Friday, July 23, 2021

A Great July Friday!

 We still have not hit the 100 degree mark in temperature in the DFW area yet and I am not one to complain about that!!

This morning I was up and working out on a SilverSneakers EnerChi workout before I even had one full cup of coffee! I exercised every day - or at least 5 X a week from 1984 - 2014. That was 30 years of a healthy habit. But for the last 7 years I have done the odd yoga and Tai Chi or gone for walks from time to time but no day in and day out commitment to daily exercise.
Well, this morning I was looking at my test results online through the patient portal.....and saw the results of my BMI....Body Mass Index. I was shocked. I have never been overweight in my entire life - but my numbers were flagged 'high' and I was flabergasted! Seems the 2 inches I have lost over the years have made my BMI out of normal range. Not by much, really. 25.88 is my number and it should be 25 or less. So that POINT 88 pushed meinto action since it is in my medical records and is not written in black ink but bright RED!

Louis Dean was watching Gunsmoke - again - so I pulled up a program on my laptop and it felt GOOD to be back to exercise done on purpose!

Summer picked me up at 1:30 and we drove to Grapevine to a Sports Clip for my 2:00 hair cut appointment with Yulisa!

She's loving working in this new shop and I am loving it, too!
I would follow her anywhere!
Even though I have been wearing my new wiglet a lot, I still needed a haircut!
She was so sweet - she didn't even complain about the butcher job I gave my bangs a few days ago.

From there Summer and I went for a late lunch to......

It was such a pretty day that we opted to dine outside!

This place is charming!
They had big fans mounted high on the building and a water mister blowing.

Summer is so CUTE!!!!
She had her spinal stimulator all charged up and she was feeling pretty fine.

The chips here are 'substantial!' Meaning they are thick enough for you to realize you are actually eating them instead of those thin crispy ones that you eat a ton of before you even notice what you're doing!

The food was as excellent as the service and the ambiance!
And those margaritas???
There's a reason this place is called the Margarita Capitol of Texas!!

We took our time over lunch and picked up Sonic teas on our way to Trader Joes.

We order BIG margaritas and drink 7-11 BIG Gulps and Sonic Route 44 drinks!
We are BIG drinkers!!

And Summer had all the condiments handy in her travel case!
Sweet 'N Low, Splenda and even lemon juice!

We sipped our way to Trader Joes and I loaded up on the frozen Chinese food!!!
It's one of our favorite things at TJs!

And the wine! 

It was just the BEST Friday afternoon!!!
She dropped me off at home and went back to Rowlett to prepare dinner there and then pack her bag since she's coming back over here in the morning and will stay for a week or so. We have big plans!

I had time to get to my 7:00 appointment with a new beekeeper right here in Irving to do a hive inspection with her.

She just received her hive from Texas Bee Keepers last month and it is doing great!
While she won't be getting honey this year, I predict a good harvest this time next year!

I came home and started 'Damage Control'.....there was a lot of evidence suggesting a good bit of deep frying of something had been going on!

Louis Dean thought I would notice this 'just because' card he bought for me - along with the Girl Power statue - but he had to point it out to me!

Linda loves Louis Dean!!
Yes, I DO!!!

Staying Busy.....

 Tuesday morning I got up at 6:04, washed my face and brushed my teeth, pulled on my bee suit, sox, and boots, grabbed my phone and put it in a small denim bag and was walking down to Dean and Sherry's by 6:40.  We drove the short distance to the Boat Bees, got the smoker going, put the bee vac up on the deck and was ready to retrieve the last ball of bees from the boat cabinet by 7:00! Unfortunately, the bee vac still wasn't working properly so we had to leave the ball of bees containing the queen. The good news was the brood box we had set on top of the cabinet was well populated with working bees! We loaded our equipment back up, leaving the box of bees there with a plan for Dean and Sherry to borrow another bee vac and get them that evening - hopefully with the queen.
I was back in the girl bunk by 8:40 and slept soundly for another 3 hours!

Louis Dean and I left the ranch around 2:30 to come back home.

I took this photo as we were pulling away from the camper/cabin.
That was the last picture I took until today - making that some kind of record for me!
It's a little over 2 hours 30 minutes from the ranch gate to our driveway in Irving if you drive straight on and don't make any stops. We did that once. But normally we stop for potty breaks, to stretch our legs or to get something to eat. That day we did all three. Subway for a late lunch put us getting home right at 5:30.

We didn't have that much to unload and unpack this time so coming home was easier than the last time when we'd been gone three weeks instead of just 7 days.

Wednesday morning I had my appointment with Dr. Nuss and now I am waiting for the office to call  and we can schedule my bladder surgery.

It was such beautiful weather - not at all like a typical July day in Texas!
Louis Dean and I worked both in and outside. I did housework and yardwork and he did repairs and projects. There's always ALWAYS more to do than we will ever get to - but we keep plugging away.

My son, Jesse, finally had the surgery he needed after his motorcycle accident and was released from the hospital Wednesday. Praise God all went well and now he can begin his recovery.

So today I went over to see him, picking up lunch at The Burger Box just a mile from his house.

Grandsons Sam and Levi were there along with Sam's girlfriend so we all gathered around Jesse's bed and ate lunch together. 
I was glad I could see my son with my own eyeballs as I say....a mom just needs to be able to see and touch their children to make sure they are okay. And he is. He's a good patient and takes care of himself. He is an emergency contingency planner as part of his job and he is well suited at that.
He carries that over to his personal life as well and the house runs like a well oiled machine.
He has his bed organized with everything he needs where he can get to it easily.
The family takes good care of him, too. Sam put his wheelchair together for him before Jesse even realized it had been delivered. Levi is front and center anytime his dad needs anything as is the whole family. It just did my heart so much good to be over there today. I love how they do 'Family.'

After lunch, Jesse took his medication and went to sleep while the kids and I went to Braums for ice cream. Sam drove us in his car - my first time to ride with him!

And Jaelyn took this pic of me and my super cute and super tall grandsons!!
I meant to take one of the her and the boys and then forgot!
She's a real beauty and sweetheart!

We all had such a nice visit.....talking about our memories of the MiMi Camps when they were young.
The last one was July of 2014 when we went to the ranch and then we had a few years of spending an etire day in August at Burger's Lake.

It was a wonderful afternoon and I went home with a happy heart!
It's a wonderful thing to have grandchildren and to be so blessed by them.
The hugs and 'I love you, Mimi!' meant so very much to me.
I will be basking in this glow for quite awhile.

I spent the afternoon with one thing and another.
I think I could work from the time I get up to the time I go to bed without stopping and still not get everything done that I meant to do.
So now I take breaks to sit on the driveway with Louis Dean or watch a TV  program together or watch our cats play chase.

This evening I cut Louis Dean's hair.

We play act being at a barber shop and Louis Dean will sit down in the chair and say, "Mama sent me!"

He cleaned up nicely!!
AND he takes out the trash!

These are the canvas prints of the cat and boots painting.
Both are birthday gifts and I think I like them.
However, I am not a good photographer and the prints are from the photo I took of the original painting. I'm thinking I need someone else - like Amber - to take the picture I'll use for the print.
This is what I'm planning to do for my Christmas painting Giveaway this year.

And speaking of Amber......I just love the pretty banner she made for my blog!
There was a time back in 2010 wen I started blogging, that she made every banner and every background for me. I finally figured out how to do it myself.....but I'll never be able to personalize it like she does.

Thank you, Amber!

PS....I forgot to say that when Sherry and Dean went back for the bees, the queen and the rest of the hive not in the brood box had swarmed yet again.
They plan on putting the bees in the new box on top of another swarm hive in the apiary. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Another Bee Adventure!

 Our sweet kitties are the best little things!
They take frequent road trips back and forth to the ranch in stride and settle right in - both in the country and the city. They have their favorite things to do in both places.

Nita brought a brown paper bag down on Saturday when they visited us with egg cartons inside.
We sent two cartons back with some fresh eggs in each for bot Nita and Mike and Michele and Lonnie.
Tabitha thinks her Aunt Nita brought the bag especially for HER!
Samantha was a wee bit jealous that she didn't find it first!

I have put down all but 4 garden stakes in our purple hull pea patch.
These were gifts from Sheryl, Nita's fabulous gardening guru neighbor.
Makes the garden look classy and like we know what we're doing!

I was out putting the last few stakes in this early afternoon when the rain came in.
We knew it was coming. The sky was dark and the air was still.
At first it was such a gentle light shower that I continued to work in the graden.
With only a handful of stakes left,  it began to rain HARD!
That's when both of us took oursleves to the
 front porch with a glass of tea and sat back to enjoy the show that lasted an hour and a half.
Not that we sat there the whole time.
I had some art I was working on and Louis Dean has been 'sorting his tools.'
This has been an ongoing activity for the past 16 years that we've been married and I am pretty sure he's been 'sorting' and organizing for decades before we knew each other.
For some reason, I have been unusually tired lately so I tucked yself in the girl bunk and took a two hour nap! That's an hour less than the one I took yesterday afternoon!

Sherry and I had planned on doing a bee removal at 5:00, but I wasn't sure that would happen with the change in weather. As it turned out, the rain swept in and then it was gone and it was blue skies and fluffy white clouds.

Sherry works from home and I am here to tell you that she works hard and long.
She is a stickler for keeping strict office hours and it was 5:01 when she started getting her things together. I dumped my bee suit and things in a white plastic trash bag and put my phone in a small denim pouch; then Louis Dean drove me down to Sherry's and we loaded up from there.

It was a short 5 minute drive over to Tim's place.
He's the one who has done some gravel work for us and put in our septic tank.
Bees swarmed in and found a place on his old boat a couple of weeks ago.

They nested right up there in the cabinet on the upper right.

This entire cabinet was full of bees and comb!

Dean and Sherry always check one another's suits to make sure they are zipped up and secure.

Sherry worked under there for the better part of two hours.
It was dark and so full of comb and bees there was no way to tell if she had captured the queen.

The bees were not aggressive - but we suit up everytime we work the hives or a swarm.
Better to be safe than sorry and we are still newbies!
This is only our third year of beekeeping.

I am not much help with the physical hard work that is involved.
Dean and Sherry do all of that.
I was happy I was able to climb up into that boat!
I document our bee adventures and do the less strenuous jobs.

The bees had been working hard and made a lot of comb with  good bit of brood, larvae and pollen in it. My job was to take the sections Sherry cut our from the cabinet and put them in the empty wooden frames we brought to go in the new brood box. Dean and Sherry had gone to Waco Sunday night specifically to get strong rubber bands that we use to hold the comb in place.
There was enough to nearly fill all 7 of the frames we brought!

The now empty cabinet box.
I take my gloves off to take pictures - I ordered more stylus pens for my iPhone but they arrived an hour after we left  last week - and the one and only bee sting I got was taking this pic. I was excited to get it since bee stings are good for arthritic hands.
This particular bee stung me on the bottom knuckle of my right index finger.....and I still feel the sting with no benefits! I am writing this while sitting comfortably in the girl bunk and I just looked down and that knuckle and the one next to it are considerably swollen and red. When I finish writing, I'll go take a couple of Benadryl.

The bee vac was not working as well as it did on the Cedar Box bees....but Sherry was persistent and she got thousands of bees in there!

I love the hum......

We decided to put the new brood box we had brought - now filled with the comb and resources of this hive - on top of the cabinet where they were. The box has a bottom board and a queen excluder - meaning bees can come in and out but the queen cannot. She's too big to get through the plastic mesh excluder! We are hoping the queen is, indeed, inside the brood box and, if so, the other bees will go in as well. If not, then tomorrow morning we should find a ball mass of bees somewhere in this area with the queen in the middle of it. Hopefully, the bee vac will be working and we can capture them.
Beekeeping is complicated but we are learning more and more with every adventure!

I'm closing out tonight's journal entry - 6:00 in the morning comes early - and I really do need to take that Benadryl now!!

He is not worthy of the honey-comb
that shuns the hives because the bees have stings.
-William Shakespeare

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Family Visits in the Country!

 Friday morning we got up early to have coffee before going down to pick up Dean and Sherry.
It was shortly after 9:30 when we stopped for donuts and sausage rolls at Mart Donuts on Texas Ave.
Then we drove an hour and a half or so to Hamilton, Texas. That's where Sherry's hospitable parents live - and even though they spend their summers up North on church building missions - they still offer their home as a half way meeting place for when Roy and Ruth Ann come down to visit with Dean and Sherry, and in this case, US as well!

Louis Dean and Ruth Ann go way back to when she was just 15 years old.
Ruth Ann is the sister of Ellen, Louis Dean's beloved first wife.

We were all so glad to see each other!

Sherry's parents have such good neighbors to watch after their place when they are away for so long.
This is Ken and his wife is Linda and they joined us for a good visit and lunch!

Louis Dean and Ken are both musicians and we were totally enthralled when Ken started playing the harmonica!
Such an interesting couple. Ken is from Indiana and met Linda when stationed here in Texas in the military. They have had a fascinating life! And as it turned out, Linda and Ken were neighbors with Les and Jean when they all lived in Irving back in the 70's! Good neighbors make good friends!

We all brought offerings to the is Ruth Ann slicing up some onions and her heirloom tomatoes in Jean's country kitchen!

We ate lunch country style at the country table!

And the food was country GOOD!!!
I didn't have room in the collage for all the pictures!
There was veggies, crackers, dips and chips.
Dean made his smoked ribs......
Sherry made her potato salad, and famous deviled eggs!
See the beautiful plate of Ruth Ann's tomatoes?
She also brought pinto beans and drinks and home made ice cream!
Linda contributed a zucchini casserole that was delicious along with her home canned pickled beets and dill pickles.
I brought brownies and Caesar Salad.

Country eating at its finest!!!

After our meal and clean up, the menfolk visited and we ladies gathered around the Bernina Bernette Serger that my friend, Dee, gave me last year. I've never used one before but both Ruth Ann and Sherry have. They worked well over an hour and got it all threaded properly and sewing.
I will take it in to be serviced next week and then they will give me lessons on how to use it!

We had such a good visit......
but I was so sleepy the entire time.
It was like I had been drugged!

We cleaned up their house and left it as we found it and loaded up for our trip back to the ranch and Roy and Rith Ann back to Breckenridge.

The lay of the land is so different just 100 miles away.
I nodded off so many times my head would jerk me awake as it fell.
We stopped for a plumbing part, a bathroom break and Home Depot before arriving back at the ranch shortly after 7:30. I was in bed asleep by 8:00 and stayed in bed until well after 9:00 Saturday morning!
I must have been really and truly tired!

Good morning, Kitties!!

These two are great company for one another and stay pretty much together all day.
I got in the habit of sending Amber daily pictures of Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum!
They will going off to visit with her for a week or two in August.

We did our normal routine this morning and then prepared for an impromptu visit from Nita and Mike, and Lonnie and Michele! We were so excited!

We did some serious front porch sitting sipping our Texas ice tea -SWEET tea for Nita and Mike!
They like real sugar so I pulled out my honeysuckle simple syrup. That worked!

Then we went down to check out the critters.

Mike and Dean did some 'car engine' talking.

We looked at all the chickens in the various pens and some roosters and chickens that were running around.
Before they got the mops - aka Great Pyrenees - the chickens all roamed free during the day.
That's when they noticed the dogs liked to eat them!

These dogs do great in watching the goats and keeping the coyotes off the ranch!

Lonnie enjoyed seeing everything.

It was so good to see him!

He uses a cane but gets around really well.
He does have some vision problems they are working on.
I loved watching Lonnie and Michele together.
Seeing them was a loving reminder of how important it is to be gentle with each other as well as with yourself. Lonnie does not have much in the way of short term memory - but recalls long term well. 
He knows he loves his 'Beautiful Bride' as he calls Michele and it shows in how he speaks to her and looks at her. I want to be more like Michele.

All too soon it was time to say goodbye!

What a blessing it is to visit with family!

We went back to our projects after they left.....
Louis Dean organizing his tools and planting the three rose bushes we bought yesterday.
I fed and watered all my flowers and herb garden, fixed us a good supper of fajita soup I had brought frozen from home along with cornbread muffins.
Then I finished up with my oil painting for this trip, cleaned my brushes and put all that away and prepared the table to do water based painting projects tomorrow.

I have just one more session on the Santa Express and then glazing before it is DONE!

I do believe this has been the most enjoyable canvas I have painted in a very long time.
No labor or anxiety at all!
This is a large painting and I find them so much easier than small ones.
Details on them are not nearly as hard for me.
I worked on a small canvas - another Christmas scene - but this one is from a photo I took back in 2015. I work on it a little while at a time. Tiny details really get to me!

Tomorrow Sherry and I hope to capture another swarm hive at a neighbor's place nearby.
We have two more days before we leave for home on Tuesday!

It's really GOOD to be in the country!!