The Things We’ve Learned about Charlie

It hasn’t taken David and me long to learn things about Charlie. He’s pretty much who he said he was on that Saturday at the shelter. No false pretenses. No game playing. Just a laid-back lab with soulful brown eyes.

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David and I do suspect that Charlie is a bit younger than everyone guessed. Maybe he did try to cover up puppy tendencies. He likes to gnaw on stuff. The cushion, the rug, and his new dog bed. Or he’s in the toddler stage because he acts out by chewing up stuff when he doesn’t get his way.

In all fairness, Charlie has figured out that we are older than he suspected. Why? We are boring. We are quiet. We like being on the porch, drinking our coffee, eating dinner, and watching sunrises and sunsets. David listens to jazz. Charlie has found his own spot in the corner, under David’s feet. He must be ok with the music selection.

Charlie probably has notes about us (I wonder where he keeps them) as we have learned the following about him.

  • He loves the soybeans. All we can see is the top of his tail as he tracks imaginary critters through the rows. Or maybe they aren’t imaginary.
  • He knows “sit” and does it well for treats. He’s no dummy.
  • He hates storms and thunder. He goes to the basement. Again, no dummy.
  • He’s David’s dog. He rushes to him in the afternoon, tail wagging, when he comes home from work. I think he tolerates me.
  • He does yoga stretches when he lays down and makes a funny yawning noise.
  • He can climb the neighbor’s gate. I saw it happen.
  • He loves to sleep above the floor. The chair, the extra bed in the basement, and the couch. Anywhere he can get without being caught.
  • He loves bacon.
  • He doesn’t like Pringles.
  • He wants no part of chasing a tennis ball. He looks at David with his “stupid human” gaze. He does like rolling in the grass.
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  • Charlie is oddly particular about where he takes care of business. He will hold it forever, scouting for the perfect spot. Personally, I think he does it just to see how impatient the humans will get.

And finally…..

  • We knew we couldn’t keep him on a leash forever. I mean what fun is that for country dog? We took him to the creek. He did a walk about after a refreshing dip in the creek. We weren’t sure he would come back. Thankfully, before David and I reached the house, we heard paw-thunder behind us.

I think Charlie is keeping us.

Meet Charlie

Meet Charlie. He’s a lab mix. He’s probably 4 or 5 years old. We don’t know exactly. The  puppy is long gone. His coat is dark with a patch of mange. He’s a bit wormy. His eyes are dark like his coat. He seems mature and a little sad.

We don’t know Charlie’s story, but we hope to start a new one with him. David and I adopted him from the pound. The pound called him Richie. We thought he needed a new name with his new story. The pound is a sad place to land. Noisy, crowded, and doing what they can on a shoe string budget. We hope our place will be a happy place for Charlie.

We talked  about getting another dog here on Windy Hill. Waking up to a rainy Saturday, it was a good day to visit the pound. We walked in and there sat a black dog between the cages of barking dogs. With his head on his paws, he ignored the ruckus around him. David and I wanted a low maintenance, laid back dog. No yipping, no puppy chewing, just a low-key canine that might sit and enjoy the sunsets with us. Charlie starred and conveyed, “I can do that”.

We signed the papers agreeing to things like getting him neutered, bring him back versus giving him away if he isn’t a fit, and don’t let him terrorize the neighbors. We signed, took his pills, and realized we had to get him home in the Highlander.Charlie in car

We made a trip to Walmart with Charlie in the back. David went for supplies. A collar, leash, a doggie bed, and bowls. While David shopped, Charlie took the liberty of jumping over the back seat, climbing in the passenger seat, taking over the driver seat, blowing the horn a few times, fogging up the windows, and shedding all over the tan interior. With Charlie sitting in my lap, I recognized the fact I was in a small space with a dog I knew nothing about. It didn’t seem to bother Charlie that he knew nothing about me.charlie in car2

Charlie was introduced to our Biscuit. She sniffed him. He sniffed her and walked away. Biscuit was a bit more disgusted with the fact we had another dog. Charlie seemed to shrug. After all, he just came from a place with a bunch of competition. We put Charlie on the screened porch to start acclimating to the place. He took over the wicker furniture. David put on his new red collar (it looks nice with his black hair) and walked him on a leash. Later, Charlie walked without his leash. David got his steps in because Charlie went to the bridge first thing. I guess he was headed back to town. He will certainly need more time on the porch.Charlie on wicker

We know there’s no promises that Charlie will start his story with us even as we try to start one with him. Stay tuned and wish Charlie luck. Chances are he’s out on the porch creating a story about the two old people that adopted him and made him take a bath.  We are waiting to tell him about the upcoming vet visit……………………..

On a side note, if you’re looking for a dog to love or a kitten to love you (there’s some adorable and fluffy kittens at the Warren County shelter…especially the little gray and white one) visit your local animal shelter. Vist their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Warren-County-Animal-Control-and-Adoption-Center-McMinnville-TN-599515966737334/

More Beekeeping Adventures

It’s been a while since I posted my ramblings. The days pass so quickly.

If you’ve read any of my earlier post on my beekeeping adventures, you know I requeened one of the hives and started another hive last month. Now that it’s over, I realize it was a good learning experience (sort of like raising teenagers). After the two-week checkup, it seemed Queen Liz and Victoria were successfully doing their thing and the original queen was good too (I should give her a name, so she doesn’t feel left out). Other than feeding, I decided to leave them be for a while. A rest from my prodding hive tool. By the way, between David’s hummingbirds and the bees, we need sugar cane in the field instead of soybeans.

From everything I’ve read and watched, August and September are varroa mite treatment time. This is the part of beekeeping I’ve been dreading. It encourages me to move to Australia where no mites exist. It seems so complicated compared to treating the dog for fleas. There’s so much information and opinions about mites and beetles. Suggested treatments include organic, essential oils (who knew there’s a difference in food grade and aromatherapy), strips, oxalic acid, or do nothing. As a newbie, the opinions and options are overwhelming. I thought about ignoring it all and pretending MY hives would never have mites, but that attitude will likely doom the girls to a winter death. We’ve been through too much to let that happen.

This brings me to the testing for mites. Alcohol wash or sugar shake? Certain death or be cleaned off by your sister bees. Sugar shake it is. This past Saturday my goal was to test the hives. First, I should have listened to the ladies when they gave the signs they wanted no part of testing. There was a hard rain the night before and it was clear right from the beginning they were not in a good mood. I chose to ignore. Bad idea. Layering on top of an already bad disposition, I took 300 rowdy bees and placed them in a jar, dropped in powdered sugar, rolled it around, and shook for a full minute over a white bucket. You tell me what kind of mood you’d been in after that. After a sting through the gloves and two angry guard bees chasing me to the barn, I waved my flag and said no-way to testing the other hive.

The single test did reveal a few small brown spots that could be mites. Bad eyesight and inexperience did not confirm anything 100%. I went back later and used cooking oil spray on the white boards under the screened bottoms to monitor mites (another testing method found on YouTube). Twenty-four hours later, I pulled the boards. Yes, there are some little brown round spots, but again, inexperience and eyesight will not confirm mite infestation.  Using the better safe than sorry method, I’m treating in the next week or so. I’d rather give them a drag off a fogger using oxalic acid and 190 proof grain alcohol than risk the death of the hives (I’m following Dave with Barnyard Bee’s advice). On that note, one can buy anything from Amazon.

Stay tuned as my fogger, 190 proof alcohol, oxalic acid, and respirator arrive in the mail. One small propane tank from Walmart and things should get interesting. I think the mention of the propane tank scared the hubby.

Cook and Food Stylist for a Day

The Regional Telco Magazine is written and designed by WordSouth, A Content Marketing Company. It’s created on behalf of about 20 telecom companies across the country. It goes to 275,000 readers. That’s a lot of eyeballs. I’ve worked with WordSouth for about 8 years. Talented people and great friends. In each magazine, there’s a recipe. I mean a magazine isn’t a magazine without a recipe, right?

WordSouth found themselves in need of a cook and photographer for a couple of upcoming editions. My sister Shelly, Miller Photography, has worked for WordSouth before doing some cover and employee photos.  Although her clients are mainly business, sports teams, family photos, and senior photography (high school not people my age), she has experience in the food styling arena. That makes one of us.

Next, a cook. Someone to prepare the recipes. This is where I come in. I really don’t consider myself much of a cook.  Granted, I have a brand new renovated kitchen, but Hello Fresh has been more my speed since retirement. I can follow a recipe though. How hard can it be?

The tides turned a bit when one recipe turned into four. Shelly determined it would be more efficient to photograph several of the recipes at the same time. Something about setting up the lights and equipment. I understood trying to be more efficient, but then the recipes arrived. It just got scary.

First, meatloaf cupcakes with cauliflower frosting (I struggled to get over the cupcake part). Second, lava cakes. Ok, I can do lava cakes with whipped cream. Who doesn’t love chocolate?  Next, sausage and cherry stuffing. Cherries? Can I find a turkey in July? (Thanks grocery store for searching the back freezer.) Last, more stuffing. Thank goodness, it is stuffing in a 9 x 13 baking pan and no bird.

The preparation starts the night before. The stuffing recipes call for five cups of chopped onions (I need goggles), four cups of celery, nine cups of bread cubes (I bought too much bread), and 6 cups of crumbled cornbread (can I find that in the bread section), and a 14lb frozen turkey trying to defrost (sing this to the tune of 12 days of Christmas). Amid the chopping and crying, I received a text from WordSouth saying, “you can do half a recipe”. Dang, why didn’t I think of that?

It was a full day of cooking and photographing. The cauliflower frosting gave us some fits. Nothing a little time in the freezer didn’t fix (not me, the frosting). The lava cakes were scrumptious (yes, we ate them after the photos). I learned a food styling trick with the turkey. Broil it in the oven until it’s a pretty bronze, photograph it, and cook it later. The cherry stuffing was cooked thoroughly, and it was delicious. The last pan of dressing was set on a table decorated for fall (thank you to my sister Kathy for all her fall decor). We wrapped up the day with our hubbies sampling the odd mixture of dishes for dinner. We told them to pretend it’s Thanksgiving in July.

In the end, my renovated kitchen was a disaster and all dishes were dirty. Even so, it was a good day and a new adventure. Retirement does not mean boring. I also discovered that I continue to learn new things. Like how to broil a turkey (still frozen) making it appear delicious and toasty in a photo. And more importantly, will readers really be able to tell if I chopped 5 cups of onions? Didn’t think so.

5-4-3-2-1 – Windy Hill Consulting

I read a lot. I like blogs, books, quotes, and stories of positivity. I read diet books too, but none of them have made it happen for me. For my birthday last week, my son gifted me Kindle Unlimited. I tell him he’s my favorite son.

Since I’ve left the 8 to 5 schedule, I read more casual stuff like beekeeping for beginners and Hello Fresh directions. Still, I do love a professional read encouraging me to use my brain cells and take advantage of the time I have left to do more. A perfect example, The 5-Second Rule written by Mel Robbins. Her book spoke volumes to me because I’m a procrastinator when it comes to personal goals and decisions. I admit it. Give me a work project deadline and I’m all over it. You know, the type A, fear of failure thing. Make it about personal growth and I’ll sit on it for days. Fine, months or years.

I loved my job in telecom marketing and would have worked longer if my work address had been in my home zip code. I was spending more time sitting in Nashville traffic, growing tired of leaving David on Monday mornings, and realizing life is short. So, I hung up my driving gloves last December. When I told the locals and industry friends I retired, nine out of ten asked what I planned to do next. My eye sometimes twitched. I changed up my replies between consulting, teaching, and drinking coffee. Drinking coffee is certainly the easiest.

Mel Robbins’ complete concept is to stop putting off stuff. Stuff that is uncomfortable. Her single tool is to count from 5 down to 1 and then just do it. Sort of like Nike with less perspiration. First time I used it was after attending beginner beekeeping class. I knew I could overthink starting beehives for months. The class ended at lunch. Sitting in the parking lot with rain pouring down, 5-4-3-2-1, I called the local beekeeper to order two colonies of bees. 5-4-3-2-1, I ordered two new hives boxes from the neighboring county. Money spent. Commitment made. Three hives now in the yard.

Next, 5-4-3-2-1, do I want to consult or teach? Can I do both?

5-4-3-2-1, fill out application to teach at Motlow Community College.

5-4-3-2-1, choose a name for your consulting company.

5-4-3-2-1, write a business plan.

5-4-3-2-1, sign up for free classes in Chattanooga at the TSBDC (I highly recommend their seminars.).

5-4-3-2-1, hire a graphic designer for a logo.

5-4-3-2-1, hire a webpage developer.

There’s no going back from starting the development of a business website unless you admit failure before you begin. Starting a business is scary. All aspects are scary. If not, no one would be reading The 5-Second Rule to get over the humps. I did find that writing content for your own website is like a mirror. A self-examination into the things that you enjoy and do well. Equally, the things you don’t want to do because they aren’t fun (like wrinkles). It’s not a bad exercise for this spot in life. It’s a confirmation of why consulting and teaching is a good choice.

I admit that without the 5-second rule pushing me along, I’d still be pondering the next step over a cup of coffee. Here I am though with a new website launched moving forward into the next adventure. Whether anyone hires me or not, at least I can tell people that I’m a consultant versus a professional coffee drinker.

Need some marketing help? Putting off a project because there aren’t enough hours in the day?

5-4-3-2-1, visit my website, give me a call.

http://www.carriehuckeby.com  – Windy Hill Consulting

Now There are Three

Many of you may tire of my chatter about the bees. Honestly, I get tired myself from my own lack of experience and watching YouTube about bees. Granted, they are fascinating creatures, but I’m beginning to think they are like putting children through college. Every week there’s a new expense.

If you read my post last week, you know that I THOUGHT the hives were queenless. Evidently, they were just taking a rest. When I opened them up a few days later, there were eggs, larvae, and capped brood. I was mixed with happiness and indecision because I had already ordered their replacements. After all, my second opinion had said, “Your bees will be dead in 6 weeks.”  I had $100 of shipping and new bees on their way. Like I told my fellow bee association member, we beekeepers can be our own worst enemy.

Thanks to Wolf Creek Bees here in middle Tennessee, Queen Liz and Queen Victoria arrived on Friday with lovely red marks on their heads (I’m hoping the red will help these old eyeballs). I placed them on the kitchen counter, covered them with a dishcloth, and wondered what to do. I wasn’t positive the original queens were in there, but eggs didn’t get there by themselves. If they were still in there, I now had too many queens.

Despite the 90-degree weather, I suited up and went into the lower hive on Friday. This being the hive that I had never located the queen. After examining several frames, I spotted her. Matter of fact, she seemed to run straight at me while I unsuccessfully attempted to wrangle her. I’m guessing she was a bit perturbed because I kept taking the roof off her house. Next thing I know she’s out of the hive on the ground. In that moment, I had to decide. I ended her life then and there. After all, Queen Vic was sitting on the cabinet waiting for her colony. It was still sad.

I started with the next hive. No luck queen hunting. Chances are she heard about the neighbor. I called dehydration and went to the house. Saturday morning, I convinced David to go with me. Four eyeballs must be better than two. The day before I smoked the hive a lot and put a queen excluder in between the two brood boxes. I thought I might narrow the search to the bottom box.

Suddenly, there she was. Like the first queen, she was making her escape to any dark corner available. Running out of the box and down the side, we lost her in the crowd. Persistence paid off. David spotted her hiding under the box handle. I caught her and held her in my glove. David asked what now. I just couldn’t bear to end her life.

I put her in a nuc box and closed it tight. I came back to the house, called another bee association member, watched Dave at Barnyard Bees split a hive (I hear Dave’s intro in my head at night…this is Dave with Barnyard Bees) and went back and did exactly what he said. David wasn’t thrilled about catching the queen again, but he did, and we put the original queen back in her hive. I mean, she did nothing wrong. Queen Liz went into the new split and now I have three hives.

There’s many reasons it may fail. The hive is a new one. It’s late in the year and I’ll have to feed them like male teenagers. The bees may all go back to the original hive. Right now, the nuc is sitting on my front porch among the potted plants. They seem to like their new red spotted queen just fine and working their way through the candy glob on the end. Same for Queen Victoria in the other hive.

As I heard David telling our son, it was a stressful week for these beekeepers. Most of it coming from the inexperience and lack of knowledge about beekeeping. Believe me when I say, there’s more to this beekeeping thing than you can imagine. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret starting, but maybe I should have given sheep or chickens more consideration.

Beekeeping – The Queen has Left the Building

Ask any experienced beekeeper about having hives and they will tell you that it’s expensive and challenging. If the conversation lasts long enough, they will also tell you it gets in your blood and can be a little bit of fun. The jury is still out on that one. Right now, I’m finding it more challenging than fun, but I guess there is reward in that.

It has been about 3 weeks or so since I said hello to the bees. At the time, the frames were getting close to the 80/20 rule requiring another super (box). I struggled in all previous inspections to find the queen in the lower hive, but I knew she was in there. According to all the books I read, and YouTube videos watched, there was a good ratio of drone brood, larvae, and capped brood. She was doing her job.  I found the same in the first hive and located the queen right off. No crown or anything but doing her job in the upper hive as well. I now know I should have marked her when I had the chance.

Last week, I convinced the hubby to help me with the inspection. I knew another set of muscles and eyeballs would come in handy. The supers are getting heavy and a one-person inspection takes longer. Especially in 95-degree heat. It’s difficult to see eggs with netting and sweat running down your nose.

We cracked open the first hive and it was busy with activity. The frames were heavy with honey. But then, as I pulled each frame out for inspection, there wasn’t any brood to speak of. Mainly honey. I searched for the queen and was not able to locate her. We went into the second hive. Same thing. Lots of honey, but sporadic spots of brood. Again, we could not locate the queen.

It was time to pull out the “I need some help card” so I called the president of the local bee association. I told him I could really use a second opinion. The best sounding words to these ears were “get the smoker going, I’m on my way”.

It was amazing to watch an experienced beekeeper inspect the frames. He moved through them one by one, showing me what to look for, and pointing out what might have been a queen cell. It was empty.  Like me, he couldn’t locate the queens in either hive and confirmed there wasn’t any baby making going on. The worst sounding words were “your bees are going to be dead in 6 weeks if you don’t requeen”. He gave me contact information for purchasing new queens…yep this beekeeping thing is expensive….but I can’t call it quits.

I’m finding one of the challenges of beekeeping is knowing what happened. Did I wait too long to add another super and she was crowded? Did they swarm? Did I squish them during inspection? Maybe I killed one and the other moved out? I know 3 weeks ago she was in there. The books say if no eggs, she’s been gone at least 3 weeks. It would have had to be right after I inspected last time. (This is the reason to take good notes when opening the hives.)

Anyway, I’ll open at least one of the hives tomorrow, the one with a little brood, and see if I can locate her one more time. Maybe she’s a young queen and she’s taking a break. Or maybe she is older, like me, and she’s tired. Maybe she didn’t like the neighborhood and just gathered her entourage and left. Whatever happened, if I’m staying with this beekeeping thing, I’ve got a problem that must be fixed.

So, if you need me today, I’ll be watching videos about introducing new queens to the kingdom. Wish me luck…oh, and if any of you fellow beekeepers have any tips, please send my way.

closeup photo of yellow sunflower in bloom

Photo by padma aleti on Pexels.com

The Road to Pawhuska

Shelly and I like road trips. We went to Waco last year to the Magnolia Market. This year, we planned a trip to Pawkuska, OK. We wanted to see what Ree Drummond had happening at her Merchantile, or the Merc as she calls it.

I’ve been a long-time fan of the Pioneer Woman blog. I don’t remember who told me about her website years ago, but I was hooked by her marketing genius. I admired her ability to combine several aspects of her life into one website. She gave us a peek into her daily happenings, provided photography tips, and made throwing together a meal look easy. I admit I’m more of a Hello Fresh gal, but I have tried several of her recipes. I even admit to having a couple of her cookbooks. I’m a big fan of the olive bread and apple dumplings.

Originally our plan was to make the 12.5-hour (one-way) trip from home. It took us the same amount of time to get to Waco last year. Our plans changed when the week of our trip coordinated with another trip to Omaha, NE. We checked the distance and decided we could rent a car in Omaha, drive the 6 hours to Pawhuska, and fly out of Tulsa. That’s exactly what we did.

There’s not a lot to see between Omaha and Pawhuska, but the landscape is calming. There’s lots of blue sky. We were surprised to see gardens already flourishing and corn growing in the field. They must have got a jump on us with drier weather. We made a stop in Auburn, NE for gas and coffee. We stopped at a little place that served tacos for lunch and coffee all day. My latte was awesome.

We reached Pawhuska around 2 on Thursday afternoon. Although we heard the horror stories of long lines and crowds, we were pleasantly surprised to find parking in front of the Merc and no lines. Lodge tours were the day before. I’m guessing there’s more people on those days. It would have been OK to see the lodge, but it’s not on my bucket list. I imagine if you’re a fan of her show, the lodge where it’s filmed is a must see. If you go, be sure to check the schedule.

The shopping area is smaller than I expected. Most of the square footage is taken by the restaurant and upstairs bakery. Kitchen items and Ree’s (I don’t know her personally. Is it ok to call her Ree?) cookbooks are the main items of the Merc’s inventory. There are T-shirts and her signature tunics. The colors of the cookware and tunics are gorgeous. Since I just finished a renovation, I was flying out of Tulsa, and don’t look like her in a tunic, I wasn’t looking to make big purchases. I longingly admired a beautiful leather purse and a turquoise bread box. I left them behind. My suitcase was full. There’s always online ordering.

What you can’t get online is the eats. There was no waiting for the restaurant. Shelly and I halved an order of the olive bread. Yum! I had tomato soup and grilled cheese. Shelly ordered chicken parmesan. There was a lot of it. It made a nice dinner back at the hotel. Shelly shared.

After eating lunch and more browsing, we made our way upstairs to the bakery. I bought a blonde brownie. It gave me the sugar shivers. Shelly had a truffle. We both ordered the spicy cowgirl coffee. I found it a little too spicy for this old farmgirl with occasional hot flashes. It’s probably better on a cooler day. Shelly drank every drop of hers, cayenne pepper and all. Show off!

There’s no comparison between Waco and Pawkuska regarding the population and size of towns. In Waco, you can spend much of the day at Magnolia, but then visit many nearby stores and shops. Pawhuska stands more on its own. Unless you’re standing in long lines, making your way through the Mercantile might take an hour. Add eating time, without the lines, and you spend three. If going to the lodge, I imagine it turns into a longer day. You can spend more time browsing through additional shops or driving through Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. The entrance is right around the corner.

What is comparable between Waco and Pawkuska are the long-term effects being made possible with the revitalization of a specific area. As a marketing person, I admire the vision. Their own business initiatives plus the ones that spin off contribute so much to their communities. New job potential, additional tax revenue, and tourist dollars. Small towns need it for survival.

I’m hesitate to recommend making a 24-hour (home and back) road trip to Pawhuska unless you’re a much bigger fan than me, or you plan to make other stops. A plane ticket may be in order. I will say that however you choose to get there, it’s certainly worth the destination experience.IMG_0223IMG_0213IMG_0208

Bee Love

I admit I was naïve about beekeeping. My intentions were good. Get some hives, do my part to save our agricultural future, and harvest some honey in the process. On top of being naïve about the amount of knowledge needed, I certainly didn’t expect to feel genuine concern for the little creatures. After all, it’s not like having a dog.  I didn’t give them names like the neighbor does with her chickens and sheep. Hive #1 and Hive #2 is certainly sufficient.

To start from the beginning, I set up the hives about 4 weeks ago with two colonies. Since then, I’ve mixed up their bottles (jars of sugar water), monitored their flight paths, observed the pollen on their back quarters, and studied up on mites and beetles. I waited for them to acclimate to their new homes before pulling off the roof to check what was happening. The truth is I put it off until I felt I had watched enough YouTube videos. I know nothin’ about conducting a beehive inspection. Seriously, I’m still trying to figure out the difference in brood, burr comb, and honey. Not mentioning how to keep a smoker smoking.

After deciphering a little information from each of the 5,000 videos on the subject, I hoped I knew enough to crack the lid. I took notebook and pen, pretending that I would actually know enough to write something down. After a little smoke in the first hive, I took off the lid. There seemed to be thousands of bees, but then I spotted the white larvae. I felt panic. Is that a baby bee? Is that a worm? What is that?  I put the lid back in place, took off my gloves, and scribbled in my notebook…I NEED A BEE MENTOR!

I went back to the house, shot off an email to a fellow bee association member, and called up YouTube. The white stuff is wax moth. Wax moths set up camp in the empty real estate in the hive if there aren’t enough bees to protect the space. So, after some advice and two or three videos, I suited up, went back to tackle the intruders, and do some frame shifting. The bees weren’t excited to see me again, but I told them it was for their own good.

I knew Hive #1 and Hive#2 wouldn’t be glad to see me a third time, but I went to inspect the work the next day. The bees seemed happy, undisturbed by my presence (other than one overzealous guard bee), and buzzing with work. As I placed the frames back in line, fanned to keep from squishing, admired their little wings and cuteness, protected my babies, I realized….. I just fell in love. I felt the weight of responsibility for their well being.

I’ve heard there is no money in beekeeping, it’s expensive, and requires maintenance. Those comments are normally followed by “but it gets in your blood”. I now understand what they mean.

I wonder how many names I need. Hive #1 and Hive #2 now seems so impersonal.

Bee Love

36 Years……

Being in a long marriage is a little bit like that nice cup of coffee every morning—I might have it every day, but I still enjoy it.” Stephen Gaines

I sat and watched David fix a leak under the sink this weekend. He said he hated plumbing as he shook his head, starred at the issue, and FIXED it. I sat in my chair at the bar, drank my coffee, and supervised. Not really. I know nothing about plumbing. What I did do is think about being married to this man for 36 years today.

We were kids when we married. I’m sure we didn’t think it at the time, but we were. I was 19 and he was 21. Yep, kids. Thankfully, we’ve grown up together. We’ve spent a lot of time apart. He worked midnights for several years and I worked and traveled. I’ve spent several years working in another state. We’ve had independence, but always secure in where we belong. We’ve swapped chores when needed with no assignment based on roles. David makes a mean pan of cornbread and loves using the iron skillets. I’m a Hello Fresh and crock pot girl. He makes me waffles with blueberries (contributes to my retirement weight gain). He changed as many diapers, if not more, than I did.

I wondered if and when I retired, if we would get on each other’s nerves. So far, we are good. Several have asked him if he is adjusting to me being home every day. Each time he gives the same answer. He tells them that he loves having me around. Even after 36 years, I know he means it. A few days ago, he told me that he enjoys my company. Good thing since I hope we are both around for a while. He also said that he wishes for us to have another 36 years together. That is sweet, but I don’t think it will be very pretty or realistic.

When I talked about getting a couple of bee hives, he said to go for it. He told me that it would have to be a “Carrie” hobby because of his work and mowing habit. Funny thing about bees, they seem to draw you in (they are fascinating critters). First, he helped level the hives and get the area ready (He knows I’m horrible at leveling). Second, he helped catch a swarm I found in a nearby pine tree (I know nothin’ about catching a swarm). Just other day, he made two new opening reducers to fit the hives with feeders. As he walked toward me with the reducers, I remember thinking this man hates buying presents and cards for any occasion, but he makes me waffles and builds bee hive parts. Who needs cards (I’m trying to be a minimalist anyway)  and presents?

Happy Anniversary David, life is good here with you on Windy Hill.pexels-photo-1036844.jpeg