Good bye city life! Our family designed and built an industrial but old fashioned farmhouse on nine acres. Now we are building our homestead ~ or is it building us? Grab your boots and join us on our journey to country living.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Crocheted Baby Mary Jane's

I'm pretty sure these are the sweetest
baby shoes I have ever made.  I absolutely love them!

 Our niece had a baby girl.  After all the boys in our family
and extended family, I jumped at the chance to make something pink!

I adapted a baby shoe pattern to make them Mary Jane's
and then adapted a beanie hat pattern to make a baby girl cloche hat to match.

Available for order for a short time.  Email for info.
So sweet and pink!

Philippians 4:4
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I will say it again: Rejoice!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Hiving New Bees in Warre Hives

Our Italian bees arrived on the farm yesterday late in the afternoon.
They came by US Postal and the people in the post office were anxious for me to take them home!

The two packages of bees were secure in screen boxes
and buzzed noisily on the way home.

Since a thunderstorm with tornadoes was brewing, we waited until this morning to hive the new arrivals.  A quiet spot and a mist of sugar water, and they were happy to wait out the storm to see their new hives.

Lots of research and reading has gone into this beekeeping project
but for the hiving process a video on YouTube was the most helpful. 
You can see it here.

All of the tools were on hand 
and we were ready to unleash the bees.

First, we pried off the wood cover, then held carefully on to the tab while removing the can of bee food.  The queen was in a box attached to the plastic tab and she has to be taken care of first.

See, she's in the small box with her attendants.  

First we took the cork out of the end and then poked a hole in the white "candy" for the bees to have a jump start on releasing the queen.  Then we placed the queen box in the top of the bottom (or 1st) hive box which will become the brood box.

After attending to the queen, we dumped all the rest of the bees into the hive. This is what I was really worried about!  The thought of slamming a box of thousands of bees down to force them to the bottom and then shaking them out was just intimidating.  It was exciting though and not scary at all when it was actually happening.  They were surprisingly calm and looked like they were just trying to get their bearings.

That's a lot of bees!  See the queen box in the bottom right?

Then we added the foundation-less frames to the 2nd box being careful not to smash any bees in the process.  This is where they will make their comb to store their honey.  It's important for them to be evenly spaced so we marked each spot with a Sharpie ahead of time.  This really helped the process go smoother.

All that was left, was to stack the remaining hive with some jars of sugar syrup in the top (or 3rd) box.  We will feed them over the next few weeks as they get accustom to their new surroundings.

Welcome home, sweet bees!

Proverbs 16:24
Pleasant words are a honeycomb.
Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Gifts ~ Chalkboard Candles

Even though we homeschool,
we attend a Homeschooling Co-op
and have teachers other than ourselves for some subjects.

These teachers volunteer their time to teach students a subject that they are passionate about.  They are special ladies who deserve special thank you gifts.

All teachers need appreciation at school year's end.
This year, I thought these chalkboard candles were just right
to express thanks to them.

These candles from Hobby Lobby were perfect for this project but you could use any candle and add a chalkboard label.  A homemade candle would be extra nice.

Add a bow and tie on a piece of chalk.

I added a little note card and a Bible verse about "being the light."

I hope our son's teachers like the chalkboard candles as much as I do!

You are the light of the world.
A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;
nor does anyone light a lamp and
put it under a basket,
but on the lampstand,
and it gives light to all who are in the house.
Matthew 5:14-15

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Buzz

Guess what's coming soon?
That's right.  The buzz is about bees!

After a cool, wet spring, the flowers are ready and waiting for their arrival.

Our Warre hives came in a few weeks ago from Bee Thinking.
Of course, I had to paint them bright colors ~ grape and turquoise. 

We choose Warre hives rather than the common Langstroth hives because they use a top bar design so the bees build their own combs.  The honey supers are added to the bottom of the hive keeping everything fresh because it's cycled out of use by the bees. We felt this natural approach to beekeeping would be a good fit for our farm.  

The bee garden is nestled in between the pig pen and the ram pen behind the house.  A few weeks ago, the guys built the short fence, the platforms to hold the hives and even flower beds.  After their building, I primed (twice by accident, yes the whole thing) and then I painted it all.

It's amazing!  I absolutely love how it turned out.
It just needs flower seeds 
and bees of course.

So here is the backyard farmyard now~
from the left: chickens, pig, bees, rams, and tool shed.

Psalm 36:5
Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens,
Your faithfulness to the skies.


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