My Child is driving me crazy!!

sdlkrnyiod!! ltionadfshlk!!! Did you understand that??? NO!! That’s because it is crazy language! I know, all you parents out there are saying “yeah, I know what you are going through”… But OH NO! She is driving me up the wall, out the window, and over the yellow brick road!! How can a 5 year old have such control over my emotions? I truly believe that at the exact moment of her birth, the stars aligned to create a mother-daughter relationship that would encourage me to bang my head on the wall… or the floor… or the door…

Example 1:
“MOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM! (said in a loud, whiny voice) YOU WOKE UP BEFORE ME!!” (I’m sitting in bed, not yet having opened up both eyelids!)

“MOOOOOOMMMMM! WHY DID YOU CHANGE LEIF’S DIAPER WITHOUT TELLING ME????!!!” (Oh, I didn’t know I had to inform you of my every movement!!)

“YOU CARRIED MY SIPPY OUT TO THE CAR, SO YOU HAVE TO CARRY IT BACK IN MOOOOMMMMM!!! (While I stand at the door with my hands completely full with groceries and a baby, and she carries nothing)

And as I try calmly to tell her why she needs to help carry things from the car, she puts her hand to her ear pretending to talk on the phone, holds the palm of her hand up to me, and turns the other way! OH no you didn’t just tell me to ‘talk to the hand’!!

Oh My God, child! Get over this phase fast, will you please!!!

OK, end of rant! Momentary sanity has returned…

In other news, we had our house featured in the New Life Journal again. It’s a great article and makes me feel very proud. Though we certainly didn’t build our house to get recognition, it’s certainly nice to get a pat on the back for it!

One of the bee hives survived the winter and one died… I think they starved. But, the hive that survived seems to be going strong. I went into them today to be sure they weren’t getting ready to swarm… but no signs of swarm cells. They were actually very calm and it was nice to work with them without feeling intimidated. This is the first time I’ve gone into the hive by myself.

Two of our hens have gone broody… our silkies. We built a little make shift broody nest for the first one, but now that two are broody, Toby is working on a little broody house for them. He should finish it tonight, so I’ll take pictures and post them.

Speaking of pictures, we spent Wed. afternoon getting family pictures taken. The man who took pictures of my earth belly offered to take family portraits in trade for my time posing for him. Of course we took him up on it. He is such a great photographer, but also a really nice guy! It was fun spending the afternoon with him. Here are some of the pictures… there are a bunch more, but he hasn’t posted them yet. I’m not a fan of the first picture, but that’s my own vanity finding fault with my double chin and squinty eyes… I love Leif’s smirk in the second picture, and Kaia and Leif’s twin stares in the third… and the fourth one just melts my heart!

Keeping busy

We had one of those wonderful weekends where you stay really busy with all kinds of fun stuff!

Though we don’t really celebrate Easter, Kaia and I wanted to do something crafty for spring. First we made sweet little birds nests (and ate way too many M&M’s) We brought a few to a birthday party on Sunday, but what we left at home is all gone now :-)

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We dyed some of our eggs, too. But, since we get dark eggs from our chickens and you can’t see the dye well, we tried a new dying tactic.

First, you set up your dyes in glasses and hard boil your eggs.
Then, you roll the cooled eggs around, cracking the shell, but leaving it on the egg.

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Plop the eggs in the glasses of dye and leave them for a few hours, at least (we left ours overnight).

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Then, take them out of the dye and peel off the shell. The inside of the shells are just as beautiful as the egg.

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The darker colors came out best. Some of the eggs didn’t peel well at all, I think they were a little too fresh when we boiled them.

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We plan on having deviled eggs later on this week.

Yesterday, while the moon was in scorpio, we planted spinach and chard seeds out in the garden beds, and started cilantro and fennel in soil block in the cold frame.

With the weather warming up, I really need to go into the bee hives and check them out. But, the weather has been either rainy or too windy. Soon, hopefully, so I can add more supers if they need more space (to keep them from swarming).

Tending the bees

It’s been a long while since we’ve really gotten into the bee hives and taken a good look at what is going on in there. After the swarms, we have 4 hives, but we have no idea how they are doing. So, Tuesday, a friend and bee mentor came out and helped me go through them. It took us 3 hours! But, I’m happy to say they are all doing well. Both swarms (including the top bar swarm that I thought would die) are settling in well. When we put the first swarm into their hive box, we left 3 frames out and forgot to go back and put them in. So, the bees built comb off the roof and in every different direction. We had to cut some brood comb off the top of the hive and rubber band it into a frame. We also had to cut out a bunch of honey and pollen comb to try to straighten up the frames. I will need to go in at least once a week to be sure that they are building along the frames.

We found all four of the queens and all the hives seem to be building up stores and making lots of baby bees! Yay! One of the hives had a full honey super from the great poplar nectar flow. So, I will take that box off and extract some honey this weekend.

I also took the comb that we cut out of the swarm hives and squeezed the honey out. There was a good bit of pollen in there, so the honey it pretty cloudy and strong tasting. But, still good! We got about 1 1/2 quarts. I also took the comb and melted it down so I could use the beeswax. But, I think there was too much pollen in the comb, ’cause it’s not hardening up…

Here’s the honey. I didn’t heat it… I just put it on the stove to take the picture.

Here’s the comb melting in a double boiler.

Swarm season

This year, for some reason, there seems to be a whole lot of swarming going on. Maybe it’s the bees way of trying to make a come back with all the hives that have been lost in the past few years. We started this year with 2 hives, and so far we have had 3 swarms! Toby caught the first one, but we missed the second one. We were actually outside talking about how it would be a perfect day for swarming when we saw them fly overhead, already having found their new home deep in the woods. Well Tuesday I caught my first swarm! All by myself! ME!! Who is just a little afraid of being stung because I tend to swell up like a tick, itch all over, get a little bit of a speeding heart rate thing going on. I was outside planting a few things on the roof when the air got louder. I looked over towards the hives and saw a swarm coming out and making a cloud over by the edge of the woods. They landed on a very low branch of a dead cypress tree.

I called Toby and he suggested we just let them do their thing. He knows how I feel about handling the bees, and he wasn’t able to come home from work. But I didn’t want to lose them, so I went out and put some Lemongrass Essential Oil on the top bar hive to try to attract them. Then I went over to the swarm and had a talk with them to let them know where the new hive is. They didn’t seem to understand. So, I started moving around, wiggling my butt, and doing a little bee dance for them. But that just seemed to make them agitated. (Maybe I told them to ‘get stuffed’ or something??) So I went back to my roof and had some lunch while contemplating what to do. I decided that I could do it and I wouldn’t get stung. So, I put on my thickest jeans, two long sleeved shirts, wool socks and hiking boots, padded winter gloves, and a bee hat and headed for the swarm. I brushed them into a bucket and dumped them in the top bar hive. It took two trips to get most of the swarm and when I went back for the third time they were all so angry that I couldn’t catch any of them. No Stings! But when i went to close up the hive, they weren’t really staying inside…

By that evening, they were all clustered outside on the front. Not a single bee inside. My happy high from catching the swarm started to plummet. I must have left the queen on the tree by mistake. Now I felt like a total heel! I’d doomed the bees!

I’d hoped they would go inside the hive, or at least fly off to find their queen. but they stayed that way for two days. So I called our friend Carl, a local experienced beekeeper. He said that he felt like they wouldn’t remain clustered like that if their queen wasn’t with them and that for some reason, they must not like the top bar hive. He suggested that we spray them down (to make them heavy so they wouldn’t fly off), and put them back in the hive with some sugar water (for food since they hadn’t eaten in 2 days) and open brood (to keep the bees in the hive to nurse the babies) and close them in for a few days, in hopes that they would make a home. So we did just that. We used sugar water to spray them off, so they would have some food to clean off them selves, and put a bag of sugar water on the bottom of the hive (with a little slit in it for them to collect the food). Toby tried to get some open brood from another hive but it had been raining and they were not happy to have their hive opened. Once the bees were in the hive, we taped the opening shut so they couldn’t just climb back out. Since it had been raining, the tape came off by the next morning, but it seems like they might stay. The true test will be to see if there are eggs in the comb in a few weeks.

making nests of all kinds

Toby built his first top bar hive today. It came out really nice! Robbyn, he didn’t really follow any design. He mainly talked with a few friends who have built them before and put together what he thought would work well for us. It’s 12 inches deep and long enough to fit 28 frames. It has a partially screened bottom for ventilation, and a tin top that you can lift off to check on them. We had some small cell beeswax, so we cut strips to put in the frames for the bees to build on them. The frames are 3 sided without a bottom, so the bees will probably make more of a rounded comb design.


He drilled some entrance holes for them, too.

I don’t know if we will collect honey from this hive or just let them be. Right now, it’s sitting on some concrete blocks and nicely viewable from our kitchen window. We expect we will have another swarm from our other hive, so we’ll put the swarm in here.

While he was doing that, I closed off a section of the chicken yard and built a little brooding box for Ralph. She wasn’t too happy about being moved at first, but she quickly found her eggs and went back to sitting on them.

And here is the house so far. They need to do all the trim work, but the main body color is done. We were supposed to have a creamy yellow, but the painter called me the night before starting and said he really didn’t think the yellow was a good idea. He said yellow is the quickest color to fade and doesn’t cover as well. He had mentioned this before, but I really wanted to have a yellow… but when he stressed this again I felt like we needed to go with something else. So, we picked out a grey/blue that looked really nice on paper. Unfortunately, I’m really not that happy with how it turned out on the house. I was wanting a cheery, light color that would stand out from the green around it, but still look like it belonged. What I got was a cold color that sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s not a bad color, I just don’t feel like it fits. I know it will look much better once the trim is done. When we get screens, I may paint the frames with a pale yellow or something to lighten up and warm the house color.

Inside, we are done with all the messy work, so we are trying to get things moved in. Then, we can take care of the other little details while we are living in and enjoying our house. Here’s how the kitchen counter tops turned out. We just need to put up a back splash. (I know, it’s hard to see ’cause of all the crap all over them… I’ll take more pictures soon)

Broody lady

Ralph, one of our Black Australorp hens, has gone broody. Since we don’t have any roosters, and thus no fertilized eggs, I got 7 fertilized eggs from my brother-in-law. We marked them with a big “F” (fertilized) and slipped them under Ralph. She settled back in and happily covered them all with her wings. She’s keeping them at a constant temperature and humidity, and turns them 3 times a day to make sure they develop correctly. From what I understand, broodiness has been breed out of chickens (’cause if they are sitting on eggs instead of laying them, they are not a financial benefit to big chicken corporations). Have any of you ever hatched chicks from a broody hen? Tomorrow, Toby is going to build a top bar hive for our bees and I think I’ll build a little nesting house for Ralph. That way, her nest can be on the ground, where the chicks won’t fall out, and we can separate her from the other chickens. In 3 weeks, we might have some little baby chicks!!

Swarm

The painters were out working on the house when one of them called me to tell me the bees had swarmed. Toby raced home to find this:


They had landed on our out house and were looking for a new home. So, Toby pulled out an extra hive box and put a little lemongrass essential oil (which attracts them) in it. Then he brushed them into a bucket and shook them into the box. They seem to be settling in well. Guess we’d better keep watch on the other hive in case they are gearing up to swarm too.

Happenings at the homestead

Animals

The chickens are doing well. Still laying a bunch. Since they got use to laying in their boxes, they still go back their to lay even though they are completely free range now. No problems with predators, but we’ll see how that goes once the cold weather comes along and food gets more scarce.

Our two new hives are doing well. They seem strong. We’ve started feeding them their winter sugar syrup. They had a huge field of ragweed and goldenrod to gather pollen from, so they should have enough protein to last them through the winter.

House

Things are moving along well at the house. We are working on getting the stairs in (with the funky angles in our house, this is a bit of a chore). They are made of Oak and Ash and I can’t wait to try them out. I know Suki (the dog) will be happy that she can finally explore the upstairs too. The plumbers are coming out tomorrow, and we hope to do the electrical at the end of the month!

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I’ve been having fun scrolling through Ebay finding lights, sinks, faucets, etc. Here is the sink I got for the master bath. It’s a glass vessel sink, so it sits above the counter. Cooooool, Eh???
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This is the sink for downstairs… it’s a hand painted mexican Talavera drop in sink!

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I’m also making some hand made paper sconces for a few of the rooms. I bought a pretty cheap glass sconce, traced it to make a pattern and added a few inches to each side to have room to fold the edges over. Then I used a spray adhesive and attached the paper, leaving the top rough and unfolded. Then, I used some dried curly willow branches and glued them (with a craft glue) onto the paper.
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Here’s the final product… Cool eh? I thought these would look nice in our bedroom, and maybe in the from hall as you walk into the house.

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This Weekends Progress

Just got back from the land a little while ago. We are pretty much on schedule… and exhausted! We put up lots of insulation this weekend, and I am so itchy! I hate that stuff! We also have all the tar paper up, and I painted the doors and primed the windows. (We put a door on both floors so that once we move from the ‘little house’ to the big house and convert the little house into offices, we will both have seperate entrances.)

The garden is going well. I think we will have some red strawberries sometime in the next week or two! This weekend I planted tomatoes, eggplant, squash, melons, peppers, basil, oregano, onions, skullcap, mullein, and chamomile – all from the organic gardening class I was taking. And the oats, vetch, peas, and clover that I seeded the garden field with are all coming up.

One of our neighbors was trying to take down some of the trees we put over the dirt bike paths on our land so that he could ride. I went down to talk with him to ask him not to ride in that area since there are endangered plants there (the lady slippers patch is right where he keeps trying to ride!). He was very abrupt and informed me (while riding away) that it was his buddy’s property and not ours and we need to check out the “blue prints” and stay on our own property and he will stay on his. Well, “Porky” (yes, that is what he told me to call him!), I checked out the ‘blue prints’ and that is our property!! So, now Toby is going to go have a talk with him and walk the property line so he knows exactly where it is (and so do we), so that there won’t be any questions. I think he was really abrupt because he knew he had just been caught doing something he shouldn’t have! But, man, I hate it when people blow me off like that and make want to go beat them upside the head with a wooden spoon!!

On a doggie note, we let Suki run around off-leash this weekend to see how she would do (she is not good with listening to commands and likes to run off). Well, she took little morning jaunts and then stayed around with us almost the whole time. She even came with me on a walk Sat. evening! It was pretty cool. But, this evening, when I went down to talk with “porky”, Suki discovered that the neighbors have two little girls and kept trying to go back over to play with them. I don’t think their mom, or her yappy Pomeranian cared for that!

Oh, and I’m not sure what is going on with our bees. One hive looks like it may have a laying worker bee, ’cause there are a ton of drones but few workers (a laying worker bee may take over if there is no queen to lay eggs, but all they can lay are drones… so there are no bees to work the hive.) The other hive was the one that swarmed, so they have a new queen, but we found her ourside of the hive yesterday, unable to fly because part of one wing was missing. We think it was the new queen on her maiden/mating flight and she couldn’t fly. So, both hives are in trouble. We are going to give them a little more time to see if they can fix the situation.

Beautiful day in the neighborhood

Well, we closed without a hitch! We are now caretakers of 25 beautiful acres! We went up there today for a trash pick up… we go two large boxes full of beer cans and bottles, two 55 gallon bags of trash, and 260 pounds of scrap metal! And we didn’t get it all!! Tomorrow, we will try to finish with the trash and throw down some seed on the banks where the trucks have torn up the grass. Things are looking so lush up there. I found a weeping cherry, some blood root (Sanguinaria canadensis), lots of bulbs, and the dogwoods are blooming white and pink! Kaia decided that today she should have her first ‘nuddie in the creek’ experience. She ended up head-to-toe covered in mud!

On the bee front, both hives are doing well. One is going so strong that we had to split it ’cause they were about to swarm. I can’t wait to get the bees (and all of us for that matter) up to the land. Our lease ends at the end of May. So, we have 2 months to make ourselves comfortable up there and get started on the main house.
(And Kaia keeps saying she wants a baby sister!! Umm, I think we have enough on our hands:-)
FUN, FUN, FUN.

Purple, sparkly fairy dress

Last week, I promised K that I would make her a “purple, sparkly fairy dress” when she got over the chicken pox. So, yesterday, we went to the fabric store and she picked out what she wanted for her dress, and I spent the afternoon sewing. I have to say that I am very impressed with what resulted, ’cause I don’t know how to sew! I took the basic idea from another dress that K has and came up with this:

Isn’t that awesome!! If I thought I could even come close to repeating it, I would make one for myself too!! :-) And K likes pockets, so I made two in the front for her:

And here are her wings in the back. They are held on by a button, so she can take them off if she doesn’t feel like flying:

This week is also graduation for my herb school! Then, in one month, I will start the clinical preceptorship and begin seeing clients. I have seen clients before, but taking an ‘official’ course makes me feel more confident in my skills and more qualified to teach other herb students. I will be teaching Male and Female Anatomy and Physiology, Respiratory A&P, and select herbs to go along with those to the first level students that are beginning school in two weeks!

Oh, and on the beekeeping front, both of our hives made it through the winter and seem to be holding strong! We hope to move them up to our new land soon so that they can take advantage of all the Tulip poplars out there during blooming season!

Oh (again), and the Chia heads are growing!!

mama’s play time!

Well, I just dropped K off at her first day of play school! I am still struggling with the “I can do everything and still get a nice dinner on the table” mama attitude, and have realized that in order to keep (or get back) my sanity, I need a break! So, I found this great place just down the street (literally 5 houses down) that has a Tuesday/Thursday play school from 8-11:30!! So, K gets some time to play with friends and learn more than just my 5 song repertoire, and I get time to work on Full Circle Herbs. I am still planning on home schooling, but I think this will be very good for both of us.

So, I am hoping to use some of this free time to start doing an “Herb of the Week” write up. I figure it will be a good way to refresh myself! I will post it on this site.

What else… Oh, we have a contract on the house in Chapel Hill!!! We never did have to put it on the market! And we should close by the end of this month!! So, we went to Chapel Hill again this weekend and did all the final touch ups and trash removal. We were also able to pack up the bees and bring them to Asheville. (At night, when they have gone into their hives, you put a piece of screen over the entrance and strap the hives together so nothing moves. Then put them on the truck and away you go) They are hanging out on my brother-in-laws property where he has a little more space than we do. I hope to get over there at least every other week to do a mite count. That is about all I do now for the bees. Toby does everything else. I am kind of freaked out about getting stung again. After the last sting (which I think was a yellow jacket, but still), my leg swelled up so big you could bounce a dime off of it. And it took a few weeks to resolve. SO, I figure, I should probably stay away from the bees just in case the stings keep getting worse.

Class and Bees

Well, I gave my 20 minute herb talk for 26 eight to ten year olds today and it went fantastic! (I painted a big flower on my face and put glitter on the flower and on my eyes and cheeks.) These kids were so much more interested than the little kids. I think it made a big difference that they are of reading age! I also changed the format so we talked about Harry Potter and Mandrake (although the plant we actually looked at was the American Mandrake, which is a totally different species, but talking about Harry Potter got their attention), we also talked about plantain for beestings, horsetail, chamomile, using plants to make paper and soaps (with lots of examples to touch and smell). Before I knew it, our time was up. Kids these days are so into buying things that they all brought money so that they could buy stuff from the “farm gift shop” :-) !!! Do you know of any working farms with gift shops?? Well, maybe next time I will cut up some soap for them to take home.

As far as the bees, I have been doing mite counts every week to make sure that my hive is carrying along ok. Their last treatment of Sucrocide was in April and since then, the only other thing I have been doing is adding “Honey B Healthy” and Bergamot Essential oil to their sugar syrup (and their last feeding was 2 weeks ago). The mite count has remained stable at ~20-25 mites falling off the bees in a 24 hour period. This is still fairly high. But this morning, the mite count was 7!! YAY!! Looks like the little ladies are doing well!

Beekeeping, garden making and land searching

OK, there are going to be lots of pictures in this one!

First, the bees. They are doing well. Though one hive still has a moderately high mite count, both hives are growing rapidly!! The queens are laying really well and the population is just exploding, which is great! They are bringing in lots of nectar and pollen, too. So, you would think that they would stop drinking the sugar syrup and just fill up on the food they are bringing in. But, they are scarfing it down, which makes me think they need it (or maybe what’s in the syrup). To help decrease the mite population we are adding HoneyBHealthy to their sugar syrup, as well as 15 drops of Bergamot Essential Oil/quart of syrup (some friends of ours totally got rid of their mites using bergamot!) We are still doing weekly mite counts to make sure the level doesn’t go up. So, here are a bunch of great pictures (well, some aren’t so great, but I had to post them!)

This one show a great capped brood pattern in the middle with lots of white capped honey on the edge.

Here’s a great one of pollen and capped brood.

Here is a queen. It’s fuzzy, but she is the long bee in the middle.

This is a pic. of brood (baby bees) being capped over.

And this one I was so upset that it didn’t turn out!! We were witness to a bee birth :-) This baby bee is just about to come out of the comb. Here is his little fuzzy head!

And one of our girls hard at work.

Now, on to K’s garden! We put in our new/used sink this weekend and put the old one in the garden for K. This morning, K and I filled it with pineapple sage, chocolate peppermint, purple basil, hyssop, chamomile, zinnea, lambs ear, calendula, and a tomato. I tried to put things in there that she could smell, taste, and feel. But, it’s a little crowded. So, I may move the hyssop to my herb garden :-) She really likes it! And everything is very well watered!

Here’s one of the garden.

And my little helper.

And my little helper practicing her best sad face.

So, as far as land search… well, we have been a bit disheartened. To be able to have the sustainable homestead that we would like, we are really hoping for more land than we will be able to afford in our current area. Land prices around here (and back in Asheville) are so inflated that we can barely afford an acre! We did, however, just find out about the possibility of buying some land from a family member. This would be great! My biggest worry though, is that we would be surrounded by many people who have very different beliefs than us. Plus, one of my herby friends and I have just started to talk about opening up an herb school here. If we moved, I couldn’t do that. (Well, it’s not that I couldn’t, but I don’t think there would be the desire for an herb school where the family land is.) I wish there were some overwhelming factor to push us somewhere. It would make this decision so much easier… do we spend more and have a higher mortgage, or by less, have a smaller mortgage and less land to work, do we spend more and buy less land to be near a town we love, or spend less and buy more land, but be near a town that doesn’t have such a supportive community for alternative living? I don’t know! Anyone out there got an answer??

Bees and Garden

We did our 3rd and mite treatment for my hive yesterday. The girls are looking great! Lots of pollen and nectar stored, some capped honey and lots of worker brood. We also spotted the queen, which is always a plus since we are looking in a hive of about 50 thousand bees! My 24 hour mite count is down to 55, which is 1/3 of what it was when we started (it was 161 just after the first treatment!)!
We went into Toby’s hive today to check and everything looks good in there too.

Here is a picture of the beautiful pattern they have drwan out of this 4.9 foundation:

But, here’s another frame that they got a little lazy on :-) I’ve also heard that they draw the comb out larger when there is a honey flow on… which there is right now.

On this frame you can see lots of capped over brood (baby bees) and some nectar drying out and getting ready to be capped over (see the shiny stuff in the open cells?).

How does my garden grow? Very well thank you! I am having some flea beetle problems with my eggplant, but not too bad. I go out there once a day and just squish them by hand. I also made a spray of 4 cups water, 6 cloves garlic, 2 slices onion, handful of basil, and ~10 drops peppermint essential oil blended up really well!! It seems to get rid of the flea beetles. But, I have to put in on after each rain. My beans are looking pretty pale too, so I added some dried blood for nitrogen. Hopefully that will help. Otherwise, some tomatoes, squash, zuchini, beans, and even a pumpkin and cantaulope are starting to develop flowers! These warmer nights have really helped things take off.

Spiral Update

I’ve been filling in my spiral garden and it is looking nice. It’s going to be stuffed with plants! So far it has Comfrey, Motherwort, Bee Balm, Johnny-Jump-Ups, Chives, Marjoram, Thyme, Magenta Lambs Quarters, Yarrow, Lemon Balm, and Zinnea. I moved the Jeruselem Artichoke and Bay Laurel to another bed once that was set up so they have lots of room to spread out.

We also did the 2nd sucrocide treatment on my bees today and they are looking good. Lots of worker brood and even some capped honey!

Bee update

We checked on the bees this afternoon and they are doing great! Both hives are drawing out the new foundation and storing lots of nectar and pollen. We also found lots of capped and uncapped brood and spotted the queen in both hives. In my hive, I didn’t see any bees without wings this time! We will do another mite count and treatment #2 of 3 in a few more days. Hopefully that will take care of it!

Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned From Our First Round Of Varroa Mite Treatments:
1- Start treatment when the day light is increasing, not decreasing. (It might be easier to treat the bees if you can see them!! Don’t start your treatment regimen at sundown like us idiots!)
2-Suit up well! (Spraying your bees with sucrocide, though it will kill the varroa mites, will also piss off your bees. Next time we will wear full beekeeping garb instead of just our veils. Then maybe we won’t both be freaking out and going “Hey! Can you brush this bee off of me??? Fast!!! Please?? Honey?? Please!!”
3-If you just dropped a frame of bees on the ground and knocked some of the bees off, don’t step in that same spot. The bees will crawl up your pant leg and seek revenge.
4-Don’t wear gloves that are wide open around the wrist. Bees like to see what is in that glove!

All in all we came out of it with only one sting, amazingly! Since we are currently using Sucrocide for treatment, we will have to repeat the process of spraying every bee 2 more times. But next time, well will do it in the morning.

We actually put white sticky boards under the hives last night so that when the mites fell off we cound count them. Toby’s hive had 1 mite in 24 hours. So, we didn’t even treat his. Mine had a count of 53 in 24 hours. The threshold for treatment in 10-15 in 24 hours. SO, my hive is really pretty sick. I hope this treatment helps. They looked pretty bedraggled and sticky when we were done. Hopefully they will pull through it ok.

Happy

Just a little tidbit that I thought you might like to know… According to the May 2 Newsweek, if stay-at-home moms were compensated for all the hours they work, their net would be $131,471/year!! It’s nice to know I’m worth 6 figures… now where are my benefits??

What did I get for mother’s day?? Breakfast in bed, time to garden, laundry done, litterbox emptied…!!! And, a sting on my head from one of our bees. To be fair, it was really my fault! I was watching the bees fly around the hives and had just gotten out of the shower, so my hair was loosley bunched up on my head. One of them landed on my head and got caught in my hair. Of course, the more she tried to get out the deeper stuck she got. So, she finally stung me on the head. Well, at least I know I’m not allergic to honey bees. After Toby sifted through my hair to get the stinger out, I headed to the back yard for some plantain. The Herb Of The Week! :-) I chewed some up to get it good and macerated and then put it on the sting. Soon, the pain was gone and there is no swelling at all! So, aside from imagining this stinger burrowing deeper and deeper into my head and poisoning my brain with stinger juice, it really wasn’t a bad experience!

Varroa Attack

Well, we had one of the state bee inspectors come out yesterday and go through our hives, show us how to spot problems, look for the queen, etc… Unfortunately, he found evidence of varroa in one of the hives. There were many bees without wings (a sign of varroa infestation) and we even found a few mites on worker bees. SOOO, it looks like we will begin our beekeeping experience learning how to treat varroa mites, do mite counts, etc… The MiteAwayII was just approved by the FDA for use in the US and has been approved for us in NC also. So, we have it on order. We have also put a rush on Sucrocide and should have it by Sunday. Both are classified as “organic” treatments. I’ve not even had them for a week and I feel so helpless that my little bee ladies are sick!!

The Current State Of Bees

Here’s a recent post in the NY Times about the crisis we are in to save the honeybee. Until this year, I never thought about the hit that the farming industry would take if we lost the honey bee… pollination of the blueberries, almonds, everything would decrease dramatically, availability of foods would decrease and food costs would increase! If any of you have ever had the slightest interest in beekeeping, now is the time!

The ladies are finally here!

Well, 3 weeks after we were supposed to get our bees, they are finally home and getting settled in! (We had a few miscommunication issues with the guy we bought them from, but it all turned out fine ) So, we lit our smoker and opened up our hives for the first time. I have to say, I am so very proud of myself for not feeling freaked out. It was actually really neat to be able to handle the bees and not have them all mad at me. We just had a little talk about how I was here to keep them healthy and happy and they listened well:-)




Cleanse Prep Day 1

Ok, I’m not even fasting yet and I am starving! I keep walking in to the kitchen and looking at the bread and cheese and yogurt and thinking “just one little bite” :-) I love eating fruits and veggies, but my system is so use to more than that. This morning when I was fixing K’s breakfast, I kept wanting to toss pieces in my mouth. I’m so use to eating my food and part of her’s. It’s amazing how I have gotten into such a food routine! (With having a child and through my whole like, always munching) I’m surprised that I don’t actually have a more significant weight problem. Hmmm…

Off for the weekend, I’ll touch base soon. OH, and I may be able to pick up our bees on the way home from Earthaven!! Pictures coming soon…

Lion, Tiger, and Bear

These past few days have been filled with fun projects! On Thursday night, I got to go to my monthly herb class/meeting! One of the local herbalists holds a monthly class out of her home and this months topic was “Pain and Herbs”. As always, I felt like I had gone home when I was there (does that make sense?). The smell of the fire burning, being surrounded by wise women who were all wanting to open their minds to the power of plant medicine, it was so calming and nurturing! I love these classes. One other fun thing about the class is the samples. As we discuss an herb, we pass around a tincture of that herb and those who want to can taste it. So, as you can imagine, I was without any pain by the end of the night!! We discussed White Willow, Meadowsweet, Kava, and Jamaican Dogwood to name a few.

When I got home from the class Thursday night, I noticed that the neighbor’s sheep (she has 3) were making a lot of noise. I commented about it to Toby as soon as I walked in the door, but thought, maybe they were just braaaaaying at the full moon or something :-)

Today, we got up early to start working on the garden again. We have been digging post holes and clearing the area for most of the day. As you can see, K and Suki helped.

In the afternoon, my neighbor dropped by to apologize for all of the sheep noise lately. She said she came home on Thursday night to find one of her sheep, Dorothy, had given birth to triplets!! She hadn’t even known that Dorothy was pregnant! (That explains all the sheepy noise when I was coming home from my class) Since the mama’s name is Dorothy, she named the babies Lion, Tiger, and Bear. Tiger was much smaller than the other two and passed away. But, here are Lion and Bear, doing well and growing strong!

One other final fun note… we picked up our beekeeping equipment today! A local beekeeper made our hive bodies for us out of Cypress. So, I am going to give them a coat of my beeswax varnish and hopefully we will have them up and running in the next month!!

Hello

I just wanted to say hello to everyone out there! Things have been so hectic/frantic/spastic here, but not in a “hey, that’s cool, I should blog about it” way. So, I’ve been silent. Toby and K have both had colds, and I am frantically trying to get everything together with Full Circle Herbs before the article comes out. (Which, by the way, you can preview here. Of course they went with the one picture that was taken where Toby was in front :-))

I’ve also been getting really excited about this beekeeping thing! I have applied to be a part of a cost share program through one of the local universities. If accepted, they will provide me with two hives and two packages of bees. The university is conducting research on a specific type of honey bee (Russian) that is supposed to be more mite resistant. I’m excited, but nervous! I know that you don’t get stung much if you do it right, but I am still nervous. I also spoke with a woman today who runs Sunshine Lavender Farm, just north of me, and she said that I could bring my hives out there when the lavender is in bloom and harvest some lavender honey!! That would be AWESOME!!

Have a great weekend!

Beekeeping

Did you know that there is a “Beekeeping for Dummies”? There is! I love the “dummies” series.

I started taking a beekeeping course last night and it is a blast! The main speaker last night was a sweet old farmer who seemed to run off track with every other sentence, but he was still so much fun to listen too.

Many of the bees in NC are dying because of a honey bee mite. So, aside from having a decrease in the honey production, farmers are having a hard time getting crops pollinated without the bees around. So, I thought it might be a good idea to learn to be a beekeeper. Plus, I get all the honey and beeswax I could ask for!!