Sunday, July 21, 2019

Honey harvest

Today was honey harvest day. I suited up early this morning and headed to the hives. Even though it was cooler today, I had to wear thick clothes under my bee veil so I don't get stung.

By the time I pulled the cart with all the things I need, I was drenched in perspiration. 

I smoked the bees into the hive and then started on the hive that needed the most attention. I checked the frames and most of them were about 75 % full. I removed the first eight frames of honey and replaced them with empty frames. 

By the time I finished the work on that one hive, I closed the hive, thanked the bees and headed to the house. 

The eight frames I removed today gave me almost a gallon of honey. 

This coming week, the temps are supposed to be much cooler. I'll do the other three hives then. Hopefully, I'll have enough honey to make it through winter.

Saturday, July 20, 2019


There is a shrub in our backyard that bears beautiful blossoms. It's a blazing star. The only downside is that monarch larva love the leaves. 
Even while the blossoms are showing out, the tiny worms are munching away on the leaves. Soon they will strip all the leaves off the bush leaving it naked except for brilliant red flowers.

I love the bush, but I also love the monarchs that will soon be aflutter in our backyard.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Chicken tales

My great nephew Jordan and I worked on his 4-H chicken project today. The man from the county extension service was coming to vaccinate the chickens and we had to make the pen presentable. 

We raked the old shavings and hay out and dumped it in the compost pile, then spread a fresh carpet of cedar shavings. He washed their feeding trays and water containers.

He collected his noted to make sure he could answer questions about the amount of feed they've eaten, the different breeds of birds, and how much water they are drinking.

When the agent arrived, Jordan had his "chicks in a row" as they say. He heled the chickens as the agent gave them the shots.

The extension guy was impressed. 

Jordan will have to do a presentation in September at the county fair. The downside three he will have to select three of his chickens to go into the 4-H auction. The proceeds from the sale of the chickens fund the project for next year. 

Jilda and I plan to go and watch him do his thing and if there's any way possible, we will bid on the chickens.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Yellow tiger swallowtail butterfly

It was hotter than a fanny in a firepit this morning as we walked. Sweat started dripping down my temples as I stood by the backyard fence waiting for Jilda to get the harness on Taz. I saw a tiny yellow and black bird. It looked almost like a canary. The mate was yellow and grey. Both were beautiful.

Gently pulling the phone from my pocket, I tried to snap a few pictures, but they were shy. Tomorrow, I'll pull a chair down there and take my DSLR camera down there. Maybe I'll get lucky and get a shot with the telephoto.

As we made the first lap this morning, I noticed another yellow creature down by the barn. It flew up into the branches of a small tree. I stepped closer and shot several pictures. It was a yellow tiger swallowtail butterfly. I was happy.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Fun with kids

We had fun with "the kid" today. Jilda and I had appointments in town and our great nephew Jordan went with us.

I won't step Jilda's entry tonight, but while she was seeing the acupuncture doc, Jordan and I hit Starbucks where I got a coffee and a New York Times. Jordan is not into coffee yet so he opted for some apple juice and a cake pop treat.

We sat outside and watched traffic while we waited to go fetch Jilda.

We decided to do a selfie to taunt Jordan's mom who was working. It used to be her that went with us to the mall and to eat.  We tried to do a straight face, but we failed miserably.

When we sent the selfie below, she responded with a frowny face. Jordan and I howled.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019


We planted the sunflowers and zinnias for the bees, but other critters like them too. I'd been seeing these little rascals sipping nectar for the last few weeks.

Yesterday, I took my camera from the bag and attached my telephoto lens. Walking out to the backyard, I dragged a chair close to the fence and sat.

I started snapping pictures of flowers at first. It only took a few minutes before I saw this little sucker having her way with our orange sunflowers. We'd never planted them before, but we're already in love and I'll let the hummer speak for itself.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Find time with those we love

Last Sunday we invited some of our songwriting friends over to break bread and play music. Few things in life provide as much joy as friends and music. 
We keep our house reasonably clean, but whenever we have company coming, we work ourselves silly, making the place presentable. As our friend John Elliott used to say before he passed away, “Fun ain’t cheap.” 
We worked for days getting the place ready, and I thought we were set. Sunday morning while we were sipping morning coffee, Jilda pointed upward and said, “You have to dust the ceiling fan.”
The ceiling in our great room is 14 feet high at the apex. I hadn’t noticed, but there were dust bunnies and dangling cobwebs on the blades. It looked like Spanish moss swirling around. Setting my cup down, I went out and dragged the stepladder inside to do the deed.
Once the house was shipshape, Jilda started working on the extras. She cut fresh zinnias and sunflowers from the garden and put them in vases in the great room and bathrooms. She put a fresh tablecloth on the table with linen napkins. 
Even when we tell our peeps that we’re just having hotdogs, baked beans, and chips, she always has an ace up her sleeve when it comes to food. For this gathering, it was her freshly baked lemon pound cake. 
She assembled the cake from scratch with essential ingredients like butter, flour, sugar, and lard. (Just kidding about the lard.) She’s meticulous in making this cake. Our niece once asked Jilda to tell her how to make it. Explaining the steps sounded more complicated than enriching uranium. “There are no shortcuts,” she said. 
While the cake was baking, it filled the house with an aroma that smelled like Heaven’s kitchen. 
After our friends arrived, we talked for a while, played music until our fingers bled, and slammed down some dogs. Then it was time for dessert. Jilda sliced off chunks of pound cake, put on a dollop of whipped cream, and topped it off with a handful of blueberries that I’d picked earlier in the day. Did I mention that we also had ice cream? The next few minutes involved a lot of grunting. 
Our friends lingered into the night before we said our goodbyes. They might have still been here had we not heard the rumble of thunder and the sound of rain gently tapping the metal roof.
I thought once we retired we’d have more time to spend with our friends. That has not happened. It seems like we need a Cray computer to work out the logistics and get everyone’s calendars together. In fact, I don’t know how I ever found time to work a full-time job.
This much I know for sure – there is more sand in the bottom of the hourglasses of our lives than in the top. We lose close friends every year.
As we cleaned the kitchen after our friends left Sunday, Jilda and I made a promise to ourselves.  We vowed that we would find a way to spend more time doing the things we love with the people we love.

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