Monday, July 25

*Honey, we got honey!

All of us around Erilyn are whooping and hollering! We couldn't be more excited about beekeeping than we were this afternoon upon returning to the house with two frames of delicious honey!  Eric and I have been planning to check our top supra for possible capped honey. Boy, what a delight it was to open the top board and find fully capped honey cells, our gift was finished.

This week we will replace the top supra with new frames for the busy bees. We were really hopeful that the frames would be ready for harvesting, but somewhat doubtful based on the things we have read about young colonies.  Our hive has grown so much since we got it back in the spring.  When we added the second supra, I felt like we had a good chance on honey in our first season.  By the weekend we will likely have 50lbs of dark amber colored honey.

Eric has become the smoke master.  He has not protective gear on because he is not working directly with the bees.  He is usually close by, but not directly involved so he feels safe enough just wearing a long sleeve shirt.  He is also my eyes and my careful guide when I need it.  I have got the moving slow part down really well.  In fact, when I put get all suited up, I switch into a different gear - SLOW. 

Mr. & Mrs. Beekeepers

Just look at that full frame!!!! Maneuvering this heavy frame with the gloves is not as easy as it might look.  I work carefully, and very meticulously all the while the gloves really make the job harder- perhaps safer, but harder. I am trying to work my BRAVE up enough so I can go to the hive under regular maintenance glove less.  If you look in the background you will see a container with pebbles in it as well as water. This container serves as our bees water source, a safe place for them to get water and not drown in the process.  Before we put this out for the bees we were finding numerous honey bees floating in our pool daily.

Momma was there with a clean plastic garbage bag for us to slip the frame into until we were ready to leave the area.  I had to give the frame several hard shakes to get the bees off. Many flew off, but some were more difficult remove.  I had to lightly flick them off the frame in order to rob them of their precious honey. We ended up with two live bees in the bag, which we set free when we got up to the house when we took the frames out of the bag.

Here we are putting the top board back for now. We still need to harvest the other 8 frames in this supra.  I am so glad we only took two the first time around. It was a lot of work. Exciting. Interesting. Joyful too!  We are an awesome team!   NO stings to day at all!

Let me encourage you - if you don't already keep bees, look into starting a colony next spring!  We have no idea what we are doing and we are harvesting our first supra of honey just 4 months after getting our hive started.  Mind you, we are NOT taking the surplus food supply that our sweet bees will need to weather the fall and winter months, but the other supra. The bees are keeping busy these days most likely with the blooms on the many, many Crepe Myrtles all around our neighbors property as well as a few on our property.

When we opened the top board on the hive we found 15 to 20 (visible to us) Hive Beetles.  We saw these little beetles skittering around and had no idea what they were or why they were there. Upon a bit of research, we found that these critters can be little to great harm based on the strength of the hive. Either way I will be paying Mr. Bundrick a visit tomorrow to get something to take care of the beetles that are known to be deadly to Florida bee hives. We don't want to take any chances.

We did harvest the honey in our spacious kitchen, um.... I think every surface in that kitchen was covered with sweet honey and wax.  With this having been our first time in claiming and harvesting honey, we were totally inexperienced in every step even though we had read everything "bee" that we could get our hands on. 

Here momma is helping scrap the honey off of the frame into a pot with as strainer in place. 

We ended up with about 10lbs of honey from two frames!  If the rest of the frames go this well, we will end up with about 50 lbs of honey this year!  This will help balance out the cost of investment made earlier this spring to get us started in keeping bees.

Stay tuned for more updates on our "Erilyn Honey Harvest Summer 2011".  (all photo credits go to my nephew Skyler, he did a great job didn't he!?)

Sunday, July 24

*another WIP getting completed

WOOT! I have another WIP (work in progress) getting completed this week! This particular quilt top has been finished for a year or more now and I am thrilled to finally be setting it in for completion!  Just this weekend Eric spoke who this was to go to, so with that I am finishing it up to get it on it's way to it's new home. I can hardly wait! 

This quilt is made using one of Deb Tuckers rulers, the Tucker Trimmer, which is supposed to make the pinwheel quilt pattern process more precise.  I have used several of Deb's rulers and would recommend them to other quilters.

I will be sure and post more photos once the project is completed.  Have a great weekend!

*trip down memory lane

This past week I was moving some things around in my sewing studio and relocated some of my photo's (that are still waiting to be scrap booked), I found myself taking a walk down memory lane.   As I started opening the boxes of photos, some cropped and some not, I found myself slowly sitting down on the sofa and spending much time pouring over the memories that each photo holds for me.  Many thoughts were prompted by seeing each photo.  I am so grateful that we can capture images and have them to view at a later date, especially since my memory isn't the greatest.

This photo was taken in Pennsylvania and obviously is not a Christmas photo, but it is one of the first family shots in the beginning of our family.  This is the first trip, out of womb that Robby took to Gettysburg Battlefield!  When I was 5 or 6 months pregnant, Eric took me up to   took me on a hike to the top of  "Little Round Top" or it may have been "Big Round Top".  I cannot remember which one specifically, but I can assure you that it matters not, the simple fact that I was hiking up a rocky hilly terrain while pregnant with our precious first born. He has been there many times since and climbed the rocky trails for himself, and scaled Devil's Den many times over!  We hope one day to take our grands there as well, much of the family history lies in this area and we hope to keep it alive in the generations to come.

This one is my favorite. It was taken about 4 or 5 years ago, the last "Christmas photo op" in our NC home. Robby moved away shortly after this and our next group photo was taken on the Gulf of Mexico.

Isn't this the sweetest picture you have ever seen? I love that Henry is looking up at  his great grandmother with great delight. The Lord planted a sweetness in Henry's heart for older people at a very young age.  I am so grateful that my kids have had the opportunity to live life with grandparents, and great grandparents intertwined along the way.

This is Robby and Great Grandma Sanders, I don't think these were taken on the same trip, but you can see how both of our boys treasure family.  Going to see Great Grandma Sanders was always a trip we looked forward to as a family.  These are of course not Christmas group photo's but they were too sweet not to share.

Go ahead, open those scrap books and look at days gone by; open your photo boxes and sit a while!

Friday, July 15

*what I love about you

This post really is written to my boy, Henry!  What I love about you:  I love that when I pick you up from the airport from an almost three week trip, that you notice my purse and say, "It looks like a Coach." Then you say,  "But, yeah. I see the LC, it is a Liz Claiborne."  Love it!   I love that you are excited to get home to see your dog. I love that you are excited to get home and see how much the baby rabbits have grown since  you saw them last. I love it that you walk in and notice the changes that have been made in the rooms of our home -and that you approve!  I love the constant chatter that we had on the long drive back home from the airport even though you were dog tired from the whole flying adventure.  Some thing else that I love about you is that you take little to no time at all to connect to people, to make meaningful relationships.  You now have a new family of friends in Colorado.  Seeing how much you appreciate me finishing up your quilt for you was something sweet too!  But what I love most about you, is the fact that you are home!

Oh, yeah. I love that your teeth all came in practically perfect own their own, there fore saving us thousands of dollars in orthodontic care. A few people have naturally straight teeth that fit together perfectly, I love that you are one of them.

Yep, he loved the finished quilt!

Wednesday, July 13

*poop in the coop

This entry has nothing at all to do with poop, I just read an article from Mother Earth News a few days ago entitled, "Is there poop in your coop?" Well duh! Yeah. Anyway.  No poop  here, just a chicken! An adorable chicken with endless possibilities.

I think I like this little green button best for the eye on this particular chicken. What do you think?

I have this quilt I am working on, have been working on for a year now (sigh) and I have decided to make it whimsical instead of a more formal Celtic braid. 

I searched through my folders of quilt projects that I have removed from magazines over the years. I found this!  The templates for Spring Chickens!   I am excited about making various chickens for this quilt out of many different funky fabrics.

Not to mention the cuteness of a variety of button eyes.  I was at a thrift store today and found this container of buttons for - wait, get ready - $3.99.  Isn't that awesome?! There were 5 other containers of buttons, but I couldn't justify the need to buy all of them.  But I couldn't help but think of the thrifty young or older person who must have cut these from clothing with a future project in mind. 

I know this Kaleidoscope Quilt doesn't really lend to chickens too much, but I am rebel. So, there ya have it.

It will have chickens. Many chickens. Or maybe just a few.

Oh, just in case you are wondering. I FINISHED Henry's Crazy Turning Twenty quilt! Well almost,  I only have just the binding to finish up tomorrow -  I will be sure and let you know how he likes it.

This entry was shared at Deborah Jean's Dandelion House.

*moving on is hard to do

Newly married twenty some odd years ago, my husband and I moved to the great state of North Carolina with orders in the US Army. The move was hard on our families, as we had the first grandchild in tow and we were packing up to drive 365 miles north. This move was the beginning of our family, it was what would shape and form who we are today.   We were unlike most military, not all, but most military families.  We would end up staying in Fayetteville for 22 (ish) years. We grew up there. We have roots there. We developed into the people we are today based on our lives there.   I mean, yes our parents had something to do with our upbringing which has a lot to do with who we are as well. 

I found a church fairly soon after moving to Fayetteville. I attended, loved it, but wasn't really involved for a number of years. This mostly due to my immaturity in many things, some of which are too personal to share.  I grew up "in" church, so none of what I was exposed to was new to me.  None of it was questioned in my thinking.  Don't get me wrong, I didn't operate in most of it as a mature Christian would, because I was not.  I am so very grateful to the people who will likely always look back on Manna Church as a place where special relationships were formed, developed and nurtured. For it was out of Manna that I met some of the best people on this side of Heaven.

I have dear friends who were only 5 miles away, who are now anywhere from 500 to 1000 to 1500 miles in different directions.  It makes getting together for tea a bit difficult.  I have to choose often to count my blessings, because I miss these ladies, their families and the community therein more than I can express. I have watched friends move over the years and since God showered me with so many great meaningful relationships, I always had someone there to help me grow, to help me straighten up a bit in the areas I was crooked, to - you know rub iron against iron.  I was so very blessed to have come in contact with some very special people who through God's leading helped shape and form me and my family into who we are today.  I want to say thanks to each of you, if you are reading you know who you are. Thanks. For in accepting my friendship, you chose to accept my good, bad and ugly and because of that I have become better in all my ways.  I miss you deeply, terribly, so much so that it hurts.

I totally understand why people who are hurting for one reason or another, saved or unsaved, throw themselves into a project of sorts. I mean all in!  It consumes idle time. It keeps your mind busy so your soul cannot rest. By default I have been busy with moving in, repairing things while Eric was in NC waiting, tilling and planting a huge garden and then the move of the reminder of our things plus Eric, harvesting the garden among a list of other things - whew! I did live through all of that!

The hard part about all of this is that I would love to have all my dearest friends here with me in this place. Sharing this life we are now privileged to be living. I love it here. I love that when you meet someone it is an assumption that you attend one of the churches nearby.  Its small town feel, its going to be great. One of my closest friends' daughter gave some wise words recently: you cannot replace the friendships from NC that you so dearly cherish  and treasure with new ladies. So true! Those relationships were for a time. They were predestined to help shape and form me into who I am now. You wont need those same kinds of friendships or relationships. I am not saying that I don't believe that we will not need close, deep friendships  because we will. But I grew up with and alongside women and shared things I will not share with people at this point in my life. I just wish we could go back to the times when the roads weren't even trails that had been blazed yet. Perhaps even a time when we still had, well I was gonna say horse and wagon because you can't get too far in those to fast and moving so far away might have been frowned against. I , however, do not want to do without my air conditioner because I am spoiled.  

Moving on is hard to do and sometimes I put my heels down when I shouldn't. I am pulling my heels up because I know that I am still with flaws, I am still in need of some sharpening, some refining and I know that God has some of His special Floridians picked out to be a part of this chapter in my story. I also believe that God wants me to be a blessing to those in my community as well, I will have a part in some other people's stories here too.  While moving on is hard, I will continue to grow in my NC born friendships and start to germinate some new ones here for now. 

Monday, July 11

*of windows and yards

This space is just wonderful and I am so grateful to have it!  Up until this past week the room had curtains on only 4 of the 11 windows that make this space so wonderful. I was finally able to get in there and get the curtains changed out and finished up.  I was short one curtain and to be quite honest with you, was too cheap to buy another pack of curtains and have one left over because I only needed one, so with that being the case I set out for a creative remedy.  This is what I came up with. I am not a great decorator, though I dream to be, but I love this look.  I rearranged the room while I was at it, since I felt like I could make it more user friendly.

 Here you see a 2 yard cut of this interior decorating fabric that I chose as my new window 'treatment'.  I simply cut 2 inch strips out of the length of the fabric and looped it around the curtain rod.  I really like the softness of the colors in this fabric.

Just today I was listening to a teaching and one of the things that was said that resenated in me was this: If you are creative, which I believe we all are, your soul has to be quite to create. I have had many times over the last few months where I wanted so desperately to sew and create, but just couldn't make it happen. I would go in the sewing room, pull things out but simply didn't have the whatever it took to make anything at all happen. For me it is so true, I have come to a quieter place in my life, my soul has slowed down a bit. I know this week a new quilt will be cut out, which is exciting!

Flutterby by Tulia Pink!

Cotton Blossoms by Moda & American Primer by Moda

Aviary by Three Sisters for Moda!

These are a few of the wonderful fabrics that I pulled down off the shelves today. I am not sure which of it I will us next, but I can assure you that something will be getting sliced up this week!  I am off to look through some quilting magazines and my quilting folder of ideas to find just the perfect pattern to use in my next quilting project.

*a good thing coming to an end..

My niece, Kierstyn was here for a couple of weeks and we had a delightful time making memories filled with laughter and a few tears along the way. I shall miss her greatly, I have missed having a young mind in our home. Young minds are so refreshing aren't they?

Years ago when she was with us I braided her hair so she could have "crinkled hair". Then it seems we did it one other year so she could take it down when she got back to her house and then sport it at school or church the following day.  Since her hair is now a bit shorter than it was those two times, she wasn't that "jazzed" about the whole end result.

Kierstyn has one of those personalities that will not allow her to be a stranger to anyone, my Henry is just like that. I love it!  She made friends throughout the day at the beach with three different young girls. Every time one left, she scanned the close by area and found some one she could befriend. One of them even told her no. But, she tried again after a short while. She did win her over and they played nicely together until we packed up and left for the day.

She learned to make yo-yo's while she was here using the Clover Yo-Yo product.   These are really a great tool for making yo-yo's the cheater way!  I have a small collection of several sizes and shapes.  She started working with the large round and obtained success right away.  She, however, wasn't as successful ask keeping Frayja off her lap.  Kierstyn said that Frayja knew she was getting ready to go home and she didn't want her to go.  This is her reasoning for why Fray kept sitting on her lap.

I am so blessed to have my niece love me so that she is torn as to whether she wants to stay or go when she is missing her mom.  She decided that two weeks was long enough, even though she had initially planned to stay three weeks.  These pictures were all taken the morning she started her travels back to NE Florida.  She took her time telling each animal good bye. She has been a great devoted helper in the barn the past two weeks. Surely our little goats will miss her as well as the chickens that were captured each day.

The chickens are providing us with about 7 eggs per day right now. Our chicks that we added to the flock in  mid-Feb are getting ready to start producing too, so we will be kicking that number up a few notches. We are currently keeping up with production (I sent Lori home with almost two dozen), but soon I  suspect that we shall be selling some of our fresh eggs.

The baby rabbits are growing like weeds near a septic tank!  Whew!  This very week we will be taking all the babies from the momma's and putting them in their very own hutch.  The girls will go in one and the boys in the other (we don't want the sisters and brothers practicing any hanky panky).  Our butcher date is a little over a month away.

The garden is ker-plunk. Today Eric and I worked in the garden spots, removing tomato cages, mowing down and pulling up dead vines and mulching the areas.  We have the calendar marked with an August planting date for some Fall harvest crops. I can't say that I am super excited about it, but I know I will be when the plants start producing. I suppose I am just enjoying the down time.