Thursday Thoughts

Bee Update
Dagny and Maggie Faith stopped by on Monday to visit their Zierk cousins (who Bill and I were watching for a couple of days). I pinned her down to get an update on the bees. She admitted that she and her father had not checked for a while, but she seemed entirely unconcerned about the queen bee. In her mind, things are fine and honey will be available soon. Being a bit more skeptical, I would feel better if she had actually SEEN the queen, but then I’m not a beekeeper and never will be. I am, however, a honey-eater, and eagerly await D’s Bees Honey.

Climb Every Mountain
I’m going to give you a heads-up on something that will be happening on Sunday. Eleven-year-old Dagny, who has been taking climbing lessons for quite a while, is going to be undertaking her first outdoor technical climb. A friend will guide her on the third Flatiron Mountain in Boulder. The climb will involve quite a bit of elevation and some rappelling. More pertinent to me, it will involve a one-hour hike to even get to the base of the mountain. Bill and I – along with much of Dagny’s kin – will be there to cheer her on. That is, presuming I can make it up to the base of the Flatiron. Fingers crossed. Allen plans to climb as well. Bill and I plan to eat a picnic lunch and hold our collective breath. I will get back to you about the whole adventure.

Back to Normal
I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I had been watching Kaiya, Mylee, and Cole for the past couple of days while their parents are out of town. I dropped them off at school yesterday with a kiss and an I-Love-You, dropped off the suitcases and car seats at their Nana Carol’s and Papa David’s house, where they spent yesterday afternoon and night. As for me, I spent the afternoon sitting in my La-Z-Boy watching the most mindless television imaginable. I’m not apologizing either! But here are a few photos of our adventures…..

Kaiya and Cole made fluffy slime on Monday. Shaving cream makes it fluffy. While the whole slime thing is kind of lost on me, they love it.

Monday afternoon, the kids and I went to Willow Creek Park and played on the play ground a bit. Well, they did. I watched. We then walked a bit to nearby Willow Creek, where Cole threw in about 5 lbs of sand a handful at a time. Kaiya and Mylee preferred racing leaves down the waterfall.

Cole and his Play Doh. What more can I say?

Ciao.

Thursday Thoughts

Not Quite School Daze
I mentioned in a recent blog that all of my Denver grandkids are back in school, but I was wrong. I got a call Tuesday from Maggie Faith. “Can I come over for a little bit?” she asked. I told her of course, but I thought she was in school. Not until this upcoming Monday, she informed me. I was relieved she wasn’t playing hooky. When she arrived, she immediately asked me, “What do you want to do?” as she always does. “Let’s cook something,” she went on to say, and started rooting through my pantry. Maggie likes to take random ingredients she finds in the pantry and “create” a masterpiece. The so-called masterpiece might include pieces of beef jerky cut up into some peanut butter, add a few pepper flakes and a handful of marshmallows, bake for 10 minutes, and then consume. I wasn’t quite up for that, so I suggested instead that we check out Pinterest and find something to make using existing ingredients. We landed on some simple Danish rolls using canned crescent rolls. I actually didn’t have the rolls, so I made a quick run to the grocery store. When I returned, Maggie had persuaded Google Home to play top 40 hits. She was dancing around the kitchen, and had used instant lemonade, instant ice tea, and instant fruit punch (which I didn’t even know I had, so it must have been older than she) to make a punch. “Want some?” she asked. I declined. We set to work on our Danish, and just about the time we got the dough laid out and the cream cheese mixed with the sugar, she got a better offer. Her friend Molly wanted her to come out and play. “Bye Nana,” she said as she hopped on her bike and left me with a dozen-and-a-half almost-put-together Danish rolls. No worries. Papa Bill ate them……

It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye
As I was out on my morning walk the other day, I observed two women standing in front of a car with the back opened. The car was packed to the gills with suitcases and other travel paraphernalia. They were tearfully hugging one another, and I teared up myself. I remember the days when my sister Bec and her family would travel from the East Coast, or my brother Dave and his family would travel to Denver from AZ. We would always have such fun while they were here, and it was so sad to say goodbye. We would all cry.  Say what you will about technology, but with all its flaws, it certainly has made the world smaller and communication easier. What with email and Facetime, I never feel very far away from my family and friends. I hope the woman has a safe trip to wherever she is going.

More Beesness
I telephoned Dagny yesterday to try and ascertain the status of the beehive. You might recall that my last update told you that the queen bee had died and the two apiarists had purchased a new queen. That queen was in a little box that they set inside the hive, the idea being that the drones and workers would get used to her before letting her loose in the hive. According to Dagny, that queen escaped her little box on her own. Apparently it was a bad decision, because she was quickly killed by the worker bees. But alas, all is not yet lost. There is a glimmer of hope. Dagny said that when she and her father checked the other day, it looked like there might have been some eggs that had been laid recently, indicating the existence of another queen. It would be one that the other bees chose, I guess. Or, said Dagny sadly, it might just be the glare of the sun and not eggs at all. Time will tell. I believe Camilla Parker-Bowles Windsor is watching carefully to see how one becomes queen when one is tired of waiting.

Twinkly Citrus
I crocheted these adorable citrus scrubbies this week, and posted them on my Etsy page. They worked up really quickly, and I think they are cute and cheerful-looking. Kaiya was surprised when she checked them out. “I like the way these feel,” she said. Check them out on my Etsy page (link above).

Rapunzel
When Mylee was over at my house the other day, for the first time in a very long time, she didn’t have her hair in pony tails or in a bun. In fact, it was completely loose. I was taken aback at just how long her hair is….

Ciao.

Friday Book Whimsy: Flight Pattern

Karen White is one of the more prolific authors whose books I read. I have found some to be really good and some to be not so good. Flight Patterns was not only really good, I think it might have been the best that I have read to date.

First of all, it incorporates beekeeping into the storyline. And since members of our family have taken up beekeeping (read this post), it is a topic of utmost interest to me. White begins each chapter with a fact about bees, and I found that in and of itself very interesting and fun. Though bees are part of the story, the story itself is not about beekeeping. So if bees aren’t your thing, don’t let that discourage you from reading this very good novel.

Georgia Chambers has been estranged from her family for 10 years. She resides in New Orleans, where she works with china, mostly antique Limoges china. She knows everything there is to know about china patterns, which is what brings her new client James Graf to her. He has found amidst his things a couple of pieces of very unusual china that bears a bumblebee pattern, and he wants to find out the history.

This leads to that, and Georgia finds the need to go back to her home of origin in Apalachicola, Florida – a real town located in the panhandle of the state, on the Gulf of Mexico. She has not seen her sister Maisy, her mother Birdie, or her grandfather (who is an apiarist) since something devastating happened 10 years earlier. Just what that event was is kept a secret throughout the book, with just bits and pieces of clues provided the reader. All we know is that Birdie hasn’t spoken  a word since then, and Maisy won’t have anything to do with Georgia.

The character of Georgia was one of the most interesting characters of any Karen White novel I’ve read. She was private, cold, and yet likable. The pain she feels by being separated from the family she loves so much is spelled out so clearly, I could feel her pain myself. Maisy’s anguish and Birdie’s – well – craziness, are handled in such a way as to not make them disagreeable characters, only troubled.

As all of the pieces fall into place, the reader begins to understand what created such a divided family. The ending was satisfying and not schmaltzy.

Flight Patterns might be one of my favorite reads of 2017.

Here is a link to the book.

 

It’s Not My Beesness

I’ve been hoarding this particular blog story like a survivalist hoards bottled water and cases of beef jerkey. It’s just such a good story. I wanted the time to be right.

The time, my friends, is right. The story must be told. Here’s why…..

Dave fought the bees, and the bees won. This round, at least.

Here’s the thing. My stepson David and his brood have become apiarists. Beekeepers.

Their adventure with bees officially started in late April, though the plans have been in the works for considerably longer than that. And let me be clear. The adventure really is Dave’s and Dagny’s. After all of these years, Jll is not surprised by anything Dave does, so beekeeping didn’t raise an eyebrow. The rest of the kids are marginally interested, but have other things grabbing their attention far more than the bees that have taken residence in the southwest corner of their urban back yard…..

We all know the plight of bees in the world today. For a variety of reasons, including increased use of pesticides, loss of habitat, and disease, honeybees are disappearing. And if bees disappear, the planet loses more than simply honey. Bees pollinate trees and vines that grow almonds, pears, avocados, grapes. What? No wine?

Remember The Bee Movie? Jerry Seinfeld freaked us all out with his animated movie that demonstrated what would happen if there were no more bees. Shortly after that movie was released, Jen, BJ, and Maggie were all eating lunch al fresco, when a bee started buzzing by their table. Jen is allergic to bees, so without giving it a second thought, Maggie swatted the bee with her shoe when it landed on the table, swiftly bringing about its demise. BJ nearly had a heart attack. Do you understand what is happening to the bees?  he asked. Do you understand what would happen to Mom should the bee sting her? was Maggie’s reply.

I don’t dislike bees. I actively dislike wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets, all of which are aggressive and live in my backyard. I kill them every chance I get, despite Dagny’s horror each time she witnesses the murder. For heaven’s sake, I tell her. You guys are running around without shoes on! But bees don’t give me angst because they generally aren’t interested in stinging me. In fact, Alastair told me that despite the fact that he has a bee colony living in his back yard, he has only been stung once, and the bee that did the dirty deed was dead. It was simply lying on its back with its stinger in the air and Alastair stepped on it with the above-mentioned bare feet.

Dagny has been stung on at least one occasion, and the guilty bee was alive when it struck. I was with Dagny shortly after, and I will tell you that besides the pain from the sting, the fact that the bee bit the hands that feed it (it was actually her butt, and she doesn’t feed them) really hurt her feelings. Why, Nana, why?…..

 

To date, Dave’s and Dagny’s bees are increasing in number. Recently, they have been observed bearding, which is when they accumulate roughly in the shape of a beard for a couple of reasons: 1) It’s hot outside and they are trying to cool down the inside of the hive so that Her Majesty the Queen is comfortable; or 2) They are getting ready to swarm, meaning take off for another hive. Apparently Dave and Dagny’s bees were just hot because they’re still there……

The bees have also begun the process of filling in the honeycomb with wax, which, if I understand it, means they will begin producing honey soon.

It won’t be long now before we will be seeing our first batches of D’s Honey, so get your order in early.

Unless, of course, Dave dumps the whole hive in the river in disgust once he can again see out of his left eye.

This post linked to Grammy’s Grid.

Saturday Smile: The Sunny Side of Life

In a period that was sort of sad for Bill and me following the death of his mother, the grandkids once again provided necessary smiles.

We hadn’t even gotten home from Chicago when this photo arrived in my inbox with the message Guess who got her braces off?…..

The answer, of course, is Kaiya. Since she is only 8, I’m sure the braces were only preliminary, since orthodontists have figured out that if they can convince parents that kids should have braces twice instead of once, they could take more vacations. But isn’t she pretty? And proud. And happy, because now she can drink root beer.

The night of Wilma’s funeral, the family gathered at a restaurant. The adults liked chatting with family members they hadn’t seen for a while, but it was kind of boring for the kids. Joseph and Micah, however, were able to keep themselves occupied and content for quite some time, perhaps enjoying some quiet time away from cousins — and each other….

We stayed at a hotel that served a free breakfast each morning. Alastair came down the first morning, hair quite askew, and made his version of the perfect waffle — no butter, no syrup, lots of whipped cream….

I couldn’t stop myself from taking a picture of Micah’s fully little-boy knees, all scraped up….

Last but most assuredly not least, Miss Dagny shows off her beekeeper’s attire as she and her family embark upon a beekeeping adventure. They have the clothes; they have prepared a spot in the back yard; now they just are awaiting the bees. A lot of cuteness underneath the protective gear…..

Have a great weekend.