Saturday, August 20, 2011

August Bee Report

There is good news and bad news when it comes to our honey bees.  The good news is that they are still alive.  If you were talking with us a few weeks ago you would have heard us lamenting their demise.  What appeared to be just a few straggling honey bees has grown into a thriving hive again.  Bees come and go in huge numbers.  Bees and larva of all ages are growing and working in the hive and the queen must still be doing her job since the honey bee life-cycle at this time of the year is a matter of weeks.  So new bees are obviously coming from a hard working queen.

Now for the bad news.  An unusually wet, cool and cloudy summer has slowed honey production.  The bees don't come out when it is rainy or cool.  And when they have been able to come out there have been limited flower blossoms until just recently.  What does this mean for the bees?  Probably not much.  If they work hard from now until fall they can hopefully still put away enough honey to get themselves all through the winter.  But for us, it means no honey in this first year of keeping bees.  If we take their stores, they will die in the winter.  We need to leave the bottom 2 boxes for them.  There will be no 3rd box this year.  

We have learned a lot from having them and will look forward to possibly getting honey next year.  If nothing else, we have helped the struggling honey bee population and brought pollinators  to our own fruit trees and our flowers.

Here are a few pictures taken the other day when Stephanie checked the inside of the hive.

As Stephanie lifted the lid, we again broke open their comb they had been attaching to the top.  Honey dripped out everywhere.  If you click on the picture and make it as big as you can you can actually see them using their [mouths] to repair the comb or eat the honey.  They instantly came from all over the hive to work on what was damaged.  Amazing critters!

It seemed like every time we took another picture of the broken honeycomb there were more bees crawling up out of the frames to work on it.  By the time Stephanie closed it up this top comb was just covered in bees.

One last shot.  This is an up-close look at the early stages of them building the comb.  We were lucky to get this shot without it being all covered in bees.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Piggy Class

Stephanie is doing speech and communication for one of her final high school courses. As part of her speech credit she is teaching some animal classes to other homeschoolers.  The first class was about pigs.  We had a lot of fun sharing the pigs.  Jacob was the helper since he is raising the piglets.

There was a short presentation

Then a little hands on time with an actual piglet.

After the lesson we divided everyone into two groups for a game and a craft.

It was a fun time with our friends, learning and sharing our animals.
Good job teaching the class Stephanie!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Friends at the Beach

Today was retirement home day.  It was a rare treat to get to meet the residents at the park and share a meal together.  God gave us beautiful weather for our get together and Kayak Beach was a perfect meeting place!

We shared a meal in the shade.

And hung out in the sunshine.

Then we went on a walk with our friends.

There was a great turn out of residents and it seemed like everyone had a nice time!  One thing that we did this time that made it really fun was each child kind of buddied up with one person.  They had lots of time to talk to their resident and get to know them.  The gentleman that Jacob is pushing was so touched by the children that he wanted hugs when he left and was crying and asked when we would see him again.  He was very sharp and talked to Jacob in detail about his pigs.  He talked to Stephanie about his growing up in Montanna on a farm working horses and raising animals and about his life as a firefighter.  He also served in WWII as a safety officer.  I feel so blessed that my children get this time to visit with these people who have so much history to share.   We promised Lester, Jacobs buddy, that we would send for him next time we were there.

After the residents left the children got some time to swim and play on the beach

There were some fish and critters under the pier.  Leave it to these guys to find them.

It was a fantastic day with good friends! 

"Nathan, us guys without brothers gotta stick together..."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Driving Update

I was thinking this morning that most teenagers are excited about learning how to drive.  At our house we are also excited about learning to drive.  It just happens to be a different kind of driving.

Stephanie has done such a fantastic job with Altivo!  He is pulling the cart like a little champ!  To think that not that long ago he was a stubborn little pony who fought the farrier, wouldn't let anyone ride him and wouldn't even let himself be caught.  With some good training he has become really fun!

He is doing so good that Jacob is learning to drive him too!

Monday, August 15, 2011

This Years Hens are Laying!

Miss Clara takes very good care of her hens.  This years batch has finally started laying their new little eggs!

If you are interested in farm fresh eggs laid by hens who are raised with a lot of love by a very sweet little girl her contact information can be found on our website.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Stanwood Parade

The Stanwood parade is the same weekend as the fair.  This year Grandma was able to come and we brought friends Ben and Anna too!

 For the size of the community Stanwood puts on a pretty neat parade!