Construction · Gardening · Honey · Lazer Creek Apiary · Natural Food Sources · Nature · Products and Vendors

4 days away from selling the house, but….

broken line
Broken Water LIne

….the buyer’s home inspection showed a slight leak under the master bath and a couple of other minor issues that we needed to take care of.  (There was no leak at the time we had a home inspection done.)  We had someone come in to do estimates for the repairs and he said the wax ring on the toilet needed to be replaced.  We’re not sure how he knew that, but sometime over the following weekend, the water supply line to the toilet sheared off (not a normal PVC break) and flooded the house.    The bamboo floors in the master bedroom and closet have to be torn out, some of the bathroom tiles have cracked because of damage to the sub-floor, the padding has to be replaced under the brand-new carpet in the dining room, and the dining room wallpaper may need to be replaced.   Luckily, the insurance adjuster is working directly with the contractor on repairs, so things should be moving forward, but work will almost certainly not be done before closing on Thursday.   Of course, we’ll have to pay our deductible and we’re really concerned about how much our next water bill will be, but so far the buyers want to move forward with the sale.

buckwheat-COLLAGE
Buckwheat May 2019

Still, life is good on the farm.  We are back up to 37 hives and most are packed with nectar.  The blackberry flow was really good this year, and the wild flowers are continuing to bloom.  We have buckwheat planted in a few areas, and it is coming along quite well.   There are even a few over-achievers blooming already!   The rest should bloom when many of the wild flowers fade, so we’ll be able to delay the nectar dearth.  We should be able to mow once the buckwheat goes to seed and then let it grow and bloom again.  By then it may be too hot for that, but as buckwheat is an excellent soil conditioner and  cover crop, it will help either way.

May 5-COLLAGE
Plants May 5, 2019

The first lavender blooms are opening and all of the plants have survived pruning!    I let the lavender in the city get too “leggy,” and it’s been scary to prune this batch as much as is recommended.   In fact, I pruned a little less than recommended this time, but the results show that I need to have faith in the multiple sources I read.

We already have a constant supply of strawberries.  Grapes, thornless blackberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, and melons all look promising.   I plan to harvest some wild blackberries for jam, but the thornless ones are so much easier to deal with!   One blueberry bush has twice as many blueberries as last year, but don’t get excited — we had 5 last year!   The other two bushes are doing well, but didn’t flower this year as we moved them a couple of months ago.


SchoolSurprise, surprise, we are also almost at the end of the school year.   I’m so used to teaching into June that I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that next week is the last one for seniors.   Some seniors stopped coming to class over a week ago, which has me concerned about them maintaining a passing grade, but hopefully they’ll be back tomorrow.   We also got to the end of standardized testing last week, and teachers and students alike are glad to have that over with!    It’s been an interesting year, as any first year at a new school is, and I’m glad that school will be over before Memorial Day.  It was always such a struggle to keep students focused after Memorial Day, especially students who took AP and IB exams at the start of May.

Workshop
Workshop

So, soon I’ll be back in the bee yard and garden full time, unless I’m in the kitchen canning the results of our labors.   We only have half a cup of honey left from two years ago, so we’re looking forward to harvesting this year.  The exterior workshop construction is complete, but we won’t start on building the honey extraction room until after we sell the house, so we may be extracting in the kitchen again!

With the workshop done, Hubby was able to change the blades on the cutter, so we’re taking it in turns to get “tractor therapy” and bush-hog the cleared areas.  After 3 years, the blackberries have given up and the Dutch White Clover has settled in, so we want to keep that maintained.  Plus, I don’t want to have to worry about what’s hiding in the long grass when I go to the well house or compost pile.

Here I am, starting another topic, when daylight is burning and I have trees to plant!   We bought a healthy black walnut at the Cotton Pickin Fair yesterday, and I’m going to ride down to its new home on the golf cart and get it in the ground before I start another hour writing and uploading pictures.

Here’s hoping life is as good in your world as it is here at the farm.   Let’s just forget about the annoying house in the city!

Lazer Creek Apiary

Taking a Deep Breath.

Friday afternoon, a friend invited me to join her and some friends on a trip to the Cotton Pickin’ Fair in Gay, GA.    My first inclination was to say “No;”   It’s time to remove the Apivar from the hives and there are three hives I need to check for queens.  The weeds are encroaching on four other hives.   I have two unit plans to write, and I want to get a jump start on lesson plans.   Then it hit me:  I haven’t done anything fun since I started work on July 23.   True, we had the entire family over when our daughter was here Labor Day weekend, but I spent most of the afternoon in the office writing emergency lesson plans.   True, we spent most of last Sunday with Hubby’s aunt who was at our farm for the first time while visiting from Texas; then, after she left, I worked until 10:00 pm just to get ready for Monday.   So, I said “Yes” and spent a wonderful morning looking at arts and crafts and laughing with friends.   I could have spent thousands of dollars if I had them, but most of my purchases were small:  bee earrings for $5, a bee dish towel for $6, a bat house for $25 (more work for Hubby), and a beautiful Damascus knife for Hubby (something to offset the addition to the honey-do list).   Now, the knife was supposed to be a surprise, but my new bank wasn’t sure it was me spending money so I had to pull out the joint account debit card!   He got to see pictures of the knife last night and is impatient to get his hands on it next weekend.

mini-melon
Mini watermelon — this year’s harvest!

I did some school work yesterday afternoon, but spent this morning outdoors doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that.   While tidying up around one of the raised beds, I found a mini-watermelon at the end of a dead vine.   I like watermelon, but I was mainly growing these because I’ve seen posts of bees feeding on watermelon slices.   I quartered the softball sized melon and took it down to the apiary, but I have no idea of what they think of it because a persistent bee took immediate interest in my hair.   That may not sound like a bad thing, but the last time that happened I ended up with a bee behind my glasses, which was about the scariest bee situation I’ve encountered, so I briskly started to walk away and then commenced to jog.   If it wasn’t so late in the season, some-bee-body might be getting requeened about now!  (And yes, I did get stung right below my eyebrow last week, and, yes, I did look like I’d been in a fist fight for a few days.)

rosemary
Rosemary in bloom

After loosing the curious bee and returning to the vegetable garden, I was able to pull the rest of the grass from around the rosemary plants.   Some of them have recovered from being transplanted well enough to start blooming, and I was very happy to see bees on the flowers last weekend.   I’d love to have enough rosemary and lavender growing for it to have an impact on the taste of our honey.   That day will come…..

There were a few honey vendors at the fair yesterday, but I was disappointed to see no long lines at their stalls.   Cloister Honey out of Charlotte, NC was doing steady business with their infused honey, and my friend bought a gift package with vanilla, bourbon, and Tupelo jars.   I love the simplicity of the label on their jars, and their displays were simple to the point of being high end and clean while also being very inviting.   They had a single honey frame in a display case in the center of the counter.  The rich colors of the wood and honey stood out against the white counter, and there were just enough bees on the frame to draw attention to it.    Can you tell that they impressed me with their marketing strategies?   It’s so diametrically opposed to what we have been thinking of doing, and I don’t know that it fits our personalities, but I do like what I saw!

I have two days off for fall break, so I am looking forward to inspecting hives while it’s still cool tomorrow morning.   Then I’m off to get my Georgia driver’s license.    I’ve been warned that that may become an adventure as our closest DMV doesn’t handle many naturalized citizens……   Hmmmm – what’s the biggest adventure — a long wait at the local DMV or fighting traffic in the big city?   At least I’ll have Tuesday to recover — and register my car.   But it’s a beautiful day and the Goldenrod is still in full bloom providing lots of lovely food to our bees, so life is good.