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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

Western Art in the Briscoe Museum

Saturday was bitterly cold with a wind that cut through jackets and made me wish for my motorcycle jacket. The morning was to be devoted to local gallery tours; we decided to walk the 900 feet from our hotel to the Briscoe Museum of Western Art.

We all got to claim senior status and therefore a reduced entrance fee–although if we had been service men/women our entrance would have been free.

tim20cherry20rabbit-mTwo large galleries were full of contemporary Western art —no photos were allowed–although I did get this shot of a rabbit by Tim Cherry. If I had the money or the place to showcase this piece—but I didn’t so I will content myself with this photo.

img_7938-mw20h20dunton20painting-mOf interest was a small painting by W.H. Dunton whose title for a rather small painting was quite striking—a paragraph long title for a rider on a horse galloping across the plain. Interestingly the local Stark Museum of Art in Orange Texas posesses over 200 pieces of his work. He, along with other western artists of that era, also illustrated magazine covers and books.

In the afternoon we settled down to an entertaining critique session with Judith Trager. Creative people that we are, one attendee removed her belt as a splash of color on a monochromatic piece.

An evening banquet followed with a lively auction of the small pieces contributed by the members. There was much rivalry and last minute bidding–all to fund future events.

Viewing the Alamo

alamo-mThere was a very long line waiting to get in to see the Alamo; the line looped back through a covered area and was halted by a photographer at the entrance.

Inside, people chattered and pointed–and if you stood in one place, you heard the same comments repeated but by different people and in different languages. They marveled at the number of places the defenders claimed as home—Ireland, Wales, Scotland, North Carolina, Kentucky–and more. Flags of each state and country were displayed around the periphery of the building and we all took turns peering into the rooms cordoned off.

alamo201-malamo2011-mOutside were lovely old live oak trees, a small rivulet with giant carp all hoping for a tidbit of bread, benches, and blooming prickly pear. alamo208-malamo205-m

Outside on the plaza were stands with soft drinks and ice cream. The Menger and the Crockett Hotels were nearby as well as the Wax Museum.

No matter the details of those final hours in whatever version people care to claim as factual, it is an awe=inspiring place—so lush and green–and the entire complex quite large–not the dusty single building in a vast plain with nary a tree to be seen.

 

 

Early Morning Discoveries

I had thought I might catch a sunrise behind the Alamo but I admit to being distracted and then there was the building that somehow blocked my way–I had to turn on my GPS on my phone to find my way back to the hotel.

In the meantime–what do you think about this?

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I suppose the delivery driver had other stops and no time to wait for someone to receive all of this–Not perhaps the photo tourism image one might have of San Antonio

San Antonio Walk About

door20of20cathedral-mConference morning activities followed breakfast punctuated by greetings–putting faces to names of people I had read about, ‘talked’ to via internet and handing out of business cards.

My afternoon and evening were free as I had not signed up for breakout sessions, thinking I would like to settle myself somewhere on the Riverwalk and just enjoy the day. However, I am not a cold weather sitter on metal benches–and so I opted to walk.

What time in San Antonio would be incomplete without a visit to the Alamo. The streets were filled with newly graduated AirMen–(and a few women) in their crisp light blue shirts and dark pants–all with parents or sisters or girlfriends all roaming about–all smiles, nervous, proud.  I caught up with one nice young man and his two sisters–both shivering in their light jackets–they were from Pennsylvania and had dressed expecting much warmer weather.

I wandered by the Cathedral–the first mass celebrated on the day appointed to Saint Anthony–thus giving the city its name, the Bexar County courthouse which was humongous and imposing in red brick and skepp topped domes,courthouse-m courhouse20view-man immense archive building, the hemisphere tower, and then the Alamo. I took a lot of photos, and then bought post cards to replenish my stash for future postings. Three living history sites were set up with men dressed as Alamo defenders displaying and discussing cannons and riflery.

waterfall-m Directly in front of the courthouse is the Liberty fountain. Nearby are beds of roses both red and yellow. These beds are not near this fountain but the petals from the red roses were placed in the fountain’s layers–an interesting custom as it seemed deliberate but I could not find anyone around to ask.

 

 

Blue Bonnets and More

field20of20flower-mLast weekend was the annual conference hosted by Studio Art Quilt Associates in San Antonio Texas.

For those who have not been in San Antonio recently, the city will be celebrating a 300 year history. Not that you would even guess with all the ‘300’s  in shrub plantings, street signage, and mentioned at least twice in any conversation with a local resident.

This conference moves about the country; I’ve been to ones in Ohio, Philadelphia, and Denver with each one progressively more polished and informative.

For me, driving to San Antonio meant a lovely day driving in the Hill country outskirts and stopping for the requisite spring time photo of bluebonnets. I didn’t find the large masses but at a truck stop in Luling I managed to get a nice photo or two. And of course, there are more wildflowers than just the bluebonnets.another20field-mcloseup20of20that20bluebonnet-m

San Antonio is not my favorite city to drive around in but I timed my arrival to early afternoon on a week day. Traffic was minimal but parking spaces were at a premium. The hotel offered valet parking only and the attendant claimed he was expert in standards but I only allow a very small number of people the privilege of driving my truck.

It is easy to hear me coming with that diesel reverberating  in all that concrete but I managed to find a nice spot, hauled my belongings to the hotel lobby and checked in. I admired the lobby–a bank in earlier years—with art deco motifs on the elevator doors, the cornices, and a fabulous stained glass window featuring the Alamo.

A RiverWalk cruise was the adventure of the evening–I took a few photos but then decided I would just enjoy the view.

 

 

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.

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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.

 

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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.

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Mysteriously Fabricated

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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

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