Showing posts from May, 2020

Beehive Inspections

... This weekend, I opened up my three hives, to see how the bees were doing.  Overall, things looked good. The Empress Norton hive was building beautiful new honeycomb.  I prefer to let my bees build the structures that suit their needs.  Typically, I'll inter-leaf older wax comb with empty frames.  The bees will build their own structures, within the confines of the existing honeycomb. This keeps the comb relatively parallel, which means there's less damage when I remove a unit of honeycomb from the hive.  There's nothing worse than dragging honeycomb against itself, ripping open the comb, and drowning the bees in their own honey.  By alternating straight comb with empty frames I'm encouraging the bees to build in a relative orderly manner. The bees are building beautiful structures from the wax their bodies produce, and behind them my pomegranate and cherry trees are blooming. I believe I managed to spot the young queen in the colony that I

So Stinkin' Cute (with an emphasis on the stinking'...)

.... For the first time since we've lived in our house, skunks are regularly visiting our yard.   They typically show up around 4pm.  Sometimes there's one, sometimes two.  They're juveniles, but are clearly able to fend for themselves.  They're quite tiny, more tail than body.  Their fur is glossy and lush. Skunks have notoriously poor eyesight, and are incredibly shy and gentle.  I've been spending my twilight hours out in the garden, watching quietly.  I'm enchanted by these sweet creatures. Robb may have his own opinions on our crepuscular visitors, but he's too polite to share them with me. The skunks seem to be foraging for worms and insects.  They industriously snuffle around in the grass, and will dig in the first inch of our soil.  I suspect they're eating any bees they find crawling on the ground.  They tend to hug the perimeter of our yard, and stay under cover as much as possible

More Bees!

... As few weeks back, a former boss of mine contacted me because I'd asked folks to keep an eye out for honeybee swarms I could collect. It turns out his neighbor was moving out of state, and could not take their beehive with them.  I was looking for more bees, and these bees needed a home. Robb and I went over to reconnoiter, and to devise a plan for moving these bees.  I'm quite experienced in moving swarms, but transporting entire beehives is something I haven't done many times.  In truth, the few times I've moved entire hives have not been particularly pleasant experiences, either for me or for the bees.   I wanted to make this a perfectly planned and executed campaign so that nobody got hurt, and no bees got left behind. Robb built a number of cardboard lids for the hive boxes.  We drove over to the house with a car filled with beekeeping tools, cardboard lids, and empty hive boxes.  We did all this just before dusk, when t


.... During this period of pandemic lockdown, I'm finding a lot of comfort in mending.  Usually, the things that need repair languish on the Pile of Denial.  It's nice to be mending when so many things in our world seem deeply broken. Robb had done a bit of darning to a particularly threadbare section of our linen sheets, but his repairs did not hold up to laundering. I found a remarkably well-matched piece of linen in my fabric stash, and created a neatly hemmed patch. I cut away the weakest fabric.  There seemed no point in trying to salvage fabric that was shredding when I touched it. I lightly stretched the fabric in my quilting hoop, and carefully hemmed the raw edges.  (I sort of love how this looks.) I pinned the patch into place, trying to avoid distorting the weave of the underlying fabric.  This made a sort of fabric sandwich, in which the hemmed sides were on the inside of the stack. Not perfect, but so much better.  We&

In Which Your Heroine Does a Poor Imitation of a Vintage Seamstress

... Some time ago, I spotted this delightfully bonkers sewing pattern online, and realized that my life was entirely lacking in a dress of this sort.  (To be truthful, I suspect most people on the planet are lacking a garment like this, but never mind.). I did not hesitate, but bought it right away from Stephanie at Backroom Finds .   I love the crazy structure of this skirt.  It has alternating tiers of loops and buttons, so that the entire garment can be shortened for sporty activities. I also really love the economy of the pattern itself.  The cover is relief printed, and a careful viewer will notice the embossing on the yellow stripes on the skirt.  The tissue pattern pieces have no printed marking, instead all information is transmitted by a series of perforated holes.  (Butterrick held the patent on printed sewing patterns and defended it ruthlessly for decades.) The instructions are terse, and assume a level of sewing expertise that I do not possess.