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Here is the beehive …

We popped open our backyard hives this evening to check their progress. The bunch pictured above are from the new hive we got a week and a half ago. It’s a young hive, which is why you see so many empty cells. The capped cells in the picture have bee larvae in them.

Ron lifts one of the frames out of the hive.

Our neighbor Michael saw us tromping around in our bee suits and came out to watch the proceedings. Before he went back in, he offered to take our picture, which I appreciated, because I don’t have a lot of pictures of the two of us together … and I didn’t have any pictures of us together in our suits. (Thanks, Michael!)

Ron’s suit consists of an old set of coveralls and a new Alexander veil that he just bought this year. It works OK but is kind of a hassle to put on. My suit is brand-new — I just got it last fall — and the veil is built right into the hood, which makes it much easier to get into and out of.

We’re going out to check our hives at Living Kitchen and Nuyaka Farm tomorrow.

Our new hive here at the House of the Lifted Lorax is rearing a new queen. We’re not sure what happened to the old one, but we didn’t see any larvae or eggs, and there were only a few capped cells. Ron thinks maybe the queen died. That’s sad, but the ratio of drones to workers seemed awfully high to me, so I think maybe the old queen’s demise will turn out to be a blessing for the rest of the colony.

Our established hive looked pretty good. The girls didn’t appreciate the intrusion, so we didn’t get too nosy, but it looks like we’re going to need to add another super. They’re not the most docile bees I’ve been around, but they’re very healthy and productive, and they make absolutely wonderful honey. I’m looking forward to a bigger harvest this year.

Hope your Sunday was as interesting as ours….


Follow the Leader

Yesterday’s Sand Springs Leader included a special section on homebuilding that features a thorough article about life here at the House of the Lifted Lorax, where sustainability reigns supreme. The article isn’t online, but if you happen to be in Sand Springs in the next couple of days, the paper is available on newsstands. (And if you happen to be my mom, yes, I picked up an extra copy for you this evening.) I particularly liked the lead, which gives a spot-on description of my compost pile and my backyard.

Speaking of compost, I turned it this evening after work, and it’s really broken down nicely. We timed it just about right: By the time the tomatoes go into the ground in a couple of weeks, we’ll have finished compost to put in the postholes, which should give them a boost.

Gotta run. I have one more ad to scan before I start working on the Trip Guide layout. I’m debating the merits of going to bed early tonight and just hitting the Trip Guide work hard tomorrow, as I had only three hours of sleep last night and am pretty wiped out, but we’ll see….


Backyard chickens

By special request, I’ve posted some advice on raising backyard chickens at our House of the Lifted Lorax blog.

If you’re thinking about getting a few chickens … do it. A small flock of hens will help you prepare a garden plot, provide fresh eggs for your table, and keep you in stitches with their antics. They’re versatile, entertaining animals that cost very little to keep and require less maintenance than the average dog. I don’t know how we ever got along without our flock.



We have 16 tomato sprouts coming up in the flat I planted the other night. I expect the rest will be up shortly.It’s been cold and gray out today, but I found a good way to cope with the lousy weather: I spent part of the afternoon at Green Country Feed and Seed up at Turley. Great little place … Maybe even a suitable replacement for the late, great Country Store.Hope your day was good.Emily

Steve Jobs is my hero.

Just a quick post to see how my new toy is working. Ron surprised me tonight with a new toy: an iPod Touch. It’s basically an iPhone without the phone part.

I can’t decide whether this will increase my productivity or obliterate it. Either way, it’s a pretty amazing toy for a girl who grew up thinking of Pong and calculator watches as wonders of modern technology….

Hope your Saturday was full of wonderful surprises, too.


Rainbow Connection


Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

— Kermit

Rainbows have a way of fading on you as soon as you point a camera at them, but I managed to Photoshop this one (which I caught in the Crystal City shopping center parking lot) back to life when I got home. Check out that Maxfield Parrish cloud above it.

While I was out, I snagged downtown Red Fork under that magic golden light that you get just a few minutes before sunset. My new blog header is what I ended up with after cropping, hypersaturating, and applying a cutout filter. I am beyond excited about the fact that this template allows me to upload my own images … and if I tell it to hide the blog title and description, I can Photoshop them right onto the picture using whatever fonts I want (in this case, Plaza and Century Gothic).

Just for good measure, I cruised out to Berryhill and snapped a sunset from the TCC parking lot:

TCC sunset

Still not as dazzling as that one I saw (but couldn’t photograph) while I was on the turnpike in February … but lovely nonetheless.

Hope your evening was full of beautiful rainbows and sunsets.



Suzanne and I went jogging on the river trail this morning. Songdog came along. He was a handful — I haven’t had time to walk him much lately, so he was full of pent-up energy — but we had a good time anyway. I sprinted with Song all the way across the pedestrian bridge to work some of the goofiness out of him. On the way across, I saw a couple of herons near a sand bar or something in the middle of the river. They were beautiful. We also saw plenty of Canada geese along the west bank of the river. Song was disappointed that I wouldn’t let him chase them.

I wish I’d had my camera to get a picture of the seagull that went gliding over the river under a cloud that was sort of splitting the sunshine into all these distinct shafts of light. It was really beautiful. So were the redbuds in the arbor garden.

We encountered a huge flock of mallards with shiny green heads somewhere near the spillway, and we were just about finished with our run when Suzanne pointed out a bright red cardinal flitting across the path ahead of us.

By the time we finished our run, Songdog was so tired that he wouldn’t even look at me — he just curled up on the passenger’s seat and looked pathetic as I drove home. I gave him a drink of water and then sent him off to take a nap in his crate.

Ron and I grabbed lunch at the Blue Dome Diner, which has awesome food, and then we went to the Country Store — ostensibly so Ron could ask some gardening question, but mostly so I could pet the ducklings and goslings and chicks that were all huddled up under heat lamps in there.

You can’t believe how cute those baby birds are. I’d have taken one of the goslings home if not for the fact that all goslings are defective: They start out all cute and fuzzy and sweet, and then one day you look up and they’ve turned into big, hissing, biting, noisy, obnoxious geese.

When I was little, my parents would take me to the city park to feed crackers and stale bread to the ducks. Unfortunately, the pond was also home to a flock of nasty-tempered geese that would come running at us with their heads stuck way out in front of them and their mouths open like they wanted to bite us. They’d hiss and charge at us until I ran away, screaming and sobbing hysterically for Mommy and Daddy to make them go away.

Nasty creatures. I’m glad we don’t have any geese.