Sunday, August 31, 2008

gooey comb squish

we harvested one of our supers and let the kids squish the comb. this honey is for personal use so hygiene isn't really an issue beyond a good scrub down first.

toly didn't feel like getting his hands that dirty.

we learned many lessons

mostly we just had fun

before we started squishing the honey we let the kids gorge themselves on honey comb.

it was so tasty. the kids normally just tolerate honey but they loved this stuff.

it is the perfect kid activity squishing honey.

this hive didn't have any extra honey. two hive bodies full. nearly double the required amount to over winter.

gooey squishy fun

i have to move the hive locations because the tree above them is loosing huge branches and needs to come down. it was struck by lightning a few storms ago.

the bees shouldn't have any trouble making it through the winter. we'll leave two hive bodies per hive. that will be plenty so we probably won't need to feed them at any time. our hives should be really strong for next year.

i also learned that i want to use smaller supers for honey collection. this will be a winter of getting prepared for next year.

i also want to try beequick to get the bees off the supers for easy harvesting next year.

gathered knowledge
- - small supers for honey
- - harvest more often
- - keep them from swarming at all costs in the spring.
- - get in the bees more often
- - make a bee tool box to hold all necessary tools
- - ask more questions from beesource bee keeping forums

i received an award for a great blog home is...
i read her blog as often as i read any--which varies greatly on my allowable time. i really appreciate the way she obviously respects her husband and family. i especially like the nickname she gave her husband. the first person that comments what it is will get a special present.


Friday, August 29, 2008

rome is ok now

he just got back from the doctor receiving "all-clear" having been diagnosed with a mild case of pneumonia. he has been on a nebulizer--albuteral and steroids. i'm finally able to make a post without feeling like a complete whiner.

tabitha made her first dinner tonight. tasty chicken, rice and squash. we are resigned to shop at the store for what we eat for a while. i know it seems lazy and not very responsible but we must. i shopped from a list that was made from a meal plan. what a different experience that was. usually we just get a few things and mostly eat from our pantry. i feel a bit like a failure but "what ever will be..."

we got a new monochrome lazer printer. it is very cool. the kids need it for home schooling and coloring pages. they can even water paint on the pages it makes. the printer was instrumental in printing our new shopping list system.

tristan feeding nimue a flower/weed. tabitha felt her baby kick this afternoon. yeah, it is alive and kicking. we were concerned since she was so ill around the time she was pregnant.

roary is looking better since we dried her off. she'll have a few months to regain her condition for her calf.

the cats are growing like crazy we keep them scantily fed so they are voracious hunters.

the puppies are growing like crazy too. they are very healthy and well behaved. they are still in intensive training--not to bother the chickens, cows or kids. they also have great protective instincts. we really really like them.

toly feels better since his ear infections. he has been very good about going potty in the proper places.

kassi is being like mommy and taking a bunch of photos.

we plan to get into the bees and harvest them this weekend.
i also hope to brush hog the entire place this weekend too.

now that was a bit more up-beat wasn't it?

Sunday, August 24, 2008


i have been struck down. the factors are;

new baby
tabitha's wisdom teeth extraction (and why do they call it that?)
summer colds household wide
toly's ear infection
slaughtering chickens without tabithas help
and i'm going back to work tomorrow

i can't get a thing done. i was trying to sneak in painting the last bee super and got into trouble because i obviously wasn't prioritizing properly. the bees have been swarming and i was just trying to reduce some of their internal pressure. my bad...

i have so much to say and there many thanks to be given i'm still ruined. i'll be back in earnest as soon as i can.

my next post will have plenty of photos of the new baby and our little farm

Sunday, August 17, 2008

one local breakfast

most of the ingredients were zero miles from home. i sauteed several onions until they were caramelized. they filled our large cast iron skillet and reduced to not able to cover the bottom. our skillet is the original non stick surface and teflon is evil. i added two perfect tomatoes from the garden. we have been able to get two or three tomatoes per day from our garden. the ninety or so plants would usually produce wheelbarrow loads by this point. i sliced the tomatoes and simmered them down adding garlic, salt and ground chipolte peppers. it made a heavenly ranchero sauce.

i cooked several eggs, scrambled softly. then i melted cheese on tortillas wrapped them around the sauce and eggs. i grated asiago cheese on top before closing the burrito. i have made some mean breakfasts in my day but this one took the cake. the fresh tomatoes and home grown onions and garlic were instrumental to this dish.

tristan and tabitha loved it. most of the food i make comes assembled just prior to serving so i usually eat last and standing at the sink. kassi and toly had already eaten peebeejays. there was much praise and yummy noises.

tabitha tried to slack off the painkillers last night with catastrophic results. sleep was lost and general unhappiness was pungent. then the new dose of drugs kicked in. sweet sleep and quite were had by all.

i have been milking the cow she had gradually slacked off the amount given. she is due to calf in a few months so we are considering drying her off. this lactation has been exceptionally long and she'll need time to recover. her show calf should also be afforded the opportunity to grow without the daily nutritional drain milking causes. besides we need to change her diet to be calcium poor. this is done to prevent milk fever--a deadly side effect of a heavy producing cow and not mobilizing her own calcium stores before birth. it seems counter intuitive but decreasing the calcium intake is the prevention.

we'll have to buy milk for a month or so until nimue calves. we have a few sources for raw milk so things won't be to rough.

the bees have been crazy i am resigned to getting what we'll get from them and use our lessons learned for next year. the big walnut tree in our back yard was truck by lightning branches have fallen from it all summer. three of the bee hives are directly under it and have been narrowly missed. it makes me sad that we'll have to cut that tree down but it will open our yard to more light for more fruit trees. the proposed location of the solar collectors will be in much better light. i guess things are as they are supposed to be.

monday i'm going to call around and find someone to buy the tree. we sure could use the cash. we have also decided to move the hives to completely separate locations. the loner hive on the upper side of the garden is easily monitored. we plan one on the lower side of the garden or on the far side of the pasture. one hive should go in the front yard under the peach tree and one will likely remain where the walnut stump will be. when the hives are all together it is difficult to tell what hive is doing what. we had a tiny swarm leave the most robust hive--less honey. i think we will have plenty of honey for ourselves. we plan to keep every drop since it doesn't go bad and there will be a whole year of cooking, canning and sandwich making. if there is any left over next season i'll make mead. or figure out how to make kombucha with it.

i have been making kombucha in six gallon containers for most of the summer. i bottle it in grolsch bottles and share it with toly--he loves it. i am sure that it helps his stomach health. it is funny the different tastes i get from each bottle. sometimes it is tart and almost like vinegar and others it is sweet. most of the time it tastes like hard cider. toly and i share a pint most days.

rome is doing great. he is already showing signs of wanting into the fray. that poor boy doesn't know what he's in for. he is alert and very engaging. he resembles kassi the most. he even has a little dimple on his cheek like kassi--the opposite cheek. his hair is dark reddish brown. i wonder how it'll grow out?

toly is taking things fairly well. a few setbacks but mostly just loves his little brother. kassi and tristan have been doing remarkably well. kassi fauns over rome and would dress and re-dress him hundreds of times per day. tristan has been deep into his new nintendo.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

los dos pedros

AKA the place that makes the best carne asada burritos in the world.
this place is in san diego, la jolla actually. obviously this sort of claim is subjective. every person that i have introduced directly or vicariously have agreed that this place does indeed make the best carne asada burritos.

this little mexican taqueria is classic. there is no indoor seating unless you count a barstool next to the pepsi fridge. the outdoor seating is a converted old carport. mostly you can just walk down turquoise to the ocean and eat them on the beach. tourmaline surf park is just a short view up the coast.

san diego gas and electric still owes me a deposit from the place just a few blocks from there. i ate five meals a week there and never tired of their carne asada burritos. robertos in ocean beach is the runner up on the burrito competition.

thanks matt for the image. every time he visits there he sends me a little memorabilia.

tabitha is back from the oral surgeon. all four wisdom teeth are now gaping holes of pain. the kids are doing great. rome has gained over two pounds in two weeks. the weather has been accommodating and i have resigned to let so many things go to pot that i feel rather free today.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

fixed, fixed and fixed

i repaired the clothes washer. one small error, the leads going to the hot and cold servos were swapped so i had few more minutes of panic until i switched the leads. in retrospect the new brain was supposed to come with new leads properly labeled but since it was a cannibalized part from a floor model things were a little funky.

the air conditioner was under warranty--although i had to argue a bit to convince them that my manual indeed said a full five year warranty. in the interim i called the local repair guy that doesn't do warranty work on our model. he's great, always helpful and fair. he said it was the mini-breaker protected power cord that was the problem--he was correct. i guess they are bad to go out. the warranty guy showed up with a tool kit smaller than tristans and promptly couldn't take the cord apart. it took a diamond shaped bit--i'd never seen one like it before. i ground down one of my old rusty square bits and provided him with the right tool.

at the end of the day he cut the mini-breaker protector off and jammed the stripped wires into the 240v socket and the AC unit worked. "it'll be ten days before we can get the new part." what? he said he wouldn't void my warranty if i were to get a temporary breaker-less 20amp cord and put it on myself.

i kept saying to myself what do normal people do? do they just wait the ten days in the august heat? AND if these units are bad to go out why don't they keep one on the service truck? so i went and got a new end for my power cord. don't try this at home folks. it is a real hazard. the wires are stranded with hair like strands and they must never touch each other in a powered-up mode. doing this sounds simple enough but executing it in the confines of the cheap-o-plug is another thing.

i also fixed the futon frame. the kids are really hard on all furniture this is especially so of anything that can second as a trampoline. i had to purchase some plywood since most of the frame was catastrophically broken beyond any repair.

i am also making a rack that'll hold the milking machine while it is drying after washing. this is almost finished. all projects no matter how small are subject to a ridiculous amount of interruptions during this time. i am suprised that i can get anything done.

Monday, August 11, 2008

waxing nostalgic

first let me say everything is going to be fine around here. i was in a bit of a panic.

the washer was in warranty they gave me a new brain for it--too bad i couldn't get one for me too. i just installed it. the replacement was different from the original but a phone call later and we figured it out.

my best friend called the other day and cheered me up. he sent me some pictures
of one of our excursions to mexico

papas and beer 1994

i still own those shorts btw.

several margaritas were consumed.

notice my groovy surfer necklace. those locals were acting too cocky on that volleyball court for matts taste.

here we are suiting up.

poised for battle

yes, i scored that point.

yes we kicked their butts--notice the anguished local leaning on the net.
victory, dislodging the local talent.

cleaning and cooling off.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

what's the deal?

the air conditioner and clothes washer just broke. WTF

we cannot afford to get this stuff fixed right now.

tabitha has to go to the dentist and we cannot all fit in our vehicle. tabitha doesn't really drive so i have to go, which means that we all have to go. there is no one that we'd have watch our kids.

i took this time off and tabitha really needs it. i might have to work extra at bobs to cover this stuff. that ruins tabitha because the kids go crazy the moment i step out of the door. i need to be here but i need to go to work extra too. there is no one that can help out while i'm gone because it'll just make things harder for tabitha.


Sunday, August 03, 2008

birth stories

tabitha finished the birth story. she also created a blog that contains all four kids birth stories. it is a nice way to compartmentalize since she quit blogging.

due to popular demand

more photos

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