Saturday, April 14, 2012

It's good to be back

It's been a rough couple of weeks. Whitney and I have been very busy lately, and so have been neglecting the blog. For that I am sorry, but you'll be glad to know we are back and intending to pick up blogging again. Last month, Whit's Grandfather passed away.  Without him, Whit's family needed to reevaluate her Grandmother's home and care, so it was decided to move her up to Oregon to live with Whit's parents. To complicate that transition, we learned that Whit's Mom had fibroid tumors that would require surgery, and her Dad needed his knees looked at. Whit and I decided to fly to Arizona to pack up the last of her Grandmother's things and haul them up, and take the oppurtunity to visit my Family in CA. Things there have been bumpy too, since we learned last month that my sister April has breast cancer. Take a moment if you would and stop by her blog to say hi. I Heart My Life April continues to be an inspiration to all of us with her positive attitude and unstopable spirit. This trip allowed us to help Whit's family and see mine, a win win, if it hadn't come right in the middle of hectic, get-er-done times at work due to my boss's broken leg. But family comes first so we went.
That set the stage for our 1350 mile treck in a 17 foot UHAUL pulling a 1972 Ford F100. It actually went pretty well, except for nearly losing / killing Whit's Grandmother's cat in Phoenix. We'll just say that next time we travel with a cat, we won't be trying to walk him near a car wash that's between a highway and a canal. Of course it didn't help that he had never been on a leash, or in a kennel, or in a car before! But I managed to drag him out of the crack he got stuck in, and we got back on the road. By the way, Blackie the cat made a full recovery and by Friday evening was purring and happy in his new home.
After that (and a short time lost in Riverside, CA), we were motoring along at a steady 55 mph and 8 - 10 mpg.
Along the way we got to see my brother's place in Coarsegold CA, (near Yosemite) and admire all the work he's been doing there. Then we stopped at my Dad's where I grew up, and spent a wonderful day playing with our Niece Nia. Later we traveled to Santa Cruz and saw Joey and April, and had a very good dinner with the Stearns family. It was really good to see April and hear first hand how the Chemo is treating her and how well the Care Calender is working. Thanks SO MUCH to all of you that have contributed and if anyone is interested please Email Whitney for info: After all that we left the Santa Cruz area and after a brief but very enjoyable visit with family in Redding, made it to Ashland, Or with all the cargo including Blackie the cat intact. A day in Ashland unloading the truck and visiting and then we were flying home to Montana. Much of the drive was very pretty, and while we were very glad to be able to help out and see everybody, the pace of the trip was exhausting. and I have to say, it is good to be home. 
Today I went and got our new bees! After I learned that one of our hives had died, I tried to order more but was told that they were all sold out. Friday before last, on our way to the airport heading out of town, we got a call and learned that there were bees available if we wanted them. The only trick was getting them which involved a 3.5 hour one way drive today, the day after we got home from our week-long adventure. So, while Whitney planted seeds and got the green house in shape, I brought home two very active nuc hives.  Nuc or Nucleus hives are made up of one brand new mated queen, 5 frames of brood (bee larvae), and a good number (15,000 or so) of workers. This is one way to start a new hive and I am told works very well. The advantage of buying a nuc rather than a package of bees, is the brood. Since the queen will take a week or so to adjust and start laying, the brood that hatches will be up and working 3 to 4 weeks sooner than if we had to wait for the queen. That month will be key in our honey harvest this fall, since we need the hives to be humming at capacity when the spring blooms come on. That's the whole game, have the bees ready before the blooms hit so there is no wasted time. Hope it works! More on that soon, including pictures of Whit and I installing the bees. For now, know that the bees and I made it home safe and sound despite a few getting loose and buzzing around inside the car while I drove home!

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