Calling in sick.

Taking a day to rest with some tea and a book.  I did my first two hive checks this weekend and have a tale to tell.  Come back tomorrow and hear all about it.

Hoping you have a fantastic Monday!

Hive Bonanza Jellybean ladies all in a row.


This Moment ~ A gift

A Soulemama tradition.

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Marie Antoinette Doll Patter in Wee Wonderfuls book.

I Am Doll Parts

It’s a dreary week in the Pacific Northwest.  We’ve been spoiled rotten with gloriously sunny and warm weekends this last month followed by grey cold weeks.  Between a relatively easy cold making its rounds, a kinked neck, and poor weather not a lot has been accomplished on the farm front.

What we have been doing is planning. I’ve made lists.  Lists of lists.  Detailed lists.  Lists with estimated completion dates.  My brain is gearing up for full-bore yurt completion mode.  There is so much to finish and like a wise friend recently reminded me a goal of  ‘finishing up the yurt’ is not specific enough.  How true, Vanessa, how true!

Carter has declared today a pajama day and I whole heartedly agree!  He will be finishing up some food chain studies, as well as working on his first commissioned art piece (more on that later).  I imagine Bodhi will join her brother in cutting, pasting and painting.  She just can’t let others do art around her without taking part.

My plan is to finish a terribly overdue gift.  One of Bodhi’s friends from preschool had a birthday a while ago and I haven’t yet finished her doll.  Since today is a pajama day it would also be a great day to catch up on this belated gift.  I do hope that Stella will enjoy her embroidered Marie Antoinette doll.   Hopefully, it won’t be considered creepy to give a doll of a decapitated monarch to a preschooler.. Hopefully.

Chicken Tales

Here’s the scoop from the chicken coop.

Bjork, the free funky chicken, she’s a Roo.  I had originally thought that I didn’t want a rooster as I couldn’t imagine having another rooster as great as our last one.  Poseidon was a beautiful gentle rooster.

It would appear that I’m changing my mind.  Bjork can stay as long as he’s cool.  The name however, had to go.  We tried on Frank Zappa or Zappa.  It just didn’t stick.  Bjork is pretty tough and seems to run the yard even when Frank’s birds wander over.  During a tough male rocker brainstorming session one of us kicked out Henry Rollins and that sounded like a keeper.  It has since morphed into Henry Rooster.

May he be as friendly and as beautiful as the magnificent Poseidon.

 The meat birds are a trespassing nuisance.  Within hours of propping open the layer coop door, the meat birds have scared of the layers, filled their coop, eaten all of the feed and have forgotten how to exit the premises.  Every single time I have to catch them and help them out the door.  Every time they freak out.  It’s great fun.

We are working on moving the chicken tractor farther away so hopefully this ceases to be a problem.

Apollo likes to stalk the meat birds.  So far, he’s not been able to catch any.  I guess those birds are really lucky that this is the most uncoordinated cat that ever roamed the planet.  He’s flippin’ adorable, but the worst hunter ever.


For the most part that’s all that’s up with the chickens.  Frank moved his smallest meat birds to an outdoor brooder.  It’s nice to see them outside.  They are a lot more happy with grass under their feet.

How did we get here?

If you have overcome your inclination, and not been overcome by it,

you have a reason to rejoice.


One afternoon when I was five years old, I was playing with my sister and a friend on a little island in the middle of the creek in our back yard.  The older kids were fishing, I imagine, and I was just trying to be involved in what they were doing.  My mom came out to check on me and I got very busted for wearing my new school loafers out in the muck.

Angry that I had to go inside and miss all of the fun, I was stomping through the woods to make my point known to anyone that was paying attention.  Somehow during my theatrical flounce, my hair got tangled in a low tree branch.  Clearly, I was already in a poor mood and I imagine I did some more stomping and flailing and guess what… I stepped on a bee’s nest.

Now, I guess I should give you some sort of proper information, in that these were actually ground wasps and not bees.. but to my five-year old brain, a bee was a bee.

So there I was standing in a bee’s nest with my hair caught in a tree screaming my head off.  Someone freed me of the tree and carried me into the house.  I couldn’t tell you if it was my mother or my sister.  My mom hurried around to make me a bee sting paste and while she was working on that, something horrible happened.

The story goes I was in full screaming freak out mode when I got silent and with large eyes and said, “There’s something in my shirt.”  Sure enough three bees flew out of my clothes and I was in hysterics all over again.

From that day forward I was completely terrified of bees.  All flying insects that stung were bees, all were mean, and all were out to get me.  I was sure of it.

So how does that girl end up in charge of two hives of bees?

I have no stinkin’ clue.

In January, I read an article on top bar hives on Mother Earth New’s facebook page and I was hooked.  I started reading everything about bees that I could get my hands on, and it quickly became apparent that I was going to have to do this.

Soon after I joined a local bee club and then I ordered two packages of bees.  At the time we were in full chicken preparation mode and so bees seemed a long way off.  Time sure flies when you are busy doing other things.  Before I knew it, the bees were a couple of weeks off and they needed a home.

Frank and I worked for two weeks on the hives.  They weren’t terribly difficult or anything, but as we’ve learned in the last few months.  Everything takes twice as long as we expect it to.  The hives were no different.

We got the hives finished and in place the day that we picked up the bees.  Nothing like getting things done at the last-minute… but hey, we did it!

On Sunday, the bees hung out in the shade of the yurt most of the day while I walked through the last few preparations to ready them for their big move.  I did a lot of checking and re-checking.  I was nervous and excited.  Nervous and excited.  I would get a huge feeling of giddy excitement.   ‘Bees!  I have bees!’, then the nerves would kick in.

I had visions of myself running screaming from the hives and all of my bees chasing me.  I could see myself freezing and Frank having to take care of hiving our new charges.  I had terrible visions of my body being completely covered with bees while they tried to consume me.  Luckily for me, I saw ‘The Savage Bees‘  when I was younger so I had plenty of horrifying images to conjure up any time my nerves necessitated one.

At some point on Sunday, I just made myself stop indulging these thoughts.  I had read up on this as much as I could.  I watched numerous Youtube videos of people hiving their bees, I had talked to experienced beeks about how to do it and I got all of my questions answered.  I was as prepared as I was ever going to be.

I decided that I would just go ahead and hive the girls a few hours early….. I just had to get it done.  I followed my rehearsed plan one step after another and before I knew it, I was done.  There were no stings, no tears or freezing. I was not chased off into the sunset by a humming black cloud.

For the most part, everything went according to plan.  The bees are in their hives and they have some food.  I’ve checked on them and they seem like they are doing OK.  In the next week, I need to go back to the hives and do a few things:

  • I need to feed them. When I put them in the hives, I gave them the sugar can that they came with.  I have two different feeding options in mind.  I think I’ll try a different one with each hive and see which one works better.
  • The top bars are not all into place as the bees were kind of everywhere when I installed them.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to get them moved to where I want them and have the hive put together properly.
  • Queen check – make sure the queens have been released from their cages and see if I can find them.

I’ve been drawn to the hives many times in the last two days.  Watching them is my new favorite pastime.  I am officially a beekeeper.  I still don’t know what I’m doing, or maybe even how I’m doing it…. but one thing is for sure.

I’m doing it!

The Bees Have Arrived

We got our bees yesterday.  On Earth Day.  It was just perfect.  Please enjoy these pictures.  I’m still processing the experience and will write all about it when I’ve figured out what to say.

Hoping your weekend was great!

Package of Carneolans

Bee package stragglers going into Top Bar Hive

Bee activity around top bar hive

Busy bee already going to work.

Bees gathering around the entrance of the top bar hive.

Investigating from a distance.

This moment ~ Sportsmanship

This moment.  A Soulemama tradition.


This one is getting a few words.

My son Ethan was honored in front of his entire school with a sportsmanship award this morning.  I’m very proud of this young man for being kind, considerate and all around awesome!

(The number everyone is wearing on their chest is to celebrate one of the teachers for her recent marathon accomplishment.  The entire school surprised her by wearing her bib number to the assembly.  We homeschooled for years and I miss having him home, but if he’s going to choose to school elsewhere I’m glad this is the place!)