Friday, May 20, 2016

Stepping Up Our Game

My husband built some "tiny" homes in our backyard and we now have occupants living there. Friendly and hardworking they are.....

John (my husband), my dad and his dad had about 80 hives in the 80's and they all loved them. Oh the stories I could tell you........there was this one time when my dad and father-in-law were moving hives from one place to another in my father-in-laws van. He didn't realize he forgot to nail the opening shut to the hives until he hit a bump and the bees came swarming out and filled the van. Cleverly they had on their bee suits and netted hats, but then he realized that he was out of gas (he always ran his van on vapors!). This was in the days of full service gas stations so he just pulled right in, toodled his horn melodiously and rolled his window down just a crack. "Five dollars of regular please but don't bother to check the oil." When the attendant hesitantly approached the van for payment...not sure if this was some kind of alien invasion, my father-in-law realized that his wallet was in his pants pocket inside of his bee just picture him wiggling around, trying to slide his arms into his suit and and into his back pocket all the while, bees are swarming and my dad is sitting on the other side guffawing (or so I imagine).....That picture gets me laughing every time!
So many little time.....

So with such a family heritage and history, John leapt at the chance to get back into the raising and caring for bees. He, and two co-workers who had no clue on beekeeping, purchased two hives to begin with and have added 4 more since then. It's probably like tattoos, once you get just one there is no stopping. At least with our small backyard, two is about all it can support, and not alarm the neighbors. Unless one can continue to build up, like high-rises.....oh dear!

We both love our bees, me at a distance, and he up close and personal!
I am definitely more in tune with the non-stinging, non-buzzing inhabitants of the garden but the bees are growing on me......not literally, silly!

This year, John and I went through the North Texas Master Naturalist Program and learned so much. What an extraordinary world we live in and there are so many great  places in the DFW area for the naturalist to enjoy! I had no idea of the hidden treasures so close to home.
One of our projects was to create a trunk with information about Pollinators to be used for educational purposes, which has inspired us even more to develop the perfect habitat for all the pollinators we can draw in.

There are so many great plants that are native or adapted for this area that are essential for the survival of us and the pollinators. Here are a few that we have been able to add to our yard.

 Apricot Agastache
 Black-eyed Susan
 Blackfoot Daisy
 Chocolate Daisy
 Coral Honeysuckle
 Echinacea & Lanceleaf Coreopsis
 Milkweed and Helenium
 Mystic Spires Salvia, Calyophus, & Phlox
 Scabiosa & Basil
Zinnias and Salvia
And oh so many more!

And here are some of the daily visitors to our never quiet, always something going on garden.

 Laying eggs!

 "I love you and never want to let you go!"

 "I don't need no stinking straw, I brought my own"

 And the really cool thing is how so much of nature takes care of its own problems. Some of our plants became infested with aphids so here comes the mighty ladybug, lays her eggs, that become larvae....that love to eat all the little aphids and voila!

It is so nice to have so much life happening all around us, in a beautiful setting! Please take the time, next time you're outside, to breathe and smell deeply and see all the wonders of the world. And come over and visit some time. There's just so much more to see in person!


  1. Thanks for the delightful story!

  2. Beautiful! I would actually love to see your garden sometime.
    (This is Beckie, I love next to Pat.)

  3. Beautiful! I would actually love to see your garden sometime.
    (This is Beckie, I love next to Pat.)

    1. Thanks Beckie. You are welcome to come by anytime you want to see it! We live within walking distance too!

  4. So glad I found your blog Elaine. You & John are wonderful additions to our NTMN family. It has been a pleasure getting to know y'all.

  5. Elaine.Very nice presentation. I have learned so much from you and John. Thank you for sharing. Al