Saturday, July 24, 2010

On the way to the local farmers market...

The Avenue is quite pretty with it's big maple trees.  Wouldn't it be nice to get rid of the signage?

The local branch of the public library.  It's been expanded and remodeled and is the most used branch library in town.

The post office.  Gotta love those power poles?

The local movie theatre.  It's owned by a group of local merchants and shows films just at the end of their first run.

"The Prince of Persia" at 7:00 PM Monday through Friday with a matinee at 4:00 on Saturdays.

Fire Station Number 13.  Years ago horses were used to pull fire wagons and the stables used to be where the engine is in this photo.

There really is a brass pole that the firefighters use to slide down from the top floor to the bottom floor.

One of the two grocery stores.  This one is like the Neiman-Marcus of the local food scene!

And yes, that is a Starbucks.

The local farmers market.

My bee teacher, Gary Violette, at his stand selling some of his bee's wonderful honey!
This is my first harvest of lavender.  I had to leave some for the bees!  I also grow white lavender - isn't that odd "white" lavender?

Thank you daughter Katie for taking the photograph!
I grow a lot of lavender.  Our soil is fairly infertile and that seems to agree with lavender.  So far we have twenty lavender plants in the garden on the north side of the house.  They are not planted too close to the house because, being in the Northern Hemisphere, they wouldn't get enough sun otherwise.  During the Summer Solstice the only area in that part of the garden that isn't in the sun is around the corner from the front porch where we grow Shasta daisies and ferns.  Works out quite well!
"Look out lavender!  Here I come!"

By shear luck I happen to catch a bee in mid-flight, ready to harvest some nectar from the lavender we have growing in our front garden!  You will see that her tongue is out and as soon as she lands she will start taking in lavender nectar.

Imagine a field of lavender, hives, and the bees flying about feasting on lavender nectar!  I want to replace my entire front lawn with lavender - can't have bee hives in the front garden due to city regulations but I think they would be able to fly over the house.
Thank you, Viv!  You are so kind - working with bees is very fascinating but also very "what am I doing?"!  The bees know so much and I know so very,very little!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

This is beautiful, gooey propolis in the top bar hive Minerva.  Propolis is great stuff!  It smells so good - like tree sap (which it is).

The human brain retains smell memories.  Sometimes I smell something that reminds me of the salt water of Puget Sound.  Sometimes I smell something that reminds me of burning leaves when I was living in England.  Propolis reminds me of the scent used at the department store "Frederick and Nelson" during the Christmas holidays.  Christmas trees, pine needles, the forest!  Frederick and Nelson no longer exists but sometimes, like when I open a hive and catch a whiff of that delicious propolis fragrance, I remember...
This is a view of Mount Rainier as seen from the top floor of our house.  It was taken in the evening as the mountain turns pink.

Mount Rainier is 14, 411 feet high (you Brits don't have mountains!) and is a dormant volcano.  I live 235 feet above sea level so if it ever erupts we should be safe from the lava, rocks, and lahar!
I am so inept!  I try to do right by my bees but it seems that I just mess things up!

This is Demeter, the stronger of my Langstroth hives.  Following the example set by the Backwards Beekeepers in Los Angeles I put empty frames in the honey super.  I thought the bees would have a great time building their own comb and, while I'm sure they enjoyed it, the comb is every which way in the super! 

So what am I supposed to do now?  My intent was for the bees to make enough honey to overwinter but I was sure looking forward for a tiny bit to harvest.  Should I leave things as they are?  Should I harvest this honey (most of it isn't capped yet so I'd have to wait awhile)?  Should I removed the frames one by one and replace them with frames that have plastic foundation in them?  Help - you beekeepers who know so much more than I do!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Yipee!  I have five followers! And I invited only one (Thank you Santiago!).

I haven't been adding many new posts lately - busy with the flower beds and have to cook and do laundry every so often.  I'll get back in the swing after my husband and I have a little anniversary vacation.  Thirty five years!  Will I survive the flight on the float plane? 

This is a photo of my fish buddy, Scuba (who is known to float tummy up on occasion).  He and his tank mate, Blubber, are having their summer vacation from middle school in our kitchen.  The students think they're really fun!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wow!  So much has been happening lately!  I've been working in the garden and tending to the bees and have some more photos to post.

Bee gymnastics?  I've heard that this is how bees measure spaces in which to build honeycomb.  Or maybe their are measuring for new curtains?

This big hornet was flying about the kitchen today and I really wanted to photograph it without killing it.  I trapped it in a glass and put it in the refrigerator for a few minutes - just until it quit buzzing around in the glass.  Camera at the ready I put the hornet on a piece of paper, removed the glass, and took about half a dozen photos.  Then I replaced the glass, took it out side and released the hornet.  It took off after warming back up for a moment. 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Our dear sweet Emma died today.  She was fourteen years old and had a long and happy life with us.  We adored her.  Her heart was giving up and we faced the hard choice of having to put her down this afternoon at 4.00.  Her death was very peaceful.  Her ashes will be scattered in the forests at the base of Mount Rainier.

She brought much happiness to our family and to many friends as well.

We will miss her.

We encourage all who wish to bring a dog into their life to go to the local animal shelter and find your friend there.  Adopting a homeless dog, as Emma once was, is a special moment and it will stay with you forever.

OXOXO for Emma.  "Good dog!".