Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Queen Bee drama and watching $34k worth of bees unload, oh my!

Really this post has nothing to do with homeschooling at the moment, I did update below, down in the bottom somewhere.

We have had a funky spring here in Kansas. Shorts weather in March, snow well into April, and freezing temperatures still at night..more flip flopping than a kid off a diving board in the middle of July. Or more flip flopping than a crappie on that 1st spring fishing trip in March.

(well I hope that's a crappie, I think he said that!)

   During January and through February we had some super low temps, like 3 degrees...for 2 weeks straight. Also coupled with a negative wind chill. I thought for sure even with the wind block everything would be dead. We don't insulate our bees in Kansas normally at all. We have a wind break around the bees so I think that saved them. 

So on a warm random January day, we checked them, my bees over wintered well, we remade their candy board. Then in March we gave them a mite treatment, when I removed our treatment strips, I did a hive inspection and found NO queen. She was gone! Yikes!! March and no queen!! Agony!! It's hard to get a queen in March.  I did find queens online but shipping and ordering them stat was $$ half the cost of a new hive. Luckily one of dad's hives was laying and I was able to pull brood to give to my hive. He seriously has a hive that could swarm any time. They built up so quick before March was over, and he wasn't even feeding them 1:1 yet.

So with in 48 hours this happened in my hive.

Queen cell formation.

Then on the 23rd of March, it apparently hatched- empty queen cell? But no queen visible to me. I added a little bit more brood and left it alone for two weeks. Didn't find anything else noteworthy than multiple eggs in a cell and spotty drones. So either virgin queen is being trained which is all to common or gasp..I might have a laying worker.  EEK!

SO I have been waiting patiently... because apparently with laying workers there is no hope of correcting and it's tricky right now. Laying worker bees can't lay fertile eggs, so their eggs develop into drone bees. Drones = no work and all they do is eat the supplies.

So in a desperate attempt to figure this out, put in one more frame of worker brood last Wednesday (all workers are female and a queen cell will be formed from one if the need for a queen arises).
I didn't see anything happening on last Friday- right before the cold weather hit again. But Monday evening, we found this!  

A capped queen cell.. this was found while we were reducing their apartment size down to a deep and one medium (from 2 mediums).  Soooo??? what's going on now? I have no clue other than apparently they needed another new queen already since March 23rd, and/or the good for nothing laying worker died?

On Monday, I purchased Italian, designer bees from California for $$$. Our other three hives were wild swarms we captured for free.  That's great for a new beekeeper who isn't sure if it's going to work out or not.

So I just thought, wow, that man is very brave, that's an open cab, and lots of hitchhiker bees on the outsides of the!

That old dude in the back with the beard, was driving through town and stopped because he saw all the people (beekeepers) standing around and just came to watch the spectacle!

We moved the designer California Italian bees into a unpainted deep box with the medium frames that had drawn comb with some honey in them.  Knox watched a how-to video on the way home from Norwich, KS. And he directed my dad and I on how to install the bees. 

That's the little queen box, with the little metal strip hanging off that frame.

Those that did not want to go in when I shook them down, did go inside with in 30 minutes. It was dusk and they were fanning themselves. They seemed pleased with their new home.

I plan on switching out to a deep, but I wanted them to the queen laying right away since she is mated already and having comb ready to go is great for that. I am going to help them release her in another day with a marshmellow plug- after we mark her though and fix up the boxes the way it should be.

Today I painted my new hive boxes finally plus my new hive's box with bees. They didn't seem to mind me working around them at all.

They were so well behaved and stayed out of my way. Reminds me of my first swarm I caught they never gave us any trouble at all and were like big houseflies.

So I painted everything else too. As well as our new screen door Brad made. 

And if you need to know, we are almost done with school we are in our last two weeks of school right now. It's a big hard push but we can do it! I would love to just quit now, and be done at 30 weeks!

This weekend Knox has Lego Mindstorms, and we have a geology field trip for shark's teeth fossils. We also have a Boy Scout campout as well as a piano recital. Tomorrow is Genna's first violin lesson. It's an exciting week for everyone. Next week the hubs and I celebrate our 10th anniversary. We are actually going to go out of town together...but you would never guess

Also we have been graced with several wild turkeys, I guess trying to join our flock?
First turkey who came was a tom, and it scared our tom. Then today we had 2 females inside our pen eating our food.

The females didn't stick around, they were gone after an hour or so. The male stayed for 2 days. I knew one night we had locked our birds up a little early around 5 pm and he decided to head on out since there was no one around to play with.

We also had a visitor, sort of sad, an injured raccoon. His back legs weren't looking too good, I guess the neighbor's dogs got ahold of the poor thing. He hasn't bothered our chickens, but it was struggling so badly, so our neighbor put it down. Sure was a cute but I know they are chicken killers, so I guess it's good nothing more than that happened.

Anyway, now there is a big possum we can't seem to capture, he is hanging out in the pen, and gets off over the fence before we can nab him. He knows we are watching..

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter 2018

We had a beautiful day here in Kansas, for Holy Saturday. My siblings could only get together on Saturday late afternoon for a while, some needed to leave town, we had the Easter vigil mass. Today was Knox's Lego robotics trial run day as well.  After our 2 hour (!) Mass, we came home, and put together Jesus' tomb. We always try to find that packing paper, and lucky for us, I had a ton from a Mann Lake (bee keeping company). Anyway, here's is how it turned out.

Jesus was then wrapped in white burial clothe and put into the tomb.

Apparently Brenden has had a huge memory lasp and can't remember doing any of this in prior years. So he was asking what happens to Jesus? Anyway, it was sort of funny he couldn't remember what the Easter bunny does to show how Jesus resurrected. 

All the saints are out to witness Christ's Resurrection.

Since we are using MODG for school, the kids do bird notebooking and I really like all that is offered in the Beginning Birdwatcher's book. They saw Peter Rabbit in the movie theater, and there is some cool bird watching/data collecting going on. So I have a feeling they will enjoy that book. Genna's basket it below. She received the Catholic Journal, All Things Joyful, and Color the Psalms: Catholic Coloring Devotional  She is also receiving The Life of Little Saint Placid. She also has been asking for a Waldorf rainbow puzzle, I found a decently priced on on Etsy from Sweet Moms.

Knox can't stand the nice weather and school being coupled together, he just wants to fish all day. So I got him the Field and Stream Guide as well as a Fishing Journal.  Did I mention the 3 oldest all are receiving the Birdwatcher's book.  He is also receiving a book In the Shadow of his Wings,  about a Nazi Priest...who served the underground German Catholics. There are 3 Waldorf animals in there too, a snail, mouse and rooster. And Catholic By Number.

Zoe is going to get the Christian symbols (I previously posted about my custom order with the Wooden Caterpillar) as well as the honey bee tree. It goes together with the In the Candles Glow, a book with a nun apiarist.

Brenden has been asking for a real Bible forever. So I figured why not..such a hard thing to say NO to. I got him the St. Ignatius Bible from Ignatius Press, leather bound.  I know he will eventually be able to read it. I am sure he will treasure it since he was asking over and over.  He received some Waldrof toys well- just random ones we think he will like. And also his own fishing guide and bird watchers book.  He was thrilled with his bible, and wished St. Brendan was on the cover!



Our sacrifices turned into bird eggs. 

Hope you have a Blessed Easter Season. Alleluia! He is risen, he is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Custom set of Easter symbols- Waldorf toys

    I love all the mysterious Christian symbols we have weaved into our church art and architecture. For instance, at our cathedral downtown I have been attending mass there for years and was always was trying to figure out what and why in the world was right above the center of our tabernacle. Turns out it was a pelican and a nest of baby pelicans surrounding it carved into the marble. It's beautiful, finally- it took me awhile to figure out it was really pelicans, must be getting old eyes... than it occurred to me- duh a symbol of faith...and then we looked it up. 

    Anyway, I digress. We have a lot of symbols in our faith. So for fun, we ordered a set of custom made Waldorf style animals off Etsy from the Wooden Caterpiller store for Zoe Therese- our littlest daughter. The animals are all Easter symbols. They will totally be fun to play with but all have a meaning.
One interesting thing, I had to draw up  the Easter lily and I can say I collaborated on the art. They actually look pretty much like what I submitted. I was very impressed!

The pelican was believed to pierce her own breast, and feed her starving young with her own blood.  The same way Christ feeds us his flesh. It became a symbol of Christ. 
The peacock was believed that when it died it's flesh never decayed, and became a symbol of immorality. Then it became tied to Christ rising from the dead and rising to eternal life.
The Easter Lily is associated with purity and peace and has always been associated with the Resurrection.
The butterfly- the caterpillar dies in a tomb (it's cocoon) and is made and emerges into something more beautiful.
The Cross and Lamb- well those are self explanatory.  I do have a fish but he is for our youngest son. It would make a nice addition to the Easter Symbols though. 

There is one more I didn't get a picture of because it's wrapped up so nice I don't want mess with it.
I found these super cute stackable Waldorf Easter Egg toy in another Etsy shop, so her last Easter symbol will be this cute egg from the Sweet Moms shop. Eggs represent many things in the Christian Easter tradition obviously, new life, the Trinity, and resurrection.

 I ordered a few extra things just for fun for each of the kids, but one in particular really got me.

The bee tree- it comes apart into four pieces.

   Our poetry has a lag in it currently since it's the end of the year, we always pick up an extra one or two poems. Three years ago we had learned "How Doth the Little Crocodile," by Lewis Carroll, which is a clever little poem about a lazy crocodile and my kids love anything about animals. Finding out later its the moral opposite of "How Doth the little busy bee," by Isaac Watts, which we are learning currently, out of love for our bees. It wasn't planned on purpose, just accidentally stumbled into this.  
The bee is a model of virtue and hard work. While the crocodile, lazy and deceitful. If you ever have a chance to read the two poems and memorize them, they make a nice compliment to each other.  

Took some photos of Jesus being put into the tomb after our Good Friday service.

It's really hard for me to find reasons to miss our services at our church in particular.  We have so many cool traditions.

Hope you have a blessed Holy Saturday.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Brenden's first time serving as an Altar boy... REALLY

Well this was too cute not to share and too big of a deal as well. Brenden finally has been able to serve our church in some small an altar boy for Stations of the Cross. Ever since Knox started he has been begging me to ask Fr. Ben if he could learn something. He is so eager to help at church in any form. Lucky for us till recently we had a sacristan who was always finding him special jobs to do for her and he was so proud to help in his own way.

  I can't tell you how many pictures I have of this kid being dressed up as a priest as well as an altar boy here at home. Ever since we rounded up our mass kit parts a few years ago at the Goodwill, and his siblings made their sacraments. He has been at attention and waiting his turn.  He always wants to be the altar server in the end, and makes Knox be the part of the priest. Anyway, here were some recent photos of them using their mass kit. 

Zoe's practicing making her First Communion, only on the tongue ;)

SO now... presenting Brenden as a real Altar server... be sure and scroll to the end...where his rope fell off...

Rope was coming off and I saw Fr. Ben stifle a smile I am so proud of the boys. Brenden finally had a dream come true!  He didn't stop talking about it last night or this morning. He keeps reminding me how he is going to be doing it now every week. Deo Gratias!