here in Indiana, they need honey in a super, which is the smaller box on top.
 I also put entrance reducers on the hives.  If you notice in the 2nd and third picture above, the entrance to the hives are wide open.  I covered their entrance with these little wooden 'frames' that my Shug made for my hives.  So that reduces the size of the entrance from all the way across the bottom, to just a small opening which is covered with wire.  We do this because right now, not only are the bees storing honey and pollen for winter, but they are fighting off yellow jackets, mice, and whatever other critters are trying to get their honey.  We actually saw a yellow jacket eat a honey bee yesterday too.  Vickie asked why they don't fight it off.  Yellow jackets will win over a honey bee every time.  It's a crazy time of year in the insect world peeps.  Anyway, making the entrance so small, makes it easier to protect their hive, and harder for animals and insects to get in their hive that doesn't belong.

 I was pretty impressed with this hive.  There is a lot of capped brood, which means there are a lot of 'babies' getting ready to be born.
 You do not usually find this much capped brood in a hive this time of year. 
 Can you see that bee coming up to my face to say Hi!  Neither did I until I looked at the picture! 
 I got through three of my hives, put all of my entrance reducers on, and plan on going through the rest of my hives this week.  I will pull some of the supers off of the hives because its just too much hive for them to keep warm all winter long.
 It's hard to explain....but in the summer months when you are extracting honey and it's so hot, and you are all suited up, you soak through your clothes with sweat, you're tired and you get burnt out.  Then this time of year, you get in the hives and get them ready for winter, and you know you won't see them again until next miss them.  I know.  It's weird.  But it's true.  It's almost a zen kind of feeling when you are working the hives.   And this winter I will worry if they are alive and I will miss them.
 So what does chicken and hot dogs have to do with beekeeping.  Well, I'll tell ya.  Absolutely nothing!
 I had to show you this food my Shug grilled for us yesterday because it looked so perfect. He's our grill master!  Vickie and her husband, Robert, spent the day here.  We sent Robert into town for food while my Shug worked on the house, and Vickie and I worked in hives.  
 When we finished working we came down to a nice dinner, and a perfect campfire for marshmallows,
and I just happened to have everything on hand needed for s'mores.
 So I gotta ask you make your s'mores the old fashioned way with Hershey bars.....or the new fashioned way with Reese's peanut butter cups?
 Yesterday was the first time I made a s'more with a peanut butter cup and it was yummy.

 And do you burn your marshmallows....
or brown them?

Cindy Bee

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Yarn Along

Very excited to join a yarn along!  I'm hoping it will motivate me to finish some projects.  I did actually start and finish something in a week.  This hat, was a mix of two patterns and the rib(?not sure that is what it's called) stitch.  After learning how to do this stitch, I re-did a hat I made for my Shug last year, so it would fit him better.  Love this stitch for hats.  Simply front post, back post, all the way around.

This is a bag I finished a month or so ago, but since I'm joining this yarn along I thought I'd show it off again!

 This is my friend Mandy's yarn store...where I buy my yarn. 

And this.....
was a bad day for me and the Groovy Girl....trying to follow a bird pattern.  LOL! 
 Does not look like a bird at all! 

Check out all of the fun yarny projects at Small Things blogspot!

Cindy Bee
Cindy Bee