Sunday, July 20, 2014

This is what our lane looked like for a couple hours tonight.....

It was so cool, first the Amish just watched the mini bikers, but then they all started interacting together and the boys got off the mini bikes and hung out together.  The boys said they talked about church, how fast mini bikes go, and other boy stuff.

Lately I've been bothered that we are so tied down at home and the shop, that we really can't plan a vacation, and any time we do get away as a family it's a spontaneous 2-nighter that we fit in when there's a slow couple days at the shop.

But God knows just how easily amused I am and He sent me 10 little Amish boys at just the right time.  If we were away we would have missed tonight.  And actually we would have missed a lot of neat things happening here lately, like our swarm or the beautiful rainbows we've been seeing or the neighbors walking back to chat.

So I'm learning to be content with our reality, and enjoying the many gifts and blessings God brings us.  Right here where we are.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Our July weather has been amazing.  Windows are open and the air conditioning hasn't run for days.

Really enjoying the boys this summer.  Especially lately, since we haven't had a lot of extra committments.  Yes they still fight like cats and dogs sometimes, but they've been split up different times which helps them get along better when they are back together.

It looks like we'll be picking up our fresh air kid on Thursday.  It's already been a journey just to get our boy Danny.  We were first lined up with a little Muslim boy.  I was a little nervous about that, as was our local rep.  But i figured you only live once, why not have a Muslim live here for a week.!?   But when i called his dad (protocol is to call a parent and introduce yourself), in his broken English told me that Mohammad doesn't want to come now. I called our lady and she confirmed that he in fact got cold feet and they won't be sending him.  1/2 hour later she called me and said we've been matched up again!  We are excited to have Danny here, 7 years old, 2nd year in the program.  Prayers are welcome, would love for our first experience to be a good one.

I've been canning green beans and tomato juice this week.  I have over 50 quart of green beans so far.  My tomatoes just started.  And today i'll do some red beets.  There nothing like looking at your counter and seeing bright red tomato juice, deep green beans, royal purple red beets, fresh brewed meadow tea, and beautiful blueberries.  So blessed to have such a variety of fresh homegrown produce.

Got the pics off my camera. Here's an array of our 2014 summer memories so far.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Just another Friday night....

We had big plans to sit around the campfire Friday night and eat, relax, watch the boys play, relax some more, etc.

I was getting supper out to the fire, around 5:00 and Rod tells me to come out back, he heard a noise.  I walked over and from the garage door we could hear our bees in the field out back!  We walked back and thousands of them were circling around and around together right around the corn field behind the hives.  Then they gravitated over to the tree and began to swarm.  Oh shucks, that's not what we want!

In short, bees are programmed to swarm (leave their current hive to find a new home), but it's a bee keepers job to make sure that it doesn't happen.  They swarm for a couple different reasons.  One being if another queen hatched within the hive, the old queen leaves and many follow, causing the swarm.  Another reason is if the hive is too crowded the queen again will leave, causing a swarm.  Their ultimate goal when they swarm is to find a new home.  They would leave this tree within a day and find another home.

Well, once you have bees you feel like they belong to you and you're not willing to let them up and leave.  Well that's my take anyway.  So we captured the swarm, and put them into another hive.  You should never put a swarm back into their original hive.

This was so fascinating!  We called a couple people, got some advice and a friend/fellow beekeeper came over for moral support and to provide us with another hive to put our swarm in.

I operated the backhoe and Rod cut down the branch with the bees on.  They were up pretty high.  They are not angry after swarming because they don't have a home and therefore have nothing to protect.  We walked  them over to their new hive, set them down right at the entrance and they eventually all went in on their own.  Rod did scoop some of them in to get them started.

We looked for the queen, and couldn't find her.

And then I walked over to the tree where they were, and saw the remaining bees that were left behind swarmed again.  This time it was a much smaller ball.  Thinking the queen might still be in that ball of bees, we had to go up and cut the new limb down with the bees on.  This time i went up and got them.

After these bees went in, we felt like we had almost all of them into their new home.  And so far, they are happy in there.  The old hive, hopefully has a new queen in it already, or the workers may be "making" a new one.  If they don't, the bees will all eventually leave that hive.  Every hive needs one queen and they know if she's not there.  To make a queen, the worker bees need to feed a female larva a substance they make called royal jelly, this makes the larva bigger and she hatches out as a queen, vs. a worker.

Such a learning experience with this.  Apparently this is a big year for swarming.  Hoping the other hive doesn't do the same thing.  It's very full of bees!

So our chilling out by the campfire started later then expected :)  the boys camped out in the barn overnight and Rod and i hung out at the campfire from 10:00 on.  better late then never.

Monday, July 7, 2014

You'll never believe this but we had another packed weekend!  interesting thing is we only had one thing planned in advance, but you know how that goes.....

Wednesday a friend of ours from church, 46 years old, died unexpectedly and it effected our church family tremendously.  He was an active part of our church and there will be a noticeable hole now.  He and his wife have 5 children, all still at home.  Rod and I personally enjoyed talking farming and gardening with him, and working together on many pig roasts over the years.  He will be missed by many.  Since they were missionaries at different points in their life, there were people traveling here from all over the country.  We are hosting some folks now from OH and IL.   Most of them have been camping outside, which they are having a blast with.  They leave sometime tomorrow.

Today we sent Adam off to camp for the first time!  It was weird to leave him, but he mentioned several times he's excited for a break from his brothers :)  He always has enjoyed playing with kids older then him.  His bros are younger.  So we'll meet in the middle and put him in with kids his own age for a few days!  I think he will do fine.  I was proud of him for jumping right in, he has never been to this camp before.  I'm praying this will impact him in numerous positive ways!  We've been struggling with his behavior and tendencies for a while now and we're really unsure sometimes how to parent him.  The camp has been posting vidoes on facebook, so we get to see him and what he's doing.  His counselor is fabulous.

We certainly broke the 'anti swimming' mode I was in one of the last times I wrote.  We swam three times last week.  It's fun watching the boys swim and now having to drag them out of the pool verses forcing them in.  It's still not Ben's favorite pasttime, but he never did like water.  Some of you remember his screaming fits during bath time, up until 2.5 years old. 

I don't think we are hosting anything big again until October!  At least nothing is planned at the moment.  So I'm hoping a little family vaca will take place soon.  Probably not until next month though, as July seemed to fill up a little.   But for now, I'm enjoying the moments with the boys, and the garden, canning, get togethers, late nights, and sleeping in!  We also signed up to get a fresh air child this month, so if selected that will happen toward the end of the month.  The boys are very excited about that.  Rod says they act like we're going to be borrowing a puppy or something :)  hopefully it's that sweet of an experience! 

Monday, June 30, 2014

From start to finish

Here's a look into my day today.  Too tired to give details, it's pretty self explanatory :)  By the grace of God the boys had their best day together so far this summer.  That allowed this all to go smooth. 

((Almost lost a couple, had to stop and secure the cardboard))

Home Again

22 chickens in all!  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

This week

We came off of a busy weekend, with having 2 events at our place.  We had excellent weather both nights which is the first thing i often pray for when leading up to an event.  Last week we spent most of our spare time gearing up for these events, along with some volunteer work at GAIN warehouse.  The days of prepping for the weekend was worth it, as the reception and fundraiser went smoothly but i was glad to get back to normal people things!!  (i know, we are anything but normal around here!)

This week was basketball camp, mulberry picking, kombucha making, pokemon card burning, lemonade selling, bee inspecting, rails to trails riding, and window cleaning.  That sounds busy too, but it was on our schedule for the most part, and was a more relaxing week.

We STILL haven't swam this summer!!!  except Adam and Clay over father's day just to prove they could.  the water temp was 70.  We have access to neighbors pools, which is a great privilege, but i'm a fair weather swimmer and until i hear about water temps in the 80's, we'll pass.

I wish it could be summer all the time!  I love summers, particularly summer nights around here.  Tonight i watered flowers after 9:00 and lightening bugs galore!  So much of God's creation to take in right now.

Funny Gingrich boy quote:  Brad - "is our new babysitter old?"  Me - "No, she's young"  Brad - "OH GOOD, they look MUCH better when they are young."  baaaahaaaa!

Said babysitter lives on our road, and is such a good fit.  She's home now from missions and hasn't a job.  I may or may not have dropped them off there 3 times over the past week and a half :)  They have cute little dogs and an awesome creek in the backyard.  They love to go there.

Thanks for reading, no pics today.  i'm on the laptop watching the Phillies in extra innings.  Have a happy weekend.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mini vaca

Finally getting on here to share about our overnighter with Grandma at Grandpa's "north farm" last week. 
We stopped halfway at Lake Tobias, which was so much fun.  what a unique place.  The Safari Tour is great for kids and adults alike.  Then we spent the night at the farm outside Williamsport, and the next day went into Williamsport and took a boat ride on the Susquehanna before wrapping up our little vaca. 
I'm glad we were dealing with drizzly, chilly weather and not the hot stuff!  I was so glad the boys overpacked, like they always do, and thought to bring long sleeves!  I didn't pack any for myself, but mom had an extra jacket for me.
Thanks Grandma for planning and inviting us on this excursion, we made good memories!

Lake Tobias:

Safari tour:

Meet the Zedonk (Zebra/Donkey mix)

Petting Zoo;

Giving gma a hard time..They must have known how she felt about them

Boat ride