Monday, 28 March 2016

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Monday, 18 January 2016

Plain and Simple, or Not


Plain and simple, 
things didn't go as I had planned for 2015. Happenings and circumstance diverted my attention so that I couldn't focus my time and energy on what I had desired. But, since other things that I'd longed for finally came to be, I will accept that as the achievement that was meant to be.

Plain and simple.
Perhaps that's how I should keep my intentions for 2016,
or not.

With my attention diverted from creative pursuits for so long now, It's been challenging to get back into that mode. I'm almost afraid to set a creativity focused intention for this year. Almost. 
A bit more time is all that's needed, I'm sure, to marinate in my desires. I desire all that I did last year, and then some. So, for now, I shall keep it
plain and simple
and just get a feel for creating again.






Thursday, 12 February 2015

30 Words: This Feral I'm Calling Newton

Lonely, cold, hungry,
this feral I'm calling Newton,
a  talker with soulful, longing yowls.
How brave he is 
to approach,
venture in.
Whenever he returns,
I'll encourage him to stay.
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 30 Words Thursdays
A blog hop hosted by
Erin Prais-Hintz
of
Treasures Found.
You can join in too - hop on over to Erin's blog to check it out.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Trying Something New


Got some new paints -
been wanting to try gouache for a long time.
It's so much fun learning to work with them.
I love that they have a different look than both watercolors and acrylics.
They dry opaque and chalky looking,
not translucent like watercolors, and not shiny/plastic like acrylics.

I love trying new things,
and experimenting with new ways to create.

Have you been experimenting with anything new lately?
Please, do tell!



Thursday, 29 January 2015

30 Words: The Greatest Thing Ever



The greatest thing ever,
it is,
to share a connection of heart.
Sometimes,
 words needn't be spoken,
we communicate through
the language of love,
and of music,
and of art.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Oh, 
how I adore him...
my brother.
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30 Words Thursdays
A blog hop hosted by
Erin Prais-Hintz
of
Treasures Found.
You can join in too - hop on over to Erin's blog to check it out.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

A Belated "Hello 2015"


The promise of
possibility in the brand-new year,
has me all kind of enthused.
I can't wait to build upon my accomplishments from the past year
and see even greater achievement of my goals this year.

I got some pretty great stuff going that I'd like to have more of.

Like...
I got my Etsy shop up and running last year.
And,
I've had the excitement of a few sales,
sending my stuff across the country to places I've never been:
Michigan, Connecticut, Arkansas, Virginia...


My most favorite bead, A Chicken Called Horse, 
was sold and sent away at years end.
It was a bit hard to let it go, but I was thrilled to know that someone loved it just as much as I did.
I want more of that!
A lot more!

Another great thing...
I became interested in, researched, and began
fermenting healthful foods and beverages.
And, the heath benefits, for me, have already been proven.
I want more of that!
A lot more!


So,
I say,
Hello, 2015!
Let's get busy with this
ACHIEVEMENT
stuff.
We've got a whole lot more great stuff to do!




30 Words: I Wouldn't, If I Were You...



don't go investigating
those sounds,
that smell...
for,
lurking in the most unlikely of places,
their hideousness awaits you...
those
cold-staring, bloodshot eyes,
those
menacing choppers horrifically gnashing...
be warned...

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A photo & 30 words inspired by my anticipation
of the mid-season premiere
of
The Walking Dead .

I can't wait,
I can't wait,
I can't wait!

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30 Words Thursdays
A blog hop hosted by
Erin Prais-Hintz
of
Treasures Found.
You can join in too - hop on over to Erin's blog to check it out.


Thursday, 15 January 2015

30 Words: For the Love of Dog

 Aubee...
For
15 years, 5 days:
Full home -
energy, sound, interest.
Full hearts -
constant companionship, purpose, love.

Understanding inevitability
provides no consolation.

All is empty, now.
Our hearts are broken.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 In loving memory,
Aubee
 1999-2015

I spent a bit of time poring over the details of his precious face 
to make this painting come alive...
looking back at it now I see I missed a few details, but I will not correct them. 
It is perfect as-is. 
This was a very therapeutic art session...art does help heal.

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30 Words Thursdays
A blog hop hosted by
Erin Prais-Hintz
of
Treasures Found.
You can join in too - hop on over to Erin's blog to check it out.



Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Sweet Success!

I was wondering how long it would take -
to get my first Etsy sale, that is.
I've been looking in on my shop every day since I opened it
to check out the stats,
and see how many people are taking notice.
It's been fun watching items, and my shop, being 
favorited by people across the globe.

Then,
one fine day,
there it was...
MY FIRST SALE!!!
And, a double sale, at that!

I was so nervous.
 I had no preparations for packaging,
and by the time I got it all figured out the post office had already closed.
Now, I know not to dally when shipping on a Saturday.
So, then,
to wait till Monday...
how excruciating!!!

Lovely Notion & Sunning Salamander

Now,
check this out...
A second sale the following month,
of 3 beads this time!
Eeeeeeeeeeeee...
the excitement!!!

Neptune's Sun, Thrill Seeker & Ursula's Embryo

I wanted to do something nice with the packaging
that shows off how special the beads are
immediately upon opening.
I'm very happy with what I came up with,
and it's easy to customize for each sale.
I think I'll stick with it!

Did you notice that each buyer has certain color preferences?
Oranges with green and ivory for #1;
brights with blue for #2.
It'll be interesting to see how future sales trend.

Okay,
so,
here's the kicker.
As if getting noticed,
and getting sales,
and seeing my little creations make their way out into the world
isn't exciting enough...
I also get the ultimate joy of seeing what others do with them!
Like this...


That's my "Sunning Salamander" bead tucked in
with the other lovely baubles on
  Carol Murray's
Abstract Lampwork Bead Bracelet.

Sweet success!
Here's to keepin' this ball rollin'!
Heck,
here's to gettin' it snow ballin'!!!



Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Let's Talk Turkey

I had a couple of unexpected guests stop by yesterday.
Nevertheless,
it was a very welcomed visit.
We exchanged pleasantries.
They took a look around the place, and made themselves at home.
We got along famously:
they displayed an irresistible charm that enthralled me -
I played to their egos.
Don't get me wrong, they weren't off-putting in any manner.
They were full of themselves,  
true,
but they were very gracious guests, as well.
They left me with a memory that I will cherish for a lifetime.
They're welcome back anytime.

---View video in real-time with audio---

Thursday, 13 February 2014

It's Coming...

Just 35 more days until spring - I see the signs!

 It's easy to forget, sometimes,
that things are different across the globe, country, state, possibly even town.
Some are buried in snow, others have sunshine and lemon trees fully fruited.
Here it's foggy and wet.
But, 

you know what they say about Oregon - just wait five minutes.

 Right here, right now, I'm looking forward to spring!!!!! 
Oh, the anticipation!

A Mosaic Flower to Brighten the Day
Daffodil


Daylily
Chives



Friday, 24 January 2014

It's Been a Long Time Coming

Yep!
It sure has been a long time coming.
Now,
I'm thrilled to announce that I've finally set up shop
at Etsy.


And, Ive made my grand opening with these,
my newest creations,
wearable art - necklaces.
These beauties are attention grabbers
BIG,
BOLD,
BLINGY.

The Kinker

Ethereal Enchantress

Verdant Visions
I still have many more items to photograph and list
(mosaics, lampwork glass beads, fused glass makings...)
sooooo, keep an eye out!
*wink* *wink*
You can find me here at Etsy

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Brrrrrrr,
yeah, 
it's cold alright!

I'd need a better pair of mittens to build a snowman.
So,
instead,
I did this...


decorated the snow-mounded birdbath.

Makes me wanna 
decorate the whole yard 
but,
then all the trees and plants would be bald!

-----------

The bees are all hunkered down in cluster.
They keep the cluster temp around 95 degrees.
Sounds like a great place to bee right now!


We left them all of their honey, 
and added an insulated top box 
filled with pine chips to absorb any moisture.

I hope they fare well!

-----------

How is it 
in your part of the world right now?


Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Birds & The Bees

It's been all about the birds and the bees around here these past several months...



and gardening, and canning...

  



Whew! 
Getting back to basics 
and creating a more sustainable homestead is a lot of work.
But right now, in this phase of my life, 
I wouldn't want it any other way.

Now it's time to settle into winter 
and enjoy sharing the holidays with family and friends.

Hope your holidays are merry and bright, too!!!!!   

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Honey Dripper and Sundance

 The bees are busy doing what they do.
Both colonies are growing steadily. 
It's amazing how they have have markedly distinct personalities - 
not each individual bee, 
but each of the colonies as whole super-organisms.
We've named the hive on the left Honey Dripper: 
that colony is really packing away the honey.
The one on the right, Sundance. 
They got their name for the way they hang out, outside the hive, 
doing what I think looks like a sun worshiping shuffle.  
Sundance was originally the smaller colony; 
now they're pulling ahead in numbers. 
The queen cup that we found within Sundance hive sat empty for about a month - 
no activity to report on, until now.
During our most recent inspection we were astonished to find many more cups. 
Several of them had been further extended into queen cells.
 Some of those were about ready to be capped closed 
so that the larvae inside could finish developing.
Some were already capped.
And, others looked as if queens had already emerged from them.
Upon closer inspection we were unable to locate the reigning queen, 
or any signs that she was still present. 
There were no newly laid eggs, 
or larvae in the primary stages of development.
The few larvae that we did see were ready to be enclosed within the cells for metamorphosis. 
Soon all of the remaining brood will hatch,
 and the adult bees will continue to die off at their usual rate 
leaving the colony to start diminishing in number.

We are confident that some newly hatched virgin queens 
had already set out on their mating flights,
and are now back within the hive establishing, 
as the bees do, 
which of them will be the new queen.       









Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Long Live the Queen

We've now done our 4th 
weekly hive inspection and things are buzzing along nicely in both hives.
The larger colony reached 80% capacity 
so we added another brood box to allow them to expand upward 
to prevent overcrowding and the urge to swarm.
That same colony has built a queen cup that can potentially become a queen cell.
If it were being built at the bottom of the frame, 
it would be a sign that the colony is planning to rear a second queen 
in order to divide and swarm.
But, 
this cup is in the center of the frame.
which is an indication that the colony is considering supersedure.
If the queen is too old, 
or the colony has decided she is not performing up to par, 
they may rear another queen to replace her.
We should be able to tell with the next inspection if they have decided to do so.
Time will tell.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Our First Hive Inspection

Me and my bee hives.

Though they were my idea, my new hobby, my obsession, 
I can't really call them mine any longer. 
I had no idea that my sweetheart would fall as madly in love with our bees
as I have. 
Because he had expressed so much apprehension in the beginning and tried to
persuade me 
to wait until next year to start up, 
I really did think that this is something that I would doing on my own.


 Now, 
at least in this early stage of beekeeping, 
these bees have become a regular part of our daily routine.


During the three days prior to our first inspection, 
we had been spending time at the hives just curiously watching these
amazing creatures buzz about.
With the binoculars we can really get up close and personal with the little critters. 
On the second day, we noticed some fluffy looking grey stuff
lofting out of the hive entrances. 
After some wondering about what it was,
we realized that it was tufts of chewed up newspaper from the sheets we had used to insulate
 the 4 frames of comb filled with brood, nectar, honey, and bees 
from the empty outer frames in each hive.
The bees were chewing away at it in order to spread out into the new vacant areas.
We were jubilant!
 And, we watched in amazement
as the bees would pick up pieces of the debris and fly out of the hive with it for disposal.


So, 
after giving them enough time to settle in and get some work done in their new homes,
 we were super excited, together, to do our first hive inspection.
 We were anxious to see the queen in each hive,
or at least to see newly laid eggs as signs that they were alive and well.
We were also eager to see if the colonies were growing into
the new space they were given.



We opened up the hives,
one at a time,
and peeled away the newspaper that remained at the top of the frames
to expose all of the bustling activity.



Here, on a brand new frame, 
the bees are building up fresh, white, perfectly hexagonal comb. 
How exciting! 
The colonies are growing quickly.
Busy Bees!


In this close-up you can see newly laid eggs in the cells 
at the bottom right corner.
We didn't actually see the queen in this hive, 
but the eggs were evidence enough that she was present 
and doing her part in increasing the colony's size.
In the other hive we did see the queen. 
We were so excited to see her, yet anxious 
to tuck her back into the hive to keep her safe, that we forgot to look for eggs. 
But we're confident that she's laying well.  
  


Just look at these precious little baby bee faces!
So adorable!
It pains me to have to do - or tell you about - this part of beekeeping.
Varroa mite pest control.
There are several different ways to monitor and treat these parasitic pests.
The nucs of bees that we purchased were bred to be mite resistant
through hygienic practices.
Though it helps to keep the number of mites lower than in hives that 
do not practice mite control, 
they do still get mites. 
So, the beekeeper must do their part in helping to
control these destructive pests.


Varroa mites prefer drone (male) larvae,
10 to 1,
over worker (Female) larvae,
because they take longer to develop.
They stay capped up, developing, in their cells a few days longer which
allows the mites to feast on them, undisturbed, for a longer period of time.
One method the beekeeper can use to control the mites
is to insert a half-depth frame into the hive
which the workers will build larger drone comb onto the bottom of.
Then, every two weeks or so,
before the larvae is fully developed the beekeeper cuts off the drone comb,
inspects for mites,
and discards the comb,
 eliminating a large portion of the drone attracted mite population.


Well,
there was no way for us to know that the 24 days it takes
 for drones to develop and hatch
had come due, for one of the hives, on the day we did our first hive inspection,
only 5 days after bringing them home.
The other hive was obviously younger, as a unit,
and the drone comb was still in the larval stage.
As undesirable as it is was to have to sacrifice the drone brood
in the smaller colony,
it was not as heartbreaking as having to sacrifice the
already birthing drones
in the larger, obviously older, colony.



Here, in this close-up photo,
you can see the lesser developed drone comb in the background.
All of the larvae were still enclosed in the wax capped cells,
all white and largely undeveloped. 
Upon breaking the comb apart for inspection,
we did not find any mites feasting on the larvae
 - a good sign: 
no, or low, mite infestation.
The hatching drone comb, however, we did not break apart to inspect yet. 
We were in awe watching the drone hatch-lings.
We didn't know what to do with them at this point.
So, we just sat and watched
as one after another chewed their way out of the wax caps covering their cells,
and worked so vigorously to pull themselves up, and out.


That's when we noticed them.
The tiny, dark specks
shifting from side to side on the capped cells - mites.
There were no mites inside these cells either, as far as we could tell,
when we finally examined the remaining undeveloped larvae in this comb.
But, 
there were plenty of mites hanging around,
waiting to climb aboard the newly hatched drones.
I witnessed, 
as two of the hatch-lings were emerging from their cells,
the mites crawling to the edge and climbing right up
onto their moist, tender little bodies.


I knew, then, that I wouldn't be able to
put the precious baby drones back into the hive 
to be nurtured by the rest of the colony.
And, I knew that they wouldn't survive,
being so young and tender, for any length of time.
It was still too early for them to make their way out into the world
to find a virgin queen to mate with.
Heartbroken,
 I took the larvae and all the newly hatched drones to my mother's chickens
and gave them a special treat.
That's actually what I had planned to do with the larvae.
But, It was those precious newborns that I was so torn up about.
I could see the disappointment in Tommy's eyes too.
  

They say to check every two weeks, or so,
 to see if the majority of the drone comb is capped off,
and remove it from the hive then to do an inspection.
(We're keeping notes in a journal which will help in tracking this sort of thing)
At least we know to never let it get that developed before removal.
If so, 
a beekeeper either runs the risk of letting loose all those mites within the hive
to further multiply, 
or suffering the sacrifice of precious baby bees, 
even if they are drones.


Those fellas seem even more precious
because they are defenseless; they have no stingers.
And, the female workers
kick them out of the hive to die, come winter, to conserve resources.
Their tongues are so tiny that they can't even feed themselves.
They're used to the pampered life.
Their only function within the colony
is to find a virgin queen to mate with in order to pass on genetics.
But, once they do, they die.
The ones who never mate just fly out to a drone congregation area, by day,
with the rest of the boys
to hang out and wait for a queen to fly by.
By night,
they just hang out in the hive and get groomed and fed by the female workers.
You see,
They are precious!




A short video:
Tommy narrating -
The Hatching of the Drones.