Seasonal change

Halloween is done, jack-0-lanterns and ghosts packed away til next year. The wreath on the door was a grapevine wreath with fall ribbon and ceramic turkey and pumpkins shapes so it stayed up until yesterday. Our friends, the wonderful flower growers that come to the Farmer’s Market, Stonecrop Farms moves on from fresh flowers to dried flowers and wreaths this time of year. Hubby suggested that since I had expressed an interest in purchasing one, that I pick out one for my birthday still more than a week away. When we got to the market, there were still several to choose from and though I was attracted to two, decided this one called me the loudest.

It is beautifully full with fresh greens and bright dried flowers. As soon as it arrived home, the skimpy grapevine one was packed away and this beauty hung to grace the door until it fades and the Christmas one is pulled out for a few weeks.

Yesterday was above normal fall weather, following the extreme rain from the late hurricane remnants on Friday, and this morning we awoke to below freezing temperatures, light snow falling, but only accumulating in crevices on the coop, deck, and corners.

It continued with light snow showers throughout most of the day. We managed our walk in spite of the freezing temperatures, wind, and snow showers.

While we were out, a birthday card was needed as one had been missed earlier in the week. It’s purchase, caused me a head shaking pause. The clerk rang it up, told me the total. I handed her cash, she messed with the register, paused and said, “I owe you (long pause)…” I responded, 95 cents, having quickly done the subtraction in my head. She counted out the change and as I was walking out, she called out to me and said, I owe you more money. No, I responded, the purchase was x, I gave you y, the change was 95 cents which you gave me. “But the receipt says z” she says. No, you gave me the correct change, you rang it in wrong, your register is right, my change is correct. She looks confused and heads toward the manage stocking shelves in the back. Poor girl can’t even make change. I fear for her future in that job.

After arriving home, some dried Amaranth and Eucalyptus that I had purchased fresh many weeks ago from Stonecrop and hung to dry with the idea of making a couple of decorations to sell at the last Christmas Bazaar, the last hurrah for the cottage business, was pulled out. The two tobacco baskets that had been display pieces for yarn and hats at events were decorated with the dried plants and dried Baptisia seed pods from my shrub were bunched and tied with Christmas plaid ribbons and floral wire hangers on the back. Hopefully they will sell and grace someone’s home for the holidays.

At the conclusion of that event, all of my display pieces that can’t be repurposed here will be gone. Hopefully, the stock of hats, mitts, mittens, scarves, soap, salves, and lip balm will be reduced to only what can be used as gifts or for personal use. It will be bittersweet to end CabinCraftedshop, but also a relief to not have to deal with the website, taxes, and deadlines.

Quality concerns

Just over a year ago, in the midst of the bloated car prices and dearth of available vehicles, we were forced to purchase a car. We had been relying on a 17 year old car with enough mileage to be on it’s return trip from the moon for over a year and because we are very rural, a reliable car was a necessity. We ended up with a new hybrid, paying over $3000 more than the suggested retail price with a very half-assed excuse for why they were tacking it on and couldn’t negotiate it down. And we had to drive to the next state over, about an hour to even look at one, lured by an online advertised price on another car that they had also tacked on the $3000 and refused to honor the advertised price. As it came from a different state, we had to wait for the registration to come with the plates from our state to get it inspected in our state. Well, it has been a year since the inspection and the new one was needed, plus we required the one year service inspection and tire rotation.

We live 16 miles from a closer dealer and more than double that from where we purchased it. We tried to get an appointment at the closer dealer, where everything could be done, and they didn’t have one available for a full month, after the car inspection was past due, so we contacted the farther dealer and could get in within the week, which meant a second appointment elsewhere in our state for the inspection next week. Off we went this morning. Of course, they “found” two other recommended “needs” so the cost went from under $20 to over $100. We agreed to their recommendations, got back in the car and pulled out of their lot to a scraping noise and a noticeable shimmy or bumping sensation. A quick u-turn and back in the service line and a “whatever you did created a major problem.” It turns out that their mechanic failed to torque on one of the tires and it was rattling loose. This could have been a very expensive, even fatal accident if that tire had come off. Though they corrected their error and apologized, we no longer have any trust in that dealership’s service center. Since the car is a year old, and under warranty, we will make appointments closer to home with enough lead time to guarantee our inspection doesn’t expire before they can get to it.

Whatever happened to quality assurance and reliable service.

Not a good beekeeper

The past 9 weeks have been stressful with hubby’s issues, many, many appointments, and responsibilities. We had a stretch of very cold weather, then a return to spring. This afternoon, I finally set out to add 2:1 syrup and put the newly purchased, assembled, and painted sugar block trays in place. Everything needed was loaded into the back of one of the cars and driven down the field to the bee yard.

Once there, a notable lack of bees moving about caused some alarm, but determined to see what was what, the suit was donned, the smoker prepped if needed and the cover of the first, formerly strongest hive was removed. There was no life at all in the hive. Upon disassembling it tier by tier, this was what was on the bottom board.

Moving on to the second hive, it was a repeat of the first and when I reached the third hive, one that had been weak and was combined with another hive and given a new queen, it had life, not as strong as I would have liked, but alive. The hive was broken down far enough for me to place a sugar brick tray right on top of the queen excluder, all of the honey I could get from the first two hives added to the honey super for this hive and it placed back on, and three quarts of 2:1 syrup added to an empty medium box, and the hive closed back up. All of the parts from the other two hives were brought back to the house and I am going to have to get some large bags to load the frames into and put in the freezer for long enough to kill off anything that shouldn’t be in them, but it will take several loads to accomplish as our chest freezer is very large. Once they have all been frozen and bagged for storage, the freezer needs to be defrosted.

The sole remaining hive. Son 2 entrusted me to this project and I failed hugely. I hope the hives he has at home are doing better and more knowledge on my part can be gained to try again come spring perhaps.