Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Too hor for Ol' Hook

It's been hellaciously hot. I only when outside to walk them early this morning, and by the end of the journey, they were weary,

I'm going to go to my primary care office tomorrow to have tests run, I will be happy to rule the bad stuff out.

Old Hook is and Kodak will have decided to stay inside.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Field of mushrooms

The temps were brutal today. I'm sure our friend Bob Miller who lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, would chuckle reading this because it was 113 degrees.

The rain this that moved through at the end of last week, turned the farm into a field of mushrooms. Most of them only last a matter of hours.

I'm glad I caught this one.

Monday, July 13, 2020


I went to the doc today. It seems I have an infection. The bloodwork doesn't appear to be a virus. He gave me a shot with a needle as big as a kindergarten pencil. I enjoy those so much. He also called me in a script.

Dropping off the script at the pharmacy, I didn't wait at the drive-through. I told them I'd come back this evening to pick on the antibiotics.

On the way back down, this evening, I slowly rolled through a three-way stop sign. The last moving violation I got was over 25 years ago.

The trooper was a nice guy. He went to his car as he wrote the ticket. Apparently, he found it a little humorous that my last violation was rolling through this very stop sign back when Bill Clinton was in the White House. He let me off with a warning. I could have hugged his neck.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Under the weather

In year's past, summer was my favorite month. I worked and played hard. In the last several years, that philosophy caught up with me.

Yesterday, I did several projects. I thought I'd spread them out and cooled off enough before doing the next project. I was wrong.

Today, I feel as though I've gone through a wringer washing machine. I've hydrated all day, but I still don't feel like running a race.

Below was the start of one of my projects. I scraped off flaking paint. I think it was replacing the mailbox post yesterday evening when the temps were in the mid-90s with high humidity.

Today, I've laid low. Jilda has given me a hard time today and rightfully so.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

More butterfly action

I know I've posted a lot of butterfly pictures lately, but I can't help myself. This Eastern Tiger Swallowtail looks like the one that Ol' Hook almost ate a  few weeks ago.

Our niece Samantha comes over each evening and brings Todd (the pup I rescued a few months ago) to let him play with Kodak. They run until they drop from exhaustion in the back yard.

This evening while we were there, this butterfly flitted by and almost landed on the bill of my cap. When the dogs came closer, it flew over to sip nectar from the purple butterfly by the steps. Seeing this baby was a gift.

Tomorrow, my nephew Haven is coming up to install a pump in the well at the barn. I've been meaning to put a well in that pump for 20 years. A few months ago, I bought a pump and a tank.

Hopefully, I'll have water in the honey house tomorrow afternoon.

I hope your weekend has been grand.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Sunflower honeybee

Jilda pointed out in her blog last night that the limoncello sunflowers had bloomed. We have sunflowers that are ten feet tall with blossoms as big as volleyballs, but they are slow to bloom.

This year we got limoncello sunflower seeds from our commercial vendor, and they were the first to bloom. These little scutters are only about 18 inches tall.

When I stepped over to check on the watermelons this afternoon, I saw one of our honeybees wallowing in the limoncello pollen. We planted the smaller sunflowers as borders around our garden areas.

The sun was hot, but I stood for a long while watching this girl work. By the time she lifted off the bloom, she both pollen baskets on her hind legs were packed.

As I turned to walk toward the welcoming shade of the backyard, I had to smile. The sunflowers should bloom until the first frost. To be a viable source of food, I would need acres of sunflowers. We're not there yet, but we planted more flowers than we did last year.

Thursday, July 09, 2020

Green thumb

Jilda and I walked over to our niece Samantha's house yesterday evening as the sun was setting. She'd never grown a garden in her life until this year. The virus put her out of work, so rather than sitting around brooding, she planted a garden.

I think she was as surprised as we were that she has a green thumb. Her garden is amazing.

We stood and talked for a while as we swatted at gnats and mosquitos, but before we left to walk back home, I snapped a picture of her patch of flowers. It looks like a painting at the end of her garden.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020


The gentleman that was to administer my test today has had cancer. He had a radiation treatment yesterday. He asked me to call this morning before I drove the two hours to his apiary.

When I called just after 8 a.m., his voice sounded weak and weary. He asked if we could reschedule. I said, of course.

He sent me a text this evening, so we're set for Friday afternoon.

I'm torn because I feel as though I'm adding to his load at a time in his life where his load is heavy enough.

I've talked to him several times the past few weeks. He is an avid beekeeper. I think he wants to help as many people on their journey to becoming a responsible steward of honeybees.

I'm signing off now because I need to go study.

The sun came out this even, and this tiger swallowtail boy came to sip on the butterfly bush. Go figure.

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Testing, testing

Tomorrow I have to drive to north Alabama to take a test that's part of my journey to becoming a beekeeper. In the last few days, I've read a new book, and reread another on the finer points of the craft.

I'm as ready as I'm ever going to bee so to speak.

Today was a workday, so I didn't get a chance to take a picture, so I found one I took a few years ago on the Fourth of July.

Happy humpday tomorrow.

Monday, July 06, 2020


Today I had calls to make and stories to write, but Jilda and I decided to do first things first. We shoe'd up and headed out for a walk after coffee.

One of the first things we noticed was that a few of the sunflowers bloomed out overnight. It was overcast so I couldn't frame it against the sky. Plus, this one is at the edge of the watermelon patch and I didn't want to risk stepping on a vine and damaging one of the melons that are almost ripe.

It's been an interesting spring here.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Tiger lily

The tiger lily nestles close to the southeast eve of the house. I thought it got sun only in the afternoon, but I noticed this morning that a shaft of sunlight fell on the lily and not much else around it.

The blossom faces downward as if it's embarrassed by its beauty. I had to tinker with the exposure on my camera to keep the stark light from overpowering the color.

It was a beautiful thing to behold for a few moments. When the position of the sun changed a few degrees, the lily went back into shadow.

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Can't wait

While the coffee dripped in the carafe this morning I stepped down to the garden to check on things.
Everything is showing out, except for the sunflowers. The picture below, I took a few years ago on the 4th of July but so far, this year's crop has not bloomed yet. Jilda says have patience. I shall try, but I love sunflowers and so do the bees.

I hope you all have had a great day.

Friday, July 03, 2020

Slow down

When our elderly neighbor across the road began having health issues a few years ago, I started keeping a closer check on him. His only daughter was an attorney and lived out west. When I would see a change in him, I would send her a text or give her a call. It was the neighborly thing to do. She was grateful.

When he died, I helped place his dog in a forever home, and kept an eye on his place until she could figure out a path forward. His grass grew as fast as mine, so each time I mowed the lawn, I'd cut his. That way, the place didn't look abandoned. Looking abandoned in rural areas is an open invitation for ne'er do wells.

The last time she came home, she gave me some of the things that her dad loved. There were some tools, a few books, and the swing that sat in front of his house.

After hauling the swing home, I placed it on the edge of the yard in the shade of a sweet gum tree.
Jilda and I soon learned that the sound of a squeaking chain is intoxicating on warm summer evenings.

Since the coronavirus hit, we've spent more time at home and we've paid more attention to our place. One evening while swinging, Jilda said, I think this swing would be better if it was sitting over there. She pointed to the opposite edge of the yard.

I never question her taste in the positioning of yard-thangs, so we stood and wagged it squeaking to the new location. A moment later, when we sat down, I knew she was right because it was positioned to watch the setting sun.

A few days later, the Mandevilla we'd bought was on one end of the swing with its tentacles winding up the swing poles. One the other side was a raised bed of cucumbers.

Since then, the plants seem to be in a race to see which one can form a canopy over our heads.

In the future, when looking back at the year 2020, there will be plenty of ways to curse it, but there will be other things that would not have happened had we not slowed down.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

All in a day's work

I spent most of the day writing stories for the paper. After coffee and a short walk, I was on the screen porch under a whispering ceiling fan tapping keys. After several hours, I was brain-fried.

After lunch, I headed down to the honey house and put new wooden handles on our cultivator. Jilda's dad gave us this tool over 40 years ago.

This spring, when I pulled it out to lay off some rows for the sunflowers in our garden, one of the handles broke. OH NO!  I thought to myself that there is no way I could find replacement handles for a tool that most people consider obsolete.

When I went inside to break the news to Jilda, she said, "No worries, Lehman's has those."

I thought she was kidding, but she whipped out her phone, went to the Lehman's website and searched for cultivator handles and there they were.

A few days later, UPS brought the new handles and left them on the screen porch. When I got home and saw the box from Lehman's, it made me smile.

I got the handles replaced, but it was too hot outside to give it a test drive. I'll do that tomorrow.

My next project is to get the cement mold out and pour some new Peace stepping stones. I think I could use some more peace these days.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Hot bees

We woke up this morning to the falling rain. After starting the coffee, I stepped over to the garden door and looked across the garden toward the barn. A light mist hovered just above the grass, making the field look ghostly.

Wednesday is the day I write my weekly column for the paper, so I took the laptop out onto the screen porch to work.

After finishing the first draft, I had several (no contact) errands to run, so I put on my hat and hustled to the truck.

Jilda had lunch ready when I returned. After that, we treated ourselves to a nap. Life always seems better after a nap.

Sure enough, when we woke up, the clouds had moved off to the south. It didn't take long for the atmosphere to get steamy.

I walked down to the bee yard to check on the girls. One of the hives had a beard of bees hanging off the front. The hive was a swarm that I'd captured, so it started out with fewer bees than the other hives, so I narrowed the entrance gap. This makes it easier for worker bees to defend the colony against robbing from yellow jackets, wasps, and honeybees from competing hives.

I thought the hive was vented from the bottom, but when I checked, it was one of the older hives I bought in the beginning. With rising temps, no screened bottom board, and a reduced entrance, I knew immediately that the bees in the colony weren't getting enough air.

I put on my bee suit and returned to the hive and removed the entrance reducer. You could the pitch of their humming changed.

Later, when I walked back, there weren't as many bees hanging out front.

Walking back through the garden, Jilda was picking squash for supper. She called to me to say the girls had finally found the Old Maid flowers in our garden. I snapped a picture for you to see.

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