How I Got Started

I started Butterfly gardening many years ago. My yard has been a progression over the years, and has made many transformations. Twenty years ago I experienced Hurricane Andrew. My yard and house were destroyed. We decided not to replace the pool screening and open up the backyard and put in some landscaping. That was the official beginning of my love for gardening in South Florida. I added a beautiful water garden years ago, and have been adding host and larvae plants for pollinators, mostly for the butterfly, for as many years as I can remember. I had my yard certified as a Natural Habitat, through the National Wildlife Foundation. To have a natural habitat you need to provide and meet certain requirements: 1. Provide a food source, 2. Provide a water source, 3. Cover, 4. A place to raise young. I try not to use any pesticides in my yard. I vermicompost and recycle as many of my food scraps as possible. If I had more land I would have a huge compost bin to recycle all my yard cuttings. Basically, I try to lessen my carbon footprint on this earth. In my own little world or backyard I try to provide an ecosystem in my water garden, provide birdbaths, birdfeeders, hummingbird nectar sources, feeders, puddling areas, host plants and nectar plants for butterflies and other pollinators. I am hoping to raise everyone’s awareness of the importance of saving our Butterflies, Blooms & Bees. Without them our world and food source will be in trouble. I hope you all enjoy my journey. I am not a Master Gardener, or Master Beekeeper, an Entomologist, or Journalists. I am simply a Backyard Gardener who is trying to lessen her Carbon Footprint of this Earth.

I hope you enjoy my blogs.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

How could it have Been A Year Since I updated my Blog



I have wanted to update my blog for over a year, but there never seems to be enough hours in a day.   So much has happened in a year it is hard to believe.  Let’s start from a personal perspective.  I am going to be a grandmother times 3 children.  Katie my daughter and Tyler have been married for over a year now and are expecting in May of this year.  They are having a little girl.  My son Sean and his fiancĂ© Lyndsay are also expecting a girl in July and finally Kevin and Jenny are getting married April 2nd and expecting a little boy in August.  I am truly blessed.  My son Drew graduated from Boston Conservatory in May and is working as a professional actor and following in his father’s footsteps.  Life is good!!

Sean & Lyndsay baby girl    
Katie & Tyler baby girl 
 
  
Kevin & Jenny baby Boy

My soaping business, Reeny’s Butterflies Blooms and Bees is doing well, growing and gives me great pleasure and I am striving to someday open my own small retail store.  Until then I will continue to grow my business and continue to share my joy of beekeeping and gardening.  I was interviewed yesterday by Amy Hager of the Artisan Life for a podcast that will air sometime in April.  We started following each other on Instagram recently when I liked a picture of her where she was body painted as a Queen Bee by another artisan.  It is an absolutely beautiful painting.  As a fellow beekeeper I fell in love with the art work! I am sure it was an amazing experience!  When Amy asked me to do the interview I was excited and thrilled, and a little nervous because I do not truly represent the artisan lifestyle.  I am still working for corporate America as a sales representative with deadlines, and sales expectations.  I love my job as it has given me financial stability, and many benefits that make me appreciate life.  But the Artisan life keeps calling me.  It really has most of my life.  When I was younger I was busy raising 4 wonderful children but always had some artistic or creative outlet.  Back then it was music.  My children are very creative and musical.  As I grew older and my children have grown, my responsibility for caring for them lessened and I found that I was constantly seeking to fulfill my creative nature, whether it was needlepoint, scrapbooking, knitting, gardening, beekeeping or soap making.  Doing this interview made me realize that I am truly an artisan, and even though I have responsibilities to my current job I am fulfilled by this creative nature that I possess.  I look forward to posting a link on my Facebook page for all to listen to.  

   

My yard continues to be in constant change.  The one thing that is slightly constant is that I do not have as much time to keep it as manicured as it used to be.  That is mostly because of the bees.  As you all know from my past blog posts it is extremely difficult to garden like I use to without the bees trying to eventually sting me.  It is very hot in Miami to garden, in a full bee suit.  Secondly, my old yard guys would not mow or upkeep the backyard.  As a result it became so out of control that it was impossible for me to tackle alone.  I have an acquaintance, Cindy David, who I have known for many years.  Our children went to early school together.  I learned a lot of what I know about Butterfly gardening from her.  Through the years our lives have crossed paths on numerous occasions.  She has owned her own landscaping business for many years and spends a great deal of her time giving lectures and doing landscapes for butterfly and pollinator gardens.  Our lives recently crossed paths again and she now is maintaining a few residential yards.  Her yard men happen to be beekeepers so they are not intimidated by my bees.  So I am thrilled!!  My yard is slowly starting to take shape again.  On Friday we are checking out the irrigation system and starting to plant a few pollinator plants.  I am so excited!  My yard use to give me such joy and I am thrilled for the possibilities again.  Yesterday when I was talking on the podcast interview it had been some time since I talked about butterfly gardening and I almost forget some of the plants and books that were the foundation to my garden.  I have been so busy over the last five years beekeeping and making soap that I haven’t spent enough time focusing on my garden.  Hopefully that is going to change.  The interview yesterday prompted me to write this update.  Coincidentally today Cindy called me and said she had some plants that she will be able to plant on Friday. 

This year was not a great year for my hives!  I lost several to wax worms.  I had 6 hives most of the year, had as many as 8 and then lost 4 after doing splits.  It is always difficult as a beekeeper to lose a hive.  I am hopeful that I will increase my hives back up to six again this year.  It will soon be Spring and with that my bee population will grow exponentially.  I will bet splitting my hives again will bring me 6 hives very soon.  

   

 

On a sad note it was not a great year for my animals.  We had to put Snickers down, our Dachshund of 13 years.  He had suffered with vertebrae and disc issues for years and finally was unable to walk or enjoy life.  I also lost all five of my chickens, who were not just chickens but my pets.  I wish I had blogged about them especially since they gave me such joy.  They all had names and were very spoiled “Girls”.  Every day they enjoyed fresh papaya from my yard and would coming running when I came home from work.  They occasionally would come in the house for treats.  Petunia would actually sit on my lap and loved sitting with us.  They were much more than just chickens to me.  I came home from work one day to find 3 chickens dead and two more had passed by the next day.  The necropsy was negative but I think they must have gotten into some poison or something.  It was very hard losing them.  I have almost gotten more chickens several times, but I’ve always been afraid a hawk or predator would get them.  Losing them again would be very difficult.  Also since I am fixing up the yard I’m not really sure if it’s a good idea to have chickens again, since they will probably destroy the landscaping very quickly.  I am very glad I got to experience raising backyard chickens.  Maybe someday I will have some again.  Who knows??

  


 


Well, that’s a brief synopsis of everything that has happened over the last year in my life.  I look forward to having grandchildren and pray that all are well and my children have easy and uneventful births.  I will continue to set goals to grow my business of beekeeping and soap making.  I will try to be faithful to my blog and continue to keep those that follow me updated on my adventures in my backyard and my artisan lifestyle.   

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