Honey Harvest

Honey Harvest

Preparation for our first honey harvest was done the weekend before. Mr. Menace had hoped to be able to complete the prep work AND do the harvesting on the same day, but we are old and tire quickly it was just too much, so we put off the harvesting until the next weekend.

PREPARATION:

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

All the equipment had been in storage for years, so it all had to be washed.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

July in Alabama is quite hot and humid, so Mr. Menace doesn’t do anything without a fan nearby. The ladder works great as a table to hold the boxes as they are removed from the hives. And the leaf blower is a great tool for getting the bees off the forms so we can steal their honey.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

That next Saturday dawned cloudy with a forecast of rain, but the sun came out around 9 and we jumped in. It was our first ever harvesting from our own hives. Mr. Menace has participated in a couple of different harvests with other beekeepers in the past year though, so he had some basic knowledge.

REMOVAL FROM THE HIVES:

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

I took a few pictures before I got entirely suited up because I knew I wouldn’t be able to once I got my gloves on. You can see Mr. Menace preparing for harvesting in the above pictures. He is getting his smoker ready and has removed the top box.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

This first box that he removed is a one he had added recently, so there is no honey in it yet and you see very few bees. He just sat it here to get it out of the way so he could get to the next box which was FULL of honey.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

SEPARATION OF HONEY FROM THE COMB:

Here Mr. Menace is removing the frames from this box so that we can get to the honey.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

Here is one of the frames. Inside the frame are the honeycomb cells which are full of honey. Each cell has a wax cap on it.  Across the bottom, on the outside of the frame is some new honeycomb that is also full of honey, but has not been capped yet.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

The wax caps have to be removed to release the honey. We used a wire scraper.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

Next, the frames were placed into an Extractor which spins the honey out of the cells.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

We harvested approximately 5 gallons.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

The specks you see are honeycomb particles.

STRAINING THE HONEY:

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

After straining.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

Pure Gold!

COMPLETION:

The next step will be bottling the honey and labeling it for sale. I have created our labels and ordered them. They should be arriving soon. I can’t wait to show them to you and get your opinion.

Oh, and one important factor! We managed to do this whole harvest without getting stung! However, when we took a break to cool off, we removed our protective gear. I decided I would return a call from my daughter and granddaughters, but I had left my phone out by the hives. I walked out there to get it and one little bee got in my hair which I had pulled up in a clip. He got stuck and couldn’t get out and wiggled his way all the way down to my scalp and in his frustration, stung my head! That thing hurt ALL NIGHT LONG!

Did you see our new apiary?

 

 

 

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An Anniversary Staycation Part 2

I love our home and our backyard, so when we decided to spend our anniversary at home this year, I was excited to plan our anniversary staycation. This is Part 2 of our staycation. Read Part 1 HERE which is all about FRIDAY.

SATURDAY

I had found a Groupon for a creek floating adventure, so Saturday morning we got up and headed out towards Oxford, AL , for some Floating Fun. Looking at their website, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but for the price, I highly recommend it!

Creek floating, inner tube floating, floating Alabama

The first thing you see upon arrival, is the registration office. It’s a rinky dink  no frills kind of place, but you can’t beat the tranquility and beauty we saw on our two hour float down the Choccolocco Creek.

* These photos came from Floating Fun’s Facebook page. We had just bought new phones and I refused to take them with us, so I didn’t get any pictures of my own.*

Creek floating, inner tube floating, floating Alabama

It was so peaceful and quiet, it seemed that we may be the only two occupants on the river that day. But that wasn’t the case, because we saw turtles, mallards, blue heron, and thankfully, no snakes!

Creek floating, inner tube floating, floating Alabama

We enjoyed ourselves so much, we seriously considered doing it again during the weekend. But our weekend turned out to be over much quicker than expected, as all vacations do.

SUNDAY

Sunday was a day of rest. I promised Mr. Menace that I would not schedule something to do every day, because he likes to sleep late  we both had some things that we wanted to do at home. I did a lot of reading, sun worshiping and dipping in the hot tub.

MONDAY

Mr. Menace decided to take me to my favorite plant nursery! Now, THIS was a treat! I usually go by myself, so to have him tag along was indeed special.

We first stopped for brunch at First Watch. It’s clearly a yuppy place: we were the only old folks there, AND the only ones with coffee and a diet “soda” on the table. Everyone else was young and was drinking water.

Then we were off to Myers Plants and Pottery. Even when I am not in the market for any new plants, I can just walk around this nursery for hours. I love everything about it. Much of my garden art came from this nursery;

bottle trees,

Garden Art, Bottle Trees, Completing the Garden beyond plants

purple pots,

Garden Art, Dressing up the garden, pretty pots for plants

large green pot,

Garden Art, Dressing up the garden, pretty pots for plants

Mexican pottery Frog and many of my plants also.

Garden Art, Dressing up the garden, talavera frog

And now, they have extended their antiques section and guess who found themselves something to purchase?

antiques, warehouse scale, plants and pottery

Mr. Menace had a great time in their newly expanded antiques department. And he fell in love with this warehouse scale. He decided he couldn’t live without it.

But of course it wouldn’t fit in the car.

TUESDAY

Tuesday was pickup day for the new antique scales.

Antique Warehouse Scales, Staycation, Plants & Pottery

It is extremely heavy.

Antique Warehouse Scales, Staycation, Plants & Pottery

Those columns are iron.

Antique Warehouse Scales, Staycation, Plants & Pottery

Mr. Menace estimates them to be around 400-600 lbs.

I sure did wish those guys could bring their tow motor along to our house and help get it inside!

Antique Warehouse Scales, Staycation, Plants & Pottery

I should have known that Mr. Menace had a plan though. He took it all apart and moved it inside piece by piece.

Antique Warehouse Scales, Staycation, Plants & Pottery

Nothing like a good puzzle!

Antique Warehouse Scales, Staycation, Plants & Pottery

And so ends our staycation. We had a great time.

Have you ever done the staycation thing?

 

 

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An Anniversary Staycation

I love our home and our backyard, so when we decided to spend our anniversary at home this year, I was excited to plan our anniversary staycation.

2018  will be our 10th wedding anniversary and we are planning a big trip to celebrate, so to save money this year we decided to stay home and enjoy some cool things Alabama has to offer and do some things we have been wanting to do in our own area.

Our anniversary is May 30, and usually coincides with Memorial Day weekend. We took off work Friday, Monday was a holiday, and we took off work Tuesday.

FRIDAY

The first thing that I wanted to do was to visit a new restaurant in Birmingham called ALABAMA BISCUIT COMPANY.  Mr. Menace is a biscuit connoisseur and I had high hopes for this place!

breakfast, biscuit, pizitz

It is located in Pizitz Food Hall, along with several other new restaurants. I tried the Ham & Cheese biscuit and Mr. Menace tried the Pecan Butter & Honey biscuit. While they were good, I was a tiny bit disappointed that the biscuits weren’t warm. I do want to give it another try on another day. The CROQUE MADAME (Smoked Ham, Pastured Egg, Grassfed Cheddar, Lemon Herbed Aioli, Fines Herbes) has caught my eye!

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

After breakfast, we drove to the small town of Elkmont, AL, to tour Belle Chevre goat cheese creamery. It is located in a beautifully renovated cotton warehouse downtown.

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

We got to meet, pet, and feed their 3 goats,

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

watched a short film about the founder,

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

learned about their tiny, but hugely successful goat cheese making operation,

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

and finished up with a taste test.

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

Our tour guide and host for the day was Dennis (another one! Alabama is FULL of Dennises) and he is perfect for his job. He has a great personality and is very knowledgeable and friendly.

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

You know how much I love gardens and they had the cutest little one outside the factory, and also an adorable chicken coop.

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

After the tour was over, we ate lunch at their Cheese Shop/Tasting Room (cafe). Both of our sandwiches were excellent! Mr. Menace had the Grilled Ham  and I had the 5 Cheese Grilled Cheese.

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

And I fell in LOVE with the window boxes outside of that little cafe!

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

Conveniently, there was also an antiques store next door to occupy another hour of our time.  🙂

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

SATURDAY

to be continued…

 

 

 

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If the Shoe Don’t Fit

We have all heard what we should do “if the shoe fits”, but what if the shoe DON’T fit?

Gardening, Birdhouses, Backyard Birding

I bought this “green roof” birdhouse a few years ago on our anniversary trip to Mentone. I love picking out a plant to put on the roof every spring.

Gardening, Birdhouses, Backyard Birding

This spring when I walked out to survey my birdhouse and check to see if it needed new potting soil, I noticed a hole in the side wall of the birdhouse.

Gardening, Birdhouses, Backyard Birding

At first I thought maybe there had been a knot in the wood there and it had fallen out. Upon closer inspection, I realized that something, some animal, had made this new hole.

Gardening, Birdhouses, Backyard Birding

As spring came, and birds began to nest, I began to see a bird coming and going out of the side hole of my birdhouse. I decided not to plant anything on top, so that water would not harm any potential babies that might be inside.

Gardening, Birdhouses, Backyard Birding

I knew when I bought it, that the original hole was too small for most birds, but I didn’t realize that they would make their own entrance hole! It took me a long while to actually figure out that it is a mocking bird nesting here. They will sit on those trellises before they enter the birdhouse.

Maybe one day I’ll catch them in a photo.

 

 

 

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Goldfish Dinner

Goldfish Dinner

It’s supper time at Uncle Henry’s Goldfish Pond! My granddaughters and I bought more goldfish a couple of weeks ago and it seems I got healthy ones. The sales clerk at Petsmart was very conscientious this time and picked out all different colors and markings so we could tell them apart. You can read about my goldfish pond set up HERE.

I am feeding my babies every evening after I get home from work, so that they hopefully get used to me and don’t “run” every time I walk up. It is so much fun watching them.

We are visiting my mama in North Carolina this holiday week. So I hope YOU will keep my fish company while I am gone. Be sure and leave them a comment or two and I will read them to them when I get home. 🙂

Thanks for watching.

 

 

 

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Garden Art

Garden Art

You may have noticed that I love plants. I love buying them, planting them, watering them, gazing on them, smelling them, and just sitting and watching them grow. But I believe is necessary to have more than plants to make an interesting and unique garden. I believe in adding garden art.

garden art, outdoor decor, yard art

Now don’t get me wrong. As much as I love my garden art, you can get too much! The picture below is a house in my old neighborhood where there is not one square foot of ground that doesn’t have a statue on it. It is kitschy overload!

I am going for a much more restrained look here. Although, you may disagree once you get further along in this post. LOL

garden art, outdoor decor, yard art

I love finding unique art pieces for my garden, which is about an acre, so I have plenty of places to use art.

garden art, outdoor decor, yard art

garden art, outdoor decor, yard art

Generally speaking, I like my art to be in a flowerbed, as part of a garden area.

garden art, outdoor decor, yard artgarden art, outdoor decor, yard art

garden art, outdoor decor, yard art garden art, outdoor decor, yard art

My garden is always evolving. And in my mind I have major plans, with paths leading to different sections, and surprises around every bend.

garden art, outdoor decor, yard art

garden art, outdoor decor, yard art

garden art, outdoor decor, yard art

garden art, outdoor decor, yard art

garden art, outdoor decor, yard art

I am pleased with how far it has come along in the 5 summers we have lived here, but I am excited to see where it goes in the next 5.

garden art, outdoor decor, yard art

garden art, outdoor decor, yard art

garden art, outdoor decor, yard art

garden art, outdoor decor, yard art

garden art, outdoor decor, yard art

We will be spending our July 4th holiday at my Mama’s in North Carolina. So I won’t be around to visit with you much online. But I will catch up with you when I get back. Enjoy your 4th.

 

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Moss Rock Preserve ~ Hiking Alabama

Moss Rock Preserve ~ Hiking Alabama

In the continuing effort to visit every nook and cranny in the great State of Alabama, and to share it with the world, today I want to take you on a hike at the Moss Rock Preserve in Hoover, Alabama.

See these other great Alabama travel ideas:

Mentone, The Shoals Part 1, The Shoals Part 2, The Shoals Part 3, Lover’s Leap, Orange Beach

Hoover is a bustling suburb of Birmingham. It is home to the Galleria Mall and lots of other great shopping. It is also home to a glorious Preserve called Moss Rock.

visit Alabama, hike in Birmingham, things to do Hoover

My daughter and my two granddaughters and I decided to hike the Orange Trail to High Falls and then to the Top of the World.visit Alabama, hike in Birmingham, things to do Hoover

The trail follows alongside a scenic creek.

visit Alabama, hike in Birmingham, things to do Hoover

We found lots of fungi and cute things to look at.

visit Alabama, hike in Birmingham, things to do Hoover

visit Alabama, hike in Birmingham, things to do Hoover

visit Alabama, hike in Birmingham, things to do Hoover

As we continued to hike, the rocks got bigger.

visit Alabama, hike in Birmingham, things to do Hoover

visit Alabama, hike in Birmingham, things to do Hoover

Of course, with mama and grandmama, 6 and 8 year old girls, the lunch time picnic was the best.

visit Alabama, hike in Birmingham, things to do Hoover

We ate lunch within sight of the High Falls, which made for a great view.

Well, almost.

Right at the most scenic area on the Orange Trail hike, someone had hung their hammock and was hanging out over the falls.

Literally.

visit Alabama, hike in Birmingham, things to do Hoover

The guy in the hammock is actually the reason we stopped short of the High Falls for lunch. But after we ate, we headed off to complete our adventure. We were hot and ready to cool off by wading in the cold waterfall.visit Alabama, hike in Birmingham, things to do Hoover

That water was soooooo refreshing!

I didn’t actually get a great photo of the whole waterfall. I guess we were too busy playing.

visit Alabama, hike in Birmingham, things to do Hoover

Mossy Rock was everywhere!
visit Alabama, hike in Birmingham, things to do Hoover

One of the girls spied this crawdad.

visit Alabama, hike in Birmingham, things to do Hoover

And the Damsel Flies were gorgeous colors! We saw green, blue and purple.visit Alabama, hike in Birmingham, things to do Hoover

After cooling off in the waterfall, we decided to head back. The girls were tired and not interested in continuing on to see the Top of the World. We decided they had gotten enough exercise and it was time to head out of the woods for our next adventure.

Next Adventure?

Donuts.

Dunkin’ Donuts.

What’s your favorite?

 

 

 

 

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Poetry on Canvas

Poetry on Canvas

I shared with you about redoing my bedroom last year, read about (Part 1) and (Part 2). But I have not rehung any wall art yet because I’ve had a project in mind that will be the main piece of art for the room. Have you seen any Poetry on Canvas yet? Or maybe song lyrics?

RESEARCH:

Mr. Menace writes beautiful poetry. The first poem he wrote for me was about 15 years ago not long after we started dating. We lived in different towns and he sent me a single rose for Valentine’s Day. On the card he had them write his original poem.

I decided I wanted to paint this poem on canvas and hang it in our bedroom. Michael’s had their art supplies 1/2 price and I purchased the largest canvas. Then I put off doing the painting because I just wasn’t sure how I wanted to go about it. Pinterest was again my best friend and I found several suggestions for how to create my vision.

And then, I just decided to do it and let the chips fall where they may.

BACKGROUND:

I painted my canvas with a coat of white acrylic craft paint and while I was doing it, I had a thought. After locating my leftover bedroom wall paint, which was white with GLITTER added, I put a coat on the canvas! The glitter is faint but when the light hits it just right, BLING!

TRANSFERRING:

I thought about free-handing the poem, but that really scared me, so I typed the poem into my Word program on my computer. Looking at fonts, I tried to find one that resembled Mr. Menace’s handwriting, but none of them were messy enough. ha! I finally chose a font that looks like handwriting, called Journal, and I downloaded it for free from HERE.

The font was small so I enlarged it to 150 and printed it out. I then placed the sheets of paper onto  my 24″x36″ canvas and immediately knew the words were not big enough, so I then enlarged the font size to 250 and it fit perfectly!

The next step was to turn the sheets of paper over and shade the letters in pencil on the back side of the paper. This was a little bit time consuming but not bad.

When I finished, I turned the paper back right side up and placed them on the canvas and began tracing over the letters on the front side. This made the pencil marks on the back side transfer to the canvas. I had to place some books underneath the canvas to give it a firm backing to do this.

Luckily, I did not have to draw any lines on my canvas. Because my font was so big, only one word printed per page, so I was able to line up the top edge of the paper with the top edge of the canvas for the first line of the poem. For the other lines, I lined up the top edge of the paper with the bottom of the words on the previous line. This kept everything equal distance.

PAINTING:

Once I had the faint outlines on the canvas, it was time to paint.

I was very shaky at first. But after I did a little bit, I relaxed and got much better. Besides, I wanted it to look handwritten.

But bending over at the dining table sure was making my back hurt!

Thank Goodness Mr. Menace arrived home soon and was able to help me get my easel set up. It was smooth sailing from there!

As the afternoon wore on, and it began to get a little darker in the room, I finally realized that my reading glasses would probably help me to stay within the lines. Duh…


*This poem is copyrighted and may not be used or duplicated without the author’s consent. Excerpts and Links are permissible with proper credit.*

 

I am very happy with the way it turned out.

**Thank you Mary at The Boondocks Blog for featuring my DIY Wall Art at the Sweet Inspiration Link Party!**

And I love having the poem hanging where I can read it every single day as soon as I wake up.

This man. He knows how to romance a woman.

 

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How to Add Outdoor Ambiance

How to Add Outdoor Ambiance

I love solar lights. They provide just enough light for outdoor ambiance.

I already showed you my solar chandelier that I made. If you missed it, you can read about my first attempt by clicking here, and my redo by clicking here. The redo is holding up nicely.

**Thanks to HOME & GARDEN THURSDAY for featuring this post!**

A gardening friend of mine had solar cattails in her garden, but she had gotten them from a store up north that we don’t have down south, so I was really pleased to find some on clearance last year at Walmart! I have them beside Uncle Henry’s goldfish pond.

I put a solar spotlight in a flower pot so that it is shining on my deck fountain. It’s just enough light to show off the fountain, but not enough to ruin the romance.

I put two path lights into this pot and set it by the deck stairs for safety. It not only identifies where the steps start to its right, but also where the deck drops off on its left side.

My arbor is nicely lit by these solar string lights that I bought from Target several years ago.

This accidental photo of the arbor is pretty cool I think.

I have another set of those same string lights around this window. This area is a work in progress. You will be seeing more of this area later.

See that green light to the right of the window? I can’t even remember where I got it, but it is one of my favorites.

It’s a cute painted metal flower and the light changes colors.

Here is a similar one at Target.

You might remember my Ginger Rock Garden. I have several “ball” solar lights in that garden. Most of them don’t work anymore, but I still like them, so I leave them.

I am thinking about spray painting them to update them. What do you think?

Do you love solar lights? I want more.

 

 

 

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Here Fishy Fishy

Here Fishy Fishy

When I was growing up, Mama had a fish pond in the yard outside our kitchen windows. She had a pretty flower bed there and a bird feeder. She bought the cheap small plastic swimming pool from the dollar store in town and buried it so that it was level with the ground. We had goldfish in that pond year round. This started my love for outdoor goldfish ponds. I often call my fish singing “here fishy fishy”. They don’t usually come, but that doesn’t stop me from calling.

ORIGINAL SETUP:

A few of years ago I brought home a truck load of fun items from my mama’s. The fireplace mantels that you see in my living room and my bedroom,  my bar stools, a couple of bookshelves, the church pews on my front porch, a glass door cabinet, a table, and an iron wash pot that belonged to my Uncle Henry.

Water Garden

Uncle Henry was my grandfather and his wife, Aunt Modie, my grandmother.

Confused? My Daddy’s parents died when he was a young boy and Uncle Henry took Daddy home with him to raise him. So even though we called them by their technically correct relationship names, they were my Grandparents. We grew up just down the road from them and I have many memories of good times spent with them and at their house.

Water Garden

RELOCATION:

I call it my “Uncle Henry fish pond”. I bought several goldfish and a couple of plants and set it up in a small bed by our driveway. But where it was, I really never looked at it, or paid it enough attention.

Water Garden

So I decided to move it. I was in the process of building a new flowerbed and decided that I would see it more if I moved it to the new bed. Iron wash pots are extremely heavy, so I disassembled it in order to move it.

 

It’s new location has been perfect. I see it every day.

UPDATES:

Over the years, I have added more aquatic plants and solar lights and the flowerbed has filled in. This might be my favorite part of my garden.

TODAY:

All of my original fish have passed away, so this spring I went to Pet Smart and bought 6 goldfish and 1 catfish. Four of those didn’t make it through the first week, so I am down to 3.

When you get your bag of fish home, you need to place the bag unopened into the water of their new home and leave it for an hour or so. This is to allow their water and body temperatures to become the same.

After they have had time to acclimate themselves, you can open the bag and release them into your pond.

My plants have grown so much, I have since pulled out quite a bit of the greenery on the left and added it to my compost pile.

Have you ever had a small goldfish pond?

 

 

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Across The Blvd
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