My second beekeeping auction

I attended this year’s bee auction based on last year’s crazy calls for swarm relocation. Some people think free bees are great, but they are a gamble. You just don’t know if they will be productive enough to outweigh the work it takes to get them or if they’ll be hostile enough all year that you wish you didn’t have them.

Before I had extra equipment, a swarm would have required a good amount of resource juggling at most times of the year. If I know I have a good colony, I don’t mind using new woodenware, but with a risky swarm, I prefer to use bargain auction stuff.

Auctions are fun because you never know what you’ll find. I read the consignors’ list, but until I can see condition, it’s hard to know what will be for sale, and some things never make the list.

There are always random things, like these frames. I didn’t get any, but for some reason, I always end up getting things that I didn’t think I wanted, no matter how much I plan.

ciba auction 13 frames watermark

I was very pleased to get a spacing comb (mine is sort of like this one). It didn’t make my shopping list, but I had thought about buying one in the past. For $5, I’m game for almost anything!

It was interesting to see IPTV there, taping for Market to Market. Beekeepers came from over an hour away to attend the auction. To me, that means the auction is unique, well-timed, and a good thing for the keeper community.

market to market IPTV

Market to Market, I am happy that I can watch you online.

This was the first time I ever saw a used hive for sale — by used, I mean boxes full of drawn comb with honey. In fact there were two such hives. There was also a decorative sign in this lot; that was a first for me. The first lot was also noteworthy — an archive of a honey businessman’s transactions from 1940′s.

ciba auction 5 honey crop

ciba auction 6 complete hives crop

Look how white and clean everything is!

I also thought it was pretty crazy to have warm, dry weather. I purposely dressed in layers — wicking tank, thermal top, and jean jacket with useful pockets – and wore a performance fabric ballcap. I seem to remember a light drizzle and 40 degrees last year, which I confirmed with the excellent Weather Underground archive.

ciba headshot

I rode with a new beekeeper to the auction, and we stopped at nearby apiary and supply shop afterward. Have you ever seen anything like this?

ciba auction spring valley windshield

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What I’ve learned from photographing my outfits

I started photographing my outfits back in January to see if I really was well-dressed.

I wasn’t.

I didn’t post regularly here, but I photographed my outfits almost every day that I worked in March. I found it to be a very interesting and helpful exercise. I grouped skirt outfits together and the pants outfits together. I compared them to each other to use a particular skirt/pant paired with different tops.

skirt outfits

I kind of hate wearing superhero boots, but they’re so practical.

pant outfits

Pant outfits from March 2014

Looking at photographs after the fact helped me see what items of clothing helped me look better or worse. Almost every day, I dress and look in the mirror and leave with the thought that I look OK, but then I see the photo and whoa! Maybe it’s the distance between me and my home mirror compared to me and my work mirror, but when I look over the photos each week, I definitely question some of my choices!

Some clothes are flattering, some require a particular accompanying item to make them work, etc. This has been a very useful exercise in my opinion. I’ve removed a couple things from my dresser because of this exercise. And I’m not typing my life away every morning at a job, so I feel that I can start wearing scarves and bracelets more frequently. I have also keep something in the back of my mind that I heard at Victoria’s Secret:

Flared, or boot cut, yoga pants are a Midwest thing, and probably will be obsoleted by the company soon.

Leave a comment: Do you wear yoga pants? If so, what style (bootcut, cropped, leggings that are tight at the ankle, etc.) and why?

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Powder room floor: Tiling a small space

We measured our first floor powder room to be 5′ x 5′ — it’s very tight. We brought home one or two different tiles until we found our final selection. In about 45 minutes from mixing the thin set mortar to sliding the last tile into place, we got the floor done earlier this week.

To get to that point, though, we took our time. We started with a mock up in living room. To do this, I laid paper down on the powder room floor.

cover the floor with paperI used masking tape to attach all the pieces together (similar to my past work with sewing patterns), rolled it up and moved the paper floor to the living room.

move paper from bathroom to living room

I outlined this with masking tape. I removed the newspaper so we could lay the tiles down in different orientations, patterns, etc. until all five of us had a chance to give an opinion. We settled on a 1′ x 2′ tile with a 1/3 running course, running parallel to the other flooring.

bathroom floor mock up

I want to point out the doorway here. It’s the little bumped out space closest to the front. We looked at all the other doorways in the house and eventually eliminated it from the tiling plan. This 1) made the flooring consistent with the rest of the house and 2) eliminated a difficult tile cutting situation.

Before we could start cutting tile, we decided to pour some leveling compound on the floor to even everything out. Pulling up the linoleum left the floor so rough that we couldn’t tell how uneven the floor was. At the very least, the compound would smooth out the floor (which was torn up wood and adhesive at this point), and give some leveling if it was needed.

leveling compound evens out the floor

We did not check the floor for level post-compound, but we should have. There was still another inch of pitch below level under the sink’s future home. We didn’t check for level until after Mr. TellBlast installed hardiboard.

hardiboard over leveling compound

He put in a couple strips of hardiboard on top of the offending areas to bring up the level, which were filled with thinset mortar during the tile installation. The larger the tile, the more important leveling is.

BUT FIRST, WE MADE A PLAN OF ATTACK. Knowing that the thinset would begin to harden immediately, we needed to use our time efficiently. We didn’t want to have mortar already hard and set with several tiles yet unlaid. We cut the tiles and made a dry fit in the powder room to check for fit. We numbered each tile with a grid matrix system and marked the joints, then figured out the order to place the tiles.

dry fit, numbered and marked the joints

Here is our order. Proofread the list — we forgot one tile. I think this was key to our flooring job. Knowing where to put your feet and which area to spread the thinset next were important steps to figure out before opening that bag of mortar.

our order plan of attackWith the order established, we removed the tiles in reverse order and lined them along the hallway.

tiles lining the hallwayA closeup of the marks we made:

tile marked and numbered

You can mark your tiles however you want. We used a caret mark to show grout joints, and letters and numbers like a map grid.

Although thinset is ready to receive weight after three hours, we let it set overnight. Here are our tiles and spacers, done in 45 minutes from mixing the thinset to sliding that last tile (numbered 5A in the lower left hand corner) into place.

10 done waiting for grout

Side note: We happened to watch a show called Yard Crashers. The host wetted the hardiboard before spreading thinset to prevent it from setting up too quickly. We noticed this happened when we made our countertop, and definitely feel that wetting down the board gave us more time to work with the mortar.

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You mean there’s pie?

I’ve never found the original text of the NPR story we heard one Thanksgiving, but it included a conversation around a dinner table that went like:

Pie? You mean there’s pie?

I couldn’t let you come over without having pie. Someone might find out that I didn’t make any pie.

So when the in-laws were scheduled to come for dinner, I asked the kids if we ought to make dessert. My younger son of course said, “You mean there’s pie?” He loves pie, so we scavenged the pantry for supplies. We had a short 20 minutes before our guests arrived. We came up with:

chocolate pie

I quick made a graham cracker crust, “G” of GAIN made chocolate pudding. I poured in some toffee chips then filled the crust. We didn’t have whipped cream, but sprinkled the remaining chips on top before serving. It was the best unplanned dessert ever.


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