Posts Tagged ‘flowers’


Spring Break– I need to go to work to rest

March 18, 2012

I’m on Spring Break from my academic job – and I’m exhausted!

When last I posted we were in the middle of the bathroom redo.  We still are.  The plumbers are 99% done – a part was missing from the faucet set for the sink, and a couple other plumbing niceties are needed to make everything look pretty.  The carpenters are also 99% done – quarter round  and cabinet doors to be installed early next week.  That just leaves the work that my husband and I need to do. 

I’ve stained the woodwork and put on one coat of polyurethane (water-based – of course), it needs one more.  My husband has given the ceiling on coat of paint, one more later today.  I will paint the walls.  All this painting involves protecting the other surfaces – I should buy stock in painter’s tape.DSCF0049  I will unveil the bath for all to see when its finally done.

I’ve also begun stripping the door.  I’ll give a rundown on the greenness of this redo in the near future.  DSCF0042[The stripper is green – both figuratively and literally.]

But the bathroom is only part of my break activities.  The very best part was a visit with a dear friend, Vicky.  She made the trek half-way across the country to see me (well, she did see her daughter in college in Chicago also).  We’ve been trying to get together once a year for the past few years.  First it was a bed and breakfast in Wisconsin, then some time at her place in the Berkshires, next, a funeral, but it gave me a few days with her in NYC, and this time showing her my digs in the Midwest.  I can’t believe that I didn’t take any pictures of Vicky while she was here.  I have witnesses though, including my friends, Jill and Ravonda, with whom we had a great evening over wine and snacks and lots of laughs.  [No pictures of them either, you will just have to take my word for it that I have friends.]

Vicky and I grew up in a hilly, tree-filled part of of upstate NY.  I now live in former prairie country – my new hometown had two, count them two, trees when it was established in 1837.  On the road you can usually see about 5 miles to the horizon.  There are some hills but they usually indicate a river valley and I don’t live in a river valley.  It takes a practiced eye to appreciate the subtle beauty of the Midwest landscape.  I tried to give Vicky a crash course – I’m not sure I succeeded.  We also explored big-box home improvement stores to find the perfect towel bars.  Can I show a girl a good time or what?  [We did have a nice lunch at the Mackinaw Depot Tearoom, I’m not a total dud as a hostess.]

Vicky is the reason I keep bees.  She did it first and I was a copycat. So one of the very nifty things we did during her short visit was to put together my new topbar hive. DSCF0034DSCF0033

My sweet and loving husband (who gave me the hive kit for Christmas) built the stand.  We had those metal table legs and he built a stand just my height using them.  On top of the legs would actually be too tall for me to work comfortably (I am not of willowy stature).  This design is the right height and works even better given the winds around here.  It will take a tornado to topple this sucker.  And if a tornado topples my beehive I’m afraid my beehive is going to be the least of my worries.

Tuesday morning, March 20th,  at 1:14 a.m. is the vernal equinox.  Spring begins officially.  Someone should tell Mother Nature, because she has gone completely whacko this year.  We had the winter that wasn’t, and now, as winter is supposed to be waning with DSCF0045normal temperatures this week usually in the upper 40’s and low 50’s, we have had a week of highs in the upper 70’s and low 80’s.  I am not complaining, no siree. The warmer weather timed perfectly during my spring break (and wonders of wonders, during my husband’s break also, he teaches at a different institution and our breaks don’t always align) meant we could get into the yard.  My husband has tilled the vegetable gardens and planted seeds for lettuce and radishes and carrots.  I have been making progress on the flower gardens.  And spring has been busting out all over!

All in all it was a great and productive week.  But back to the salt mine tomorrow.  I wonder when I’ll find time to paint the bathroom?


Waking from hibernation

January 30, 2011

There is potential for a decent snowstorm early next week, or it’ll go south of blizzard90us like all the rest have…  I’m trying not to get my hopes up too high.  We had a wonderful 7” snowfall on Christmas Eve – it made for a beautiful Christmas – but we’ve had nothing to talk about since then.  [Interesting to note though that when I saved this icon from the NWS weather forecast for Tuesday the icon is called blizzard.  Perhaps we’re in for a big one…]

January has been pretty unremarkable in the snow business.  Two inches here, three inches there.  But February is typically a snowier month than January or December where I live (and if the snow comes on Tuesday, well then it’ll be February). 

February is a very unpredictable month.  We can be in the dead of winter on February 1st and have crocuses blooming February 28th.  I’m not holding my breath for that, but I am trying to bring a bit of the changing seasons inside.  Tonight, while I was thinking of it and before any snow comes and distracts me, I went out and cut some forsythia.forsythia sticks

It is a measure of my optimism that I think these sticks will have yellow blossoms on them in a few weeks. 

I feel it in my bones.  I am slowly coming out of hibernation.  My energy level is increasing.  I feel more awake. I don’t think it’s just me.  I think it’s the season.  The days are getting longer bit by bit and while we can’t see it, history suggests the plants are getting ready to do their spring thing. I can feel the transition beginning, even if we do get a blizzard on Tuesday.


What’s Growing?

May 8, 2010

The vegetable garden is about 80% planted (thank you, dear husband) and the harvesting has already begun.

We’ve been eating asparagus almost daily for a few weeks now.  Last night my husband pickled a couple of jars because we just can’t keep up.  DSCF7751

We’ve been enjoying fresh spring greens this week.  There are 2 20 foot rows of mixed lettuces. 

Looks as if we can start eating spinach now too.spinach

We have more onions than usual this year.  I ordered some and then we forgot so my husband bought some starts and then a friend (thank you, Susan) sent some genuine Walla Walla starts from Walla Walla, Washington.  But really, can you ever have too many onions? onion



And then remember that pathetic little garlic from back in March?  The garlic patch is going great!

garlic in may 


I have flowers growing too.DSCF7742

I love the alliums and so do the bees.

Below are the flowers you can just see behind the alliums.    Silly question – I know a few of you are very into flowers and this will probably be obvious – but does anyone know what this flower is?






My favorites – irises.





We mostly have phlox – lots and lots of purple phlox.  Talk about invasive!  I used to have columbine everywhere – but I think it has been overrun by the phlox.  It may be time to take control of my garden again.  Maybe – I have such a hard time tearing out pretty flowers.  Still, there is a fine line between lush and overgrown and I may have crossed it.

There is more growing that I just forgot to photograph.  Violets and violas and purple cranesbill geraniums too. The chives are in bloom also.  Hmmm, I seem to have a purple theme going here, except for my columbine (of course it was the purple ones that have disappeared). 

More things are yet to bloom of course – bee balm (a pinkish purple), clematis (purple), Echinacea – purple.  What can I say….


Signs of Spring

March 20, 2010

March 20, 2010 – the first day of spring.  It is presently 39 degrees and that threatens to be the high for the day with a rain/snow mix expected later – but by Tuesday it will be back in the 50’s – so it really is spring.

cropped cardinal in a treeYesterday (when it was still officially winter but the high was in the upper 60s) I took some pictures of signs of spring around the property.


The cardinals have been out all winter – but I think this one was in search of a mate yesterday.  He was singing up a song.

  DSCF7511 DSCF7510

The llamas were enjoying the sunshine and the increasing amount of green grass – much preferred over dry hay.




assorted pollen

I, of course, spent some time with the bees.  There were plenty out on the porch, cleaning the porch, bringing out the dead (I watched two bees fly off with dead bees – I was surprised how far away they would take the body – further than I could see them), and bringing in pollen.  The pollen is in the pollen baskets on the sides of the bees back legs – they look like little yellow flotation devices.  Look carefully in this picture and you’ll see two types of pollen – a light yellow from the maple trees and a bright orange from the crocuses.  [You should be able to click on the picture to see it bigger.]


Here’s a maple branch in flower. maple flower



And crocuses.crocus

The daffodils are starting to bloom too.  DSCF7521

These are my early bloomers.  They start short but will grow while blooming.  





My friend at Nyack Backyard knows garliceverything that is coming up in her garden (or she fakes it well).  I know this is garlic – because I marked each clove I planted (note the orange flag). If I’m too slow to harvest the garlic mid-summer it is very hard for me to find the heads if I haven’t marked their location when I plant them.  



DSCF7518And finally, the surest sign of spring…  No, not huge moles, a project involving dirt. We (that would be my husband and an electrician friend) are running a new electric line out to the barn.






Has spring sprung for you yet?


Dang – they got me again

August 22, 2009

3 more bee stings.  I am re-thinking my hypothesis that the bees were antsy about the change in the weather last week.  The bees from the same hive stung me today.  When a hive is having queen trouble they get ornery – so it is possible that this is the problem – – their queen may not be living up to expectations.  I need to get back on the horse that threw me and see what is going on inside that hive (hmm, antsy, horse, enough animal metaphors?) – – but the next time I will bring the smoker and wear gloves.  I really don’t like wearing the gloves, I feel very clumsy in them, but obviously this hive, at least at the moment, is too ornery to deal with without them.

A friend, who also keeps bees, recommended putting toothpaste on the stings.  For her it took away the sting and she didn’t have any swelling.  I’m trying it this time, and so far the stings with toothpaste on them are not as swollen.  I have a sting on the side of my middle finger, right hand – and most of that toothpaste was worn off by hanging and taking down laundry – that sting is also the most swollen.  Or, it is possible that there is a 4th sting on that hand, I really kind of lost track when it was all happening.  My son was helping me though – and he’s smarter than his mother and wore gloves.  He put the hive back together by himself because whenever I got near it the bees would start harassing me again – they could smell the sting pheromone left by their sister – another reason that a smoker is helpful, it masks that pheromone.  Live and learn.

All the bee news is not bad.  The front hive is calmer than the back hive, seems to have more bees than the back hive also, and is making some new comb in the honey super (finally!) DSCF6934 

In other news – down by the hives I found a monarch caterpillar oncaterpillars on butterfly weed a milkweed plant, but more impressive (and easier to keep track of) there are 9 monarch caterpillars on the butterfly weed in our flower garden!   caterpillar I hope they stay and make their chrysalises on the plant.  I’ll let you know!