Thursday, September 25, 2008

11 Chickens = 17 Eggs ??? Hmmmm...

Yesterday was insane and I had to work really late. I got home about 8:45 pm and Bryon had just shut the chicken's up in their coop and was heading into the house. Grace and I usually collect the eggs as soon as we get home (about 5 pm) but last night they waited because they wanted me to collect them. They finally gave up and Bryon took them in the house. They waited so long because YESTERDAY there were 17 eggs!

Now we only have 11 chickens and I hadn't missed any from the day before so HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN? Holy cow that was a lot of eggs! I thought they could only lay one egg a day so now I'm baffled. The only thing I can think is that some of them layed after I picked them up the day before and ALL the rest layed the next day again. I guess I'm going to have to look at night after they go to roost too now.

Those are some happy chickens.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hey Fans, Get Up!

I took Grace to her first cheerleading class last Friday night. Her gymnastics school is offering a mini cheerleading class for ages 4-7 years old and Grace is forever going around making up little cheers so I knew she'd like it. I'm not sure where she's come up with that particular obsession other than the fact that Bryon was pumping her little fist and yelling "Go Big Red" from the moment she emerged from the womb.

I, obviously, was NOT a cheerleader. I did have a brief moment of peer pressure weakness in my quest for popularity in the 8th grade when Susan Mumford and I tried out for the Junior High Cheerleading Squad. Neither of us really had much hope. I, at least, was horrible and awkwardly uncoordinated and certainly NOT cheerleader cute. We didn't' make it. It was not the life crushing blow you would think though, in fact, it was sort of a relief. I don't think I could have maintained the required level of peppiness.

Grace watches a lot of Max and Ruby and I did see one episode where they were Bunny Cheerleaders. Grace gets her red and white Huskers pom poms and goes around the house shaking them low and then high saying "Gooooooo team!"

Of course she has also mentioned several times she wants to be a football player.

I'm hoping the cheerleading sticks. I'd rather defend her choice to be a cheerleader as opposed to a female on the football team. Of course she's her own little person already so we'll see what develops.

The class was crazy. There were about 6 little girls and it was like herding cats. They each have the attention span of gnats and it's in the GYMNASTICS gym full of trampolines and fun stuff so of course they wanted to do EVERYTHING. It stayed out there to watch and listen (I usually go upstairs and watch through the windows because Grace comes out to kiss me, get a drink, greet me eight thousand times if I stay within site). This time though I wanted to see if it was going to be a worthwhile class. Rachel (the adult teacher) had three junior high cheerleaders helping her so there was almost one teacher per child but it was still pretty funny. Grace has my skills at group activities so far (ie four steps behind the aerobics instructor and the rest of the class) but she was doing pretty well considering all the distractions.

Their cheer was "Hey Fans, Get up, Get up! Hey Fans, Get Up!" She won't let me help her because I "don't do it right".

Alas, I'm still not a cheerleader. Oh well, guess I can be the Mom of a cheerleader now :)

I Almost 16

Yesterday morning as I was driving Grace to school she said,

"Mama someday when I'm big I'm going to sit there, (points to my driver's seat) and you can sit there (points to the passenger seat)"
"Yes, someday when you get big you can drive," I said "But you have to be 16 years old first and grow big and tall so you can reach the pedals and see out the windows"
"So I can watch the road." she said.
"That's right" I said.
"I almost 16" she said.
"You are almost 4" I said.
"Yes, but I getting closer" she said.
"Yes you are" I said.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Oh Honey!

I robbed the bees Saturday afternoon. I really didn't expect much. I had checked on them in the spring and there didn't seem to be all that many bees. I had worried that the queen was probably dead and even made a call to see if I could get one shipped asap. They wouldn't ship one until May 5. By that time, the bees would either be going strong or dead so I decided to just wait it out. I checked on them in June and expected they would be out of room if they were still alive. I had driven by them several times in the field and saw bees flying around but it's impossible to know what's going on INSIDE there without looking. The more I look, the worse they do so I just moved along and let them be.
In June, I did go out to put another super on just in case they needed it. They didn't. They hadn't even drawn out the comb on the first super I had put on in the spring. What the heck were they doing all day? I figured they were probably done for but Saturday when I finally went out to make another check they had one whole super full of honey for me and another super with a few frames filled up and there were A LOT of BEES! Oh my gosh were there a lot of bees. I get pretty anxious when there are THAT MANY BEES flying around me and angry. I was very, very thankful for my suit and my smoker. I set the super full of honey aside and took frame after frame out brushing off the bees with my bee brush. I finally got most of them off and there were probably a thousand bees flying around and they were NOT happy. I can't believe I didn't get stung. I thought once I might have gotten stung in the back but it was just a brief pinch so maybe it was a glancing blow but nothing lasting.
I plopped the heavy super on the tailgate and drove back to the house. A few lingering bees crawled up out of the frames and I took it into the house dripping all the way. Pooh could have easily found his way to my kitchen Saturday.
I dug out my home made extractor that I found the plans for on the internet years ago and cleaned it up in preparation for the job ahead.
It took a while to cut out all the frames and stuff them into the top bucket. I usually use a paint strainer bag and had to make a trip into town to Wal-Mart for one. Of course they didn't have one so I figured I could make due with cheese cloth. The cheese cloth was not a very good substitute. I had to strain it twice to get it really clear. I let it set until today and I spent about three hours straining it and bottling it up. I got just over 2 gallons of honey off that one super. I took the rest of the comb and put it all back together with MORE cheesecloth layers this time so I think I'll get a few more jars if I let it sit and drain a few more days. Hopefully I won't have to strain it twice this time. This method tears up my comb but since I only want one bee hive I figure it's okay.
The bees still have two more supers of honey to get through the winter so we'll see what next year brings.
Sweet success!