Friday, December 20, 2013

Butterflies 12.20.13

I don’t know if it’s because I still have Tropical Milkweed in the yard or because there are still plenty of plants blooming. My African Blue Basil is still putting out blooms and I have 7 huge pots of them and I still have Queens and one Monarch hanging around.


I still have plenty of caterpillars in the Butterfly House and I have been releasing one or two each day. Only one this morning.

Normally once released they leave…but not lately.

The only reason this plant hasn’t been eaten down is it must have been treated with some sort of pesticide. I see eggs on it and sometimes a small hole where a caterpillar has hatched and eaten …but that is all.


Hopefully these will develop seed pods and I can plant them and have some started for spring. Most of the ones I had have already been put in the Butterfly House for food.

Here is a Monarch feeding.


and a Queen….017cs

This is a male, you can see two dark spots near his body. He is on the Jatropha bush….another Butterfly favorite. Once in a while I will see a Honeybee collecting pollen from this bush…but not very often. The only place they seem to compete for food is on the Bottlebrush blooms.


The Tropical Milkweed is near a birdbath and about 10’ in front of the Honeybees.

Evidently there is nothing wrong with the nectar in the plants, but I never see the Honeybees on them.


It’s been in the mid 40’s at night but by 10 am it is warm enough to open the doors and windows and Butterflies start coming in.

The Honeybees start sending out scouts and foraging at daylight….even when the temp was only 41*…..but the sun is warm in the tree tops and the Red Maples are starting to bloom.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Frog Pond 12.17.13

My sister, Joanne, gave me this. I call it “The Frog Pond”. 009cs

The Honeybees come to it all day long. It sits on the end of my deck where the condensation from the roof can drip into it each morning, keeping water in it all the time.

It started out as a place for the cats to drink but they now share it with the bees.


It’s porous enough for them to get a good foot hold. Although, I did have to rescue a swimmer the other day. It may have been my fault, I was hanging clothes on the line and may have brushed it in the water.


It’s fun to watch the cats get a drink…..they end up with a Honeybee buzzing them sometimes, but so far, none of them has been stung.


When there is no water in the canals it also provides water for the resident Raccoon (s). Not sure if the Opossum uses it or not, but most likely.

I have a birdbath with a continual drip that is even closer to the hives,(you can see them just beyond the tree and bushes.)

010csbut they seem to prefer the Frog Pond, even though there are Honeybees working this African Blue Basil through out the day.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Top Bar Hive on stand 12.11.13

We finally got the Lang’s hive moved to the far end of the stand. We’ve been moving it a few inches each evening so as not to confuse the Honeybees.

There are no Honeybees in the Top Bar yet. When one of the hives is big enough to split next spring, I will try putting some in it or maybe a swarm will move in. They tell me March is swarm season.

Right now it is in place so the bees can get used to it….and maybe no one told the feral Honeybees when they can swarm.


The Top Bar now has a center entrance…you can see the 3 holes.  I don’t think the entrances of the 3 hives are too close, but if I find it could be a problem, we can extend both ends of the stand another 8 inches.

I had considered putting the Top Bar on a stand of it’s own but the big red ants are a problem here, and right now I have been able to keep them off this stand. Mechanics grease on the legs and wood ashes around the tiles on the ground under the stand. So far…so good.

I was putting all pink flowers on the hive on the L but the only deep with a window in it was the double flowered pink and it ended up on the hive that was supposed to have blue flowers… when the one on the L is big enough for another deep box it will have blue flowers on it… much for naming them “pink” and “blue”……guess it’s back to Left and Right.

I don’t know what is blooming now. All the asters in this area are going to seed. I do have 3 small bushes like the ones that were blooming down the road a month ago. They are starting to bloom but have only seen a couple of Honeybees on them.

The Scarlet Bodied Wasp Moth is feeding on them.


Just look at the brilliant colors and the center of the wings is clear.

They resemble a wasp. Guess that is their protection.


If these are the same bushes that were blooming a month ago….it may be there are more of them in the woods. The Honeybees are bringing in lots of light colored pollen but have not been working my 3 bushes hard yet. I check them several times a day.

Now there are a few more bushes we cant cut down. Love those late bloomers.

Each morning around 9 the pollen starts coming in.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Our first over nighter….. 12.7.13–12.8.13

Packed a few things and headed for Jim’s brother’s place. We camped there Sat night.


After unhooking the trailer Jim gave the car a quick wash and we headed for a car show in Leesburg, FL.

Our first night sleeping in the camper went very well. It was a lot more comfortable than we had expected. Both had plenty of room.

The new faucet made washing up easy.

Our little dog, Raisin, got us up a few times. She wasn’t quite sure what was going on….first time in it for her too.

Up early…forgot the coffee….oh well….Carl had a pot made.

Jim hooked up the trailer and we went to Mt Dora. The car show at Renniger’s usually has car parts and Jim wants better mirrors for the Hudson so he can see further behind the camper, but no luck.

I spent a lot of time in the camper so Raisin wouldn’t worry…and even more time showing it to others. It was a big hit.

At Carl’s, we had filled over 30 gallon water jugs to bring home so we were probably loaded as heavy as we will ever be and it towed great.

They have a cruise around the flea market so I rode in the camper just to see how these 2 wheel things take the bumps. Not bad.

Jim got a lot of “thumbs up” from spectators. We were the only classic car towing a camper.

I think we will have a lot of fun with this outfit. Can’t wait for the next trip…..and I will remember the coffee and the camera.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Scamp mods 12.5.13

The ladies we bought it from gave us a nice piece of memory foam for the bed. I rolled it up and put a couple of pillow cases on it and slid it under the table.

Jim made a box that will slide out …turn  to support the table (bed) when down. It had a couple of legs but it was pretty wobbly. This makes it nice and solid and I can store paper towels etc in it as well as a couple bottles of juice.


The best improvement is the new faucet with a sprayer. The old faucet was styled more like a short bath faucet. Almost impossible to get a dish under it to rinse. The sprayer will also work for a shampoo.

The switch on the lower R is for an instant on hot water heater. It will supply warm water for dishes etc. when plugged into shore power or the generator.


The pad on the stove cover is a dish drainer. It is terry cloth and foam. Hang it up when done and it dries right out.


Regina showed me this trick. She has one in the camper they use to tow the horse trailer to camp. All manor of small items will fit in it and you don’t have things laying around….so they gave me one. Thanks guys!  I’ve almost got it full. This is only about half of it. We used the other half in the boat.


We hooked up and took it for a test run on the highway.  63 +- and it towed very well. Jim was pleased with the way the car handled. Didn’t even know the Scamp was behind you.


I am gradually adding the things we will need…coffee pot, percolator (for dry camping) toaster, a few pots and pans, paper plates, cups, glasses, towels, sheets etc.

We are going to a couple of car shows this weekend and will take the Scamp. We’ll get to see how it sleeps…what else we need and what we can do without. Not a lot of room to store stuff, but we’ll get it figured out.

I found a 12v/battery powered fan at a car show/ swap meet a few weeks ago and it will be perfect for dry camping when there is no electric hookup.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Painted Buntings are returning 12.2.13

I saw the first one a couple of weeks ago. This week we have 2 males (Painted) and one green which is most likely a juvenile male.

This one is sharing the feeder with a male Cardinal. You can just see the Cardinal’s head on the L. That plastic guard is to keep the squirrels from jumping from the Jatropha Bush onto the feeder.


The Cardinals are a very pretty bird, and spend most of the year here.


My “pink” and “blue” bee hives in the background. I am gradually moving the pink hive to the L end of the stand. That will make room for the Top Bar Hive on the stand between them.


Here’s a pretty little guy.


He’s watching me photograph him, and the slightest movement can send him flying to the Bottlebrush Bush.


Some have a bright lime green/yellow on their backs, like this one, on others it might be more orange. But the combinations are beautiful.


I can have my coffee and watch the birds at the feeders….the bees coming and going and foraging on the plants by the porch…and even enjoy a nice fire in the wood stove on a cool morning.


We usually have 10 to 15 Buntings come in. It’s fun to watch the young males molt and change colors. The females are green but have a brighter yellow belly.

In another month we might see some Indigo Buntings.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Hudson has a hitch…. 11.25.13

Jim spent all day laying around.

Unfortunately he spent most of that time measuring, cutting and welding.


Funny… doesn’t look a bit different.


Oh….I forgot …you have to remove the license plate.

He did it this way so the receiver would be hidden when we take the hitch off. Then it just looks normal. He’s going to put a bracket on the hitch for the plate when we are towing.


This is what we’ll look like going down the road. The camper is white with black trim around the windows etc. The  interior of the car is white .….both the camper and the wheels on the car have a red stripe, so it kind of ties it together. We definitely are not going to paint the camper black to match the car! So this will have to do. I’d like to get some moon hubcaps for the camper to match the car.


We took it for a drive around the block….tows well. Can’t wait to take it on a test run at highway speed…and spend a night in it to see how the bed sleeps.

I don’t normally like an air conditioner. Much rather have a Fantastic Vent and windows open….but….in a place this small …a hot night would be very uncomfortable. Might have to rethink my likes and dislikes.

When someone asks why we have such a small camper….we tell them we had to have something to carry the AC.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Wild Asters, African Blue Basil and Honey Bees

I noticed Wild Asters while on the river. They were climbing Asters, I believe. When I got home,  I saw several patches of them growing along the canal near our place.

I started riding my bike to see what the bees were working and spotted another type of Wild Aster. They are on a stalk instead of branching out. Some are over 6’ tall. I guess those are the ones competing for space and sun.015cs

My neighbor has two big stands of them and told me I could take all I wanted. I now have about 12 bunches planted around the edge of the woods and near the tree stump (above). I am hoping that they will reseed and I’ll have a lot more of them next year.

Here’s a few bees working the Asters. It did not take long for the bees to find them. I had some working on them as I planted.

This is where I put a few. I have one behind the bee hives, 2 in front of the tree stump and 1 behind it. The bees have been working the Bottle Brush, the African Blue Basil and the Asters.

When I walk under the Bottle Brush bushes in the front yard they are just humming with bees.

The white box below the Asters on the R is one of the hives. The other is behind the Cana Lillies to the L, almost behind the stump.

As you can see, the woods are pretty thick and there are lots of Palm trees. The 3 you can see are Cabbage Palms, but there are also Sable Palms a little farther in.


A closer look at the African Blue Basil. They work these from daylight to dark. I have 2 more that are bigger than this and 4 more that are a bit smaller.

There are at least 3 Honey Bees in this picture below.


This video shows you how busy they are. The plants in full sun get worked the hardest but there are bees on all of them.

I hope the Basil winters well. I’ll increase my number of plants next year if it does.

I really like the Wild Asters, but I don’t know how long they bloom. Late blooming plants are nice because it gives the Honey Bees something when everything else is gone.

The African Blue Basil blooms all summer.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

We’re Goin’ Scampin’ 11.7.13

How about this little cutie!!


It even looks good behind the truck….but we bought it to tow behind the 1949 Hudson. Jim is installing new aluminum heads and then it will be off to Wayne’s (he has a lift). It will be much easier for Jim to weld the hitch on with it off the ground.

I didn’t realize it…but the red strip on the side of the camper will match the red around the rims on the tires…


Overall length is 13’ and 3’ of that is hitch. Less room than the front of the camper/hauler….but still roomy. It actually looks bigger in the above photo because I was closer to the camper when I took the picture.

I think it weighs about 1000 lbs, empty….. tongue weight about 100 lbs. It had been sitting in a sandy spot and had settled in a little… but Jim and I were able to lift the hitch  and move it ahead about 3 inches to drop it on the ball. I was surprised how light it was and that we were able to roll it forward out of the depressions.

It has a great bi-fold screen door.

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The table drops down for a bed. ….(this is the original look)


We had trouble squeezing by the table so Jim shortened it. (It had been shortened in the past and then put back to normal ) Much easier getting in and out and gives the impression of a larger space. We’ll still need the extra piece for making the bed.


  The table drops down very easily…I was able to do it myself with no trouble.   Even easier now that it is shorter.                        007                                                                                                                                         There are 3 windows with screens that open in the table area…and a small crank out over the stove and one in the bathroom. Should be plenty of airflow when in a rest area or truck stop and no electric hookup. Storage overhead for bedding etc.

Storage over the sink for dishes etc. 2 burner propane cooktop, small sink…silverware drawer and 2 small doors with storage behind them.

It has an “ice box”…literally…we’ll try it awhile but could put a small fridge there if we feel we need it.


It has a fresh water holding tank and city water hook up. Ice cold AC.


I wanted one of these toilets for our boat but it was a bit pricey. It has it’s own holding tank.


No shower….so it will be truck stops (we are very familiar with those), campgrounds or friends. Jim will put an instant on hot water heater in so we can do dishes, sponge baths and shampoos….kind of like trucking again.


Most people start out in small campers and work their way up to bigger ones when they retire…I think we got it backwards…but we don’t do a lot of camping other than weekend car shows and a trip to VA, NY and VT to see family…we can do it in this and have fun traveling in the Hudson.

Jim can’t quite stand up straight anywhere inside so he’ll be sitting a lot. We do need to get a bag awning so we can keep rain out  when the door is open and have a place to sit outside.

Lots of ideas…we’ll try it as is for awhile and gradually add things.

Jim has done a lot of work on the Hudson. AC runs great now and it is a very comfortable ride. We thought it would be fun to do some car shows away from home. The Hudson won’t fit in the car hauler/camper. So…this  will be up for sale, 028c2as well as, the 1929 Mercedes Benz Replica. 015cr

You know how it is….you just can’t keep all the toys.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


It grows to 5 or 6 ft tall…it does look like some of the pictures of Goldenrod that I have found…but not sure.

There are patches like this through out the tree farm.  Only a few hundred feet from my hives. (in a bee line)


Whatever it is…the bees love it.



I was taking pictures of Honeybees on this plant….and was surprised to see this bee.

It has big eyes similar to a Drone…but Drones do not feed themselves. They go to the hive and have the workers feed them. It is marked similar to a Honeybee..but the body looks different. Anyone know what it is?