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Posts from the ‘Home and Children’ Category

Buzzing Around

My earliest memories of honey was the block of honeycomb dripping with honey that sat at my grandfather’s place at the kitchen table. We were never allowed to have any while he was there but when he was on his accounting trips for the State of Wisconsin, Grandma let us have whatever we wanted–including sampling that honey.

Since that time I thought it would be fun/cool/interesting/challenging to raise bees–or more realistically manage a hive or two.

working20beeyard-mOne year for my birthday I got a complete bee suit with gloves; I ordered a bee hive and then we waited for the bees to arrive. Nothing happened until I noticed bees flying in and out of the corner of my shop out in the country. I attended local bee keeping meetings and i was advised to wait until spring to remove them.

Wow–what a challenge that turned out to be! We lit the smoker, suited up–horribly hot in the upstairs of a tin roof building; cut open the wall and faced thousands of bees–none of whom were happy to see us. We plunked as much of that comb and bees into a waiting box.

That did not work very well–but we did seal up the outside of the building.

Then a good friend told us he had done a recovery and would we want those bees. Of course we said YES!!!

work20bees-mAnd so I had one hive. We carefully transferred it to a larger box and then added and added and I had a honey harvest the first year.

Second Year–the year of intermittent floods and heat in which we tried to do a split several times, successful once–and the hive moved to the chicken yard—where it was slimed out in just one month. The other hive succumbed to wax moths–and I was left with just the one hive.

I had also signed up for a beginning beekeeping class and had a school hive to manage and bring home to my apiary–duly registered with the State of Texas. Those bees tend to be a bit testy and we are seriously considering requeening to a nicer lady. Sometimes they seem to have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed–while the first hive is always calm but interested.

We have two big hives and starting to add to our flock-herd-group-not sure what several hives are called–maybe a Buzz?final20beeyard-m

And for those of you who notice such things–yes, I did have a piece of dirt on my camera lens which has now been cleaned.glen20in20bee20yard-m

Boxes and more Boxes

What do you do with all the boxes that arrive sometimes on a daily basis at your door?

Particularly if your husband loves to order from Amazon (and so do I at times–easier when it is pouring down rain to let someone else put that stuff right on your front porch)

During a particularly cold spell here in coastal Texas–yes it was cold–below freezing and with a nasty wind blowing===I piled those boxes in front of the front door–a large gap around the windows and door. While that windbreak did not seem to alter my utility bill, it was a bit less drafty in the front hall.


Galveston Oh Galveston

img_7702-mSomehow for this formerly land-locked Midwesterner there is just something about taking the ferry from Bolivar Peninsula to Galveston.

Never mind that I was on my way to a Neurology appointment and expected to answer the same questions repeatedly as I faced medical student and resident and finally attending to maybe give me some answers about my recent bout of craziness associated with hypercalcemia—as a side note–passed all those silly questions including remembering three items from the beginning–pen, table, and penny–and told I was totally normal–well maybe just oriented properly.

Once again I digress.




Here are a few photos from that ferry ride. NO, I was not alone–there were several dozens of other vehicles– work trucks, school buses, ambulance–they got off first–and assorted cars and people tossing bread to the seagulls that followed us along. I spied a few dolphins racing along side us. But mostly I just listened to the waves and the shriek of the birds. Sorry I didn’t record it so you could hear it too–and on the radio was Glen Campbell singing away.


Mysteriously Fabricated


One of the things my mother left behind after succumbing to the ravages of ovarian cancer and assorted treatments for over 13 years was a collection of fabric–in her favorite colors–rust and turquoise. These were NOT my favorite colors to work with–a certain  shade of turquoise in my box of crayons at age six led me to throw that crayon away ..much to my mother’s consternation.

The fabrics even smelled like she did and it was hard to open up that box and begin this project. But when Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville posted the suggested color palette for her annual Thanksgiving to Christmas mystery quilt, I knew it was time for me to start.

Bonnie likes to use a LOT of little pieces and I must admit I simplified the sashings considerably–using just two strips of fabric with no triangles on the ends. I also got rather a late start having to deal with hypercalcemia in November and December…amazing how oddly you will speak and weak you become with a toxic level of calcium. There is no handy way to measure the levels–no calcium meter like a glucometer. And the diet? no Dairy, no broccoli or dark greens! Tough for this girl from Wisconsin who loves all things cheese!

I digress.

I completed the top in January, got it quilted and bound in March. It now only needs a label and it will be ready to be transported to M.D. Anderson for their odd year quilt auction to benefit ovarian cancer research.

I think Mom would have been pleased.


Pickling Lemons

With a surfeit of lemons last fall harvested from one lone lemon tree barely four feet tall, I hunted down recipes and ideas for dealing with those lemons. I gave many away but still had a lot left–and so I pickled them in quart jars with a lot of salt.

The lemons shrunk in size filling about half of four quart jars. I added olive oil to them and ran them through the blender. One jar had a lovely sprig of dill added prior to blenderizing.

The result has been a lovely mush of salted lemony flavor–perfect for fish or chicken.

And we were both pleased to see blossoms on that lemon tree hoping it survived our snow and icy temps this winter.pickle20lemons-m


Piano Plunking

Sometime this past year, my oldest grandson expressed an interest in the piano–I have a baby grand in my living room–he thought he could ‘borrow’ it for a few months to see if he liked piano. I thought a better plan was to get a 88 keyboard to practice.

Armed with piano theory book and lesson book, we had our first lesson on Sunday. I have never taught piano but the local music store assured me that I could do so.

We sat at the keyboard and learned the names of our fingers–one, two three, four, and five–and then began to work on looking at the keyboard itself. His fingers and hands are small so a challenge to hold his hands properly and plunk away–but he grasped the concepts and is eager to fill the inside cover of his lesson book with the stickers I brought along to mark progress.

Fortunately his Daddy can read music from his violin days with Miss Aggie.

We followed that lesson with a piece of Oliver’s birthday cake–he hung onto my knee and eagerly accepted bits of my piece of his one year birthday cake served on the leg of my blue jeans.

Later we attempted family photos—using the ten second timer on my camera–hoping we ‘were not ‘doomed’ by my son’s need to set the camera and then stroll over to his place on the couch for the photo.

Driving home with sticky pants, a memory card to be down-loaded, and wonderful memories.

i-zzcvcct-mrefrigerator art inspired by Lil Rascals


Peewees and the Dads

Saturday was the first T-ball game for one of my grandsons. The day was forecast for bright sunshine and perfect temps all that day and the next. But as the day wore on, clouds gathered promising another round of rain–but we ventured out to Crosby. Parking was limited but we found a spot for my truck–I like to have two spaces to turn into–not just one shrimpie sized one.

On to the field.

T-ball is a new sport for us–so we puzzled through some of the rules.

The field is about half-size.

There are a lot of kids on the field.

The pitcher pretends the throw the ball which is perched on a stand for the batter.

The umpire hides behind the catcher trying to control his laughter.

Dads must patrol the dugout to maintain order, prevent the team  members from bashing each other with their bats, line up the batters and be sure they have their helmets on.

Somehow the umpire determines when an inning is over–whether it is a combination of outs or runs or time he spends squatting was uncertain.

Once a ball is hit, the batter is struck with awe that he actually hit the ball and has to be told to run to base by one of the Dads.

Somehow no-one ended up in the scoring area…one from each team. to keep the official score but the Dads had it all figured out.

When a run was made-there was much leaping about with enthusiasm–and not just in the bleachers or sidelines covered with moms, grandmas, aunts, uncles, siblings, and assorted others who just like to watch short little people run around bases.

No rain–just a few sprinkles on our way home.

and yep–that is the best T-ball player on the team. He inherited all his athletic prowess from his Daddy.sawyer20at20bat-m

Pages and pages and pages

Sylvia Weir Week eight Pages

Last week;s assignment was ‘pages’. While my home is littered with all sorts of books and magazines and pieces of paper everywhere–I always try to think of something not quite so literal as taking a photo of a book. This is the inside of the dumpster that collects newspapers for recycling.

This city has not yet thought about the idea of trash over-taking us or of saving of resources..everything has to be not just cost-effective but income producing. At one time we had blue recycle containers in which we placed all our recycleables to be picked up at the same time as our regular trash. The regular trash was converted from trash cans we bought at local stores to city trash containers that were designed to be automatically picked up by a set of arms that reached out–thus saving the backs of the sanitation department. With the recycleables–they had to bend over to pick up the items and sort them into appropriate bins—not exactly a back-saving endeavor.

Because this was not profitable–the activity ceased–to be replaced by huge dumpsters placed in one central part of the city for those of us who wanted to conserve resources to self deliver and self sort—not particularly hard but does require a bit of time.

Someone decided that perhaps recycling should begin again–but now the recycleables can be placed in a special container bought at a fairly steep price and the cost of picking up the recycle-ables added to the monthly garbage fee. I don’t see many of these containers along the streets.

Too bad they don’t invest in a system that sorts trash as Houston does.

Rusting Orange and Green


Yesterday I wrote about processing some of my mother’s quilty unfinished projects. When I was much younger, she made all my dresses—in her favorite colors–turquoise, rust, orange, and brown. I think I learned to sew so I could have dresses and skirts made in my favorite colors–not hers.

It is hard to work with colors you just don’t like.

The above piece had just the central star piece; but I had all her left-over fabrics to add these borders and try to put a different take on her very traditional style.

It will be quilted and then gifted to a great-grandchild–who hopefully will use it as a snuggle blanket, a tent, a picnic table–in short–love it as a gift from someone who would have loved to play with them.


cleaning out boxes and drawers


When my parents died and I had the task of organizing and dispersing of their possessions, there was no question about who would get all of my mother’s sewing/quilting related fabrics, uncompleted projects, threads, notions–and the fabric related things she had collected from various family members.

I already had plenty of this stuff of my own!

However, I am working my way through some of her projects, completing some of them as gifts for great-grandchildren and others just because.

This is a pattern I had collected several years ago but never had the courage to take it out and actually make it. The panels are two quilted smallish pieces my mother had used to learn machine quilting on her new Bernina. The side pockets are a third panel she never worked on. The interior is composed of two decorator fabrics culled from the give-away table at the local quilt guild.

I am pleased with my final project. I don’t think I will use any of her other unfinished projects in this manner but it was a fun project and now there are three less to worry about.