Wednesday, March 28, 2012

We Have Bees!

Before I went to Williamsburg with the boys, The King and I had been watching Youtube videos on beekeeping.  We discovered what is called Top Bar Hives.  These hives are easier on the beekeeper's back and are most economical-something we look for.  By the time I got back, The King had a box ready for us.  Then about one month later, I got a call from a close friend that she had a swarm in one of her trees.  I asked her about the location and determined that I should be able to get it.  It was on a little branch low to the ground.  So I found a Youtube video on catching a swarm, got my cooler and kids, climbed in the van and took off!  I don't have photos of the process because we were all too hyped up (some were scared) to concentrate on that.  Here are some photos of the next couple of days after putting the swarm in my box.

Here was my bee outfit when I caught the swarm.  Swarms are very easy to handle and I didn't have any bee equipment anyway.  My husband got his hat and put one of my net laundry bags over it just so we wouldn't have to worry about the face area.  He wanted me to be all buttoned up in a jacket but I was too antsy to put all that stuff on.  I needed to feel free to move, plus I was brave at the time.  LOL  


Here is our top bar hive.  Do you see the blue cooler behind it?  That's how I transported the bees to our house.  I cut the whole branch off and put it in the cooler.  I had to wait a little while with the top open because some of the bees had started flying around.  I learned later that I could have sprayed them with sugar water to keep them more in a ball.  Anyway, The King took the top off the hive, put the branch in there, and then left the box open for the stragglers.  The side of the hive has a viewing window from plexiglass.  It is behind the wood panel on the side.

Just to be safe we fed the bees.  It was still late winter and we had moved them.  We wanted them to stay so we gave them a 50/50 solution of sugar water fed from hummingbird feeder.  Hey, it worked!

This view shows you the feeder in the front of the hive.  There are 5 entrance holes for the hive but we only had one open.  It was still chilly at night and we didn't want the new hive invaded by robber bees.  Having only one hole open, there is less entrance area for our bees to have to defend.  As the season goes on, we opened the other hole one by one until they were all opened.

There was a huddle of bees outside the entrance for a couple of days.  We still don't know why they do that but we were just glad they didn't leave.

Here is a view through the plexiglass.  We assume that the queen is in the middle of the huddle.  This is basically all we saw for about 2 weeks.  After that, we could see through the mass here and there bits of comb being built.

Here is Tigger wearing the hat and veil.  He felt comfortable around them especially in the beginning.  He's more wary again because both The King and I have bee stung since.  But it's ok, a few stings are good for ya!  Keeps the MS away.  LOL

   The next two photos were to capture the difference in the worker bees and the drones.  Drones are the males and they are bigger.


Transporting the bees in the van with 2 kids was interesting.  Even though I duct taped around the top of the cooler, there were still stragglers who could smell their queen and wanted in.  So there were a few stray bees flying around the back of my van--they stayed close to the cooler thankfully.  The boys seemed fine once I covered them with jackets and stuff for their heads.  It was an adventure!

We have not taken a class yet and we were too late to sign up for this year.  We have made and will continue to make mistakes I am sure.  We hope to sign up for the class starting in early 2013 where we will probably learn everything we did wrong.  :)

More of the story to come.....

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Williamsburg Part 3

This trip included Jamestown and Yorktown.  I actually liked these places better because they were more physical:  you can touch and run through history as opposed to just listening and looking.

Powhatan Village



 Ships at Jamestown.  The people that work here are VERY friendly to kids and are willing to answer all kinds of questions.  Something I can't say about who we met at Williamsburg.

 Glass blowing.


Yorktown

This man said he was an ex-schoolteacher.  He was probably an amazing teacher.  He spent about 30 minutes with the boys explaining all about the guns, the fighting back then, the encampment.  He was amazing!  He was funny and informative all at the same time.   If there had been a tip jar there, I would have left a big one!!!





Friday, February 24, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Williamsburg Trip Part 1

In February, Williamsburg was having a special discounted price for homeschoolers.  We headed up that way for about 5 days.  The first day we got our bearings as best we could on the area and decided to head to the beach (about an hour and a half away) just to see and smell the ocean.  It's been a while since I've been to the ocean.  That is one thing I miss about Florida.  I wouldn't return to the beaches in this area of Norfolk because you hear the military jets flying overhead about every 3 minutes.  Not the most relaxing place.  They do have a great boardwalk though.



One thing you may not know about Pooh is that he loves dogs.  He loves all dogs but especially Huskies, German Shepherds and wolves.  He takes the initiative to approach people with dogs to ask if he can pet them and will ask the breed and the name of the dog, etc.  It's one nice way he interacts with people.  

The only downfall in all of it is that he gets seriously offended if a dog either doesn't like him, is afraid of him, etc.  He gets very mad.  He takes it personally and then blames the dog, the owner, me and anyone else who may get in his line of verbal fire.  

Thankfully that dog loved him just as most do and he had a great day playing with Tigger and a cousin at the beach.  Somehow they did manage to NOT get wet.  It was a miracle.

Pooh loves water and watching water move.

They played 'run away from the waves'.

'Draw and destroy'.

It was a great, relaxing day!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Seed Organizing

I finally did it.  I finally organized my seeds.  This has taken me years.  I did some googling to see what methods were out there and I liked this one the best.  I made a few personal adjustments but for the most part, this is what some others have done.

My labels on the front of the bins are just index cards set inside the front area.  That way they can be changed out if need be.  I tend to freak out when doing a project if I'm not sure I want something to be permanent and then I don't do it.  This way allows me to have the label and yet feel comfortable in case of 'change' (oooo scary right?  Sometimes, even though you know you are ridiculous, you just can't help it.)

I tried to put paper clips on all of my packets so that when they are opened I already have the clip there to reclose.  Aren't I so smart?

I have some oddball packaging because of seed sharing.  I discovered that to firm up the packet I could staple the baggie to an index card and it stays in place better.

Works even better with the smaller baggies.  This is a jewelry bag by the way.  Those are great for storing small seeds.


Here are my three bins.  I bought more just in case because you know I want them all to match.  (rolling eyes)  Anyway, there are two for fruits and veggies and one for flowers and herbs.

Oh and here's a shot of my dividers.  Yep, in pencil so they can be 'changed'.  Ya gotta love a quirky mind!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Our Only Snow

Pooh loves being outside with the dogs.

Our littlest rascal.  She's my escape artist.  Adorable little pain in the butt-that's what I should have named her.
 Here's Chicken Little.  I call him that because he's afraid of brooms, cameras, etc.  Here he's afraid of the camera so he's hiding out in the doghouse.  Stupid dog.

Who is that cool dude? 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Family Worship Night-Bible Legos

Everyone made their own Lego version of Solomon's Temple.

The Latin King

Pooh

Tigger

MasterpieceMom  (I am soooo not a Lego artist.)

Gotta keep it interesting, right?  This was a hit for most.  Pooh is at the age where everything is 'lame' so I don't know if I should count his opinion.