Saturday, June 30, 2012

June's Leap Year Photo

I think you'll agree...

the one photo in June that made my heart just leap!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Old Friends

As we both released from a lengthy and long overdue embrace that only old friends can understand...tears equally flooded our eyes.

How could this gorgeous grown up person standing in front of me be my childhood friend? The one that spent girls summer camp giggling until dawn with me. The friend who sneaked out with me on the very first day I was allowed to drive to school. The one that endlessly chased boys with me and then promptly ran away.

We named our first cars together. Mine was Baretta because it was EXACTLY the same car with EXACTLY the same dents and paint job that TV show Baretta drove. Her car we christened "Dubby" adorable vintage blue VW bug. Let's just say I preferred it when she drove, as the back doors on Baretta wouldn't even open!

Immediately we recounted how much time had passed since seeing each least ten years we think. And even longer since we have had time to really "catch up!" We have crept in and out of each other's lives with occasional Christmas cards and wedding invitations. But it is her simple expressive notes arriving around Jocie's anniversary angel day that remind me why we are forever friends.

In Utah for a summer visit we finally arranged to meet for lunch this week. There are so many gaps of information and facts to update when you haven't visited with forever friends for such a long time. The conversation was continuously filled with smiles and laughter. Cindy has the most beautiful smile and contagious laugh. Her giggles soon opened up the memory of teenage moments we shared so many years ago. We discussed whereabouts and details of children, siblings and our parents. The years between us gradually melted away with each detail recounted. 

I saw the sympathy in her beautiful blue eyes as the conversation slid easily into Jocie's story. Of course she wanted to know how I really was doing and how I have survived such tremendous sorrow. Mistakenly people believe that you "get over" the loss of a child. just don't! It's like wall paper on your's there every single day. Somehow I have figured out how to joyfully live with that wallpaper surrounding me. And at this point, I told her I'm as happy as I can be given what I've lost! Somehow from across the table her heart touched mine as if to gently say "I'm so very sorry my dear friend." 

In parting we vowed not to allow ten years to slip by before our next reunion. Because there is nothing like an old forever friend.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Keeping it Weird

Sometimes and not enough, I tag along with the hubby on a business trip. Giving us time to reconnect with each other...I love coming along. This particular trip being Austin; the fourth largest city in Texas and capital of the Lone Star State.

With the Texas temperatures and humidity soaring, we decided to do something daring and extraordinary. Dean and I became actual tourists and signed up for a Segway Tour of Austin! 

There is a slogan in this city "Keep Austin Weird." Which most likely is a reference to the local's independent and eclectic style for living.

Austinites promote small and unique local businesses like this eating establishment. Some of the city's favorites are Amy's Ice Cream and Freebirds World Burritos. We indulged ourselves at both places. I even went completely crazy and ate an entire burrito.

Native Austinite developers noticed the charming potential of once dilapidated Rainey Street and envisioned a new and different kind of district for Austin's young crowd. Charming new bars and restaurants are slowly taking over the neighborhood but still leaving the street's historic character in tact. 

This Agave or Century Plant is just about finished with it's spectacular blooming process. A very slow growing cactus and a member of the succulent family, some century plants live for 50 plus years. Finally shooting out a giant stem when death is imminent. The plant's whole life is geared for this ending, which will produce the necessary seeds for germination. Then it dies...just like that!

Completed in 1886, the Driskill Hotel is the oldest operating hotel in Austin.

With a stunning lobby and stained glass ceilings, the Driskill was the premiere gathering place for cattlemen in the early 1900's.

The building is said to have been built with a special ladies' entrance that allowed female guests to proceed directly to their rooms, thereby avoiding the rough talk of the cattlemen in the lobby

And speaking of a rough crowd...we happened to be in Austin during ROT (Republic of Texas). One of the largest motorcycle rallies in the country. There was a whole lot of leather in town, with motorcycles literally filling downtown streets.

Somehow...our dorky tour guide convinced us to raise our arms straight above us just like the Goddess of Liberty statue while posing for this pic. And we did it! Go big or go home...even when being a tourist..

The inside of the capital rotunda is stunning and considered a "whispering gallery." Where a whisper may be heard from anywhere within the circumference of the dome.

The capital is over 360,000 square feet....larger than any other capital. This is the senate chambers.

and the house of representatives.

Because the capital was land locked, they built the new addition into the ground. It is the exact height into the Earth as the front of the capital is protruding out of the Earth. Cool huh? See what you can learn when you are a tourist?

After a few quick stops for fresh peaches and breakfast burritos by the side of the road...sadly our Segway tour of Austin ended. But not the fun! We laughed endlessly and discovered new things we never knew about each other...even after all these years!

Next time you are in Austin, I strongly urge you to hook yourself up with one of those Segways and do your best to Keep Austin Weird!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Marvelous Mama Meesh

For over a year now, I have been compiling a myriad of reasons why his crazy idea would never work.

Bears, moose, skunks, raccoons and a hundred other varmints live in them thar mountains!

And every one of them would love a tasty snack of honey and bees. Not to mention the cold summer evening mountain temperatures, strong winds, and lack of a beekeeper constantly watching over them. Gladly he ignored my misgivings and a few weeks ago placed Mama Meesh and her hive of honeybees high in the Cache Wasatch National Forest on property belonging to our very good friends.

Scott and Dean believe the wildflowers and the snowberry bush will make delicious honey. Seriously, if you were a bee wouldn't you want to live here?

After a two week settling in period, it was time to check on the bees to see whether they had even survived the move. Just the two of us made the drive into the mountain property that day...where a lovely light breeze scattered the scent of the forest around us. The afternoon was nothing short of a spiritual experience.

What we found was a busy thriving hive. The girls were actively flying in and out with bright yellow pollen filling the sacks on their tiny legs. Pollen is immediate sustenance for hard-working bees.

Mostly likely they were gathering it from this bright yellow mountain flower along with sweet sugary nectar. Using a straw-like proboscis, the worker bee drinks the liquid nectar, storing it in a special honey sack (almost like a honey tummy) within her body. The bee continues to forage, visiting hundreds of flowers until the honey sack is full when she brings it back to the hive.

Approaching the hive, we immediately noticed the absence of guard bees protecting the entrance. They usually zig and zag into your face. This hive was completely and inexplicably docile.

Even after opening the hive and moving frames around, Dean declared it to be the happiest beehive he's ever seen.

Signs of brood on this frame

and many others indicate the hive is expanding mightily

Sweet sugary nectar is already making the transition to delectable mountain honey.

I watched him methodically go about his work...

searching for the illusive Queen Mama Meesh

and placing the next honey super on.

Dreaming of harvesting the amber colored ambrosia next fall.

The face of a very happy beekeeper who should never listen to his wife!

The beekeeper and I sat on that mountain for quite some time and absorbed the magnificent vista. Casually he pointed out a grove of Quaken Aspen trees at the very tip top of the mountain overlooking the bees...Jocie's mountain. Her monument lies in that bright green grove. And her spirit wafts continually through these trees both winter and summer. It's no wonder that Mama Meesh is content and thriving with Jocie the beekeeper magnificently watching over her.

And then I couldn't help but giggle as I envisioned fifteen-year old Jocie and her girlfriend Lindsay frolicking among the trees that live here!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Face of jiggystick


 Glamorous Los Angeles Juris Doctor Candidate Dione becomes the face of jiggystick.

Sporting new lululemon workout gear she is clearly on the edge of fashion

as well as the cutting edge of lip balm products!

I sound so official don't I?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mad Apiary Skills

Fact...raising chickens is much easier than keeping bees.

Feed the chickens, water the chickens, gather the chicken eggs and clean the coop every now and then. It doesn't take a genius to maintain a flock. It's so easy, even a chicken could do it.

Keeping bees is undoubtedly more intense and complicated and spring is one of the busiest times for a beekeeper.

Frames must be inspected for healthy bees and brood. Brood is the continuation of life in the hive and the honeybee queen's main goal. Although the term "queen bee" is frequently used loosely, she does not directly control the hive. Her sole function is to serve as the reproducer.

This smaller worker bee on the bottom is valiantly trying to drag the larger drone bee out of the hive. He must have done something naughty!

Dean likes to give the honeybees a little dose of antibiotic to maintain good health.

He mixes the antiobiotic with powdered sugar and sprinkles it on top of the frames. The bees quickly gobble up the tasty sugary substance.

Dean has the uncanny ability to pick the single frame from a hive which contains the queen. Scanning literally thousands of bees to spot her.

Just at the tip of the yellow hive tool say hello to Queen Oy Vey...of Hebrew descent.

Again in the first frame he picks up from the next hive, meet Queen Mama Mich in the center of this photo.

Be sure to check back soon for Mama Meesh's amazing story on an upcoming blog post.

Upon close inspection of one of the frames in the third hive, he notices a supersedure (emergency queen) cell. Supersedure is the process by which an old queen bee is replaced by a new queen. It is initiated by the worker bees who suspect an aging, diseased or otherwise failing queen. Being the quick thinking beekeeper that he is, he makes the decision to split the hive immediately.

Dividing one large hive into two is a risky move, not to mention a physically tricky one. The remaining hive still has a failing queen but now they lack a replacement. The new hive has only an unhatched virgin queen. If splitting is done incorrectly, losing both hives might be the tragic result.

Only time will tell if the beekeeper's risk paid off.

Fast forward a couple of weeks. In the center of this photo you will see where a young virgin queen has emerged from her queen cell. Virgin queens will quickly find and kill (by stinging) any other rival virgin queens whether emerged or still in their cells. Basically, first queen out...rules!

Introducing...Queen Amidala! 

She's the beauty just to the left of the yellow hive tool. Her wings are shorter than the other bees and she is much larger. Dean couldn't be more excited with the new "queen right" hive.

But what happened to the existing hive with the old failing queen?

Close examination reveals four new queen cells. Multiple supersedure cells are created to increase the odds of success. Growing a queen is quite simple. As an ordinary egg hatches, worker bees feed the larvae nectar, honey and extra royal jelly, speeding up the queen development. I look forward to capturing the new and improved version of Queen Lady Gaga very soon.

In the meantime, you may think spring is busy for a beekeeper...but you should hear the chorus of bees in this honeylocust tree practically dripping with pollen.

And the raspberries girls, don't forget those!

It's the close of another day of adventurous beekeeping here at The Garlick Press.