Friday, June 29, 2012

You Can Thank My Mom

Here's the recipe for the broccoli salad I mentioned in my last post that a couple of you said you were interested in having. I got it from my mom many long years ago and make it often when I can get my hands on fresh broccoli.


2 large stalks broccoli, wash and use tender flowerettes only
10 strips bacon, fried and crumbled
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup slivered almonds


2/3 cup Miracle Whip
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar

Put first four ingredients in a bowl. Mix together the dressing ingredients and pour over salad and toss. Is best made the night before serving or at least 3-4 hours ahead of time.

Okay, now I'll tell you how I deviate from the recipe and I'm sure you can, too, and still get a yummy-good salad to serve.

I use thinly sliced pieces of the broccoli stalks along with the flowerettes. (Just can't waste those nutritious, crunchy morsels.)

TEN strips of bacon?? Gee, that has always seemed like a lot to me. I keep fried and diced bacon in a container in my freezer for convenience and use some of it in recipes like this. How much do I toss in this salad? Oh, gosh. Less than a quarter cup probably. You, obviously, can put in as much or as little as your little heart desires.

My mom always said Miracle Whip made the best tasting dressing which I've used, but I've also used mayonnaise, both store bought and homemade.

Sometimes I don't have as much broccoli as other times. Because of this I drizzle some of the prepared dressing over the other ingredients and mix it up. If that doesn't make it moist enough, I add more. What I'm trying to say is you may not want to use the whole amount of dressing that the recipe makes. Use your own judgment on this.

I made my salad yesterday morning for last night's dinner. The above picture is what we had leftover to eat with our scrambled eggs this morning.

My mom was a good cook and I have many recipes on cards in her handwriting which I treasure. Thanks for this one, Mom!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Day in the Dirt

It may be a little bit on the warm side today (mid-80s . . . which I know some of you would love to have rather than your three digit temps) but it's good for us to sweat, right? Gets those toxins right out of your body!

I finished getting the potatoes hilled up. Other than their rather haphazard germination rate, they're looking good. This is the first time I've planted potatoes in the "pumpkin patch" so I'll be curious to see what kind of a yield we get this year. We so much prefer red potatoes to white ones that I didn't plant anything but reds.

This morning I picked our first decent sized harvest of strawberries. I've given some away and the rest we'll use in our lunch time smoothies and/or eat fresh in a bowl with milk. (Or cream, hee-hee.) Sure wish somebody would use some of them to make a refrigerated strawberry pie topped with whipped cream.

I'm not quite finished with working on our expanded blueberry/haskcap berry patch yet today. Had to come in for a break from the sun . . . and bending over.

Early this spring we decided to expand the above area. Papa Pea plowed up the sod and I've now tilled it three times. We've picked about a ton of rocks off it three times, too. This morning we trekked into town to pick up a couple bales of peat moss for me to spread on the new area. This will start to make the soil more acidic so it'll be ready for more blueberry or haskap berry bushes when we decide what to put in there.

The new area is "L"-shaped and the three haskap bushes we planted this spring are across the foot of the "L".

They're not lush bushes yet (!) but have progressed a lot from the sticks we planted.

Well, I've slurped up the last of my iced coffee pick-me-up so I suppose I'd better get back out there to finish up for the day before time to make dinner. I think grilled cheese sandwiches and a cold broccoli salad will be the "gourmet" selection for tonight!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I Think My Garden Hates Me

I think it's mad at me for letting it lie fallow last year. For not giving it my time and attention. For throwing the seeds of a cover crop over everything but not planting any veggies or flowers.

I can't remember ever having had a garden this far behind where it should be at this time of year. I've never had so many seeds not germinate. Or transplanted seedlings do so poorly when transferred to garden soil.

There should be Sweet Peas climbing halfway up this trellis by now. The couple of tall plants you see are the only ones that germinated from my first planting. I only got about 50% germination from the second planting.

These beans are doing okay considering when I planted them (June 8th). They're a French filet green bean that is my hubby's favorite. You pick them when they're no more than 1/4" thick. I'll admit they are very, very tasty, but they don't freeze worth a darn so these will be strictly for fresh eating.

This bed of alternating rows of scallions and kohlrabi don't look too bad, but there is nary a kohlrabi bulb starting to form. And I planted them on April 29th. Considering kohlrabi needs to grow quickly in cool weather to be sweet and tender, they may be a bust. Maybe the chickens will be able to play soccer with them.

I set my peppers out three weeks ago inside a cold frame to give them a good start. I sincerely think they have gotten smaller since I transplanted them. And something is chewing on them. Are they not pathetic looking? Sigh.

My Morning Glories were started inside. Babied and talked to. After transplanting outside around the tepee trellis, they all died. Deader than door nails. Kaputz. Withered up. Fell over. The ones you see here I direct seeded after that. Something is chewing on them, too.

These lettuce plants that are finally, almost, barely, just about big enough to harvest were ones I saved from a bed of lettuce I planted on April 29th but had terrible germination. I transplanted them to this bed and totally replanted the first bed on May 17th. Nuthin' came up that time. Nada. (Is there a Lettuce Curse going around I don't know about?)

I'm doing a little four-row experimental patch of corn this year. It was totally flooded last week so I guess I should be happy the little corn sprouts have all survived. They're about 4" high. Knee high by the Fourth of July? Ha! We're hoping for ankle high.

This shot shows my three rows of shell peas and main crop of green beans. Today I came across a picture taken May 25, 2010, and the peas and beans were bigger than these are today on June 26th of this year.

One of my beds of storage onions looking pretty good. They got a little beat up by the heavy, incessant rains last week but have bounced back. No bulbs showing yet though.

More transplanted (rescued) lettuce and a few plants of Swiss chard that were originally planted on that fateful April 29th day. It's not even quite big enough to start harvesting yet. I wonder if it (along with the lettuce) is going to be bitter?

During the flooding of the garden last week I lost all the kale that had just sprouted, some lettuce and two cherry tomato plants. The beets are looking a little spotty but I think I'll get enough out of what's left.

Even my flowers in the garden don't look good. I hadn't mulched anything when the rains came so they are all splashed heavily with mud. I had started all of them inside but right now they're looking a little the worse for wear and not as healthy as when I set them out.

As I said, I've had some insect damage. I don't know what's been dining on the peppers or the potatoes as I haven't been able to find the culprits yet. Today I did see quite a few very small grasshoppers in the garden. Yeesh, I thought grasshoppers were only a bother during dry conditions.

Even the soil in the garden doesn't feel "right" this year. I suppose that could have something to do with the fact that it was dry for so long and then flooded for several days.

I need to concentrate on finding a way to make friends with my garden. Maybe something in writing saying I'll never let it lie fallow again?

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Animals We Love

They never live long enough whether they leave us when they're nine or nineteen.

Chicken Mama could use your love and support today. She had to have Maisy Grace, her 8-1/2 year old Golden Retriever, put down.

This picture was taken a couple of years ago at Christmas time. Maisy had just opened her present of this big ol' rawhide bone and really didn't have time to pose for a picture. "Just let me be so I can work on this bone, please."

Maisy was a people dog if there ever was one. She was happiest being right in the middle of things and close to the people she loved. Her exercise of choice was retrieving . . . retrieving anything you threw for her. If she saw you skipping a rock out into the water, she'd swim out to where the rock went down and dive over and over under the water until she found that particular rock. And you can bet she knew just which rock it was.

She was a beautiful girl with a kind, gentle personality. She had a shiny, gorgeous coat and I often told Chicken Mama that when she brushed her she should save Maisy's hair and spin it into golden yarn.

It was the right time for Maisy to go and it seems in her own quiet way she told Chicken Mama so. Because it was the right time, I think it was easy for Maisy. Not so easy for her people.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

It's Strawberry Time in the Northwoods

As I was working in the garden today, I happened to glance over at the strawberry patch and saw a bit of red in among the green, green leaves.

I had to drop everything and go check it out. Low and behold, I found a few ripe berries!

But as you can see, they're not very big yet and a few of them had already been discovered by those filthy, slimy, hateful, no-good slugs. Given the rains we've had, that should come as no big surprise.

After I finished my garden work elsewhere, I dove head first into the strawberry patch to 1) pick what ripe berries there might be, 2) do a little weeding of the ever-present quack grass (ugh), and 3) check out the strawberry plants in general.

I was afraid with all the moisture we've had, and lack of sunny days since, there might be a mold problem. So, so happy to report nothing like mold was found (I really searched pretty well) and the plants and berries look healthy.

It's kind of hard to see the berries because they're so green yet but the plants are just loaded this year. We've definitely had the moisture so now if we can just get the sunshine needed, we should get a great crop.

I'm thinking Strawberry Shortcake, how about you?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Chick Update

The chicks are eating, drinking, pooping, sleeping and seem to be very happy with their life in our brooder.

The brooder is set up with a screen on top because we've learned in the past that very quickly the little peepers can jump higher than you'd ever think possible and too often seem intent on making an escape to check out parts of the garage that aren't included in their little world.

Our chicks came from Sand Hill Preservation Center in Iowa where we've orered chicks for several years and, as usual, seem to be very healthy. Our order this year was for Black Australorps, Icelandics, Dominiques and Golden Laced Cochin bantams. Because of hatching difficulties at the hatchery, we ended up with Black Australorps, Icelandics and Barred Hollands. No banties, sad to say. We've always had very good luck with bantams because they go broody for us, make excellent mothers and also give a fair amount of eggs for a longer period of time than standard sized hens.

The hatchery offered to give us a partial refund because they couldn't supply the varieties we wanted, but we told them that wasn't necessary. Maybe next year we'll give another try at the two breeds we didn't get this year. We've always enjoyed dealing with Sand Hill as they're a family business that does right by their customers.

Because we didn't get these chicks until so late in the season, they won't start laying until close to the first of the new year. Right now our current seven laying hens are giving us five or six eggs a day. If they can hang in there with good production until these new chicks come on board, we'll be all set.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Little Peepers Are Here

After waiting through several possible hatch dates, our new batch of little chickies finally arrived this morning.

Here they are in their shipping box (yes, there are 26 of them in there) looking a little weary, cramped, hungry, thirsty and maybe a bit chilled after their two day road trip.

We were really worried that the extensive flooding of areas between the hatchery and here would prove to be disastrous for their journey but they arrived on time and all looking pretty good.

They're in their brooder now, eating and drinking, and making themselves at home.

I don't think I'd want to be in the hatchery business. This place that we've ordered our chicks from for several years is a family business run by great people and their stock has always proven to grow into healthy and robust birds. However, this year they've had their problems. They had two incubators malfunction and lost 1,200 eggs. (Make you feel any better, Carolyn?) What a blow. Then the hens of one of the breeds we ordered started eating their eggs. Good golly, if it ain't one thing, it's another.

So we accepted some substitutions for the breeds we originally ordered. I can't tell you off the top of my head what we ended up getting and Papa Pea has the papers somewhere up in his office. I can't seem to lay my hands on them and the dear man is, as we speak, dealing with a stubborn leak in the water filtration system we installed yesterday so I don't think this is a good time to bother him. Or talk to him. Or be in the same room with him.

I'll do another post on the little fluff balls with more info later.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Radar Says Rain Is Done

I sure hope the radar knows of what it speaks! After steady rain and a couple of deluges today, the rain has stopped and supposedly has moved south and east of us.

Our pond rose two feet (!) but we're happy to say we suffered no real problems. When we built, I guess the time, expense and trouble we spent on a good drainage system all around the house paid off. We've remained dry inside but sure have a lot of large puddles and squishy ground outside. The bottom half of our driveway has three small wash-out spots but considering all the water that ran down it, it held up very well.

I can't tell yet what I've lost in the garden. It's the first time I've seen my raised beds with standing water on top. Needless to say, the field garden and potato patch both have their share of water, too.

Although this is more rain than we've ever seen in such a short period of time in this area, our immediate location came through much better than those not very far from here. There have been rock and mud slides, roads and bridges washed out and buildings with water damage. Now we need some warm, sunny days for repair and drying out.

Where Are My Hip Boots?

Retraction from last night:

This morning I am worried about some flash flooding. We don't have the full picture yet but apparently some roads in our area, including the main highway, are experiencing water damage.

Our rain gauge shows 3-3/4" of rain since yesterday morning. Some areas south of us got as much as 6-1/4". The thunderstorms and rain pelting down kept both of us awake much of the night. We finally gave up at 3:30 and got up to make sure all was well around here.

Getting up a couple of hours before the alarm is scheduled to go off does give you a jump start on the day.

I had plenty of time to make a pan of Pancake Fluff for breakfast. I just pulled it out of the oven and it smells yummy!

When was it the forecast said we could expect a sunny day? Can't come fast enough! Squish-squish, splash-splash, blub, blub, blub . . .

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Going Under?

Seems it wasn't too long ago that I was worried about my potentially great strawberry crop not developing well because of lack of moisture. Currently we're experiencing another week of almost constant rains (we had more than our share last week) and the weather report just listed us as being under a flash flood warning.

My strawberry plants have never looked more lush. (Lusher?) The plants are the size of small bushes with heavy foliage and many green berries. Now, of course, I'm worried about mold creeping into the patch if we don't get some sunshine to dry things out.

The rest of the garden is suffering, too. My potatoes really need to be hilled up but I won't be able to do that until the patch dries out quite a bit. Thursday of this week looks to be the only day with the hope of some sunshine (and not more rain) for the near future.

None of my squash or pumpkin seeds have sprouted. (Duh, could be because they don't like wet, cold soil.) Granted, it has certainly been wet but it hasn't really been what I would call cold. (At least not by northern Minnesota standards.) Low 70s during the day and low 60s at night. When (and if) we get a day of sunshine, I'm sure they will either pop right up . . . or I'll know they did rot and I'll have to stick some more in to replace the seeds that didn't make it.

I had hoped to have some pictures of the garden to show you, but I'm afraid I'd drown if I ventured out there right now. It's a little after 6 p.m. as I write and it looks as dark out there as it does at dusk.

Even though sloshing around outside to do chores or anything else results in becoming more than a little damp, I'm not really concerned about any flash flooding in our area at this time, but I know I won't be able to get into the garden to do any work until things dry out . . . considerably. Seems we gardeners are never satisfied with the weather. Geesh.

Oh my, more big thunder-boomers rolling through and another torrent of rain is pelting down again right now. Hope we don't "go under" before the sun comes out on Thursday. And I sure hope the sun DOES come out on Thursday!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Lovely Lupines

I think lupines are near the top of my list of favorite wild flowers that grow in our area.

They cover a small hillside slope back near our wood cutting area.

I can't resist cutting and bringing a bouquet of them inside a couple of times while they're blooming.

Unfortunately, they don't hold up well after being cut and make a real mess as their gorgeous purple petals fall off the stems. They sure are impressive while they last though.

Friday, June 15, 2012

What We Do For Fun

Okay, so I'm being a smarty pants. Yesterday when we were kept inside all day by the rain, we managed to find lots of things to do. Following is one of them.

This is our bank of batteries for our solar system stored on very substantially built shelving in a corner of the garage.

Because the water level in the batteries has to be kept at a certain level, they need to be checked regularly and periodically replenished.

Papa Pea gets the upper story work while I remain on the ground. I fill a cup measure with distilled water, hand it up to him and using a funnel he pours it into each one of the twenty-four batteries.

What a team! Now, do we know how to have fun . . . or what?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Catch-Up Day

Yep, this is a catch-up day for me that I know will go by far too fast!

I did succeed in getting all the seeds and transplants into garden soil yesterday. Phew, it does feel good to have that done. Of course, this doesn't mean there still aren't a plethora of on-going jobs to keep up with relating to the yard and garden, but getting the garden "in" each year is, as you all know, a task that some days feels monumental. (And is it ever "done?" Once one crop is harvested, we just can't bear to see that bare soil without planting something else in it's place.)

Woke up today to much grayness with a 90% chance of thunderstorms. The rain started around 10:30-11:00 but so far it's been a nice, steady drizzle that is giving needed moisture along with other benefits to all green and growing things out there. I do hope it continues all day long.

It's a perfect day for being inside . . . and cleaning. As I'm getting into that task, if you were here you'd hear exclamations of "Oh, yuck!" and "Ish!" as they escape my lips curled in disgust. I truly don't know when the last time was that I did any cleaning (hang your head, Mama Pea) other than a quick sweep of the kitchen floor or wiping down of the counters. Until I have a chance to remedy this revolting situation, I'm not letting anyone wearing white gloves inside the door.

The other thing I want to do today is spend some time at my desk. I am hereby issuing a blanket, public, sincere apology to those of you I've owed an e-mail to or neglected to communicate with for way too long. There doesn't seem to be enough hours in each day to squeeze in everything. Last night as we were getting ready for bed, I told my hubby that today I wanted to spend all day at my desk/computer. And all day cleaning. And all day in my quilt room. (Is that called refusing to face reality?)

Right now I need to get off my rusty-duster and get back to my cleaning. Once that is done, I'll feel one heckuva lot better and might even have some time left to get to another task or two that's been hanging fire.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gimme One More Day

If all goes well, I think I can finish all the planting in the garden tomorrow. And since Thursday is forecast to give us heavy rain all day (which we need), I think it would behoove me to try to do just that.

My two clumps of chives are in full bloom right now. I think every garden should have chive plants simply for the lovely blossoms they offer so freely.

The day today was gorgeous . . . lots of sun, low 70s and a nice breeze. I was in one part or another of the garden all day. Besides several other things, Papa Pea got the lawn cut. I feel guilty about that since the lawn mowing is supposed to be my job this summer. But I do have an excused absence from the task until I get the garden in. Once I'm on top of that it will be me and the lawn mower spending quality time together at least once a week for the rest of the season.

Do you think I'll actually finish all the planting tomorrow? I should be able to get in all the planned main things. Somehow it seems I keep finding empty spots in which to stick seeds or plants throughout the whole season. Wouldn't want to waste any little bit of good garden space, would we?

Hope you're all having a good week.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Day Away From Dirt

Today was a mental and physical health day off for me. This morning I went to a handwork group and sat and stitched for a couple of hours accompanied by good conversation and much laughter.

When I came home I did the weekly laundry and ironing.

Got everything dried and put away except for the last load of sheets. After dinner I took them down and threw them in the dryer for 10 minutes to finish them off because we may have thunderstorms tonight. (Maybe I should have left them out on the line because we could really use the rain . . . )

I did no work at all in the garden (and the earth didn't stop turning) but I'll get back out there tomorrow. Cooler temps are forecast which will make much nicer gardening conditions. Yesterday our thermometer in the shade hit the high 70s so I know it had to be a least ten degrees warmer out in the garden in the full sun. There was a whole lotta sweatin' goin' on. I wore a t-shirt rather than tank top because I'd been getting a titch too much sun on skin that's been covered up for several months. Still my arms below the short sleeves of the t-shirt got a leetle too red and I think it was wise to keep them completely out of the sun today.

You know how you can be too physically tired to sleep well? That's what happened to me last night. Several days of pushing in the garden and my body sent me a few subtle signals that I needed a day off. Only problem is that by relaxing a bit today, my body now feels akin to a wet noodle and I can hardly keep my eyes open. It's only 8:05 p.m. Okay with all of you if I sign off and get into bed?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Gardening, Sleeping, Eating, Gardening . . .

That's about all this past week has consisted of . . . gardening, sleeping, eating, gardening . . . and more gardening. Due to our uncooperative weather during May, putting in my garden definitely got off to a slow start and although it's still not too late for just about anything I want to get in, I am behind my usual planting schedule. By more than a little bit!

This past week has given us glorious, if a bit on the warm side (whew, I'll say!), weather with NO BUGS so I have been really pushing myself to spend as much time in the garden as possible. (Oy, please don't ask to see the inside of my house. It is grubby.)

I could show you lots of pictures of bare dirt that has seeds buried 1/4" to 1" underneath it but, of course, that's not too interesting.

I have never been able to grow Brussels sprouts or broccoli without those ishy little green worms ending up in my harvested crop. A short while back, I happened to read something Sue said on her blog, Sue's Garden Journal, on how she covers her beds with Agribon which keeps the little white moths/butterflies (which lay the eggs which turn into the worms) off of her brassicas. Well, I jumped on this bit of information p.d.q. and pestered Sue with a million questions so I could build my own little protective tunnels to enable us to successfully grow broccoli and Brussels sprouts, our two favorite vegetables, and actually EAT them sans worms! Sue couldn't have been more generous or kind or sharing of her knowledge which enabled us to cover two of our raised beds yesterday in much the same way she does. One contains Brussels sprouts and one has the broccoli in it. I am super-excited to see how this turns out.

The blueberries, raspberries and strawberries all look like they will give us a fantastic yield this year. The blueberry bushes are loaded with blossoms. (Bad picture, I know, but I was too pooped to fool around with the lighting focus on the camera to get a better shot.)

One thing I did not get to on my gardening list this past week was weeding the blueberry patch. The picture doesn't show it, but there are weeds sticking their ugly little heads up right within the bushes and waving while sticking out their tongues and taunting me. First of the week, I'll get to this area . . . and show those weeds what for!

Okay, here's a sad situation. I planted our potatoes right before the two-week monsoon we experienced in May. It sure looks as though many of the potato eyes rotted, something they will easily do if they get too much moisture before sprouting. The ones that did manage to sprout look very healthy but we won't get half the crop I was expecting. Crikey. Guess we'll just have to eat more rice this winter.

I got all the cabbage transplanted. Here's a row of red cabbage happy to finally be in the soil instead of in their cramped little pots.

The strawberry patch (until this morning) looked more like a quack grass farm but I attacked it with a vengeance and ripped out every single piece (well, I might have missed one or two or six) of quack grass. The strawberry plants this year are tall and lush and loaded with blossoms. Some have already formed little green berries, and I think the harvest will start two to three weeks early this year.

Well, that's a short summary of some of the gardening that's been keeping me done in, dirty and sweaty this week. I think I've probably got one more week of work before I can say all the outside stuff is under control. Then it will just be keeping the upper hand on the weeds before all the seeds sprout and the plants start shooting up. One more week? Sure hope my tired tuchus can keep going that long!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

All Is Well, But Busy

The only thing wrong on this here little homestead right now is that the days aren't long enough!

I haven't posted in a few days because I've been spending every minute I can getting the garden in. Finally. I've never been so behind or so late in the work that needs to be done out there. I'm blaming the weather. It was so wonky for so long that things had to be put off . . . and then put off some more.

But now summer seems to have finally arrived, the days are sweat-producing and uncomfortably hot (wanna see my red shoulders?), and we're right back to needing some rain again. I had to water with the hose tonight for the first time to insure the survival of recently planted seeds and the transplanted seedlings that finally went into the ground today.

I haven't been able to keep up with all of your blogs (if only I could convince my body to get by on 3 or 4 hours of sleep a night!), and I miss doing that. But it shouldn't be long now before I feel I have control of the garden and I'll have time to take some pictures and blog more specifically about what's been happening around here. It's probably the busiest time of year, but also very satisfying in being able to very clearly see the results of the labor.

Monday, June 4, 2012

I Shall Survive

After my reaction to the sting Saturday inflicted by the Mad Bee from Hell, I am well on my way to recovery today.

My good bloggy friend, Lisa, over at Shady Grove Journal, commiserated with me and offered a whole boatload of suggestions as to precautions I need to take. She, too, suffers unpleasant allergic reactions to insect stings and bites so she knows of what she speaks. She so well described the feel that takes over my body after being stung. As she said, it's "kind of like a general malaise of sorts" for a couple of days after being stung. Yup, that's it, for sure!

When I got up yesterday morning with my hubby, I felt so crummy that I went back to bed and slept for 2 more hours. Then in the afternoon, I took another nap for a couple of hours. It felt like the thing to do to me, but I think I caused some sorry to Papa Pea because it was such an unusual happenstance that I should nap during the day.

Glad to report the swelling is much less today and rest assured I shall survive. But I also realize I need to stock up on some antihistamines and probably should finally cave and get an Epi-pen to have on hand.

I probably would have been totally safe from another bee attack, but couldn't get up the courage to venture out into the garden today because of the overcast weather . . . just the kind of conditions that make for cranky bees. I'm hoping tomorrow I will be feeling back to normal and the sun will shine down on me and those sweet bees of ours. (See, fuzzy little honey-making friends, I still do like you.)

I sincerely appreciate all the care and concern I received from all of you. Next time I have a losing argument with an angry bee or wasp or hornet, I'm going to keep mum about it. I feel I'm coming across as way too much of a wimp in this department!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Bee Tale of Woe

In a previous post I mentioned that a couple of days ago, Papa Pea was mowing near the bee hives and got nailed in the forehead by one of our honey bees.

Yesterday he worked in the bee yard splitting an over-crowded hive into two hives. Even though the day was sunny and the bees should have been in a good mood, they were not. Papa Pea was decked out in his full bee suit and he used his smoker which usually calms them down and makes them sluggish, but it didn't. He reported they were wild and crazy and very upset with him when all he was doing was trying to help them out by alleviating their congested living conditions.

This morning I was sitting out on the front lawn giving some loving to Maisy, one of our granddogs who hasn't been feeling very good, when a bee started buzzing my head. It was a mad bee. A very mad bee. What was his problem? I did nothing to him. He apparently drank cranky juice for breakfast because his buzz was that of a bee on a kamikaze mission. Once you hear that particular sound, you always recognize it and know you are in trouble.

Being around the bees has never bothered me, but since my sensitivity to their sting seems to be increasing over the last few years, I gotta admit to feeling a little more panic than a big, strong homesteading gal should when in the situation I found myself this morning.

Trying not to lose my composure completely, I thought if I got up and went in the house, the bee would stay outside. Wrong.

By this time, he had tangled himself in my hair and I knew it was just a matter of time before he found a tender spot in which to plant his ringer-dinger of a stinger.

Running through the house and out the door to our attached garage, I yelled, "I need help. I've got a bee caught in my head!" Well, he wasn't IN my head, but hubby got the message. As I tried to hold still and Papa Pea tried to remove the bee without getting stung himself, Mr. Bee's butt made contact with my scalp at the back of my head and he let me have it.

Now, I'm not a wimp and happen to have a very high level of pain tolerance but, holy macaroni, did that hurt!

After hubby extracted the stinger, we immediately put the cut side of an onion on the site (the onion juice supposedly draws the bee venom out of the skin) and I took the homeopathic remedy, Apis, which counteracts the effect of the venom in one's system. Then Papa Pea made a poultice of baking soda and water which I've worn all day.

Betcha would have a hard time figuring out what this was a picture of if you didn't know, huh? (Kinda looks like I got shot with a caulk gun. Splat!)

When hubby went out to close up the poultry early tonight, he reported he was chased back into the greenhouse by an angry bee who, by all rights, should have been tucked into his hive and settled down for the night at that hour.

I don't know what's gotten into our normally mild-mannered, well-behaved bees but I sure hope they get over their current hissy-fit but quick.

I tell ya, life on the homestead can be dangerous. If it's not Father Goose being overly protective and taking a chunk out of your leg, it's bees who are becoming down right dysfunctional!

Friday, June 1, 2012

In Place

I can totally understand how these "remodeling" posts might be as interesting as a box of rocks to all of you, but each one chronicles a step closer to having the remodeling completed to me. And at this point of the game, every little step toward that goal feels good and I'm thrilled to have this particular piece in place.

While putting the last coat of finish on the TV/stereo/bookcase unit this morning, it felt like it took me ten times as long as the first two coats. Seriously. Wonder why that was? Maybe it was because we were actually getting close to finishing it and I wanted to have it DONE and be able to install it.

So here it is . . . in place. I love the way it ties in with the book boxes above it. Now hubby has the not-so-easy job of rerouting the wires for the TV hook-up the whole length of the house (in the crawl space . . . never a nice place to have to do any work) in preparation for moving said TV out of our bedroom (yay!) and into the living room. Maybe tomorrow?

Right now, I'm pleased as punch to have this unit designed, built, polyed and finished. Cross it off the list! One more step toward completion of our living room remodeling.