Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Reading Material

Since I finished Plan Bee, I've been reading a few of the stories from the wild animal folktale book. I admit it's not one that sucks me in and I read straight through. It is interesting; but I found another book that caught my eye: Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels . Apparently the author, Ree Drummond, has a blog and a cookbook of which I knew nothing. I guess I have a lot of catching up to do. When I ordered the book from my local bookstore, Nightbird Books, the girl at the checkout said her friend was obsessed with Ree Drummond's blog and books and had been featured on her website. I don't know if this is true, just taking the checkout girl at her word. The bookstore was all sold out of the book, so it must be a good read (either that or it has a good marketing strategy).

Last night, I tried to make an impromtu blueberry custard.  It was pretty much a disaster. Sometimes throwing ingredients together without a recipe works and sometimes it doesn't. Oh well. I'm thinking maybe I should have added another egg? Or maybe adding coconut milk to the regular milk throws it all off? Perhaps the ginger and the cinnamon had an argument and the bluberries suffered the consequences? Nah..... Ginger and cinnamon are good friends.

Oh wow, did I ever get distracted..... I was going to finish up the reading material section with the fact that I bought a new book while waiting for Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels to arrive. It's by Michael Perry and is about his year fixing up his truck and the love story that unfolded during. It's called Truck: A Love Story. Anyway, it is interesting so far. His style of writing is a tad confusing to me, but I still like it. He's funny. I completely understand his attachment to the old truck that doesn't run. I have a similar attachment to my dad's old jeep truck.  I'd like to fix it up. But knowing nothing about cars and trucks or about rebuiling or reparing them, kind of has the whole idea straining my brain wondering if I can ever actually begin. My brother has some automotive know-how and I have a cousin who does also. I also have to come up with money..... Since turning tricks doesn't seem to be a good option, I suppose I'll have to take more call at work.  Starting tonight :(

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June 16, 2011 I Have Tadpoles!

I love tadpoles. They're so cute.  I remember trying to catch them when I was little. Of course we never did (catch any) and that's okay. It was cheap entertainment. These new tadpoles I have no intention of trying to capture. I feel blessed that my little pond is home to them and whichever parent is in there. I sneak a glance every time I walk by the pond to see if I can see the frog before it disappears beneath the surface. I only just noticed the tadpoles this weekend.  I just want to saw "awww" everytime I think about them. Am I disguisting or what?

This week has been really busy (but fun)! I'm working on pulling up more posion ivy. I still managed to get a little bit on my skin. This plant is resilient and everywhere. I am determined to get rid of it without chemicals though. My skin does not thank me but maybe the bees and earthworms would if only they could.

Speaking of bees, I finally finished Plan Bee last week.  I loved it. But, I was right in thinking that I shouldn't just jump feet first into beekeeping.  Maybe I'll start with something simpler like building or buying homes for solitary bees. I've seen plans for them online and some for sale on Etsy.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

June 12, 2011 A Little Rain....

Seems like it wasn't long ago that I was complaining of all the rain we were getting.  We went through a hot, dry spell after that. It killed one of my blueberry bushes and the lupine. Last night it finally rained. The weather had settled down by morning.

I went swimming at Beaver Lake this afternoon with David. He was housesitting for some friends of ours in Eureka Springs. The lake was beautiful and the weather was fabulous.

We stopped to have dinner at Luigi's in Eureka (which I can't recommend) and saw a baby praying mantis on the outside railing.

June 11 2011 The Garden Tour

A friend and I bought our tickets to The 14th Annual "Through the Garden Gate" tour this morning. We picked them up at the Farmer's Market and then had breakfast at Jammin Java before heading to our first garden. The list included six gardens: three in Fayetteville, one in Farmington, and two in Rogers.We started at the Fayetteville gardens, finishing in Farmington.  We completely skipped the two in Rogers. I had intended to go later, but it got too hot for me. Maybe next year!

The Mainview Garden was the first one we visited. Owned by Judy and Jay McDonald, it was on the way up Mt. Sequoyah. According to the handout we were given, their home and gardens lie on three and half acres. They had a few large trees, including a locust that serves as the form for a wisteria vine.  It's season for bloom was over, but the vine was beautiful and I can imagine it would be quite lovely dressed in purple flowers.  We enjoyed their little ponds with water plants, tadpoles, and goldfish. My favorite of their water features was the one with the moss cave (see picture above right). Their gardener is Melva Mellinger.

Our second stop was to the Survivor's Garden owned by Martha and Mark Haguewood. It's off of Mission. It is called "Survivor" because it survived damages from the strong winds and rain left over from Hurricane Ike and damages from the ice storm of 2009. They did lose 14 trees during all that and had to learn to sun gardening instead of shade gardening. The Haguewood's also had a water feature (did we go to a garden that didn't have one?); theirs had "rescued" Koi. The table and chairs in the shade was our favorite spot (and not just because it was hot out). You can hardly see it in the photo, but the form for a chandelier light is hanging from the tree above.

"Mascabado" at Mission de la Esperanza (Mission of Hope) was our third stop. It is the home of Denis and Hershey Garner. Our handout stated "Mascabado" to mean "unrefined" and naturally comfortable..... and it was. Here we were treated with lemonade and cookies. I loved a couple of the old trees they had there. The saltwater pool was really nice.  It looked natural and had many plantings and stone around it. The old church pews under the refreshment pavillion were beautiful. Their water feature (besides the pool), was full of a sturdy blooming water lily as well as other water plants.

Our last stop was my favorite, I think because it seemed more natural. This garden is owned by Mary and Tom Dillard and helped along by Wesley Smith of Dirty Deeds. The garden thrives in the back-acres of Farmington. We loved Wesley's lily ponds up front which were full of tadpoles. They were all framed by rock and had rock paths. Here we saw excellent usage of ground cover between and around stones. Tom had three immature paw paw trees. They are lovely now, but should be even more so when they are grown. He had laying hens in a backyard enclosure. One feature my friend and I both enjoyed was the use of hollowed stumps as planters. This was repeated throughout the garden. Rock "sculptures" were found throughout as well. Butterflies and caterpillars both were at home in the Dillard Garden.

I took a lot of pictures but these will have to do for today. It's still hot and I'm tired!
Until next time........

Friday, June 10, 2011

June 10 2011 Hmm.....Is it the Pollen Sacs?

Sadly, I must report that bees do not have knees.  I am disappointed but not suprised. Seems like I knew that previously in life (I forget soooo many things) and it is fairly logical that they wouldn't. I found several explanations for where that phrase "the bees knees" came from. The one I like the most: it refers to the pollen sacs on the bees' legs. A couple of bee websites I'd like to take a closer look at:

Ahhh... I am really looking forward to the weekend.  It's going to be hot though. Early tomorrow, a friend and I are meeting up at the Fayetteville Farmer's Market on the Square to get our tickets to the "Through The Garden Gate Tour" sponsored by The Flower, Garden and Nature Society of Northwest Arkansas.  It's a six-garden tour. I have to remember to take my camera!

During my lunchbreak today, I stopped by Snooper's Barn (I worked in Fort Smith today) and found a great little book: Wildlife Folklore by Laura C. Martin. I LOVE folklore and I LOVE animals.  What could be better than a book on both?

June 7- June 9 2011 The Bees Knees

Do bees have knees?  I don't know, but I think I'm going to find out. I found the neatest book at Dickson Street Bookstore last night. It's called Plan Bee by Susan Brackney.  I've thought more and more about keeping bees over the years.  I stumbled upon this book and it reminded me that now that I'm single again, I don't have to worry about someone's family being allergic! :)  YAY!  My coworker let me know there's a hive with box and queen available for sale on Craigslist for $225. I don't really know how much they cost elsewhere. I'm not quite ready though. I'd like to learn more about it.

I had no idea that honeybees had their own subspecies.  They are in the family Apoidea, genus Apis, species mellifera. But there are categories below the mellifera designation that I did not know about.  Fascinating! For example: the German dark bee is Apis mellifera mellifera, the golden bee from Italy is Apis mellifera ligustica, a Slovenian bee called the Carniolan is Apis mellifera carnica, a bee from the Caucasus Mountains in Eastern Europe called the Caucasian honeybee is Apis mellifera caucasica, and the famous "killer" bee from Africa is Apis mellifera scutellata. They each look a little different, have different personalities, and tolerate different climates. All this information I found while reading Susan's book. I'm hooked! The way Susan writes makes Plan Bee an entertaining, easy read. So glad I found it!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

May 28- June 6 2011 Lake Leatherwood

Wow, all it took was a little sunshine to keep me from writing! Let me see if I can remember anything....

We went hiking at Lake Leatherwood in Eureka Springs last Monday (Memorial Day).  It was a really nice day weather-wise. The lakewater was muddy from all the rains, but the streams in the woods were deliciously cool and clear. The one of the bridges across the trail was relocated by the flooding, so I took my sweaty socks and shoes off to wade across the streams.  It was both soothing and painful. We were hot, so the cool water was wonderful on my feet, but since the riverbed was ALL rocks, I did feel a few sharp jabs.

I still have poison ivy all over my hand, so I didn't do much work outside. Plus, it was in the mid to upper 90's and our air-conditioner is on the fritz. I didn't want to get hot outside and not be able to come in and cool off. Apparently the darn thing needs replaced. Thank God for the home warranty that covers this.

Saturday we went back up to Eureka for our friends' party.  Once the weather cooled off, we played volleyball and threw a glowing frisbee around once it got too dark to see the volleyball.

I now have a beautiful pink water lily flower and a white one as well.