Tuesday, July 8, 2014

From the Home Front....

I'm so sorry to have been silent as of late.  We had a tragedy and I haven't been up to putting pen to paper.  With a renewed spirit, I will update you on our latest happenings.

Our garden is growing well.  We have had a problem with Magpie's snapping the tender beans, peppers and onions before they are able to really spread their leaves, so there are a few sad looking plants.  Our heirloom bush beans are far outperforming the garden variety garden center beans that we planted just to use them up before the seeds were too old.  The tomatoes are growing famously and so are a majority of the peppers.  I can't wait to can my favorite tomato, pepper, onion mixture this fall!

Peas happily climbing the trellis

Our potato towers are actually  working!  They haven't become as green with leaves as I would like to see, however, on close inspection is would appear that all of the potatoes are sprouting, just at different rates.  We planted 8.8 pounds of potatoes, so we will weigh the harvest and give an end of year report.

Potatoes reaching out from their tower

One raspberry bed is heavy with fruit, while the other is bushy and healthy but won't put on berries this year.  We do have a few strawberry plants but not enough for preservation.  They are, however, just right for a handful of warm berries eaten out-of-hand.

A portion of one of our raspberry beds
The Buckfast bees are busy, busy, busy.  We have been caught off-guard by their super-quick build-up.  I put off ordering extra hive bodies, due to our experience with the Italians, and was horrified upon my most recent inspection of the hives to discover that they had completely filled all of their frames and were getting ready to swarm due to lack of space!  With no hive bodies to add to their home, Maid Elizabeth and I improvised.  I dug up two 10 frame hive bodies, stapled cardboard on either side of the bottom (about 1 1/2 " on each side - just enough to keep the bottom of the hive body from being open to the air) and set the 10 frame bodies on top of the 8 frame bodies.  I hoped that would give us enough wiggle room to get the new hive bodies here and assembled.  At this point, I think our foil worked.  The bees are contentedly filling the new frames with comb, which we will transfer to the 8 frame bodies when they arrive.

10 frame hive bodies perched atop 8 frame bodies - not something you see every day!
Notice the ratchet straps holding the hives into place.  The night we put our improvised hive bodies into place, a sudden and somewhat violet storm descended upon us.  I awoke to the crack of thunder and pouring rain.  Immediately I thought of the unprotected hives, teetering in a highly unusual configuration and woke Miss Serenity to brave the weather and help me secure the hives.  At 1:30 a.m., armed with a flashlight and rubber boots, we made our way to the hives and fiddled with ratchet straps until we had them securely in place.  Thankfully, the bees slept through our endeavor and we escaped unscathed.

Sir Knight replaced the broken window in my kitchen door!

And from the outside

My beautiful daughters - friends in the way only sisters could be.

The sun room dressed for summer

The sought-after outside bedroom

The children's cottage
Just a small note on our tragedy.  Our beloved dog Reaper died in a horrible accident.  Reaper was like no other dog.  He managed to capture each one of our hearts in a way that no pet ever has.  I must admit, we mourned our treasured pet - and really, we continue to mourn him.  He was a dog, but he was also our guardian and protector.  We are so very thankful to have known our dear Reaper.

I NEVER allow animals on the furniture...

But he stole my heart.

Enjoy these beautiful days of summer.  Savor every moment. 

Until next time.



  1. Willard, behind the lines in occupied America.............July 8, 2014 at 7:33 PM

    So very sorry about Reaper. I know and love dogs and how that loss feels.
    Blessings to you and your family.

  2. Enola,

    I'm so sorry to hear about Reaper. Remember your precious pup as he was laying in your chair outside on the porch. Our animals are like are kids too.

    Your garden is coming along really nicely this season. I can't get over how fast your bee's have filled their boxes.

  3. I sit here crying as I look into the eyes of your beautiful dog and think of your devestating loss. I am so sorry. Thinking of you and the family as you mourn Reaper. May you be blessed with many beautiful memories you have of him. Jenny

  4. So sorry about your pup pup. My dogs are my kids so o know how much they can be loved and treasured. God bless

  5. Some people look at animals as animals. But when you love one and they love you - they are your best friend. So that is why mourning is so hard - you lost your best friend.

  6. So sorry for your loss. I still miss my furry friends who have passed.

  7. Losing a four-legged family member is almost as hard as losing a two-legged one. All my sympathy goes to you and your family.

  8. So sorry for your loss of Reaper. I've loved and lost so many of my furry friends but the one I have now is so special that I will be truly devastated when he crosses the Rainbow Bridge. I sometimes think Simon is half human! All we can do is remember how much love they gave us and know that we will see them again.

  9. my heart goes out to you and your family over the loss of Reaper. Our four legged friends are some of the best friends ever! May God heal the pain you are feeling.

  10. So sorry for your loss. I was so hoping that your silence on the blog was due to abundant sunshine and a happy and busy season for you and yours. I, too, am one who has been graced with animals of all kinds in my life. But there is something special about a dog. In my experience, people tend to fall into two specific groups - dog people and all others. SJ in Vancouver BC Canada

  11. I was missing your blogs.................so sorry about Reaper. Pets fill the heart with such joy and yes they are like our children and we mourn them when they die.

    Your garden looks lovely, so many healthy plants and yummy food. I planted raspberries 3 yrs. ago and finally have more than a handful of berries.

  12. So sorry to hear about Reaper. We went through that a couple of years ago with our Angel. Losing a beloved dog is so very hard. They are so much more than a 'pet'!

    I love your raspberry patch. We had an exceptionally hard winter here in NE Indiana and of the 12 or so plants we had for the first year last year only one seems to have survived. Your garden is a few weeks ahead of ours. I'm fascinated by the potato towers and will be very interested to hear how they come out.


  13. I am very sorry for the loss of your Reaper. No one has to justify their feelings for their pets. Love is love.
    I don't allow dogs on the furniture, either. However, my labrador, Katie is sharing the sofa with the cat. What can I say, after six kids and now 4 grandkids, I love them all more than the furniture. I have a vacuum!
    Again, condolences on your loved one.

  14. Enola and family...I am so sorry to hear about your loss of Reaper. I have been blessed to know and love 5 dogs - 4 lived to a ripe old age and one died tragically at 18 months.....that was the hardest on me. I bawled daily for a month. Of the other 4, two have gotten to the point where they had to go to the vet. I held each one as they drifted off to sleep. Both were Black Labs, and both were 12 years old. One had a stroke and no longer knew us and the other was in so much arthritic pain we had to carry him in and out of the house. The first German Shepherd was hit by a car at 18 months and the second was 13 years old and said good bye to me the night before she tipped over on a path to our little dam. I have learned in my years to reflect on them and fondly remember them all. We had the current lab (a six month old pup) when the old shepherd died. I have found it is easier to heal when you have a bouncing licking happy bundle of joy who wants to play nearby. I miss each one, yet through age have come to realize that without the loss of the last one I would never have met and been blessed with the new family member. The new one will never replace the old one and the great memories and sorrow that you have, but a friend will be there for you and new memories will be made.....Consider a new friend - Reaper would not want you and your family to be unprotected and alone......Natokadn

  15. Dear Enola Gay, all my life I had wanted a dog. My beloved husband fulfilled that dream forty years ago. Dogs enrich our lives and teach our little children to think of someone besides themselves.
    It is very difficult to lose an old friend under the best of circumstances. It is even more heart wrenching to lose them in a tragic accident.
    Sometimes, we miss them terribly. I am very sorry for your family's loss.
    Grandma Kathy

  16. So sorry for your loss. I too take it extremely hard hen a pet dies. Our dog is getting old and slowing don, we know someday we will face the heartache again.

  17. So very sorry for your loss of Reaper. Sending lots of prayers and hugs your way.

  18. First of all I am very sorry to hear about your dog.
    On your potatoe tower for next year,first of all try smaller chicken wire.We tried it for a couple years
    but we put in straight horse or cow manure. No sraw.. You may want to see how that works for
    next year

  19. I am sorry to hear about Reaper, especially from something unexpected and traumatic. We lost our cat, Poe, last year and I was amazed how incredibly hard it was on us both. As a small animal he could not be a protector, but he was a very faithful companion. His loss is still felt despite his mother and brother being with us, because they aren't him. Isn't God's creation magnificent that He can make such unique individuals? I've come to regard them as love letters from Him.

    I love your garden shots! They are inspiring and I think I will try a potato tower. We have sprouted potatoes yearning for a place to grow. I hope the sunshine and celebration of God's abundance will be a comfort to you and your family.

  20. I am very sorry to hear of the death of your beloved dog. Bless you.

  21. There is nothing like a faithful four-legged member of the family. I truly feel for you. There will always be a place of honor in my heart for a couple of mine. I am still not finished crying over a few of my losses, and it creeps up on me from time to time. By the way, beautiful Daughter photos! You are so blessed!

    God Bless,
    Janet in MA

  22. I garden every year here in Kernersville while it's still legal; this year has been the worst yet. Spring was very late in coming and it rained so much that getting anything done before planting warmth arrived was impossible. And now, yesterday was the first appreciable rain we've had in 30 and in spite of skimping as much as I dared, I still had to run a hose from the spigot all the way back and water with fluoridated water, which I hate. I had 3 barrels of rain water saved up, but ran through all of it. Remind me to send you some pics of the manifold set-up I've got, hidden behind the out building where Agenda 21 types won't see it. Nature did a head fake to us in April, and completely fooled the blackberry canes from last year. Budding leaves had just started to appear and we got another hard freeze. I lost about half of them; good thing they are hardy, wild stock because their hybrid cousins would not have made it: it went down to 19 that night. I also lost all my tomato plant starts and had to break down and buy someone else's. Not that they were frozen, it's just they got so leggy from being indoors way too long, craning to the window, that by the time it was warm enough, they were too weak to be of any use. The onions are doing really well this year since it's not quite as hot as it normally is and this is because, as Jim McCanney sez, solar output and sunspot activity is way down and no one can explain why. Didn't we pay our bill?
    I loved looking at your pictures Enola Gay, your place seems to be a reflection of your spirit, and especially, I like the potato tower, now that is a GREAT idea I think I should try, and not just for potatoes.

    God bless you all.
    From David in Kernersville, NC

    1. Hello David,
      Glad to see someone else so close has the same mindset. We also live in Kernersville.
      Howdy neighbor!

  23. I am so sorry to hear about your dog. We lost our 10 year old Bull Mastiff two weeks ago. He was all our favorite. My husband grew up with many dogs, and he said Vinnie was the best he'd ever had... and showed us all what a dog could be. We are sad with you.

  24. I'm so sorry for your loss. Our special ones leave so many empty places where they used to be.

  25. I meant to ask... do you still have Stoic the Vast?

    God Bless,
    Janet in MA

  26. So sorry to hear of the loss of your sweet dog. They can fill our hearts with love I think because they love so unconditionally. They never judge us or fuss at us; they just accept us as wonderful friends.
    You are in my thoughts.
    a little bird

  27. So sorry for your loss of a family member. Sending prayers to your family to help with the mourning process.

  28. I am so sorry for your loss. He looked sweet and very well loved.

  29. Dear Sister,
    Please accept my prayers and thoughts on your recent loss of a loved one. I know Reaper was a dear member of your close family. I too have several four legged family members that mean as much to me as my own sons and grandsons (so far no female family members). Your garden is very beautiful and looks to be doing well. God Bless and keep you and yours.
    A Brother in Christ.

  30. We had to put our dog down last year after 14 wonderful years. We are one and done in the pet realm. Couldn't tolerate loving another dog and then having to deal with them dying. Feel your grief and sorrow knowing your dog was much more than just a family pet. Cindy