"It was the oldest sound in the world. Souls flying away." The Secret Life of Bees

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Beekeeping adventures: conclusion of year 1

I meant to do this final beekeeping update months ago, but I'm just now getting around to it.  The bees are in their hive for the winter at this point and have been for months.  We ended up not getting any honey this year.  In the classes I took, they said that sometimes you get honey the first  year and sometimes you don't.  So, I knew in the back of my mind not to expect it, but it was still a bit disappointing.  

Healthy pattern:  Brood in the center/bottom and capped-over honey around the top edges.

Here you can see honey in most of the cells.  The top left cells are capped over.

Things seemed to be going the 'textbook' way until July or so.  At that point, the hive became honey bound, meaning the bees filled up every available cell in the brood boxes with honey.  This seems like an awesome thing, but it's not.  If all of the cells are filled with honey, the queen has no where to lay eggs.  Without new eggs constantly being laid, the worker bee population will dwindle down very quickly and the hive will just die out.  I ended up putting some empty frames in the center of the brood boxes hoping that they would get the hint and build out new honeycomb for the queen to lay eggs in.  It worked!  Within a very short amount of time, they seemed to correct things and restore balance (a good mixture of honey and brood).  It seemed like things were back on track.

This little lady decided to sting Ben.  Luckily for him,  he was wearing thick gloves.  She was stuck like this for a minute or so before we helped her get free.  Although he got stung a few times this year, I'm happy to report that I didn't receive a single sting!

I guess I shouldn't say we didn't get any honey.  I did have to remove some honeycomb that the bees built in the wrong spots, so we did get to enjoy some of their delicious honey, which I am very thankful for.

After the honey bound situation resolved, things seemed to be moving in the right direction.  The bees were thriving and they filled both brood boxes with a nice pattern of brood and honey.  At that point, I added a honey super on top.  We were in the middle of summer at this point, leaving them plenty of time to fill it up (or so I thought).  However, they never did a single ounce of work in the honey super.  They never even got around to building the honeycomb in the cells.  Every week or so I would check in on them expecting big things, every week I would find the bees looking healthy, working, and seeming to be doing great, but only down in the brood boxes - never any action in the honey super.  They were hanging out on the honey super, but just not doing any work.   

Cleaning up a drop of honey on top of a frame

Even if we didn't get any honey,  I am so grateful for the bees.  They  filled my heart with joy, happiness, and love.

So, that's it for this year.  I never did quite figure out what happened.  Maybe I did something wrong, maybe my timing was off, maybe that's just the way things ended up this year.  It was strange to see them thriving and working away, but never doing anything outside of their brood boxes (if there are any beekeepers out there reading, please pass along any advice/suggestions).  

Now we wait.  Hopefully they will survive the winter.  I'm looking forward to giving this another go next year.  It has been one of the best experiences of my life.  2013 started off rough for me.  I was dealing with some very difficult things and the bees brought me so much joy and filled me with hope, exactly what I needed at the time.    

Friday, November 22, 2013

Jeans + Boots

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently won a Loft gift card over at Musings on the Mountain. I am so excited to be able to get a couple of new maternity pieces!  I decided that my main purchase would be a pair of jeans.  I don't own any regular jeans from Loft, so I wasn't sure about quality/fit, but I ended up deciding on these.  They fit great, I love the wash and style, and they are very comfy.  The belly band is a very nice, soft material.  Love these and highly recommend!

In other news, it's Friday!  Thank goodness.  What a week it has been.  One of our pups (Talus) was very ill for a few days earlier this week and required a trip to the vet and lots of TLC.  Poor guy is finally feeling much better.  The pregnancy insomnia is starting to get to me and I feel exhausted.  I'm going to have a nice warm cup of tea and cross my fingers that I sleep tonight:)

Jeans:  Loft Maternity Modern Skinny Jeans
Top:  Gap Maternity
Blazer:  LiaMolly
Boots:  Born Raisa Boots

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pregnancy update: 2 months to go

How far along: 31weeks and 3 days

Development: According to The Bump, baby is the size of a Pineapple. He weighs somewhere around 3 pounds and is going through major brain and nerve development.

Symptoms:  Still feeling tired, sore, and achy, although prenatal yoga and daily pelvic tilt exercises helped.  I've also noticed some minor 'restless leg' twinges when resting.  My ankles have started to get a little puffy in the past week.  

Maternity clothes: I have a feeling I'm going to get bored of my maternity clothes very soon.  I am intentionally keeping my maternity wardrobe small because I don't think it makes sense to spend a lot of money on clothes that I will only be able to wear for a short time.  I did recently win a Loft gift card over at Musings on the Mountain , which I used on a couple of new maternity pieces.  Can't wait to add them into the rotation!

Stretch marks: I just noticed my first stretch marks this morning.  It bothered me more than I thought it would.  After a struggle with infertility, I never thought that stuff like this would bother me.  Really, when I think about the big picture, who cares about stretch marks!  I will admit though that I did get a little bummed out when I saw those first few purple lines this morning.  I'm having a 'down' day in general and I started thinking that if I'm already getting stretch marks, how is my tummy going to look 2 months from now?

Sleep: Still not great.  I am able to go to sleep with no problem, but when I wake up for my first trip to the bathroom, it is sometimes very hard for me to get back to sleep.  There have been a few nights where I just lay in bed for hours before I'm able to doze back off.

Best moment of this week: Finishing our childbirth class last Monday.  We took a 10-week Bradley Method class and I loved it.  We both learned so much and feel more prepared.  Now that that is complete, it feels like we are 1 step closer.  Another great moment this week was hiring our labor doula.  Ben and I have been discussing this for a while, but we finally decided to go for it.  I feel  more at ease now and a little less anxious knowing that we will have that support when the time comes.

Miss anything: Nothing major I can think of.  Sleep, I suppose!

Movement: Lots of movement!  I love every moment of it.

Food cravings: Still drinking a lot of orange juice and eating a lot of oranges (though my craving seems a bit less intense since I started taking Vit C every day).  There was 1 night last week when I HAD to have biscuits and gravy for dinner.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope.

Have you started to show yet: Big time.  I've gotten a lot of 'looks like you have a basketball under your shirt' comments this week.

Gender: Boy!!

Labor signs: Not yet.

Belly button in or out: Still in.

Wedding rings on or off: On for now.

Happy or moody most of the time: Still mostly good, but definitely more irritable than normal, especially after not getting enough sleep.  When I'm sleepy, little things seem like big things and it's easier to get stressed out.

Looking forward to: Finishing up the nursery, my baby shower in a few weeks, and relaxing over the holidays (hopefully)!

New rug for the nursery!

Quick selfie/dirty mirror

31 weeks

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Maternity Cords

One thing I love about fall/winter is corduroys, so I knew I wanted to add a pair to my maternity wardrobe.  I ended up getting these green ones from Motherhood Maternity when they were on sale (for less than $25).  I never want to take them off.  They are so comfy!  I do not want to spend a lot of money on maternity clothes, so I'm trying to get by with a few basics that I can dress up a little bit with my cardigans/accessories when needed.
I had a few nights last week of very little sleep and I ended up exhausted by the time Friday rolled around.  I am also on call this week and of course I was called into work at 4:30am on Saturday.  Luckily I had a prenatal massage and chiropractor appointment lined up for Saturday afternoon.  Both were amazing and put me back in relaxation mode, so I've been resting well and napping like crazy since.  Feeling much better!

Pants:  Motherhood Maternity
Top:  Gap Maternity
Cardigan:  Anthropologie
Shoes:  Gee WaWa
Bracelet:  Anthropologie