This weekend was warm and sunny, meaning I was able to get busy with the outdoor chores. At Last! My yard looked like Atilla and all his Huns had galloped across it! The neighbors were working on their second or third mowing of the season - our yard was long and lush with dandelions! (Of course, I let the dandelions flourish since they are a great pollen source for the bees and occasionally a good food or wine source for us.) I am not making dandelion wine this year - we still have some from last season and it is quite time intensive.
This morning we ripped out feral raspberries, attacked our carpet junipers with loppers, and trained the hops up the trellis. I planted the hops last year, but they did poorly - too much rain, planted too late, etc. This season they have started to take off. I do not like beer. However, my husband and our neighbor talked about planting hops to grow up the chain link fence between our houses in order to brew their own beer. I heard this, did some quick research and learned that planting them on a chain link fence is not a good idea since untangling them at the end of the season will be a MAJOR headache. So, I ordered the rhizomes - three different types, Nugget, Cascade, and something that starts with a "T" - tetanger or something like that (I have to go out and look at my tag!), my husband built a trellis which we string with cording, and this year the boys may get their crop. It will be interesting to see if this actually yields beer or just big vines for the bees to pollinate.
I spent about an hour and a half out with the bees yesterday. The hive needed cleaning - the girls had built up a lot of burr comb and a bit of propolis this winter/early spring, so all of that needed scraping. The girls were not happy about me switching the top and bottom halves of the hive- very disruptive. I actually thought that yesterday might be the day for my first sting, but sweet things that they are, the girls just buzzed a lot and flew around my net. They were very interested in climbing up my pants legs, and exploring my hands.
Yesterday morning was fun - I attended the first lesson of a stained glass class. When I was in school in England, there was a stained glass class offered, and I did not take it. I was a theatre and an English major and was not going to waste my time in Oxford with frivolous classes like stained glass. I took Shakespeare, Old English Poetry, Old English Prose and similar type classes. So now, many years later, I have started the great stained glass journey so long put off!
Planted apple trees last week, and the deer have already nibbled the tops. sigh...I used to like deer - lately I am thinking of them in terms of large vermin. Over the winter they ate our rhododendrons down to twigs! Around here, they have no fear.
Made a failure of a strawberry rhubarb pie last night - WAY too wet, so it was strawberry rhubarb slop. If anyone has a good recipe, please pass it along. Pie flops make me sad.