Tuesday, May 31, 2011

They're working!

Today was the first day it was warm enough for my bees to come out of the hive. I saw them coming and going but the thing that impressed me most was the level of sugar water in my feeder. That bottle to the left of the pic is full of sugar water. It has remained full for three days. This evening it was all but empty. The bees drank a pint of sugar water in one afternoon. I did some research today and found out that when it is cold, the bees stay clustered together and won't use hive entrance feeders like the one I am using. That might explain why I was having to clear the entrance of dead bees each day. Argh. This evening when the activity calmed down a little bit, I went out to look at the hive and noticed all of the pollen around both upper and lower entrances. My bees are working! I am seriously stoked for this adventure! I picked up a drone bee and a worker bee that were on the ground and not doing well. After a few pics, I started wondering if they just needed some sugar to keep going. I sprayed them with a mist and left them on the lid of the BBQ to recover. When I went back to check, the worker was gone and the drone was dead. At least I was able to save the productive one! I have a bunch of pics I will share tomorrow.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Boys will be boys

I was reading an blog today about how hard it is for a boy to be a true boy. http://smallhold-pioneerpreppy.blogspot.com/2011/05/casualties-in-war-on-boys.html

Hubby and I have already been talking about our plans for teaching the boys survive if something were to happen. This blog just reinforced my decision to let my boys be boys.....within reason. I DO want to know where they are going. And I don't let them cross a particular road because they don't look for traffic.
Anyway, on to my summer plans. We are going to be doing A LOT of hiking. Each trip we are going to go a little further and push the envelope a little more. We are going to teach them to build a fire without matches. We are going to teach them how to build a shelter with what is at hand. I am going to teach them what native plants are edible and on one trip we will not take any food.
My boys are all boy and I kind of like it that way.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Remember the chicks I got last year? They are now big and laying eggs every day. I also bought 5 more chicks this year. That should give me 10 eggs a day next year, right? That was the plan.....until one of my hens decided we needed 11 more chicks.

She looks happy to see me, right?

I will post pics if and when they hatch.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


We actually got a garden in the ground this year. I didn't bother with starting seeds indoors as our weather is too unpredictable and crazy. Hubby and I built raised beds and a PVC framework that we could cover with plastic to make our own mini greenhouses. He figured out a way to incorporate a sprinkler system so it self waters too! We got two boxes built and planted along with a few rows of corn and some squash we simply planted in the yard. We got three rows of corn in the ground and four potato plants.



^Green house^

Friday, May 27, 2011


Ok so hiving the bees was a LOT easier than I thought it was going to be. They finally showed up this afternoon and I went into a panic. 30,000 bees being talked about in emails and phone calls, is a lot different than 30,000 bees in a box on the kitchen counter. I called my brother who has been a beekeeper for a few years now and he had a few recommendations for me. I got all of my equipment together, called the neighbors who wanted to watch and handed the camcorder to my oldest son. (That video will not be posted, lol) I sprayed my bees with the syrup I made the day before, jarred them down to the bottom of the cage, struggled with the can of syrup that had been shipped with them, finally pulled it out and retrieved the queen cage. The queen was not impressed with me AT ALL. She tried to escape the whole time I was trying to pry the cork out of the top of her little box. I ended up pushing it all the way through and into her cage. Luckily that occupied her while I plugged the hole with half a mini marshmallow. I got the queen cage hung and then jarred the package of bees again to force them all to the bottom of the box. I removed the lid and placed the package in the empty hive body that I had placed on the top of the full hive body. This is not the traditional method but it is the way I was told to do it due to the storm rolling in. I wanted to keep as many bees in the hive as possible, they weren't going to have much time to find their way back in before the storm hit. I put the outer cover on top of it all and viola! I was done. It took less than 10 minutes and no one got stung.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Am I ready for this?

Beehive, painted and assembled....................check
Bee book(s) read and studied.........................check
Equipment purchased and ready to don.......check
Syrup made and ready for use.......................check
Neighbors on standby to watch......................check
Bees....................................................................so far a no show.

So we wait.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


We are big on teaching gun safety to the girls. If weapons are in the house they need to know the rules. They have seen all three of us adults carry when we are desert combing and Bug has her rifle. We answer questions when asked. So..........

Today while walking through the house to the bathroom for the 5869203486945 time (potty training is awesome) Monkey smacked the front door. *Our front door has a large window with this bubble stuff so it is not see through but does show shadows and the outlines of things on the other side.* She then dashed in to do her business with me right behind her. While on the toilet she looks at me with huge brown eyes and says, "Mommy you shoot dem scaries!"

For a while now the trees in the yard moving around have given my sweet very sensitive 2-year-old the creeps and apparently she has reached the point where knowing that Mommy is the protector from bad things I am now to shoot the scary trees so they no longer are scary. Sweet angel. I wanted to just scoop her up! I told her that as long as the scaries stay out of the house they can't hurt her but if anything scary comes in to hurt her she has my promise to protect her every way I can.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Funny

Taking the concept of open carry to a whole new level!!! In Walmart, where you never know when someone is going to get you! Hehehe. Do have to cheer for the open carry though. Nice job Walmart guy!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Gardening, bees and other stuff by Gracie

I went outside to check on my garden today. I have potatoes, radishes and swiss chard above the ground. Now if the weather cooperates, I will get the rest of it planted this week. This is the first sucessful (knocking on wood and crossing every finger) garden I have ever planted on my own. Sure, I have a few flowers here and there but nothing that I can eat and feed my family with. I am pretty stoked.
My bees arrive in a few weeks and I am almost ready for them. I have the deep super and the base and top all assembled. I just need to paint it all, get it leveled out in the garden, install a water source and re-read my instructions a few more times. I am beyond excited for my new hobby.
The food storage is coming along nicely. I am wanting to jump aboard this couponing train and learn to do my shopping for a lot less than I do now. Maybe I can use my savings to put fuel in my car. That is a gripe for another day I guess. In the meantime I will just stay home as much as possible and only go to town when I have to.

Now the circus will begin again!!

Those that have been with us for a very long time know me as the children. One of the reasons the Caylee Anthony case made me so upset was because of the complete lack of caring her mother seemed to show. I know every one displays emotion differently and everyone reacts differently but not reporting her child missing for a month and then not participating in searches or even acting like she cared just boggled my mind. For months the country watched riveted as information about this woman came out. Stolen checks, lies, partying days after her baby disappeared. The media went wild because the country was outraged.

The time has come for the trial because during that firestorm little Caylee's body was found and evidence seemed to point right back to her mother. Once again the circus has started up and this time I have to say it kind of ticks me off. CNN has had coverage daily of jury selection. Potential jurors are being dismissed because of reason ranging from the believable to the crazy. One even joked about a potential book coming from a jury duty experience on facebook. I mean really? You haven't even heard anything yet.

I am all about justice. I think that certain crimes deserve the maximum punishment. I wavered on this for a very long time and then I had my children and I knew that if someone had murdered my child or someone I loved there would be no better punishment in my mind then death. This is a capital case so the death penalty is on the table as I think it should be.

I also though feel compassion for the rest of the Anthony family. They lost a sweet baby girl that year and have had to deal with the media and the fact that one of their own is on trial for it. They deserve some privacy. It is them that I think deserve some respect. Sure some of the supposed news may be true of an abusive father and demanding mother but that alone did not create the woman Casey Anthony turned out to be. My husband comes from a family of 7. All raised in the same family and every single one as different as can be. Parents play a part but the choices a child makes also plays a part. Yes they will have to take some personal responsibility and I am sure over the past couple years since this happened they have battled some demons. They are going to sit through a trial of their daughter for the murder of their granddaughter. They should be able to do that is relative peace. It is for them that I wish the circus would back off a bit. I know it is a fruitless hope but a girl can always hope right?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Petroglyph Exploration followed by live fire!

This morning we went on another wonderful family desert adventure. These have become common place and serve a couple purposes. In a SHTF scenario when you live like we do in a suburban area outside a pretty major U.S. city it is always very very important to explore the rural areas surrounding you. You need to know the best places to go if you need a short term place to ride out a storm (literal or figurative). It is also just plain fun. We love finding little explored areas and since this is the desert the amount of BLM land and other public land between populated areas is plentiful. We have gotten into metal detecting which adds to the awesome.

Back to today, lol. Today we took a new road (for us anyway) my BIL had discovered last week that he wanted to show to us. After some bumps and turns through the fairly level desert you hit an area of foot hill type hills and rocky outcroppings. Then you see a very rough pull out area and an interesting park visitor type fence. We got out here and walked around where we got to see some pretty beautiful rock formations and some gorgeous petroglyphs high on the cliffs. Who knows how the Indians who drew then got some of them up there but they were beyond beautiful. Of course us women folk took pictures like crazy! The trees were plentiful enough that I am also willing to be their is a spring of some sort fairly close and think the area needs more searching. If that is the case and it is still a live spring even if it is small it is a place to remember if short term running is needed. Our long term plan requires somewhere farther north with more hunting but in a pinch and to get us through something fairly short a nearby well covered, easily defensible, springed camp would be a good thing to have.

After our exploration and my husbands rather cute mad climb up a cliff after a very large lizard for our girls to see (He chased him into a hole and was only able to retrieve a tail, lol. Our girls have a lizard obsession.) we went back the way we came until we found a side road and could get adequately off the traveled path to pull out the weapons. We kept is small today as we needed to be back in town for other obligations and had in town plans for the evening. My guy had to let his visiting big sister shoot his special toy. He loves his .308 almost as much as he loves me, lol. BIL had a .22 rifle for the older female children. We also broke out the Karr .40 and my sweet SIL had the unfortunate luck to be slide-bitten. Youch. I took the time to put about 40 rounds through my 9mm. I think the empty Gatorade bottle trying to rob me was very unhappily stopped and dead. I need to keep up with practice but I think I did okay.

All in all a good morning. More exploration aka SHTF planning and some live fire practice to boot. This girl is a happy girl!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

It is National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day!!!

It is a day pretty important to me. FMS is a large part of my life though I have tried very hard to not let it be the defining point in my life. I was officially diagnosed about 8 months ago. I think my journey started when I was 14 though. I read an article recently on risk factors for fibromyalgia and discovered I fell into a pretty much guaranteed group. I am female, I discovered through research there is a family history of it on my maternal side, I have sleep issues, I have a personality that hates stress and gets depressed easily at times, and I suffered an auto-immune illness in the form of Mono as a teen. I was a walking bottle of FMS perfection.

So among the beautiful plethora of symptoms/concurrent issues I have the obvious widespread pain. My legs tend to be the worst and I have had that for as long as I can remember. It can be anything from a dull ache to a minor throbbing to an intense burning and can be just my knees or from toe to hip. Over the last few years the pain has spread. In times of stress or when I am on my period the pain can be through my shoulders, from finger tip to elbow, base of by neck, across my forehead, base of my spine, lower pelvis, and jaw. I have been diagnosed with TMJ, which is a lovely jaw issue that can require surgery and means I sleep with a mouth guard to help reduce the pain. I have migraines. Luckily I started meds for those and have been able to go from a couple of days a week to a couple a month if that. I have developed a lovely oversensitivity in the pads of my fingers and toes making certain days very difficult to walk, cook, write, type, touch anything, and I removed my acrylic nails because getting them done became agony. I have the extreme fatigue. Getting one major chore done along with the needed daily chores and taking care of Lexi in a day is a good day! I have discovered that my issues carrying my babies very likely relate to the FMS making the choice to tie my tubes a good one. I can be very forgetful and tend to have lists in my phone for everything as well as all tasks scheduled into my calendar so that I won't forget. My joints crack regularly and fairly painfully. I suffer from depression. I am obsessive over certain tasks and need order in certain things to reduce my anxiety.

Those are the bad days, lol. Stress increases the chance of a bad day. Over-activity increases it. I tend to isolate myself from situations that could cause stress to reduce the chance of bad days which makes me come off as a hermit. Add that I genuinely love just being with my husband and girls watching movies and i often frustrate others. I promise it is not you. I really just am content in my solitude and much less likely to be miserable so I don't venture out often. I am on a great medicine called Savella for the FMS and it has helped to make the good days out number the bad days. I absolutely still react to stress and still have days where staying in bed would be lovely if I didn't have a toddler. I am blessed to have a guy whose response when I apologize for being a broken horrible wife in my worst moments just hugs me and says "You may need a little extra patience and a little extra care, but I would not change a single thing about you!". He is one of the best things in my life. I am just like everyone else it just takes me longer and some days I am lucky to get to it at all but it will get done eventually. I love as much, I laugh as much, I cherish every moment with my family and I count every single blessing in my life. Fibromyalgia is one tiny part of me, it is not who I am. I am a wife and a mom. I am a writer, a designer, a reader, a cook, a teacher, a lover, a friend. I just happen to have Fibromyalgia.

CNN has great info on FM and you can also learn more at the National Fibromyalgia Association website. Take some time to read about it and learn. It is not in my head. It does not mean I am a hypochondriac. It is a real syndrome that affects millions around the world and each and every one of those sufferers deserves your love, understanding, and support!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Contemplating a major undertaking.

As most know I recently bought my first gun. We have many family weapons but this one was one I picked just for me. It is a sweet little HK P2000 9mm and I got it for personal protection at home and out and plan to get my concealed weapons permit as soon as I can. Due to my guy and his career my ideal of living away from civilization is not one we can easily attain until we retire and our current locale is the worst one yet in terms of crime. Yuck!! So I have decided to take my protection and that of the girls seriously.

Most who know me well know I am a researcher and reader down to my soul so when I make my mind up about something I also do a ton of background research and try to get as prepared as possible. Since my decision was to carry a weapon on my body that meant researching the most comfortable ways to do that as well as safety concerns and such. I wanted a female perspective because, hey, I happen to be female. Women of Caliber, Girl's Guide to Guns, Armed Females of America, and Cornered Cat all had great info on safety, holsters, and anything else I may want to know. AFA is a bit outdated and I am not 100% behind the political side of it but the educational info was great. Girl's Guide is awesome. They cover everything from ammo to fashion with humor! Cornered Cat is very no nonsense and great at telling you all the options which I love. WoC is a personal favorite. She is LDS so the most similar to my values and very informative. She also has no problem interacting with her followers which is great. I love a personal touch.

So on to my contemplations, hehehe. In doing my research I found that women being open about firearm use was a heck of a lot smaller group than men. I also found that obviously that also meant that training, info, and gear for women was a lot harder to find. Add that I am a lefty and I am a super small category of girl. If you look at those who shoot and carry concealed you see it is a majorly male dominated field. Kellene of WoC is the highest NRA certified female instructor in the western states. She has the only place I have found aimed at teaching women by women even close to me and it is out of my state. I find that sad. The reason being that women are the biggest victim of violent crime and more would carry, I think, if taught by a women. I can only speak for myself, but I prefer to get my health care from other women. I prefer to buy my vehicles from other women. I am 5'4". Most everyone is taller than me. Especially men. My BIL calls me vertically challenged. When we are out I tend to stay close to my husband or BIL because they are bigger and stronger if something were to come up. I am going to take my CCW irregardless of the teacher because I am determined. I would not be surprised though if quite a few women had decided not to because of the nerves factor.

My considered undertaking is this. I am contemplating getting my NRA instructor certifications. Between the different men in my husband's family I am sure all of the weapon's I could be certified on are present and I could get my basic skills from them before taking my courses to qualify. My sweet guy said he knows I can do anything I put my mind to doing. My semi-chauvinistic BIL looked at me like I was bonkers. Part of the concern is that really my exposure to guns has been fairly minimal. I am comfortable with our .22 rifle and I am loving my 9mm but otherwise I haven't shot many of our other weapons. Part of that is a physical factor and one I have to strongly consider. My fibromyalgia means that certain weapons have a much more physical impact on me than they do on a "normal" person. The FMS coupled with being a lefty was why I didn't like the .40 I had and switched to the 9mm. The .22 is a rifle with not a lot of kick so it doesn't physically hurt me. I am sure in each category I could find calibers that would not hurt me but I could also be stuck with what is on hand and that could be hard on my body. Add that being an instructor means long hours standing, shooting, and moving and my FMS could once again get in the way. I love the idea as I think about it but the expense and the physical complications make me wonder. If I could do it I see some pretty amazing benefits for area women. This area has a major crime rate and if women had a women they could learn from I think more would take the opportunity to protect themselves.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dark days of the mind.

I have been struggling since my last post with a dark weight. It feels as if a dark cloud hovers over me, pouring rain, yet no one else can see or feel it. I hate when I get in this place because nothing can really come along to pull me from it. Time is the only answer. I know it comes on when I feel especially bothered by things that I really can't change. I am a fixer by nature, a nurturer. In so many ways I was born a mother. I try to always approach an interaction with care. One of the hardest things for me is to know I was the cause of pain or hurt or upset. I avoid confrontation more than I should. It is very rare for me to speak my mind if the speaking could be taken as reproachful of others. I also hate to get after others and it is rare that I do unless it is in defense of someone I love that I see being treated wrongly. That is why it just kills me when people see me as something other than I am, or think I am. I know perception is different for everyone and what I may see as being thoughtful others may see completely different. I especially have a hard time when the person who seems to see me so negatively is someone I genuinely care about or thought I had a good relationship with. Hubby says I need to stop letting the opinion of others affect me so much and I know he is right. I have the love, support, and respect of so many amazing people that it kills me that the dim views of a handful are what I seem to focus on. I am extremely sensitive to negative feelings and as the ultimate people pleaser I want to fix the broken. I obsess over it to the point that my husband wants to lock me in a closet out of frustration. I have let go of a few of those toxic relationships that have been in my life and feel better for it. I honestly should do the same with the others and just breath. I know I can not force anyone to see me the way I hope they would. I can't make anyone feel what they don't want to feel. All I can do is change how I take it. I need to focus on that. I need to let time get me through my dark cloud so I can play in the sun again. I need to remember the amazing blessings in my life and let the dark days float past. In the scheme of my life they are but petals on the wind and fleeting in their impact.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A new world is evolving.

Right now the news has spread faster than any wildfire. Osama Bin Laden is dead. He was killed by a U.S. seal team yesterday in Pakistan after months of planning and just a few months shy of the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I see many thanking Bush and bashing Obama or bashing Bush and thanking Obama. All are thanking the troops. I have seen news accounts of parties and tears, of grief renewed and faith restored.

To me the downfall of Bin Laden and those like him has always been a given. The world's peoples will not tolerate being treated like expendable trash for long. The majority population is becoming younger, more able to communicate with one another, and those in countries where tyranny and oppression are a way of life are able to more easily glimpse how their democratic peers live life and have begun to fight for that freedom. As those fights have spread it became even more inevitable that terrorists would loose their havens. Despite the difference in thought through the major nations of the middle east about the United States and our allies they have all seen that these factions do not help them at all. They want these destroyers of life and humanity even less than we do because these groups claim to be helping cleanse the world while using their religion as a reason.

I woke this morning feeling a lightness in my chest that had settled there last night as I listened to the President make the announcement. That feeling was not because of the death of a man, or because of a firefight that caused it. It was because Bin Laden was more than just a man. To the children of America he was the boogieman. To those of us old enough to process what truly happened on 9/11 he was a destroyer of life. He was the ringleader of an evil empire bent on destroying all that we held dear. He was the reason our airports became a nightmare and our embassies were always well guarded around the world. To a small group he was a banner of purpose, a driving force, a beacon of truth to rally behind as they aimed their hatred and fury towards those they wanted dead. Just by his very breathing they took hope and strength. Now he is dead, his mission is in tatters and while I am sure retaliation will come it will not be what it might have been. He was the arrow that all who hated used to draw their bows. Now the arrow is gone and they have to try to fire their bows anyway. I am sure they will try. I expect there will be small and even large attempts. I doubt they will have the destructive power they once did.

So today as I feel lighter because we as a country have proven that we never give up, we never give in, and we never ever let a bully win I give thanks. i give thanks first to the troops who fight every day to keep us safe. They do so tirelessly and deserve every single ounce of credit. I also give thanks to President Obama, President Bush, and even President Clinton. All three have had to deal with the chaos caused by this man and the villainy he created and each one took steps that lead to this result. It was not any single one but the effort of all and all deserve praise. This is not about their politics. This is not about who you voted for. This is about justice being done.

I saw this on Facebook and liked it:

Now I lay me down to sleep, one less terrorist this world does keep. With all my heart I give my thanks, to those in uniform regardless of ranks. You serve our country and serve it well, with humble hearts your stories tell. So as I rest my weary eyes, while freedom rings our flag still flies. You give your all, do what you must...with God we live and God we trust. Amen.