Friday, July 29, 2011

A PHENOMINAL beginning to backyard beekeeping

You may remember my post from May of this year as I talked about my top bar hive. The bees were ordered from Ruhl Bee Supply

Jeannie picked them up and we installed them right away into the top Bar hive from Bee Thinking

This is a company that has been in business in Oregon since about 2008. The popularity of backyard beekeeping and the simplicity of the top bar hive have helped Matt Red and his wife with their business, which grew so fast that they have been able to open a store in Portland’s Sellwood district. They offer classes and support online with tons of information. Well on July 20, 2011, my mentor from the Willamette Valley Beekeepers Association stopped by to see if I needed help. We quickly looked at the bees, but did not have a smoker. So we could not proceed. He did pronounce the bees as phenomenal. The hive was full! Much of it was capped honey.

The following Saturday, Matt Reed from Bee Thinking came to fix a problem with the hive. My mentor joined us. We removed every bar from the hive and found that we needed to remove some honey to make room for the bees. The bees were surprisingly tolerant of his work. Matt Reed found the hive to bee in excellent condition.

We took five or six bars, returning the empty bars to the hive.

Here is my harvest. I boxed 11 four inch square combs, 12 hex jars, 4 pints, and 4 half pints. What an amazing beginning to beekeeping!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Flowers--lavendar wands

I have three rose bushes in the front yard. Here is a small bouquet of my white roses. I love the way the crystal in the window puts a rainbow on this arrangement.

The first owners of my house put in a healthy grouping of lavendar, for it’s beauty, scent and to help reduce aphids on the roses. As far as I can tell there are two varieties. The deep purple is the Buena Vista. It blooms earlier. The second is lavendula lanata, I believe. The bumblebees really like the flowers as well as the honeybees. they let lme know when it is time to make lavender wands.

They take about an hour to make each, so I only make them for family and friends. They are wonderful to enjoy during the cold winter months.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Recital and a fiber discovery

On July 1, 2011 Janita and I had the pleasure of attending our shared Grand daughters’ recital with their parents.

After the recital we went to a lovely Gresham Lebanese Restaurant. As we came out Janita and I saw a sign reading

Andersen Fiber Works

We went in and were greeted by the owner, Jen Andersen.

Here is a picture of the entrance.

Here is Kathy who gave us lessons on drop spindles.

Anderson Fiber Works is at

20 NW 3rd St.

Gresham, OR 97030…Telephone 503-667-6852 or 503-492-6652 or e-mail her at They have only been open for a month. We felt the store was inviting and well lighted with natural light. They even had a delightful children’s area. This store has more fiber for spinning, though they do invite knitters and have some yarn.

Well this all impelled me to get my completed shawl blocked. I had been knitting this for some time. Used two patterns from Knitting Lace Triangles by Evelyn A. Clark a designer who lives in the Pacific Northwest. The yarn was purchased three or fur years ago when Janita and I attended a market at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. We were with Betsy. We got an amazing price on this mohair yarn at the booth of Russ Groft, formerly of McMinnville’s Robin and Russ. The store is closed and Russ has passed on, so this shawl is a memory of him.

I just reinstalled (moved) my clothesline because the shed and chickens have occupied the former drying yard.