Saturday, April 28, 2012


114:366 Comb starts on the feed bag
The last couple of weeks have flown by. Days have been filled with cherished moments and subtle milestones.

 ** After six years of being Sidney's girl scout leader, we had our last formal meeting. It was a great experience, and I'm so glad to have worked with our 23 girls and watched them grow. I can say with the exception of our final farewell camping trip this summer, that I have retired.

 ** my little bloggy space turned four, it's so hard to believe!  The time has flown and I have found so many wonderful souls!

 ** I'm awed by our bees even just one week in. B removed the queen cage, and temporary feeding bag from their transition time. They are well into making comb and even had some started on the feeding bag. It is fascinating to watch them work and their social order. Just like when I learned about all of the sayings regarding chickens and how true they are, I'm seeing that 'busy as a bee' is an understatement!

 ** Charles' meat rabbit for fair has doubled in size in as many weeks!

** We are enjoying loads of salads with spinach that is amazingly sweet and radish thinnings. You know it's spring when you can forage for ramps and enjoy them in an omelet made from your own eggs, a 100% farm meal.

 ** B's mom and sister are visiting and we're having a great time, so I'm headed back to family time... As a closing thought I'll leave you with my Charles-ism of the week "my dance moves are so awesome, they speak!"

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


111:366 Crab Apple I look out the window at the twilight appearance and my mind has to adjust to the fact that it's morning, not evening. The temperatures are falling and a steady rain has begun. This is Spring. Moment to moment shifts in mood leave your head spinning and just trying to keep up. The trick is not to let your own disposition adjust with it. Rather, relish the changes. One thing always leads to another, and without rain, the garden wouldn't get the start it needs and the blooming trees wouldn't be so brilliant.

I want to thank all of you who have spent a little piece of your busy days keeping up with us, and who leave lovely comments both here and on facebook. I am at just over 20,000 hits and it is so appreciated!! Another beautiful light on a gray day. Much Love!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Bees Have Been Hived!

Today was the day!  B drove to Waukesha to pick up two sets of bees totaling around 30,000!

 They arrive in boxes that have a queen who is housed in a separate little box in the center so they can all get accustomed to her scent.

These are some bees attending to the queen.  That little cork in the bottom gets pulled out and replaced with a mini marshmallow.  Once the marshmallow is eaten through the queen is released into the hive.  This process usually takes 4-5 days.

First, the queen is placed in the hive, and then you can introduce the bees one of two ways.  Either do a dump straight through the top where you placed the queen, or set a platform for them to walk up.  Due to the time of day and the coolness of the weather,  we opted for the dump method.

It takes just a couple of minutes for the majority of the bees to tumble out.

Several hundred still remain in the box, but we gently set it next to the hives and the remaining bees will make their way into the hive when they pick up the queen's scent.

We then add a bag with a 50/50 sugar water solution to the area just below the quilt so they have some food to kick start their move in process.

Then place the top on the hive,

and repeat on the other one.

That leaves us with two complete Warre hives!  We have had the closer one for a week or so and B put an aluminum roof on it.  He will be duplicating that on the other hive next.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Newspaper Seed Pots- A Video Tutorial

Over the weekend we started making newspaper pots to start our seeds in.  Over the years we have tried lots of different options; from little peat pellets, to coconut husk pots, to soil in yogurt containers.  The thought of plopping them right in the ground has always appealed to us, but all of those means never seemed to effectively break down.  This year we think we have found a winner!  B saw some information on making this type of seed pot in Grit magazine.  I checked out YouTube for some ideas, then we took those ideas and tweaked them slightly and presto, we have seed pots!

 Here is our first video tutorial!

Eleven Years Old!

Eleven years ago, our life changed forever, our little girl was born. I remember talking to my mom shortly after she was born and describing her. I was awed that she had these amazing grey green eyes. My mom reminded me that many times eyes change from birth. I knew this was true, but insisted they would not. I guess it was a little glimmer of first-time-mom's intuition, because grey green they stayed.
Eleventh Year Happy Birthday to our amazing little lady, whose big heart and wise mind takes my breath away.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Spring Saturday

A little glimpse of a spring Saturday, leaves me breathless but fulfilled. 

It can be hard to get out of bed for the day, but boy scouts called with soccer immediately following.

Goals were scored and the kids played very hard, ready for next weekends tournament game.

The herb bed was weeded and new markers placed.

The rabbit hutch was assembled.  We took the easy way out on this one and found a great quality one on sale.  We are going to use all of our wood to further refine the chicken coop and build out a pig stall!

Pork Chop (Chi Chi) is in her new home and will remain in there until we get our Mini Rex, and then she will be moved to an enclosure below.

Chopped asparagus slaw with supper.

And as we got a soaking 2 1/2 inches of rain here, B's folks were taking cover.  Thankfully, the tornado touched ground again about a mile and a half from them, but the two pink heavy areas, basically flank their house...made for some tense moments!  Hopefully our warm up and storms later this afternoon will be all show and no crazy!  How was your Saturday?

Silent Sunday ~ Hosta Light

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Walk The Line

This seems to have been a week where we have been walking the line.
The weather has been rather schizophrenic teetering between warm and cold.
B and I have been stumbling between illness and health fighting this bad spring doubt brought on by the above referenced weather.

Hopefully we are headed for more solid ground, there is a lot to do around the homestead.  This weekend we are placing our hives so they are ready when the bees come within the next couple of weeks.  We also have to get all of our seedlings set in the basement, and peas in the ground.  Everything that we planted a few weeks ago is growing beautifully, so enthusiasm for the season is building every day.

In Sidney news, her sketchbook was published online at the Brooklyn Art Library!  You need to go in and set up an account to view the sketchbooks, but it's painless.  If nothing else, just check out the project itself, what a wonderful way to express creativity! :)

Charles heads tonight to his first rabbit meeting and will be picking up one of his rabbits for fair!  He's very excited, yet another homestead animal adventure is beginning. 

How is your week going?  Are you also walking the line?

As sure as night is dark and day is light.
I keep you on my mind both day and night.
And happiness I've known proves that it's right
Because you're mine, I walk the line.
Johnny Cash

Monday, April 9, 2012

Jump For Joy

It is the last day of a long holiday weekend and the weather has been phenomenal.  The lilacs, and everything else for that matter, are blooming like crazy. 

The smell of fresh cut grass is in the air, a spring gust blows through, and the colors become more vibrant as you watch.

So what do you do if you are almost eleven, have daylight and a bunch of energy to burn?

Jump for the sheer joy of it!

I sure wish I was still this flexible!  Happy Monday!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ruh Roh!

What is this???  This is our lilacs beginning to open.  It's hard to believe.  I always mark lilacs with our early June trip to California.  Each year, I lament that I will miss the peak of their fragrance.  Yet, each year, we manage to savor some lovely part of it.  With our unseasonable weather, look what's happened.

Now look! Ruh Roh!   Here is to hoping upon hope that the next two nights don't ruin my hopes of deep breaths of lilac through my kitchen window!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Purple State

81:366 Violets!
With the beautiful weather I have been taking loads of photos and some images came to mind as I snapped away that I thought were fitting to mention on today, primary day in Wisconsin.  As in most of the country the volatility of the political environment is so divisive and ugly that there seems to be no room for discussion, only cutting down the other group.  There is no effective governance taking place, only jockeying for the next election cycle.  I can say with a fair amount of confidence that our state reflects this to the utmost.  You can drive around and the election signs are scattered all over the landscape.  From yard to yard you can see the vast differences among neighbors.  We are considered one of the 'purple states'  that is supposed to reflect the virtually 50/50 split of red and blue.  To me, the reality of being a purple state is closer to being bruised, than being some idyllic middle of the road community.

I wonder what it would be like if we could be a purple state, like our state flower the wood violet, that exudes more a spirit of compromise and discussion?  Hmm, it seems that a middle ground would be a good course for our country's political system.   "The work of many minds, the Constitution stands as a model of cooperative statesmanship and the art of compromise."(taken from   I don't think that the We the People that the forefathers referred to meant We of our party not yours, We of our background not yours, We of our status not yours.  I think We the People is more in the spirit of compromise, doing what is best for us all.  We may not all agree, in fact we won't, but complete stalemate does nothing for any of the people but deepen the bruise, and I for one would prefer to enjoy the wood violets, competing, yet living in harmony with their fellow plants.


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