Monday, April 27, 2015

Mission Rd Homestead Begins Beekeeping Adventure!

Josiah is in love with his bees. He loves to have them land on him and talks to them. It is fun watching him learn how to move SLOW around them. He has named the queen of this hive "Queen Betty Bee". This is not the queen, the queen is in the bottom box of the hive. We still have one more hive to pick up and Michael built two extra hives over the winter in case we need to split them or we find a swarm. 
 Josiah's "girls" loaded down with pollen, flying into the hive.
Josiah is showing off some of his essential beekeeping tools. This antique early 1900s smoker was given to us by his Grandpa. Michael replaced the leather bellow with canvas and it works great again. The yellow thing is Josiah's hand is called a hive tool (I've got a funny story about that). 

 Josiah is showing my mom his bees. Michael made the observation box, which is certainly a neat way to keep an eye on the hive. We will put this hive on the stand that Michael made (shown right).
Josiah is using a flashlight to check his bees.  
He loves to get them to land on him and talks to them. He wants them to get used to him.

As usual, I'm going to tell on ourselves because as you all know we aren't perfect homesteaders who have it all together. If you all can learn from our mistakes, I'm thrilled!

The first 24 hours of beekeeping turned out to be quite an adventure, with a lot of lessons learned. In Michael's defense, he wasn't feeling well at all, therefore I think it was affecting his judgment. He went over the mountain to get the bees to strap them to our ATV trailer. When he got there, the gal we bought the hives from didn't have one of them closed up quite all the way, so half of the bees were out gathering pollen. That left us with only one hive to bring home. The second lesson he learned was that bees really DON'T like the color black (my husband's favorite color). Guess what he was wearing? Yep, black t-shirt, hat and sunglasses. He was thinking he could get away without suiting up, but since the other hives were open, they thought he was a predator and was promptly stung him just under the eye.

He moved the hive that was closed onto the trailer and strapped it down. Unfortunately the wheel barrings on the trailer are going bad, so those poor bees just about got their wings bounced off on that 50 mile trailer ride back to our house. When he got home, we realized the plug that keeps the bees in the hive had vibrated loose. Bottom of the hive was wide open. Not a bee in sight. we were both thinking all our bees escaped the hive on the freeway. So, heavy-heartedly, we moved what we thought was an empty hive to the place where we want to keep our bees on the homestead. It was chilly that day, and when Michael opened the hive, we found them all congregated together at the top of the hive (I'm sure quite traumatized from their journey). Whew!

That night, Michael took both kids out to put sugar water in the hive to hopefully keep them from swarming. That was his first lesson learned. Don't ever take both kids (and the dog) out to help at the same time! Hailey was in charge of the flashlight and you can imagine how steady an excited 7 year old could hold it. None of them were suited up. All was well until Josiah was buzzed next to his ear by an outraged bee as Michael was pulling the top of the hive off. Josiah dropped the hive tool in the middle of the bees and ran frantically screaming in circles. Michael promptly got stung in the wrist. All three came back into the house with their tails tucked between their legs while they waited for the hive to calm down so they could get the sugar water in the hive. Between giggles (on my part), we talked about staying calm, suiting up and proper beekeeping techniques that we had all learned about but apparently were not applying.

After about an hour, they all suited up and went back out there to try it again. This time, thanks to the smoker, Josiah was able to retrieve his hive tool and they were able to get the sugar water into the hive and the top put back on without further injury.

The next day, Josiah also learned that sitting next to the hive to do his homework in a dark shirt without a bee suit, to let the bees get used to him, was also not a good idea. He was stung on the ear and now has a whole new respect for his honeybees. Since then, Josiah has successfully medicated his bees, all while learning to move SLOWLY. He loves "his girls" and can hardly wait for his first taste of honey from his hive! Yeah!

I'm sure there are many more lessons to be learned, and we will be sharing them as we go along on this adventure.

God Bless,

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Family Shower for "Mystery Baby" and Fortieth Birthday Party!

Easter weekend was crazy busy as we traveled to see family. We had a lot to celebrate that weekend as we managed to cram in a birthday lunch/shopping trip with just my twin sister, Stacie, and I, a family baby shower, a family 40th birthday party AND Easter celebrations. 

So the pic above is of the cute cake at the shower. Since we don't know if we are having a boy or girl, my sis had them put on one pink bootie and one blue bootie. A big thanks to my the friends and family who were able to come and who showered us with blessings. I was overwhelmed by their generosity. God is providing everything, even the big ticket items we needed. It has been a real boost to our faith!

My sweet sis organized the shower on our 40th birthday.  Felt bad she had to work so hard.
My awesome shy niece, Jessica, planned out all the games for my shower. It was so nice to have her involved. Mom made our family's favorite beverage, Cucumber Punch. Yum!

Guess the measurement of my belly game. One gal was about an 1/8 of an inch off!
Each table made a baby item out of duct tape. It was fun to see what creative things they came up with.
Started bawling like a baby when I opened up these tiny clothes and it really hit me that I'm going to have a real live baby to wear them soon! After seven years of infertility, acceptance and then pregnancy when you least expect it, it has certainly made for an emotional pregnancy. God is faithful!
My niece, Lily, was an excellent helper with the gifts. My Aunt Nip, made this beautiful baby afghan. So soft!
My Aunt Esther made this gorgeous quilt for the baby.
Thank you to my friend, Mindy, for helping with the shower and for making this special pooh quilt. So adorable!
My step-mom, Diana, continued her tradition of making hooded towels for each of the grandkids. Mystery Baby gets this cute frog.
My brother, Jerry and SIL, Sonya, gave Mystery Baby it's first pair of cowboy boots. So tiny and cute!
After the shower, we immediately went into birthday party mode. The kids decorated the birthday cake for Stacie, Sonya and I. It turned out really special!
The birthday girls! It was the first time our hubbies all helped to plan the party and make it special for us.

You tired yet? I was, too, especially since Hailey got super sick during the middle of our birthday party and was in bed all Easter day with her daddy who got sick while taking care of her. Bless his heart, he helped her so I wouldn't get sick. Glad to say both have fully recovered and Josiah and I managed to escape the plague!

Despite the illness, it was wonderful to see so many family and friends in one weekend. Feeling loved and supported. God is literally providing for our every need. It was some desperately needed encouragement that I needed to make it through this last tri-mester. Looking forward to holding this baby outside my womb very soon! 

God Bless,

Friday, April 17, 2015

2015 Feb/March Happenings on Mission Rd. Homestead

Life has been crazy lately as we race to get our homeschool year wrapped up so we can take a long break to enjoy our little blessing coming soon. We've been having more fun adventures and getting projects accomplished on the homestead. Although I've done nothing to prepare for the baby yet. Yikes! I'm in my ninth month, maybe I ought to get busy! A special homeschool family we love and adore (the Clark Family) invited us to their Roman feast in Feb. Their eldest daughter, Gracia, has been studying about Rome and both she and Josiah are taking a Latin class together. What fun to hands-on study the food and eating customs of the ancient Romans. Gracia even sewed her family's costumes! Josiah decided to go as a Spartan soldier and made all his own armor out of cardboard and duct tape. Hailey provided the dancing entertainment. 

We had a delicious Roman feast with roast pork, salad, finger foods with cheeses, crackers, fruits, nuts and olives. Gracia made a traditional Roman punch that was astonishingly good. It contained grape juice, pepper, bay leaf and dates. I know. Sounds weird, but it really was good! The kids got to eat on the floor, reclining on cushions and pillows and used their hands to eat. What a fun experience! So blessed to have found another adventuresome homeschool family in the area.

We took the braces plunge with Josiah! So expensive, but God is providing in miraculous ways. Hailey will have an expander put in next year. 

Michael had another birthday. Hailey and I made his favorite cake in the world - cheesecake made from scratch. He loved it! 

This was me in March, just before my Mommy Makeover. 

Decided to dye my hair close to my original color and cut it before the baby gets here. It is so much easier to work with now. Josiah took these pics. He really loves photography.

My camera broke, so for my birthday/Easter present, I got a new one. Just a step up from what I had, nothing very fancy, but I'm happy with the results. I took this pic of Champ from faraway. Like the zoom on this camera!
I snapped this photo of a typical day of homeschooling my daughter. It has been fun, trying out some of the new settings on this camera.
Josiah saved up and got his bee suit! He and Michael have worked hard all winter making two hive boxes out of scrap material. They were given some stuff by past beekeepers as well, which was a wonderful blessings. We just got out first established hive last week, will do another blog post on that soon (I hope).
The most exciting thing that happened in March was Hailey and my mom getting baptized together! Hailey is telling Pastor Paul why she wanted to be baptized. She is such a water dog, we were all afraid he wouldn't be able to get her out of the baptismal when it was over ;)
Mom, who has been a Christian for years, is giving her testimony as to why she wanted to be baptized. It was so wonderful to have grandmother and granddaughter be baptized together. Very special! Thank you, Jeni Clark for taking these pics for us
We were able to have some family and friends join us for this special day. Michael and I got Hailey her very own pink princess bible and cover that she adores. Our little girl is turning into a big girl!

My in-laws got Hailey a sterling silver cross necklace for a baptism gift.

The next morning, this is what I woke up to. Hailey had gotten up early to set out all my bible study stuff so she could join me. Does it get any better than that? It just warms this mamma's heart! And of course she had to make a cup of tea of each of us. Gotta have tea or coffee with bible study!

God has been so good to us. While our children are far from perfect (trust me we have our struggles), I praise God that He continues to move their hearts toward Him, despite their mistakes as well as ours. I pray with all my heart that it will continue and I can look at the big picture and see just how far they/we've come. It is exciting to see our children taking steps to make their faith their own.

Hoping to get a couple more catch up posts written before the baby gets here.

God Bless You All,


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