2015 Christmas Tree Planted

Just a quick post today to share some photos.

We say hello to the 2015 Nine Apple Trees Christmas tree, which is now planted out on the pond berm. It’s been a warm December. Who would’ve imagined I’d be planting a tree, and about a dozen ferns between Christmas and New Years.

2015-xmas-tree-planted

We say goodbye to an old friend. I sold the Rabbit a couple weeks ago. I don’t even want to think about how sad it makes me to see him go. We had so many awesome memories when we were building the house. And he was no stranger to the blog. But we needed a larger vehicle with four doors for our family so reluctantly we bid adieu.

07-VW-Rabbit-for-Sale

And lastly, wash your beeswax. LOL I was lazy and just threw all the wax from the last extraction into the pot and melted it down. The honey residue, which normally would be washed out, liquified and made it through the strainer. It then congealed underneath the beeswax during cooling. Gross.

when-you-dont-clean-your-beeswax

Don’t let this happen to you. Wash your beeswax before melting it.

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2015 in review

As the year winds down I want to say “thank you” to everyone who’s taken the time to read my blog in 2015. I know I’ve been busy and haven’t written nearly as much as I have in year’s past. For this I apologize. The frustration and stress of life, coupled with fewer home projects have relegated writing to the back burner, or more like the cupboard actually.

I’m going to think about my new year’s resolutions, which is a concept and phrase I abhor. But regardless of my distain for the concept, it’s worthwhile reflecting at the end of the year on what brings a person happiness.

For me, I need to get back to those things that make me happy. Sounds self serving, which it is, but 1) it’s my life, and I only have one and 2) hopefully most of what makes me happy also makes other people happy or at least has the capacity to make other people happy. At least all the public sharing happy stuff. My eating chicken wings in 2016 will make me happy but you probably couldn’t care less, and that certainly doesn’t make chicken or vegans happy at all.

So let’s focus on the other happiness stuff that is relevant to the handful of people who read what I write. I actually have three blogs: this one, one for work and an experimental one that has pictures my kid takes on it.  I’ve never actually been trained in the craft of writing. I know right? But guess what, I enjoy writing my blogs. It’s an opportunity for me to express myself, share knowledge, and get all the crap bottled up inside of me out into the world. It’s a relatively low cost endeavor, and if someone reads it, all the better. Skilled writing or not, I enjoy it. And the wonders of technology and limitless internet memory allow me to spew my words out into the aether to my heart’s content. I won’t lie, there’s a certain self indulgence in writing as a creative endeavor too. Like putting a scribbled crayon picture on the fridge, I can point to my blog and smile “Look! I made that!”.

Life has a way of side tracking us. Finances, kids, volunteering, trying to eat…they are all important. But there has to be a way to rearrange things so that I’m not on the cosmic human treadmill anymore. I’m 42 years old. At the rate I’m going I’ll never see my 50th birthday. So we need to rearrange things and put happiness above all the other stuff. Get everything working in concert and cooperatively.

I’m not saying I’m selling the house and moving into a van down by the river, as tempting as this sounds to me. I’m not going to shirk responsibilities and commitments. But I am going to make a concerted effort rework my life to work better – more effectively. Commit to those things that enrich my existence and make it rewarding…memorable. Part of that is this whole idea of happiness and what makes me happy. As such I’m going to work hard in the coming year and beyond to write more consistently or at least in greater volume. This goes for both this blog and my work one. By doing so I get to express myself, and hopefully hone my hobby “craft” of writing. On the work front, maybe by osmosis this will snooker people into thinking that after twenty years of designing, I actually know what I’m talking about.

Let’s not get too crazy though.

I’m not promising I’ll get my shit together completely in 2016, but I can at least go after the things that make me happy, or prevent me from being un-happy. Writing is one of those things I’m putting on my list.

As for “Nine Apple Trees”, I may infuse a few more mundane topics into the mix when there just isn’t anything to update regarding the bees, or when home projects are nonexistent. I don’t know. We shall see.

Below is the groovy report WordPress creates annually for bloggers to relish in the glory of their site stats. Hopefully in 2016 I have a lot more posts.

And thanks again to the handful of you that read on the reg. Cheers to you. May you find happiness in 2016 and beyond as well.

Life’s short, and you only get one (as far as I know).

Be happy.

-Chris

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 34,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Christmas Tree Day 2015

It’s Saturday early evening, I’m sitting down with a beer and listening to Christmas music. For the next half hour or so I will have the equivalent of a day to myself, to relax and write.

In the spirit of the season, we went out and bought our Christmas tree today. It’s a live Norway spruce tree, or at least that’s what we think it is. They weren’t labeled at the tree farm. As is our tradition, we get the tree a few weeks before the holiday, then bring it inside a few days before Christmas and decorate it. After the holiday we plant the live tree in a pre-dug hole somewhere out in the yard. This year the tree will go out on the pond dike. Previous year’s trees can be seen just off the driveway. Once a tree graduates from home to yard, the following year it gets a string of colorful solar lights. The idea being that, let’s say we’re here twenty years. Visitors would be able to see twenty trees in the yard with colored lights on them. Fun.

Back inside the house, I’ve been slowly continuing work on the basement. I’ve started tiling my office area, and I have also essentially finished the full bathroom.  Tiling is going slow, but I think I’m doing an okay job. I got a new tile cutter at Lowe’s and I’m very happy with its performance. I haven’t really ruined any tiles yet. I think it’s got a good sharp wheel and easier action, and that makes a difference. I do need a grinder though to angle cut some tiles around a doorway. But there’s no reason to spend $80 on a tool I probably won’t ever use again. I’m going to see if I can make a Dremel tool work or, worst case, rent a grinder.

In the bathroom, all of the accessories are hung. It took me a while to figure out where the blocking was for the towel bar. In the process of discovery I drilled about a half dozen holes in the drywall, all of which I had to patch up and repaint before mounting the bar.

While figuring out where to hang up the toilet paper roll holder, I discovered that you’re supposed to mount it about 8″ in front of the toilet bowl, off to the side. Well I don’t have a wall in that location. I could have mounted the holder on the adjacent cabinet, but the wife and I both voted against that. So, behind and to the side of toilet the holder went. I think it’s fine. I don’t see how just putting the roll in a basket or a freestanding holder does anything. It’s fine back there.

As time allows I’ll continue to tile. I want to make sure I get all the tile down as soon as possible, in case they discontinue the tile style. I don’t want to be left short of tile. Then I’ll really be in trouble.

Earlier today I extracted honey from hive No. 3. As I may have mentioned in a previous post, this hive died late this autumn. We got nine frames of honey. I haven’t weighed it yet.

Next year we’re just going to manage one hive. If it gets large enough we can split it. Otherwise, we’re not pouring any more money into beekeeping if we can help it.

Actually we’re not going to pour any money into any projects for the foreseeable future. I’ve got the materials to finish the basement, except the ceiling. That should keep me busy DIY-wise for a while.

One interesting side note, I’m finally selling my trusty Rabbit. The wonderful VW that kept me company throughout our new home build, and was mentioned in many a post, well it’s time to say goodbye. We need more space and more doors in a vehicle. If you know anyone who’s looking for a great, clean car for commuting, running errands, or just starting out, let me know. I’ll make you a great deal on our good friend.

Ok, here’s today’s pictures. Time for me to go back to the real world and all of its responsibility. Cheers!