The Russian Hive Has Arrived

This has been a very strange bee year. After an extraordinarily wet winter that left the greenhouse flooded more often than not, we had lost our existing Carniolan honeybee hives. We had planned to buy new packages in the spring to replace them, but I also wanted to try Russian honeybees.

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Of Smithsonite and Calamine Lotion

So the other night I was watching the Boonies on National Geographic. I’ve been watching a lot of the off-the-grid series for inspiration since my novels predominately take place in that setting.

But what caught my attention on the last episode was that one of the fellows on the show, who lives in Arkansas caves, was looking for a mineral called smithsonite. I’m rather geologically obsessed, so I was super excited to hear about a mineral I wasn’t familiar with (it’s the little things, okay?).

I thought smithsonite was an odd enough name, but then he went on to say that it was a globular mineral that locally is also called something like turkey fat. Double odd.

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It’s a Parade!

And who doesn’t love a parade? Especially a parade of planets, which is exactly what’s starting up later this week.

Over the next several weeks, you early birds with a view of the southeastern horizon will be able to see not one, not two, but five of our solar system’s glorious planets all lined up in a neat little row.

The planetary parade will include Mercury closest to the horizon followed by Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter. The show will start in the pre-dawn hours of January 20 and continue for about a month.

I can’t see the southeastern horizon through all our beautiful trees, so I’m going to have to enjoy the planet parade vicariously through those of you who can. Get out there Wednesday morning and take a peek for me!

Of New Year’s and Puzzles

I hope everyone who celebrates had a most splendid Christmas! It was a lovely one here, and now it’s time to prepare for the New Year.

While New Year’s sometimes gets grief for all the well-intentioned resolutions, most of which are soon forgotten, it truly is a wonderful time to take stock.

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