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Arkansas River, Keeper of the Plains, Veterans Park, and Sedgwick County Zoo

We recently too a drive to Wichita with the grandchildren in tow.  Our first stop was the Sedgwick County Zoo.  This zoo in opened in 1971 with the American  and Asian farms. This was our first stop were we were able to view some rare livestock I have only seen before in pictures. These animals are designated as critical or rare by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.  They used to have a Lakenvelder cow but I did not see one. The girls enjoyed the goats until they got a little pushy.  I enjoyed looking at the Poitou donkeys.  



The American Cream that you can see behind the donkey was also a very really nice horse. 




After walking around and seeing the typical birds and koi found off the paths of most zoos we entered a tropical forest with all types of interesting birds and bats. Yes the had bats loose in the area but they were the fruit bats and just hung around. The vampire bats could be viewed in a aquarium, type of cage. The enclosed huge area was humid and made me shudder at the thought of what it would be like in the summer. I was glad it was a nice cool spring day.



It was fun and challenging to take pictures in the area especially the waterfall.


I have been wanting for years to walk along the Arkansas River and view the Keeper of the Plains. The no cost attraction seemed to be popular with the grandchildren. Well I should say rocks were.


For whatever reason their were a lot of goose decoys set around the Keeper of the Plains. There were reals geese too that seemed to enjoyed basking in the sun.





Along the river is a walkway very poplar with local walkers and bicyclists too. The walk is 15 miles long for those of you wanting to get mileage on your fit bit. The Arkansas River Path also provides access to other parks and city attractions, including museums, the stadium, ice rink and the zoo.  It is around 15 miles long. While waling to find the playground we discovered the Veterans Park. It had some very beautiful monuments for different wars.







We took the bridge over to the Exploration Place and found the playground. This playground has three different areas intended for different age groups. It has a large picnic area for a few or a large group.

The The Arkansas River is a major tributary  of the Mississippi River which means in Kansas you can float in the river.  The river starts in Colorado providing a great white water rafting and exceptional trout fishing until it proceeds into the great plains were the river flattens and widens considerately. With the 190-plus miles of the Arkansas River from Great Bend to the Oklahoma border you can float for a short time or months if you want to go all the way to the Mississippi River..

Blooms, Bees and Swarm






Last time I checked the hives inside I did not find any capped cells and just a few eggs. I did not see if happen by I suspect the hive swarmed. I noticed two queen cells that looked like they hatched.  I will again check the hive as soon as I can to see if there are any capped cells.  The rain has made it difficult to maintain my hives since it seems the nice days are when I work.  I also noticed the bees from the other hive seem to be robbing this hive. This is a really bad sign and I just might end up loosing the while hive. It is a depressing sight since you have 1/2 of the bees and a lot of the honey is not  a lot in the hive anymore since the bees packed a supply to swarm.

You might wonder what I could had done. Sometimes when they get in the swarm more it can be difficult to stop.

Adding a new queen

Sometimes the  lack of queen pheromone in their food exchange and the swarming impulse is triggered. When this happens new queen cells are started. You will find those mostly at the bottom of the hive. they are easy to spot since they look like a peanut. 

No eggs and only Queen cells found.

Thinks happen and sometimes the queen goes missing. It might have gotten killed when you were last in the hive or some other reason. The hive may be too crowded or lacks ventilation..  The best way to help this hive is to split. Put a queen cell or two in a nuc or another hive body.  Hopefully they will decide the conditions are good again so the start feeding the queen and putting her back into the laying mode.

It too hot for the hive. 


Yesterday I checked my hives and found one  full of bees and brood even in the honey supers.  I took a frame with 2 queen cells and a couple of brood cells into a hive body with some honey supers on top with quite a bit of honey.  I am now crossing my fingers to get another hive and hope that hive full of bees and brood will not swarm.  In place of those frames i removed I added new empty ones.  The hive I am sure that swarmed I was still unable to find any eggs , capped brood or a queen. I am planning to go back to the full hive and remove a couple of queen cells and put into that hive to try to save it.

The bees are still enjoying the blooms of dandelions and the lilacs.  I noticed I have blooms in a backyard flower bed and plan to investigate as soon as I can. I am excited that the wildflower patch in the side garden seems to be growing. It will be a matter of time before I find out what grew. Hopefully plants that will bloom later in the season for the bees.

Prairie Views Strategy for Bee Pollen and Nectar






My strategy at Prairie Views is to provide enough sources of Pollen and Nectar for the bees from March to October. With the native plantings and bee source landscaper I will be mongering what is available in used by the bees during these times. Last month the plumcot bloomed when we had a warm period. Later came the pear trees and dandelions which are still booming at this time. Now we have the the crab apples which will also provide beauty in the front as well as food for the winter for the birds and maybe a jar or two of crab apple jelly for us. The period I will be concerned about will be In July were there are fewer blooming plants due to the heat. It will be interesting if the seeds I planted will live to my expectations to provide booming plants during this time for my bees.




Since it was a very nice weekend, weather wise, it was very important to put a bee hive inspection at the top of the TO DO list. The hives are looking great. They are strong without any signs of swarm development. So you might wonder what I look for in my inspection. 

  • We look for the queen. If we cannot find her we look for brood and the brood pattern.  After inspecting to first brood box we put that one aside and take a look at the second brood box. Most frames on the second brood boxes were empty or had a little honey on them.  This is what we expected.  I was surprised that the  stronger hive had some brood in the second box. We set this box aside and then check the bottom screened board. This board was really clean on one hive but had quite a few bees on the first hive we inspected,  We scraped any stuff and dumped any dead bees into the grass. This is not something we would worry about this early in the spring since we have just started having spring weather except for the rare January warm up. I think this might of happened becasue we had very warm weather in January that turned to snow the next day. 
  • After inspecting the hives it is time to put them back together. We moved the top box to the bottom and the bottom box to the top. The reason we do this is we want to give the queen more room. The queen usually likes to work up so it you switch it around she has move room to move up while making brood. 
  • On top of the hives we added one supper since we are already having pollen and nectar flowing from the flowering bush and pear tree in the Food Forest. The apple trees and more pear will bloom soon too. It it looks like they are not getting anything I will put syrup out for them. The only problem is if you have suppers on you take the chance of getting sugar water honey. Not good honey at all!  Most of the supers were in the freezer all wither with a mix of capped and uncapped honey so they will have honey available if it gets a little too cool to go our or it rains too much.  
  • You might wonder why I have honey frames. The reason is you do not want to take uncapped honey from a hive becasue it will contain too much moisture. Later we will add more suppers to collect honey. 




I like to watch the bees and noticed they had to go all the way in the red flowers to get the pollen and when I saw them going into the hives they had their pouches full of red pollen. Many had white pouches too which is from the pear tree. Dandelions are blooming  too but I suspect that they prefer the other flowers. It made me remember to make some dandelion jelly this year. It was interesting to see the red and white pollen patterns in the combs. An interesting note during the inspection is I did not find one hive beetle walking around. There were some in the hive beetle traps.  Getting rid of them would be great but I am only hopeful at this point. 

Related Post

Early Spring Planting of Wheat, Buckwheat, Hairy vetch, Clover, Alfalfa and Rye



It is the wrong time to plant winter wheat. It should had been done in the fall. However, I got behind doing those busy months and did not get it planted. So I planted on 3/2. I shall find out what will happen it the plants needs a dormant period to grow grain. The other I planted should allow for a decent harvest. The Finnish Sweetheart’s Rye is a new discovery. I have not been able to find much about the variety.   If all goes well with this planting I am hoping to have some varieties of honey to sell in the farmers’s market. The company I purchased the seed plants the rye in December in southern California not very far from where I lived as a teen and they go the seed from the Finnish Landrace Association. Later this week I am planning to plant some oats and barley. I am hoping this planting will be useful to the bees with the clover and alfalfa. So I know it is a landrace from Finland.


I used a rototiller set to loosen up the top inch of soil to allow me to seed rows. At first I tried the Earthway planter but soon go too frustrated with the spacing.  I went to using a trowel to make a farrow and then hand seeding. I went back with a rake upside down to move soil over the seen.  Earthway now has a black seed disk I might try. This are was planted in wheat and corn so I left all lf the refuse to let in decompose into the soil and make an little cover for the seeds and plants as they begin growing.

Planting for Bees, Monarchs and Upland birds


On the other side of the sidewalk the seed mixture was planted.


Today, I planted another area with the Monarch Butterfly and Honey bee Mix I purchased from Sharp Seed Company. This area has Iris , day lilies , tulips and Periwinkle. I tired to remove most of the periwinkle but left the rest.  Now all it needs to do is rain. I just might start watering this area since it is near the house.


In the fore ground is were some of the upland bird plants will be planted. The seed was planted on the other side of the fence.


Last month I had planted a mixture of prairie grass and this Monarch Butterfly & Honey bee seed mixture. We have not gotten rain yet so I am hoping for some soon to get the seed to germinate. In front and the side of the prairie grass and wildflower mixture I will be planting the Pheasant Bundle plants I ordered from the Kansas Forest Service. These will also be good for the quail in the area.  My plan is to increase habitat for pheasants and other grassland-dependent species combined with habitat that will also increase populations of native pollinators,



Yesterday I transferred some wild plums to this area near the road. This will provide animal cover and a wind and dust break.  There is some wild plums I transferred last year and other plants good for birds.


I also ordered a queen castle hive from Golden Prairie Honey Farm. This will be my new to go to place for ordering supplies.  Golden Prairie Honey Farms is a beekeeping supply and honey production business that serves as a training program for veterans and transitioning service members. You can order and have items shipped or call ahead to get supplies.  Later I will update about my queen making. 



Related Post


We Had very nice weather the last few days. I had another wonderful trip to Maxwell Wildlife Preserve this past Saturday but it is still winter so the cold weather returns.




I used a 3 pound pork roast instead of a 2 tenderloins. It will take a little longer to cook so cook until done. .  I cut in the center as directed in the roast.







  • 12 dried prunes
  • 2 pork tenderloins (2/4 to 1 pound each.
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tart apple, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Cook prunes in boil water 5 minutes; drain. Remove pits.

Cut tenderloins lengthwise almost in half. Sprinkle cut sides with salt and pepper. Place half each of the prunes and apple down center of one side of each tenderloin; cover with the there side. Fasten with metal skewers; lace with string. Place on rack in shallow roasting pan. Roast in 325 degree oven until done, 45 to 60 minutes.

Remove pork to warm platter; keep warm. Add 3/4 cup water to roasting pan; stir to loosen brown particles. Pour into 1-quart saucepan. Shake 1/4 cup water and the flour in tightly covered container; stir gradually into drippings. Heat to boiling,  stirring constantly. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon n pepper. Boil and stir 1 minute. Cut pork into slices,; serve with gravy.






  • 2 pounds new potatoes
  • 1/4 cup margarine or butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon water


Heat 1 inch salted water (1 teaspoon slat to 1 cup water) to boiling. Add potatoes, Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and cook until tender; 20 to 25 minutes; drain.

Cook and stir margarine, sugar and salt in 10 inch skillet over medium heat until mixture starts to turn golden brown. Remove from heat and; cool slightly. stir in water until blended. Add potatoes, Cook over low heat, turn  potatoes to coat with sugar mixture.








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Get In The Picture

dsc_1119Get In the Picture

Print and 2017 Decor Trends





The printed word is all over the house. It is still a very popular theme in the average home decor.  I have an interest in home trends. It will be sad to see that cooper is out as long as yellow/ gold paints. I still love the look of my family rooms walls. Grey has also seen its heydays. I was never too much into the grays. I am glad I decided against the subways look in my kitchen. I was a bit leery of the trend. It will make a kitchen look dated very quickly. 


Some trends for 2017




I like the color and it can look wonderful as as accent walls. Look beyond terracotta pots to get into the color.

Dark Greens

Add a touch of dark greens to you chairs.  If you are in to purchasing a new couch or recliner this might be a color you could consider.


CORK is Still In

I am so happy to know this since I still have not started working the beverage center cork back splash.  You will see more cork covered walls in designs.


Reading Areas

This is the best news for me. I was planning to make my away (front) room with a sitting area for reading. Make a comfy spot for reading books, magazines and browsing.


Tropical Prints

This might be a hard one for most to use but think about using a throw pillow with a little tropical suggestions.




I am seeing this trend where I work with some decor items that came in. These will be simple lines, geometric designs, and triangles in fabrics and items.


Texture and more texture

From couches with pleats to other items with weaved large stitches of yarn.  You will continue to see the fur and mohair in designs.



Blue is really really in. It is a beautify color to work work. I have always liked blue in my kitchen.


Jewel Tones

Be careful with this one!.  This is emerald greens, sapphire blues and amethyst purples worked together. What a beautiful look but can spell disaster if not done correctly. 


Raw Wood

As I was looking for a sliding door ideas for my Away room I came across a door make with raw wood. It was awesome look but not the look for the room I am doing.  I am think of making an end table with Osage wood for the family room for change. Maybe find an art form to add.



Will be a trend. It will be easy to add planter. I specifically like the small little greenhouses.



Related Post

Were I Stand



We got the first snowfall the other day. A whopping 2 inches on the ground.  The snow is not too bad but the temperature is frigid.  Any temperature under 32 is too cold for me.  i am a beach girl at heart although I love the prairie in many ways.  The cold and the almost constant blowing wind prevents me from falling madly in love with the area.




I started removing items out of the Away (Living Room) today. I want to get the falling ceiling repaired and walls painted.  Trim and doors repainted or stripped and stained. Floor painted and room carpet.  Then it will be decorating the room. Another 2-3 year project I am sure.

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