Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May 2017- So far!

Ugh, what am I? The worst blogger in the world? Probably πŸ˜‚

I admit, my posts have been more sporadic than even I intended. I'm just so in the zone working on my fiction piece. I keep thinking I've got it finished, and as I go to do my final read, I usually decide I want to add more and write furiously until I think I've finished again. At this point, the cycle repeats itself. It's quite the process, trying to write a book. I've been doing research online to see how many words adult novels are supposed to be and I've found quite the wide range of answers. I've read 55,000 words would be considered adult fiction while other sites state that's way too short. Some say 110,000 words is the maximum amount of words a novel should be, but then I discovered some of my most favorite novels are way longer than that so-called ceiling. 'Gone Girl'? 145,700 words. 'Big Little Lies'? 142,600 words. 'The Martian' hits 124,000 and 'The Da Vinci Code' comes in at 138,000. I think my new goal is 90,000. I vacillate daily from thinking I'm utterly crazy and destined to fail, to believing I can do this while pumping one fist in the air. So, to quote what has become my official party line, I apologize for the lack of recipes and posts. I've barely been cooking while in the zone, let alone working on any photography.

While I've been cramming every spare minute with as much writing as I can, this month has also been extremely busy on the family, garden, and bee fronts. My head spins when I think about everything the hubby and I've already done this month- birthday's, Cinco de Mayo, Mother's Day, a hard frost after we'd planted the tomatoes, soccer and baseball games, a graduation party. I've got pictures of a few of those things to share, but I've been a lousy photographer as of late. The photo above was my first turtle sighting of the year, always one of my favorite parts about the weather breaking. I feel like they always look at me with such consternation, but I couldn't help admiring the intricate scales on his front legs. He was actually in the middle of our gravel lane, so I moved him across the road 🐒

Our oldest nephew's birthday was at the beginning of the month, so he got to have his annual birthday sleepover at our house. The day we celebrated his birthday he actually played baseball all day and still had tons of energy to come to our house. We took him shopping so he could pick out a present and then out to dinner. The next day, he got some first-hand education on honey bees. The hubby suited him up and took him out to open the hive boxes. 

He said it was kind of scary, even with the suit on, but "totally cool". Ah, 11-year old's 😊

The hubby said he even got to show the nephew one of our queens. 

The dogs continue to insist the mornings are cold πŸ˜‚

I was heading out to feed the birds one day and was shocked to find 7 mice at the bottom of one one of my buckets. All I could think about was how much my grandma would've screamed if she'd seen them as Grandma was terrified of mice. I never understood her fear when I was little. I would just ask why she was afraid of mice when they don't have stingers like bees, ha ha. It's definitely easier to see as an adult that you really can't control your phobias. I'm not so scared of mice, so I took them up our gravel lane and let them out in the field by the main road. 

The hubby and I always celebrate Cinco de Mayo, one of my personal favorite holidays to celebrate. I made homemade salsa and guacamole and my favorite Cheese Enchiladas for dinner. I've changed up the recipe a bit on my enchiladas, so I'm going to have to eventually post a recipe for that! We  had margaritas at first, but eventually we had to switch to Corona. We be getting old y'all! Haloti loves beer so he was super interested in the hubby's bottle. And that lime πŸ˜‚

My dad's birthday was the same day as our nephew's actually. He requested German Chocolate Cake Brownies this year for his birthday treat. I cut a little strip off the end and had the hubby taste-test them when he got home from work one day. Apparently, he didn't know the brownies were for my dad and by the time he got done changing out of his work clothes, I'd vacuum-sealed them for shipping. He was not happy, so I'm making him his own batch this week. I'll talk pictures this time too so I can share the recipe. Everyone who's tried the brownies have raved about them, so I think this recipe is a winner!

Remember how I said I had to plant those root-bound tomatoes and I was hoping with all my might that we wouldn't have a late frost? Well, guess what?

We had a late frost.

Sooooooo, I covered my raised bed that had the tomatoes planted and also the one where I'd planted beans. We also covered up my herb garden with all the basil, parsley, and chamomile seedlings. I'm happy to say our efforts were rewarded because absolutely everything in the garden made it through that frosty night with no issues. 

I've even got baby tomatoes growing already. Astounding πŸ€—

Little strawberries are growing too. This is amazing because I didn't have fruit until July last year. I'm getting berries almost 2 months earlier than last year! I hope this means they'll still produce until our first frost in October, but I guess we'll see. 

The tomatoes looking perky, having survived too much fertilizer, being root-bound, transplant shock, and a hard frost. 

That being said, this may be the 1st year I have tomatoes grown from seed. This was a hardy group, since you read everything I did to these poor plants. At any rate, they look amazing. I mulched them with grass clippings this year instead of straw and they seem pretty happy with it. 

The homestead has been a very exciting place for the last couple of days. We've had 3 honey bee swarms on the property within the last week. One of our own hives swarmed last Thursday, moving high up into a tree where we couldn't get them. On Saturday, an entirely different swarm showed up. These little bees were darker than our Italian bees, they looked more like our Russian variety. The swarm that showed up on Saturday was actually within reach, so the hubby decided to try and catch them. The photo above is the swarm in a tree.

The hubby suited up and began to cut away all the vines from the tree. Shockingly, no one seemed to care that he was pruning the tree. The bees all just stayed in their ball, so very calm. It was an amazing experience. The hubby explained that bees are the most docile when they swarm. Bees usually sting when they are protecting honey and/or brood, and bees in a swarm have neither. I actually found the swarm, and the hubby and I just stood in the middle of it while thousands of bees were in the air around us. We were not suited up at that point and neither one of us were stung. 

After the hubby trimmed all the vines, he began coating the bees with sugar water (so they couldn't fly away) and then he used a bee brush to knock them into a bucket. He got about half the bees in the bucket and then had to actually chop that tree down to get the rest of the swarm. But we did it! After we captured them, we introduced them to a hive and they've stuck around for a couple of days. We're crossing our fingers they stay, but so far, so good!

Don't worry, the hubby drilled tons of air holes in the top of the bucket. They were only in there for about an hour before we transferred them to a hive 🐝

I came home yesterday morning from the grocery store to find yet another swarm in the backyard, a whole new set of bees! They moved high up in a tree, so we definitely won't be catching that one. If the pattern continues though, there could be another swarm here today! Free bees anyone? πŸ˜‚

Saturday night after catching the bees (which took a couple of hours, something we hadn't planned on!) we went to a charity event for one of the local high school's football teams. They had a casino night theme which turned out to be so much fun. The fundraiser included a meal catered by one of the local restaurants which was excellent and beer was free the whole night! The hubby and I each played Blackjack for about an hour and I'm proud to say I held even while I played. Usually I'm a big loser, so this was new to me! 

The organizers of the event had hired a live band and people were dancing until well after midnight. The hubby and I are thinking we might do this again next year, we had that much fun. Something different for date night plus we helped the kids get some equipment 🏈 

The next day was Mother's Day and after drinking and dancing until the wee hours of the night, we were moving slow. But we lived πŸ˜‚  We had the hubby's whole family over for a barbecue and I didn't take a single picture. I think that tells you how I was feeling!

At any rate, the plan right now is to get lots of writing on my novel done this week. My calendar has filled up quicker than I planned though, so I'm not sure how much I'll get done. Seriously, where does all the time go??

I hope everyone had a fantastic Mother's Day weekend and your week is flying by! Happy Wednesday friends!


  1. Well, you certainly haven't been laying around eating bonbons lol I have to admit... the bees freak me out. Y'all are brave!

    Bubba likes beer too and he tries really hard to get some. Cracks me up, actually.

    I'm glad your garden survived the frost and I hope you get lots of veggies :)


    1. I've been considering buying non-alcoholic dog beer for Haloti. I bet he would like it... πŸ€”πŸΊπŸΆπŸ˜‚

      I hope all is well with you Rue!

  2. It sounds like you've been busy! I can't wait to see that brownie recipe, it sounds like a winner! My dad's hive seems to be doing well. I think it would be kind of fun to have one, but I'm not sure my hubby would be on board. And honestly the mice would have freaked me out a bit ;-) Good luck on the writing!

    1. I just posted the link to those brownies in my latest post, since I never got around to posting it. Definitely a winning recipe! πŸ‘πŸ»

      Have a great weekend Carlee! πŸ˜ƒ

  3. My wonder you have not been blogging much. You have been a very busy lady pursuing your goals, enjoying family time, celebrating and tending to bees. Sounds like a great choice to me!

    1. Thanks Debbie! There's just not enough hours in the day to get everything done I would like to, although I'm sure everyone feels that way πŸ˜ƒ

      Have a great weekend!

  4. Wow - that's quite a Bee story! I am going to be waiting for the German chocolate Brownie recipe -- sounds delicious!

    1. That was quite the bee day, I tell you! Crazy! I just posted the link to the recipe that I used for the German Chocolate Brownies in my latest post, so yummy! πŸ˜‹

      Have a great weekend Kelli! πŸ˜ƒ

  5. You have been busy!!! Way to go on holding your own at Black Jack!
    I would be scared to see a swarm of bees, yet I want to see one because it sounds neat. lol.. I'm a strange one!
    Looking forward to the recipe for those brownies!

    1. I'll admit, I was intimidated by the swarm. But it was very cool to see, and even cooler to see them captured and introduced to a hive they chose to live in πŸ˜„It'd be fun to watch from a safe distance right? Or with a bee suit! πŸ˜‚

      Have a great weekend Kris!


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