Loving home

Friends came to town and we spent the week exploring the Adirondacks with them. I always wonder why we travel so much when we love where we live. Ah well, the adventurer in us all.

We hiked long and short hikes, up mountains, around lakes and through some mud. The views make it all worthwhile.

view from Nun-Da-Ga-O ridge

I spend a lot of time looking down, watching my feet and there is a lot to see there as well. It has been a wet summer and mushrooms flourished.

Back on the home front, I was hopeful I would get to see a monarch chrysalis. Our yard is covered in milkweed. We saw a few caterpillars sampling the leaves but none hung around for us to watch.

But as the DH always says, “There is no such thing as paradise”. Despite the pandemic and uptick in cases, a local music festival brought lots of visitors to town; we got out of dodge and headed to the Great Camp Sagamore.

It is situated on its own lake, which unfortunately was only about 62 degrees f. We chose to swim anyway, Tim with a wetsuit, me, without. I figured I had about 30 minutes until hypothermia set in. I swam close to shore just in case and was fine, but slow for my swim. As soon as I was finished, I got out of my bathing suit and put on wool leggings, a wool shirt, cashmere sweater and fleece. It wasn’t enough. I was shaking so hard, I couldn’t bring my lunch to my mouth. I headed for the shower instead and a ten minute steamy shower did the trick.

I came out of the shower to find this creature on our bed. I walked around it and didn’t see it doing much, then I wriggled the blanket, nothing. Jokester DH had found a fishing lure and thought it would be a nice surprise for me.

We returned home to our peaceful cabin. Now it’s my turn to make sure the bees are fed for the winter. There was not enough honey for me to take another harvest so I put the boxes with partially filled honey frames below the larger brood boxes. I think they will clean them out and move the honey up to the brood boxes over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, I am also feeding them sugar syrup. So far I have given them 30 pounds of sugar in a syrup mixture and more to come.

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I’ll weigh the hives in a few weeks to make sure they have enough food to last the winter.

In the meantime, I will enjoy the view from home.

I’m in the honey

My first harvest is in! The process is pretty straight forward but too sticky to photograph.

First, I selected frames that were completely full of honey and capped by the bees with wax. The bees know when the moisture content is just right. I only took six frames from one of my three hives. I “encouraged” the bees to leave the frames with a stiff shake and a gentle brush.

The honey house was ready with a honey extractor, wax uncapping knife, 5 gallon food grade bucket and lots of jars. The wax is sliced off the honeycomb, then two frames are centrifuged and the honey is flung to the sides of the extractor drum where it slowly drips downward. Turn the frames over and repeat, and repeat.

Next the honey, which still had bits of wax in it, is poured and filtered into the 5 gallon bucket and from there is poured into individual jars. The label design came later.

There were about 8 quarts of honey, after the 1/2 cup I licked off my fingers, and it’s worth its weight in gold. Given my investment, that comes to about $275 a quart. Now I know why it is called liquid gold!

and the living is easy

Summertime in the Adirondacks is stunning but brief. The growing season is only four months but is packed with beauty.

An evening boat ride with friends on Lake Champlain

Tim is already swimming in the ponds. I hesitate, to his dismay: too cold, too windy, too many weeds reaching for my legs and arms. And now I have heard snapping turtles ply these waters. I’ll wade in soon when the deeper lakes warm up.

My local beekeepers’ group met at my hives last week and declared they are doing fine. All three have queens, are laying eggs and gathering honey. That means one hive raised a queen all by itself.

They selected an egg, plumped it up with royal jelly, she hatched, took her maiden flight, mated with a few drones, and made it back to the hive without getting picked off by a bird or dragonfly. And there she will remain for the rest of her days.

Honeybee on milkweed

Perhaps I will get at least one jar of honey in July. This nectar bloom is short and sweet.

Purple clover down the road

We moved to the Adirondacks in the winter of 2009 after only coming up in the snow. How lucky to find summer is even better.

Field down the road
Common merganser (?) under the bridge

Lucky Tim

I’m a good isolation buddy. I am easily amused and find plenty of things to keep me occupied. I have time to tackle a lot of long term projects. I went through all my photos and placed a lot of them under the glass on my desk blotter.

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Although it’s harder to find things that drop on the desk, it makes me smile every time I see it. Lots of memories.

E574EE45-10AD-4727-97F9-53CFD67FDB74A zipper broke on a favorite fleece vest so I decided to weave another band (it also made the vest a little bigger) to insert a new zipper. Tickled pink with it.

We’ve been spending about every other night in the cabin and I did a lot of the sewing by candle light.

It hasn’t stopped us from streaming our movies and I sleep like a baby with rain falling on the metal roof and coyotes howling nearby. Somehow it seems like all is right with the world.

 

But it’s not. We had family members affected downstate by The Virus, one critical, and it seems like a ventilator at Stony Brook hospital saved at least one life. I and everyone I know are having lots of emotional swings. I find long walks and staying connected any way I can to friends and families helps. Both of my kids have had video virtual gatherings with friends where they got all dressed up and chatted from home.

I embarked on a new adventure. I am going to keep bees. I got dressed up myself. My empty hive parts arrived last week and have applied the first coat of stain. Today I began putting wax foundations in the hive frames. I need another coat of stain and then wait for the bees to arrive.

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I’m almost ready. Better learn how to use the smoker first.

In the meantime, I cook. Tim gets basically anything he asks for.  So far on request, I have made donuts, apple pie, English muffins,

4B1BE146-8E4E-4417-BD44-4973EE1D9477cream caramel, lasagna, salmon, fresh pasta, potato pancakes, and today, roast chicken and Anzac biscuits.

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It warms our hearts to eat biscuits that I first made during our first time on Deal Island in 2011. A lifetime ago.

Stay well.