Workers, Drones, and Queens

Workers, drones, and queens… this is getting interesting. This beekeeping experience truly is “learning by doing.”  Seeing the hive in action is more educational than reading about it or listening to a speaker.

I went to my first beekeeper’s association meeting this past Thursday and was overwhelmed with how much there is to know. The group was quite welcoming. They answered all my questions. Some of them even graciously gave me their contact information – without my asking- in case I had more questions arise before the next meeting. Everyone there stressed the importance of getting into the hive regularly to see what is going on. (I also bought some handmade soap made by the beekeepers at Landav Soap Company – a great gift idea for upcoming birthdays.)

Yesterday afternoon I decided to take a peek and see what my workers, drones, and queen have been up to.

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In the picture above toward the top right you can see the larvae within the cells of this frame. The bumpy, pebble like tops of these cells indicate that these are drone cells.

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In this picture you can see how the cells near the edge of the frame at the bottom and to the right have a smooth cap. This type of cell is that of a worker bee.

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Lastly, I have this frame that I found. You can see the four places at the bottom that have been built out further from the frame. I am not completely sure… but I think these are queen cells. Either my hive is thinking about swarming or these are simply being built in case the current queen is unable to keep up with the demands of the hive.

When we first started I knew bees had different roles of workers, drones, and queens. I just didn’t realize just how it would look inside the hive.

We still have a wooden entrance reducer in place. We are continuing with two quarts of nectar infused with Honey B Healthy. The bees are still munching on the protein patty that is on the frames of the top deep box within an empty honey super.

Follow this blog to find out what these amazing workers, drones, and queens do next!

A Succulent Cement Block Garden

My daughter is a buckeye transplant living in Florida. She loves all things Disney and recently visited Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival. She sent me lots of pictures from the Honey Bee-stro display.

I loved the succulent cement block wall that was part of the display and have decided to create a much smaller version in the small area near my hive. Given my recent history with succulents (most of them died) I am using only seven blocks.

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Building Succulent Cement Block Garden

While I’m in town for church today I think I will make my first visit of the year to my favorite off-the-beaten-track greenhouse and see what I can find to put in the ground around my succulent cement block garden. I have quite a few packs of seeds that I had planned on planting there (before the wall idea).  I’m not planning to keep this area manicured so it may end up looking a little wild and crazy.

I might also browse around the greenhouse for Mother’s Day ideas to see if I can find a gift for my lovely mother.

 

 

Checking the Brood Box

Today was the first day it has been warm and dry enough to get back into the hive and see what is going on in our brood box. Our frames came with a plastic inserts which we have learned may be a little harder for the bees to build on.

For our second brood box we have replaced the plastic with wax inserts. From my novice perspective it looks like the bees have made good progress. They have build on 6 of the 10 frames. Some of their work looks like what might be considered spotty, but since I’ve never examined a bee hive before I’m not sure.

From this visit into the hive I learned that it is important to keep your frames together and not leave spacing. There is a place that was open and the bees build right on into it. I’m not sure how that is going to work out in the long run. I didn’t remove it. I just put the two frames together as best I could there.

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I went ahead and added a second brood box with the wax inserts. We have two feeder quarts of nectar on the front of the hive and we are keeping the entrance reducer in place. I added an empty honey super and left what remained of the protein patty in it for the bees to keep munching on.

I didn’t see the Queen Bee. Judging from the content hum of the hive, she is in the brood box laying eggs as expected. It take 21 days for the eggs to hatch. I’m expecting to see the hive begin growing exponentially around the 15th of this month.

Queen Bee

We have learned what to expect when you buy a pack of bees. Inside the package of bees will be a can of nectar and a small ventilated cage with a queen bee in side. The queen bee is trapped inside the cage by some hardened sugar substance.

When placing the bees in the hive the queen bee is still in her cage when she is placed among the frames in the brood box. Once she is placed, the rest of the bees can be released in the hive.

I went back to the hive today to ensure the queen bee was out of her cage. The sugar blocking the escape hole was gone leaving the hole open. I did not spend time looking through the bees to spot the queen. All the bees seemed busy and happy so I assume the queen bee is alive among them.

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I removed the cage and I put a protein patty on top of the frames and made sure they had plenty of nectar.

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Next warm sunny day I will get in the hive and check the bees’ progress and try to spot the queen bee in action.

Beginning With Bees

Today we started our official beginning with bees!

Well… I guess that’s not quite true.

The real beginning with bees started early last year when I went to Maysville, Kentucky to attend the 8th Annual Farm & Family Night  at Maysville Community and Technical College.  (That was right around the time I started my deep dive into nutrition so not only did I sit in on a lecture about monarchs, but I also sat in on a lecture about honey bee keeping.)

The reason I say today is our beginning with bees is because today is the day we brought a package of bees home and put them in our first hive. I’m not sure exactly where we are heading with this, but I’m thinking at the very least it will lead to having some “bee gifts” available in our shop 🙂 .

I was just simmering with the idea of beekeeping until at Christmas, my husband/family gave me a starter hive.

So in February I signed us all up for the 9th Annual Northeastern Kentucky Beekeeping School. We learned more about beekeeping 101, biter bees, mite sampling, honey harvesting, bee nutrition, and all things bee related.

We bought some protective gear and ordered a pack of bees.

In the next several weeks we painted our hive and selected a location for it.  We put it out a few weeks ago because we were supposed to pick up our bees last week, but because of the crazy weather Ohio has been having this spring the delivery had to be postponed.

Finally, the bees arrived today and we drove down to Morehead, KY to pick them up.

We had a few snags that didn’t go by the book.  First off, the hanger for the queens cage broke off so we had to take some fishing line and create a new hanger.  Secondly, there was not a cap on the candy so just to be sure she could get out we cut a section of the cage where we thought the cap should be to make sure she could get free.  Unfortunately, not all the bees made the trip successfully.  I can see I’m going to have to get used to losing bees.  The life cycle of bees is short so I knew going in that I would have to be ready for that, but actually seeing it was sadder than I expected.

My daughter helped me make up some nectar for them to get them through until spring has completely sprung (it’s supposed to snow again tomorrow! – so to have so much spring snow this year in OH).

After we put in some Honey B Healthy I thought the nectar smelled good enough to drink! Let the stickiness begin!

We have the feeder on the hive and the bees seem to be buzzing happily.

I’m going to patiently wait until weather warms back up on Tuesday before I take a peek inside to see if our queen is out.

In the meantime, we are going to have to perfect our protein patty recipe because our first attempt is not setting up.

So far beginning with bees has been a bit of work, but this project looks like it will be the bee’s knees!

10 Gift Ideas For Happy Glampers

Fall is here at last!

Summer has been fun, fun, fun, but we are ready for fall.  Among other activities, the cooler weather is a great time here in Ohio to do a little glamping.

We used to be campers, but now we have learned the fine art of glamping 🙂 .

Roughing It In Style!

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Let me show you what our little roadtrip to Brookville, Indiana glamping at Whitewater Memorial Park Campground looked like while I give you 10 Gift Ideas For Happy Glampers.

The first three things every glamper should have are a cast iron skillet, warm pajamas, and a pocket knife.

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The need for the cast iron skillet is obvious.  It goes on the handy dandy grate so glampers can cook themselves up some chow.  One of the secrets to a Happy Glamper is a full stomach. A cast iron skillet is made for the job – fry up some bacon, sausage, coffee cake – whatever their little hearts desire (except Pop-Tarts, you can just eat those right out of the box). – Realizing all that is chock full of fat, salt, and sugar.  What can I say? Sometimes I fall off the wagon.

Wait! Did someone just say coffee? Thought so.

Every true American Glamper likes a swig of coffee to wake them up in the morning, right?  A coffee cup is another super gift idea for a Happy Glamper.

Anyways, back to the picture.

A pocket knife is handy for obvious reasons – like whittling the tip of a stick to put a hot dog or marshmallow on.  It also comes it handy to open things or maybe even … cut things :D?

Soft, Warm pajamas provide comfort on cool nights snuggled by the campfire or in the tent.  Cold toes make sad glampers – And nobody wants that!

Another idea for a Happy Glamper is a folding camp chair.  No matter how great a camp chair is, eventually they wear out.  I think any Happy Glamper would appreciate receiving a camp chair.

So far we’ve covered cast iron skillet, coffee cup, pocket knife, warm pajamas, and a camp chair.  We are halfway through our 10 Gift Ideas for Happy Glampers. If any of those sound like a good fit – what are you waiting for? Go get that shopping done!

If you still need more, think about these.

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What are you going to put the soft, warm pajamas in?

A duffel bag! Personalization is always nice touch.  Happy Glampers like to keep their things neat (pretty) and organized. Enough said.

One thing about being out in the wilderness.  It gets dark at night.

That means sitting around the fire telling – Ghost Stories!  A book of short ghost stories is sure to be a hit gift for the Happy Glamper on your list.

I wish I had a picture of us roasting marshmallows on roaster sticks and reading ghost stories, but I didn’t have a flashlight, camping string lights, or a camp light with a nice sturdy shepherd’s hook to hang it on.

You’ll just have to use your imagination – or Google 😀 !

That’s 10 Gift Ideas for Happy Glampers (plus a few bonus ideas if you were paying attention):

10. Nice, Sturdy Shepherd’s Hook

9. Camp Light

8. Campfire Roasting Sticks

7. Book of Short Ghost Stories

6. Duffel Bag

5. Folding Camp Chair

4. Pocket Knife

3. Soft, Warm, Pajamas

2. Coffee Cup

1.Cast Iron Skillet


Are you a glamper? We’d love to hear from you.

What item makes you a Happy Glamper?

A Family Rhyme Lasts For All Time

 

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My Family Rhyme

I’ve been reading lots of good books recently such as Being a Rockefeller Becoming Myself a Memoir, by Eileen Rockefeller.  This book helps to illustrate a family rhyme lasts for all time.

What I liked best about Being a Rockefeller Becoming Myself a Memoir is how the author honestly reveals herself by sharing stories of her family. It is apparent that just because a person is born into an affluent family they aren’t exempt from having to learn to grow themselves and their relationships.

I loved her stories of adventures on Buckle Island including building rafts and adding a magical door to a forest path.  It seems every family has to deal with competition for attention and keeping egos in check.

My favorite lesson from the book is that it is never too late to become closer to someone.

Coming from a big family myself, I understand how family life can be like a rhyme. Sometimes families repeat themselves singing back familiar sounds.  Other times family members whisper quietly between each other.  In the end everyone connects like they were meant to be for all time.

A perfect example is the Addam’s family.  I’m sure you’ve heard, “They are creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky…”

Years ago my mom and I collaborated on a poem about the dining room table that kind of represents life growing up in our house.

The Dining Room Table

The dining room table – a gathering place,

Where memories begin from face to face,

Prayers of thanks offered, the family sits down to feast,

Thanksgiving dinners, Easter breakfasts, birthday treats.

 

At graduation, anniversary, Valentine’s Day,

China and crystal are set in finest array,

Or set with mug and spoon for a weekday guest,

This simplicity is sometimes the best.

 

On it fabric is laid out to be cut for new clothes.

Siblings hover over it with homework woes.

It holds puzzles or games sometimes for hours.

Displayed in the center are fresh garden flowers.

 

There are times the table takes on a romantic air,

Lovers share in candlelight a quiet affair,

In a space in time only the table can hear,

Sensual whispers of one into the other one’s ear.

 

Late at night tucked in bed – if you are able,

Listen to adult voices rise from the table.

Laughing, reminiscing, talking of places they’ve been,

The dining room table is where memories begin.

 

I’m grateful to have been born into this big bunch.  Naturally, I’ve repeated the rhyme and have a family of my own which I am also grateful for.

Growing up in my family led me to a love of reading that has stayed with me.  You might like some of the other books I’ve read recently.  They could make a great gift for someone on your list to buy for.

I’ve reread Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson – you can’t go wrong with pirates – Argh!

Also, I’ve enjoyed reading The Right Words at The Right Time by Marlo Thomas and friends, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, and The Coincidence of the Coconut Cake by Amy Reichert.

What book are you reading?


via Daily Prompt: Rhyme

 

Road Trip to Columbus

The first day of our road trip to Columbus, Ohio for the Buckeye Elite Showcase Tournament was pretty soggy.  Most of the baseball games were canceled as there was an incredible amount of rainfall.  Fields and highways were standing in high water.  I-70 was shut down for an extended period in two different places.  It looked like some of the boys on teams that played should have been wearing swim suits instead of ball uniforms.

We stayed in the Embassy Suites on Corporate Exchange Drive at Cleveland Avenue exit of I-270.  It has lovely, clean, accommodations with efficient service.  Since our games were canceled for the first day we used the Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang button in our cars and ventured out to Roosters for some stress reduction and lunch.

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Our team did not play until late in the day on Friday.  This was my son’s team’s last baseball tournament of the year and our second out-of-towner of the season. Our first out-of-town tournament was in Indianapolis and my daughter and I went to the conservatory there, so this time in lieu of ball games, we decided to check out the conservatory in Columbus, Ohio on this road trip for Plan B (as Suzy Toronto would say).

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Flamingo topiaries

We were lucky to see “Topiaries at the Conservatory, Wild Wonders” as well as “Blooms and Butterflies” plus all the other exhibits for our admission price of only $14 each adult. The topiaries were so fun and playful – I especially liked the expression on the lion and panda.

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Lion Topiary

The Pacific Island Water Garden was loaded with over 2,000 beautiful, colorful, butterflies. In the Rainforest we tried to get the macaws, Mic and Max, to talk us but they weren’t feeling chatty.  Outside the John E. Wolfe Palm House guests were arriving for a ceremony and they were setting up tables inside.

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Elephant topiaries

I don’t want to spoil the exhibit by showing all 13 of the topiaries.  If you want to see them all you won’t find them here until I update in November when the show is over. The butterfly exhibit runs through September 17, 2017 and the topiaries will be displayed until October 29, 2017.  We took about an hour and a half to buzz through the conservatory, but I could easily have spent another hour or so.

Leave it to us to find time for a gift shop! On the way out we stopped in the Botanica Gift Shop & Greenhouse and bought some little pots and a hoe for our fairy garden and a 2″ succulent and a little ceramic pot for it. So far we haven’t killed the succulents we planted in our terrarium earlier this year so we thought we could handle another one.

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We attempted to go to The Thurman Cafe in The German Village on Friday night, but it was packed and we were already running on empty so we decided not to wait.  If you are on a road trip to Columbus I recommend this cafe for a tasty burger.

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We found it once by accident years ago when we were visiting COSI which, by the way, is an excellent place to visit if you are ever on a road trip to Columbus, Ohio.  Give yourself at least 4-6 hours to explore this science and industry museum.


Cincinnati Stix 15U team won all three of our pool play games ranking us fourteen out of over 80 teams so we got a bye and enjoyed a late Saturday lunch at The Winking Lizard.

Unfortunately, we fell hard and fast this morning at 8am losing by too many runs to report 😦 .

So that is the end of the tournament for us, the end of our 2017 baseball season, and the end of our road trip to Columbus, Ohio.


Have you ever been to Columbus? What’s one of your favorite places to eat or visit in Columbus, Ohio?

What do County Fairs, Outdoor Movies, & Road Trips All Have in Common?

What do county fairs, outdoor movies, and road trips all have in common?

Summer!

 

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A pig named Charlotte

We took a trip to the county fair yesterday and had a great time watching all the aggies show their animals.  We saw a pig named Charlotte and learned that some pigs like marshmallows.

Horse Grooming – No Soap!

We watched part of a horse grooming contest where the participants had 30 minutes to groom their horse without using soap.  It looked like the horse was getting an all over mud mask.

Of course we had to ride the ferris wheel – it’s a fair classic.  We saw a walking horse show, the pee-wee showmanship show, and a turkey show.

Pee-Wee Showmanship

It was fun to watch tikes as young as two years old try to stay focused on keeping their pig in front of the judge.

Turkey Show

Have you ever seen a girl turn a turkey half her size upside down?

There is always something going on at the fair. A naturalist was showing a snake.

Green Mobile

The Green Mobile was busy educating on ways to recycle.

Mr. Chevy

Down the hill the tractors and trucks were showing off their power.

For the weekend we’ll be setting up the outdoor movie screen again for a double feature. We might have to draw straws to see which movies we will watch for our double feature.

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Choices for our double feature

Today we are getting ready to take a road trip to Columbus, Ohio for a baseball tournament.  I love taking the time on short little road trips to visit new places along the way. Our next road trip will be a little longer to Cable, Wisconsin by way of the little Swiss village of New Glarus.

Road trips, outdoor movies, and the county fair – which one do you like best?

Any road trips in your summer plans?

 

Magic of Love Part 2

Continuing from Magic of Love Part 1 .

I have answered my own question.

Big Magic may simply happen to some degree, but for the most part, the love and the magic you receive are what you get in return for what you contribute by just being who you are.

Letting your soul take the lead instead of your ego brings magic into your life. Tweet: Letting your soul take the lead, instead of your ego, brings magic into your life.  https://ctt.ec/SYadT+

My daughters missed each other when my oldest daughter went off to the university. My older daughter discovered a paint-your-own pottery studio on campus.  It ended up being the perfect place for them to go together on visits to enjoy each other’s company and stay connected.

Fast forward to when we moved to our country home almost two years ago.  I had to rent office space because my job required a faster home internet connection than we have at our new house (our download speed is <1).  Over time “one thing led to another” and we ended up buying a very small office building nearby.  In the meantime, I had quit the job that needed faster internet access.

Last year our gift shop had a vendor booth outdoors at a nearby flea market.  The vendor next to us sold concrete statues and was liquidating his business because he had been doing it a while and wanted to try something new.  “One thing led to another” and I bought some of his smaller molds.  My parents added to those giving my younger daughter some more fun concrete molds for Christmas this past year.

So now we are in the midst of figuring out what to do with the building and having a little fun with it.  In Big Magic there is a story Gilbert tells of a playwright who had a flop of a play with bad reviews.  He then spent a summer painting stars on his daughter’s bicycle and her neighborhood friends’ bikes and got his mojo back.

Because of my work (or maybe it’s just in my nature) my mojo wears thin at times.  We are doing some painting projects just for fun and some with purpose at the new building. The painting is helping with my mojo and I’m excited because I can feel the magic working.

The magic swirled into my car one day as I was on my way to work.  There was a radio show discussing the recent Youth in Iceland program.  That topic has been in the back of my mind for a few months percolating.  I’m afraid to say it out loud or commit to the idea in writing.  I mentioned it briefly to my dad a month or so ago and we haven’t talked about it since.

If you haven’t heard, Ohio has a drug problem (and alcohol).  It is one of the main reasons I don’t want to go back to working at the bedside in a hospital.  I really don’t have it in me (at least not at this time in my life).  In Ohio this problem is not exclusive to youths… it’s across generations.

I created my other blog so that I wouldn’t have “scope creep” or bring my depressing topics into the wonderful area of gift shops.  But there is a little bit of overlap here so I’m going to let it creep in a tiny bit.

At this point you are wondering how that connects to my story?  It’s a tiny thread (that maybe only I can see) holding it together.

We have hosted a couple of events that were to paint-your-own concrete pieces at the new building.  For instance, one day we painted stepping-stones, another day we painted gnomes.  It was a low turnout which was fine because we didn’t advertise it much and we were just experimenting to see if there was any interest.

I believe that some of the behavioral problems and drug problems I am seeing can be treated with stronger communities, beauty, and a little more joy, love, & hope.


The end of the second quarter has arrived.  A few 2017 goals are being met sooner than expected.  We are building on some of those and setting new goals.

We will continue to work on our previous goals and share gift giving ideas and products we enjoy or carry.

Also, going forward in 2017 I would like to set a goal to bring some magic my community. Obviously that is not a SMART goal.  Here are three SMART goals I came up with that I hesitate to say out loud because they might be a bit of work and I’m going to feel a little exposed:

  1. In 2017 I will host 8 or more events inviting the community to create with us.
  2. I will going to further research starting a meet-up and/or book club to use to host regular events in 2018.
  3. I will organize a fall and/or Christmas “gift shop hop” with other area businesses to promote community.

This post may seem a little abstract, but that’s the way magic and ideas work for me. This post has already gotten a little lengthy for my tastes so coming up I will show you our painting projects I’ve been referring to,  I’ll tell you about other books we’ve read that have added to the magic, and  I’ll share our the tiny doors & fairy gardens we’ve been creating.


We’d love to hear if you have ever had a time when you “painted stars on bicycles” just because you could?


Feature photo is the cupcake that started some of this magic and our dog Copper wondering why in the world I’m taking a picture of the cupcake instead of him 😀

Here’s the link again to buy the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.