Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Mid-Winter Hive Check

 During our most recent warm spell, I went out and took a quick peek in all my hives. My three main hives look like they're doing pretty well- plenty of stored food and a good population, with no obvious pest problems that this novice could spot. I've been feeding my two weaker hives since late fall, but my strongest hive I've only given a few pollen patties to (no syrup), and they might end up needing some sugar water in the next few weeks. Everyone looked stable at this point though, so I dusted everyone with powdered sugar left them to their business.

The only bad news: my little bee ball hanging out in the nuc box didn't make it though those crazy-cold nights in the teens and lower. Sad day.

Overall, though, my mid-winter hive check went well and my main little ladies look like they're doing a-ok! I've been told I just need to keep a watchful eye on their food stores in the next month or two and they'll stay in good shape for when those spring flowers start blooming... so we'll see!

Monday, January 16, 2017

The New-New Garden Plan

All thoughts and plans for free time have been almost completely garden-focused lately, and it's not just me! This new garden plan has been a real team effort, and with the fresh perspective of the hubs guiding it's design, this new space is really taking shape and it's so exciting!

Our 'new' garden is going back in the same place where it was before, but it'll be a little bit bigger and there'll be one big change to the space: we're going to move the chicken coop.

At least, we're gong to try to move it. Because I've pretty much committed to a 'no-till' gardening method and since we're sticking with raised beds (probably 15-18" high), we just don't need the chickens in the garden anymore. Plus now that we have so much more space for alternative coop locations, and we've figured out the chickens prefer the woods to the pasture, we're just going to drag the coop to the west and nestle it into a little patch of woods where they can have their own yard (you know, the way we dragged the old well house back into the woods last year). With them out of the way they'll free up a great slice of our fenced-in garden space and leave behind some great fertilized soil!

 Once the chicken coop is relocated and the ground is leveled, we'll build the raised beds, put the fence back together, and start prepping soil for spring sprout babies!

We (the kids and I) sat down this past weekend when everything was foggy and gray and sketched out the plants we'll have when everything is made ready...

...and as we finished and admired our work, Audrey summed up what we're all feeling right now- she said, "I wish it was spring and we could go dig in the dirt with our tools and seeds right now!" 

Garden planning is my most favorite mid-winter activity; when those rose-colored glasses are on thoughts of the pests and the weeds and the heat are a million miles away and all we remember is the taste of that first ripe tomato... I mean, what better way is there to spend a dreary afternoon?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Before and After :: Ottoman

This week I finally gave myself permission to get on with the recovering of our poor peeling ottoman. We bought it off of Craig's List the first year in our house here, and from the start it's had problems.

There was light pink sparkly nail polish on one of the corners that wasn't noticed when purchased, and some of the veneer had chipped off of one of the pull-out cup rests. Then shortly after we'd gotten it settled, the cat jumped off the top and his claws scratched the bonded leather. Unable to resist the raw edge, Bubba came along and over time slowly peeled a hand-sized patch of the leather off the cushion.

Fast-forward two more years and there are now multiple places where the leather has peeled (or been peeled) off, and two more of the little pull-out cup rests are missing veneer.

It was hurtin' for a makeover. I mean, you can only strategically pile magazines so may ways to cover up all those spots before it just starts looking ridiculous.


 Thankfully it was not difficult to disassemble, and all the parts and pieces seemed very amicable to a total novice recovererer. I found some nice upholstery fabric on sale that would compliment the tuft buttons (technical term I'm sure), and with some basic and improvised tools I gave it a go... and made a total mess of it.

Side note: I have almost zero reupholstering experience.

 I mean holy cow, those buttons are no joke. My thumbs are going to be reminding me of this process for a few days I'm sure. But guess what? It's a whole lot easier to get started the right way, which does not mean starting with those damned buttons... and this was demonstrated to me by a wise and generous friend who came right over after hearing me complain about my erroneous ways. She got right to work undoing my mistakes and making it all right, and it's true- it went so much easier when it was all corrected.

 After everything was redone properly, the rest followed like a piece of cake...


  Thanks for the help, Keri!

(I tried to get a shot of the top but there was something blocking every shot... I'll try again later...)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


My parents got the kiddos their first telescope for Christmas, and ever since we've been asked at least 2-3 times a day canwegetthetelescopeoutnowpleeeeease?!

Unfortunately there's always been a reason why the answer has had to be no so far: it's been too cloudy, it's been way (way way way) too cold, the kids have been sick, I've been under the weather... but tonight we got to say yes. Yes, it's clear. Yes, it's warm enough. Yes, we'll get the telescope out tonight.

They were so excited... you could say they were over the moon (booooo, I know)...

(Mama also tried out her new camera in super low light... so do forgive the blurry photos, some of us couldn't hold still for the pictures! But they turned out well for it actually being almost pitch-black!)

 It was too windy to keep the telescope aimed properly and still very for long, but overall everyone was pretty excited about the experience, and as long as my kiddos stay excited about science that's all that matters to me!

Friday, January 6, 2017

First Snow

 It didn't snow at all last year, nor sleet nor even get icy... but when it came to the chances of winter weather today, the weather people couldn't make up their minds- it was either going to be clear and sunny with no chance of precipitation or there was going to be a 30% chance of snow for the first time in two years... buuuuut no accumulation. Well well well, guess what we got? Snow all day long, fine and soft, and by the time school let out it was sticking here and there. My kiddos were over the moon about it, shouting "I knew it! I knew there'd be snow!" during the short drive home, ooooo-ing and aaaaaah-ing at all the snowy windshields, gutters, and north-facing rooftops.

Of course we had to get out in it, even if it was just for an excuse to cozy up to the fire and have hot chocolate afterwards, but there was definitely magic in the air... after all, it's been a long time since we've gotten to experience a First Snow!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Right Now

Right now, I'm...

 ...wading through my days surrounded by things half-done and projects awaiting attention, exemplified perfectly by what's on my "desk" right now: laptop on top of Spring garden plan, native plant and gardening books on top of bills to be paid, upholstery tools on top of said books, markers and water bottle left behind from some kid project, and food processor base left behind after looking up the model number and realizing that yes, we do in fact have one of the recalled Cuisinarts.

 ...looking forward to having the time to move on with the recovering of this poor abused beast of an ottoman (I finally found the fabric I wanted!).

...awaiting the arrival of the second round of parts for this other poor abused beast, who was in a bit more trouble than we thought (but it's still fixable, thank goodness).

...planning on rearranging the attic soon to make room for the collapsed trees that lined our driveway this holiday... they're reminding me of those evergreen bagworm cocoons that you can find in cedar trees, you know the ones? That can't be good juju right outside my front door...

...ignoring it all to play with my new camera lens!

Right now I'm using my blog to distract me from aaaaalllll the junk and stuff I should be doing... and I don't regret it one bit! I've learned it'll all wait for me, anyway!

Happy Tuesday, y'all.

Monday, January 2, 2017


I'm trying not to judge too quickly, really, I'm trying.

2017, you're only... like... two days old. No one can know anything about you after only two days.

But seriously, I'm going to need you to cut the crap already.

So far you've brought me two puking babies, a dryer on it's way out when the laundry demands were at their peak, a big ol' rain storm with a back seat car window cracked open, and a sonofagun headache.

And we're only two days in. Two. Days.

So let's keep it real. This weekend was not your best foot, I'm sure. I see a lot of potential in the other 363 days to come. Let's be friends, OK? You can make it all up to me by just letting my kids make it to school in the morning.



Let's do this.