Thursday, April 25, 2013

April and the Trains

On Monday we decided it was time to get out of dodge and spend some time together. We drove up the island to visit a new friend and made a few stops along the way. By far the most important stop for April was a visit to the trains at the BC Forest Discovery Centre. She was delighted.
The weather was gorgeous so we decided we would ride the train to the park they have, have a picnic, and ride the train back. We rode on a small passenger train that April calls the "school bus train". It didn't quite have the old clickety-clack we heard about in books but it was fun all the same.
At the park there was a train to play on which April loved. We ate lunch, ran and played, made daisy chains, watched a bald eagle work on his nest and explored a huge nurse log.
It was with great sadness that we had to leave the trains. April has been asking every day since if we can go see the trains. Even when I explain that the trains are far away, she says "Ok, see the train?". I guess another road trip is in our future. We all had a wonderful time so I can't think any of use would object to a sunny day spent together riding the train.

Friday, April 19, 2013

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

And Then, They Swarmed

I had been wondering for weeks if this might happen. Indeed it did. Just a reminder that I am still a new beekeeper and these are bees are still very mysterious. I had noticed before that large amounts of bees were sitting on the front of the hive. I thought perhaps they were feeling crowded with the new brood hatching so I added another super. Then I thought they were new bees. New bees often stay close to the hive, buzzing around in a cloud and landing near the entrance. I am cautious of opening the hive too often so I decided to leave them and hope they would settle.

Today I looked out my window and there was a cloud of bees. I knew they were swarming and I couldn't stop them. I was so disappointed. I quickly took out my bee books, watched YouTube videos, scanned blogs, searching for a solution. I had worked so hard to build a healthy hive, these bees were important to me, I felt crushed by the idea that I might lose so many of them.

Almost as if he knew, Jon came home early today and set to work helping me capture the swarm. They swarmed in a terrible place, it was almost inaccessible. My Jon, such a wonderful man, went for it anyways. The first time he tried simply brushing the swarm into a box, sadly as he was closing the lid he dropped the box (and I was at the base, supporting the ladder, and got stung by some very angry bees). We waited and they returned to the tree. This time he cut the whole branch, carried it down and shook all the bees into a box. This time he was stung by bees who managed to get into his coat. By the time we had the syrup made, the hive assembled and the frames in place all the bees had escaped the box.

The final time seemed the easiest (of course it wasn't me up there). Once again Jon brushed the swarm into the box, successfully carried it down and dumped all the bees into a waiting hive. Of course not all the bees made it into the box and we noticed a few of them gathering in the tree again but after several hours the hive seems to be humming with bees. We are hoping that the bees in the tree will get the message from the bees in the hive that there is food and protection near by and join them in the hive tomorrow.

Such an amazing learning experience but also so stressful. Questioning why this happened? Is the queen ok? Is the first hive's queen still alive? Will they stay in the hive? Will they make it? Jon says he feels "pumped" after spending an afternoon wrangling bees. He called himself "the bee master" and although neither of us completely know what we are doing, we are taking each lesson these bees offer us and hopefully becoming better guardians of these colonies. I'll keep you all posted on these hives.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Garden of Her Own


April has been very interested in flowers this year. She is always keen to point out when she notices flowers coming up. The only thing was that she would often want the full sensory experience; looking, smelling, squishing and oh yes ripping. I didn't want to see my beautiful spring bulbs ripped from the ground so when April's Easter gift had an empty sand box included I decided it would make a perfect little garden.
We took April to the local nursery and picked out some flowers that were in bloom now, some that would be soon and one little strawberry plant. We worked together to pour the soil, rake it out and dig holes for our new seedlings. April planted them with typical toddler vigor but her own sweet style. "There you go flower, there you go" she would say to them as she covered their roots with soil. We planted half the bed with seedlings and left the other half for raking (which is a daily chore lately) but I hope later this season I can convince April to lay some seeds there. Maybe some nasturtiums or even some pretty lettuce.
For now I love watching her tend to her garden. She brings worms to it, rakes the soil, pats down the soil around her flowers. I'm so proud of her nurturing spirit. She has not pulled out the flowers as I worried she might, instead she checks them daily and tends them. Oh my mama heart.
We have been inviting her into our food garden while we weed and rake in preparation of planting in the near future. I hope that the little gardener in her will be equally tender to my vegetable garden. Do you garden with your little ones?

Friday, April 5, 2013

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama

Monday, April 1, 2013

Feels like Spring

We had a lovely laid back long weekend over here. We soaked up the sun, got outside and made lots of progress. Most of the garden is now turned and ready for compost and planting. My starts are happily sprouting on my dinner room table, my bees are out in mass, my trees are blooming and my laundry is on the line. It is certainly spring and I hope it stays.
It is so refreshing to step outside in bare feet and feel the grass between my toes. To lie in the hammock at dusk and watch the stars come out. I'm feeling renewed. I have renewed resolve to make my garden the best yet, to grow as much from seed as possible, to use everything I can and to be outside as much as we can stand.
It felt like a long winter with a high energy toddler about. We made it through though. Thank you art project, activity kits, swimming pools and playgroups. The sidewalk chalk, bubbles, sand boxes and swings (oh yes the swings!) are ready for their date with my child.
The bulky sweaters, hats and mittens and winter boots are being put away and sunglasses, brimmed hats and sandles are already in use. It certainly feels like spring indeed.