Thursday, April 14, 2011

Days since last bee related injury- 0

Stephanie's foot and leg are healing well!  She had her post-op and got a walking boot.  This is a bit contradictory considering the fact she is not suppose to bear any weight on it at all.  But now she can take it off and stretch her foot and leg a couple times a day.  She still needs to wear it to bed.

Clara took the first sting of the summer.  But that is what happens when you are running around your front yard barefoot when you own 10,000 bees!

The bees are doing something strange.  They are in one chunk in the top of the hive.  We are hoping they are doing that because it has been so cold and not because they are planning a mass exodus. 

We will update when we know more!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Apis Mellifera

The bees arrived Sunday!
 You KNOW in your mind that you are getting a box full of 10,000 bees.  But nothing prepared us for the site of them crawling around just on the other side of a screen box. 

 For the uninitiated it is a terrifying nightmare in a box.  Even the sound of that many bees was enough to give us chills.  But it was as fascinating as it was terrifying and after hanging out with the bees, waiting for a dry spot in the day, we started to get used to them.

Since Stephanie is still no-weight-bearing on crutches Jacob offers to do the leg work and puts on the bee suit.  Kylie and Clara offer to help too.  Look Ma, no bee suits! Wow, Steph, your brother and sisters must really love you!  Check these guys out!

Everyone is excited about the bees!

Ok, time to pull the queen out of the queen box and put her in the hive first.  The bees have had time to get to know her because she was in a little screen box, inside the big screen box.  Stephanie taps her out onto a frame and slides the frame back in.

Now time to put the rest of the bees in the hive.  They all work together to turn the box upside down and gently (remember this later, this is where it all went bad) shake the other bees out of the box, down onto the frames.  Look at these brave kiddos with no bee suits on!

Most of the bees are in the hive!  A few stay behind in the screen box so the box is set gently down on the frames so that those bees can join the colony. 

I would like to tell you that is how easy it was and the bees lived happily ever after in their new hive.  But that would be too easy and would take the fun out of it!  When we return the next morning to pull the box out of the hive the bees have not left it.  In fact, many have crawled back in.  Notice in the picture below that you can see the box below Stephanie's white coat, it is sitting on the lawn chair.  It is hard to see but it is filled with bees that are suppose to be in the hive!

The photographer who had done pretty well up to this point started to get a bit nervous of all the swarming and backed up.  So you can't see it but this is Stephanie trying to figure out how to get the rest of the bees out of the box.  Notice how many are swarming around.

After a call to a bee expert we realized we were too gentle when shaking them out of the box.  The box needed a good shaking.  We are hoping at his point the queen hasn't made her way back into the box because the bees sure don't seem to want to leave it.  Stephanie's leg had had enough for the day so it was Kylie's turn to help out and wear the suit. 

Kylie got quite a few more bees into the hive.  Some stubborn ones still stayed in the box but she did a great job!

Interesting side note-  This is Stephanie's hood after the first time she worked with the bees.  Notice the cluster of bees on it as she walked away.  One decided to sting the hood.  This gave off a scent that told the other bees to come sting there too.  Every one of these bees died on the hood as a result of stinging it.

Credit must be given to the photographer who was not crazy about bees when this whole thing started but who managed to overcome fear for the sake of blogging her daughters bee adventure.  Stay tuned to find out if the Rainy Day Acres beehive makes it or if the bees swarm off looking for greener pastures.

Did you know-  The Latin name for the western honey bee is Apis Mellifera. 
Apis- Bee
Melli- Honey
Ferre- To bear
Honey bearing bee.

Agatha's Big Day

Once upon a time there was a momma pig named Agatha.  She was pregnant with piglets when her owners told her she would be going to live with some children who were starting a weaner pig business.  Agatha did not want to go to a new home.  So when the new family came Agatha would not get on the lift gate to go into the truck.  She pushed, she ran, she fought but finally couldn't pass up the chance to have some tasty tortillas and got trapped on the lift gate.  It went up, up, up, lifting Agatha into her new family's truck. 

Agatha's ride home was very long.  They did not go fast on the freeway.  Instead they went through one town, over a river, through the tulip fields, through another town, through freshly plowed fields and finally through the woods and down a gravel driveway to her new home.  Agatha was tired from her fight against getting into the truck and slept most of the way. 

This new family had not owned very many pigs.  Agatha could sense this as soon as they opened up the truck.  She decided she was quite comfortable in the truck and didn't bother to get up.  It seemed many young children lived in this new place.  When Agatha did not get up to come greet them they climbed into the truck with her.  They brought her tortilla shells, bread and veggies.  She liked her new home in the truck and decided there was no reason to ever leave.  Everyone in her new family bribed her with goodies, pushed, pulled and shoved but Agatha out weighed all of them. She decided she would like to ride back and forth to work with the man, in his truck for the rest of her life.  This made the man angry.  Agatha did not understand why this would not work.  Couldn't the man bring her food and water on his lunch break?  She could have her babies there and raise them right there in the truck.  She fell back asleep dreaming of her new little children friends and all the goodies they would bring her while she lived in her new truck home.  Life was good.

Agatha awoke quite suddenly the next morning to the truck moving.  Her new family lined it up with the porch again so she would not need to step up or down.  Agatha knew they meant business this morning.  They did not bring her goodies, they tossed them on the porch and told her she would need to come out of the truck if she wanted to eat.  The truck was comfortable and safe and she did not want to leave, but oh how Agatha loved food!  She stood at the edge of the truck and stared down at the goodies on the porch.  The next thing she knew some of those nice children were pushing on her bottom with boards and yelling.  She supposed it was time to leave the truck.  She climbed out and ate the goodies on the porch.

The nice children told Agatha they would show her where she would be living and having her babies.  They tried to push her towards her stall with sticks.  But the yard was full of enticing new things.  Grass, trees, other animals, worms, was all so exciting that the next thing Agatha knew she was running through the pasture and out into the woods as happy as she could be.  The children liked the game too.  Agatha could tell because they were chasing her and screaming.  She ran deeper into the woods.  Soon the whole family joined in the fun game.  They had sticks, boards and pieces of fencing in their hands.  They yelled at Agatha, they yelled at each other.  They ran until they were breathing hard and couldn't run anymore.  Agatha Loved this new game and could tell her new family liked it too because of all the yelling.

When she was tired of the woods she ran back up to the barn with children and then they played another game with her.  It was called dodge the stall.  The children tried to push her towards the stall and she dodged the other way.  Sometimes the children slipped in the mud as it was very rainy.  Sometimes Agatha stopped to root through the mud because she smelled something tasty.  These were the times the children would stop and catch their breath and then the game would resume.  Mom and dad played too.  Pretty soon everyone was so tired they couldn't play anymore.  Agatha was not tired but she WAS hungry again.  And there seemed to be something that smelled good in the bowl in her new stall so she went in and was surprised when the children shut the door.  There was a lot of cheering.  Agatha realized they were cheering for her because she had won the game.  She felt very happy as she ate her bowl of pig yummies..

The children went in the house to rest.  Agatha laid down with a full pig tummy and thought about the next time she could play with the children.  Maybe if the game got really exciting mom and dad would even come back to play too.... full and happy she fell asleep dreaming of games in the woods.

The End

Saturday, April 9, 2011

If you can't laugh at yourself...

5 indicators that your friends and neighbors may view you as a redneck-

You can turn your comuter truck into a farm animal transportation vehicle in a couple hours.

    Your friends ask you to haul a load to the dump for them but instead you take it home because you know you can put a lot of it to use.

    You run out of pens for your farm animals but it doesn't stop you because you have a bunch of junk laying around- you can throw something together (see #2)
Visitors toss their mud boots in the car when coming to visit you.


    You consider animal waste an asset and enjoy telling others about the chemical properties of, and the differences between, various types.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Stephanie's surgery

Yesterday Stephanie had surgery on her leg and foot.  The Achilles tendon was way too short.  It had caused a lot of problems with her foot and the way it grew.  She has been in severe pain when walking or standing so it was time to go in and get it all fixed.  

We got there at 7am and they checked her in and had her mark her foot.  Maybe this is because with everything they have going on they don't have time to remember trivial things like which side is left and which is right. :)

They prepped her for surgery.  It took awhile to get her ready.  Jacob came along to support me while I supported Stephanie.  But mostly I think he came for the free juice.

We were all very brave until right when they gave her an IV med to start the process of going to sleep.  The nurse said "Ok, you should give your mom a kiss good-bye"  Terrible wording.  Made us both start crying.  Then they added the med to her drip and wheeled her away.  The surgery lasted about 4 hours.  The first couple of hours she was on her stomach while they fixed the tendon.  That incision is about 10 inches.  The 2nd half of the surgery they rolled her over while she was sleeping and that is when they did the bone cutting, straightened the bones out and put in the plate and screws.  The incision in the top of her foot is about 8 inches.  Rolling her over with her breathing tube in place ended up causing a sore throat but it was better than being awake for half of it which was her other option.

Jacob and mom had breakfast in the cafeteria, watched The Price is Right in the waiting room.  Played battle ship, talked on the phone and texted to pass the time.  Once they came to say the surgery had gone well and that Steph would go back to her room in half an hour we snuck to the cafeteria for lunch.  That was about 1:00.

Then we went to her room and she was already there but still asleep.  So we took a picture of her leg.

It was a bit rough coming around and getting ready to go home so we didn't get out of there till about 4:00.  They gave us a nice photo for the scrapbook.   This shows the plate and pins mid-foot, holding everything together.

We got Papa Murphys for dinner.  Got home around 6:00.  We all watched Tangled and then crashed.  It was such a long day.  I would have taken a picture of the end of our day but I was just too tired! 

Today she is doing well.  Taking some meds for pain and keeping her leg iced and elevated.  We made her ice bags using several layers of wal-mart bags so they wouldn't leak and packed them around her leg.  This is helping with the pain and swelling. 

I have received so many offers of help and meals.  Thanks everyone.  We are doing well. We have so many helpers here.  But we will take you up on offers of prayers for a quick recovery and as little pain as possible.  Pain is an issue and just part of the process but our Lord and Savior is already granting peace and strength. 

Thank you Father God for bringing Stephanie through surgery safely, and for guiding the surgeons hands as he worked.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Homeschool Science

Well, with all the craziness this week we haven't gotten much done in the way of Math or English but we hit Science pretty good!

In addition to all the learning we have done about bees and their habitat, life cycle, colonies and honey we also have had the chance to study some physical science.

Jacob got two science kits this week.  Thank you Grandma!  The first is a wind power kit.  He built a windmill which powers a little light.  Today it was windy enough to power the light.  It worked!  Good job Jacob!

His other kit uses water and pumps to power gears.  He did a great job with this one too.

Physical science has never been my favorite thing to teach but these made it really fun and Jacob jumped in and taught it to himself and shared what he learned with his sisters. 

Did you know?

  • The first windmills were used to grind grain in Iran, then known as Persia.

  • Windmills were used by American colonists to move water, grind grain and cut wood.

  • Windmills were a significant source of power in rural America in the 1920’s.

  • Windmills come in two types, vertical and horizontal.

  • Vertical windmills look like upside down eggbeaters.

  • Horizontal windmills look like what you’ve seen on television or in books, i.e., the traditional structure with a wheel of blades perpendicular to the ground and spinning.

  • Wind power plants are typically owned by private companies, which sell the power to traditional utility companies.

  • The United States gets roughly 17 billion kilowatts of electricity each year from wind power.

  • This yearly wind power production is enough to provide all the power needs of the City of Chicago.
  • Monday, April 4, 2011

    Bees coming soon...

    The Stetson house is busy this week getting ready for Stephanie's bees.  They will come this Sunday, just a few days after her leg surgery.  There is something for everyone to do.

    We are getting wild flower seed mixed with sandy soil to plant out near their hive.

    The bee boxes came this weekend.  Some assembly required!

    Thank you Michelle and family for coming and helping us build the bee boxes!

     Ready for the bees to leave a security deposit and move in!