Category Archives: Life

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!

Florida Ice Storm 2018

Living in Florida my entire life, I’ve had only a handful of very cold weather experiences. It’s snowed here a few times, but nothing of consequence. We DO tend to have a few weeks of low temps (lows getting into the mid-low twenties), but it tends to warm up rather quickly.
This past week has been particularly cold, and last wednesday North Florida was transformed into a winter wonderland. We ended up only getting “frozen mix” rather than full blown snow, but I still loved the results.First off, I’ll let you know that I slipped on our porch steps as I was walking to the car to go to work. I still have a gigantic bruise on my back. Second, my car was completely frozen and one of my spiritual gifts is NOT de-icing a car. Third, I was terrified of driving on icy roads, but the roads ending up being fine and I only work 3 miles from our house anyway. So, my morning started off rocky and I didn’t have a chance to take in the ice-covered surroundings.
When I came home for lunch, I took the opportunity to walk around our yard and snap a few photos. Everything was so beautiful! And again, I know this may not be too impressive to someone in, say, Michigan… but to Floridians THIS IS AMAZING! Look how magical our yard was!Here’s hoping for another bout of really cold weather before it’s 95 degrees on the daily!