Monthly Archives: April 2014

Back when cars were simple
Back when cars were simple

The Easter egg hunt is over. It was fun, for me anyway. This year I missed out on my April fool's day trick so I made the annual Easter egg hunt my day.

Inside a few eggs I put some surprises that were duds. I knew they were duds, they were designed to make the boys believe that one particular surprise was real, especially after so many were filled with dumb stuff. Inside one egg was a single gumdrop. In another was a 'Jesus Loves Me' sticker. . But there was one large egg that had a car key inside. Cookie's car has transmission problems. His birthday is coming up, he'll be 21, he's been dropping hints. When he opened this egg his mouth fell open. “Is this a real key?” he looked stunned.

“Yep. It's a real key.” The kid's quick.

“Are you serious? This is a real key?” He held up the key. A look of thrilling disbelief crossed his face.

Smiling, I gave him a hug. “That key belongs to a car in the driveway. Take a look.”

 He looked out the window. He looked puzzled and asked, “What car is this the key for?”

 “That's the key for your Toyota.”

 He started laughing, “I knew you wouldn't get me a car. It was pretty exciting for the minute it lasted, though.”

 “I'm sure it was. You should probably have that transmission looked at.”

 “Will do.” He smiled, not as broadly, but it was still a smile. His brother, on the other hand, thought this was hysterical because it didn't happen to him. It was the Easter key to happiness.

DSCN2065On Sunday night we had snow. Monday's overnight temperature was 20 degrees. It was cold this morning, but I got the call that our bees were ready to be picked up. It seems too cold for bees. I put them in the back of the truck and they were very quiet. A few stragglers were clinging to the outside screen. As the car warmed up, so did the bees. Their buzzing got louder and stronger. I turned up the radio so that I wouldn't hear them. Driving with six-thousand bees in your car is a little nerve wracking. I put them in the garage and watched to see if the temperature would get above 40. It did, so I got ready to hive the bees.


The sun was shining, it was in the mid 40's. It turned into a fine day for installing packaged bees. I carefully removed the cans of sugar water, took out the queen cages, shook  the bees out into the hive body and  set the queen cages between the frames. The queen cage's have plugs in them to keep her separate from the other bees. I replaced the plugs with a mini-marshmallows. In a few days the workers in each hive will eat through the marshmallow to free her. By that time they'll recognize her pheromones and accept her as their queen.

Buckets of sugar water were set inside the top hive body and pollen patties were set on top of the frames. The maple and poplar trees have pollen for the bees to collect so they won't need additional supplements. We'll continue feeding sugar water until there's a good nectar flow from flowers.

I consider today's installation a great success because I didn't get stung, the bees were active, and I felt more confident than last year. The bee keeping classes prepared me for success.


DSCN1973The joke's on me.

I love April Fool's day. I enjoy playing pranks on my family. This year I had an elaborate stunt planned. I got some fleece material, some boards and decided to make a flock of baby lambs. I was going to dot the hillside with my fake lambs, placing them near our ewes. From the kitchen window it would look like we'd had an overnight windfall of new births. Before Keith goes outside for morning chores he always looks out the window to check on the livestock. He likes to see where they are. Well, Mother Nature beat me to it this year. On Sunday, when I checked on the livestock for the night, four new lambs were milling around with four ewes fussing over them. Getting them inside the barn was easy, but then we had to sort them out. Through careful observation of their behavior we figured out which lamb belonged to each ewe. One ewe had twins, two others had a single lamb. The odd ewe, without any lambs, followed us inside, too. Half an hour later she delivered triplets. Once they were all fed and bedded down we checked on the outside ewes again. Two more were ready to lamb. So, my April fools day plan didn't go as planned. Mother Nature delivered real lambs instead. As of this morning twenty-one new lambs are in the barn. The joke's on me!