Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Work in Progress

I've been praying about one of my biggest problems: I have so much that I would like to do in a day, and I want to do everything perfectly, and then I become resentful of my children because they take up a lot of time (ages 6, 4, 2.5, and 1). How selfish of me! I would welcome any suggestions in the comments, but a few things are being revealed to me.

First, as small as this sounds, I need to go to bed on time. Proper rest means that my patience and energy do not run out at 4 o'clock when my husband walks in the door. That's another area - how to properly serve and support my husband - but we'll get there in another post. Bedtime for me should be right at 10 p.m. How often do I push that back to 10:30 or 11 or even later? Probably 5 days of the week!

Second, I need to just do less. That is a hard pill for me to swallow right now. I immediately think of the amount of time I spend on the internet, I can cut time to at least half! I mean do I really need to read through so many Facebook updates? What I really need to do is prioritize (per my husband's suggestion). What do I have do get done during the day (my personal quiet time, kids' school, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.) and then work backwards from there. You can see why this is a work in progress, and this post is certainly not about to fix the situation. I'm just getting some thoughts down that will possibly help someone or be able to receive some help :)

Third, the time spent on the floor with the kids is important. I thought of this because I just sat on the floor today with all 4 of my kids, and they just kind of flocked around. I sit on the floor every day with them, but many times it is just for a minute or two. I think I need a little more of soaking them in.

Lastly (for now), I need to make even more use of my calender. Mapping out the next day, when I actually do it, helps me stay on task. Checking things off as done is a pretty fun feeling too.
Well, just a few thought on a warm Wednesday afternoon. Would love to hear from some you!


Monday, May 20, 2013

Chickens and Bees

It is definitely Spring around here! The temperatures have warmed; the chicks are relocated outside, and the honeybees are setting up shop in their new hive. It is not unusual to find a mason jar filled with leaves, twigs, and some little reptile that Big Fish and the children have found on their "snake walks". Snake walks are not to be confused with creek walks. A creek walk has a very important purpose: to obtain bait for the next day's fishing. Bait around here includes salamanders and crayfish. Snake walks are as simple as a stroll in the backyard or a more strenuous hike up the back hill in which many promising looking rocks and logs are overturned in search of interesting creatures. Mama doesn't usually participate in snake walks.

Last week the nights were still chilly, but we thought the chicks were fine in their coop. We tried some hot water bottles for them snuggle, but it seems the chicks themselves came up with the best plan:

I like to term this method the "let's all pile into one nesting box" method. Yes, that is all 14 chicks in one place usually designed for a single laying hen! I checked them often to see if they were in danger of suffocation, but they were very happy in there. There little heads poked out all around the edges.

The honey bees have been transferred from their packing box (they come from California!):

The above picture is 3 pounds of bees plus a queen. There is a feed can in there too with a sugar solution to keep them alive during their travels. The queen is in a tiny little cage and will slowly be released, as the worker bees adjust to her presence and prepare wax comb for her to use for egg-laying.

Here is pretty much everything I used to set up the new hive:

I made my own sugar solution to fill the little white plastic bucket feeder, and you can see the hive boxes and some rectangular frames that are inserted down in the box. The frames provide a place for the bees to build their nest using wax to make the honeycomb. So fun!

Here is a closeup of a few bees in the front entrance of the hive a day or two after I released them from their packing box:

Finally, a picture of the "whole shebang". Notice my new electric fence (Happy Mother's Day to me - materials and installation provided by my beloved). Early this week I will open the hive to see if the queen is out of her little cage and to see what kind of work is being done on the inside. We have not had a bear sighting in over a week. Hopefully he has retreated deeper into the woods!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A few Spring Pictures

It's almost June.....which means almost ballet recital time! We had a picture session, as Abigail made sure that her costume fit properly. She told me that she was doing some dance poses for the pictures :)

Jacob and Grandad were able to able to go fishing with Big Fish. They had some fun and caught some fish! I know Grandad really helped Jacob whose hands were so dirty that Grandad had to hold the sandwich for him to take his bites. What would Jacob do without his Grandad? Sorry the pictures are sideways...trying to figure out where I made a mistake in rotating/saving them.

While I don't have the best pictures of Lydia, I wanted to show something she likes to do. She tucks a toy, in this case a fairy horse, into the front of her shirt to carry around. She hushes her toy and talks to it while she has her hands free for other things.

Poor baby Susanna....she is too big to take baths in the sink still, but mama hasn't made the big switch to the bathtub. She enjoys her time in the sink, but usually there are clean dishes in the background that we have to be careful not to squirt!

And, we have upped our bear-repelling tactics by obtaining a watchdog. Said dog is an adorable puppy right now, but she is growing. By the way, her name is Gretel.

Stay tuned for some honey-bee installation posts! Hope you are enjoying some sunshine, as we are today!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Weekend To-Do

Thought I'd put my reminders here:

1. Wash and block some Mother's Day gifts. For the non-knitters this means to get the item wet and then pin it out to dry in the shape you want.

2. Bake! We need some snacks and some Mother's Day desserts. Need is the key word here; 2 pounds of butter were bought last night is all I'm sayin'.

3. Tonight remember to shut the 9 big chickens in their coop and remove their food. Hopefully their system will clear properly for the "end of the road" tomorrow.

4. Move baby chickens to new coop tomorrow. Yay! I will feel better knowing they have tons more room to live rather than an oversize cardboard box.

5. Burn cardboard box that housed chicks :)

6. Collect grocery/snack items to be sent to Africa for brother and sister-in-law's upcoming birthdays.

7. Sweep floor. Thrilling I know, but in the eyes of a one-year-old the vacuum is the scariest thing in her existence.

8. Cut up some freshly made shampoo bars and start working on listing them online.

9. Get creative with lunch for the kids since groceries need to be obtained. Suggestions? Maybe scrambled eggs.

10. Take pictures. I am having to write this down lately as a reminder because I want to be more intentional about this. I always think later that I wish I had a picture of some event or happening during the day.

Happy Weekend! Happy Mother's Day! My Mother's Day gift involves electric fencing and some kind of power pack to repel a bear from my new beehive. We try to follow my parents' example and give each other practical gifts!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Some Closure to Honeybee Hive #1

I was startled this Saturday morning with the sound of the doorbell. I peeked out the window to see the Game Commission Officer on our front steps. After opening the door and giving an initial run-down of the past week or so, we hiked down over the hill to see the remains of the hive. I was able to explain the order of events and learn a little bit more about our Officer (he raises competition-size pumpkins!). The officer mentioned that he believes our bear is the very same bear his wife hunts during bear season. Let's hope she gets it this year!

We have been put on the list for using the officer's bear trap. We were given further instruction as to repelling the bear (ammonia works great). I was also given the great news that I will be compensated for the 19 frames with foundation that were destroyed as well as the colony of bees. While there were still other losses such as being set back two years (!), I honestly was not thinking I would get money back!! I am thankful for this news. The money regained will go into partially funding our new-and-improved apiary protection system (electric fence).

The officer is also emailing me the plans for building a bear-deterring electric fence for beehives. I can use all the instruction and knowledge possible, as this is new territory for me.

So, the project for the upcoming week is to prepare a new home for the incoming package of bees. Armed with my new knowledge and experience, I will try again to be a good steward of the bees God has created.

Stop back for more updates! Thank you for following along my (our) adventure with the black bear.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Just a Couple of Country-Livin' Tidbits

1. Good news on the bear front....we sprayed our trash can inside and out with ammonia. Thursday is the night to drag it to the curb for collection. It was a beautiful sight to look out the widow this morning and see a freshly emptied can that had not been bothered by the bear!

2. The garden has been tilled in preparation for spring planting. My husband is awesome - he comes home from a full day of work and takes a couple of kids and puts in the time to work the soil before dinner.

3. We have LOVED taking our baby chicks out for excursions in the yard! I will sit with Susanna, and the chicks will just scurry around us stretching their wings and pecking at leaves, grass, and bugs. We have 14 chicks now (we gave one away), and I think one could possibly be a rooster.

4. Speaking of chickens, guess what I saw last night? I went down to shut the older hens in their coop just before dusk....movement caught my eye in the woods. A raccoon was there! So, the trap is set for it. We are definitely experiencing the wildlife this spring!

5. I taught Abigail how to make dandelion chains yesterday, and Jacob has been busy chasing bumblebees with the fly swatter! Lydia has been chasing the big chickens, and it seems like they are the same size as her. The girl has no fear!