Saturday, July 14, 2018

Christmas in July- Presto Photo giveaway!

Last year i  ordered a custom canvas print from Presto Photo. You can read more about my experience with them  here.  The photo canvas print turned out wonderful and we really love it!  

Presto Photo, Previously known as VioVio, Inc., is the place where you can share your life and the wonderful journeys that color your living. They are an online community designed for photographers (professional and novice), scrapbookers, teachers, moms, dads, travel enthusiasts and designers. They offer a variety of products including photo books, calendars, wall art, greeting cards and more! There are lots of sizes and styles, as well as different options for customizing your photo to make it extra special.

i recently had the opportunity to create some holiday cards (x-mas in July!) through Presto Photo. Creating custom cards is easy! You can browse through the different templates and then upload your photos. You can upload  photos from your PC,  Facebook or Instagram. Once uploaded you can place it on your card and crop if the image doesn't fit. The website is very easy to navigate, and there is an option for live help if you run into trouble.

Presto Photo offers a nice variety of holiday card templates. They also offer a nice variety of custom wall art and photobooks.  i found the process of designing the card very easy. Upload the photo, drag it to where you want it and hover your mouse over it to edit or crop the image. Click on the words and it brings up the option to customize the text. You can change the size, font and message.

Presto photo allows you to make your own customized photo products at an affordable price (especially their shipping prices!)! They make it so easy to turn your photos into precious keepsakes including photo books, cards, calendars and more!

You can check out all of their different photo products on
You can also connect with them on social media!

Follow Presto Photo on Twitter 
Like Presto Photo on Facebook
Follow Presto Photo on Instagram


The generous folks at Presto Photo were kind enough to offer a set of 20 custom holiday cards to 3 winners!!   Please enter below using the rafflecopter form, you may have to wait a minutes for it to load! This giveaway is open to US only. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

i received a set of cards in exchange for trying out the service and sharing my honest review. My opinions are my own. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Garden Harvest - June

Despite some wacky weather this year (snow in April, non-stop rain in May, July temps and drought in June)  i'm still getting a pretty good harvest. The cold in April and heat in June caused a few things to get a late start and then bolt early, but other things are doing just fine.

End of May-beginning of June. We've been enjoying a few mushrooms from the logs we plugged last year. Oyster mushrooms, Shiitake and Dryad's saddle. Asparagus, garlic scapes and lettuce.  

First week of June we were harvesting oysters mushrooms, shiitake and garlic scapes.

June 10. Second week i started to get a few peas. Broccoli was ready to pick and berries were just getting started.

June 19. Peas and berries are really starting to produce. Garlic scapes are almost done and we are still getting a few pyster mushrooms.

June 25th. Peas and berries are producing well. Starting to get some summer squash, pulled a few root veggies just to check them.  This is the last of my garlic scapes.

We love the sugar snap and snow peas. i never grow english garden peas. These are the Purple tendril, sugar magnolia tendril pea, golden snow pea and sugar snaps.

of course berry season is in full swing! i've already made a few batches of jam and the canes are still loaded! Blueberries, raspberries and black raspberries are especially prolific this year and blackberries are just getting started. So far my tomatoes are doing great and beans are almost ready to pick. Everything is a little behind, but still doing great. Hopefully july brings a little rain.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Bee inspection- replacing a queen and starting a nuc colony

About 2 weeks ago, we did a bee inspection and noticed that the bees in hive 2 (Slytherin) were bearding on the front of the hive and sounded really agitated. Sometimes they do this if it's really hot inside the hive, but once we opened up the hive we realized something else was going on. 

Once we started the inspection we understood why they were so agitated. We didn't find any eggs or larvae, which means their queen was most likely dead. 

This spotty broad pattern is another sign that things in the hive are not okay. Sometimes an unusual broad pattern can indicates a bad queen, but in our case it indicated that their was no queen. 

We checked all frames, but could not locate a queen, but we did find what we believe to be an emergency queen cell. We could have left the emergency queen cell and allowed the bees to raise a new queen, however we decided to move the queen cell into a 5 frame nucleus hive and requeen hive 2 with a local queen we were able to get from the bee association. This way they would have a new queen right away and be able to get back to maintaining the hive much quicker.

The new queen was introduced in a special queen cage (to keep the hive from killing her) and within a few days they had released and accepted her.  She is a marked queen and much easier to find than the unmarked ones. This week we'll be finding and marking all our queens. 

The emergency queen cell was moved to a nucleus hive with some frames of brood, larvae and worker bees. We are hoping to establish a nuc colony.  

Kenan has been building and painting more nuc boxes so that we can create more nucs. 'The term “nuc” is short for nucleus colony. A nucleus colony is just a very small colony of a few thousand bees and a queen. Reasons for maintaining a nuc: If one of your hives goes queenless, you have another queen ready to go. If you wait for your colony to re-queen itself, the population will drop such that you won’t get any surplus honey for that year. You can re-queen at times of the year when queens are unavailable to purchase. You can use the bees in a nuc to boost populations of a weak hive. If you don’t want to re-queen, you can just transfer some of the frames from your nuc into the weak hive. In addition, having an empty nuc box on hand is useful for catching swarms or removing extra bees from an overcrowded colony.' info taken from 

We are hoping to start raising our own queens and have several nucs on hand. We'll be able to sell these or keep them to create more hives.  This has been such a good learning experience and we are constantly learning! Hoping we'll be able to pull a little honey this year, although you don't typically get a lot the first year. This year is more about learning, growing  and maintaining our hives.

We'll be doing another inspection in about a week and i'm hoping to have nothing but good news to report!