Sunday, June 3, 2018

So what have we been doing? hail storms, Polyphemus moths, chickens, bees, geology, army...

Summer is here! Well, it's probably still springish some places, but not here we went from winter to summer, sort of skipped spring I think.  We have been on several awesome geology field trips, the hubs and I went canoeing for our anniversary, and we collected a bee swarm, plus got our garden organized and a beautiful watering system in place. I sort of accidently took over my husband's shed with our flock of "too many hens" and bee keeping supplies..as you can see in the photos. 
  



I clearly need my own shed so he can have his space back.


Then earlier this week- these arrived!  Clearance Honey extractors!! OOH BOY!





One is huge, and it's only a 2 frame extractor. I ordered one for me and one for my dad...I feel bad for our mailman.  We treated the bees for varroa mites tonight and checked to see there were eggs and babies. All seemed well. The reason we check for eggs and babies- tells us the queen is alive and well. An egg is only an egg for 3 days..so if you see eggs, your queen was alive at least 3 days ago. Babies indicate she was alive 4 or more days ago. Anywho, that's why we check, no queen means you end up with a dead hive. I have a hive that was strong after winter but lost it's queen. I tried over and over to requeen it. They kept rejecting the queens- even ones they reared. So I have slowly reduced them down to one sad little deep box. They are ready to be shook out and the box removed. 

Here is the swarm we caught a couple weeks back. We got a call from a little old lady who is terrified of bees. It was a small swarm and Knox even stuck his hand up in it.


Brad did a great job placing them without a jolt into the box, they never flew up or broke their beard. I clipped the branch they were on and he set them in side the box Knox was holding up over his head. Great teamwork,and took less than 5 mins. The swarm was on the small side, so I have been feeding them sugar water and also gave them a full frame of capped brood- it was due to hatch in three days, from my designer Italian bees from California! They are doing very well now! We even marked the queen purple. 

So random chicken pictures...aren't they pretty?




So while I was at my mom's holy hour- she was in Florida, our polyphemus moth finally hatched. Brad put the kids in bed and walked out into the living room and found it walking down his arm chair.

These are not small moths.. Knox did a project talk back in February on Polyphemus moths for 4h days. He actually had this cocoon on display for the talk and explained to the judge it was going to be hatching this spring...and she did. I called our 4h leader around 11 pm  and she brought over her female moth, and we left them outside together. They called in 3 males! Unfortunately the cats tore up two of the male moths badly, they weren't dead. And Brad caught the 3rd giant male moth on our garage.



The gas company decided to randomly show up to fix a leak without notification. Go figure every time we get grass planted, seems like it get ripped out! LOL! I do think we have about everything fixed in this old house though.


There are some of the eggs, we hope they were fertile and will hatch. We left a male moth in with her hoping they would mate again if needed.



So it's been 3 years, and my peony plant finally bloomed. And we sniffed it every chance we got!






This little girl loves her daddy!


We have a black cat family, they are the best cats ever. They catch and kill everything. Good thing, because of the mice that hang around due to our chicken feed.


These cats are so affectionate, and my girls love to play with them. They never get fiesty or scratch, they are very tolerant. Momma kitty was a feral cat we found under our shed with a litter of 5 kittens- like the week we left for Florida a few years back. We kept her confined and fed her hot dogs. We would play with her kittens and finally allowed her to come lose into the homeschool room. She eventually let Genna and Knox pet her and somehow they convinced her they would like to pick her up. And  I guess she liked it to much she is now our full time pet! We got her spayed and shots. Two of her kittens we kept as well. They are awesome cats!



Zoe the chicken whisperer...she can literally catch any old onry hen. She doesn't have to even run them down. She just nabs them, I have no idea how she does it.



Oh I did say we went canoeing for our anniversary!  We used to canoe the Mulberry river once a year..and haven't been for 10 years- since the babies came. So we went back this year alone, we had so much fun, it was weird. It's the first time we left our kids to go somewhere together. I am not a fan of vacations without our kids.  I know there is a lot of couples who feel that they need that time to get away from their homelife I suppose to connect with their spouse. I don't know any homeschool moms who do leave their kids on the weekends to go on short trips...so there is my disclaimer for anyone who is wondering if this is something we do frequently. No we don't keep up with the Jones' in that sense.


That's the edge of the jump...


Can you see the Hang Gliders signage?

Mother of Divine Grace families- we took the time to 
go to Mt. Magazine! Just so we could show the kids pictures. 


It was an easy walk.  Very scenic, except for the top! 


My pictures are in reverse. 



We canoed 14 miles in about 4 or 5 hours.











Okay, who doesn't love wild horses??
Especially some spirited ones, with their long mains whipping
in the wind across a Kansas prairie?

Every year we seem to get to go back to one spot in particular to collect fossils and there are wild mustangs. It's so cool.





alway catching something...


That's my crazy brother in law! He is getting my sister a lovely rock for mother's day. He chose wisely, the rock was full of gigantic horn coral.


Kansas sunrise out near Peabody.





we collected behind a Regal Cinema- go figure! *Brad works security at one..lol!

These next pictures are from Pillsbury Crossing. I only know about it because my brother would tell me random things about it from college. We finally got to see it for ourselves! Its absolutely beautiful! TONS OF SNAKES!


We counted 15 water snakes in about 20 mins.





See the snake below? There were two, but my camera didn't get the second on quick enough.




Luckily none of the snakes were poisonous, but I am not sure I would go in the water like some of those other people....eeeek. I love snakes, but not those 15, and there were tons more, we just stopped counting.



I am not sure who's front yard this is, but we always pass it near Marion Lake.

Now more recently- as in this past week, my poor van got nailed with hailstones.



The faint white blurry atmosphere below the clouds that falls to the ground, to the left of the street sign arrow, and to the right of that car coming down that ramp- is the hail storm making it's way across the eastern edge of our county. We drove away the opposite direction as it moved NE and we were able to see it clearly from the highway. Our weatherman was behind us watching it as well on the radio (otherwise I wouldn't have see it)

Also this week, Genna and I got to travel up to hear Laura Berquist speak at Benedictine College. On the way there, we stopped at my college in Leavenworth- it happened to be alumni weekend, although I didn't see anyone coming in.


Overlooking the river from Amelia Earhart's house in Atchison, KS.


That right there, incase you can't read it...Leavenworth's Federal Prison.


It's a very stately prison, very impressive. I love driving by it. 




Moving onto some pretty pictures from home..




That is a linen my mom brought back from Ireland for me and I placed my Belleek porcelain honey pot on it for now, till I can fill it with our homegrown honey. Belleek is made in Ireland. They get imported, and I found a deal on them online. Gave one to mom for Mother's day and the kids gave me my own ;) 


So the husband and I celebrated our 2 son's birthdays! We took them to Buffalo Wild Wings and had cake here at home.





Gotta love family selfies!


So what do you do with a an ex-army turned cop dad? You stick all your kids and cousins in a cool video about honda minivans...in camo of course.



I got to wear his red beret- I felt very special!


See my rooftop snipers?









Go Army!


Literally Brenden will play in his Fr. Kapaun outfit all day as an army dude. He patrols the borders of our property, it's hilarious. He goes out and waits on his dad to pull in after work to greet him. We have no shortage of nerf guns here. We also have cats who guard us from the trees- literally the tops of our 50 year old elms...so ye have been warned!


Here is my parting video for you... I hope you laugh and enjoy! (Complete with classical music, Ride of the Valkyries...because we are all about that!)