Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bees and Their Yummy Honey


 Last week while we were working on moving I also extracted all the honey from my bee hives. It made for a busy week. But a very sweet week too with all the honey eating. :-) The middle of August is a little earlier than prime extracting time which is early September but I did not want to move hives that we stacked high and full of thousands of bees.

  Above I was showing off on of the frames that was just beautifully loaded with capped honey. Not all of them look so nice but a lot of them did.
 A close up picture of the capped honey comb.
 The kids did all get to help again and we all ended up nice and sticky. The extractor is run with a very powerful drill and so for the kids it works best to have a helped or so to hold things still. Mara is really not as plump as it looks in the picture above - she simply has her shirt being puffed up with the air blowing up from the extractor.

The picture of the frame about shows some of the brood including some queen cells. I pulled everything out of the hives and either brushed away or vacuumed up the bees this year. I had not ever wanted to do that again after vacuuming them up my first year but my attempts to overwinter them the last 2 years were unsuccessful and it didn't seem like this year was a good year to try again with all that we have going on with moving and building. So I killed them off but next year I want to study up on things and try overwintering again. I have been getting Italian bees which are one of the most gentle and good producers but I was visiting with another beekeeper up here and he said that Carnelian bees overwinter much better and aren't that aggressive either and also produce really well. I will be looking into those. If I change I will have to get packages rather than NUCs which would be something new for me.
Jonathan straining the honey. (I think he did some taste testing too.) This will be our last time of extracting just right out in the garage Lord willing. Next year we will have a special room set aside just for extracting and other bee stuff. That will be very nice! Currently it is our bedroom though so that bees have to wait until we move into our house.

  This was our lowest honey year yet but we still were incredibly blessed - getting more than many people ever get from their hives.

  I would love to hear any thoughts or advice you might have on bee keeping.

Meanwhile I am looking forward to an apple crisp that is sweetened with honey that I have cooking in the crockpot just now - getting ready for breakfast.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

8 Ways to Re-purpose Bed Sheets

 One of the easiest ways to re-purpose bed sheets is to leave them just as they are but then use them for table clothes or curtains or whatever you might need. Not long ago we had a garage sale and since I think it looks much nicer to cover up the tables that you set things on (especially since some of the tables were rather make-shift) many sheets went into action as I don't have oodles of tablecloths laying around.

In one area I used them as backdrops too.

 Next week when I give you the tour of our new home (the garage) you will see that I have put old sheets to work here as well to make room dividers and such.

  Here is a list of other ways that you can re-purpose old bed sheets:


  • Turn the flannel ones into handkerchiefs
  • Make menstrual pads
  • Rag Rugs.
  • For making quilts
  • Making clothes - You should have seen the cute skirt that my sister-in-law wore to church a couple of weeks ago. She had made it from two top sheets and had cut out two squares and cut circles in them and layered them so that the points were in different places on the two layers and then I believe she put elastic in the middle circle to go around her waist. I wish I would have thought to take a picture. You can make many other clothes from sheets as well. A blog reader mentioned making pajamas out of old sheets.
  • Cloth diapers
  • A really cute bedspread.
How would you re-purpose bed sheets?



Monday, August 25, 2014

We Have Moved to Our New Garage

Well our house sold as of 12:30 pm, last Friday. Yeah! On to the new chapter in our lives! Ken jokes that we are homeless - but we aren't really. We don't have a house right now (though the work has begun) but we do have a home - it just happens to be in our garage. We also have an address so homeless we are not!

   Above is our temporary home - and a cozy one it is turning out to be -though a little chilly on nights like this one where the temps are going down into the 40's. That's all right - we have lots of blankets!

  Here are a few photos from the last few days - a little peak of life at our new place. Lord willing I will give you a full tour (showing how exactly we are living in the garage) next week.
 The outdoor kitchen- right outside the door. We are working to figure out ways to keep the mud and dirt (which there is plenty of with all the house digging going on) out. Mulch, stepping "stones" (really tree slices) and mats have helped.
 An outdoor shower was one of our recent projects. I still have a few minor adjustments but it is functional and I am pleased with it. (The photo above is not the finished product!)
 Jonathan put up a rope ladder today which they seem to think has turned them all into circus performers. Much fun has been had.
 My big rag rug has found a new home and made our "living room" much cozier.
 Aaron loves to keep the fire going. Supper of stew (made up of whatever could be found in the fridge) and fried biscuits was very, very yummy on this chilly evening!

The outside door into Megan's attic room (our garage is in a hillside so the back of it is largely buried in dirt). Jonathan installed the door and made the new ladder today. He is such a handy guy to have around!

  Oh we are so glad to have the moving over. Life feels so much more relaxed with the whole camping feel to it and the stress of getting things packed up and the house cleaned up all over. We are so thankful for all the help that we had moving. My parents were (are) amazing and I am so very thankful for them! (Hauling loads, cleaning, unpacking, doing our laundry, feeding us, taking care of our birds and the list goes on and on.) We also continue to be so thankful for our great new neighbors who are so interested in us and let us get water from their place, offer us firewood, storage space, etc. We are beyond blessed! God is SO good!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Paul's Prayer - My Prayer

Picture taken by Mara
I would like to share with you today a beautiful prayer that Paul prayed for the Gentile Ephesians.....

"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,that He would grant you,according to the riches of His glory,to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is thebreadthand lengthand heightand depth,and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge,that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantlybeyond all that we ask or think,according to the power that works within us,to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesusto all generations forever and ever. Amen."

Ephesians 3:14-21

This is my prayer too, for my family, for the church,for all of you and for me too. Oh for everyone to have Christ dwelling in their hearts and to be filled up to all the fullness of God! We often feel so week but that doesn't matter because we have a wonderful, powerful God!

A Garage Becomes a Home

  1. Photo: Look at this pretty garage door Gaslin installed for us this week
 Next week (this week in 8 minutes) we close on the sale or our house. So it is moving time! The garage is not truly done but there is a roof to go over our heads, 2 windows in (2 more small ones should arrive for the attic on Monday and then we can put them in too), and the main doors are in. It seems like we could use days that are twice as long as normal in order to get everything done but I think it will work out just fine.

We are not waiting until the day before closing to actually move stuff but rather have been working on it gradually over a period of time and now have been doing it much more heavily. Our house is beginning to look rather empty. Above is one of the rooms at Ken's office that we are using for storage.
 Here is one of our pretty windows. Do you know how much I love windows???
 Last night Ken and My Dad got the Sheetrock put up in my future honey room/ Bedroom for now. That was after the kids and I tried to put it up on our own on Tuesday. Holding Sheetrock up on 10 foot ceilings and screwing it in proved to be a little to much for the kids and I to handle. We did manage to mangle a piece of Sheetrock pretty badly and bang ourselves up a little bit before we gave up. Ken and Dad did it so quickly and smoothly - it was lovely to watch! The kids and I did manage to do much of the framing of that room so that at least was something.
 Jonathan put up a bunch of shelves today to store a bunch of stuff.
 I cooked our first meal in our new home - with all the doors open since I was using the camp stove. We are going to make a counter top outside for the use of the camp-stove in the future and indoor cooking will be on electric griddle, etc.
 We had stashed our deck furniture off in the woods to be out of the way of the excavators who will be working soon. Megan thought we should use it there. It went fine for some of us but others (the two oldest males) ended up falling over in their chairs because the chair legs sunk into the ground. It caused for some amusement and chaos at the lunch table. :-)
 BLTs were enjoyed by all. Meals have had to be simpler and not always quite so homemade with the busyness of this summer. Hopefully that can change soon.
 The 3 youngest kids are having attic bedrooms and they have been having a blast fixing them up. It feels rather like working on a fort but one that you get to really live in. We have been letting them do nearly whatever they want (they can pound nails, improve and decorate to their hearts content) and they love it. Above is Jonathan's closet that he fixed up with dowel rods. Later Aaron made a closet using a stick he had whittled and Jonathan thought that looked better (we like our homemade, rustic things) and so he switched it out so he didn't have boughten rods for his clothes either.
 Part of the boys room.
 Megan especially loves the decorating. She requested a plant to add to her area.
She pounded many a nail and has things hanging up all over.

I will plan on giving a full tour after we move in but this is a little taste of the adventure we are beginning.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Re-purposed and Upcycled Life {A Book Review}

 Don't you think it is fun to take something that is old and seems rather worn out and then figure out a new purpose for it - to make it new? I love doing that with stuff but there is one far greater than I, Jesus Christ, who loves to do that with people. How cool is that?

  When I heard about "The Re-purposed and Upcycled Life - When God Turns Trash to Treasure" by Michelle Rayburn I was pretty excited about getting to read and review it. This was a concept that I had thought about many times and I was looking forward to reading someone else's take on the subject. The book did not disappoint my expectations.

  Michelle has a very fun and interesting writing style but she is able to also write in a way that encourages you and makes you think. Besides getting to read her thoughts in chapters with titles like "Junk in the Trunk", "Silver Hairs, Chin Fuzz and Fringe Benefits" and "Only You Can Prevent Frustration Fires" she also has a section at the end off each chapter called "Getting Personal" where she might share some scripture references that she encourages you to read, she may ask some pointed questions for you to think on and answer and she might propose an activity to go along with the lesson that she was trying to share.

  It was really good for me to think more on how God can use us - not just in spite of the problems we have but he can also use the bad things, the struggles, the trials in our life and make something beautiful out of them. As Michelle shares: "One of the most precious things to come out of a difficult experience is a beautiful testimony."

  Have you let God work in your life to Re-purpose and Upcycle it? Have you come through your trials stronger and more like what God wants you to be? Wherever you are at I think you would enjoy "The Re-purposed and Upcycled Life."

"Disclaimer - I did receive this book free for purposes of reviewing but the thoughts expressed are my own and I received no other compensation."


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