Friday, May 24, 2013

to bee or not to bee? That was the question...

Do you notice what is missing in the bottom photo?  Yes, the tarp that was covering my compost, but do you see the other important element that is missing?  The beehives are gone.  I have been holding my breath for about a month.                                
The hives needed to be moved for a two reasons.  One, we took out all of the trees that shaded them in the summer.  This made for some very unhappy bees.  Two, very unhappy bees tend to not be overly friendly when there is activity close by, say some strange lady gardening in a floppy hat. 
Did you know that if you move bees you need to move them 3 feet or 3 miles?  They leave scent trails back to the hive.  If you move the hives further than 3 feet they get confused by old trails and go back to where the hive was and not where it is.  A bee's range is about 3 miles, thus the hives need to be moved 3 miles away.  Long story long,  I couldn't just move the hives 30 feet away.  The beekeeper came and took those hives away one day.  I wasn't sure if he was going to bring any hives back.  After a long month of wondering, he returned with their cousins.  Different hives means different scent trails. 
I must say I like the new colors.  He placed the hives next to the orchard.  His timing was great, because the apple trees and naking cherries are starting to bloom.  As you can see we are slowly starting to green up (and I don't mean the hives).  It is supposed to be in the 70's this week, so I'm sure things will pop after 8 inches of rain.   I am excited to see how these bees do in their new spot.  The beekeeper was pleased to report he had 100% survival rate for his hives this winter.  I am just happy to have some bees back.   

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

a little of this and a bit of that...

One of my favorite sayings is "a jack of all trades and a master of none."  I like it because it defines me.  I do a little of this and a bit of that.  I am far from being a master in any area.  I just like to dabble.  Since it has been raining for 3 days, I figured now would be the time to be overview of my dabbling. 
 It is too nice to be quilting, but along those lines my father-in-law is a great woodworker and a wonderful man.  He made me this perfect quilt display.  I am so happy, because I am able to display one of my very first quilts, that otherwise would still be sitting in a closet.  Thank you Gene.

I pulled out the fruit press and we crushed some grapes to sweeten the buffalo berry wine.  It has taken a while to figure out how to get the most out of this press.  Currently, I am racking a Chokecherry/Saskatoon  combination, two Buffalo Berry batches, and my favorite Red Letter Raspberry.  All I have left in the freezer to make into wine is Oregon Grape.  I will start that this weekend, because rhubarb is on the way.  I must say I really enjoy making wine.  I doubt it would win any awards, but I find it palatable.

 I wish I could say gardening was going great.  I am afraid that isn't quite the case.  I planted my pumpkin seedlings in the outside garden.  It hailed the next day and took them out.   I planted the tomato and jalapeno seedlings in the greenhouse, it is now flooded.  We have had over 6 1/2 inches of rain in the last 3 days.  I'm thinking I may have to replant for the 3rd time.  With such a relaxing hobby I don't know how I will keep occupied this summer. 

The weatherman predicts sunny days ahead.  I guess I will wrap up in a quilt, drink some wine, and go through my seeds to see if I have any seeds left to replant.  I hope everyone else is staying safe and keeping busy.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bunches of birds...

I thought I'd share some bird photos from the last week.  We spent a few days visiting family.  It was a great to see everyone.   We had a wonderful time seeing my husband's family, my brother, and my sister's family.    
 A hungry Goldfinch.  He was such a dapper looking fellow.  They had changed to their yellow coat in Minnesota.  Ours are in the process of changing colors.
This hungry Hummingbird was at my In-laws at Minnesota.  Can you tell it was pouring out?  Look at the droplets on his little head.  You had better believe I put my feeders out as soon as I got home.  Hope springs eternal.

 This Cowbird is using yoga to get some seeds during the downpour.  I was impressed with her persistence.
This House Finch struck a wonderful pose.  This photo was taken at our feeders.
I haven't had time to look up what this little fellow.  I sure enjoyed watching him hop around my flowerbeds looking for good stuff. 
Hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day.  After spending the week with many little kids I must say I don't know how you mom's do everything. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Something old is new again in the garden...

I do have a little color in the garden.  My crocus are up.  They are such happy and hardy little flowers.  I didn't just spend the day wandering around looking at crocus flowers. I worked hard on my vegetable garden today.  We had some old fencing, some old wheels, some re bar, old silverware, a broken flower pot, odd sized wine bottles, and used corks. Put it all together and you have a garden. 

  I can't wait until it is warm enough to plant peas and beans.  I plan on running string from the spokes on the wheel to the holes in the faucet handle.  Then the beans can grow up them.  I'm sure it should be taller, but that is all I have for now.  I will keep looking until I find the perfect combination.  I did try planting some spinach and lettuce.  It may be a bit early.  I guess I will find out. 
  I have seen so many good ideas on Pinterest.  I saw the idea of using corks for markers and have found it to be very useful.  Then add using an old fork to hold the cork and you have a grand plan.  I planted my onions, some dill, and cilantro.  The garlic, asparagus, and chives are already up.                                     
As always, I had the company of my gardening companion, Ella.  She finally realized I wasn't going to throw pine cones for her, so she just soaked in the sun.
It is amazing how much I managed to do with just stuff that was laying around the place.  I'm keeping my eyes open for an old garden gate.  I also plan on making some stepping stones using rhubarb leaves and concrete.  It will take time, but I'm further ahead than I thought I would be at this time.  Now if we just don't get anymore snow...