Sunday, May 29, 2016

Bee-utiful!!!

Such exciting news to tell you! Our homestead now has HONEY BEES!!!!

I have wanted honey bees for a few years now but prior years we had rented and I just didn't want to start hives on rental property and have to move them. Plus we lived in a neighborhood and didn't want to deal with people's paranoia over bees. I felt I was already pushing the envelope there with chickens. Now that we own and have land we revisited the discussion on bees.

My father is a beekeeper on the east coast (my mother assists) and both my parents have been here since the arrival of R-bear. Through the weeks, my dad kept busy going to local bee clubs, put himself on a swarm call list, and started  putting together supplies in case he got called for a swarm removal. Three times he got called but didn't have his phone on him. Last week he finally received a call for a swarm in a nearby town. My mom went with him and together they successfully retrieved the swarm. It was indeed exciting times.




We let the swarm relax in their hive box for a couple of days and when we went in to check it, they still appeared a bit disoriented and the sugar water was barely touched. No queen was found and we gently closed them back up and opened up a small entrance for them to figure things out.


Today we went back into the hive and saw four amazing findings:
1. tons of bees going in and out of the feeder for sugar water
2. lots of bees with pollen on their puffers which indicates theres potential for brood
3. two and a half frames were being built out
4. WE SAW THE QUEEN!!!

Yep, our hive is getting organized, starting to build out wax for honey, and the sighting of the queen was extra spectacular. So now we sit, wait, and continue to feed them with hopes of seeing some brood the next few days. If we see that we'll know our bees are establishing themselves and approve of their new home. Honey bees are so fascinating to watch and the more we learn about them the more in awe we are of their intelligence.

Here's to some honey!!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Crazy Train

Yes, welcome aboard our crazy train! What the heck was I thinking getting a newborn AND a 7 week old puppy?!?!?! Between reminding L-bug to potty, feeding and diapering R-bear, and potty training the puppy who PUTS EVERYTHING IN HIS MOUTH, I feel like I have three children. Maybe I blocked that part of puppyhood from my memory but I don't recall Argos being such a mouther. I am constantly fishing objects out of the puppy's mouth: potted plant dirt, sticks, rocks, dandelions, slippers, etc. Today I had to scold him for laying down and continuously licking the table leg. Having L-bug, who rarely walks anywhere (everything is done at a run) doesn't help with the puppy's instinct to chase and nip. She usually receives the biggest brunt of his mouthing. Ever see The Dark Crystal? Remember Fizzgig? Kiera's little dog-like animal with multiple rows of teeth? This is our pup....


Appropriately named Kaos, he had definitely added an element of Chaos to our lives. Mouthing aside, he is a wonderful dog. His training is going better than anticipated and he is such an amazing learner. I am so eager to see how he develops and grows with us.

Here, die of cuteness just a little:



R-bear arrived without a single complication and he is already starting to slowly gain weight. He is a bit smaller framed than L-bug but he was also over three weeks earlier than she was so I am hoping mama's good milk will chunk him up properly. He is so flippin' adorable that I just can't stop kissing and snuggling him! He is a very mellow baby and even his cries are relatively quiet. I'm thumbing my nose at all those people who assured me my second child would be a hellion because L-bug was so mellow and laid back.

One thing I have not gotten the hang of is how to harness "the stream". He is SUCH a little boy and it is rare that either I or the wall behind the changing table gets away without getting peed on at least once a day. I have changed his outfit more times in a day than is normal for a little dude. I am quick and I plan ahead, having diaper pre-laid out, wipes already set aside to wipe the crevices, and any other requirement for the changing. STILL I end up with pee on me or spend 5 minutes after the change wiping down the wall and back of changing table. It's ridiculous. I have been told it gets better.....

L-bug is surprisingly taking the new arrival extremely well and even tuts away at how proud she is at being a big sister! She snuggles R-bear any chance she can get (I have to make sure it is a snuggle and not a smother) and cradles him in her arms. She pulls out a stack full of books, props herself up on a stool next to him, and will spend hours reading to him. It is so cute to watch! There has been no regression on potty training or sleeping for her and I am just amazed. Also, in January we signed up for the local library's Reading Challenge. It is a challenge to read 1000 books to your child before kindergarten. L-bug is crazy about books and loves loves loves to read. As of today she has accomplished the 1000 book mark!!!! WooHoo!!! That is not even counting all the books she reads to herself, her little brother, and us. Four months to 1000 books! I am one proud mama.

The only new item I have tried with R-bear is the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper (the link I provided is the one we have). I can tell you I am a believer. It is perfect for our family and I wish I had had this instead of the cumbersome bassinet I used for L-bug. The Arms Reach attaches to the side of your bed with straps to prevent any tipping over or any gap in your bed between sleeper and mattress. In the middle of the night I can just reach over and pull him up into my lap to nurse. It is adjustable to the height of your mattress (ours is very high) and has one side that drops down to put you closer to baby without risking smothering. I chose this one over the bigger ones because I already have a pack and play so didn't feel it necessary to get a big one that converts to a play yard. I wanted something compact to fit unobtrusively in our bedroom yet large enough to last him for at least 6-8 months. I absolutely love ours and highly recommend it.