Thursday, May 29, 2014

New Arrivals at our house!

and not what you were thinking!

Today, the new fridge and upright freezer arrived! YAY!

The old fridge made it, but it was a pretty close thing! The new fridge is almost exactly the same--black, side-by-side (we need the handles so we can lock it--SmallDaughter is very naughty about the fridge!)--however this one doesn't have an ice dispenser in the door.

Since we never used it for dispensing water or ice (it's last service was as the fondly remembered accidental "snickers bar dispenser"), we decided we would rather have the space!

Also--the new fridge is shockingly blank. No recipes or menus chalked on it. No job lists or coupons on the sides. Weird.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Very Tired Butt

Today I drove (according to my car's odometer, that I reset this morning when I filled the gas tank), 275 miles. That means I could have gone someplace exciting like Chicago or Indianapolis or Pittsburgh to see people I love. I could have gone anywhere in the entire state of West Virginia, or at least half of Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan or New York State. I could have gone to Toronto (which requires a stamp in my passport, oooooH!). Did I go any of those exciting places? No, actually. I went to boring local places--and back--multiple times. There were many good things accomplished, much good was done--but as a road trip it was pretty lame.

Trying new things

So, one of the side aspects of taking apart and recolonizing the beehives is that I had some un-needed beeswax. In the form of (mostly) brood comb. In case you didn't know this (I know I sure didn't!), when the bees first make the wax, it is the palest white/yellow (virgin wax). They make LOTS of cells of this, which serve different purposes at different times. Sometimes they store the pollen the worker bees bring in, so they can eat it later. Sometimes they store honey, which is capped with more pure virgin wax for storage. Sometimes they store brood and little baby bees, and in the process of hatching, pupating and emerging, that wax gets brown (almost black eventually) and pretty gross.

There are lots of ways to process beeswax, and it is a pretty simple to do--put the chunks of wax in a deep, old pan (that you never want to use for anything else, ever again!), fill it with water, bring it to a boil, than let it cool. The wax floats and cools into a disc. The water with a full load of nasty residue (which is called "slumgum" is left behind. You can skim out the solids and load them into cardboard egg cartons--after they dry they make dandy firestarters (it is still well permeated with wax!) or you can give it to chickens (they love it!), or you can pour the whole mess on your garden or compost pile, where it is an awesome enrichment. If you want the wax to be purer, you can melt it again, for further refinement.

The process of melting the wax is easy, and it made our whole kitchen smell--exotic. A very strong smell, but not unpleasant--very floral and honey/sugar scented.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


So, there may (or may not) have been a certain grill lighting event last week, which may (or may not) have involved me setting the match to the burner, without letting the propane (from someone else's previous lighting attempt) dissipate.


Look ma! No eyebrows!

Actually, I DO still have eyebrows (and eyelashes, AND bangs)--they are all just much shorter and thinner!

Fortunately, it blew my bangs upward, so the parts that are only 1/8 of an inch long, are under the parts that survived unscathed.

Even more fortunately, I only got 2 tiny (like sunburn level, no blistering even) burns on two fingers. I feel very blessed, since it could have been SO much worse!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

New Life!

I was feeling pretty bummed when I wrote my last post. I cleaned out literally thousands of little bee corpses from both hives, to get them ready just in case I could find some new package bees (they only come in once a year, and my usual supplier had already sold out). I did finally find a new supplier--but they were sold out through 2015. sigh.

As I did my research I found out that 75% of Ohio hives froze to death this year. Hence--very short supply. I felt better when I realized there was nothing I could have done, even if I was a much more experienced bee-keeper.

And then--I got a call back from the supplier--they had had a cancellation from a major buyer (over 100 packages), and I was able to drive about an hour and a half to pick up my two packages (one for each hive) on Saturday. There were people there from other states, so I felt pretty good to have only a beautiful drive in the country (although, it took us considerably longer than 1.5 hours since we got lost and went in very large circles!). Both packages are now installed and getting used to their new homes. I am interested to compare the differences between the two styles of hives.

A "package" of bees is a rectangular wooden box with screen on the longest sides, that has about 10,000 workers,and a queen, along with a can of sugar syrup so they have food on their long journey--in this case about 2,500 miles!

After I removed the (almost empty) syrup cans, I took out the queen (in her separate, tiny little cage), and then, literally dumped the worker bees into my waiting hive! It seems a little freaky to casually dump living creatures, but the bees handle it well!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

False Euphoria

My bees are all dead-- both hives. The activity I saw was just other bees robbing their honey stores.Sigh.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Just so you know--Carrot Seeds float in milk.

This scientific update brought to you by the inquiring mind of SmallDaughter. Sadly, carrot seeds floating on milk look disturbingly insect-like. They have now been strained out of the nearly full gallon of milk. Life here is never dull!

I am pretty excited about my garden---once is stops raining enough to plant! BigGirl got home from her quilt bootcamp with my aunties, and it is nice to have her back--it is amazing what a hole one person's absence makes!