Random Thoughts

A New Venture

Recently my boyfriend and I started a lifelong dream for both of us – we became beekeepers! YES! It’s something he had always wanted to do and the same for me. I’m so thrilled and fascinated by these bees.

It isn’t easy as all hives are different. Within a month we purchased a second hive and another Nuc (5 frames of bees) from a local beekeeper. When he left that day after installing the Nuc for us he said to me, “Now you’re official beekeepers”. I guess having more than one hive does that!

Hive on the left is four weeks old – the other is less than a week.

We are thrilled beyond belief. I can often be seen in the garden area (where the hives are located) just talking to the bees and talking to the bees. They really are nice bees. You can tell when they get aggravated and then I stay clear but otherwise, they get a morning pep talk and an evening job well done talk. I monitor their sugar water to be sure they always have what they need.

Bees are simply fascinating and the art of beekeeping is the same. It IS an art, I’m convinced of it. We are learning so much, in fact, within the first week and a half with our first hive, we experienced something we had hoped not to experience so early on – a swarm. We were in the garden weeding and both heard something above us that sounded like, well, a roaring swarm. We looked up and our bees were high in the sky preparing to take off to parts unknown. There was nothing we could do. The queen did not take the entire hive as some of the bees were out of the hive doing “bee things” but we suspect we lost at least 80% of our first Nuc. I was devasted, feeling as if we had let our bees down.

It was very strong Nuc so they apparently grew quicker than we had anticipated and swarmed because they had outgrown the space. A day or two later we added a second brood box. The remaining bees seemed happier after that although they were queenless at the time. A new queen has certainly emerged by this point.

We will do another hive inspection on Sunday to see where we stand and see how the hives have progressed.

One of our bees enjoying the Ligustrum blooms.

Our first two hive inspections produced enough beeswax to make these little wax bees. They aren’t perfect as I am learning how to render the wax (clean it of impurities) but these are perfect for our “memory jar” that we began when we first became a couple. I suspect soon we’ll have enough wax for our first candle! I cannot wait.

Wax bees!

I’ll end this post on one personal observation – I wish many more of us would keep bees. It is a fascinating hobby and without bees to pollinate, we would starve. I also think most humans could learn a great deal from the inner workings of a happy bee hive.

Oh, I almost forgot! We need your help! We want to come up with a logo and a name for our Apiary (a place where bees are kept; a collection of beehives). This would then be designed and utilized on our products (candles, lip balm, and honey) that we will eventually sell to the public. Contact me privately if you have suggestions or use the Contact Me form on this site. Thank you!

More bee updates to come

Childhood Memories

While growing up, my family enjoyed boating around the bays and Gulf around Panama City, Florida where I was born and raised. Our boat was a 30-foot Trojan cabin cruiser which we docked at the downtown marina in a private berth.

One day my brother decided to drop a crab basket off the dock just for kicks. He checked it one day and no crabs. He checked it again and alas, no crabs but instead there was a little seahorse inside the basket. He pulled it up and we took her from the basket and placed her into a cup full of salt water. We called the seahorse a “her” but I am not certain how we decided that she was indeed, a she. I have since read that the males have a brood pouch and the females do not but at the time, I don’t recall if we even noticed that or not. In any event, we decided she was a she and henceforth named her Charlene.

We took Charlene home with us and put her into a very small aquarium, complete with a long mixing spoon so she would have something to hang onto. I don’t remember if my Mom ever put any plants in there to dress up her landscape or if any other creatures were added. I don’t believe so as I remember Mom taking such special care of Charlene and just Charlene. She would drive down to the bay and scoop up a pail of salt water and bring it home for her. You see, the water would be swimming with brine shrimp and plankton which is what Charlene liked to eat. Sometimes Mom would go to the pet store and buy her some brine shrimp but she much preferred the fresh stuff.

I remember being fascinated watching Charlene eat and just hang out. She really didn’t do much else mainly because her living quarters were so small and she had no friends to play with. We suggested we get her a boyfriend as we thought it would be cool to watch them have babies. Mom and Daddy didn’t think so. We once found a baby octopus in a scallop shell and wanted to take it home to be with Charlene but it was decided that would be a bad idea since the thing would probably ink constantly in the tank. Charlene would be miserable!

At some point, a hurricane came our way and we were evacuating. We decided to take Charlene back to the dock and let her go. Daddy figured she’d be safer there than in her tank at home. I couldn’t see how that would be the case but we took her anyway. It was sad – no more Charlene to feed and watch.

But you know something, I am so forever grateful to have had that experience and the many other experiences we had growing up around the salt water – boating, snorkeling, scuba diving, skiing, you name it, if it had to do with salt water, we were doing it! We would hop in the boat and head to Pensacola for lunch or head over to Apalachicola to eat at the Greasy Spoon (I truly think that was the name of the restaurant or it might just be what my Dad called it) or take weekend trips to Carrabelle or Mobile. We would travel to places in and around Panama City by boat so often that it would be years before I would actually know how to get there by land. Oh, I can’t forget the yearly trips to Islamorada in the Keys where we’d go lobstering which was very awesome. We ate lobster for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was great fun!

It’s all we knew and quite frankly, was the best childhood anyone could ever want. As you can tell, I feel quite privileged. Thanks to my wonderful parents for being so good to us and providing such wonderful experiences and memories.

Wonderful Holiday Memories

A few weeks back I purchased this one pound bag of pecan halves for $12, I believe. Just one pound. I have very fond memories of a huge box of pecan halves arriving at our home in Panama City every fall, just in time for holiday baking. I’d love when that brown UPS truck would pull up in the driveway, knowing our pecans were on board. It was a glorious sight!

Mom and I would portion our bounty into quart size freezer bags and pack the standup freezer in our utility room with bags and bags of pecans which would last throughout the year. I used them sparingly, even then, knowing that one delivery did have to last all year long.

I do the same now but the quantity I purchase is very much different than what my Mom purchased for us back in the day. For instance, a 24 pound box of shelled pecan halves today would set you back about $280. Five pounds? About $60. They are still a precious commodity. And with the recent rash of bad weather in south Georgia, they are even more precious this season as I think I recently read that nearly 30% of this year’s crop was destroyed by Hurricane.

Be that as it may, I will enjoy my one pound bag for as long as I can and every time I do, I will be reminded of my Mom and our fall ritual. Very fond memories, indeed.

If you are so inclined to purchase your pecan stash in bulk, visit this page for a listing of Georgia Pecan growers. Back then Mom would pre-order her supply through the mail before the crop was even picked! And once the pecans were ready, they would ship so they would be at their freshest. Now, most orchards have websites where you can place your order online and receive your pecans even quicker, when in season.

Maybe one day I’ll be able to begin this annual ritual for myself. Maybe . . .


Warren and Tito
Warren and Tito

Today I took a few minutes to review my old blog on blogspot and I came across the post below – it was May of 2012. Alot has changed since then. My first three Greyhounds – Remi, Sugar, and Lucy, have all passed. Ms. Ruth has passed. Bless her heart, she would always have a stash of Milkbones in her closet for the pups. And she loved seeing the pups every month. Its the only time I allowed my pups to have Milkbones!

Bud, one of our favorite patients has Alzheimer’s. Initially, it was not apparent and I often wondered why he was even in the facility. Eventually though, it was very apparent and it honestly seemed to be gradual and then overnight. He did have family who lived on the East-side of Atlanta. They moved him to a facility closer to them. I hate that as we really enjoyed our monthly visits with Bud – he had a gazillion stories to tell, granted over and over again, but we loved to hear them no matter how many times he told them. But being nearer to family is more important. I get that.

And our dear Warren. Oh my, we visited with him for so many years. I never knew why he was in the nursing home except I can speculate he had a stroke and never recovered. He would normally be in his bed when we came to visit but on a few occasions, they had him in a chair.

One night back in January, I think it was,Warren was moved to a different part of the facility, one where his previous roommate said he would get better care. He also said he would likely not leave that facility and unfortunately he was right.

We visited him there one month, or we tried to visit him one month but the staff said he wasn’t up to seeing us. We went back the next month and he was gone. We asked and they said he had passed. I was so heartbroken. I wish we could have had one more visit with him but you know, we had so many throughout the years that were so brief, yet were so fulfilling for Warren and for myself and whichever Greyhound I happened to take that month.

One visit, in particular, and it was early on when we first started seeing Warren, we started to leave and as I turned to say goodbye, I noticed a tear falling from his eye.

Moments like that and you know you’ve connected and that’s what pet therapy is all about. We’ve been doing this for 13 years now and yes, even as hard as it is to do sometimes, we are making a difference!


Animal Assisted Activity (AAA) Last Night at D’ville Nursing and Rehab

Friday, May 04, 2012

Ms. Ruth and Remi
Ms. Ruth and Remi

Well, what a night it was!  I took Sami instead of Lucy, due to the storms. Left Lucy shaking and panting on top of my bed!  Sami was happy to pinch hit for her, she always loves to go. She is a good therapy dog if I can just keep her from kissing everyone she sees!

We visited with Warren, our African American gentleman who is bedridden and who can’t speak. We approached and I asked if he wanted to see Sami tonight and he nodded that yes, he did.  We moved to the bed and he slowly moved his hand from underneath the covers. I helped put his hand on Sami’s head and he pet her for a bit. When he was done, he slowly moved his hand back underneath the covers. As I left the room, I looked back at him to say goodnight and he had a smile on his face.

We visited with a new elderly lady who when we approached and asked if she’d like to pet Sami, her response was, “I can’t, my hands are crippled”. She was reading a book and her hands, crippled as they were, formed perfectly around the book so it was not evident to me when I first came into the room.  She sounded so disappointed.  I immediately told her it was okay and I would help her so I did just that, taking her crippled hand and turning it over so that the back of her hand stroked Sami’s head.  She was quiet overjoyed and as I left the room, I looked back at her to say goodnight and she had a smile on her face, too!

After making our rounds around the complex, we finally ran into our favorite patient, known simply as “Bud”. He was so happy to see Sami!  He just loved on her, kissing her head, and hugging on her. He is such a pleasant man. He walked us down the hallway and even outside to my vehicle.  I asked him several times if it was okay for him to be out and he said, yes, that he walked “everywhere” and even would walk down the street all the time for exercise. I believed him. He is a forgetful person but he doesn’t tell fibs!!

We chatted at the vehicle for a bit, long enough for me to see a screw embedded in one of my back tires.  He told me to be sure to get that plugged and if anyone tried to give me grief or charge me for doing that, to come get him and he’d set them straight. Bless his heart – he is absolutely so endearing and I only wish he had family and grandchildren around as he’d be the best granddaddy!  Anyway, as I was leaving the parking lot, I turned and waved goodnight and he, too, had a smile on his face!

It’s amazing what an hour of your time can do for people like Warren and Bud and our new favorite patient (I didn’t get her name). It is such a rewarding experience, one which my Greyhounds and I have enjoyed now for nearly nine years!  I am so thankful we can do this little bit of “therapy” to help so many!

Life Lessons

The title of this initial post on my “new” blog is difficult, at best. You see, I failed to submit my monthly payment for GoDaddy’s WordPress hosting so they deleted my site. In it’s entirety. Yes, imagine the rush of numbness that overwhelmed me upon hearing those words. Two years of posts, two years of recipes. Gone, gone girl!

Of course, GoDaddy can restore it for a $150 fee. Which I cannot pay as I’m unemployed at the moment, so I will start fresh with my site at an even much more reduced rate than what I was paying before. I had called them trying to get the rate reduced when the site was up and functional and I was paying on time but they said they could not do anything.  Funny how that works, isn’t it?  This new plan is much more affordable, even for the unemployed.

I hope this never, ever happens again!  But you can rest assured, I will give it my all and will post more frequently. You’ll be sick of me before long. With all that being said, it is my hope that I will encourage at least one of you to pull out the cookware and get creative in the kitchen.

That will make all my efforts worth it!


%d bloggers like this: