I'm halfway through the BUMBA beekeeping class and I've decided after much consideration that I'm not going to get bees this year. The closer I got to having to make a decision, the more I realized that I wasn't ready.
On top of that, my schedule was such that I didn't have time between now and the early-April arrival of my bees in the mail to have everything ready. The clincher was that the main package bee supplier to the club reported that he and most bee suppliers were already sold out for the Spring. If my heart were really into it I would have immediately started scouring the web for other sources of bees. But instead, I just felt a sense of relief.
With that big decision behind me, I'm happy to enjoy the rest of the class, keep reading about beekeeping, and plan to volunteer to help out as many neighborhood beekeepers as I can to get lots of practice before I get my own hive...next year!
It started innocently enough last Fall. I was scrolling through Pinterest when I spotted this very cool looking quilt by Daniel Rouse. It was like falling into a rabbit hole. Soon Pinterest led to thousands of quilt photos on Flickr. Those led me to blogs written by witty, creative and thoughtful quilters. The more I read, the more I thought I could give it a try. Many of them posted tutorials and instructions for how to make some of their marvelous quilts. They made it look so easy!
All the while I was scanning, scrolling and reading, I was falling in love with fabrics. So many colors, patterns, styles and attitudes to choose from. I was drawn to the modern style quilts with their irregular shaped motifs paired with sassy color choices. This isn't your grandmother's quilting!
The final straw was discovering spoonflower.com - a print on-demand fabric (and more) online store. That is when I discovered the Doctor Who themed fabrics. I was smitten! I've got an idea for my next quilt. It is going to be fun. And yes, it will incorporate some of these kinds of fabrics from spoonflower!
I'm absolutely delighted to announce that I've finished my very first quilt. The photo really doesn't do the colors justice but I couldn't wait for a perfectly sunny day to take a picture outside.
How long did it take me? Not long! It took a few months to figure out what I needed for materials, where to find things, practice a few techniques, make and recover from a few mistakes and learn how to piece everything together. I am so pleased with the results. It was so much fun to explore a new creative outlet and work through the technical processes on this project. I'm already itching to make another quilt.
This baby-sized quilt is 40 inches square. The fabric on the front was purchased at our local Hobby Lobby and the fabric for the binding and quilt back were from Quiltin' Country, a wonderful fabric store in Killeen, Texas. The folks at Qultin' Country were so friendly and helpful when I stopped in to browse on my drive from Austin to Dallas in January. I am looking forward to ordering more fabric from this store.
Now for pictures of the quilt in progress.
On Thursday I moved one more step closer to making my beekeeping fantasy a reality. I attended the first session of a six-week course on beekeeping. We'll be in the classroom for six weeks and then in mid- to late-march, we'll go on a field trip to a local apiary to handle bees for ourselves. I've got lots of decisions to make in the next few weeks:
In the meantime, I'm voraciously reading up as much as I can so I can take the best care possible of the 10,000-20,000 bees that I'll be responsible for in a couple of months!
Last, one very important thing I also need to do is figure out the new Washington, DC City regulations on beekeeping. I want to make sure that I'm doing everything on the up-and-up and my neighbors know and are comfortable with my project. Fingers crossed!
Lately I've been feeling sick of social media. I did it to myself. Like a kid who has been given the keys to a candy store, I was gorging myself on it. Every time I needed a break or wanted a break or was bored I reflexively turned to my facebook or twitter feed. It was making me unproductive and encouraging me to think in 140 character sound bites. It really got to the breaking point when I discovered the Daily Mail online. I became a voracious reader of sensationalist news about people I didn't know and who were not doing anything meaningful that I needed to know about (e.g., "Will & Kate on Babymoon!" "Ellen & Portia & Katy Perry's Boobs at the Grammys!").
On Monday I declared to myself that I would go on a social media diet. No checking Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or blogs or even news websites during the day. I turned off the social media notifications on my phone too. The silence was deafening. I was so used to this visual and mental chatter running all day that it was striking to have it cut off cold turkey, but I pressed on.
It turns out I had a super-productive day. Sure, there were many times that I wanted to post something to my friends and tweeps, things like:
So now Lent has officially started and I think I've found what I'll be giving up this year. Lent is a time of contemplation, a time to try and silence the noise of our world. I'm going to use this time to focus more on fewer things and spend meaningful time with the people who matter most to me. And I'm going to try and share my thoughts and experiences more fully here on my blog.
Somehow nearly two years have passed since I last blogged. I guess life gets busy.
The past two years have brought some big changes in my life. In March 2011, our dear dog Gemma died. She was 13 and had an inoperable tumor. It was tough to say goodbye.
In September 2011 my company was acquired by a private equity firm and they made lots of changes. One of them was to have a layoff of 90+ folks (including me) right before Thanksgiving.
Being laid off ended up being one of the best things to happen to me. It forced me to explore new opportunities, career paths, and more. In the end I got a great job with a fabulous company, a wonderful boss and fantastic team! That said, the five months I spent searching for a job was probably the most stressful period of my entire life. I learned a lot during this period - about myself and about my support network of friends and family. While I don't recommend unemployment as a general rule, if you find yourself unemployed, think of it as a character-building experience. I might blog about some of my lessons learned in a future post.
Just days before getting my layoff notice, we found out that a litter of Airedale terrier puppies had been born to Gemma's breeder. It was great to have a new puppy to look forward to. And, as it turned out, our puppy Echo turned out to be a welcome companion as I spent hours at home researching jobs, networking online, and doing phone interviews. Her boundless energy meant that we generally took 3 walks a day and averaged about 7 miles of hikes around Capitol Hill. Echo is now 14 months old and still full of boundless energy!
In May 2012 I started a new job. The Education company I work for has offices all over the world but I am lucky in that I work from home. Most of my colleagues work out of their own home offices all around the country. While I miss the office banter and face to face fun that the office environment brings, there are many advantages to working from home. For example, the commute I have to my attic home office can't be beat!
This Spring I'm looking forward to learning how to sew clothes, expand my nascent quilting hobby, getting my garden started, and diving into my new beekeeping hobby. Looking forward to the adventures that 2013 brings!
I'm delighted to see how vigorous the nasturium seedlings are. They practically popped the top off the little grow box I've got them in. With any luck these will do well enough to plant in bright bunches around my yard. I wish I could say that the lavender I planted was doing as well. If you look closely in the photo, you can see the lone, sickly lavender sprout coming up in the lower right-hand quadrant. My plans for multiple lavender plants are fast fading. Such is life.
In other news, Ricky the landscaper is coming by the house Thursday evening to see what we'd like to have done and gather information so that he can give us an estimate. On our punch list is:
I'll have a full report after his visit!
Today I realized that my garden needed a thorough Spring cleaning. I'd spent so much time in the dream garden in my head that I didn't see all the prep work I needed to do to make that dream a reality. Today I tackled things head on.
Realizing that re-grading the yard is going to be more work than I can do by myself, I emailed a landscaper who has done work for me in the past. I hope that he can fit in my job with all the rest of the work he has. Then I set off for the garden center to see about a few things:
By the time I got home the weather was perfect for gardening work and I got cracking. I started by trimming back the holly tree to create a neater shape and to provide more light to the ground beneath it. Then I ripped out all of the English ivy that was taking over and have prepared the soil for vinca and sweet woodruff that I'll be putting in next week. Then I trimmed last year's growth off the ornamental grasses scattered throughout the yard. Finally, I prepped a small bed in the front of the house for the Lenten roses. Phew! I took some before and after pictures.