backyard chickens, Backyard Farming, bee, beekeeping, bees, child, children, Freyja, getting things done, Homemaker, house keeping, New House, Parenting, Personal update, project, projects, Renovations, Stay at home, Uncategorized

So Much Change!

OK since the last time I posted a lot has happened and since I am suffering a bad cold at the moment and stuck on the couch I thought I would update everyone. You know because having a 4th kid wasn’t enough. A) we got a puppy! and B) we bought another house!

I know I’m crazy and my body is completely telling me how crazy I am but that is a whole other blog post. 13217393_10156975132635118_3143750346418388979_o

This is Freyja! She is a mess of a Beagle Pug mix. Shortly after mom died I had a dream. My mother visited me in the dream, held my then 3 boys, and told me “Olof give the boys their puppy and everything will fall into place.” At the time I just took it as a grief dream and I didn’t give it much thought. Almost 3 years later I suddenly needed to get a dog. Husband wanted (and still doesn’t) nothing to do with this dog. She is a mess. She can’t be trusted with the kids but she is now only 8 months and getting better every day.

Shortly after adding a dog to our, already large and busy, family, I suddenly needed to move. It was like an urge that I just had to fill NOW. My children needed a better school and we needed more room. I used to daydream of a beautiful colonial home and drive though a neighborhood here in Tulsa that has these BEAUTIFUL colonial homes. I knew that a house like that was not in the cards. Especially not in that neighborhood. I also was wanting a home in a neighborhood where my kids could go outside and ride their bikes. I had a tall order for a house on a limited budget. We wanted to stay under $200K and at least 2000 sq.ft. We needed at least 4 bedrooms because I was not going to move again before the boys move out unless we are moving out of state or out of the country and then I would just sell everything and not bother with moving all of it.

I started looking at Zillow and texting my awesome Realtor to start looking at houses. We had looked at a colonial in a good school district but the people that owned it wanted more than we were willing to pay for it and the kitchen was small. We looked at so many houses. The only ones I really liked were under contract before I could even make an offer. We were looking for something that we wouldn’t need to do anything to. Yeeeaaah…….. The ones that were within our budget were too small when it came to bedrooms for the boys. I had looked at our current house on Zillow. Loved the exterior, the space, the school, and the neighborhood  BUT the interior was horrendous. It was stuck in the 70’s with original shag carpets, wood paneling and all.There was carpet in the kitchen and the bathrooms! I looked on Zillow but did not want to do all the work so I did not want to go see it in person. Then I started getting really frustrated. I needed to move! It was like I was being pushed and pulled to move by something. I finally went to looked at this house with my realtor and husband and kids. I saw the potential but knew that it was going to be a process. This house is more than double the size of our last house that was 1500 sq. ft. At 3392 sq. ft. 4 bedrooms, 2 and a half bathrooms and a bonus room over the garage, it is a monster of a house. I still have to pinch myself that we actually have a house this big and in such a great neighborhood. I couldn’t believe that I had squirreled away enough money to pay for a down payment on a house like this without selling our other house. 13346319_10157062611325118_5197928201563293277_o

The closing was a mess of papers and the move was a sweaty mess with 4 kids in tow. We were moving during the hottest time of the year here in Tulsa, Oklahoma but we needed to be moved before the boys started school. We were so lucky that my in laws, my brother, and several friends were an amazing help. Both moving and with renovations.

We have only gotten flooring on a small portion of it. We started by tearing all the carpet, except in 2 rooms, out. Scheduled a large trash pick up by the city and got all of the carpet on the curb. We had to wear masks. It was Soooooo gross. But it got the smell out of the house that was stuck in it.

Then we got all the doors off, even the cabinets. They were all a dark wood. Making the house really dark on the inside. We painted them all white. It was a great face lift for the kitchen. We have managed to put floors in 2 of the bedrooms and 2 of the 3 bathrooms. We have amazing dreams for this house but it will be slow going since we have now used up all of our extra money. All gone! What is left is our emergency fund and that is for emergencies. But slow and steady the paint is getting done and flooring is getting put down. We don’t want any carpet.

Every time one more thing gets done I feel a weight lifted off of my shoulders. Because, you know, taking care of feeding and keeping 4 kids clean and a 11 month old safe from himself leaves me plenty of time to paint and keep working on the house. My health issues have not helped either but I’m hoping that I will start seeing the end of the tunnel soon.

What did we do with our other house, you may ask, since we didn’t sell it? You guessed it, we are now landlords. Friends of ours offered to paint, repair and clean the old house and in return they will be saving $1500 over the next year on rent. I thought it was a great trade and I knew that they would be amazing tenants.

I’ve had to make some changes since moving. HOA laws say that we can’t have chickens so my chickens went to a wonderful home at my amazing in laws. They are treated much better there than I was able to with everything else on my plate and they are about to take my bees too. My plate is more than full at the moment and these beings deserve being taken better care of than I can at the moment. I was so thankful I could get them somewhere they are really cared for and that I can visit. One day I may get back into bee keeping but right now I am going to focus on making this house our home. Less than half of our house is being used at the moment. There is so much left to be done. I will slowly make this house a home my children will hopefully love to come home to and my friends and family will love to come visit. Having plenty of room for visitors. I will get into my plans for this house in a different post. I hope I start blogging more often and share my story again.

What are you up too? Any advice for our renovations?

Amazon, Backyard, bee, beekeeping, BeeWeaver, farm, frames, hive,, Ozark Bee Supply, starter kit

How to Start Right With Bees

As many of you know I was talking about getting bees and ladies and gents I DID IT!!! I am a proud urban beekeeper. I live on less than an 8th of an acre in the middle of Tulsa and I keep both bees and chickens.

Here is the story.

Months ago I got the bee bug. I was very interested in starting my own hive so I started reading, watching YouTube videos, talking to people I know that keep bees and surfing the web. I learned a lot about the bee’s life cycle, the different problems that could arise and the different illnesses bees can get.

I contacted BeeWeaver and Ramona said that they would sponsor my queen bee and then I started looking for local bees as worker bees to start my hive. I went on and found Ozark Bee Supplies and the man that runs it, Greg, was very helpful and full of information.

I started doing my research on where I could get a starter kit which includes the hive, a head vale, a hive tool, leather gloves, 10 plastic base frames and a smoker. I found one through Amazon and since I have Prime I didn’t have to pay for shipping on it. I also bought another deep super to put on top of the 10 frame hive so that the bees had plenty of space for brood and honey through the winter. I’m told I won’t need a honey super this year.

A little over a week ago on a Friday I got my queen bee IN THE MAIL from BeeWeaver apiaries. Yes you read me right I got her in the mail. She came in an envelop, but in the envelop she and some of her companions were in a sturdy wooden enclosure. The post office had tried to call me to pick it up but the number was wrong for some reason on the envelop but the nice lady at the post office delivered it to me on her way home from work.

The BeeWeaver queen and her attendants in the wooden box she arrived in.

I had gotten my hive ready the week before. Set up in my veggie garden and talked to Greg. a local bee keeper of Ozark Bee Supplies, that was willing to part with three frames of brood (baby bees), honey and worker bees for $20 dollars a frame and he keeps the frames from my hive that he is replacing.

So since my queen was there Greg told me to bring my hive, my queen bee, and a strap to keep the hive together for the drive home. I drive out to Jenks, OK to pick up my worker bees and frames and meet Greg for the first time in person. He was exactly what you would think a cowboy would look like but with a bee vale instead of a cowboy hat. Just wearing a white T-shirt and jeans. He put the hive strap on my hive to take it to where the bees are and he doesn’t put on any more protective clothing. I put on a black army jacket on and he tells me that Black is not a good idea and that I should probably get something more Bee Keeperish for the future.  I wish I had gotten photos of this experience but I was so excited about getting my bees that I forgot to take the camera with me. He takes me to the bees and opens my hive and then opens a nuc that has the frames that he was going to put in my hive. He did this with his bare hands and doesn’t get stung once. I was in awe. At first a little stressed with ALL the bees buzzing around me but then when I realized that they couldn’t care less if I was there or not I relaxed and just enjoyed the sounds and sights of the bees.

He put the three frames in to the hive and then just knocked the rest of the bees out of the nuc into my hive and put the queen in her wooden cage into the hive between the frames he put in my hive. Then he closed up the hive, secured it with the strap and then taped the entrance closed with duct tape so that they couldn’t get out! Then I asked my questions about how long to keep the queen in the cage and so fourth and the hive went in my Mazda5 and I drove home with a hive full of angry bees in the car with me! Very exciting but also I was very aware of EVERY bump in the road and prayed that I would not get in a car accident on the way home and be stuck in a car full of angry bees that have escaped their hive because of the accident.

I brought my hive home put it in place where I took the duct tape off and let the bees be bees for a little over a week. Only feeding them some sugar water to help the workers accept the queen and help with a stressful transition. Watching them come back from foraging with their back legs FULL of orange and white pollen. They have been such good bees.

Bees busy being bees.

Yesterday I let the queen out of her cage so that she can start laying her eggs again and my sister in law was nice enough to document it with her iPhone. She did not have a bee vale and even though it was a bit windy (not ideal) my bees were only a little unhappy when I grabbed the queen cage out of the hive. Had I not had gloves then I had been stung a few times. But when I was messing with the frames to see what sort of work they had been doing (they had been very busy bees and built up great comb) they couldn’t have cared less. I also opened the opening up to its next size up to make it easier for my bees to get in and out of the hive to bring in the pollen and honey.

My ladies have been busy on this new frame.
One of the frames I got from Ozark Bee Supplies

Now I must wait 10 days before checking on them again to make sure my queen is laying eggs. I’m SUPER excited! Can’t wait to see how much work they will have done in another 10 days.

BeeWeaver, that sent me the super nice queen bee, also has a new store that sells bee related products. You should check them out. The store is called BeeGoods.

Backyard, beekeeping, bees, book, Homegrown Honey Bees,, Review, self, simplicity

Homegrown Honey Bees- Book review

So, I will be keeping bees this spring and I am trying to read as much as possible because that is what I do. My ADHD kicks in and I hyper-focus only on one thing. I found a book that looked like it was user friendly on Amazon and then when I started reading it I realized that it was perfect for the first time beekeeper. It’s called Homegrown Honey Bees: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Beekeping Your First Year, from Hiving to Honey Harvest by Alethea Morrison. It is to the point and has everything in it step by step. It teaches you about the life cycle of bees, how to get started, the gear you need, the first month in weekly steps, The first season, How to collect your first harvest and when, what to do if your colony doesn’t survive it’s first winter, what sort of bee illnesses there are out there and how to treat them, how much work a hive really is. It also has great little stories of beekeepers and their accomplishment and bumps in the road.

 The photos taken by Mars Vilaubi are VERY good. I’m a visual learner and Mars did an exceptional job of capturing all the different things that I needed to see to really understand. They even have photos of what bee stings look like for those of us that have never been stung.

I learned a lot in the past few days and am now not as ignorant about beekeeping as I was. I know that Drones are not the worker bees that I thought they were but just boys waiting to get lucky then only to die because their penis is ripped off after mating. That the queen only gets to get lucky for a short period of time and then she keeps the sperm to make enough bees to keep a colony going for several years (wow). That the other ladies of the hive do all the work and even decide on if it is time to rear more queens because the one in charge is ill or old or that the hive is getting too cramped to keep everyone in it so it’s time to swarm with a new queen. I’ve learned how to keep my hive from swarming by introducing enough space and so much more.

The only thing it does not really cover is how to split your hive to make more hives from your own bees but that’s what youtube is for right? Other than that I did not see many flaws in the book as a novice. I will be looking at this book many times in the process of getting started with my bees. This is a book that you keep referring to as you are starting out but for more in depth information I think a bee mentor will be the way to go. So off to my local bee club that luckily meets less than a mile from my home. I look forward to meeting more beekeepers and pick their brain and then enjoying the buzz of the bees and the honey they will provide my family.

Hope you are all happy, healthy and living the life you love.

Happy Valentines day

Backyard, beekeeping, bees, chickens, pallet, recycling

Dreams of Spring

My plans for spring to save money and be more self-sufficient I will build a chicken coop. Yes your read it right. I´m going to build one myself to show how easy it is and I will share my plans with you. I want to make one of these.

I saw this on I don´t have the plans for it but I´m going to find myself some pallets and recycle the wood from the pallets to save a LOT of money. I already own the chicken wire. Do any of you know of any coops that have been made with pallets?

I hope to start bee keeping too. Any of you do this and if so how hard is it?

Today has been one of those days where not much has happened. All I can do is dream about spring and all the things I will make and plant. What are you doing in the spring?