Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Honey Harvest 2014

We are backyard beekeepers. Why? Eric has always thought it would be an interesting, fun hobby and would help us be one step closer to self reliance, and his little brother starting a few hives and that motivated Eric to start too. I am a backyard beekeeper because I am married to Eric.
Here is a photo journey of our first honey harvest since moving to Texas. In the past, in Idaho, honey harvest day was a family event. It was a family event here too, just not as much family; Eric and Me!
The extracting equipment all dusted off and ready to go!

Getting the smoker ready to go! Eric uses cedar chips.


Suiting up

Yes, I was forced to suit up this year too. Where is the son and sons-in-law when you need them?

I should lobby for a veil that actually fits me.

Inside the hive...busy little girls!

Our yard is all a buzzzzzz.

Taking off the super.

When bees hang out on the front of the hive it is called Bearding. Appropriately named it think.

Sometimes the bees build comb where they are not supposed to. Eric scrapes it off and turns it into lip balm or lotions.

No blog is complete without a selfie.  Aren't we looking bee..utiful?

These are the frames that we will extract the honey from. To get them bee free, Eric shook the bees off then brushed the bees off with a soft brush and then I took the frame away from the hives and placed them in the boxes and covered them with a sheet so the bees didn't get back on them. I didn't want bees in my house!

This is unfiltered honey coming out of the extractor. It is being filtered the first time through the red strainer. It then gets filtered a second time through a fabric that is similar to cheese cloth. No bee parts allowed in the final product.

Eric is removing the cap (wax) that the bees put over the honey when it is completely changed from pollen/nectar into the real stuff. When it capped we know it is ready to be harvested. I'm not the bee expert, but so I probably got that a little wrong. But in general it is pretty close.

The knife if heated so it melts the caps right off. After that the frames go in the extractor and we spin it to remove the honey from the comb.

Here is the honey after coming out of the extractor, through the first filter and now this is the final filter.

Last step is to put the honey in containers.

The honey on the left is honey we got from our hive when we lived in Idaho. The honey on the right is our first Texas honey. It is quite a bit darker in color. They both taste good, but different.

Really the final step in this whole process is the sticky clean-up. I am pretty sure my kitchen floor will remain sticky for a few weeks even though I have mopped. It just goes with the territory I guess.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Brazos Bend State Park

Finally I have something to blog about! We lead such an uneventful life, but today Eric took the day off and we decided to combine our workout with a little adventure. We loaded up our bikes and went to Brazos State Park. We drove the back roads to get there and saw some very pretty cotton fields.

This was our first time visiting this state park so we didn't know exactly what to expect. It was very beautiful. We set out with a map and we were not even 5 minutes into our ride when we spotted our first alligator. He was right next to the path.
We stopped to take a photo then continued on only to see three more alligators within a couple of minutes. We didn't take pictures of all of them. Some were in the lakes and not very close. But we did take a few pictures from the top of an observation deck.
 I really liked the big fluffy clouds. They were pretty and they kept the temps bearable.
Most of the trails were gravel. They meandered through areas that were surrounded by live oak trees. The oak trees also had Spanish moss hanging down from the branches. There were vines hanging down from the trees too.

Besides live oak trees there were many pecan trees. Eric filled his pack with pecans!

All in all we rode around for 2 hours covering about 8 - 10 miles.
We spotted 8 alligators, 3 deer, lot of birds (ibis, herons, ducks, egrets), a few squirrels, many fire ant hills, and evidence of wild boar. The dragonflies were plentiful and sporting many colors.

We plan to go back and keep exploring. We only covered about half of the park. There were not many people there. I think we were the only ones on bikes. It was a really fun way to kill two birds with one stone; experience the park and get in our daily exercise.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

It's been awhile!

The last time I sat down to blog was back in May. I have been a slacker! Here are some of the highlights of the last couple months.

In May, Eric and I flew to Philadelphia to attend the graduation of our son in law from optometry school. Eric got to meet our newest grandson for the first time too.
Grandpa Eric bonding with Oliver

Sorry, not a great picture. Bailey, Miles and Dr. Clark following the graduation ceremony.

We drove to Denver to be with family for the wedding our nephew, Nathan and his bride Abby. I forgot to take pictures at the temple. It was fun to see everyone and to get to visit for a few minutes. Paige's family was there too and they were making their way to Texas for a visit. We caravanned back with them. Bailey's family also came from Philadelphia and stayed for a few weeks while they got things in order to move back to Idaho for a job in Pocatello.

Leslie told me that she wanted to see the butterfly place and the beach so those things were on our agenda. We visited the Museum of  Natural Science in Houston. The kids liked the butterfly room and the dinosaurs.

Leslie is getting an up close look at a butterfly

The whole group minus Eric (he was still looking at the butterflies) at the end of the exit of the butterfly room.

Brooke, Leslie, and Miles riding a giant caterpillar.

Brooke hanging out with a dinosaur.

Another fun thing we did was go to a zoo in Alvin, TX. We rode around on a wagon thing and we were able to feed the animals. The animals would walk right up to the wagon and eat out of our buckets of food.

Miles and Leslie feeding a deer that was hanging out in the picnic area. It was cool for a little bit, but then it became annoying because they wanted to eat the food we brought for our lunch.

Getting ready to go on the wagon ride to see the animals.

Grandpa feeding an animal while Leslie looks on.

Miles and Leslie watching the camel eat.
Grandpa and Oliver

We also went the Surfside Beach, but it was a bust. The water was so full of seaweed we were unable to get in it. Plus the seaweed was washing up on the beach and there was several feet of it piled up. We did find an area were the beach had some sand we could play in so we stopped and built a sand castle. We were so sad the beach was not good! And to make matters worse, the swimming pools in the neighborhood were not open for the summer yet! We managed to find things to keep us busy and we had a good time. Paige's family stayed for a week and Bailey's family stayed for two weeks. It is always fun to have the kids and grandkids around.
Eric and I decided to invest on improving our patio. It was so small we couldn't fit our patio swing, table with chairs and grill on it. And of course the timing worked out that the workers were ready to start when the family was here. Isn't that the way it always goes. None the less, the improvements were made and we are happy with it. We enlarged the patio area and also had a pergola built over it. Eventually we hope to grow some grape vines over the pergola.
After  our kids left, we had Eric's sister, Karen and her family her for a few days. They had just moved to the area and their housing was not lined out yet, so they stayed with us. I am glad we are her so we could help out. They ended up getting a house that is about an hour away so unfortunately we don't get to see each other as much as I had hoped.
Now life has slowed down again for us. We are back to our normal routine, running and biking. I don't bike much, but Eric rides to work a few times a week. It's 24 miles to his work so it is quite a commute. I try to run 4 times a week. Each morning I go out, I hope for a cool crisp morning but I get hot humid sauna. I am trying to adapt to the climate because running outside is much better than running on the treadmill. Outside I get to see things like alligators, turtles, rabbits, crawdads, huge snails, frogs, various varieties of birds, snakes (which I don't necessarily like to see) and lots of different kinds of plant life.
The days are hot and humid so I basically hibernate in the house all day. I have developed a love for quilting. I have started several projects and enjoy my days watching old movies on Turner Classic Movies and sewing.
We are going back to Wyoming in a couple of weeks to attend the Robertson Family reunion. We are looking forward to visiting with not only our kids, but most of  Eric's siblings and their families and also his extended family. This is the last Robertson reunion that will include Robertson aunts, Uncles and cousins as the funds that were set up by Eric's grand parents, Vernon and Gwen Robertson to pay for this type of thing have run out.
Eric is busy at this work. He found out today that a project he is working on will require him to spend some time in Kuwait. We thought originally it would be a couple weeks here and there, but it is looking like it will be more like a month at a time. That means I will just have to go to Idaho and Wyoming and visit while he is gone.
We are anxiously awaiting the return of our missionary. She only has 5 1/2 months left in Japan.
That is our life in a nutshell.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014


A day at the Gulf of Mexico

My parents came to Texas to visit. I wasn't sure if they would ever be able to come. My dad's health is not great. He has a hard time getting around. So we were glad they were able to work it out so they could come. They are in the process of moving into a new house, but it is not ready yet so basically they are homeless and at the merci of their kids to provide them with shelter. Good thing we like them!

Some of the things we did were:
Went to the Highland games to listen to the bagpipers and enjoy all the Scottish stuff.
Attempted to drive to Galveston, but there was a wreck on the causeway and it was closed so we had to turn around. We did go on another day. It was a lovely drive.
 Mom and I did some shopping.
 Mom and I worked on some quilts.
We took walks around the neighborhood (with the help of a wheelchair for dad)
Over all we enjoyed to perfect weather.

Now they are off to Colorado to stay with Susan.

Monday, April 28, 2014


Isaac and Kandace arrived in Texas to spend their spring break with us. We enjoyed a foggy, but fun day at the beach.

Grandma R. arrived in Idaho to play with this cute girl!
Easter Sunday arrived and so did cute Easters dresses.
The bees for our backyard beehives have arrived.

Logan Beach (Brother-in-Law) arrived in Houston to start his new job. Glad he was here to help the new bees move in.
Welcome to the world
Lela Cummings
6 lbs 14 oz
20.5 inches


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Highlights of the last 4 months...

Christmas in Wyoming!
After many flight cancelations and delays we finally arrived in  Cowley on Christmas Eve around 9:30 pm.

Christmas Morning! Abby was our only child that was able to be with us this year.  We spent Christmas morning with Grandma Flash and Bob.
On December 27, 2013 we had the opportunity to attend the weddings of our Nephew and Niece in the Billings, Montana LDS Temple. It was a beautiful day!

Sam and Ailina Davidson

Chris and Susie Brinkerhoff
I thought it was very kind of them to choose to get married on the same day in the same temple  a couple of hours apart.:) It was especially fun for me to get reacquainted with the Brinkerhoff family. That family played and continues to play a significant roll in the Whiteman family.

After celebrating Christmas and weddings in Wyoming, Abby and I made our way to Idaho! I was freaking myself out about snowy slick roads (I am a Texas driver now) but luckily we had perfect roads all the way, even Island Park was good!
We drove past the old house. It looked so empty. Our name was still on the mailbox!

We got to spend over a week in Wendell/Buhl with Paige's family.

Isaac and Kandace drove over from Boise and we rang in the New Year with them! Happy 2014!! On January 3rd we spent the day in Boise. What a delight it was to go to the Boise LDS Temple with Kandace.
We forgot to take pictures when we came out of the temple so I snapped this one when we were stopped at a red light.

January 9th found us back on the road to Idaho Falls. Eric was flying in that evening in preparation for Isaac's wedding. We were able to visit our good friends, the Johnsons. We really miss them! Also, Abby, Paige, and me spent the day in the beauty shop getting our hair done for the wedding. Oh how I have missed Jen Polson! She knows just what to do with my mane. We spent all day Friday decorating for the wedding reception.

Wedding Day! January 11, 2014
We were so worried about the weather. The forecast was for strong winds, rain/snow. Hey it is Idaho in January. However, mother nature smiled on us for a good part of the day and all of our wedding guest were able to travel safely, we were able to get some good photos outside the temple and all was well.
Just coming out of the temple...the new Mr. & Mrs. Isaac Robertson
The Groom...when did my boy get old enough to get married?

For Time and All Eternity

I love this picture!

Beautiful Bride!

Photo with the grandparents. So glad they were able to brave the roads and come.

With some of Isaac's siblings. We miss Bailey and Miranda!

Almost all of us. Bailey's family was unable to come since she was too close to having a baby and Miranda is on her mission in Japan.
February: New Baby Oliver arrives!

February 26, 2014 our fourth grandchild arrives. Oliver Robertson Clark. He is our second grandson and the second boy for Bailey and Chad.
Oliver Robertson Clark
7lbs. 13oz.

Looking at Grandma and probably wondering, Who is this crazy lady?

Playing with Miles. We lined up all his cars and trucks many many times!

Miles laying on the quilt that Bailey and I made for Oliver.

We went to the mall one day and Miles picked me to ride the carousel with him, yippee!
 Happy 23rd Birthday Isaac Whiteman Robertson!
What a cute baby you were!

Well, there you have it. Our lives for the past couple of months in a nutshell. Looking forward to April when grandbaby number 5 arrives.
Life is Good!