Little Wife On the Prairie

When you are everything to everyone, well, you had better act like you have it all together.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Back to School-shots for the grandparents!

4th grade and loving it!

He was so anxious for it to start that he was shaking.  He came out of school saying, "That was super cool!"  Thank you God!  And thank you everyone who prayed for him!

2nd grade and cute as he can be!

Zaddie was reunited with a friend from preschool today!  He was all smiles.

6th grade.  Don't even get me started.

She cannot be this grown.  She had a great day and talked all about choir!

Sweet peas!

I am so proud of you all!

Oh no.  Here we go!  That is more like it.

Sisters.   They LOVE each other!  So blessed.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The girls...and guys.

This is what we have been waiting for!  Tiny and perfect.  These first eggs are treasured for their deep color and small size.  We just think they are precious.  :)

Here is my favorite girl, Ninja.  She is HUGE and feisty.  I don't think she is laying yet but I know she will be a good mama one day.

Here is Magooster.  He is our rooster.  We got 2 bantam chicks.  He is the bigger one and a very tender fellow.  He takes good care of his girls, calling them when he finds a good treat or chasing off a cat if it gets too close. 

Here we have our second bantam.  We called it Mama Banny because she was smaller than our big boy.  But one morning I looked out to see our Mama Banny crowing at the rising sun.  So she is now Mini Man.  And poor guy, he has little-man syndrome. 

Soon we will have enough eggs to meet our needs.  In total we have 13 layers who should give us a dozen eggs a day for a year or two.  They are the best tasting eggs!  We feel blessed to have these girls.
Next spring we are hoping to raise some chickens to butcher.  I love the idea of being a good steward of the food that we raise to eat.  Being there for every step seems right. 
 If we are going to eat it, we should be able to raise it and butcher it ourselves.  We will see if I am still so brave after the first slaughter.    

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The last weeks of summer.

There are always mixed emotions in the last weeks of summer.

There has been lots of fun, swimming, gardening, bee watching, cousins, and more.

But we just don't quite feel ready to give up our lazy days.  We want to hold on to the quiet mornings and evenings outside.

This year has been so beautiful!  The Lord has blessed us abundantly with rain, produce and lots of growth.

Still, there is an excitement in the undercurrent of our household.  There are new shoes still in boxes in the closet.  There are backpacks that hold fresh spirals and boxes of Kleenex.  There are nervous tummies that wonder who will be in their classes or what the teachers will be like.
We are not ready yet.  Still a few more turns on the swing and a few more dives into the pool and a few more veggies to harvest.

Soon enough will be the coolness of school mornings and the sound of the marching band.  Before we know it, we will have homework and school nights.  My babies have been all mine for weeks.  Now they crave adventure with a little side of routine.  
I am thankful to the Creator of all things that he as allowed me to be a mama.  To be home, to watch them grow, to discipline and help to form them.  It is exciting to see the little people they are becoming.  With His hand, they will navigate this year.  I pray for the protection of their hearts and minds.  I pray for solid Christ-centered relationships.  I pray for teachers who can meet their educational needs.  And I pray for wisdom for Matt and I as we go along with them in this.  My prayers are for all of you letting go this month.  
May the Lord bless you and keep you, may he make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.  May the Lord grant you Peace.  

Saturday, August 3, 2013

How many bees does it take to change a light bulb?

I don't know.  I haven't actually trained them to do that yet.  They are too busy building their own little home!  The bees are really doing great.  Lots of brood means more bees to help gather and produce. 

 It is so fun to watch their progression.  They seem to be happy here.  The recent blessing of rain has brought out more forage.  More forage means more opportunity for growth of the colony! 

Here is a quick photo update...(you might be able to see them better if you click on the first photo and look at them that way)

The Golden Girls building comb!

We have a good queen.  Fresh comb with tiny little eggs in the bottom.  They look like grains of rice.  They are laid standing on end.  By day three, they lay down and become a little curled larva.
Here is a peek through a brood frame.  Beautiful busy girls!
This is a close-up of brood comb.  You can see in the center there is a fat larva curled up like a C.  By the time this baby is 8 days old, it will be capped.  It will take about 13-14 more days to transform into an adult bee.  The rest are empty and capped cells. 

There is a baby bee hatching out near the center!  It has the capping mostly chewed off.  Welcome baby!  There are other cells that have been opened.  See the white partially formed bees in the cells.  Best I can tell, those are drones (males) which are apparently not needed and being removed from the brood comb.  Sorry guys.  Drones are notoriously hard to care for.  They take resources and time away from worker brood, can't even sting and apparently have nothing to offer the colony besides genetics.  Our queen is already mated so the drones are just taking up space and food.  If any do hatch before Fall, they will be kicked out before the cold sets in.  A bee colony is not a man's world. 

This is a beautiful picture of "bee bread" or a fermented pollen and nectar packed into cells.  It is all different colors!  The bees feed this protein meal to their babies.

Here the bees are festooning.  It is thought that they may be measuring to draw more comb.  No one knows for sure.  They hold little bee hands!
Here (the bee with the red dot and long abdomen) is our great queen!  She is a blond Italian.  See, all of her babies are golden like her.  They are following her around waiting to do anything to help produce more brood!

There she goes!  She backs her bottom into a polished cell and lays an egg.  See how intent her nurse bees are.  Amazing!  The rest of them are busy feeding new babies and capping larva.

By the way, I took these pictures while I was in the hive.  I had on shorts, boots and no gloves.  I manipulate the hive and the frames that way.  It makes me more careful.  I have not been stung yet.  In the Fall, when they are a bit more aggressive due to protecting their stores, I will probably glove up. 
Right now I can sit next to the hive with no protection on and watch the foragers fly in and out.  They do not care that I am there.  Matt let a bee crawl onto his finger the other day.  She started cleaning herself and was perfectly happy to sit there while she did it. 
There have been times while I was looking at a frame that I accidentally placed my finger on a bee.  The worst I got was a buzz and wiggle.  You can be sure I moved my hand fast but I did not get stung.  Bees really do not want to sting!
The reason I say this is because many people fear bees.  Yes, bees will sting.  But when they sting, they die.  So this is a last resort.  They have to feel their colony and brood are threatened.  Now, there are some aggressive colonies, some that may be Africanized, and some situations where bees are more irritated than others.  So you have to know your colony and you have to know your circumstances.
But generally, if you come across a bee in your yard or one buzzing around your flowers, don't be afraid!  They will not attack you for fun.  If you cut down a tree with a hive in it, then run!  Otherwise, just watch them and appreciate their complicated beauty. 
They bring more good than harm to our world.  They are necessary.  Learn the difference between a harmless honey bee and an aggressive wasp.  They will sting for fun.  The meanies.  But honey bees and many other native bees are just trying to do their jobs.  So befriend a bee today! 
Thank you from your obsessed beekeeping friend.