Thursday, February 26, 2015


Tracking the queens and swarms 

In the winter there isn't much to do in the bee yard. Plenty of time to go over notes. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Just Leaving This Here

Summer afternoon, rum runner and bee hives

The back porch, a rum runner, and bee hives in the distance. I'm still busy working on the new blog so this picture from last summer is to tide you over and warm you up.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Making the Most of Winter

How are the resolutions going? This is around the time most people give them up. The weather in many parts of the country is making difficult it to get motivated to eat healthy or exercise. I don't want a salad when it's ten degrees. I want potato soup with bacon on top followed by warm chocolate chip cookies. It's all just so much easier when the sun shines and you can get outside. I mean, I ate a doughnut yesterday, people. Not even one from a shop but a powdered sugar one from the grocery.

I have little willpower in my own home which means sending a husband to do the shopping alone is dangerous. I don't even look at baked goods in the store but on the counter in the kitchen is a different story. I fight all my best battles at Kroger. I exit looking like a triumphant vegetarian goddess. Frankly, once it's in my house the spirit isn't even willing and the flesh doesn't stand a chance.

But you know what today is? A fresh start. A second chance. How great is it that we get one every day?

You likely feel unmotivated and maybe you've made some bad choices because let's face it, late February is "in the trenches" resolution wise.

Do not give up.

Yes, it's dreary. So keep it simple.

Put on some music and dance for 20 minutes.

Organize the junk drawer.

Pick 3 things from your closet you can toss.

Drink some water.

If it's all just really too much for you today, catch up on some reading. I've been reading Anne Lamott who is guaranteed to cheer you up. If you can't get to the bookstore or library and don't have a Kindle, watch an interview online.

Or give your brain a work out. I love Sporcle and finally beat Name the Countries of Europe. Here's a tip: study the spelling first because you have to get that right too. On to the other continents! 

Spring is just around the corner so make yourself some tea and read something you've been meaning to get around to. We'll be cutting grass and complaining about mosquitoes before you can say record lows.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Dos and Don'ts of Thrift Shopping

thrift shopping

One of the things I enjoy most about shopping at thrift stores is that you just never know what you will find. I love it when I come across a prize like this wool herringbone blazer. A blazer is an item where I prefer a man's to a woman's. There just seems to be more of an abundance of them and the quality is usually superior. Plus you get that cool inside pocket that they never add to the feminine version.

I have large shoulders for a woman (remember the "man shoulders" quote from Mean Girls?) so it can be hard for me to get a proper fit in anything tailored. This sport coat was perfect except that the arms were about 3 inches too short. (I got the long arms to go with my brawny shoulders)

I looked online to find a few articles about how to deconstruct them, lengthen, and put them back together. In a well made garment that includes a lining this is fairly complicated, but not impossible with a bit of patience. Finding a quality garment means that it is going to have enough fabric for you to let it out if you need to.

Did I mention that I paid five dollars for this gem? So it would have been worth the cost of taking to a tailor for alterations if I needed something more complicated like taking in the waist. A wool blazer of this quality from a department store would have run me upwards of a hundred dollars.

Here are the rules I have come up with for second hand shopping:


Shop for luxurious fabrics. Keep your eye out for silk, wool, and linen.

Look for quality. Is the stitching carefully done? Is it lined? Is it well constructed? 

Look for labels you know you like. If your favorite store's prices are daunting, look for them when thrifting.

Stick to your style. If you get it home and it doesn't work in your wardrobe you've still wasted money even if it's only five bucks.

Try everything on. It may not fit well for some reason and you want to know that before you leave, many places don't take returns.

Try out resale shops like Plato's Closet and The Clothes Mentor if you want a more orderly experience and cleaner atmosphere but expect to pay more.

Inspect garments carefully for stains that may not come out or other things like moth holes in wool. 

Imagine what it will look like when it's been washed and pressed.

Buy something you love that is stained if you think you can get it out.

Go with a list so you don't get overwhelmed.

Do Not: 

Buy disposable clothing. This isn't the place to waste your time or money on a trendy polyester shirt. 

Bother with anything that looks cheaply made. 

Be put off by a ripped seam or missing buttons. These are easily mended.  

Get carried away and buy more than you need.