I love Edgar Guest’s tribute to working-class dads! I was blessed to have such a father (I love you, Daddy!) and I’m double blessed that my husband epitomizes this poem in my children’s lives. Only a dad; but the best of men! Happy Father’s Day!
After an in Epsom Salt and lavender bath, the stinging has subsided. I made several tactical errors in transferring our bees to the hive this afternoon.
Error #1: Not cinching the veil sufficiently around my neck. I thought I secured it enough, but soon after the pictures below were snapped, the bees became agitated, and I learned otherwise. Dozens of bees swarmed under my veil–once within, they couldn’t get out.! I’d rather not have a veil than to have dozens of bees trapped in there with me. Youch!
Error #2: Some places sell bees with the queen in a separate corked compartment. With the “separate queen” set up, an aspiring bee keeper dumps drones and workers into the new hive, removes the cork from the queen’s vial, and leaves a hunk of “candy” blocking her exit from her chamber. Workers get to know the queen (and she them) as they eat through the candy over several days, then she’s ready to rule the hive. Ah, but ours wasn’t like this: We realized rather late in the procedure that our hive was already fully functioning with the queen well integrated in one of the box frames, laying eggs, and reigning supreme. This arrangement gives the hive a head-start, but it also accounts for the unexpected aggression. I wasn’t prepared for bees already fighting for queen and country!
Error #3: We’d watched videos of bees loose in the box, ready to be dumped into the new hive with new frames. This box already had frames, with bees busy, filling the honeycombs. (The frames were hidden by a layer of buzzing workers, so I didn’t realize there were frames in with the bees until I tried to the “dump” method and unnecessarily riled the already angry little creatures.) Once I realized there were frames, lifting them gently, one by one worked nicely.
Oh, and we switched directions from the last post; placing the hive inside the chicken run after all. You can see a couple interested chickens spectating in a photo below.
The transfer was successful–I think–just prickly. Done right, I might have gotten a sting or two through my layers of denim and leather, but due to multiple errors, I sustained 15-20 stings–almost exclusively on the face and neck. I’m relieved that I took the first turn at this, and didn’t let one of the children do it–they’ll have opportunities, but not until we work out kinks in our procedures.
This morning, while I enjoyed a tooth extraction, Ken and the children furnished a cozy home for our fuzzy friends. It’s ready for the arrival of a “nuclear colony” early Saturday morning!
We debated putting the hive in the chicken run–apparently chickens often help clean up dead bees, and pollinators and poultry can be friends; but then we also heard reports of rogue chickens devouring a whole bee colony. Ultimately we “chickened” out and they will “bee” in a chicken-free zone. (Groan at the lame puns if you like, I blame the pain meds.)
Kendra, my garden-girl, is preparing to assist with new pets! (She’ll add a thick denim jacket and elbow-high protective gloves to her ensemble when we actually embark.)
Keianna finished her 5th grade texts and is ready for 6th! Per PrairieFrog tradition, I took her out to her choice of restaurants, and she chose Starbucks–where she ordered a vanilla latte and chocolate croissant, and declared this, “a delicious way to become a sixth grader!” She noticed she was the only grade-schooler in the bustling establishment, and was tickled to be out enjoying coffee while her peers are still in classes–it’s that same exhilaration my children feel upon seeing a school bus filled with students hours after we are finished with the day’s formal work.
Keianna has numerous adventures planned for this summer and the year ahead–ambitions that will be fun, but also challenging. As we discussed her upcoming plans, I mused that they’ll involve hard work; With characteristic ‘Anna spunk, her eyes twinkled as she said, “I hope it’s hard, because otherwise I won’t learn anything!”
Here’s my new sixth grader: ( Photo taken right after wiping the chocolate from her cheeks):
May 11th was an important day. Not so much because it was (maybe?) the last snow of the season. Below is the vision we woke to this past Sunday in mid-May:
No, and not merely because Mother’s Day fell on Sunday this year, though I had a lovely day, and my children and husband spoiled me.
May 11th marked two years since Kiffanie arrived home!
What’s happening in the first picture? Did someone score a touchdown? Was she being mugged? Unique pose aside, it’s the first photo we have of her, taken in late May (or possibly very early June) 2011, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
She’d been home just a few days in the second photo, then a year in the third, and the fourth frame is a shot fresh from yesterday! She’s sweet, smart, spunky, and fun, and amazes us at nearly every turn.
Our piano teacher asked Kieran and Kiffanie (ages 6 & 7) to make up a song or two, then she brought her tape recorder to record their original compositions. Last week she returned having transcribed their songs to paper!
Kiffanie wrote, “The Dragon and the Princess” to be played, “adagio con espressivo” (Which describes Kiffanie quite well.)
Keeping to similar era, Kieran composed, “In Medieval Times…AARRR” to be played “andante con Rubato.” Yes, Kieran is totally “con rubato” and andante is very much his speed. I love the ending–it really brings out the “Aarrr!” from the title!
And on a totally different note, Kieran’s “Butterflies” in 3/2 time, complete with lyrics (also by Kieran):
We are back in Ancient Greece–a bit further down the timeline, and now at the height of the classical era! The book baskets are spilling over with riches as we wrap up the school year.
Kaira, my Rhetoric level student, has a few reading assignments not represented in the book basket. Plato’s Apology, Crito, and Republic, and Aristotle’s Politics can be found free online, so she’ll be using those resources in addition to several items in the book basket below.
We stretched the definition a bit to include the Percy Jackson series which Ken’s reading aloud to the children. It’s bodaciously fictional, and set in modern times, but we decided it “counts” because they feature the Greek gods. This series is great fun for all ages.
Below, our book basket for the upcoming month; If you are reading on a feed reader and can’t see the widgets, click through to see our book selections for this fun era:
About the time I posted my other essential oil blends, I concocted a Muscle Massage blend as well. At that time, I held off sharing the recipe because it was still a newer blend for us and hadn’t stood the test of time in our own home usage. In the months (years?) since, Muscle Massage has more than earned its place among our favorite Essential Oil recipes as a household staple!
Kaira, my eldest daughter, had a crazy growth spurt of six inches in as many months resulting in all sorts of muscular skeletal issues. For a time she struggled to practice harp and piano–two of her passions. I created this blend primarily for her–but I reach for it when aches and pains strike any family member. It’s fabulous for back massages, my little guys request it for leg cramps, and it’s my husband’s “weekend warrior” go-to remedy. Kaira is still its biggest fan–she even takes a roller bottle of Muscle Massage in her purse for harp gigs.
Muscle Massage Blend
3 parts Basil Essential Oil
3 parts Peppermint Essential Oil
2 parts Marjoram Essential Oil
2 parts Cedarwood Essential Oil
1 part Lavender Essential Oil
*In a base of Emu Oil
*Mix the five essential oils together for the base blend, then dilute 50/50 with a carrier oil in a roller bottle for easy application. I use Emu Oil as the carrier oil for this blend because Emu Oil’s anti-inflammatory properties make the ideal collaborator with these essential oils in soothing aches.
Emu Oil is thick at room temperature, so I pour hot water (about the temperature used for a cup of tea) into a mug or cup, then put the bottle of emu oil in the mug for a minute until it liquefies–that makes it the perfect consistency for pouring into bottles. I buy the roller bottles here or here.
My favorite source for Essential Oils is Heritage Essential Oil, and I highly recommend them for superior quality, a fair price, amazing customer service and ethics, and freedom from MLM games. I buy a few oils from Mountain Rose Herbs as well, and occasionally from a few other sources as I explain in this post.
Spring is here, and we are gardening, playing outside and over-exerting winter-weakened muscles and I’ve been reaching for Muscle Massage more than ever. I hope it helps you as it has us.
Disclaimers: I’m just a mom with a blog. I’m not a doctor and don’t have any impressive credentials. Don’t blindly try anything you read on the internet. I don’t promise these will cure anything, or that they are without risk. I am not affiliated with any of the resources linked in this post and no one is compensating me or paying me for my opinion. (Bummer!)
Today was a lovely hodge-podge Saturday; Biology tests, French Conversation Group, some laundry, cleaning, yardwork (by Ken and children while I enjoyed being a lady of leisure), and assorted homey busyness. These two kiddos caught my eye and ultimately the camera lens: