Monday, June 23, 2014

Bees and Bunnies - and progress on Holton House

Duncan is enjoying his new found frolicking freedom every evening with the chickens (his new girlfriends).
These were taken in Beekeeper Daughter's back yard, where the chickens are given free range for a time each day before being put back in their coop.

She also has a splendid garden (and a very GREEN THUMB).  I thought you would also enjoy seeing a 'drinking fountain' for the beehive ... and how the bees carefully position themselves on a small rock or floating sponge to drink.  The water has to be shallow so if they fall in, they will not drown in the 'deep' water.

 He is becoming very attached to his 'Bunny Camp' owner/"Bunny Spa" lady (Beekeeper Daughter) ... and even hops over to her and nudges her leg every now and then.

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Holton House now has exterior trim being added.  The house is also receiving plumbing work inside and some of the heating/cooling ducts are being added.  A few glimpses of the exterior trim - pretty, don't you think?

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I will close this blog entry with photos of some of the jars of honey that was bottled from the extracting done earlier this week and part of last week (see prior blog).  The labels are not on the jars yet, but this was bottled this morning ..... I love the way it looks!  Beekeeper Daughter also is making a big jar of ice water with strawberries and sliced lemons.  Refreshing for these hot humid days.



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Extracting Honey today!!!!

The bees had filled some of the honey combs, so extraction was required.  I thought you might like to see 'up close and personal' what it takes to get the honey from the honey frames when they are full.  Beekeeping Daughter went through the hives and removed the honey frames that were sufficiently capped with wax and the honey ready to be removed.  The first picture is of a honey frame fresh from the hive.

The white areas are where the honey has been capped with wax.

A tool somewhat like a wide fork with sharp prongs is used to skim along the wax cappings to remove them. This wax is then put into a strainer placed over a bowl to strain any remaining honey out of the wax ... and that wax can be used for many things, one of which is to make bees' wax candles.  Effort is made when removing these cappings to not get any honey in with the wax, but that is difficult to accomplish.  The strainer over the aluminum bowl can be see to the left of Beekeeping Daughter's arm.
 This is the frame after the caps have been removed.
 Then the frames (three at a time) are inserted into the extractor.  It is then spun around quickly to utilize centrifugal force to 'fly' the honey out along the sides of the extractor.  Half way through the spinning, it is stopped so the frames can be flipped around allowing the other side of the frame of honey to fly out along the sides as it is being spun.  Care has to be exerted to spin just fast enough that the honey flies out along the sides ... but not so fast that the frame is bowed out.

 Closer look into the extractor with the three frames inserted.
The spinning is begun!

Faster, faster, faster we go!

The honey slides down the inside of the extractor to the bottom.  A large spout is located near the floor of the extractor.  It can be opened up to allow the rich "liquid gold" to pour steadily into a bucket placed below. There are three strainers placed on the top of the bucket (course, medium and then fine) through which the honey flows and is strained of stray bits and pieces of wax or debris, leaving pure golden honey.

When we finally finished the day of extracting, we estimate there was anywhere from 30 to 35 lbs. of honey!!!!!

There is a spout on the bottom of this bucket also, so when the job is finished, the spout is opened and the honey is allowed to pour into various jars.  Neat, huh?!

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Guess who watched this procedure?

Yes, Duncan observed the whole thing .... and then received a raisin or two as treats!!!!  Cute little guy!

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Now a drive by to see the house ......

Black on the roof - windows in place (except for three).  This is out the study front window.

 Great room window, facing the back where the barn is.  A horse lives there too.
Out the kitchen window.  The table will be in this area.
Out the small kitchen window looking onto the porch.

These two views were from the edge of the backyard - I wanted you to see the lovely roof line from that angle too.  There is a totally beautiful view of the house from a road way off to the left of this picture ... beyond the horse pasture.  Some time soon I will try to get a shot of that view.  Again, I feel blessed beyond belief.



Saturday, June 14, 2014

Bunnies, chickens, pups, babies, blossoms, veggies - AND a new porch floor!

Saturday and it is a sunny, fresh, 71 degree morning - sleeping last night was glorious at a 49 degree temp. Bliss.  Off to meet Beekeeping Daughter to head for the Farmer's Market together.  Many "poocher dogs" (Cindy's wording for dogs) strolling through - Look what was there.  Dogs of all kinds of breeds ... sizes ... shapes ... ages ... colors and temperaments!

I was informed that this little fellow had an ego as big as all outdoors!!!!! I was told not to tell him he was handsome, cute, or pretty.  He already had a too inflated view of himself!!!!

 This sweet little boy was in a wheelchair - leave it to a dog to know which child needed a special kiss.  The dog walked right over to him and licked his cheeks!
 Large, stately, calm dog!
This is Bruno - and he posed very nicely for his picture (being offered a treat of course.)

 This big laboradoodle was a hit with everyone - look at him strut!
Then he stopped to smile at the camera!!!!  A true ham.

 What a beautiful groomed fluff ball!
 Have to add some of the 'older generation' aged puppers!
 Strutting his stuff!
 I think he might be a pretty good guard dog, don't you?
 A miniature lassy!
 This pooch was extremely well behaved.  Sat down for a few minutes while we chatted with his owner.
I believe this is a rescue dog in training.
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And oh, the sweet little babies and toddlers - chubby cheeks, dimpled knees - don't you just love them?
 All decked out for a day at the market - ready for anything!

       Oh my, I am just plain worn out!                                                
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These beautiful young ladies were sisters.  They live on a farm and make their own goat soap, sprays, and some exquisitely crafted little birds.  These girls could be models - and are certainly examples of fine skin and flawless complexions - great testimonies of their homemade soap!

And now feast your eyes on the blooms, plants and veggies, baked goods art work- and even colorful carts to display the wares!!!!

 This precious red head captured my heart - so cute - she was waiting in line to have her hand smushed on paper and then an artist turns it into a fascinating picture.
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Now back to Beekeeper Daughter's home where she is taking care of Duncan until Holton House is completed.  This is truly Super Rabbit Spa -- or Duncan's Favorite Summer Camp.  He is receiving excellent care and also gets to frolic all over her back yard with the chickens, checking out the garden, the hen house, and the pond, among other delectable delights.  We will start with photos of Beekeeper Daughter 'harnessing' him up preparing for the wild play in the yard!  You will see his bright blue harness and 'leash' in some of the photos below as he hops around dragging it!!!
 Oh all right, I will try to endure the 'harnessing up' because I know I will get to run madly around once it is on!!!!!
 Oh good, here come 'the girls'.... maybe they will play with me.
Marge and Gloria as they strut around and hunt for worms and bugs.  Fun stuff!

 Got to check out where these "chicks" live .... hey, it's pretty nice in here!

 Hey, look at this good stuff "Mom" just put in the bird feeder.  YUM!  Yeah, let's eat it!
Ahhhh. I just love being at this Rabbit Camp.  Maybe Mom will let me stay a while longer.  Do you think?
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Now off to check on the progress at Holton House.  The porch 'floor' has been poured, more exterior work is getting done, the fireplace area is more framed and the spot for the master bath tub is roughed in now.  Also, there is a shot of the house from the back - a really pretty roof line there too.  Take a look!
 View from the street.
New porch floor as I was coming around the side toward the back of the house.
 This view is from the back yard looking toward the front of the neighbor's yard.
 This view is looking out the kitchen door that goes directly onto the porch area.
 Fireplace will be where this opening is framed.  It is on the right side of the great room when you enter from the front door entrance.  The master bedroom is directly behind that.
 Master bathroom tub will be placed in this spot.  The door to the left of it enters the walk-in closet for the master bedroom.
A view from the back corner of the lot showing the nice roof  line.  The porch is off to the right under the trees.

This is an enjoyable process and very rewarding to see the house taking shape - almost better than I dreamed it to be.

Closing with two fun signs - good thoughts, both of them.
 A sign on Knitting Daughter's back porch.  "Porch Rules.  Take a nap ... feel the breezes ... read a book ... converse ... listen to the birds ... Sip a drink ... Relax."  Nice!  Porches are a delight.
The last one is a quote from The Help.  If you haven't read it, I highly recommend the book.