Flowerbed Progress

About a year and a half ago, Ray and several of his friends rebuilt our front porch. It’s beautiful and I’m still 100% in love with it. During that process we pulled up several large bushes that had been planted along the front of our porch area. I was glad to have those ugly bushes gone, but then the front of our house started to look real bare.

In March we cleared out the area right in front of the porch. We dug weeds, tilled the soil (and oddly enough found lots of seashells mixed in the ground), added compost, added more top soil, added bricks to mark off the bed, and added a plastic covering to avoid weeds.

Now, I do want to create a proper flower bed with a mixture of seasonal foliage and flowers… but for right now I’m fine with more of a shabby cottage style bed. I need big, bright, colorful flowers that will last throughout our sweltering summer. On the same day we cleared out the flower bed, I started my zinnia seeds. It was crazy to watch these tiny seeds germinate within 6 days!
You can see the progress below:It might be too late in the season, but I would like to add some Delphiniums behind the zinnias, along with a few variegated hostas along the sides of the bed. I’ll keep you updated on the progress!

Bee Saga

Hey guys! It’s officially spring, and almost summer, here in north Florida. The pear trees have bloomed, our grass is green again, baby ducks having taken over the lakes, and the bees are buzzing… albeit, less bees at Big Brown. 😉

A few months after Ray and I bought our house we noticed some bees flying around a column on the outside of our sunroom. Because we were planning on having our wedding reception in our backyard (PS- it was awesome), we had the yard sprayed for bugs (mainly mosquitos) and we also had pest control spray the bees. Listen, I know we shouldn’t kill the bees… but I also know you can’t have your grandparents or pastor or photographer or tiny babies being stung at your nuptials.

About a year or two later, the bees showed up again. I was pissed because I didn’t know anything about bee pheromones and I thought the pest service we used just did a terrible job when they originally sprayed. After some deciphering, we figured out that the hive was actually inside the concrete column underneath our house. Cool, right? I stressed about it for a while, but ultimately the bees were keeping to themselves and we didn’t have any money to fix the problem anyway.

The bee activity was at a minimum, until the hive split. Twice. At the time we literally had no idea what was going on. When a hive gets too large for the given space, the worker bees will start grooming a new queen. Once the new queen reaches maturity, she leaves and takes a portion of the hive with her, thus a split. The new hive will find a place to hang for a while and send a few bees out to scout a location for a permanent home. The first time this happened we had a bee tornado and it was truly terrifying. The second time we just saw a cluster of calm, docile bees on our palm tree. Still a little terrifying.

Since then we’ve had several people come out and look into our bee situation. One guy (an ex cop, mind you) who said he knew loads about bees, got scared and never came back. Another guy took 3 months to respond to emails. Another guy thought the job looked too hard. I don’t know if we were just having bad luck or weren’t asking the right people or what… but it wasn’t working.

A few weeks ago our good friend, Lacey, said she had a friend who could possibly help us. In comes Phillip. Phillip came out several times, thoroughly assessed the bee situation, examined the column which housed the hive, and ultimately relocated majority of our bees and properly sealed the column so they can’t return. He was awesome! 

While Phillip was awesome, Ray, Lacey, and myself were… well, kind of dumb. Between the three of us, we managed to get 5 bee stings because we couldn’t help but watch the bee removal process. My sting, which was in the middle of my forehead, happened 5 seconds after I walked outside. OF COURSE. My face was swollen for a few days, but thankfully I didn’t stop breathing or anything.

It’s honestly hard to believe that after 7 years of struggling, within a week of meeting Phillip, all our bees were gone! We’re so happy! If you’re local and have a bee situation, or see a hive clustered up like in some of my photos… I’ve got a great bee guy!

Ikea Faves 2018

I was in Ikea a few weeks ago with my friend, Kristi. She was looking to purchase a dresser which ended up being out of stock. We didn’t spend a ton of time in Ikea, but long enough for me to remember how diverse their products are. When I say “diverse”, I mean varying in style, price, and usefulness.
There are basically two opinions on Ikea. One being that it’s a great and inexpensive place to buy trendy furniture and home goods. The other being that Ikea has cheaply made, generic,  and poor quality products. My opinion falls somewhere in the middle. I LOVE going to Ikea and I’m very into the scandy design elements… However, I do think you need a good eye. Some products (mainly furniture) can come off a little college dorm-y. 

Below are some of my favorite products available at Ikea currently.

Dvala Pink Sheets – These are the perfect shade of millennial pink and I can’t wait to get them on my bed. They’re soft and inexpensive and exactly what I need.

Korken Glass Carafes – We own several of these. They’re perfect or mixing party drinks or just keeping water cold in the fridae.

Kallax – We currently own 2 2X4 kallax shelving units for our record collection. This shelving unit, along with its various accessories, provide a multitude of shelving solutions.

Svalnas Wall Mount System – The combination desk and storage system is both beautiful and functional. Perfect for a home office.

Sommar hanging planter – I love the white and pink combo and want to purchase several for our sunroom.

Snofsa Clock – This clock has a 60’s glam vibe and I love it.

What are you loving at Ikea these days?