A Monster Wander Through the Not-So Wintry Garden

After going on a lot recently about monsters – Doubt Monsters, Amazonian Monsters – I’ve been looking forward to a post featuring that far-friendlier monster, Finn McSpool!

This year, the Pacific Northwest has thumbed its nose at the seasons and declared that winter is definitely NOT coming. While I was putting away all the dragon glass I’d stockpiled in the event of an invasion of White Walkers, my garden was scratching its head, having a few committee meanings, and coming to the executive decision that it was time to get blooming.

And of course, Finn saw the buds and blooms as a perfect chance for an outdoor photo shoot.

His first stop was to check out the pink blossoms of the border of Bergenias just outside my back door. He looks like he’s diligently studying those flowers, doesn’t he?

Of course the giant leaves of these plants were perfect for a game of hide-and-seek (I don’t have the heart to tell Finn he’s not very good at this game). Continue reading


Finn McSpool Gives New Meaning to Bee Sting Lips

Last week we left our intrepid Beastie, Finn McSpool, in the midst of a messy kitchen with something that resembled a wheel of cheese.

Of course my loyal readers won’t be fooled into trying to slice that hunk of pseudo-cheddar to add to their platter of Christmas nibbles – well, maybe you would since I know there’s probably more than one practical joker out there – because you know that’s actually rendered beeswax just waiting to be put to good use.

Those good uses for beeswax include all sorts of things including furniture wax, hand salve, and candles. Unfortunately, I proved a couple years ago that I have absolutely no talent for candle making – having the patience to get that wick to stay straight is just not in my skill set.

Of all the experiments I’ve tried, my favorite use for the wax I’ve stolen from my bees is lip balm. All hail the lip balm!! Continue reading

peony, pink flower

Bloomin’ and Buzzin’, My Garden Beckons

This is one of those rare weeks when I have no new artwork to show you (although I am working on remedying that) and no new art news to share with you (although hopefully next week I’ll have something news-y to post).

Since I’m completely art-less, I figured I’d get snap happy in the garden and show off a few things that are blooming and buzzing, and providing some inspiration for future art projects.

First Stop on the Tour: Take That You Vile Slugs!

Since I have a rather shady garden, I have to make the most out of every millimeter of sunny space I can find. So, not only do we have raised beds for veggies lining our driveway, but the south side of my house is also decorated with a raised bed and plenty of pots.

tomato plant

A (future) bushel of tomatoes.

Sadly, at the beginning of the month, I mistakingly thought it was spring (silly me) and set about to planting all the veggies and fruits I’d started from seed. Days later, not only did the Portland area get slapped with a freakish cold spell, but the slugs made a buffets of all my babies. Once warm weather was back in the forecast, I had to resort to getting new veggie plants from the nursery. Continue reading

bees, honeybee, topbar hive

Bees Don’t Sweat

And to all those who remember a certain deodorant campaign, no, bees don’t perspire either.

Although those of us in Portlandia are now suffering from a resurgence of icky, cold, rainy weather, we did get a brief taste of summer recently with temperatures soaring over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s a sweltering 38 degrees to the metric folks out there). While I was able to cool off with a few gallons of iced tea and plenty of sweat (perspiration?), my bees are sadly lacking in both refrigeration technology and sweat glands.

So what’s a bee to do when the hot days hit?

Life Inside the Hive

Continue reading

Finn McSpool Enters The Land of Wine & Honey

As my loyal followers might remember, last year I delved into the wonderful world of winemaking, and that a few months ago I bravely bottled my boozey concoctions. Well, I recently hit the earliest aging time for fruit wine. Sure, sure, longer aging would lead to a smoother wine, but after having those bottles taunting me for six months, I had to have a sample.

wine, homemade wine, wine bottle

Of course, I didn’t want to drink alone so I invited my new friend from Dublin, Finn McSpool (created by Crawcrafts Beasties), to join me.


But prior to getting down to our wine tasting, we had to check on the bees…not a chore you want to do under the influence. Continue reading