Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Outdoors... Check!



Our final decorations have finally gone up- the outdoors are decked, the doors are decked, and the indoors are decked... check! We had good help getting it all done, too. I guess something can be said for the weird warm spikes we've been having in the weather lately. Everything looks super magical now...


...merry and bright (and a little glarey, too, but ah well).

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

December Hive Check

For anyone following along, you'll remember that the last time I was in my hives, I discovered a huge varroa mite problem my girls were struggling with (I've since found out it's been a bad year for varroa, and there's actually been a state-wide survey showing we've spiked higher than average). 

Once I figured out how high my mite loads were, I treated with formic acid and have been feeding my girls like crazy (they didn't make a honey crop this year, probably due in part to being crippled by pests). This past weekend, when the weather went back up into the mid-70's, I took the opportunity to check on my girls.

I was so happy with what I found.




Despite the natural decline in population due to the weather, all three hives were wonderfully full, had stores of both sugar water and some honey, and didn't show any signs of SHB's or wax moths. I didn't dig into the brood boxes to see if there was any remaining brood, but I'm assuming it would have been minimal at best. All the drones were gone.

I cannot begin to explain what a relief it was to see all three of them still... well, there. I was sure I'd doomed them with my failure to treat for varroa last year.

I still plan on doing an oxalic acid treatment in January with the help of a more experienced beekeeper, but until then the plan is just to keep feeding them... and to stop worrying quite as much about them. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Weekending




We hosted our annual themed holiday meal this weekend, going with an Australian Christmas this year due to the fact that the last few Christmastimes have been so warm (so naturally it was chilly today). We smoked a brisket overnight, threw some shrimps on the barbie, potlucked the cold salads, and capped it off with sugar cookies and mini-chocolate cheesecakes. My kiddos were over-the-top hyper, the grandparents all seemed in good spirits, the fireplaces were glowing, and the wine was flowing. It felt like a good kickoff to the oncoming Yule tide.

Wishing all a good meal with good company this weekend, too. Happy weekending!

Wondering about our past years' themed family dinners? 2009 (Victorian), 2010 (Chinese), 2011 (Italian), 2012 (German), 2013 (1950's American), 2014 (Mexican), 2015 (Norwegian), 2016 (French/Alsatian) 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

This Year's Tree




The hubs and I went and picked out our tree today. We decided we'd go and scope them out before the kids got home from school juuuuuuust in case there wasn't a good fresh tree of the proper height to be found. Weeeeell, there was a perfect tree, hours off the truck and still in the middle of the parking lot in a pile of other trees... and we bought the first one we picked up.





When the Littles got home I had all the lights on the tree and the bin of treasured ornaments at the ready, and they jumped right in with gusto. Only a minimum of breaks were required to get the job done...



...and in no time we had ourselves what they've declared to be "The Best Tree Ever!"


I've been circling it as the sun has gone down, appreciating the new festive ambient light and the glimmer of all the ornaments we've loved since our first tree went up. At the top hangs an ornament I made when I was in kindergarten, towards the middle hangs ornaments that my own kindergartners made, and at the bottom are the clumps and clumps of ornaments lovingly loaded on to a precious few branches by those now first and third grade Littles while we all decorated the tree together.

The first few days with a Christmas tree in the house are always the best. Oh how we love this year's tree!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Visiting :: Arizona

My grandmother (on my mom's side) turned 95 this weekend, and we had the privilege of flying out to Arizona to celebrate with her. It was a whirlwind 2-night stay, but the party and the reunion were worth it all. 







And of course the party wasn't the only thing we managed while we were there...





Early mornings, late nights, a time change, introductions and re-introductions and meeting some family members for the first time, shared rooms, every meal out... we are tired...




...but we are glad we went.




(And we are also so glad to be back home!)

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Gratitude Challenge 2017

If you've been playing along with Positively Present's 30 Days of Gratitude Challenge, these prompts won't be news to you, and if you've visited me on Instagram, my posts won't be new news, either. However if neither apply, or if you're like me and you like a little consolidation and closure, here it is... my 30 Days of Gratitude, all at once:

1: Beauty

2: Happiness

3: Nature

4: Inspiration

5&6: Amusement and Kindness

7: Comfort

8:Self-love

9: Feeling

10: Nourishment

11: Music

12: Freedom

13: Optimism

14: Challenges

15: Health

16: Creativity

17: Memories

18: Home

19: Friendship

20: Innovation

21: Love

22: Awareness

23: Family

24: Solitude

25 & 26: Generosity and Wonder

27: Meaning

28: Peace

29: Knowledge

30: Growth


See past years' challenges: 2013, 2014, 2015 (2016 I participated on Instagram only)