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.
I had a hive to design and build or buy.
I had a porch to repair and paint (where the hive will go)
I had new local beekeeping legislation to understand and comply with.
and all the non-beekeeping prep things that I need to get done this month including our 2012 taxes.
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!
Just as I feared, it happened. After years of fending off the temptation to take up quilting, I succumbed.
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.
My first quilt square
Quilt squares nearly done, trying out layouts
Laying out the design with white sashing
Closeup of the green binding
Photo of the fun fabric on the back and the quilting stitches
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:
what kind of hive will I get? I am leaning towards a top bar hive because I like the simplicity of the construction. It is something I can build myself. And, it will be easier for me to manage because it won't be as heavy as the more traditional Langstroth style hive. There are some disadvantages to going with this style mainly that it isn't widely used in this area so I won't have many beekeepers to call on if I need help or have questions. See the photos below to see the two styles.
what kind of bees will I get? There are different kinds of bees and they have different properties. Some are known as calmer bees, some are known good producers, others are what is known as "hygenic." Hygenic bees are more vigilant at keeping themselves and their hive clean of parasites and other unwanted items. Lots of decisions to make but not a lot of time. I've got to order my bees now to guaranty delivery by the end of March/early-April
how many hives should I start? Before I took the class on Thursday I figured I'd just have one hive, but the instructors advocated I should get two so that I can compare them and have a safety net if one of my hives fails. It is something I hadn't considered but I am thinking seriously about.
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!