Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Just me again

I know I am behind.... seriously after all this time are any of you surprised?? Poor Fred is even farther behind on her blog than I am and she is kind of bummed about it but very very distracted with her bees. There is so much running through my head at high speed now that I really don't even know where to start. I guess the bees.

The bees look like they are doing pretty good. Jared has his own hive now too but it is still in a nuc box which is a box about half the size of a normal bee hive. It just got too cold to hive them after we picked them up so now we are waiting for a warm day to catch up on the bee work. Most likely that will be tomorrow. The kids are dying to take a peek into the hives and see how much work the bees have done since they got them. Right now they are in the kitchen painting the next level for their hives and then they have to assemble the frames and add the beeswax foundation to them so that the bees will start laying brood and producing honey.

We have really enjoyed watching the bees work and it is really funny how each of the kids hives suits their personalities so well. Fred's bees are a really bright golden color and very very laid back /non aggressive, they seem to be just happily busy nearly all the time. Caleb's bees run the opposite end of the bee personality scale. They are much darker in color and a little bigger, lots faster and seem to be constantly on the verge of a frenzy. They are also MUCH more aggressive and protective than Fred's bees are. Jared's bees and kind of a cross between the two. They behave as though they think they might want to be aggressive bees but then about half way into it they get distracted by something else. It's just way too funny.

With 3 hives we will surely get a fair amount of honey this year and the kids are hopeful that they can begin to make a profit by the end of next summer. Depending on how the bees do foraging they may start showing profit this year. One of our school projects for math this year is learning bookkeeping by tracking the expenses and such for the bees and learning to treat it like a business. We just got a cheap columnar pad at the store and I taught them to divide the expenses into categories and then track the money. At the end of the year we'll sit down (just like I do at tax time)and pull our hair while we scream and figure out profit and loss .... Troy says I should make them do it quarterly like good little accountants but honestly I don't know if I have enough hair time to squeeze that into the school day.

We did finally find out the results of our tests for certification ........Fred and I passed, the boys were asked to schedule a retake of the test. Fred and I have to take the practical part of the test on the 21st and I am terrified!! She will do just fine but I will probably drop an entire frame of bees on the ground, get stung zillions of times and cause the hive to swarm then get sued by whoevers hive I am working for the test and cause my entire family to become beekeeping outcasts by association!

On to other things. We've been really busy the last couple of days taking care of some really cute little people. Every time I keep babies I end up really sad that I couldn't have more. We did just fine with 8 children in the house.... I only wish we had an extra bathroom!!!! Twins are lots of fun too, especially with another little one who is potty training and very very active. If I didn't have the bees, the chickens and the garden and 14zillion other things I'm trying to do all the time I think I might just adopt 10 or so babies!

We had some really cold weather for several days around here. It even got down into the 20s several nights and I was really afraid my entire garden would be a total loss. As of yesterday it looked better than what I had thought. The potatoes, including the full row of taters that I got by volunteers when the kids were dumping the peelings into the garden to compost, all look great! In fact everything but my peas,squash, and broccoli looks like it is going to survive. I was just positive that it was all going to be completely dead and I was even making plans to start all over at the beginning with everything but the garlic. I did lose almost my entire herb bed though...but thankfully I had started all of it from seed and it won't cost me much to do it again.

The chickens have gone crazy I think. We did have one of the little bantams setting a clutch of brahma eggs for us but one of the other little hens lost her mind and they fought over the nest. In the process they killed 5 of the brahma eggs and the jealous little grey hen lost her life. I guess the broody hen will be a really good mama if she ever gets to hatch anything. Now the poor little mama wannabe is out there sitting on another hickory nut trying to coax a chick out of it!! I swear I have never seen anything want to be a mommy so bad in my life! Troy said if the brahma eggs in the incubator hatch we will sneak them under her one night so she can get over the whole thing and just mommy something that is acutally alive.

I love my kids. Have I ever told any of you folks that? Lately though, with all the bee busyness and business they are kind of driving me crazy. I mean it's not like it's cheap to start that kind of thing and we are just tapped out for now. (we got some really bad news for the month of May we could use some prayers for) But my kids are determined to start their bee business. My mother offered to make them a loan but they are determined to do this without creating debt for themselves. Fred talked to her daddy who informed me this morning that the kids are going to start making and selling things to fund their bee business (I wish they would just name it already!). They are planning to start a blog that is to display and sell these "items" (so far I have a very limited list of what those will be). So the kids wanted to ask everyone what their first little online shop should be named. They will be selling a little bit of everything. The boys will be making marshmallow guns and some other nifty stuff and Fred is going to make some really awesome bath stuff and maybe jelly. Their daddy had also given them a small donation to purchase items in thrift stores to sell. It should be an interesting lesson in investing for them... y'all should see some of this stuff!! So anyway, email away with the name suggestions for the little online "store", the kids can't decide themselves and want help.

Now Caleb has accidentally painted one of his new pairs of jeans and I have to go find the gas can to get it out before it dries!!! Take care everyone!

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