Friday, April 9, 2010

More buzzzzzzz

Bee packages stacked on top of each other. Most of the boxes are gone. They stack to the roof!
Here are our hives. There are about 10,000 bees in each box.
More packages waiting to be picked up.

It was a hard winter around these parts. At one point we were 6 degrees below zero. That's COLD. Especially with our humidity. It is particularly unsavory for bees. Bees like warm and balmy weather. Therefore, we lost both beehives to the cold. It was a sad day really, when JD went to check on our little friends and found them all dead. After all, we have been enjoying the fruits of their labors all winter long. Fresh honey in our herbal tea when we are sick, slathered on toast and peanut butter sandwiches, sweetening our oatmeal and added to soy sauce for the yummiest teriyaki dinners. Those little guys worked hard!

On Tuesday, I headed to Portland (again) to pick up three new packages of bees. It is about an hour and a half drive for me to the bee store (yes, there is a store). Last year I was terrified to think about driving that distance with two live hives in my backseat. Images of me being viciously attacked by honeybees before crashing my car on the freeway were daunting. Several of the boxes were dropped and the bees escaped last year at the bee store, so it wasn't out of the possibility. Of course, none of that happened and I simply took the boxes of bees, loaded them up and drove home. Same thing this year.

We are a hoping the bees make it through the next few days. Their truck was delayed over the mountain pass and they were very upset. They are Italian bees and NEVER sting, so we knew they were mad. JD (six times) and Derek (once) were both stung when they put them in their hives at home. Let's hope they settle down! Next week we will move them to the blueberry farm and the orchard where they will happily do their wonderful work...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Newest Driver

Circa 2001

2010, Baby!!

When did we go from driving a bike to this?! Well, it's true. Our little boy, Derek, 15, now has his driver's permit. Tomorrow he begins real driver's education classes (no longer taught in the high school, darn it!) So far I have been the only one to take him out on the road, but surely JD will step in and do it too. I have to say, he's done very well and only once have I feared for my safety (he gets a little too close to the parked cars as we pass them). To my credit, I think I'm a pretty good teacher and don't get bugged by things, nor do I raise my voice or talk down to him. He's mature anyway, so it wouldn't do much good. For now, I'd keep small children, the elderly and animals off the Longview streets.

By the way, I snapped these last pictures of him at a red light. He said, "Mom! You're making me a distracted driver!"

Monday, April 5, 2010

Native American Art Project

Every year our fourth graders are given the task of creating a Native American art scene. They have several months of instruction and education in class and are then asked to create something they learned about. This is Alexis' project. It is a family scene with mothers and their children (there used to be a longhouse made from popsicle sticks, but it didn't make it on the bus ride home--sadly) My favorite part is the fish (you can't see them, but the fish have red "x"s on their eyes to signify that they are, in fact, dead--Derek thought that was a bit morbid) that are drying while the woman tends the crepe paper and toothpick fire. I also like the baby. She made all the things from clay, baked them and painted it. I tried to help her, but she wouldn't let me. Thank goodness, as I probably couldn't have done any better than this! We think she did a GREAT job and are anxiously awaiting her grade on it.

Easter Egg Hunt

After watching conference, we got ready for Easter dinner. Conference was great and so uplifting. We loved the fact that it was on Easter Sunday so we were doubly blessed by hearing from the prophet and also celebrating our Savior and the Resurrection.

Dinner was our usual fare of ham, potatoes, etc. The deviled Easter eggs were particularly yummy! The missionaries (both from North Carolina--coincidentally) joined us for dinner and then a few friends came over for our annual Easter Egg Hunt in the yard. The teenage Easter Bunnies hid all the eggs for us. This year we went a LITTLE overboard as there were probably 200+ eggs. The bunnies were very tired of planting eggs in the yard when it was all done. Everyone gathered in the entryway for the kickoff.

The missionaries scored two of three prized "Golden Eggs" (they have $5 in them) and the kids were bummed. Guess the missionaries needed it more? As you can see, everyone had a great time. We ended the evening with cakes and pies and general goofing off at the house.

Decorating Eggs

After Evan's baseball tourney, we had a few minutes to finally decorate our Easter eggs. The girls were positively FRANTIC to get them done as I'd had them ready since Friday. There was only one casualty out of all the eggs (Katie is holding the broken one above) and I think they did a great job! Too bad they were deviled eggs by Sunday...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring Baseball Tourney

Arrgh. Nothing like starting out baseball season with 43 degree weather in the pouring rain! After we came back from camping, Evan began a four-day baseball tournament in a neighboring town. Although his own team wasn't participating, Evan was invited by another team in his league to join them for the tourney. It was made up almost entirely of their all-star team, so they were strong. In fact, no other team came within 7-8 runs in any game. There was 12 teams in total. Evan didn't play as much as he would usually since it wasn't his core team (and we will begin competing AGAINST this team in another week!), but he had a strong tournament anyway. He had a home run and two triples (both hit the fence) as well as great fielding moments at catcher. The videos below are the last pitch to win the championship (Evan is the catcher) and the awards ceremony (Evan is in the front in the blue jacket who smooches the trophy--cheeseball...)

WARNING: There is a loud "WHOOO!" in each of the videos from a crazed fan that could be irritating and/or obnoxious. was me. I forgot how close the microphone is on this camera. Sorry! :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring Break Camping

I hate to see a perfectly free and clear week go to waste with the kids and NO SCHOOL, so we loaded up the trailer, all the fishing gear and enough junk food to feed a small army and headed into the woods for a few days of camping. JD had to work so he wasn't able to go with us although he did come up to camp at night since we were only a little over an hour away from home. I've never pulled the trailer before and honestly, I was a bit white-knuckled on the way there. I demanded complete silence from all four kids until we at least hit the freeway. If they so much as breathed heavy I was freaked out. After a while I was much more relaxed and even enjoyed the experience. I connected and disconnected the truck and trailer and even hooked up the water and electricity at the campground ALL BY MYSELF! The only thing I was unable/unwilling to do was empty the toilet/poo tank. I had images of Robin Williams

in the movie "RV" where he is trying to empty the septic tank and it spews sewage all over him. So, I waited until we got home and JD helped me. Not too bad. I'll try it on my own since I am taking the trailer to Utah this summer with the kids for a week and no one will be there to help me then. All in all, it was a fun few days. Anytime we get to spend time together with no TV, phone or fighting, it's a great time. Where else will a 15 year play card games with a 10 year old? Even though the weather wasn't perfect and we didn't catch any fish, it was well worth it.

YW Hike

The YW are headed to camp in a few months and one of their requirements is to have a hike. Since the camp doesn't have the right trails, we were asked to do the hike as individual wards. Friday was the first day of spring break for the kids and we decided to head to the beach and let them walk the three miles on the beach. We followed it up with a BBQ around the campfire and smores. I decided since JD and I were both going we should take our kids too. 15 girls and 2 boys. Derek and Evan were definitely in the minority!