A belated Merry Christmas to everyone! We had the most perfect falling snow today. You know the kind where the flakes are huge, there's no wind and it falls perfectly. It's so peaceful. Of course watching it from our back porch with a quilt, cup of coffee and the stove going full blast to keep us warm doesn't hurt either. This picture is of a hanging basket I made from some cuttings out back. It might not be "Martha" but it was definitely cheaper than the local nurseries. It was free!!
I even hung some large ornaments on the tree outside the window.
I wonder how long it will take before they come down. I'm not ready to let Christmas go yet this year. I'm still enjoying all of the decorations. Hope you are too!
Oh to be a cat, snuggle with someone you love and take a nice long nap on a warm soft fleece blanket! Sounds great doesn't it?? These two still snuggle after all this time. We've found that usually after a year or so, most cats hang out on their own. But you can count on these two to still snuggle and play together. Just too sweet!
We're lucky enough to live close to some of the best lakes in the country. We were able to spend some time swimming the dogs this weekend at one of our favorite spots. When we first went to the lake on Saturday, there were several chairs and an arbor set up for a wedding on the beach. It looked so romantic. No one had arrived yet and the gentleman that was there looked a little worried. But we reassured him that we would be out of the way before the wedding started. On our way out people were starting to arrive for the ceremony and we didn't think they would like two large wet dogs attending. I can't imagine why!!
On Sunday, there was no one at the beach. A rain storm had just rolled through and opened up to blue sky. We had the beach all to ourselves! What a treat!! The dogs had a blast and slept all the way home. Nothing like the smell of wet dog. But it was worth it. What a great time!
Our peaches are ripe! We were able to pick enough peaches today to make some jam. This year we got to them before the deer. Not to worry, there are still enough left on the trees for them to have a nice snack! Don't they look great?!! Do you think our honey bees had something to do with how great they turned out?? Hmmm......
Oh......the smell of them cooking!! Yumm......
And here's the final product just waiting to be spread on some fresh baked bread or ice cream. Makes your mouth water, doesn't it!!
It's hard to believe that the last few blooms of summer are almost here. We wait through the long winter to get a glimpse of color and before we know it we're at the end of the season. We still have the beautiful fall colors to look forward to and the Mums are some of my favorites.
The Black Eyed Susans should be in bloom for a few more weeks. It must be their orange color that makes me think of fall. Not that I'm quite ready, although with the heat that we have had here lately, I find myself longing for the cool nights that fall brings. We are finally getting some much needed rain tonight. You can water every day, but it doesn't compare to a slow falling rain to make things perk up.
This is one of my beautiful daylilies. The orange color is just so amazing. I managed to get a close up shot of it while the rain drops were still there. Hope you enjoy it! Take time to look at all the beautiful colors in the great outdoors that our Lord provides for us.
Could this be the same frog that we see every year in our garden? He or she gets a little bigger from year to year. But how would we know? I'd like to think he feels at home there. He always manages to scare me while I'm busy admiring the plants growing and the veggies getting so close to pick. He blends in pretty well with the colors of the plants, so you don't know he's there until you get too close and he jumps.....and yes.....I jump!! As long as it's just him and not a snake I'm good. I suppose we should give him a name....I'll have to think about what would be a good name for him.
The photo isn't the best, but it does help explain why several of my daylily buds have been eaten!! They didn't even have a chance to open. And this I do believe is the culprit!! We've seen her a few times lately. We watched her easily jump over the fence and into the neighbor's yard. There are a lot of leaves and other stuff to eat, why pick on my daylilies!! I'd gladly give her something else to eat. But she is pretty, isn't she??
The term "Worker Bees" takes on a whole new meaning when you watch the bees in action. We added a second box to the hive tonight. The bottom box is almost full!! It's amazing that they have been so hard at work to fill it already.
The Queen has been busy too!! If you take a close look at the photos below, you can see what looks like little white "C"s. That's bee larva. So the Queen has been busy laying larva which will eventually be the second generation of the summer. After she places the larva in the comb, the workers are busy sealing it up with honey and wax. This is what the larva will eat until they hatch and become a bee.
This is the top of the box. Just look at that honey dripping down.
Here's my husband scrapping off some honey so we can have a sweet treat! Yummmmm!!
While he was putting on the second box, it happened!! The bees were not happy and he got stung on the leg. It was just a matter of time. At least it was only one that stung. Just look at all of them flying around! Yikes!! Believe me....I was as far back as I could get and still take the pictures. I don't have a suit...so if they get too close....I'm gone!!!
And here is the second box added on the top. So now they have plenty of room to work. I don't know about you, but there is so much to learn. If we didn't get the second box on in time, half of the bees would have swarmed to find another open hive. So it's really important that we check the hive at least once ever 7 to 10 days. We have two more boxes that we can add this summer. And it's looking better all the time that we will have lots of honey this fall!! Stayed tuned for the next update!!
Tonight I actually had my camera nearby when a beautiful butterfly decided to make a visit to one of my hanging plants just outside our window. I grabbed my camera and quickly went outside, trying to be quiet so I wouldn't frighten him/her away. I stood still (in 95 degree weather, not an easy task for me) for it to come back around. I was finally able to get a shot of him/her. It's funny, but until you can see them up close, I would have never known that he/she had shades of blue. They always just appear to be all yellow from a distance.
I have a butterfly garden in another spot in our yard, so I'm hoping he/she will tell their friends so we can continue to watch and enjoy their beauty.
I'll be back tomorrow with a few new photos of the bees!! They have been very busy. Make sure you tune in for the next adventure of the bees!!
Our bees have been busy!! We haven't been able to open the hive because it's been so windy this week. But tonight we were able to look inside. The Queen is laying eggs which is a great sign. And five out 10 grids (I'm sure that's not the technical term, but you get the idea) are almost full of wax and honey. You can see the wax and honey in the picture below. It's the yellow honeycomb stuff at the top right.
Our neighbor girls were over and we all were able to sample some of the "pure" honey. Wow....it was amazing! So sweet!! The girls weren't too thrilled with chewing on the wax to get the honey out, but I think they liked it just the same!
Here's a closeup!
This weekend we need to fill their sugar water supply, so we'll be able to peek in again and get some more pictures. Stay tuned!! Isn't this fun?? It's looking good for honey this fall!!!
We have a new lilac in our "row of lilacs". It's called Charles Joly. Double blooms of rich purple make it very different than the standard lilac. And here are a few more pictures of the lilacs in bloom. I never get tired of walking out in our yard and having the wind spread that wonderful smell!!
Nothing new to report on our bees. They are busy coming and going from the hive. We did get to see several on our flowering apple trees. So that was good to see. Can't wait to see if the Queen is laying eggs. We'll be able to see that in another week or so. We're not supposed to bother them by opening the hive. We don't want to discourage them from their work. One other worthy mention is that the Orioles have been coming in daily since that first time a couple of weeks ago. And yesterday I saw a pair of bluebirds! Don't you just love this time of year!!
Yes it's true!! The Queen's subjects have successfully freed her from her box! Yeah!! The picture isn't great, but you can see the small hole at the end of the box. That was filled with a sugar plug which the drones had to eat in order to free their Queen. We were also able to see that they are already building wax in the hive.
Yesterday we kind of thought that she might be out of her box. There were a few dead bees in the box that they came in. We saw bees dragging out the dead ones and pushing them out over the edge onto the ground. They were definitely cleaning house and we thought that the Queen was already giving orders to tidy things up!!
Hopefully all will go well in the next couple weeks. The next clue that our hive is thriving is to see that the Queen has laid eggs. Isn't this exciting?? We think so anyway. Stayed tuned for the next update!! Have a beeutiful weekend (sorry I couldn't resist)!!
Since it was so cold when we got the bees on Sunday, we had to wait a day to put them in their hive. We sprayed them with sugar water to make them happy first. Here is my husband Gene in his bee suit ready to get started.
It's not as easy as you might think. To try and get 10,000 to 12,000 bees in that little box was interesting. Needless to say I stayed back (since I don't have a suit) and took pictures (believe me I was ready to run if needed)!! Several of them decided to hang out on Gene's suit!! They were all over him.
Then comes the Queen. She arrives in her own special little box with a few of her drones (will just call them servants). They are supposed to help her eat the candy plug on the other side to get her out among her subjects so she can tell them what to do like any good Queen would do!! We will check back in a couple days to make sure she made it out. If not we will need to intervene and get her out. Otherwise, the whole swarm could just fly away!! I'm not sure you can see her but she's about twice the size of the others (big enough to boss everyone around).
And finally, here is the hive completed. We needed to put something heavy on the top so that the raccoons or other critters won't break in. Tonight Buddy (our lab) went up to the hive and took off the other way. He didn't get stung, but he knew enough that he shouldn't be around there.
I'll be back in a couple days to let you know how the Queen's subjects did in helping her escape her little box!!
We have decided to raise honey bees. If we get honey that will be great. But we are hoping that they will help pollinate our fruit trees, vegetable garden and flowers. We picked them up today. We got one 3 pound box, which is somewhere around 10,000 to 12,000 bees. That is a lot of bees!! It was pretty strange riding back in the car knowing that there were that many bees in the back seat. There were even a few outside the container. But we arrived home safely.
It's pretty cold here today, only in the 40s, so we're going to wait and put them in the hive tomorrow. They came from Georgia so I think this weather will be some what of a shock to them. There is so much to learn about them. Stayed tuned. I'll be back with more pictures as the summer unfolds.
We don't get a chance very often to see Orioles. But tonight there were three males that came in to feed on the oranges. I could not believe my eyes. We were sitting in the sun porch eating dinner and in they came. They are so beautiful!! The three males were fighting to see who could feed on the oranges. So after they left we put out a few more and they came back several times to feed. I hope they return so I can get some better pictures. This is as close as I could get, but feel lucky to have not one but two in the photo!!! So exciting!!
As we pulled into the driveway this morning, to our surprise there were our neighbor girls building us a snowman. I had asked them awhile back that the next time it snows, if they would build us a snowman. They were very excited and said "YES"!! But the last view times we got some snow, it was the light fluffy kind and not good for packing. But last night we got several inches of the good stuff!! You can't see them, but at the bottom they also built a little kitty and dog. How cute is that!! So that's me on the left and my husband on the right. They are the sweetest little girls and growing up way too fast!!
Unfortunately, it was a bit too warm today and both our heads fell off. I'm sure we're not finished with the snow this winter, so maybe they'll come back and build us a couple more.
I think the snow has finally stopped for now. We bundled up and took the dogs out for some fun. The snow was up to our knees in places. Even the dogs were having a tough time getting through some of it. We didn't get as much as some parts of the country but that's OK!! Here are some pictures of the dogs out having fun.
"So are you going to throw it or what?!!!"
Here are the guys warming up for big game Sunday!!
"I'll just sit this one out and watch from the sidelines!"
Snow, snow and more snow!! I think we have about 11 inches on the ground and it's still coming down. Here are the guys out on the deck this morning wondering....."Groundhog?? There's a Groundhog out here???" I don't think the Groundhog even came out today to attempt to see his shadow or not! If he was smart he stayed in where it's nice and warm!! That's where we are! It doesn't look too deep on the deck but out in the yard it goes up to their bellies. I'll be back later today with more pictures! Stay safe and warm everyone!!
Welcome to my blogs. I am married to the most wonderful supportive man and feel truly blessed. I love all kinds of crafts and started a second blog called Barb's Beautiful Blooms because I love to take pictures of all kinds of things. I enjoy photographing our garden and flowers from our yard and others from season to season. I hope you enjoy my crafts and pictures. Thanks for visiting!