Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sprucing Up The Bee Yard

Yesterday I finally got a chance to weed around my hive. I had been neglecting that area. When the weather is warm that corner of the yard is a cloud of bee activity and I like to stay out of their space. Yesterday was cool and overcast so their activity was low. I waited until early evening when they were heading in for the night. Then I set to work. They didn't pay me much notice. At one point, when I was weeding behind the hive, I did have a couple of guard bees march down the side of the platform to see what I was doing. But after that they ignored me. Now their yard is nice and clean. I found some plastic garden fencing tucked away in my garage. I'd forgotten I had this. It will come in handy for keeping Reggie out of that area. There are always quite a few dead or dying bees in that spot and even dead bees can sting. I also planted some English Lavender for the bees. I wanted something that I could use, as well. But I see that I have them planted too close together so will space them out today. I should've got Munstead as it is more compact. Oh well, this will work. Having larger plants will help keep the weeds down. I am not planting anything right in front of the hive. We need that area cleared in order to work the bees.

I found the lavender starts at Fred Meyers for $1 each. I also picked up a catnip start while there. It was a nice, big healthy start. I say "was" because Singha found it before I had a chance to even get it in the ground. And he loved on it. He loved on it hard. And bit off all the longer branches. Then he rolled on them.

Once he was good and high he chased his dog-brother around the yard and then crawled across the grass on his side. He loves his catnip. I have now got the poor mutilated catnip baby safely planted, and barricaded.

It's on its own now. Sink or swim.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bee Update 6-27-11

My bees are doing amazingly well. They have gone from a 3# package of bees, that could fit in a smallish transport box, to filling over 3 medium 8-framed hive boxes. Last week we added a 4th box and they are already busy filling that. Today we checked and decided to go ahead and add a 5th box. We want to make sure they have plenty of room to expand. The 6th box (the one on top) is just a feeder box and houses their jar of sugar syrup.

If the hive gets any taller I'll need a ladder to reach them. I remembered to take pictures of the inner hive. Here is the box that we added last week. It was just empty frames then. But has at least 2 full frames of comb now. See the perfectly formed white comb right in the center? And there are lots of bees in that box. That is the 4th box in the picture, above.

And here is the box underneath it. The 3rd box from the bottom. They still insist on building weird comb between the boxes and putting brood there. You can see one of the macaroni looking bee babies in the center of the photo. Sadly, it will not survive. But they will make plenty more. That's what they do.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My Scalp Hates Conditioner

Actually my scalp hates most commercially available hair care products. Shampoos, conditioners and leave-ins/hair dress. And if it weren't for TLHC I would have no idea. I have suffered from scalp psoriasis for 32 years. I thought I was sensitive to my hair oils. Never guessed it was the hair products that were triggering it. I've used all the over the counter psoriasis shampoos as well as many things prescribed by dermatologists (none of whom ever even hinted I might have a sensitivity to shampoos or conditioners). I tried baking soda/cider vinegar (ACV), in the past. Made my hair itchy and straw like. Back to the shampoo and conditioner I went. Then I found The Long Hair Community (TLHC). I was intrigued by CO (conditioner only washing). I knew there was a bit of an adjustment period (6 weeks) so chalked up the greasy and itchy scalp to that. I had been CO for about 3 weeks. And was going for 3 days between washing. On wash day I would shed like mad, combing out an alarming number of shed hairs (it is normal to shed up to 100 hairs per day but this seemed like more than that). The other 2 days, with no washing, shedding was minimal. My scalp was getting so gunky that I decided to shampoo (non-SLS). I used my Avalon Organics Lavender and an ACV rinse. No conditioner. My hair was FABULOUS (not oily), my scalp was itch-free, and I shed just a wee bit. The second day my hair and scalp were still clean but my ends were dry (they had been commercially dyed in the past). I over oiled with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). Yesterday I decided to CO wash to remove some of the extra oil. OMG! My scalp immediately began to itch as soon as the conditioner was applied. I left it on for 30 minutes and CO washed. When I was combing my hair out I noticed that my scalp was inflamed and I shed a huge amount. My scalp was so itchy that I had to immediately rewash with the Avalon shampoo and use ACV as a rinse. Now my scalp is feeling better. No more conditioner for me. Ever. Don't get me wrong. CO washing is a valid option and many of the ladies on TLHC swear by it. But I am obviously allergic.

Here is my current hair care regime:

Avalon Organics Nourishing Lavender Shampoo (every 3 days)

Vinegar Rinse (1 Tbs. Apple cider vinegar to 2 cups water)

EVOO (applied to scalp and hair length the night before shampooing. I braid my hair and sleep on it. Use a sleep cap so you don't muck up your pillow). I also use a VERY LIGHT amount of this on my ends, when needed. Be careful. It's easy to over oil.

Rooibos Tea (1 tea bag to 1 cup of water, steeped, cooled and placed in a spray bottle). I spritz this on my scalp after washing my hair, and on my scalp each night before bed.

BBB (Boar Bristle Brush) I make sure to brush 100 strokes per night, before bed.

Satin Pillowcase - Is gentler on your hair and reduces the amount of lint your hair collects. I was brushing out a lot of lint, each evening, before I switched.

Last night my husband took me out to dinner to celebrate my retirement. I wanted my hair to look pretty so I kept it braided all day.

This gave me lovely braid waves.

BTW,  my hair has grown 1 1/4" so far this month. I will have the husbeast measure my length on July 1st and report back.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Baby Fish Update 6-25-11

The fish kids have about doubled in size.

And they've gotten this "feeding" thing figured out.
I can't wait until they begin to look like goldfish.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Yard Sale 6-24-11

One great thing about being retired? Yard sales! Woot! I hit the road this morning at 9am and came back at 10:15. I had planned to spend $10 but went a little over. Here's today's loot.

I used to have a stein just like this, back in the day.
I'll use it at brew club. Cost me $1.

I have been looking for one of these big cardboard cans for forever.
$5 seemed a bit steep (but it does have a lid).
I bought it for storing my tools in the garage.

And I can never pass up pottery.
I have a problem. But it was only $.50.

I had been looking for a way to store my
headband collection. This mug tree was $1.

And the score of the day?
31 (very dusty) Grolsch style bottles for $5!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Getting The Nursery Together

Yesterday Errol spotted another fry, which I promptly caught. Now we have 2 babies to care for. I felt bad they were living in a canning jar but I had long since Freecycled all my tanks and fish bowls. What to do? Get back on Freecycle and see if anyone has a fish bowl to give away. A couple of people emailed that they had a bowl, but never followed through. Then a lady, who lived just a few blocks away, offered up this nice little tank. Much better than a bowl. It has more surface area, and a lid to keep them from jumping out. Excuse the murky greenish water. These are pond fish, so they are used to it.

Now the babies have room to explore. I went to Petco today, to buy some ingredients for the baby fish food.

I got a good quality goldfish flake,
with lots of protein, and some dried shrimp.

I put some of each in my mortar and ground it with the pestle.

Then I put the crumbs into a plastic baggie.

To feed, I dip the tip of a toothpick into their water, to wet it, then into the bag of food. Then I just barely touch the toothpick to the surface of the water. I do this 4 times a day. And do a partial water change, with more pond water, once a day. I want them to have access to the micro organisms in there. Don't want the babes to go hungry. I wonder how long until they start to look like goldfish? Right now they are see through with two big eyes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What Personality Type Are You?

This is how I tested, which is pretty much dead on.

Introverted (I) 81.82% Extroverted (E) 18.18%
Sensing (S) 60.98% Intuitive (N) 39.02%
Thinking (T) 55% Feeling (F) 45%
Judging (J) 75.76% Perceiving (P) 24.24%

ISTJ - "Trustee". Decisiveness in practical affairs. Guardian of time- honored institutions. Dependable. 11.6% of total population.
Take Free Jung Personality Test
Personality Test by

Retirement Potluck

Today was the last day for my son, Errol,
 and I, to work at Lamb's Ear Yarn.

We've been working together since 2004. I will miss spending so much time with him but am grateful that we have such a wonderful relationship. Many of my regular customers have also become my good friends. We share each other's ups and downs, like a family. They were a bit upset when they found out I was retiring. But you know what knitters like almost as much as yarn? Food! So we planned a potluck party for my last day. Just for my closest buddies.

There was plenty of good eats.

Coffee, tea, and some of my homemade Cranberry Chianti
(oh, and chocolate peanut butter cookies).

They were able to hang out, share fond memories, and nosh
....while I was busy at the register.

One of my friends, Jeannie, gave me
this adorable bee soap as a present.

I don't know if I'll be able to use it. It's too darn cute to mess up. Anyway, a lovely time was had by all. A perfect end to a fun career. Now on to new adventures!

Organic Veggies? Delivered To Your Door?

Sign me up! This is a LivingSocial deal offered today. I have been wanting to join a CSA and the timing is perfect. Check it out if you, too, are unhappy with the quality (and prices) of grocery store produce. It's great to have options. I'll be getting my produce delivered, to my doorstep, by Full Circle.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Two New Fish...And Baby Makes Three

Husbeast and I traveled to Petsmart this morning, to get some new friends for Squiggy. The fish there looked much better than those at Petco. We picked out these 2 handsome specimens.

Mo (short for mohawk) has a black stripe on his head and black tipped fins. The other one is Peanut, since the previous Peanut wasn't around for long and they look similar. When I floated the bag in the pond they immediately started wriggling, trying to get out. And Squiggy was trying just as hard to get in and meet them.

First he tried going under the bag.
That's his big head underneath.

Then he tried to wiggle in behind the bag.

And finally he just visited them through the side.

Once they were all in the pond together, they went and hid. I was trying to catch a glimpse of them, but instead I spotted....a little teeny fry. One of Leni and Squiggy's offspring had hatched and avoided being gobbled up by his/her daddy. Now that there were 3 hungry bigger fish in the pond the little baby didn't stand a chance. After 3 attempts I finally managed to catch it and put it in a jar. Isn't it adorable?

I'll keep a lookout for any surviving siblings. In the meantime I need to find out what the little thing can eat.

Tea & Fish

Another thing I've learned from the Long Hair Community is that rooibos tea is supposed to aid in hair growth. It is also good for your skin and scalp. While it is healthy to ingest the tea, the skin and hair profit more from a topical application. I found rooibos tea at my local Fred Meyers (aka Krogers). I brought 1 1/3 cups of water to a boil, then steeped one tea bag in there until the water became cool. The tea was then placed into my handy dandy spray bottle. I am storing the tea in the refrigerator between uses. Once or twice a day I spritz my scalp with the tea and let it dry. It is quite refreshing and should be especially nice once the weather gets hot. I measured my hair at the beginning of this month (24") and will do so again on July 1st. Then at the beginning of each following month. I am curious to see if the tea speeds up growth.

Since Leni disappeared, 2 weeks ago, poor Squiggy has been beside himself with grief and loneliness. He sulks at the bottom of his pond and doesn't come up for feedings. Seriously. The poor guy is depressed. I never knew that goldfish needed company. Now I feel bad for all those solitary fish I had over the years. Not only were they lonely, but they were stuck in teeny tiny fish bowls. No wonder the one that used to live on the back of the toilet tank flung itself onto the bathroom floor. It was trying to commit suicide. I found it in time and plunked it back into the bowl and I bet it was thinking, "Dammit!". Yesterday I had a chance to stop by Petco to find Squiggy some friends. I opted for 2 so that if one goes missing the remaining won't be lonesome. I knew that Petco got a new shipment of feeder fish this past Tuesday. I should've got in there sooner. By the time I went in, yesterday, most of them were dead or dying. Good God, what do they do to the poor things!?!!! I was going to leave and try to find healthier fish, but there were still some that were fighters so I couldn't leave them. I chose a silver one and another spotted white and orange. I brought them home and acclimated them, then let them loose in the pond. OMG! Instant difference in Squiggy. The new fish (Smokey & Peanut) are big enough that I don't have to worry about him eating them. But he was so happy he was swimming up next to them and rubbing against them. I haven't uncovered the pond yet, this morning, and am hoping the poor things made it through the night and will be OK. If not, I will have to go get some healthy fish elsewhere. Interestingly, the price of feeder fish has more than doubled. Last year I bought healthy goldfish for $.13 each. This year they are $.29 for half dead fish.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

And Still More....

The obsession continues. Yesterday I got 2 packages in the mail. First was this lovely Grah-Toe Studio 3 tine hair fork in maple. I snagged it from the swap list on the Long Hair Community forum, for $42 (including shipping).

I can't help it. I'm a sucker for wood, especially if it has a beautiful grain. I'm sure many more forks will find their way to my collection. The second package contained the 4 large Flexi8's that I'd ordered from their web site. I can't recommend these enough. They are beautiful and affordable. I wore this one to World Market, today, and got a compliment on it. The other 3 are in the photo, below.

Sorry the photo is rather dark. The top one is green, the middle is all silver with a dragon fly, and the bottom is garnet. The one in my hair has black beads and a celtic knot. While at World Market I picked up this pair of chopsticks for $1.99. Cheap hair sticks!

I have one more package on its way, then I will cool it on the hair decorations, for a while. These should keep me plenty busy.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Tale Of Hair Toys

I tend to be a bit obsessive compulsive. Not about cleaning (unfortunately). But when I am interested in something I'm really, REALLY interested. And this month's obsession is my hair. Hair products and hair toys. But mostly hair toys. How is it that I've had long hair, twice before in my life, and never knew about hair toys? If it weren't for Internet forums and YouTube I'd still be in the dark. Last night I discovered Spin Pins. I had heard them mentioned on the Long Hair Forum and had no idea what they were. So I went to YouTube, watched a few videos and decided I needed some. I found them at Walgreens for $6.99. I understand you can get them for as low as $5.99 elsewhere but with gas prices as they are I wasn't about to drive all over Tacoma looking. While at Walgreens I found some other cool little hair doo-dads, 2 for $3. I got 3 headbands and a little hair flower.

I got all those toys for $13. You'd think I'd be satisfied, but you'd be wrong. I recently sold some of my hand knit items and had a bit of spending money burning a hole in my pocket. Money earmarked for (you guessed it) more hair toys. I'll blog about them as soon as they arrive.

I also wanted to check in to say that I used the Silkience this morning, to "conditioner only" (CO) wash my hair and it cleaned really well. I'll definitely have to go grab up some more. I am also enjoying the Lusti Organics Hair Dress. I've been using it as a leave in conditioner on my damaged ends, and as an overnight treatment. But I didn't read the label on the detangler as well as I should've. It contains dimethicone and I am trying to stay cone-free.  But if you aren't concerned about cone build-up then I can recommend it as a good detangler. Just not for me.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Little Diversion

Today I needed a bit of retail therapy. When I feel the urge to shop, I like to head to one of my favorite thrift stores. That way I can experience the thrill of the hunt without putting a big dent in my wallet. Here are today's trophies. A stove top percolator so I can have coffee if the power goes out ($1.39).

2 satin pillowcases, which are supposed to
be better for your hair ($.69 each).

A blue & white Japanese fish dish, to add
to my Japanese dishes collection ($1.04).

A retro looking stoneware rooster themed spoon rest ($1.04).

A toothbrush holder for the guest bathroom, with openings
large enough to hold "fatter" toothbrushes ($.69).

And some more measuring spoons,
because I never seem to have enough ($.34).

I also got a couple of summer tops and a
large metal ladle (for when I make candles).
The shirts were $2.09 each and the ladle was $1.39.

While I was out, I stopped by another local Dollar Tree, looking for a product called TAME conditioner which is much sought after on the Long Hair Community forum. I didn't find it, but I did find some interesting hair care products. Silkience Conditioner (which is supposed to be made by the same folks as TAME and is said to have similar results), Lusti Organics Olive Oil Detangling Spray and their Olive Oil Hair Dress.

If they work out I'll have to run back and scoop up more to hoard. You can't beat the price of $1 each. The last product in the photo wasn't from the dollar store (and cost me $9.99). It is Avalon Organics Nourishing Lavender Shampoo. It's SLS free and I used it this morning and can report that it cleaned my hair really well. I only plan on using the shampoo twice a week, so it should last a good while. My hair is in much better condition since I've steered away from cones and SLS. I'll be curious to see how much growth I get this month.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

First Fancy Hair Toy

The folks in the Long Hair Community have been bad influences. Or good influences, depending on your perspective. I say they are bad, because they have got me craving hair toys in the worst way. I couldn't rest until I'd ordered up a fancy wooden hair fork. I settled on this one from the Etsy seller, Out Numbered Novelties. This hair fork is made from olive wood and has a lovely grain. The fork arrived, today, and I couldn't wait to test it out.

Now to save up for a couple of Ficcare Maximas clips. But which ones to choose? They're all so lovely. Once the hot weather hits I'll be wearing my hair up on a daily basis. I need lots of hair toys so I don't get bored.

The no-'poo thing is going pretty well. I am currently shampooing once every 4 days, simply because I can't stand to go longer. My scalp is a sebum producing machine and after 4 days I surrender. But eventually my scalp will adapt to being washed less and ease up on the oils. The good news is this regimen is not aggravating my scalp psoriasis. My scalp is very happy. And my hair is shedding MUCH less. So a big improvement overall.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Garden Progress

Sunday I was finally able to get some gardening accomplished. I planted the beans, squash, tomatoes and peppers.

I still have more veggies to get into the ground. Hoping to do so this week. Probably not until Friday.
In the meantime my fruits are going great guns. Here are the strawberries and raspberries.

 And my rhubarb, which is technically not a fruit, and needs to be picked and made into wine.

I am also sad to report that dear Leni has disappeared. I'll never know exactly what happened to her, but she is gone and poor Squiggy is lonely. I'll stop into the pet store, soon, and pick him up some friends.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Becoming A Cone Free Longhair

Did you know there is an online community for folks with long hair? I recently discovered 'The Long Hair Community'. It is partly where I learned how to go CO (washing with conditioner only). Here is a photo of where my hair length is at, as of this morning.

My hair is now 24" in length. My current goal is waist length, or 30". My hair grows about 5" per year so I am hoping to achieve my goal by fall of 2012. To aid me in this quest I am going to really focus on caring for my tresses. Commercial shampoos were drying out my hair and irritating my scalp. I am now attempting to be CO and cone free (see previous post). Yesterday, before work, I set out on a mission. My shopping list included cone free "cheap" conditioners:

Hair sticks, headbands and a new pick:

 a BBB (boar bristle brush):

and some coconut oil:

This morning I made sure to strip any cone build up from my hair by washing it with 2 tsp. of baking soda dissolved in 16 ounces of water. After massaging that in well, and rinsing, I then conditioned with 2 TBS. apple cider vinegar in 16 ounces of water. After clarifying my hair in this way I was ready to wash CO as I normally would. I applied a good amount of the conditioner and scrubbed it around my scalp with the pads of my fingers, then I worked it out through the length of my hair. I placed a shower cap over my hair and resumed showering as usual, allowing the conditioner to stay on for at least 3-5 minutes. I then removed the shower cap and rinsed the conditioner from my hair. Then I reapplied some conditioner and rinsed it out, as you would after shampooing.

The second key part to caring for my long hair is air drying. This is the hardest part, for me, as I am impatient and my hair seems to take forever to dry. Once it was dry I applied a teensy, tiny bit of coconut oil to the ends, then brushed it all really well with a boar bristle brush. It has to be a BBB in order to evenly distribute the sebum (I always mess up and call it sedum, even though I do NOT have succulents in my hair).

I think the coconut oil may have to go, though. I'm afraid my bees may not like the smell of it. I got stung on the forehead tonight while replacing their sugar syrup. They had never acted aggressive in the past. I know enough not to eat bananas before tending my bees, as bananas smell like their alarm pheromone. I suspect coconut may have the same effect but am not 100% sure that was what got the bees' panties in a bunch.

That aside, this new hair care regimen seems to be working. So far, so good. My scalp is not feeling overly itchy, the way it did the last time I tried to go 'poo-less.