Vintage Flair on the Farm

Weekends around here are typically saved for yard work, house cleaning, reno projects and getting together with family and friends. Weekends are also earmarked for yard and estate sale-ing, trash to treasure hunting and attending an occasional country fair or arts festival. This past Saturday and Sunday, The Vintage Bazaar hosted ‘The Summer Bazaar and Music Festival” at Pettengill Farm in Salisbury, MA. Featuring local live musicians, food and over 125 vendors from 11 states, this fair was billed as “an inspiring experience for all the senses”, and it delivered on all points. Although we did not partake of the amazing variety of foods, the music was folksy and fun, but the star of the show was the variety of vintage vendors. Wandering through the gardens with rows of tents filled with antiques, collectibles, and loads of salvaged and upcycled furniture and household items, it was clear that everything old is absolutely new again.

Searching for unique and unusual, here are a few of my personal favorites:

Jwrobel, where we discovered these pillows created from old, threadbare wool carpets. To that end, the artist “sources her materials to be organic, fair trade, recycled, vintage, and/or re-purposed”. Where most would have seen junk, Jess, the studio artisan, saw art and stitched these timeless pillows, the perfect complement to any country home decor.

From Garden Guardians came these whimsical characters, born of concrete, created by Valerie McCaffrey of Ballard Street Studios in Portland Maine. These mysterious stone faces are fashioned to add grace and charm to your natural landscape.

“If I Only Had a Heart” sang the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. He would have found his in this amazing shop, “Tin Hearts”, where metal artist Carol Mataruso creates these fanciful dolls from “anything and everything”. “Reborn, with lost objects and a new heart”.  Extraordinary.  

There were loads of booths with all sorts of salvaged, re-purposed, re-painted furniture. The best of the bunch, in my humble opinion, were at the “Vintage Chic Boutique”. Painstakingly hand-painted, distressed and waxed by Kimberley Wilson and Sheila Bussone, using Annie Sloan Chalk Products, these recycled pieces were eye-catchingly colorful and sooo “country pretty”.

Reminiscent of a 30’s flapper dress, this “A Dress Book” was created by artisan Susan Perrine with “fringe” made from hundreds of pieces of childrens books stitched on to silk! I haven’t quite figured out the logistics of wearing this outfit and actually sitting down, but it sure would turn some heads-as it did mine while I was attempting to read the mini pages!

These epic pieces of rusted iron sculpture would be at home guardingany fortress or castle. Larger than life, striking in appearance, handcrafted by Gordon Frost of Rusty Iron Art.

A few vintage vignettes at Eccentrique…

And finally…be still my heart…This perfect little vintage turquoise VW Beetle, re-purposed and morphed into a bug with a rump, this inventive traveling design studio by Holly Gagne Interior Design caught my eye.

Stuffed with pillows that created a vintage vibe, with a sheepskin driver’s seat, and a little pop-up window to sell your wares.

Recycling and re-purposing at its best….and so perfectly country cute!!!

So next time you see a sign pointing the way to an arts fair or bazaar, make it a “Hobbit” to check it out. You never know what you might find!  Susan

PS: Does anyone know where I can find an old VW Beetle, circa 1968?

Airing It Out(side)

It’s Friday here in the Boston area, and finally a relief from the blistering heat that has blanketed the state for the past few days. Today’s forecast is for temps in the 80’s with some thundershowers to cool things off. Every year, it seems as if we get one brief preview of the upcoming summer heat, and it is always then that Coach states “we need to get the air conditioners in the windows TODAY.” Now let me point out that I have attempted to persuade him, on more than one occasion, that perhaps central air conditioning might be a wise investment, saving us from the annual “haul them out of the closets and install them in the windows” dance that we do with the portable AC units. He is of the belief, however, that if James Buchanan (the US President when our house was built in 1857) could live in the White House without air conditioning, then we should be of hardy enough stock to do the same. Can I point out that I am almost 100% certain that the White House is now centrally air-conditioned in 2012!?!

SO… the dance begins. We go searching in the closets for three units, one for each upstairs window. Since our home is a cape cod style house, we are essentially living in the attic upstairs- hotter than blazes during a heat wave. Then I remember that the unit we had in our bedroom previously had finally kicked the bucket last summer and was tossed. I also recalled that the one previous to that had an unfortunate and abrupt ending to its “shelf-life”. The story goes something like this:

Coach: “Come help me get this AC unit in the window. (as he hoists it up on to the inside windowsill). Can you hold this for a minute?”

Me: “OK” (as I place ONE FINGER against the unit to stabilize it-you know where this is going, right?)

Coach: “OK, I just need to adjust the tilt angle” (as he whips the window open!)

Me: “Oh, x#$#!!!!” (yeah, that fingertip balance thing not happening- air conditioner falls out of the window and smashes to the ground two stories below)

Coach (angrily): “Why the hell did you let it go!?!?!?!?” (as he stomps down the stairs to go retrieve the unit. Actually, he had to dig it out of the muddy ground…he was not amused) This is not the actual pic, although it would be nice to live next door to a wine bar…

Me: Immediately pick up the phone and call my mom- who else do you call when you need a friend, a shoulder to cry on or to share something so ridiculously funny!? She can’t understand what I am saying because I am doubled-over, laughing hysterically…until I hear Coach coming back up the stairs, broken air conditioner in his arms, covered in dirt with sprays of grass sticking out of the bent and broken corners (this was before cell phones with cameras- so unfortunately, no pics)

Needless to say, that AC unit never made it back into the window, the EPA frowns on leaking Freon into the ozone layer- apparently that hole is big enough already.

Two units down, one to go. The installation of AC #3-the last unit standing-was pretty uneventful despite the fact that it was Wednesday night at 8 PM, and we were both hot and tired. This unit is very old-it’s not even DIGITAL!! Therefore, the two “wingy” things- you know, the little accordians that you pull over to the side to block out the bugs and birds and stuff? Well that was broken…on both sides. Duct tape to the rescue. Desperate times call for desperate measures. At least the gray matches my night stand. And, I discovered another use for duct tape- cup holders for margaritas!!!

Hope you have a cool day…Susan

Shipping Up to Portland

No need to cross the pond this week! In New England, we have so many lovely coastal cities and towns on the Atlantic, so we decided to head Down Maine, as the saying goes (yes, it doesn’t make sense, since we were heading north, but click the link for the history). This past Saturday, husband (we call him Coach around here) and I drove to Portland, primarily to visit some shops we had seen at Brimfield a couple of months back. Just an hour+ ride away, Portland has loads to offer for a fun day-trip from Boston: a lovely seaport district, antique shops and restaurants, The Portland SeaDogs AA Baseball Team and of course, lobstah. First stop-My Sister’s Garage, an antique farmhouse on the side of Rte 302, filled with stunning displays, all sorts of antiques, textiles and

vintage, re-purposed furniture, restored and re-designed on the premises. How “country pretty” is this white lacy bedroom and dining room?!! Dreamy!!  Vintage vignettes throughout the shop… kitchy kitchen and wondrous wedding dress. 

Made my first purchase of the day, this cute throw pillow created from vintage tea towels, which now sits proudly on the porch.

Headed back down 302, stopping at The Ruby Slipper, an antiques co-op. Spotted this charming painted china hutch filled with pretty pink china.

After that came a yard sale or two, then on to Pendexters. Funky little building…no website…loving this sign…furniture and bric-a-brac stacked to the ceiling.

Next stop, Portland Architectural Salvage Company. Anything you could possibly need or want to refurbish an old home is stuffed into this 4 story warehouse.

Whether you’re searching for doors or windows, bathroom fixtures or just miscellaneous junk, you will find it here. Hmmm, this sign might be perfect for me…

Around the corner we stumbled upon an indoor flea market, where we purchased this giant pottery crock. Coach seems to think it will be a fine fire-wood holder for the long winter months.

On to Portland’s Seaport District, once a major commercial and shipping port, that is now home to dozens of shops and boutiques lining the cobblestone streets. 

Ranging from the funky t-shirt genre of Cool as a Moose to high end pottery and jewelry from

Edgecomb Potters, and stunning interiors from Simply Home and

Nicolas Homes, by Nicola Manganello, there is literally something for everyone, including a piece of the Berlin Wall! Of course, after all that driving and shopping, we needed a treat, so off we went to find Two Fat Cats Bakery, serving up scrumptious “made-from-scratch” sweets.

Had to try a chocolate/raspberry whoopie pie, and this Bourbon Pecan Pie was so beautiful, we couldn’t leave it on the shelf- and at $22.00- it was worth every sticky, crunchy, yummy bite!

So if you happen to live in the Boston area, and are looking for a fun way to spend a warm spring day, take a ride on Rte 1 North down to Portland.

Hope your Wednesday is full of wander…Susan

Cookin’ Up Country Kitchens

I love a beautiful, sleek, contemporary kitchen with sparkling Italian cabinets and state of the art appliances as much as the next cook. But having a “Country Pretty” point of view, nothing sets my heart aflutter and my taste buds dancing more than an eclectic, rustic, country kitchen. While searching for design concepts and ideas for my own kitchen reno, my eye was always drawn to pretty pastel colors, hand-hewn finishes and just a touch of bling. A few of my favorites…

this one is from Apartment Therapy… simple yet sophisticated

I love the overall feel of this kitchen from another era, especially the use of the mahogany buffet as an island!

A perfect style for a cottage down by the shore

kitchen from Elle Decor…that table!!!

stainless steel and hand hewn beams makes a perfect island

Country Living…charming and colorful

One perfect appliance for a country kitchen- the Aga Cooker

My kitchen reno…when we moved in 30+ years ago, there were pink formica countertops, utensil and soy sauce wallpaper (no, not splashed on it, actually printed on it!), knotty pine cottage cabinets. Many years of painting, re-painting, changing the formica and the stick-down linoleum taught me one thing: you can only put lipstick on a pig so many times before you finally give in and go for the full-on gut and remodel.

My kitchen after many attempts to “spruce it up”…

my kitchen gutted to the rafters… we discovered the roof was being supported by hand-hewn 2 x 4’s!!

My kitchen today…LOVE. Every day when I walk in my back door and turn the corner, it makes me smile. It truly is the life of our home. Modern functioning Kitchenaid appliances, my fabulous chandelier from Lt. Willard Moses, accessories primarily from HomeGoods (where else?). My favorite area is the alcove over the stove. Tucked behind the beams, it is the perfect spot for seasonal decorating : ) I found a little cupboard at Todd Farm in Rowley that is perfect for displaying our collection of pewter and silver. And of course, no country kitchen would be complete without a rustic sign…All you new kitchen wanna-be’s be forwarned!!!. It is always best to read the owner’s manual prior to using your new-fangled appliances. Apparently the people who designed my “warmer drawer”, did not do so with the intent of my storing vintage towels and aprons…suffice to say that the Wakefield’s finest had a bit of a chuckle once they discovered the source of the smoke billowing from the oven…hubby not so amused when he discovered the three things I grabbed on the way out the door…Daisy the dog, my Ipad and my Iphone. What else does a girl need?!?

Hope you’re cookin’ up a great Tuesday!

Susan

“My Father Always Promised Us…

that we would live in France.” With a haunting melody and lyrics describing a life of longing, Judy Collins composed this song in 1969, as a loving tribute to her father, who taught her to dream. He died shortly thereafter, never having heard her perform it. I hope you enjoy this musical montage (click here for the music) and Happy Father’s Day!

                

               “My father always promised us, that we would live in France

We’d go boating on the Seine

And I would learn to dance.

                            We lived in Ohio then, he worked in the mines

                    On his dreams like boats, We knew we would sail in time

                                    All my sisters soon were gone

                                         To Denver and Cheyenne

                               Marrying their grownup dreams

                                            The lilacs and the man

       I stayed behind the youngest still,  Only danced alone,  The colors of my father’s dreams, Faded without a sound

And I live in Paris now My children dance and dream

             Hearing the ways of a miner’s life, In words they’ve never seen…

                    I sail my memories of home, Like boats across the Seine

            And watch the Paris sun,  As it sets in my father’s eyes again…”

Have a lovely father’s day… Susan

 

Wanderlust Wednesdays

Wanderlust is a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world…give me a plane ticket and rolling suitcase and I am off!!

Springtime each year I get a serious case of “itchy feet”. Having worked very hard since our last trip (August, 2011!!), we are looking forward to some vacation time this summer, but where to go?! Over the years, we have had the opportunity to visit some amazing places, both in the US and abroad. Still have a lot of the earth left to cover, but would like to share some of my favorite pics with you…so introducing…Wanderlust Wednesdays! (I realize today is Thursday, but I didn’t get to finish this post until this morning : ) Inspired by my daughter’s upcoming trip to Sweden, today’s travel pics will be about one of my favorite places, Stockholm.

Entering the Harbor by Ship

Downtown Shopping and Pubs…cobblestone streets, outdoor cafes, loads of “tourist” shopping

Searching for a place to enjoy the local pub culture, instead found this place! O’Leary’s Pub- completely decked out in Boston Sports Collectibles, while the Celtics were playing on the telly.

Colorful Architecture..even on the dreariest day the downtown is alive with people!

Phone Booth…don’t see these in the States

Hot Air Balloon…floating overhead between the buildings…breathtaking!

Ice Hotel…The Ice Bar in Stockholm. Everyone said “don’t bother, it’s just a tourist trap”…and it was. But it was very cool.

Where else could you get Vodka in the rocks?!?! And I got to wear this awesome fur cape. Pretty stylish, huh?

Fishing boats lined the harbor

This is our Princess Cruise Ship from the Alleyway

The Vasa Museum– the building was constructed around the Vasa ship that sank on its maiden voyage! The master boat builder thought it would be fun to add an upper deck, not factoring in that whole side to side balance thing. The ship was launched with much fanfare, two gusts of wind knocked it over and it sank to the bottom of the harbor! Early 1900’s, they figured out how to bring it back up, and with most of the ship’s carvings intact, they built the museum around it.

Vasa Ship Cherubs

Nightime Along the Docks…time to sail away to our next port! Hope you enjoyed my pics (taken with my Iphone : ) Happy Sailing… Susan

The Launch

Would have preferred to be blogging about “The Lunch” at a lovely little Italian bistro in Tuscany. But The Kayaks have been in dry dock for over a year now, and it was time to take them for their maiden voyage. These kayaks were a birthday gift for my husband, presented to him with grand fanfare a year ago May-yes 2011!  Amazing how an adult could be so excited about a big blue plastic boat : )  Since that time, there were many reasons (ah, excuses) why the kayaks had not been launched. Poor weather, wrist surgery (on my part), lack of PFD’s (for those of you not boating saavy, that stands for Personal Flotation Device, previously known as, and more accurately described as a LIFE JACKET), lack of roof racks and a cruise to the Baltics-my preferred style of boating-someone steers the boat while I relax on the deck with a bucket of beers : )Fast forward to this past Sunday, a glorious spring day, the peace and tranquility of my morning coffee on the porch rudely interrupted by a text from my daughter saying “get ready, we are going kayaking today!”. Great. Good. It’s time. We had recently purchased a new car with roof racks, which up until now, had been utilized for carrying home furniture and stuff from antique shops. No more excuses, or pretty soon, those Kayaks were going to be utilized in a much more artistic form if we didn’t get them water-borne.

Being a reluctant participant, I hung back and took pics while the J-hook racks, and then the kayaks were secured to the roof, and the PFD secured to Bartlet the dog.

Off we go to our local Lake Quannapowitt, which is very pretty in pictures from afar, but not so much up close-a fierce algae bloom has turned the shoreline a bright shade of green. Ok to boat on, but wouldn’t want to fall in!

Since the kayaks were my husband’s gift, it was only fair that he have the first go-round (and yes, I was stalling).  My daughter Kate and her dog Bartlet were right behind him, at least for a moment, until the dog decided to test his PFD and his swimming abilities! Frenchies are great little dogs, but we had read that because their heads are quite large, they have a tendency to sink when submerged in water. I am happy to report that his ability to keep afloat with his head above water was masterful, and his PFD worked beautifully! Kate paddled quickly to his side and scooped him out of the water by the handle on the top of the jacket. Of course, I don’t have any pictures of that, because I was doubled-over laughing at the sequence of events. Suffice to say I could never make a living as an official photographer. And with that, the kayaks were launched.

Remember that old Nike tagline “Just Do It?”. With that thought in mind, I finally took my turn around the lake in the periwinkle blue LL Bean Perception kayak. In all the time thinking about and worrying about tipping over and going in the drink, that never was an issue. I did have a few run-ins with some bushes along the shore, but for the most part, it was an uneventful event. Until we packed up and returned home. Now I would like to tell the story that my sore back and neck was from a large wave crashing and tossing me into the lake. Sadly, not true. Safely back home after our maiden voyage, having removed the kayaks from the roof of the car, I had jumped up along the side of the car to unscrew the J-hook racks. Stepping back down, I tripped and fell backwards into the kayaks on the ground! Thankfully, no cameras handy to record that moment in the kayak annals. So my take on the whole experience? Lots of work to secure J-hooks, strap the kayaks to the roof, drive to location, unstrap and carry kayak to water’s edge, PFD’s are not all that comfortable, paddling is quite a good upper body workout, being on the lake is fun, but I would just as soon walk around the lake for my exercise. Will I go again? Perhaps. In the meantime, anyone wanna borrow some kayaks???

Peaceful sailing…Susan

Tee Shirt Memory Quilt

I am adding a new category to my blog called

D.I.M. (Do It Myself Because If I Don’t Do It Who Else Will?)

So today’s D.I.M project is a T-Shirt Quilt!  I have had a love affair with quilts since I was a kid, especially antique, hand-stitched beauties that have withstood the test of time. (I am a country-girl at heart, after all) Not having much time these days to spend the hours necessary to make an authentic hand-made quilt, I typically create T-shirt quilts and donate them for various Boston area charities through

 Threads of Hope.

Occasionally I am commissioned to make one as a gift, so I am featuring this quilt for a soon-to-be high school grad for demonstration purposes. The collection of t-shirts his mom handed over to me are sacred to him- various basketball & soccer teams, childhood memories of camping and community service- and one very special shirt with pics of his dog.  Each time I create a quilt, I do so with the recipient in mind, creating what I hope will be a cherished momento that will last a lifetime. In that spirit, I am sharing this information so that you, too, can make a quilt for someone you love!

T-Shirt Quilt Creations 101 is now in session.

Supplies you will need to create one quilt approx 52 x 70 inches: A layout of the quilt you are making with the shirts and cross-pieces laid out.

T-shirts -I typically work with a dozen, using each as a square, cut 14″ X 16″. They can be brand new, used, stained, painted, torn-it doesn’t matter, as you will be cutting them apart anyway. Make sure you wash them all before you start- don’t want your quilt smelling like a locker room!

Scissors, Rotary Cutter & Cutting Board, T-square.All the tools you need to get the shirts cut accurately-very important!

Pellon Fusible Interfacing. T-shirts have a lot of give & stretch, so they need to be stabilized to prevent them from warping while sewing. This stuff is the easiest and cheapest to work with. Only .99 per yard, and with a Joann’s coupon, only .50!

Batting- you can use cotton or poly. I prefer the poly because it holds its shape better and is not as heavy as the cotton fill. Again with a coupon, pretty inexpensive.

Fabric for cross pieces and backing. I typically use a sheet- a full-sized one will give you a single piece for the backing, then enough left over to make the columns and rows. I have an embroidery machine, so I use different fabrics for the cross-pieces, but you can use the same for all three. If you want to use different fabrics to add more color or design, these little Fat Quarters are great- each one gives you 5 cross-pieces!

It goes without saying that you need a sewing machine. Any kind, as long as it sews a straight line or if you want to get a bit fancy, zig-zag! Mine is an old Brother that I got at Target for $159.99 Nothing special, but it gets the job done.

OK, now that you have all the stuff, let’s get going! First you need to identify what part of the shirts you would like to use. Sometimes I just use the front panel, other times I take patches off the sleeves or back and applique them to the front for added interest.

Rough-cut the front panels to approx 16W X 18L . Once you have them rough-cut, fuse each piece with the interfacing on the reverse side. When using the iron, make sure you follow the directions for the interfacing! Also, if you are using game shirts or raised silk-screen shirts, do not place the iron directly onto the shirt or it will melt! Always use a top cloth of white cotton. Once you have fused the square, make the final cut to 14W x 16L inches. Using a half-inch seam allowance, your final squares will end up being 13W X 15L.

Now cut all of your side and cross pieces. Cross pieces will be 14W X 4L. (I always leave a little extra on each end, in case of mistakes : ). If you have 3 columns of shirt squares, you will need 4 long strips approximately 80 inches long for in between each one and a top and bottom piece approximately 60W by 4L. I cut mine 4 inches wide, but you could do less, or more, depending on how big you want the quilt to be.

Line up your shirts in the order you wish them to be on the quilt. This usually takes place on the floor, as I don’t have a table big enough for the full visual. Now begin assembling your quilt, starting with top cross-piece, then a shirt square, then another cross piece, then a square, and so on, building your columns 4 shirts down and your rows 3 across. As you add each piece, make sure you line it up with the one below so your columns are even and straight.

Once you have your three columns of squares and cross-pieces, stitch the columns of 4 inch wide fabric that will hold the entire top of the quilt together. Add the top and bottom pieces that create a “frame” around the squares. Keep checking to make sure that your corners all match up! You know that old carpenter’s saying “Measure twice, cut once?”, so important! I measure and re-measure as I go. Trim excess.

Now that your top is completed, you will attach it to the back, right sides together. Pin first, then stitch, then trim. Make sure you leave an adequate opening to turn the quilt right side out, at least one full shirt square in width.  Once it is trimmed, you are going to hand baste the batting to the quilt all the way around. Again, the easiest way I have found to do this is on the floor (not great for the back…)

Once the batting is basted on, trim the excess away.

Turn your quilt right side out. Press and pin the edges and corners.

I stitch each corner with a tiny machine zig-zag, to hold the quilt and batting in place through all three layers. Press closed the opening and stitch by hand, or with a decorative stitch (I used a blanket stitch here).  Press again, trim away any threads and you’re done!

A work of art that you can proudly present as a gift for that special someone. Now, I know this is somewhat confusing, and trust me, you won’t do this in a day. If you have any questions, or need assistance, please email me @ countrydesignhome@gmail.com.

Just remember, “a stitch in time saves nine” (right, I have no idea what that means either) Susan

Taking a Break

Sometimes you just need a break. In the middle of yet another quilt project with the deadline looming, I just kept gazing out the windows of my dining room “workshop”. Glimpes of the first sunshine we have seen in over a week kept distracting me (something sparkly?!). Such a warm evening… time to go walk the lake.

Around these parts, “walking the lake” refers to Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield. Essentially 3 miles around, the lake is the perfect place to stroll, jog, push a baby carriage and just clear your mind. In 45 minutes, I managed to work up a sweat, create some new blog titles, burn off a few calories and take some pics with my trusty Iphone.

Driftwood and sailboats…

Sun setting through the trees…

Boating nirvana…

Twilight sparkle…

Hope you enjoy the scenery! And if you have some spare time this weekend, Festival By The Lake is happening on Saturday!

It’s almost Friday…Susan

The Secret Lives-of Bee-Keepers

Partied with fomer work colleagues the other night, some of whom I haven’t seen in over a decade. Laughed heartily, exchanged kid pics, reminisced about our times working together, and caught up on all that’s new in our lives. One friend (who shall remain nameless per her request-from this point on she will be referred to as Honey)

entertained the crowd with stories about her newest hobby- beekeeping! “Bee”ing in the healthcare industry for years, Honey is naturally concerned about the health and well-“bee”ing of her family. Learning that there are only three natural sugars on earth- honey “bee”ing one of them- Honey decided that she wanted to experience the thrill of harvesting that rich golden liquid right in her own back yard.  And she is not alone.  Apparently there is a hidden colony of beekeepers right here in the Boston area. Propogated by the woman she referred to as the “crazy bee lady” in Lexington, these are regular folk who want to experience the pure taste of “home-grown” honey.  Her teenage children were naturally mortified, watching her build the apiary, poring through bee catalogs, fearing their mom had lost her mind. Started talking about it at school, and soon discovered that many of their teachers also were closet bee-keepers! Even the Verizon repair guy offered her a full-length jump suit when he spotted her bee hotel in the yard- now that’s full service TV repair!

Now, I know nothing of bee-keeping other than watching Queen Latifah educating Dakota Fanning in The Secret Life Of Bees, so a little research was in order. A glossary of bee-keeping terms for your educational well-“bee”ing:

Beekeeping: (or apiculture, from Latin apis, bee) is the maintenance of honey bee colonies, commonly in hives, by humans. A beekeeper (or apiarist) keeps bees in order to collect honey and other products of the hive (including beeswax, propolis, pollen, and royal jelly), to pollinate crops, or to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers.

Honey: a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees (the genus Apis) is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans. Honey bees transform nectar into honey by a process of regurgitation (yup, that’s right, it’s their vomit they produce to feed their young) and store it as a primary food source in wax honeycombs inside the beehive. Beekeeping practices encourage overproduction of honey so the excess can be taken from the colony

Apiary:  also known as a bee yard,  kind of an outdoor hotel where beehives of honey bees are kept. Certainly not the Ritz…

Italian Bees: The Italian honey bee is thought to originate from the continental part of Italy, South of the Alps, and North of Sicily. This is the kinder, gentler of the honey bees and widely used in this area. Bellissimo!

Russian Bees: The Russian honeybee refers to honey bees (Apis mellifera) that originate in the Primorsky Krai region of Russia. This strain of bee was imported into the United States in 1997 by the USDA‘s Honeybee Breeding, Genetics & Physiology Laboratory in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in response to severe declines in bee populations caused by infestations of parasitic mites,[1] and have been used in breeding programs to improve existing stocks. According to Honey, they are more hostile than the Ialians (there is a joke in there somewhere, but in the interest of “bee”ing  politically correct, I’ll pass : )

 

 

 

Bee Smoker: simply called a smoker, is a device used in beekeeping to calm honey bees. It is designed to generate smoke from the smouldering of various fuels, hence the name. Honey reports that when you smoke your apiary, the bees think there is a fire, and all drop to the bottom of the box, so that she can harvest the honey above.

(Stop, Drop & Roll?!)

Beekeepers Suit: Consisting of screened hood, gloves, jumpsuit- essentially covering every part of exposed skin. Used to protect the human from sustaining stings while harvesting or tending to their colony. Remember, bee stings can result in anaphylactic shock, when untreated, could be fatal. I think, for me, Market Basket might be a less deadly source of honey…

Nectar: a sugar-rich liquid produced by plants. It is produced in glands called nectaries, within the flowers, in which it attracts pollinating animals. Common nectar-consuming pollinators include bees, butterflies and moths, hummingbirds and bats. Nectar is an ecologically important item, the sugar source for honey.

Queen Bee: typically refers to an adult, mated female that lives in a honey bee colony or hive; she is usually the mother of most, if not all, the bees in the hive.[1] The queens are developed from larvae selected by worker bees and specially fed in order to become sexually mature. There is normally only one adult, mated queen in a hive. Honey says when the colony shipment arrived, the queen was in her own suite, and marked with a big dot on her head-perhaps a nod to the Queen Elizabeth’s penchant for fashionable headgear?

Drones: male honey bees. They develop from eggs that have not been fertilized, and they cannot sting, since the worker bee’s stinger is a modified ovipositor (an egg laying organ). Apparently they just hang around and impregnate the queen.

Worker Bees: Workers leave the hive daily, gathering pollen into the pollen baskets on their back legs, to carry back to the hive where it is used as food for the developing brood. Pollen carried on their bodies may be carried to another flower where a small portion can rub off onto the pistil, resulting in cross pollination. Almost all of civilization’s food supply (maize is a noteworthy exception) depends greatly on crop pollination by honey bees, whether directly eaten or used as forage crops for animals that produce milk and meat. Nectar is sucked up through the proboscis, mixed with enzymes in the stomach, and carried back to the hive, where it is stored in wax cells and evaporated into honey.

If, after reading this, you are interested in starting your own bee colony, this is a great DIY tutorial from The Daily Green at Good Housekeeping. Of course, you can’t go into your local Walmart to pick up supplies, but there are loads of online resources for purchasing and maintaining your bee colony. Honey purchased hers from Georgia– I imagine southern bees to be a kinder, more gracious bee? And she also promised a freshly-harvested jar of the liquid gold come September. Her 20,000-strong colony should produce 1-2 gallons!!

Now that’s something to “bee” excited about!! Enjoy your “Bee-autiful day! Susan

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