Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hey Guys! Wait up!!!

The title of this blog was my mantra in the early part of my life. I'm sure my Bro remembers it well. Up until I guess I was about 12 or 13, I wanted to hang around with my brother all the time. He was cool and I wanted to be cool, but cool doesn't work by osmosis. I hadn't figured that out yet. :)

So wherever he went, I wanted to tag along. They were always being bigger and taller and so would move a lot faster. So I would whine, "Hey Guys! Wait up!!"

Why am I relating this? Because it's catch-up time!

Yeah, I have been bad about blogging.

To blog or not to blog, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
the slings and arrows of outrageous internet denizens...

Sorry to get all Billy Shakespeare on you.


What have I been up to? Well, me being of the Texas variety and our summers being of the insane heat variety as well, I took the summer off from planting. "Say it ain't so!!!!" Yes, yes, (humbly bows head) I have thrown in the towel of trying to grow anything resembling something fresh and eatable during the insane summer months.

My water tanks thank me.

My aching back thanks me.

And something else which I can't thing of right now, thanks me.

However, all did not come to a screeching halt.

The bees still buzzed.

"Oh no, not another bee blog, ugh!" No. Thank you very much, but it was the only thing that kept me busy gardening-wise.

There was other stuff, OTHER STUFF, OKAY!!!


Where was I, oh yeah, stuff.

Frankly, there wasn't much, but I do have some pretty pretty pictures to show you of leftover stuff.

Fine. WHAT-ever.

Remember my cutting up of my side walk, then I tempted you with this...


Well, then this happened...


As much as I would reeeeeally like to show you a pict of me in action with everything jiggling, it ain't happening. The Very Significate Other was at work and wasn't able to take any unflattering photos of me this time. That's a good thing.

Here's a close up...

(Guest appearance by the construction ghosts sneakers)

Once upon a time, in SuburbanGuy's primordial Texas days as a Filmmaker, I wasn't able to get a whole lot of film work, so I worked construction to make ends meet. The one thing that I remember was, "When Jackhammering, make sure the pieces are the size of your fist". That was said to me by my very tiny fisted Supervisor.

So if you think hauling around a concrete cutter is fun, a Jackhammer is a load of laughs. Here's the final results.


Then came the really fun part. The "fun part" is open, way open to debate...

Making somewhat square rocks into, well, squarer rocks. Wait, what?

Take these rocks...


With a hammer and chisel and chop of this stuff...


And make it into this...


Now remember that pile?


Do it to all of them.


Well, after about 20 or so blocks, my elbow whispered into my ear. More like yelled, "You ain't 25 no more!!!" Or 30 or 35 or 40 or...let's just stop there, okay?

Tennis anyone? Not me.

So I will get back to it, just have to let ice work it's magic. :)

In the mean time, I was still able to put what I chiseled and what I didn't to work for the moment. This is only temp...

(Ghostly laundry)

We had gotten some really pretty Esperanzas  and needed to plant them, but since I was going to put in a raised bed in this spot, I had to think of something quick to work as a hold over. Here's a better shot...


So that's were that is at and I'm hoping it won't stay at that stage much longer. Especially now that the weather is at the "Safe-For-Humans" level again.

Okay, now for the bees. I know, I know, you are all on the edge of your seats.

Cut me some slack. The bees are the only thing standing between me and going postal. Well, not really but it sounded good, didn't it?

One Sunday morning, SO and I were having breakfast. SO says to me, "Look at the bees".

First a little quick background. Usually around 9-10am each day, the bees are getting ready for their daily rounds, so they "swarm" per say. Not really swarm, but there is a lot of activity. This morning, there was A LOT of activity. Deep in the lizard part of my brain, a little voice spoke up, "Bees swarm. Not good. They go away. You be sad".

Aside from it being a truly awe inspiring site, I was indeed sad. :(

They went bananas and swarmed into my neighbors tree.

There is no "Unswarming". Once they swarm, they are on a mission.

Here's a tip, bees are are at their most docile when they swarm. They are loaded down with honey and pollen for their new digs. Wherever that might be. Not that I'm suggesting you go play with swarming bees, but they aren't apt to try and sting much.

So anyway, SO says to me, "You are taking this pretty well". All I can say is, I had a feeling they were going to swarm. Me being the novice beekeeper, sometimes it's like trying to find the light switch in a pitch black room. I had noticed some "Queen" cells in the hive. That's when the hive wants a new queen for one reason or another. And again, my lizard brain kicked in and said, "Queen cells bad. Bees no like hive. Bees probably hate you". Since when did my lizard brain have an opinion about the bees attitude towards me? I hate my lizard brain so much! It's always right! Stupid lizard brain!!!

Okay, huh, maybe I should think about dealing with my id sometime?


One week later, again at breakfast, SO says to me, "Oh look..." She didn't need to finish the sentence, I was already looking. They were swarming again. I sat there, drinking my tea, philosophically reflecting on my hive swarming twice in one week. First I said, "Shut up, Lizard brain!" Then I thought, I need to "requeen" the hive. I had to do it quick. A "queen-less" gets very aggressive and all sorts of other problems can happen. It was a miracle I had any bees left at all!

I had to make sure there weren't any queens at all in the hive first. After a very close and very tedious inspection I found a Queen that wasn't laying eggs. There is a term for that type of Queen but I don't remember it. Let's just call her "A pain in the @ss" ;) I plucked here out...

I was ready for a new Queen. It was just a matter of finding one. Through a series of panicked emails to my bee group and a couple of calls later. I was able to get a new queen and introduce her two days later!

A very long story, short, I have a new Queen and she's laying eggs!

If you want the gory details email me. (Well, they're not really all that gory, just frustrating)

I'm happy to report the hive is healthy once again.

Now finally onto the garden.

I just put in my fall crop...



(The Garden Ghost makes an appearance)

I know, pictures of dirt.

Here's what I have planted...

Kale, chard, broccoli, beets, turnips, lettuce, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage and onions.

The potatoes and garlic go in, in December.

In the side yard, I'm trying something out with my Blackberry bushes. It's called propagating.

Yeah, duh, that sounds obvious, but it's a little different...


The long stems on the bush can be planted directly into the ground.

Dig a hole and put a healthy stem about 6 inches into the ground...


In a couple of months the stems will root and I just have to cut the stem up from the ground about foot.

This is part of a "fence" line of blackberry bushes I have been wanting to have. If everything works out, I will have gone from my current 4 bushes to 9 in the spring! Pretty cool. :)

Well that's it! Whew! That was a lot. And as always, here are some quick photos from this past summer...

Backyard archeology...










And Paulie...

And a friendly warning next time you need a caffeine fix from your local gas station...

On that note and an end to this very long installment of my blog,
Green is Good!! Frustrating, crazy, philosophical, but always good.

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