Monday, April 20, 2015

Strolling Through My Past

Last night I spent a few pleasant hours looking through old photo albums. I was hunting pictures of Philip. Here he is with his three older two older and one younger (oops!) cousins. Philip was grandbaby #3 for my parents, who eventually had 26 grandchildren (forgive me if that number's not right, family). When this picture was taken though, these four were it!
Philip, Jathan, Kyrie, Kesse
Jathan is married now. So is Kyrie, with two babies. And Philip will be marrying in only a few weeks. Thus -- my photo album search. I want to send a little album of pictures of him to his bride-to-be, so she will have pictures of him during his growing up years. ((sniff))
Adam and I were distracted in my search by my wedding album. It's chock full of cards and shower invitations, and photos of now-deceased dear ladies who took an interest in me. So sweet.
Here's a sample page. The newspaper clippings are my mother-in-law's. She wrote a weekly community column for the county paper, the Hinds County Gazette. That lady has a gift for humor, let me tell you! She had a fan following :) But before the wedding she wrote quite a bit about the upcoming nuptials, and I kept them all. There are tickets to movies Adam and I went to together. On the right-hand page is the receipt for payment for my engagement ring, a piece of antique estate jewelry from Juniker's Jewelers.
I was such an organized single woman! (Not now! ha!) Here's the page I typed out, of the sanctuary during the ceremony and where everyone would stand or sit.
I kept a copy of the order of pastoral text and vows from the book we selected for this purpose.
I typed out my own order of service for my own use. In those days, nobody ever handed out little bulletins to the guests so they would know what was happening next, or what the bridesmaids' names were. Guests were expected to sit and enjoy, that was all.
Janet Gustafson, a college friend, was my guest soloist. She sang with such a high, clear soprano tone, lovely in our large sanctuary. I have the service on VHS tape, but haven't watched it now in several years. "The Minnesingers" was a ladies' ensemble I sang with for years. What fun we had!
But this is my favorite page, and it makes me laugh. I wrote out my personal schedule for a week and a half before the wedding. I listed all the responsibilities and activities of each day. And I wrote what clothes I would wear that day. Really? Really! Good grief. A bit obsessive, yes?
I loathed standing in front of my closet on a busy morning before a frantic day, forcing my brain to choose something to wear. I hate choosing. I hate picking food from a restaurant menu. I'd rather close my eyes and pick randomly with my finger! So lining up my clothes ahead of time was a comfort to me. I was busy sewing my veil, working on bridesmaids' dresses, eating with various friends, working, spending time with Adam, picking Janet up at the airport, etc.

For a funny story -- on Thursday before the wedding, Adam was stopped by police at a regular traffic check. They told him that his driver's license was suspended because he'd had a ticket ages before, and had never paid his ticket. Needless to say, he was alarmed. Without proper I.D., he could not get a marriage license the next day! He sat in his VW bug, shuffling through his glove box and his wallet. Miraculously -- yes, I do say miraculously! -- he found the receipt for the payment for that ticket. He still had it, on his person. If you understood the level of complete disorganization that was my fiance at that time, you'd realize the miraculous here. (We were quite opposites.) But he presented the receipt, spent the day getting his license active, and we sailed down to the registry office the next day and got our marriage license. I knew nothing. He wisely kept that little adventure to himself. (Now, Adam and I admit to having some disagreement about the details of this story ... but this is my blog, so this is how I remember it! haha!)

I have more albums to peruse in search of the young Philip. Do you look at old photos ever? I need to do it more.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Fall to Spring

Old magnolia leaves

Fresh dandelion blooms

A certain childishness in us loves to pick Nature's littlest pieces, examine, rip, dissect, keep them. The magnolia leaves look like aged skin. Yesterday Julia traced the veins on the tops of my hands, noting how they wiggle and slide around. "Does it hurt?" she asked. I remember doing the same to my mother's hands while sitting in church. I remember her magnolia skin when she was my age. The dandelions, however, are new like eyelashes, like cheerleader pompoms, like little-girl tutus ready for their stage.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Toe Rails, etc.

Adam is very eager to put some wood trim back on the boat. The first trim to add are the toe rails. They run along the top edges of the deck.
They are long pieces of white oak, spliced together with epoxy.
He's attaching them with screws into the fiberglass.
The peanut gallery ... or the support team, however you see it.
Adam attached the toe rail on this whole side. Looks nice, doesn't it?
Then he used a small hand plane to bevel the outer corner
After this he sanded that corner a bit, but you can't run the risk of sanding the lovely paint job. So after he'd fitted it, put in the screws, and cut it the correct length, he removed the toe rail to do more sanding on it and apply varnish.
I need to show you some of the wood with the varnish; it looks like golden honey. It's truly beautiful. I can't wait to see that golden wood next to that brilliant blue paint. Is it okay to swoon over a boat?
Silly doggies. Daddy must've twitched, because they looked over at him.
"Hey, you two! Look at mama!"
I wrote the above post a few days ago, so now ... an update ...
Adam has been varnishing all that woodwork he cut and sanded. The varnish is gorgeous! It makes the white oak a warm buttery, honey-colored gold.
 Above are the coamings, the rails along the cockpit seats, and the trim on the companionway door.
 See what I mean by the color?
It looks great against the blue of the hull.
 He lays the long toe rails and rub rails along these yard chairs to keep them up and accessible as he varnishes them. He sanded for a Very Long Time.

 I'm so excited about how lovely it looks. I think she'll be a pretty boat.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Keeping Track of the Hives

Here are our bee hives yesterday.

I've numbered them for my own records. This blog serves various purposes, one of which is to help keep a record of family events and information.

#1, the large Lanstroth, is the biggest hive we brought with us when we moved here. It survived the 2012/13 winter. It used to be the strong hive from which Adam would split new hives.

#2, the tall Warre hive, is the other hive we brought with us from the mountains. It survived the 2012/13 winter.

After the 2013/14 winter, we had only those two hives remaining. In spring of 2014 we brought those two hives to our yard in Oriental.

#3 is a swarm hive we captured in summer of 2014. Adam is transitioning it into Langstroth boxes.

#4 is a split from #1, and it barely survived the 2014/15 winter. However, this hive has come back with a vigor. It is now our hive from which Adam does new splits.

#5 is the first split done in the spring of 2015. It was a split from the large Langstroth and was originally put into the small nuc box (#8). On 4/13/2015 Adam transferred these bees into this larger Langstroth 8-frame hive.

#6 is a swarm we captured on April 1, 2015. The swarm came from #4. Adam "won" the earliest swarm on one of his beekeeping online forums in 2015 :)

#7 is a split from #4, also done on April 1, 2015. #4 was so packed full of bees, Adam was able to pull both a swarm and a split from it, the same day.
(Update: In the afternoon, Adam looked inside this hive and found only about 100 bees in the bottom of the box, dead. The brood had been abandoned. All we can figure is that there were not enough bees in this split to keep the box warm enough for the brood to survive on some of the cooler nights of early April. He'll start this split again now that the weather is warmer.)

#8 is a new split from #4, done on April 13, 2015, after the nuc box was emptied into the new #5 boxes.

Adam had to start a new bee table for #8. We ought to move #6 over there soon too, so we don't stack our hives. That first bee table is carrying a lot of weight. Adam briefly considered moving #4 to the new table in the middle of the day, and putting a much smaller, weaker hive in its location, so that when its worker bees returned during the day they would build up the numbers of the weaker hive. However, because #4 is such a gang-buster strong hive, and the queen apparently is a brood-laying machine, he decided to keep it where it is. It is very useful as a hive from which to make splits, as we've seen already this spring.

We've never had so many hives before! It's very exciting. Unlike other livestock (if you can call bees "livestock") bees can be left alone at home for days on end, even weeks, without tending. They don't have to be fed or milked. They go in and out on their own, feed themselves, clean themselves, dispose of their own dead, and defend themselves. You can have thousands of dollars worth of bees in your yard, go away for a week, and nobody will touch them - haha! What else can you say that about?

You may wonder why #4 is such a big producer right now, but #1 and #2 are not. They are also full of bees, but they have lots of room.  Because they have so many boxes, and so much space, they are not tempted to swarm, and their boxes are not packed full of bees like #4. The compact nature of #4 makes it perfect for splitting. Because it's crowded, #4 is always preparing to swarm. Thus, the queen lays lots of babies to populate swarms, and there are always new queen cells in the making to go with those swarms. Adam plans to utilize this swarm-tendency for splitting new hives this summer. We've doubled our bee hives in just a month! That's exciting!

By the way -- if Adam wanted to produce and sell honey, he would have lots of big hives like #1 and #2. But he doesn't. Honey production is labor intensive for the cash return. Instead, Adam wants to sell bees and queens. For that (as I've shown), smaller, compact hives are useful. So we'll have lots of smaller hives. Splitting them and making new hives is as easy as transferring a few frames of brood, honey, and bees into a new box. As long as we buy lumber, and he builds (and I paint) boxes, he can produce more bees. That's what he wants to sell.

Did you notice the new paint up there? The darker red boxes are ones I painted this past weekend. We made five of those. Eventually they'll all be red Langstroths of various widths -- 4-frame nuc boxes, and 5-, 6-, or 8-frame boxes for regular hives. Adam plans to use his old Warre boxes as breeding boxes for his queens and drones. He has plans to create a whole breeding stock with specific characteristics. That man! He always has plans.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


I've been a bit absentee. Lots going on: wedding, graduations, travel, homeschooling-morphing-into-dual-enrollment, musical rehearsals/performances-around-the-corner. Bits of stress going on too, but I can't really chat about that. Sometimes more than just bits.
So, to put on a happy face, let's talk about shoes!
Here are the ones I bought for the wedding. Remember? $4. Very simple straps.
hat tip to Julia's feet
A profile shot. Love the heel, and those are the new rubber caps put on by the funny shoe repair man with the pet chicken.
Apparently these are up-scale shoes, but my feet really don't know the difference.
I adore how it says they were made ... not just in Italy ... but in the mountains of Italy! These are not valley shoes - hahaha!
Julia found her dress for the wedding at J.C. Penney. It's so absolutely perfect -- great fit, modest, elegant, cool. We both love it.
Don't all we 50-something women remember those days when we were a perfect size and shopping was so easy?
Her shoes for the wedding:
Julia is not actually a member of the wedding party; she doesn't have an official role, so I thought it was legal to share her clothes with you ahead of time :)
Adam's been doing a lot of bee work too. I'll talk about that in the next post.

Friday, April 10, 2015

New Wood on the Typhoon

One inescapable expense in our boat redo is the wood for all the trim. Adam researched types of wood and settled on white oak. To replace our old teak trim with new teak would cost around $1000. But white oak will serve the purpose well and costs much, much less.
He found a place in New Bern that could provide the small amount of white oak we need. As soon as we brought it home yesterday he began marking it up, measuring from the old trim wood.
These particular pieces are called coamings. They go around the sides of the cockpit and prevent water from splashing in ... a little. I think these are the largest pieces of trim he will replace.
Old teak ... new oak
Today he launched into finishing the deck painting and beginning to cut the new oak boards.
The deck is a pale gray/white. I love it. But it looks so very bare now, with absolutely no trim or hardware on it!
 New oak boards, on their way to becoming new coamings.
 This is Saw Central. I helped Adam a little when he was stripping some very long boards for slender trim pieces. He fed them through, and I drew them out the other side. All fingers are intact.
 Some of those thin strips, and some of the companionway trim he's started cutting:
 He needed thicker pieces to go between the coamings and the cabin top, so he's making some of them thicker by glueing them together.
 And cinching them together with vice grips.
 He'll start on varnish immediately. Each coat of varnish takes a full 24 hours to dry, and he'll apply five coats. There's no fast way to do that.
We hope very much to get at least one sail in before we leave for Philip and Kara's wedding in May. Fingers crossed! Look at that glossy paint job!