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milo and friends.

milo has a birthday coming up.  he is our halloween kitty.  rescued so many years ago.  gosh we just love him.  he stays inside a bit more than he used to which you will not ever hear this animal mama complaining about.

he loves living out in the country.  loves it.  he is never far from the house.  with the bees to watch in the mornings.  an afternoon nap on the land rover.  followed by watching the chickens.  his days are full and content.

this past weekend we fed the bees.  we are optimistic about their survival going into this winter.  all three appear to be strong and thriving.  milo is always right at my feet watching the beekeeper in action.

honey bees have not only an unimaginable workload but they also have to lookout for dangers surrounding them.  there are other animals that feast on honey bees.  this past weekend we witnessed a couple.

this insect here is actually called  a “bee killer.” poor little honey bee.

i thought this was just a sweet bird watching over us as we were feeding.  nope.  it swooped down and snatched a bee in mid flight.  sad little bee.  mean bird.

luckily we also saw evidence of new growth and productive queens.  enlarge this picture to see a bee being born!  amazing!

milo was being such a ham.  i was trying to document the bee hives but i couldn’t resist his cuteness.

and on his chair observing the chickens.  where he can be found most afternoons!

weigh in monday with a recap

last week i was still on the hormone train but i am thrilled to report the “witch” is gone!  i am feeling more like my optimistic, energetic self and couldn’t be happier. 

today weigh in showed 2 pounds lost.  total lost is 24 pounds.  i am 6 away from reaching my first big goal of 30!  3 more weeks until i am on a plane to boston celebrating my 30 pounds lost.  i think i can, i think i can.

i have been compiling a list of some of my favorite food tips and tricks to cut calories and sugar. i will post a bit later this week along with my weekly menu.  2 pounds has been the lowest number lost since i started and instead of getting down i am reminding myself that the last two weeks have been “those weeks” and i have lost a total of 6 pounds.  i never thought that would be the case.  so instead of being down, i am patting myself on the back for (a) not quitting because i had an irrational excuse and (b) finding low calorie alternatives because i knew i was emotionally eating and could. not. stop.

click for source.

so today i am back to the gym.  cleaning house.  getting back on track.

this weekend was filled with baseball.  (go red sox! back in sole first place and it feels so good. i don’t like to share!)

filled with an amazing anniversary dinner.  (more later!)

filled cuddling with this little man.

and feeding these ladies.

back online

who knew that a rain storm last friday evening would leave us without phone or internet for over a week?! at first we were super annoyed. because of where we live our cell phones don’t have coverage so we truly felt we were living off of the grid for a few days. it was most difficult for myself because i work from home but i have to say, after the first initial withdrawal i actually appreciated not being so “connected.”

we went to bed earlier. we spent more time together. i got more stuff done AND went to the gym five days! now, how do we parlay this new found awareness into permanent reality? especially now the phone and internet are back?! that is the real question we will be trying to figure out. how do you guys find the balance between “online time” and “real time?”

this is a montage of our past week. crafts, dogs, cat monitoring bees, chickens. and cicadas. lots and lots of cicadas.

several etsy orders went out last week and i am slowly catching up. the list gets smaller and smaller and i am closer to opening up my shop.

the bees are doing really well and we added two hive bodies to give them more room. i decided i wanted colorful beehives instead of the standard white. i set out paint and was going to paint them different colors. i didn’t have time and the beekeeper painted them all the same green. it is a lovely green, one you might see very soon for a chicken coop reveal, but not exactly what i had in mind. still colorful and full of a lot of bees. win. win.

milo is always challenging me for the #2 beekeeper spot. i seriously love this cat. he is nine years old and is still as playful as he was when we first got him, oh nine years ago. he watches over the hive and is always by our side when we are out feeding them or just watching.

oh these ladies keep growing and growing. everyday this box looks smaller and it is a reminder that we are over the hump and their time inside is slowly coming to an end. this is both a good thing and a sad thing. good, obvious reason number one: poop. the bigger they get the bigger the poop gets. sad: i have grown very attached and enjoy our daily morning and evening cuddle time. i am going to be a nervous wreck their first night outside.

oh i love this picture even though it isn’t that great of a shot. ethel is my favorite. i know, i know. you aren’t suppose to have a favorite. but she is. she LOVES me. whenever my hand is in the brooder box cleaning, watering, whatever she wants to jump on, crawl up my arm and sit on my shoulder. sigh. she makes me laugh so much. here i am trying to take a picture to show how much they have all grown and she immediately is coming towards my hand.

our three golden girls at 4 weeks. they look so awkward with their fluff making room for their adult feathers.

work on the run is coming together. it will be fully enclosed and give them plenty of room to do their chicken thing, happily.

so that is that. lots of sugar snap pea eating. volunteering. enjoying life and each other. it is good to be back in this space.

a new lense

well, an old camera lense but it is new to me. i am slowly learning how to use the husband’s “real” camera and i am loving it! this lense really captured the bees during our most recent visit this weekend.

the goal. check on the frames to see if we can locate brood. brood being baby bees waiting to be “born.” if we find them, it means the queen is doing her thing. we also needed to feed them. we feed them sugar water made by yours truly.

success. my cutie beekeeper husband spotted brood. oh we danced a jig.

the warre hive did NOT want to be disturbed. the other traditional hives were calm. weird. maybe because it was saved til last. i don’t know. either way i loved seeing the lense pick up on the excitement of beekeeping. can you spot the bees flying around?


saturday, north carolina saw widespread devastation as tornadoes barreled across the state. we heeded warnings and huddled the husband, myself, the pups and cat in the safest place in the house. the wind blew and rain fell hard, and when it was over we were able to go outside and go on about our day. not so for many, many others. areas to the east and south of us saw heartbreaking damage from the storms. life was lost and homes destroyed.

for the safety of my family, dear friends in some of the hardest hit areas and the roof over my head, i am immensely grateful this morning.

before the storms hit we had already had quite the adrenaline pumping morning. we woke up early and went to pick up our 9lbs of bees. question: what does 9lbs. of bees sound like in a jetta wagon? loud. loud buzzing. it was a bit unsettling for this beekeepers wife.

here is the new setup. 3 hives this year. (last year we only had the 1 and it didn’t survive the harsh winter.) two traditional hives and one “warre” hive. in the traditional hives the bee installation is not that big of a deal. again, beekeeper wife and photographer opinion. the beekeeper (seriously, he is so cute in his bee getup) opens up the package and leaves it be for 24 hours. the bees figure out where to go.

the warre hive is another story. the beekeeper opens the package the same as before but then has to “shake” the bees into the hive. hmmph. i think i am on team bee. who wants to be violently shaken into their new home? no this girl. no sir. man they were loud. not happy.

evidence my beekeeper of a husband has no sense. minutes after violently shaking the bees into their new home, he is calmly placing the bars into place.

day two. time to go check on the bees and remove the packages they came in. it is also time to check on the queen to see if the worker bees have freed her from her separate package.

between the pups and milo, we have excellent supervisors.

checking on the queen. she is not quite yet freed so in a couple of days we will check again.

it was a humbling and successful weekend. ups and downs. moments of fear, adrenaline and gratitude. we so appreciate all the friends and family that called to check up on us. we felt loved and so appreciated it.

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