Keeping Busy Beekeeping

It is super swarm season in my area right now and we have been tagged on Facebook and contacted for so many swarms. We decided to split our overwintered hive when we found a queen cell, which brought us up to 2 hives.

Then, we picked a swarm up right in our own neighborhood. So, that brought up the count to 3 hives. And then another in the next town over!

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Our 2 swarms

We were lucky enough to have some old nuc boxes that we could put them into with frames already made. And of course I need to show off the perfect handle that my blacksmith made for the top of the box!

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Our bee catching box! 

For the past 2 days, we have been working with a tree cutting service friend to get a hive out of a tree that he was cutting down. I’d love to show you pictures from me being in the lift, but I was kind of too terrified to take a picture!

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My mister doing all the work! 

I was stuck at school until 4 and then ran up to help him finish up the job. There was comb in there at least 3 feet long! It was a hot and sticky job with loads of angry bees!

As for the rest of the homestead, we are finally harvesting some delicious strawberries!

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Strawberries! 

I also took time to hill all of my potatoes and I’ve been hardening off plants and will be putting them in the garden very soon!

Now my question for you is what is the world is the volunteer plant below?

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pumpkin plant……. maybe? 

I’m hoping to get loads more things planted around here this weekend! Anyone else already have their garden planted?

Greenfest, gardening, mushrooms and swarms

Happy Mother’s Day weekend and I must say that this weekend was so busy! But, it was a great kind of busy. On Friday I spent the evening prepping everything for  Saturday’s Greenfest in Boonsboro, Md while the mister took the boy to go see Guardians of the Galaxy. (By the way, they said it was great!)

It was a really cold craft show, but we sold a good bit of our crafted items!

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Our craft show items!

I sold several gardening aprons, and got lots of compliments on them as well! And I still have 2 in the print below and will be adding them to the Etsy store!

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Love this gardening apron! 

And the mister got a lot of compliments on the railroad spike bottle openers as well as the bolt bottle openers! And I love the garden spades!

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Garden spades and bolt bottle opener

The mister was also able to get the itty bitty greenhouse all set up! Since I managed to accidentally bake my original seedlings, round 2 seedlings are in the greenhouse!

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Greenhouse! 

And we got our first strawberry tonight! I bet you can guess who wanted it! But the boy actually got it and said it was delicious!

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Fruit and veggie thief!

I don’t want to jinx myself, but the mushroom spawn seems to be spreading out well and looks very healthy!

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Mushroom spawn!

Then, just tonight, I had 2 calls for bee swarms! The first one seemed to be some bees that are taking up residence in a house. I’m not sure if I can get them to move out of there! But the second call was a beautiful swarm!

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Honeybee swarm!

I was able to get pretty much every bee! And I’m hoping they learn to love it here!

I was able to get a few minutes of relaxation on the new hammock with my lazy pup!

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Hammocking! 

It was a great weekend and it might take until Wednesday for me to get caught up around the house! I really do love all this fun homesteading life of ours!

April 2017 Goals Update!

Goodbye April and hello May! Do you know what I love about May? Everything! School is almost over, plants are slowly making their way outside and the warmth!  Yay!! This is how my goals are going so far:

1. Zero waste our home! We already do a good bit to avoid creating trash, but there is always room for improvement! I’ve created a variety of reusable make up removers and I’m going to have to write all about how I made my own sour dough starter!

2. Declutter 20 items per month. Last year I decluttered 2016 items from this house. This month we cleaned out the garage and it looks amazing!

3. Create only 12 bags of garbage per year. Americans are super wasteful. We are going to try to only produce one 13 gallon kitchen trash bag per month! The picture on the left is everything that we cleaned up around the neighborhood. And on the right is the same picture from last month. We are still in bag number 2!!

4. Merge crafting and homestead business. This month we attended an art walk locally and it was amazing! I met so many interesting people and heard so many nice comments on my products! Great day!!

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Check out our new banner!!

5. Create a summer kitchen. We will be turning a spot in the garage into a nice canning area. I finally got the cooktop moved to the right spot in the garage. Now all I need to do is get my dad to run the electric to it! He’s amazing!

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Future summer kitchen!

6. Expand the garden. We have been able to expand the garden along the fence and we are looking forward to planting some luffa along there too!

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Expanded area!

7. Grow some different plants. Luffa gourds were so fun to grow last year and we are growing them again! Along with cucumelons, my fellow gardening friend gave me some Egyptian walking onions!


8. Make a chicken viewing area. In the warm months, I love sitting by the garden and watching the chickens and bees. But, I normally sit on the ground. We are hoping to make a nice seated area in the spring! And now we will have some adorable quail over there too!

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They grew up so fast!

9. Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! My class recycled around 150 pounds of plastic film and I’m still working on collecting magazines to recycle.

10. Track our solar panels. This month we reached around 1.5 megawatts! We are loving these longer days!

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April was a beautiful month!!

11. Continue beekeeping. Not too much to say here! The bees are doing their thing and I separated out a queen cell and some workers into a new hive. I was supposed to get a new hive, but the company hasn’t gotten back to me yet.

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Fun with bees!

12. Travel more with the family! We managed to visit so many places last year and have some major traveling ideas for this year! We went to Williamsburg, VA over Easter break and loved the history! (And gardens!)

If you set goals, how are yours going?

Walk through the garden 4/19/17

Could it be?!?! Our first Wednesday walk through the garden of 2017. Even though not much is going on until the end of May (our last frost date), we can see the start of a great gardening season!

The garlic is growing nicely! And I just added some compost around them to help feed them a touch

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Garlic growing! 

The onions and strawberries growing in the raised bed are coming along!

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Onions! 
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Strawberry blooms! 

And I was pretty shocked to see that some of my potatoes have made their way above the soil already!

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Potato plant! 

My Granny’s rhubarb is looking great!

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Rhubarb! 

I really thought that since the grape vines didn’t really grow last year well, that they wouldn’t come back. But look at how healthy it looks:

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Grape vines! 

And the mister had taken the wheels off of an old wagon that was falling apart years ago. Well, I decide to use it for a salad garden. In it I have arugula, lettuce and spinach.

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Salad wagon! 

The boy was beyond delighted to find some frog or toad eggs in the tiny pond (puddle) above the garden:

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🐸 eggs! 

I will leave you with a picture of me splitting my hive, since I found a pretty nice capped queen cup. I got the future majesty and some nurse bees to move into a new box. (this was a first and I’m hoping it turns out well!)

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Splitting the hive! 

I hope that you are seeing lots of signs of Spring where you live!

April needs to get it together!

How in the world can it go from 70 degrees and beautiful to snowflakes and 30 degrees? That’s part of living in the mountains! Here’s how beautiful it was earlier in the week!

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Beautiful day! 

I was able to check in on my hive and the bees were more calm than they were last time I was in there! Thank goodness!

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Getting the smoker ready! 

The plants under the grow light are all doing great! So far I have luffa gourds, Roma and slicing tomatoes and cucumelons. The peppers always take forever to germinate!

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Seedlings! 

Earlier in the week I went to see an orthodontist. My teeth have always been crooked and I’m so tired of them! So, it might cost me a small fortune, but I’m getting them fixed! While I was out, I stopped in the only bulk store near here and picked up some bulk Castile soap and popcorn!

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Bulk shopping! 

I used that soap to mix with thieves oil and make my own cleaner. I’ve made my own cleaner for years, but I’m loving the thieves oil’s smell! It makes my whole house smell so clean!!!

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Homemade cleaner! 

And those baby quail are growing up! They are all getting their big bird feathers. I must admit that these baby birds are so fragile!

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Baby quail

I’m going to be spending my weekend cleaning, sewing and getting orders finished! Hope everyone has a productive weekend!

Winter arrived as well as a new friend

Why must winter finally show up in March? We received around 7 inches of snow and some ice. We even had a snow day off from school! But, I’m so ready to start seeds and work with the soil. I live for that stuff!

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Newly fallen snow
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Before I had to dig a path 
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The boy listening to the buzz of the hive

Once I got all of the snow shoveled, I was able to get some crafting done! Lots of crocheting and some sewing!

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Crocheted dishcloths

And now for our super exciting news…

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Willy Rabbit! 

We got our little homestead a new fuzzy friend! Definitely a pet, not to eat. He’s a lion head rabbit and as soft as he looks!

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Posing with the boy

The boy named him after a Jeep Willys, like our military Jeeps around here. I thought that was a perfect name since we already have a Sherman dog.

And on a totally different note, I cracked one of our white eggs and it was a double yolker!

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Twinning! 

I love blogging because it takes my perfectly mundane week and makes me realize how truly amazing it was. That’s why I do it, and to share some of the weird stuff that I know! So, I guess I’ll just keep enjoying this totally boring/normal life that I’m leading. 😊

Extended weekends = extra work

Don’t you just love getting an extra day tacked on this weekend? I know that I do! Yay for President’s day! Last weekend was spent cleaning out an old beehive that didn’t make it through the winter.

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Liquid gold! Aka honey

But this beautiful weekend has me scratching my head and wondering if spring could really be that close! My rhubarb is trying to make its appearance along with my garlic! And even my little crocus flowers want to come up!

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The start of the crocus plant!

And since last week had the holiday Valentine’s Day, we kind of skipped out on that. I just don’t need a card or sweets or really anything extra to pollute this Earth. So, my smart hubby created me a nice card out of a lucky charms box. I’m telling you, I’ve got the type of husband that treats me like everyday is Valentine’s Day with his sweetness!

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Look at that ♻️ heart!!!

All week long I kept finding sticky patches from honey all around the house and our home actually smelled like bees. I need to find the best way to melt down and clean the wax, but I’m new to all this! So, that will be another post!

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Wax, a honey gift and our sellable size!

This week also was another dreaded day as a teacher and parent. Parent conference day! Most of the time I get to say only great things to parents about their children.But it’s not fun having to do the opposite of that as a teacher. Then, going as a parent to my middle school boy’s conferences. Oh my! He’s a great kid, but still figuring the whole middle school thing out. One great thing I learned is that he’s very musical. I already thought he was great, but hearing it from his band teacher made my day! 🥁

So, while I worked hard, my hubby took the boy and a friend to skyzone. He has been wanting to go for a while, so I’m loving the fact that he was able to make that happen! I love experience gifts instead of plastic garbage!

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Slam dunk!

So, now for the rest of the weekend, I plan on sewing, crocheting and working so hard to finish all my orders! I’m beyond proud that people want my creations!

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Personalized towels

Just don’t tell Sherman that I don’t plan on sleeping the weekend away!

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He loves me!