Bear Bones

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The kids took late afternoon naps the other day, and Gabe and I decided to take them for a walk in an attempt to wear them out before dinner and bath time (hint: it didn’t work). We strolled through our woods and then circled back on the easement road that runs through the far West end of our property. The trees provided a lot of cover from the sun and my camera had a hard time picking up enough light to take clear photos. I hate using the flash, so after a while I just gave up. The photos shown were taken in more well lit areas, but some of them are still kind of fuzzy.

Last summer Gabe found a bear cub that had died. Of what, we don’t know, but by the time Gabe found it, the local predators had already done quite a bit of scavenging.  Gabe picked up the skull, cleaned it and hung it in our barn. After that, we sort of forgot about it. This was the first time we went back to the spot where he found the skeleton, and all that was left were a few rib bones and part of the spine. Sam wanted to take it home with him, but there was no way I was going to traipse through the forest with a dead bear cub spine in my jacket pocket, so we convinced him to leave it where it was. Boys.

Speaking of boys, Sam was recently gifted (by us) his very own chainsaw as a potty training reward. He carries it with him everywhere and is always “cutting” something. I typically shy away from toys that make noise or require batteries, but bribery seemed to be the only motivation he had for getting himself out of diapers and we were desperate. I have to admit, he looks adorable using it.

a healthy dose of denial

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Because I did my last round of canning this week, I thought I would include a photo to commemorate the moment. They are called Dilly Beans, and you can find the recipe in this book.

Well, the deadline has since passed, and I still have a sleeve and pockets to knit on my Inland but I’m glad I participated in this KAL. I finished the first sleeve and I don’t know how it happened, but my sleeve was about two inches longer than it should have been and I haven’t even made the cuff yet. I’m going to try it on tonight and see if I need to reknit the sleeves or if I can make some modifications and just continue on. Instead of facing this problem head-on, I’ve been knitting a basic pair of socks and trying to avoid looking at the half finished sweater sitting on my bookshelf. Denial is a powerful thing.

It was a beautiful day on Thursday; sunny and warm with a cool breeze. After the kids’ afternoon nap we went outside and played. The weather was so nice I let them eat on the back deck. I have to admit, I would have loved a cold rainy day just as much, if not more. I should be grateful: in two months I’m going to be craving some sun and praying for a respite from the rain. But I’m just so ready to spend the winter curled up on the couch, knitting and a watching a new season of something on Netflix. (Because in my fantasy there are no children clawing at the doors to get outside and whining for my attention…there’s that denial again.)

Gabe has the weekend off, and we are looking forward to spending some family time together. Sam was gifted a balance bike for his birthday this summer and we are going to take him to a paved trail and practice riding. Should be entertaining to say the least.

checking in

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This weekend was spent mostly indoors. A storm hit Friday night and it rained all through Saturday until early Sunday morning. We lost power for about 36 hours, but because we have a generator, our house was able to function per usual. Starting in fall and well into spring our area looses power multiple times a year and I’m always surprised to hear people talk about how they had to stay with friends or check into a hotel during the longer outages because they don’t own a generator. Why don’t they have generators? I understand if you have a small generator and it runs out of fuel after three days, but to not have one at all…why? It baffles me.

On Saturday evening a tree branch fell on an electrical wire that’s connected to our roof. Gave had to grab the orchard ladder and cut it down with a hand saw. I wish the pictures showed just how rainy and windy it was while he was up on the ladder. He was relieved to make it down to the ground in one piece.

Side note: notice the color of the leaves in our trees? Red! It happened overnight, I swear. Fall is coming!

On Sunday I spent the day surveying the damages to the garden. It wasn’t that bad. My dahlias took a beating and I had to cut down a few and throw them in the compost. I doubt my sunflowers will stand back up, but they weren’t doing too well anyway. Our corn was almost completely flattened. My lovely 4×4 rows are no more. A few have popped up over the last day, but most of them are still quite supine. They are still alive…but I don’t know if there is anything I can do to help them pop back up or if I should leave them be.

We turned the old garden shed into a makeshift beekeeper’s station for Gabe. He bought a propane stove and a turkey fryer so that he can heat up big batches of sugar water and basically keep his sticky mess out of my kitchen.

Gabe checked the bees today to see how they were faring and remove the second round of mite treatment that he placed in each hive a couple weeks ago. The smaller hive grew from two frames that my parents gave us a few months ago. My dad used plastic frames instead of the traditional wood frames and the bees don’t seem to like them very much. The hive had become increasingly weak, and he gave it to us in the hopes that we might have more luck than he did in strengthening the colony. When Gabe opened up the hive, he discovered that they were building their comb on top of the frames in the temporary space reserved for the mite treatment. Thus, the sticky weird looking mess (honey!) you see in the above photos. Normally Gabe would scrape that off, which would force the bees to use the frames, but because their colony is already so weak and cold weather is approaching, he has decided to leave it as is and hopefully the hive will be strong enough come spring for Gabe to scrape that off or just replace the frames altogether.

There was some honeycomb in the stronger hive that Gabe scraped off and he brought it inside. He drained some of the honey out and we scooped it up with our fingers. It tasted incredible. I can’t wait until we can collect a big batch of our own honey.

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