Monday, May 30, 2011

Zoom zoom

Many months ago I bought a Groupon-type deal for karting at Unser Racing, a new indoor track on the north side of Denver. Neither of us had ever been in a go-kart outside of an amusement park.

The Sergeant has race-car driving experience, as does a friend who joined us, so they left me in the dust. I didn't mind; it was fun to just zip around the tight curves and rev down the (admittedly rather short) straightaways.

It's kind of expensive ($25 for about 8 minutes of racing, plus a $5 "day pass"), so once was enough for me. But the Sergeant thinks he might go again.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I've made my bed

There's a lot of lawn in our yard that I would like to hold flowers and vegetables instead. But boy, digging up sod is hard work!
Lucy shows how high the grass is in a small area that was full of cosmos last year but this year was reclaimed by the underlying turf.

What makes sod removal so tedious is the need to shake out as much dirt as possible and rescue all the worms tangled up in the roots. Other people may not feel that need, but it would still be a lot of work just digging out all those roots.

It pretty much took me all afternoon to do this one patch.
Now you can see the irises the Sergeant planted last year in that patch. All the plants need barriers around them to protect them from roughhousing dogs.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Basil artichoke pizza at Udi's

A month ago we went to dinner in Arvada with some friends who suggested Udi's in Old Town. The appetizers were forgettable, the Old Fashioneds were acceptable, but OMG, the pizza was awesome.
Specifically, the basil artichoke pizza. I liked it so much I took Mom there for lunch a few days ago (she's been out for a lovely visit).

The lunch offer of salad with the pizza is redundant, since you get all that lovely arugula, and the salad is nothing special. Then again, if you eat the salad, you can save some of the pizza for later. It's good cold, too.

Mom had the lamb pita, which she enjoyed. She says she doesn't like pizza. I didn't encourage her to try mine.

7600 Grandview Avenue
Arvada, CO 80002-2410
(303) 421-8000

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Indonesian fried rice

My friends came for brunch today and I made nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice) from the May/June issue of Cook's Illustrated. I'll make it again and blog about it when I have time to document the process. The rolled-up eggs are a fun touch, and fried shallots are a revelation.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

These bees better stick around

At 6:30 a.m. it was still dark enough under this juniper that I needed a flash to illuminate the swarm. It was also a little chilly. Easy-peasy! I thought.
Now, 18 hours later and after reviewing my video, I think there were really two swarms in this little tree. One by the trunk and one over on the left, by the wall. Weird, huh?
After unsuccessfully shaking the central cluster, I discovered the ones on the left, and I thought the queen had moved up there. I shook that bunch, too. Again, no queen.
Frustrated, and running out of time, I left the box there, with a warning sign. Then I went to the dentist, because I'm a glutton for punishment.
When I came back a couple hours later, I got that end cluster in the box. But the bees in the middle wanted nothing to do with it. I finally just left them there and took the bees I had home.

Here's a short video of the bees going in the box:

And here's the box being shaken into the hive at home.
Stick around, bees! It's a nice place you've got there.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The bees that got away

First the construction workers told me about a swarm around the corner. I went and looked at it, came back to get my gear, and in those few minutes the bees flew away.

Then there were two swarms more than 15 feet up in trees. Too high for me.

Then there was a swarm on a very rainy day when I needed to drive to the airport. Someone else got those bees.

And a swarm that showed up while I was working.

Finally there were these bees:
This very tiny swarm landed at a garden center where I'd left my card two years ago. It was a windy day.
I was disappointed with the size of the cluster, but beggars can't be choosers. Certainly the location was easy. Right at eye level in a potted fruit tree. I spread out a sheet on the ground, tipped the tree over the box and gave it a good shake.
The bees seemed really lethargic, but those that landed on the sheet dutifully marched into the box, so I knew I had the queen.

When I got home, I tipped them into the hive and closed it up. At first all seemed well, but later the Sergeant said the entrance seemed awfully quiet. Then it rained for many days.

When I looked in the hive this morning, they were gone. Argh.

BUT. I got another swarm call tonight, so I'm going to pick it up first thing in the morning. Cross your fingers!

P.S. Yes, I started fiddling with blog layout. I'm not sure I like it, but I can't get back to the old version.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Monday, May 02, 2011

Deb's chickens

My friend and former cow-orker Deb left her exciting desk job in favor of urban homesteading. I stopped by last Sunday to see how she is progressing. I didn't get photos of her cool raised beds or her awesome greenhouse, so I'll just have to go back for another visit. But I did get a couple snaps of her chickens.
I also got more than a couple of their lovely eggs, some very freshly laid.
It was, after all, Easter Sunday.
Thanks, Deb!