Chrissy’s EO #7

Mr. Soup as an ewok. Yes, he's adorable. If your thinking about making him your own...he's too much for you. Trust me.

Mr. Soup as an ewok. Yes, he’s adorable. If your thinking about making him your own…he’s too much for you. Trust me.

I have and love bees. An unfortunate draw back to bees would be the stinging factor that they have a tendency to bring on the beekeeper and their family. Luckily, I have managed to not be cursed with any allergies and my kids have as well. We did have a little issue with a bee sting concerning our youngest…Mr. Soup (nickname… long story). He was stung last year and he had an abnormal reaction but nothing too serious. This year however was quite the different matter.

Like all normal two year olds, this little guy has a tendency to learn through trial and error. He decided to play with a bee and was quite shocked when it decided to sting him. He quickly swelled at the sting site on his hand. In a time span of about 3 minutes he started to swell in his face and feet. Hives broke out over most of his body that were welted and raised. We have a history of severe bee allergies in my family so I freaked out and was of course preparing for anaphylactic shock. After about ten minutes of normal even breathing I ruled out calling the ambulance. The hives were making life rather itchy for him though. I rubbed him down with some lavender and when that didn’t seem to help I put him in the tub with some epsom salt.

My lil puffy-face

My lil puffy-face

The hives were progressively getting worse in the tub. Just before reaching for the benedryll and knowing I was about to face a all day nap (resulting in staying up all night with my lil dude) I decided to give the essential oils a try. The common treatment for allergies with essential oils would be equal parts lemon, peppermint and lavender. I mixed this up in a little sample bottle and gave him 3 drops of the blend every 20 minutes for about 2 hours. He was not happy as the oils do not taste like candy and any form of conforming to authority is unacceptable to him. SO!!! I had to force it on him. I decided to just get it done and give it to him straight rather than in water. Much screaming ensued… did I mention I did this every 20 minutes for two hours? He hated life that day. I hated life that day.

soupstingrashgone

Hive free

The hives started to lessen after about 2 or 3 treatments. I gave him another dose right before nap time and he was able to actually sleep. When he woke up he was symptom free. Well, aside from the typical reaction of a sting sight swelling. Thats something we can live with. We did topically apply deep blue, lavender and some frankinsence to lessen the swelling and it did go down in pretty good time… but nothing too miraculous. Mostly, it helped with the itching which is nothing to scoff at.

Generally, bees stay out of our yard and my other two kids have yet to see a sting. My daughter has no interest in the bee yard and doesn’t have a desire to get close. My four year old is some kind of bee whisperer though. He has no trouble letting a bee crawl on his hand and will sit next to the entrance watching the comings and going of the bees. He will cry and freak out if somebody else gets stung though. So if your thinking bees are a bad idea because of your kids, I will say do your research or email me and we can chat about it. Bees are awesome.

I will however be anxiously awaiting the next sting with Mr. Soup and if the allergy worsens we’ll probably start packing epi pens.

Posted in Bees, Chrissy's Journal, Essential Oil, Herb and EO Journal, Little Bodies, Natural Mommy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sarcasm and Strawberries

Frankie says... "NOM NOM NOM"

Frankie says… “NOM NOM NOM”

I’m quite plainly the most awesome gardner ever known to man. I have to say that in the world of strawberries, I’m kind of a big deal. I decided to treat the public with tantalizing views of what I have the ability to grow.

These strawberries are so delicious I have been having a hard time beating the birds to them. Its was a challenge to get every harvested berry into an image but I have scarcely accomplished it.

harvest

The bountiful harvest.

Ok enough sarcasm. So, I can’t grow a respectable sized strawberry. I’m thinking that if I really wanted to be a successful gardener I should have either started while I was in Middle School or I should travel through time to when I am 50. I’m convinced that gardening successfully is something that comes with years of experience. I just wished that this year wasn’t that year… or that year was five or ten years ago . Oh well you have to start sometime. I’m hoping for a better crop next year and will start reading up on strawberries…again.

Chrissy*

Posted in Being Self Sufficient, fruit, Growing Dinner, Idaho Grown, Real Food, Sisters Grown or Hunted, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Coping with Emotional Goodbyes

Being a working mommy can be one of the most difficult things you may ever have to do. Some days it’s easier to leave the kids than others. For me, it’s always easier to leave them when they’re both happy and healthy; which at times are few and far between. Sometimes I feel like it’s a miracle if both of them are happy and healthy on the same day.

On the days when they seem like it’s the end of the world when mommy leaves for work, I worry about them all day. Luckily my amazing, loving sister watches my kids while I’m at work. We have a very open, honest relationship. I feel like I can check-in with her every hour if I need to and she won’t be frustrated by it. Usually the kids are fine after I leave; which helps ease my mind some, but I still like to check-in.

Whether it be teething, minor sickness, tiredness, or just needing/wanting to cuddle mommy, those highly emotional beginnings to our day can make a few hours seem like a decade. Here are some of the things I try to keep in mind while I’m away from my babies on these difficult days:

This too shall pass!! It’s difficult being away at work, but some women have no other choice. Try to remind yourself that your kids are taken care of, and you will see them soon. They won’t be emotional forever. Who knows… tomorrow is a new day, and they might be the happiest children in the world when you leave.

Have an open honest relationship with your childcare provider. I realize not everyone can have a family member watch their children. The most important thing is to have a person you trust and who you can talk to about what happened during your child’s day. My sister and I sit down and break down my kids’ days (even down to every poo-poo they had that day). I like to hear as much as I can about how things went.

Check-in as much as possible. Text, call, e-mail, instant message…whatever it takes to receive piece of mind that your children are OK. Work out something effective with your childcare provider.

**make sure your boss knows and is OK with how you keep in touch with your kids during the day (I wouldn’t want you to get in trouble at work).

When you are preparing to leave, be honest with your kids about where you’re going and how long you’ll be gone. I get to go at lunch to see my kids, so I tell them I’ll see them at lunch and then when I leave after lunch I tell them I’ll see them after nap. Make sure to explain the time frame in terms they’ll understand depending on their age.

If your child/children begin to cry when you are trying to walk out the door, give them one big hug and a kiss. Tell them it will be OK and just walk away. In my experience, if you linger the separation anxiety and emotional goodbyes become a daily routine. Once the cycle has begun, it’s hard to get past it. So, even though it’s one of the most difficult things you’ve done, you have to force your body to walk away. I promise that your baby won’t cry forever. Once they realize you won’t be back for awhile, they will begin to play and carry on their day.

Don’t worry that your baby’s going to be mad at you when you get there to pick her up at the end of the day. Most likely, she will be excited to see you. There may be a time when she is mad at you for leaving, but again…this too shall pass! She can’t stay mad forever.

When you do get home, pay as much attention to your kids as possible. Make every minute you’re with them count. The stresses of keeping your house clean and making sure dinner is perfect can wait until your kids are older and able to entertain themselves a little more. No one is going to judge you if you can’t do it all. Your kids are way more important than a clean house.

Maybe it will get easier as they get older. I’ll have to wait and see. For now, I’m just taking it one day at a time. We’d love to hear your thoughts on separation anxiety. Please comment below if you have any tried and true strategies to make these difficult times easier.

Ginny

Posted in Attachment Parenting, Kids Mental Health, Natural Mommy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Working With Your Child’s Teacher

As I finish up my seventh year of teaching, I am beginning to reflect on how the year went and what I could do differently next year. One thing I am confident about is the fact that the parents of my students are pleased with how the year went. I pride myself on having a good relationship with the parents of my students. It all boils down to one word…EMPATHY!!

I like to reflect on how I treat children in my classroom. I want the kids to feel safe and I want to create an environment that I would hope my own personal kids would feel comfortable and safe in. Empathy is huge when creating this kind of environment.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not a perfect person and I have had my fair share of parents jump my case, talk to the principal about something I said/did in class, and even had parents pull kids out of my class to home school. I take these things to heart and try to never make the same mistake again.

So where does the parent fit into this you might ask…Sure you might want to jump your child’s teacher about something, report them to the principal, or even go so far as to pull your child out of school. Those are all your rights as a parent. Teachers actually expect you to be your child’s biggest advocate. It may make our lives harder sometimes, but the way the situation is handled makes all the difference.

Having an open and honest relationship with your child’s teacher is vital. I love it when parents email me or touch bases a couple of times a week to check on their child; its shows that they are a partner in their child’s education. I can’t speak for other teachers, but I really LOVE these kinds of parents. I can ask for help from them if I need it and it’s much easier to approach them about an issue I may have had in class. BUT it can’t all be peaches and cream and there are times when your child’s teacher may have really crossed the line, so you’ll want to confront them about it.

No one likes to be verbally attacked. Criticism can also be hard to take, but the delivery of the criticism can make or break whether or not your conversation with your child’s teacher spirals out of control and someone’s feelings get hurt (yours or the teachers).

Here are a few tips to avoid a screaming match at the school

EMPATHIZE. Try and get inside their head before you approach them. Why would they have made the choice they did? Is it possible they don’t know about the effect of their actions?

PLAN. Decide a calm way to approach the teacher. What can you say to them that will make them feel like you want to discuss the issue, but not attack them or fight with them? Write it down and take it with you if you need to.

CALMLY APPROACH. You set the tone for the conversation. Approach them calmly and coolly and be honest about the issue that is in question. Make sure they allow you to finish before they get defensive…try to stay as calm as possible, even if you get interrupted.

CALMLY LISTEN. If you want the teacher to listen to you, you’ll need to listen to them when it’s their turn to tell their side of the story.

DISCUSS what steps need to be taken in order to fix the problem.

AGREE. Reach an agreement about what will happen next and how it can be avoided next time.

These uncomfortable conversations can spiral out of control rapidly. Do your best to stay as calm as possible. You and the teacher will be able to work more cooperatively, if you’re both able to keep a cool head. If you can do this, but the teacher keeps getting defensive and angry get the principal involve (which may require putting off the conversation until he/she can meet with you both).

Always TRY to approach the teacher first. Nothing is more upsetting than being hind sided by a parent and being reprimanded for something you had no idea about. It may seem easier just to go to the teacher’s boss, but in the long run it will drive a wedge between you and the person who spends a huge amount of time with your child.

By working with your child’s teacher, your child will get a better education and feel safe in the school environment. Kids love it when their parents get involved, especially if you have about an hour a week to volunteer in the classroom.

If you do volunteer, try and get the teacher to allow you to work with the kids. Copying and prep work is always helpful, but it means more to your child if you actually help with the teaching. If the teacher really needs help with their prep work and you’re feeling generous, volunteer an extra hour a week to help out. Or offer to take a few things home with you to be done and sent back the following day.

Be involved. Be your child’s biggest advocate. Be open and honest with your child’s teacher. These three things will help you work effectively with your child’s teacher. Please comment on any successful experiences you’ve had with a teacher. Share what you did and how it helped better your child’s school experience. I’d also happily answer any questions you have about this.

Ginny

Posted in Attachment Parenting, Kids Mental Health, Natural Mommy, School, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Coping With Exhaustion

I don’t know about how things go in your house, but some weeks in my house it seems like I never get to sleep. I haven’t seen a full, uninterrupted night’s sleep in over four years. I know what you’re thinking, “HOW IN THE WORLD DOES THAT HAPPEN??” Well I’ll tell you…It all began when I was pregnant with my first baby. Now as you mommies well know, sleeping whilst pregnant is not an easy feat (especially in the later months). Post partum, part of my exhaustion was contributed to my decision to do attachment parenting; which I LOVE, but it’s hard to stay rested when your children are so close to you all the time (especially if they wiggle a lot).

The best advice I have for you on how to handle these pre-delivery days, is to sleep when and where you can. You have a hard battle ahead of you, so in order to be ready for the big “D-Day” you’ll need to sleep and rest up as much as you can. Take naps if you can…If not, go to bed early and try to get as much rest as possible. Some nights I slept on the couch with my back propped up by pillows (I had AWEFUL heartburn). One thing that also really helped was to sleep on my side with one of those big body pillows between my knees.

Try to relax! A nice warm bath is a great way to calm your nerves and ease achy bones and muscles from all of the extra weight you’re carrying. Maybe put a few drops of lavender or chamomile essential oil in with you to help the process. I would take a bath nightly before bed, it really helped a lot! I would take a nice warm cup of chamomile herbal tea with me and sip it while in the tub to help with the relaxation as well. It’s important to take some nice deep breaths while you lie there in the water. It not only brings more oxygen to your brain and helps calm your mind; it’s great for the baby too.

After I had our beautiful son, we soon discovered that sleeping was not his strong suit. Some nights it seemed as if he would fall asleep just to wake up again five minutes after I got him back to sleep. This was all fine and good and I was able to cope OK, until I went back to work. I lost my afternoon nap and was having to get up earlier to make it to work on time. Now he’s four and still wakes up at least once a night. One choice my husband and I made as new parents was that we couldn’t handle letting him “cry-it-out”…we just couldn’t. So I always got up with him and we did a lot of co-sleeping.

Now we have two wee ones and neither one sleeps through the night on a regular basis. There are times when both of them are in bed with us making a mommy sandwich. My poor husband gets feet in his face and chest all night. Luckily he is understanding and patient with the kids. They tend to do better over the summer months when I’m home with them every day and we can have a solid routine. I know in my head that as they get older they will develop independence and good sleeping habits. I’m doing my best to guide them and teach them good sleeping habits.

If you are like me, and can’t handle the process of “sleep training” your baby, but need ways to cope with your exhaustion here is a short list of some of the things that I do to keep my head above the water:

Go to bed after the kids go down for the night. Even if you just go to read a book, go to bed. If I sit down and watch TV, I’ll be up much later than I should and make my exhaustion worse.

Take naps when you can. In the car (while hubby’s driving of course), on the weekends, whenever you have a few minutes to just close your eyes and let your brain turn off for a minute or two.

Eat healthy. Nothing makes exhaustion worse than a poor diet. Processed foods can create many digestive problems (heart burn, indigestion, diarrhea, etc.). Sometimes it’s hard to avoid these foods, but try not to eat them too much.

Take a break from time-to-time. Have someone watch the kids so you can take a walk, a nap, or even just a few moments at home to yourself.

If you can afford it, go get a massage. If you are able to enjoy the expensive kind of massages, sweet talk your hubby into giving you one. You deserve it!

I know it can be hard to admit when you’ve had too much or that you can’t take any more. Before you hit your breaking point, stop, step back, and get someone to help you. Even a couple minutes of quiet time can mean the world on a day when exhaustion is at its peak. I know I feel better when I get a chance to recharge my batteries. You will too! Life is too short to be serious and responsible ALL the time. Sometimes you just have to let a few things go, so that you can make it through your day.

Now get off the computer and go take a nap!! ;)

Ginny

Posted in Attachment Parenting, Natural Mommy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

DIY Diaper Wipes and Solution

Using cloth diapers was a choice Chrissy and I both made to cut back some of the expenses in our houses. Up front it cost a pretty penny, but the amount we saved in the long run was well worth it. We stock piled different sizes of diapers while we were pregnant with our oldest boys. And the great thing was we were both able to reuse the diapers we bought for our next child.

While we were stockpiling diapers, Chrissy devised a great way to save even more money…by making our own diaper wipes. It was cheap, easy, and effective. All you need is 1 yard of flannel fabric and a sewing machine. Oh…scissors and coordinating thread might help too! ;) We chose to use flannel because it’s really soft and is very absorbent.

Spread the fabric out, keeping it folded in half. Cut out the desired size you would like. We did 3” x 4” because they fit pretty well in those diaper wipe dispensers. Cut out as many sets as the yard will allow, keeping the two pieces together.

Head to the sewing machine and stitch around the outside of each pair with a zig-zag stich. I didn’t even need to pin mine. They don’t have to be super pretty, your baby won’t mind. Pile them into a container (we used an empty diaper wipes container). AND you’re done!!

At this point you have to decide: do you want to leave them dry and moisten them only as you need to or do you want to make a solution to poor over them. I’ve done both and find that my baby is less likely to get a diaper rash if I make some kind of wipe solution to kill any bacteria that might try and hang out after I’ve cleaned up all the poopy. Here’s the recipe for my favorite wipe solution:

Chamomile Diaper Wipe Solution:

2 cups hot water

1/3 cup dried chamomile flowers or a couple of chamomile tea bags

6 drops Tea Tree essential oil

¾ cup raw uncut apple cider vinegar

a pinch of Epsom salt

Steep the flowers/tea bags in the hot water for about 5 minutes (then filter out the flowers)

Mix the remaining ingredients in to the chamomile water (Epsom salt will help to keep the oil and water from separating)

Pour the solution over your wipes.

At this point you’ll need to check to make sure all of the wipes got saturated… I kinda squish my wipes down to squeeze a bit of the solution down farther into the stack of wipes. If there are still a few wipes that didn’t get much of the moisture, add a little bit more water to spread the solution throughout all the wipes.

Another diaper wipe solution I’ve tried and found to be pretty effective is to use ½ cup of witch hazel mixed with 3 cups of hot water. Poor over homemade diaper wipes.

AND their ready to use…As you finish changing a diaper, just keep the wipe inside the dirty diaper and wash them together. Easy peasy!!

Don’t use cloth diapers or cloth wipes??? NO PROBLEM!!

Cut a paper towel roll to fill and empty wipes dispenser and pour the wipe solution over that. Pull out the card board center and draw the paper towels up through the center and push into the lid of the wipes dispenser. I use this method when we travel. We buy a small pack of disposable diapers to use for convenience and take our homemade wipes with us. My daughter has a very sensitive bum and I can’t use the store bought wipes on her or she breaks out in a rash..

Making your own wipes is a safe natural, not to mention SUPER cheap way to clean your baby’s sweet lil tooshie! We hardly ever have a problem with diaper rash. Of course I make an ointment to use on the rare occasion that my little Bug does get a rash. Recipe for that soon to come.

Ginny

Posted in Being Self Sufficient, Craftiness, Little Bodies, Natural Mommy, Sewing Projects, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How we FINALLY healed my son’s molluscum

After a 10-12 month battle, I think we have finally kicked this nasty virus. For those of you who don’t know what molluscum is, it’s a kind of viral infection on the skin…kind of like a rash of little puss filled warts (GROSS, right!?!). This skin virus is prominent in children, but can also be carried by adults. It is very contagious. It can spread through water and by touch. It gets itchy at times, not to mention it’s unsightly.

If you squeeze them, stuff comes out, but this is painful for small children so I wouldn’t suggest it. However, what we discovered was that getting these “yuckies out” actually helped with the healing process. If your child can pick them himself, try and get them to whenever a whitehead has formed. For smaller children, allow your child to hang out for a while in the bath to get them nice and soggy. Then, with a wash rag, try and scrub the bumps (not too hard…it can still be pretty painful). This was the best method we found for keeping the bumps from becoming swollen and irritated; which is pretty painful in and of itself.

After he would take a bath I would use the lotion I made from cocoa butter and coconut oil as body lotion to avoid putting any chemicals on his delicate skin. Then, I would rub my diaper rash ointment into the molluscum. We rubbed him down with this ointment after getting dressed in the morning and right before bedtime.

I believe these strategies helped, but weren’t the actual cure for this nasty virus. Because this rash is a virus I decided we needed to boost our son’s immune system somehow. He was already taking a daily multi-vitamin, but this wasn’t enough…so we changed our diet to incorporate more organic vitamin-rich foods and we also started taking a fermented cod liver oil supplement once a day and taking 2000 IUs of vitamin D3 every day. Within a month the bumps started to slowly disappear. Then after 3 months they were gone completely. He had them so long and they got so bad that he does have a few little scars, but we’re SO happy to be rid of those nasty ouchies!

Ginny

Posted in Little Bodies, Natural Mommy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

REAL Breadcrumbs

Between the combination of wondering what was in my store bought breadcrumbs and getting tired of wasting the heals of my bread loaves (which my family WON’T eat), I needed an alternative. Making my own breadcrumbs was an “Aaha!” moment for me. No more throwing away bread that was not being used, like those poor heals of the loaf that no one seems to want. No more buying breadcrumb. Not that they were that expensive, but still. I looked at the back of a can at the store the other day, just to check the ingredients. There were several I couldn’t pronounce, but one that confused me was corn starch…WHY would you want corn starch in your bread crumbs. I’m sure there is some purpose for it, but I still don’t see the point.

If you do this once, you’re guaranteed to never go back to store bought again. It’s super easy and takes very little time.

I start by storing up enough unwanted bread. In order to do this you’ll need to keep your stash in the freezer. Nobody wants to eat moldy breadcrumbs. Once you have a gallon Ziplock bag full pull them out of the freezer and let them thaw.
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Spread your collection out onto a cookie sheet (or two if you’re making a large batch). Try and get them all to lie flat, if possible.

Preheat your oven to around 250. If you’re in a hurry, you could put it on 350. You’ll just need to keep a closer eye on the bread to make sure it doesn’t burn. I’ve tried both ways, and they work equally well. I just suggest 250 because, if you’re like me and get side tracked (maybe forgot to set the timer), you’re less likely to burn your bread.

Place the cookie sheets in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes on one side.

Turn your bread and bake for another 20-30 minutes or so. I’m being vague about how long the bread should cook for because some slices may be thicker than others and may take more time. OR it could take small slices less time.

When they are hard enough that you have to use a little elbow grease to break them apart (not rip them apart…they have to BREAK), they’re done. I like mine to be crunchy like croutons. Sometimes I have to pull the smaller pieces out of the oven and let the bigger pieces cook awhile longer.Brdcrm

Now for the fun part! Grab your food processor (or blender in my case, because I haven’t gotten around to buying a big food processor). I usually break the bread slices into smaller pieces before I throw them in the blender so it doesn’t take as much pulsing.

You won’t be able to throw all of the bread in the blender/processor at once. You’ll have to do it in waves. I do little bits at a time because my blender is old and tired.
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Pulse until you have a fine….BREADCRUMB consistency. Store your crumbs in a plastic container in the freezer. I’ve never stored mine in the cupboard because I just assume they won’t last long enough for me to use.

The great thing about this is that you can add spices or not depending on what recipe you’re using. All you do is pull out what you need, and do as you wish with it. Wahoo…Freedom!!

Ginny

 

Posted in Home Recipes, Real Food, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bees and the laying worker “problem”

Hive "A" at my first spring hive inspection.

Hive “A” at my first spring hive inspection.

This is my second year raising bees and each year I have had one laying worker hive (3 total) at all times. Which is pretty hilarious considering most beekeepers (on the internet) say that a laying worker hive is rare. Seeing this always makes me laugh… rare my tush. This is a serious issue that will KILL your hive. AND I HATE IT! HATE IT! HATE IT!

So heres what happens. Your queen bee dies. The hive unsuccessfully attempts to raise a new queen. There are no brood. The workers who have no fertilized eggs begin to lay unfertilized eggs that will turn into drones… dude bees. Male bees don’t do anything but mate with queens. They don’t even feed themselves and are at the mercy of the workers around them. They are a depletion to the hives resources.

A laying worker hive can consist of 70 layers to every 100,000 workers. That.is.bad. In my experience it takes about a week for your hive to be chock full of drone brood. Laying workers will even attempt to lay eggs on comb-less foundation. They’re stupid. (Sorry sweet bees, I’m just so MAD!)  In order to attempt to “fix” this problem you have to introduce a frame of open brood from a queen-right hive every few days. The pheramone from the brood eventually suppresses the ovaries of the laying workers and allows the queenless hive to raise an new one… or so they say.

Heres my story. In the beginning…

hivebdron

Hive “B” comb. You can see the regular worker brood as well as the random drone brood that the workers have started to adapt the cell for.

I started with two packages for two hives. Packages are 3 pounds of bees (about 10000) in a box with a queen in her cute little cage. Hive “A” blew up. I mean it was crazy amazing how awesome it did. I probably could have got honey off of it that first year if not for hive “B”. This hive started pretty ho-hum. The queen’s laying was pretty lame. She was not well bred. Her brood pattern was very spotty and she laid just as much drone brood as worker. The workers repeatedly tried to superceed her, unsuccessfully. The queen eventually croaked. This hive turned into a laying worker hive.  Even though hive “A” was a new package I still tried to introduce brood frames from it into hive “B” every week for about 5 weeks. No queens came from this attempt and I began to worry for hive “A” so I decided to do a shake out of hive “B” directly infront of hive “A”. The two hives combined gloriously and thrived through the winter.

This spring Ginny and I purchased another package of bees. Hive “C”  immediately turned into a laying worker hive. No sign of a queen…ever. Once again I began to introduce brood frames. I started to see superceedur cells in hive “A” which worried me. Plus, hive “C” was not attempting to raise another queen. I decided to combine again.

Hive “A” was HUGE and when bees run out of room, they will leave for greener pastures. So I only allowed the two hives to mingle for 2 weeks. Then made a split taking 5 frames from hive “A” to create a new hive “D”. I left this split alone for 24 hours and introduced a new queen that had been given to us by the great people we buy our bees from. This fresh queen was promptly accepted and began laying successfully two weeks later…YAY!

The activity at the entrance of hive “A” started to lag so I decided to crack that baby open.  Signs of worker brood was really at a low. The queen was gone in my work horse hive “A”. Either I killed her in my attempts to save hive “C”  or create hive “D”. OR the bees killed her because they blamed her for the upset that I was causing. Either way I killed her with my intervention.  This makes me very angry… at me (damn you me). Needless to say, that hive is now a laying worker hive and I’m about to loose my first hive ever which breaks my heart. I refuse to attempt to save it with frames from hive “D” which is still trying to establish itself and I cant combine it because the sheer numbers of hive “A” could potentially ball and kill the newly introduced queen. I’m going to let my poor babies just work until they are toast and selfishly hope I get at least a little honey off of it.

This is what I have learned from laying worker hives:

Try to intervene as little as possible. Let them be. Don’t destroy their home. Its important to learn as I have learned by doing. Seriously, if your going to dismantle your hive be prepared to loose that hive every time you do.

Package bees are the pits. Heres what happens… There is a bee farm that uses a huge vacuum to gather worker bees. From here a hose is shoved into a package box and 3 pounds of bees are deposited into it. Then a queen from a mating nuc (not even remotely related to the bees in the package) is put in a little cage and inserted into the box. The reason for putting her in a cage is because the workers will kill her if she isn’t contained since they know her to not be their original queen. After days, the package bees realize they don’t have a queen and grudgingly accept her. MAYBE.

From now on I will no longer be buying packages. There is an option to buy Nucs which contain the same amount of bees but they are already on drawn comb with an accepted AND proven laying queen. You take the frames and deposit them directly into the deep box. Pretty much the least amount of intervention is needed. This makes me happy. In the future I’ll be doing treatments and checks by simply cracking boxes and peeking or slipping stuff in.

Having a laying worker hive is a curse I brought on myself.

Chrissy*

Posted in Bees, Being Self Sufficient, Growing Dinner, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chrissy’s EO #6

The town we live in was built on a swamp for some reason. The area is beautiful but I have to say this was not a well thought out idea because the stupid mosquitoes try to pack us all off every year. If you don’t live under a rock you know the issues that store bought bug spray and DEET have. This had me trying to find a non-toxic way to protect my kids from these pesky little buggas (that was me trying to be british in type). Since making the switch to doTERRA early in the year we felt pretty confidant that a homemade bug spray was not a worry. Needless to say this does not work on Idaho mountain mosquitoes apparently because we cursed the Terrashield every second we were using it… by itself. Here we were getting wood, an hour and a half away from home with nothing but a bottle of terrashield to save us from blood depletion…we could have died. Ok it wasn’t that bad but mosquitoes bring out the diva in me sometimes. It seems to work “o-k” on the weak in-town mosquitoes but the super villain mosquitoes in the woods? Fuh-get about it.

So I went back to the drawing board. Since I had two bottles of the terrashield I didn’t want to fall by the wayside I decided an entire bottle could go into a concoction my brain was brewing. It goes as follows.

Sparrow Sized Mosquito Repellant

One 15ml bottle doTERRA terrashield

½ cup lavender infused witch hazel (had some left over from Lovely Lavander Toner)

10 drops doTERRA peppermint

10 drops doTERRA lavander

10 drops doTERRA Lemongrass

10 drops doTERRA Melaluca

Seem a bit much to you? Oh it is. But I tell you what…this crap works. One friend said it smelled “glorious” as well. Another downside , it is also this beautiful purple color. So don’t spray it on you when your wearing white. Those turds leave us alone though… I just hope it lasts me through the summer or I’m gonna have to sell off some of my husbands stuff. I may do that anyway.

Posted in Chrissy's Journal, Herb and EO Journal, Little Bodies, Natural Body | Leave a comment