Bees, Fairy Gardens, and More

Wow, this beautiful, beautiful spring weather…I love it! It is truly my favorite time of year. And as always, I remain busy. Read on…

Catching a Bee Swarm…Or Not

I don’t have a single photo of this adventure, but I did my best to help out our neighbor Cranky Puppy the other day. She isn’t feeling that well, and is probably on her way to surgery as I speak (bulged disc, I believe), but she was gingerly out and about yesterday, moving slow and asking for some help.

Her bees had swarmed and were hanging out quietly on two branches of a maple tree yesterday morning!

I wasn’t exactly dressed for the adventure, but I had handled bee swarms before in less, so I figured I would be fine. Let’s just say that a loose fitting shirt and pants are NOT the beekeepers choice of apparel and I learned why. I had to take off my shirt at one point to get rid of at least six of the bees that had climbed in, looking for either a place to hide or sting the crap out of me, either way!

In the end, I did get stung in about three different places, one through my shirt, which didn’t bother me at all, one on the tip of my pinkie which also was glancing, and the third directly in the muscle of my upper left arm. Today it is red and swollen all over, it looks like I’ve been pumping iron on one side, but not the other!

In any case, unfortunately, the swarm was not interested in the unpainted bee box we were earnestly trying to put them in and after a few hours, disappeared into the spring air.

I couldn’t help hoping that they ended up in Crazy Dale’s attic. Except that might mean the poor dears would be smashed or fumigated…

In all honesty, the swelling in my arm is pretty significant. And since it has gradually increased, I have a feeling that I am experiencing a lead-up or increase in allergies to bee stings (at least according to WebMD). I won’t avoid bees or freak out when I see them, but I’m guessing that will be the last time I expose myself intentionally to a bee swarm. Which makes me sad, because I really enjoy bees.

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Fairies and Dragonflies

After two visits by the fire department on two separate occasions of having campfires, and speaking with the lovely older gentleman who responded to my PITA neighbor’s second call about a “fire”, I will be hosting a series of classes this summer and fall – Fairies and Dragonflies – for my local homeschool peeps.

Meanwhile, I got busy working in the yard...and burning some logs...

What does this have to do with campfires and fire departments?

Well, what better way to cap off a garden tour of all of the fairy gardens we have made for the Urban Farm tour and our little make your own fairy and dragonfly craft than a fire with roasted marshmallows? It makes sense to me…and I’m sending a letter to the fire department letting them know the dates, so that when they receive yet another ridiculous phone call from the PITA neighbor, they won’t worry too much.

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It all brings to mind an old fable about Peter and the Wolf. Hmmm…maybe I’ll tell that to the kids while we are roasting marshmallows. Maybe, if the firefighters show up, we will get a tour of their truck…

It’s all about making lemonades out of lemons, folks.

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Strawberries Galore

And speaking of fruit…we might not be able to grow lemons here, but we can grow strawberries. And lots of them! Last night we planted the order of over 225 strawberries that had arrived. It went into Row #4 of the garden and Dave commented that we would surely have plenty of well-established strawberries by next year. I hope so, I want to harvest POUNDS of them!

A Piece of My Mind

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His rotting wall and gaping hole into his basement.

So I’ve gone through a range of emotions in regards to the PITA neighbor, Crazy Dale. Frustration, full-out rage (especially after he called the parking police and I ended up with two parking citations – my car was reversed so I could work on the driver’s side without standing in the road and I was nearly two feet into a “No Parking” zone), depression, and even a sleepless night on Monday evening.

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His glorious front porch, complete with a pile of beer bottles and the boom box he uses to blast the song Jenny Jenny for all to hear…over and over and over.

I’m not a person who will lie down and let someone bulldoze over me. My paternal grandmother really modeled this for me, “don’t go down without a fight!” So when the PITA neighbor started up with a laundry list of demands, including wanting us to build a fence to extend across OUR back property to prevent trespassers (something we can’t afford right now but would certainly love to have) or wanting us to cut down a 100+ year old tree that the arborist says is fine (but would cost nearly 10k to cut down), we balked.

In order to make things very clear, I stated with no fanfare and rather abruptly that the tree stayed and until we had more money than God, there would be no fence (I’m actually working on an idea for a pallet fence, BUT we still don’t own that last sliver of land between our lots and The Cottage).

And that’s when the calls to the parking police, the fire department, and the codes citations started rolling in.

Daily.

Hourly.

Literally on Monday I received a visit from the Parking Police, then the actual Police Department and right after that, the Fire Department…all thanks to one hateful human being.

My reaction was not the best. I stated to him that I planned on making his life a living hell.

I’ve had a couple of days to stress, fume, get down in the dumps, and struggle with little or no sleep. I even resorted to taking a Xanax on Monday night, something I absolutely HATE doing.

But I realized a few things along the way. Crazy Dale is already in a living hell. Literally. He is miserable, alone with only a couple of dogs for company, and no one wants anything to do with him. No one wishes him a good day, no one reminds him that he is loved, no one particularly cares if he is healthy or happy or cared for at all. No one ever visits.

I realized too that the weapons he was using against me were easily defeated.

Bad parking job? Too far from the curb, too close to No Parking, or too near a fire hydrant? That can all be fixed. I’ve been here two years, I have no driveway, so it’s time I learned to park better, don’t you think?!

Want to get rid of the brush? Dig a hole and bury it through hugelkultur, or simply carry it off to the dump. It means the lawn will be prettier, no unsightly mound of brush.

And when it comes to building a fire, no problem! The fire department has kindly shown me the right size to make the firepit and they have always been reasonable, each time they have visited. They don’t have a problem with us, not at all.

Those code violations? We have fixed most of them and received a reprieve on the others until fall when we will hopefully put a new roof on The Cottage. At most, his actions simply accelerated our work or made us temporarily defer our work on the foundation of our house for a few weeks.

I realized that we would “out” him in every possible way…

Out live him, out money him, out laugh him, out think him, out work him, and frankly out joy him. And deep inside, I found some measure of pity for a man who can only interact with other human beings through threats and retribution.

That does not mean, however, that I will tolerate his misbehaviors. The moment the boom box gets turned on, I’m calling the police to report him drunk and disorderly. If he screams at the children playing, I will call the police and report his threats. Zero tolerance on these areas are now in effect.

I will not be driven out of the home of my dreams by one sad, miserable and discontented soul. It simply won’t happen.

So that’s my piece of mind on the subject.

Now go out and enjoy this beautiful spring weather. I know I will!

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