Garden Chick - Notes from the Garden

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Keeping Bees

I have wanted to have bee hives for several years but wasn't sure how they would fit on our property since I have grandchildren and frankly, my husband felt they would be a problem trying to mow around them, and thought they would be a problem.  But, being the person I am, I knew we could fit them in.  I heard about a "mentor" program with the local beekeepers association.  I waited a year, then decided to see if there was an opening in this years class.  I joined in January, and our bees arrived in late March.   You can see here the initial hive has two boxes.  These are brood boxes with 8 frames each.  The bees lay their eggs and start rearing their young.

This is a frame where the queen as laid her eggs.  The nurse bees are capping the cells to allow them to grow and hatch out later.

 I like the mentor class because we all meet together at a designated bee yard where there are about 10 hives.  Our mentor gives a talk, we get to ask questions and we inspect our hives together.  We also check our hives by ourselves at 10 day to 2 week intervals.  When we first placed our hives we had to take sugar water out every 10 days. Once the flowers began to bloom, and nectar flow, we removed our water feeders.
You can see now that it is the end of July, my two box hive is now four.  The third box is full of honey for the bees winter stores.  The fourth was added a couple of weeks ago in hopes they would save me a little!  Our class meets August 2 and we will remove our honey for our on personal use.  Each frame yields a quart of honey and I hope I have at least a couple.

My hive comes home in August, and since I have been working with the hives I see that bees are really calm, and should pose no threat to us or our neighbors.

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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Rainy Day Gratitude

Rainy days are great for checking out pinterest for gardening inspiration.  You can find me HERE


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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Red White and Blue!

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Flea Market Gardening

This is a chicken feed hopper used in a chicken house.  Love the red and blue sticker. The lantana is finally beginning to fill out.  Tip: don't fill the whole container with dirt.  Halfway down, I placed a board with holes drilled in it.

I'm not sure how this old wicker chair holds together.  It's been painted about  10 different colors.

This canvas tote holds a peace Lily that is at least 12 years old and has been divided several times. I keep it inside during the winter and then on the deck in the spring.  Decided to place it under the river birch this summer.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Johnny Cakes

I've heard of Johnny cakes for years and have eaten a few myself.  But, I remember my grandmother calling them hotcakes.  Being from the South, I laid claim to them assuming they were associated with the Civil War. The term hoecake was attributed to slaves, but Johnny Cakes go back farther than that, and many cultures have embraced their origin.

The original Southern version was made with yellow cornmeal, boiling water and bacon grease.

I found this version in a local paper from a restaurant in town and can't wait for fresh local corn to come to the market.  These Johnny Cakes are great for Garden parties and picnics since they hold up well for several hours.

Bacon Johnny Cakes

1 1/2 cups organic cornmeal
1 cup organic all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup fresh buttermilk
1/4 cup butter warm
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
4 strips bacon (small,diced, and crisped in a pan)
1 ear of corn ( shucked and cut off the cob)
Mix together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking soda.  Add to that the whisked eggs, buttermilk, butter, corn, and bacon.

Heat a pan to medium high and add enough oil to cover the bottom.

Add the batter 2 tablespoons at a time to form 3 inch circles.  Don't crowd the pan as they will expand.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes or until they form little air bubbles on the underside before you flip them. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Recipe from Elemental
Chattanooga, Tennessee

Photo. Bing photos

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Got Milkweed?

According Monarch Watch there are many reasons there has been a decline in the monarch butterfly population.Widespread use of herbicides, developement of subdivisions and shopping centers and the mowing along highways has contributed to the decline of nectar sources.

But there are some things we can do. Why not create a monarch waystation at your home, business, or school?  It can be as large or small as you like.  You need to plant milkweed that are native to your area, so below I have listed a few for your region.

Northeast:  common milkweed, swamp milkweed, butterfly milkweed, poke milkweed

South Central:  antelope horn milkweed,  green antelope horn milkweed, zizotes milkweed

Southeast:  aquatic milkweed, white milkweed, butterfly milkweed

West:  showy milkweed, antelope horn milkweed (only in NV AZ NM CO ID KS, and OK)

Without milkweeds in the spring and summer,which provide breeding areas, the popuation cannot be maintained.  Without nectar from flowers, they cannot make the long migration to Mexico each fall.

You can register your waystation and even purchase a plaque  identify your garden as an official Monarch Waystation.

For more information contact
Photo from

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Garden Planner Giveaway

And the winner is........Emily Rose.  Thank you to all who entered

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