Monday, March 26, 2018

Dead Hive

My bees had a hard year last year, mainly because I was a negligent beekeeper and didn't treat them for varroa mites like I needed to. Sadly, over the winter, the implications of my neglect came full circle and the hive that was my strongest died out.

I'd checked on them a few weeks ago and although their population was really low, I felt optimistic about giving them a frame of eggs from a stronger hive and letting them requeen themselves. The only problem with that idea was the fact that my other two hives have slow-to-start queens and I didn't have a frame to offer the weak hive until this weekend...... and I was too late.

There were 2 bees in North Hive this morning when I went out there to shuffle things around, and I could see signs that the local pests were figuring out the hive was unguarded (cockroaches, SHB's, and a single two-inch-long wax moth larvae tunnel). I decided to tear it all down. The frames with wax (and honey, and pollen, sad day) went into the freezer, the lids and bottom board went into the garden shed, and the boxes are now sitting in my office waiting for a revamp.

I guess it was only a matter of time before I dealt with loss; the state average loss of colonies per year right now is 34.9% (source), so I'm right there with them. It's a bummer to see North Hive's empty spot right now, but I'm back on the bee club lists for swarms and removals, and I have hope it won't be empty for long.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Almost Camping

We attempted a little camp-out in the woods recently, and though we didn't get to sleep in the tent at night (it rained), there were naps and we did dinner and everyone got to experience the joy of cleaning up a campsite... so on the whole it left a good taste in everyone's mouths. We'll be ready to do it for real soon.

Side note: a few days later there were about a ton of pig tracks all over the site, so that could have been interesting... 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Office Art

In my new office I have three gray walls, a wall with a window and door, a desk, a chair, and an empty shelf. That is all.

When I first started, my office was kind of the catch-all for the things no one else wanted in their offices. I had the worst chair in the entire building. I had a lot of chevron-striped nick-knacks, and I had one of the ugliest mass-produced printed-canvas "paintings" ever.

The metal circles were not part of the canvas, that was a different decor thing... 

When I let it be known that I too did not want the pixelated circle "art," I was told it would be sent to the second-hand shop... so I asked if instead of tossing it, could I maybe take it home and repaint it? I mean, if it was going to be thrown out anyway, I couldn't really do much harm trying my hand at recycling it, right?

So I took it home, I primed it with Kilz, and I got to recyclin'...

...and now I have something to look at that's upgraded a bit from gray and shelves and gray (and I got a new chair, too).

Monday, March 19, 2018

Change Is Hard.

True to the way life so often goes, we've been thrown a curve ball and have been re-establishing ourselves recently after a major change in our rhythm- I've started working outside the house again. Like, as in a job in the Real World. With grown-ups only- all day- and rush-hour traffic and a lunch break and all that suit-and-tie stuff.

I'd been working from home for a couple years already, but it stopped getting us where we needed to be, and at the start of the new year we gave ourselves a deadline for me testing the waters and ultimately going back to work. I dabbled, I tested the waters (a lot), and I actually found a really great opportunity... quite a bit sooner than we'd anticipated. Everything had to move super fast, we had to do quite a scrambling-juggling act, and we actually pulled it off. Now I find myself on the cusp of my second week of work, trying to digest what's been working, what fell through the cracks, and what I hadn't even thought of before this thing took off.

The hardest part for me right now is letting go of all the time during the day I've taken so for granted- this past week has left me feeling robbed because I leave when it's still dark enough that I can't even let the chickens out, and I get home with only about an hour of daylight left to do all the things. That's definitely not what I'm used to, and my days were full before I started working away from home. There's a lot falling by the wayside right now. I'm struggling to figure out what's worth stopping to pick back up and what should just be left behind.

All that to say I've determined that my blog is not one of the things I'll be leaving behind... even though my posts may be fewer and farther between, it's still valuable and important to me to pause in this space and take note of all the little things I love about this one wild and crazy life of ours.

So send me good vibes, y'all, because right now it feels like everything is changing, and change is hard!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Weekending: After

My hubby has been bustin' his behind (with a lot of help from his dad and our two resident big helpers) to get this dog yard completed (see the 'before' when we first got started), and this afternoon we finally finished it. It's a lot bigger than we started out thinking it would be, and honestly we had enough recycled fencing to make it even bigger (but I think this thing'll do juuuuust fine). The corner posts are set in concrete, the gate is big enough for the tractor to pass through, and the entire thing is lined in boulders to prevent any subterranean attempts at breaking out.

Oh, and we even got a doggy door installed in the side of the garden shed, effectively making it the biggest doghouse ever. And it locks from the inside, so at night when our pup is sound asleep in the house the night creatures can't wreak havoc on our tools and chicken supplies.

I'm super pleased with how it turned out, and honestly I think Suka is too... at least, she's pleased about it when we're all out there with her. Will she like it when she's the only one? We'll seeeeeee...

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Thanks, Universe.

Isn't it funny how the Powers-that-Be can throw you for a loop more often than not, usually when everything seems to be going just swell, usually when you're absolutely not expecting it? And how other times the Universe will thow you a friggin' bone every once-in-a-while, maybe in the exact moment when you really, really need a little something?

This little gem came home with Henry today, and the timing couldn't have been better- right after a loop, right when I needed a little something.

Thanks, Universe.

Sunday, March 4, 2018


This weekend we initiated a multi-weekend project that will ultimately culminate in a safe, fenced-in yard for Suka. We've chosen the area around and mostly to the west side of the garden shed, so we can double up garden shed and doghouse (we'll even retrofit a doggy door). 

She's quickly outgrowing the kennel in our bedroom that she sleeps in, and it seems plain ol' cruel to pen her up in it during the day when we have to all be out doing the various things that we do in places that do not welcome dogs.

Also, she's not well-behaved enough (yet) to just roam the house... and she doesn't have a strong enough sense of territory and place (yet) to be trusted to hang around outside on her own... not to mention the risk posed by the strays and wild neighbors who can always be counted on to visit at the most inopportune moments. Additionally the picket line-style dog run we rigged for her was an epic fail because we have way too much scrub and underbrush everywhere and she's hopelessly tangled in about 30 minutes.

All that to say she needs a yard. A fortified, dig-proof and (mostly) weatherproof place to be in comfort and ease when the occasion arises where she has to stay behind and hold down the fort. So on this project we have labored, and I think we're in a pretty good place for next weekend when we initiate phase two: the fence.