The last few days have been really busy. The hot weather is back and we spend most of our time playing outside or patronizing business that have AC. I haven’t had time to do much knitting or photographing. I think the heat depletes my motivational resivour. The majority of the photos were taken in February. Gabe spent two cold and rainy days cutting, sawing and hammering wood in order to make my raised beds. He used a beautiful cedar that has weathered into a nice grey color over the past few months. The layout was his idea. I was going to just have rows of beds side by side but Gabe thought this layout would allow for a greater number of beds in a smaller area and that it would be more pleasing to the eye. He was right. When it comes to aesthetics, he usually is.
After he built the beds, it took an entire day to carry them to the garden, place them, and then fill them with dirt. He had help for a few hours but was on his own for a majority of the time. It was backbreaking work. I’m grateful it wasn’t my back.
The last few photos are the garden in its current state. The unusually hot summer has been good for some plants but not so much for others. My lettuce and kale are unable to stand the heat and went to seed a few weeks earlier than usual. I planted carrots, cabbage, and a few root vegetables in the Spring to see how they would fair, but a lovely case of root maggot ruined my entire crop in a matter of weeks. Gabe has since put together some hoops made out of PVC pipe. You are supposed to stretch garden fabric tightly over the hoops, providing the plants under the fabric access to sun and water while simultaneously keeping the flies and other pests out. I threw out my shoulder a few weeks ago (How, I do not know) and I have yet to complete this task. It has also prevented me from planting my leeks and onions for overwintering, and from weeding for the last two weeks. My poor garden. It looks like a jungle out there.
I don’t know that my shoulder will heal in time for me to even bother planting a fall root crop. I was so looking forward to making homemade sauerkraut this year. I think that opportunity has long passed. but on the bright side, I can still knit, and that’s something for which to be grateful.
I was in the mood for an easy project that didn’t require a lot of thought or concentration. A pair of ribbed socks for Gabe seemed like the perfect project. Plus, it was a small project and it has been too hot to sit comfortably with a pile of wool in my lap. I had planned on sticking to small knits for this very reason until the weather cools off, but once I read about the Summer Sweater Knit Along on the Very Shannon site, I couldn’t resist participating. Aside from the weekly Yarn Along that I occasionally join on Ginny’s site, I have never participated in a Yarn Along that has an actual start and end date. I think this will motivate me to finish the project in a timely manner (6-ish weeks). I find that accountability to others is a great motivator for me. The KAL starts tomorrow, but I only just ordered my yarn, so I don’t even have a swatch knitted or blocked. Not the best way to start my first KAL but hopefully it doesn’t put me too far behind everyone else.
I don’t have a photo of the book itself (because I forgot to take one), but I’m currently reading the third edition of A Well-Trained Mind, which really gives an in-depth look into the Classical Education method. Sam will begin preschool this year and while I don’t think I will use any formal curriculum this year, I have been doing some reading and researching online to try to narrow down which homeschooling path we will follow over the next few (or many) years. Unschooling is too lax for my taste and while I like certain elements of the Waldorf method, I don’t think it’s for us. I’m only a few chapters in, but I am really enjoying it so far; it has an abundance of information and it’s easy to follow. It’s quite thick, my biggest challenge will be finding the time to finish it before its due back at the library.
Sorry, I just couldn’t resist the cheesy post title. It was too easy.
This Spring Gabe completed his six week apprentice beekeeping course through the county, and in April, we purchased two hives. Fun fact: when you purchase bees, you have to pick them up from the bee society and drive them home yourself. Each cage contained 10,oo0 bees and one queen. Gabe drove home with 20,000 live bees buzzing next to him in the front seat of his car. Can you even imagine what that must of sounded like? It gives me the shivers just thinking about it.
I wanted to paint the hives bright colors in various hues, but Gabe likes everything to match, and since he is the one risking his life (dramatic, I know) caring for the bees, I left the final decision up to him. He chose to paint them with leftover yellow paint from when we had the house painted last fall, and I have to admit, it was a good choice. They look great.
Gabe was stung twice while putting the bees into their new home (he wasn’t wearing the hood of his bee suit) but other than that, the transition from the cages to the hives went well and the bees seem to be thriving in their new home.
I absolutely love the photo of Gabe standing next to the hives scratching his head. You can practically see the thought bubble floating above his head: I hope this works. Okay…let’s do this.
We don’t yet have any honey from the bees, and most likely will not have any till Fall. Still, I couldn’t resist making a honey and goat’s milk soap a few days ago. My parents also keep bees and my Mom found this recipe on Pinterest. She purchased the same mold used in the original post, and we used store-bought honey and a goat’s milk melt-and-pour soap base that I had leftover from another project. The directions were incredibly easy to follow and the mold is so clever and adorable; I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. You can find the recipe here.