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

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.