The B Life: 2015


N&B Engagement Photo by Bear and Sparrow
Courtesy of Bear and Sparrow Photography

Nick and I got engaged in August (2015), and I realized a few weeks ago that I never formally announced that here. So, yay! We're engaged! 

We've set a date (in September 2016), and I've bought my dress (you'll have to wait and see!) and most of the big stuff is done. We're both excited, and now that the holidays are done, we can get on with looking into dresses for the bridesmaids and suits for the groomsmen, and all the fun things that come with wedding planning.

In the meantime, I am thrilled to share some of our engagement photos. These were done by the lovely Jenna of Bear and Sparrow Photography. If you're a bride in Southwestern Ontario, I STRONGLY recommend meeting with Jenna. She is wonderful to work with, and is excellent at capturing those candid, un-staged moments that only the best photographers can. 

I hope you enjoy a selection of my favourites!

N&B Engagement Photo Bear and Sparrow
Courtesy of Bear and Sparrow Photography

N&B Engagement Photo Bear and Sparrow
Courtesy of Bear and Sparrow Photography

N&B Engagement Photo Bear and Sparrow
Courtesy of Bear and Sparrow Photography

N&B Engagement Photo Bear and Sparrow
The exact spot where Nick proposed!
Courtesy of Bear and Sparrow Photography.

N&B Engagement Photo Bear and Sparrow
Courtesy of Bear and Sparrow Photography

N&B Engagement Photo Bear and Sparrow
Courtesy of Bear and Sparrow Photography

Yellow Gold Engagement Ring Bear and Sparrow Photography
Courtesy of Bear and Sparrow Photography

Happy New Year, friends! Hope your 2016 is as awesome as I hope mine will be. :) 

Life Everyday // Garden Progress

[1] Onion blossoms
[2] An unexpectedly purple Dahlia
[3] Tomato plants that have outgrown their large sized cages
[4] Spaghetti squash are getting larger by the day
[5] Nick blends in with the tomatoes
[6] Beginning to harvest

Summer is already half over! Where did the time go? It feels like yesterday that Nick and I expanded our garden patch and planted seedlings. Now, our growing season is mid production, and we're beginning to reap the fruits of our (quite literal) labour. 

I've been pleasantly surprised by the beautiful blooms on our second season onions, and the dahlia bulbs we started in early May have finally begun to produce beautiful blooms - the most gorgeous of which is the deep purple blossom in the second picture.

Our tomato plants are absolutely massive, and it's been a challenge to keep them at a manageable and healthy size. This week, Nick pulled off the lower branches, and some middle ones to help with tomato blight prevention. Last year, our entire tomato crop was overtaken by blight, and so we've been really careful to keep the plants monitored and healthy. They were showing early signs this week, but we gave them a dose of aspirin and water, and that seems to have solved some of the problem. We need to make sure there is proper airflow, so that the fungus cannot penetrate the leaves. 

We've also been fortunate enough to not have any squash borers burrow themselves into our very large spaghetti squash plants. I think that's because I have a butternut squash plant in the middle of my zucchini and squash vines. Borers hate butternut squash, and so it seems to be working as a natural deterrent. We did catch one of the moths in the Japanese Beetle trap Nick had set about 100 ft from the garden. It was a male moth (body colour was brighter), and its mate hasn't showed up, so we're hopeful our garden has avoided those pesky (and disgusting) Borers. 

Beans and Snow Peas have really taken off. I'm also going to have a bumper crop of jalepenos this year, so my tomatoes better survive. I want to make salsa before the summer is up, and I would rather not have to purchase a bushel of tomatoes for that.

The whole garden is looking spectacular. The only complaint I have is that my lavender plants seem to be off to a slow start. It's been really wet and rainy this year, so I can understand that it hasn't been the best weather for those subtle violet flowers. 

Thanks for stopping in! How're your gardens doing? Do you have any tricks for garden pests and tomato diseases? I'd love to hear about them. 

We 'Bee' Farming

Nick and I had our first honey harvest in the past few weeks. Those of you who follow along on Instagram may have noticed a rather funny (or slightly concerning, depending on who you are) collection of photos showing off Nick's cheekbone bee sting. We weren't terribly concerned, nor sympathetic, as Nick was not wearing his bee suit, and took the lid off the hive more aggressively than usual. For any of you who missed it, here's a picture of day 3 - and our second time at the hospital. 

The whole week was a bit of a haze. Saturday, Nick and I were at a wedding, and then Sunday we were getting the honey filled frames ready for harvest. Nick wanted to show myself and his sister what the full frames looked like, and he was a little zealous in his attempt to get into the hive. He also wasn't wearing his bee suit. The little bugger when straight for his eye and got him. We pulled the stinger, iced his face, and put some Polysporin on. We continued honey extraction without any hitches and left the honey in a big bucket overnight so that any remaining comb would separate (it's supposed to do this).

The next morning, Nick woke up with a swollen eye. He immediately send me a picture (which I will not post here), and we got some ice on it and pumped him with Benadryl. After about 8 hours of jarring honey, and no relief on the sting front, we trudged on up to the ER where they gave him a shot of Benadryl, and told him to go home. 

On Tuesday, the swelling progressed over his whole face, and his lips and chin were tingling a little, so off we went to the After-Hours clinic, where the Doctor told him to stop taking Benadryl, put him on a steroid to take down the swelling, and Reactine because it's non-drowsy. He also came out with a Doctor's Note prescribing him to be off work for the week since his vision was impaired and he couldn't drive. 

On the whole, there was quite a bit of humorous jokes make on his account, and I felt like I was dating Quasimodo (the Hunchback of Notre Dame), for a few days. 

(DISCLAIMER: Nick is not allergic, and this was not an allergic reaction. It was, however, localized swelling from a very angry winged female who was not happy to have been disturbed.)

I'm happy to report that Nick's face is back to normal, and there have been no more bee stings. We even got around to printing cute labels and decorating the lids of the honey! We also tried our luck at making candles this weekend. Although the jars for the candles are a different take on the traditional mason jar, I have found that it only burns the wax within a 1 inch radius around the wick. 

We've got twice as many frames that will need to be harvested again within the next few weeks. Our hope is that we'll be able to get everything ready and put up a small stand in our town's Saturday Farmer's Market! Let me know what you think of the finished jars and labels!  

I feel like I am almost fully domesticated now (which I actually say with endearment, and not out of spite), and not in the way you domesticate a horse or a dog, but just capable of producing homemade goods and living sustainably. I love the simplicity and relaxation of making things - bread, jam, candles, honey. I think they are valuable skills to know, and they promote healthier living in the process.

Anyways, have a wonderful week! Thanks for stopping in. 

Two Years

Nick and I celebrated our two year dating anniversary this past weekend! I cannot believe how quickly time goes by, and I am so thankful for every minute I have spent with him. He is an incredible man - patient, caring, kind, and has the corniest sense of humour ever! I love him because he challenges me to be a better person, to live a fuller life, and to find beauty and intrigue in bees, gardens, and has taught me to drive a tractor!

As a celebration of love (oh how corny), we hopped into his truck and went to Niagara Falls for the day. It's about 2 hours from where we live, so it was a good day trip. We had beautiful weather, despite a promise from meteorologists of rain. I wanted to go to the Butterfly Conservatory (I'd never been), and Nick wanted to see the Botanical Gardens. So we did.

We also toured the main strip of shops and attractions, where Nick won be a teddy bear at an arcade, and had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe - where I had also never been. It was a lovely day. We walked along the Falls at sunset, and then headed home shortly after. 

For those readers of mine who have never been to Niagara Falls, I hope you find the time sometime in your life to view one of Canada's coolest landmarks. The waterfall is incredibly powerful and beautiful, and it is a great place to take kids, spend a day with your loved one, or just have an afternoon picnic. The photos I took simply do not do the experience justice. 

All that aside, it was a wonderful way to celebrate love. I'm just so grateful to be able to love him.


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