Bees! May 18, 2015

Y’all, I am so excited to tell you that we have bees again! Kent built my Perone hive in the beginning of 2013, which we populated with two packages of small-cell commercial bees.  Those bees built a lot of comb, but were unable to build up enough honey stores to make it through the cold weather. Unfortunately, the entire hive died before the end of 2013. We wanted to try again with a prime swarm, but we weren’t able to get one. Then we moved, had a baby, etc. and another year went by – with no bees. Then, this spring, we had lots and lots of scout bees check the place out, but until two days ago, we hadn’t had any takers. I can’t believe we missed seeing a swarm moving in, but I’m still beyond thrilled! I wanted to wait a few days before opening the windows to let them settle in. Today, I opened the windows for the first time and got my first pictures of the new hive. I only had a few minutes so the pics aren’t that great, but you can be sure that there will be more pictures to come! P1060636 P1060638 P1060637

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Read all about our beekeeping adventures right HERE.

Garden Update May 14, 2015

Hi Eleanor!P1060603Oh yeah, the garden.

First, near the stairs we have the blueberry patch (3 plants) with red raspberry along the wall, a plum in a pot, and a slippery elm that was already there. I removed about 8 huge bushes! I am still deciding what to put at the bottom (maybe a fig in a pot). Whatever I decide, the bottom will have bettor soil on top of this clay and then it will be heavily mulched (which will hide the hose). There is a trench in the clay to allow excess water to flow out  to give the plants at the bottom some drainage. Among the blueberries, near the back, I will add comfrey and horseradish (for chop-and-drop mulch), wintergreen, lupines, and I’ll plant sweetpeas and heather in the front.


On the east side (higher up the slope) I plan to remove the azaleas and plant hydrangeas and peonies with dianthus and lobelia up front. And maybe I’ll stick another comfrey in the back.

Along the fence on the east side of our property, I have 5 jasmine plants coming to grow along the fence. In front of that, there is an empty space that I’d like to add a trellis and plant more red raspberry canes (maybe next year).

Here’s Adele’s special garden. It’s hard to tell, but it is getting going, albeit slowly.


Herb Spiral with mesclun mix – we’ve already had several harvests from these cut-and-come-again producers. There’s rosemary at the top, then lemongrass, lemon thyme and regular thyme, cilantro that’s not too happy, oregano, parlsey (with some carrot seedlings just popping through), garlic chives (almost invisible seedlings) and regular chives (almost invisible seedlings), then Thai Basil and regular basil (which are almost hidden by the lettuces. And, in the middle of the lettuces on the low side, I’ll plant my lavender (which I haven’t bought yet). And those three pots have Peruvian Daffodil bulbs and Double Tuberose bulbs (my absolute favorite of all flowers I’ve ever smelled).



Here’s the other side, showing the mint add-on and the frog pond (which is currently being well-used as a bird bath). We need to add more rocks to hide the cardboard (yikes!).


Here’s our cherry tree we planted after Eleanor was born – with LOTS of cherries. I’m still deciding whether to net it or let the birds eat some. There is flowering comfrey and some yarrow (which I accidentally almost killed with mulch) below and Adele is doing acrobatics on the hammock chair behind.  P1060624


Bean teepee is growing – with watermelon, summer squash, and butternut squash around the outside.


There is an alcove near our front stairs that had some ugly bushes but now it has a pomegranate tree! And I transplanted some comfrey (which should perk right up) and planted some yarrow from seed (which hasn’t sprouted yet).


On the corner of our garage, there was a sad little evergreen that looked like it had been dead for a while. I dug it up and planted an Autumn Olive.



This is along the road – because it has the best sun exposure.



This is kind of near the road – but it’s my best guess of the edge of the yard when they widen the road next year. This border has a lilac tree, then a peony, then a peach tree, then another peony, then the crepe myrtle. I plan to add hardy lavender, comfrey, yarrow, ecinacea, chamomile, and false indigo. The pot of sand is there so the kids don’t trample my newly planted “trees”

P1060630 Kent made one big Fried Ice Cream (with chocolate sauce) for dessert on Cinco de Mayo.


Garden Update May 4, 2015

I put up the supports and planted the seeds for the bean teepee! I planted some generic pole peans and also some cranberry pole beans from Colonial Williamsburg. I also planted a volunteer butternut squash from the compost pile and some summer squash seedlings around the outside and Adele planted her watermelon seeds too.

P1060595Adele’s garden hasn’t sprouted quite yet (except the chamomile), but I expect it will be looking lovely soon enough. And my plastic container of lettuce, arugula, and spinach.


Below, the herb spiral is already doing so well! I have lemongrass at the top (still waiting for some perennial rosemary to add up at the top too), then some teeny thyme seedlings (I have more that I started from seeds inside – waiting to get a bit bigger), oregano, parsley (with teeny seedlings of carrots that you can’t see), chives At the bottom (which is out of the picture), I will dig a huge hole for the frog pond (the bucket should arrive tomorrow).

P1060590Tomatoes next to the crepe myrtle with peas planted below the crepe myrtle (not sprouted yet) – I’m hoping to use the lower branches of the crepe myrtle as a trellis for the peas.


Adele and the rest of the neighborhood kids loooooooove the hammock swing.


Lots of happy pea sprouts. Grow, little peas, grow!P1060589

Peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers (not sprouted yet), and two pots (I’m waiting for more soil – then I’ll plant more of my tomato seedlings). P1060593

Eleanor is one!

IMG_0222     IMG_0220Eleanor seemed reluctant to dive in to her smash cake. But, once she got going, she really smeared every inch of her highchair and face and arms!

 IMG_0236Everett was so happy to see Carmel again!   IMG_0245IMG_0235 P1060560Grammy and Grandy came down from Connecticut.

About a week before the party we had 62 people RSVP’d for the party and we got a little nervous that we wouldn’t be able to feed that many people! Kent decided we should make two three-layer cakes – strawberry with strawberry buttercream frosting and carrot cake with sour cream frosting. Yum! We decided making homemade ice cream for that many people would be too much for us, so we bought that from Trader Joe’s. Kent made 15 pizzas in the wood-fired pizza oven. And we bought a few finger food veggies to make the pizza stretch a bit farther.P1060564 P1060557I can’t get enough of these curls! P1060569 P1060575   How about a couple more pictures of my little birthday girl (from a few weeks ago) just for funsies P1060545P1060508IMG_2467

Herb Spiral is Done!

Last Saturday was “yard work day” =)

Kent went to get our bricks and soil, etc. Then we all worked together to unload quickly so that he could return the truck without having to pay extra for going over the hour rental.

IMG_2468 IMG_2469 IMG_2474After we unloaded everything off the truck and I had about half of the herb spiral built, my neighbor walked over and told me that the county is making him widen the road before he gets his plans approved to build his house. Which means that my herb spiral will soon be part of the road instead of part of my yard. So, I took it apart and rebuilt it closer to the house. I’m soooo glad he told me before I added the soil and planted everything!

IMG_2475The lowest spot at the end of the spiral is where we will add the frog pond. I still have to get a bucket and dig the hole. IMG_2473Here is the Montmorency Cherry tree we planted last year after Eleanor was born. Kent bought it for me as a “push gift.” =) Under the tree, we planted comfrey and something else that I can’t remember. They are supposed to be good for the roots of the tree, i.e. feeding with plants rather than using chemicals.