Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sunday Things.....

It was good to be in church again this morning.
I went by myself as Louis Dean was just so tired and has spent a lot of time in bed this weekend.

After church I decorated the den tree with the fancy fall ornaments.

I always look forward to decorating this tree......I sometimes wish I could leave it this way all year long. Every year I have to search through the tubs to find these decorations so last year I put them in a box where I could get to them easily. Except things were put in front of the shelf in the storage building where they were (Louis Dean!) and I had just about given up when I found them! My bad for not remembering what the box looked like! I had been looking for something entirely different.

I hung around the house waiting for Louis Dean to get up from a nap knowing he was wanting to go with me to Quadville to see Amber and Mike and the kids. Alas, he woke up and said he just couldn't go. He hugged me and went back to bed. Tomorrow is their first day of school - second grade! How did THAT happen?? He hopes to feel better and go over to see them tomorrow afternoon when they get out.

I went on over and to their credit - they all ran out to greet me and did not say one word about Granddad. I know Amber must have told them why he wasn't with me. I admit to feeling like a second fiddle sometimes because they are so crazy about him! But I wouldn't have it any other way!
I brought pumpkin muffins for them and Dilly Bits - per Logan's request - and honey! 
We had honey tasting from both the wildflower and the bitterweed honey. They agree the wildflower was best! Then we played Barbies - I hope I'm never too old to play with dolls - and after that Harrison and I played darts on the Wii.

Photos are courtesy of Logan who loves to take my camera and snap pictures and selfies and always makes a personal video message for me to watch later. This time it was SO precious it brought tears to my eyes!

She is my Mini Me! And I love her with all my heart!

From Quadville I drove on to Central Market - I LOVE that store!!
Not for every day things but for the special stuff!

I was in time for their Hatch Chili Festival and I bought several things.....
chips, salsa, hatch chilli's......

I love pecan coffee but vanilla cinnamon  pecan coffee?? 
Yes, please!

I checked out and drove on over to Rowlett where I am spending the night with Summer.
I'm taking her to the hospital in the morning where she will be getting injections in her L2-3, L4-5, and TFE-S1 - and I covet your prayers for my daughter. It will be 3 years on September 19th since Summer began this journey of pain and loss of so much of the life she had.

So I am closing out this night with a glass of wine and counting all my many blessings of this day.
Sweet dreams......

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Friday PAR-tay and Saturday More Fall Dressing! Loving This Weekend!

I'm having such a good time dressing the house for fall.....I shall all ready by the very first September morn of 2019.

Kimmy came over to turn the AC on Monday night so the house would be cool when we came in Tuesday. She left a basket for me that her friend, Luce, sent my way.
By the next afternoon, I had it all decked out with pumpkins and fall leaves and in the foyer.

I took Friday off from my decorating and did a grocery run to Aldi.

I had a dinner party to prepare for and a birthday cake to bake.
Pam (Reaoma's daughter) requested Pistachio Crack Cake and it was delicious!

I love Pam and, though I missed her actual birthday, we celebrated Friday night.
I had the pot roast simmering on the stove along with potatoes and carrots.

We gathered at 6:00 and all three of my friends are known for being on time and so was I!
I had cheese and crackers ready along with a couple of wines for tasting and two different jars of honey for a honey tasting.

Pam likes sweet rather than dry wine but in the end, she preferred tap water in a Duck Dynasty plastic glass! You gotta love her!!

Our other guests were Kimmy and June - mother and daughter and friends I have had for so many years it seems like they have always been in my life. I am their biggest fan and they are mine.

I change the table settings monthly and am thankful for the friends who have gathered here throughout this year. Sometimes it was only two - as in Brenda having lunch with me on her dinner break. Sometimes all six chairs have been filled with family as when Chandy and her husband and children came for dinner back in the winter.

A fresh salad is always my favorite way to start a meal.

We had a lovely evening together and already made plans to meet here again in October!

Louis Dean has been working so hard cleaning up the back yard and loading building materials in the truck to take back to the ranch next week. He has enough 'scraps' to build a tool shed and he is excited about that! I'm excited that you can really tell Sanford and Son are packing up!

He was SO tired that, after all the rest of us had left the table, he continued to sit there all alone.
Kimmy noticed that he had fallen asleep! Sitting up with his head propped up on his hands!
Bless his heart.....we told him to go to bed....and he did.

Today (Saturday) has been such a good one.
Louis Dean rested a good bit as he did not sleep well last night. I did, though!
I fixed him some oatmeal and toast with butter and honey for breakfast.
He's had a craving for oatmeal lately so I cooked up a big pot and that way he has some ready when he wants it.

I'm enjoying decorating at a leisurely pace this year.
I haven't even trashed the house because I haven't brought in ALL the tubs.
Just one at a time. Work through it - putting thing out or setting them aside for Goodwill - or the trash!

Yes, folks, I decorated the floor!
It IS a flat surface and that makes it fair game - in my opinion!

I made my way into the living room and added a fall garland to the grape cluster lights along the top of the sofa.

I love the colors.....

white wine being my favorite - I am partial to the green clusters.

The fall glasses are all washed and in the cupboard and the fall coffee cups are hanging above the sink. I still save my very favorite and oldest coffee cup for that first September morn......but the sunflower ones are fair game.

This afternoon I made Dilly Bits.
Oyster crackers with's a Hidden Ranch recipe and you can find it online.
I tweak it to my taste and you can, too.
I go heavy on the salt but you could do a less sodium version.

See that dark cluster right there?
That's a bonus bite and we all look for those!!

Louis Dean napped off and on all day and did some reading.
He likes historical books and war stories.
I found this one in my stack of books and he thinks it's a good one.

During my breaks this afternoon we watched this movie.
Made in 1990, we both enjoyed it.
He likes westerns and who doesn't love Tom Selleck?
I call that a win! WIN!!!

I've been watering the front and back this evening while we watch the Dallas Cowboys preseason game. It's not over yet but both of us are ready to call this day done!

I'm keeping up with the comments for the honey giveaway. 
I realize this will not be 'local' honey for hardly anyone.
Local honey is within a 50 mile radius - and the hives are in Fall County, Texas.'s very good honey!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Thursday - Dressing the House

We're smack dab in the middle of August!

I hung this small blackboard I bought at the Goodwill in Waco at the top of the mirror behind our bed. August is the month we just hang on. It's been right around 100 degrees for days and days now.
We had one brief respite yesterday when it stayed in the 90's.

While Louis Dean worked outside cleaning up and loading some materials to take back down to the ranch - I continued my work of dressing the den.

The faux cotton stems and garland were clearance items I picked up at Tuesday Morning last year.

This banjo playing skeleton always makes Louis Dean laugh!
The batteries still work because I pressed the button and he played all the way into the den from the storage building.

I am not hauling everything in and working like my hair's on fire this year.

I bring in a tub and work my way through it.

I've concentrated on the den but I drifted to the foyer before I could help myself.

There are other things I want to use in here but I haven't come across them yet.
I am so happy to see all my lovely fall things again.
Some of my 'debris' has become too shabby even for me and I am setting those aside to to determine whether to throw them out or try to redeem them.

Louis Dean is all about getting rid of a lot of his 'debris', too!
Strike while the iron is hot!
We hauled a lot of stuff to the curb this evening.
While we haven't put the gazebo top on, I can't complain.
It's best to work on things when you're in the mood so that's what we are going with.

I sat outside for a few minutes earlier this evening and listened to the locusts.
August sounds very different than July.
They are so loud they roar in July but August finds them slowly lowering their voices until once day I think, "I don't hear the locust anymore." I always wonder if I've heard the last one and then I forget to pay attention.

The pecan trees seem to be loaded this year and are dropping the hard green ones down like stones.
I am hoping we get a good crop of pecans as we haven't had one in a long time.
I clipped the dead roses off and pulled up a lot of mint.
My very first blog post was about mint.
No, I guess it was my second.
I started the blog on January 21, 2010.
was my second post on January 22nd.
Vee went back and commented on that post 4 years later saying, "Every first post deserves a comment." Thank you, Vee!!

It's 9:39 and we are tired and ready to go to bed.
You'd think we were a couple of old people!
Oops....I guess we ARE!

Goodnight, folks. Sleep well!

Beekeeping Chores, Alligator Dinner, Vistit With Lillian and We Are Home!!!

Late Monday afternoon, Sherry and I divided up our 8.17 gallons of honey - leaving all of the Bitterweed Honey there so we can try our hand at making mead.

Then we proceeded to do the rest of our beekeeping chores.
Sherry had left the frames out in the garden for the bees to clean up.
They get every last drop of honey out and the wax clean and ready to start building again.
We scrape all of the excess wax off so the edges of the frames are nice and clean.
I scooped up the wax scrapings and will see what I can with them later on.
Now is the time to bucket feed the bees.
That just means you make sugar water from 5 pounds of sugar to half a bucket of hot water. Stick some grass, weeds or twigs in it so the bees will have something to walk on in order to drink up that nectar. Since we just took most of their honey, it's only right to prepare a special buffet of sugar water for them to get started on making the honey they will need for the winter.
We put all the clean frames back in the bee boxes (supers) and put our bee suits on for trip to the hives. Since we look like astronauts, Sherry said, "Let's take the Moon Rover!"

It's HOT in those bee suits - it was 100+ that day.
As soon as we finished, I was pulling those gloves off! Sherry dropped me off at the camper and I was ready to hit that shower!!

We often have meals together and, since this was our last night, we decided to cook some alligator!

Alligator nuggets look much like chicken nuggets but alligator is a bit more dense than chicken. 
And, no, it doesn't taste like chicken although it DOES look like it.
I could detect a light 'fish' taste to it which is as it should be.
Dean made some tasty red sauce and we all chowed down.
He cooked some shrimp just in case someone favored that over alligator.
His dad appreciated that!

This was our breakfast Tuesday morning!
SO good!!

It took us awhile to clean up the yard area, do all the chores of packing, loading, cleaning, etc.
We rolled out the gate at 2:00 Tuesday afternoon.

First stop was the bakery at Hillsboro and I practically bought out their day old sausage rolls and pastries. We like to have them when we get home so there's no meal prep needed right off the bat.

Next stop was the outlet location of Bath and Body Works.
I scored well with everything in my bag being 75% off!!

We took the I35 split towards Fort Worth and stopped at a Walmart to pick up some groceries for Lillian.

She was so glad to see us and we were glad to see her!
I stocked her mini fridge and then we went to the family room to show her all the photos and videos of our time at the ranch. I'll go back next week to take her out to lunch and maybe do a bit of shopping. 
We were home before dark and began the huge task of unloading and putting away, starting laundry and opening mail. But before I did any of that, I took a jar of honey and $$ over to our sweet next door neighbors. The honey was for Olga and the money was for her oldest daughter, Angie, who faithfully watered our flower beds in the front yard while we were gone. This is the very first August that my big containers of mums have not bit the dust! And she kept my lavender plant happy plus everything has grown and prospered in the 24 days we were at the ranch!

What a joy to drive up and see our place looking so nice.
When we get the back yard back - I'm hoping she will offer her services again and do both!

I worked steady until late last night. Just think - 3 weeks of laundry!
Except Louis Dean washed some of his at the ranch using tubs.
The house looked great and there were no alarming pieces of mail in the two big stacks!
Praise God!
We always pray for God to protect our home while we are away.

We slept like babies!!
I knew when Louis Dean got up this morning but I just turned over and slept another hour!
He brought my first cup of coffee to me while I was still in bed.

We've both been busy we always are.
He's been working on cleaning up the Sanford and Son area and I worked on laundry.
In between loads, I cleaned the den and started carrying in some fall decorations.
I hope to finish the den and foyer tomorrow.
At first I felt overwhelmed. But as I started putting things into place - and it changes every year with what goes where - I looked around and felt a great feeling of joy. The den is already warm and cozy - and I'm only a little over half way done.
You know the feeling you get when a friend or loved one gives you a really good hug?
That's the feeling I felt when I walked in there earlier this evening.
Ahhhhh.....I do so love all things FALL!

In the middle of the afternoon, anticipation got the best of Louis Dean.
It was time to cut the first watermelon from our Ranch Garden!
He accidentally picked it on Monday while Sherry and I were near the garden doing our bee chores.

He wanted to document the moment!

While it wasn't the best watermelon - it wasn't the worse one either.
It was on the what I call 'grainy' side. The seeds were brown instead of being black.
But it DID taste like watermelon.
We ate a bit and then set both halves out on the stone wall for the birds.
Then we cut the one from HEB and watched Grantchester while we ate it - sprinkled with salt!

Louis Dean had just taken a bath and gone into the guest room for a late nap when a dear friend stopped by. I told Tim I had honey for him and I was expecting a visit from him.
Tim was our neighbor across the street when Louis Dean and I first married.
We love him and all three of his children - Brittany, Tray and Nicole.
We had a bit of a honey tasting right here in our living room.
I let them taste the Free Bee Bitterweed Honey first.
Both Tim and Jo tasted the whang after taste.
Nicole did not.
Then we tasted the GOOD honey.
Tim asked, "Now, the honey in the jar you gave me is the GOOD honey?"
Absolutely! And it was a small jar but I told him, "It's refillable!"

I started this journal entry much earlier in the evening but I had another Grantchester to watch so I got sidetracked. Tomorrow I will watch the last one of Season 4.

Okay, Folks! That's all for tonight.
Hope you all sleep well!!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Our Very First Honey Harvest!!!!

For the second morning in a row - I was up before daylight!
And trust me - that second morning is harder than the first.
Louis Dean got up when I did and we sat with our coffee watching the morning sky.

He was nearly as excited as I was about today's adventure!
Sherry drove up right at 7:00 - just as we planned.
I was a tiny bit late so it was 7:10 when I was pulling my bee suit on.

Here we are fully outfitted!

Thanks to Dean for the pictures today of us working the hives.
Both father and son are so supportive of us!
We are back behind the hives getting the smoker going.
This is a talent and we are working on it.
Today we used waxed corrugated cardboard and burlap rolls. 
You can use twigs and grass and such, but you need a smoldering fire in that smoker that will last for the length of time you are with the bees.

Our smoker worked well today.

Sherry and I work well together.
I smoked the bees and she did the hard work of lifting each frame out - shaking it HARD to drop most of the bees off - and then I brushed the last few away with our bee brush.
THIS was probably the most exciting moment of the whole day!
Our first frame and it was yellow gold!!

We worked the gentle hive first.

Since it was early - it wasn't as hot as if we had waited until 10:00 or so.

Each of the two hives has a bottom brood box and then two supers (boxes) on top.
The lower super has the honey made from the spring flowers.
The top super is made of summer flowers - which around here include bitterweed.

We had four tubs and labeled them. Tubs 1 and 3 had bitterweed and 3 and 4 did not.
The bitterweed honey is still good and is of excellent medicinal use.
Still we thought to keep them separate.

We went on to the second hive which had the more aggressive bees at our last hive inspection.
However, the prayers of our friends and - I confess to praying for our bees - this hive was as well mannered as the first one.

By 8:20 this morning, Sherry and I were sitting in the truck by her house basking in the AC and so full of pure delight from the harvest that we just sat there for a good 5 minutes or more.
It actually took us less than 45 minutes to harvest these 36 frames of honey.

Frames loaded with honey!
We only had ONE frame that had brood in it - baby bees.
We left it in the hive and replaced all removed frames with new ones.
Tomorrow we will go down and do a 'bucket feed.'
You put a heavy mixture of sugar and water in a big bucket and then add some branches and grasses for the bees to crawl on. You do not want the bees to drown.
We just took a good supply of their honey and they are going to be diligently working to replace that.
There is not much blooming at the present time so they need a bit of extra groceries!

Our first honey harvest!

It was such a beautiful sight!
NO wax moths! NO dark frames. NO bee stings.

A totally successful honey harvest!

Harvest from box #4!
Ruth Ann gave Sherry the big vintage bottles on the far left and right.
Something tells me she's going to get one of those bottles back! 
FULL of golden honey!

All these jars are from box #1!

We even had some extra comb that was along the bottom of a frame.
We cut it up and put some in a few of the jars.
We leave the wax on the frames and after the bees  clean them off, they are returned to the hive so the bees can continue with their honey production. This honey will be their winter food.

All this honey is such a beautiful thing!

It was mess - but a controlled mess.
Sherry had plastic on the floor and we  had a system going that worked well for us.
What Sherry is holding in this photo is the beeswax from our harvest.
We could have had a lot more if we did not return the wax to the hives, but we think it is in our best interests to give the bees a head start so they don't have to work as hard.
Next year we may get two harvests! A spring and a summer one.

The honey from box #1 and #3 went into larger jars.
These will be used to make mead - yet another adventure awaits!

Today was such a good day!
Praise God and thank you for the prayers.
I'm going to bed tonight with a grateful heart......
God is so good to me.

While I wish I could give everyone a taste of our honey - I can at least do a honey giveaway!
Starting with this post and continuing through August, everyone who comments will be entered.

And now - I am going to bed after being up 17 hours with only sleeping 5 hours the night before.
I am so going to stay in bed tomorrow until noon!
But - oh, my goodness!!! 
This was so much fun!