Saturday, April 28, 2012


Joe reads aloud.  It is our second reading of Lafcadio, a chapter book.  We hear a chapter or two a day.  It is something to look forward to each evening.

Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back
, first published in 1963, is a children's novel written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein. It is narrated by Shel Silverstein as Uncle Shelby.


Easter Outtake

Making a torso body cast of Levi.  I stuck a sucker in his mouth & told him to be still as a stone.  You use gauze impregnated with plaster.  15 minutes top to bottom.  I used a hairdryer at the end to speed the process along & make it more 5-year-old tolerable.  It turned out beautifully.

One of my most treasured items is a 38-week pregnant body cast Joe made of me.

a wee white oak snake exploring the carport - peacefully left to its own devices

a work day outside with Levi

water, cheese, and raisins

we take a snack break

my lovely companion - so very helpful

another painted barn quilt piece in progress 

the last one - 2'x2' on wood - hanging now in the partition in the chicken coop! - visible from the tomato garden

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ruthless Rye

We are always on the search for a good brew.  Sierra Nevada's Ruthless Rye gets high marks.  

"Ruthless Rye IPA is brewed with this rustic grain for refined flavors - combining the peppery spice of rye and the bright citrusy flavors of whole-cone hops to create a complex ale for the tumultuous transition to Spring."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Sunny Thursday

Many Buddhist mothers I've spoken to make a point of apologizing to their children if they have lost their temper.  Apologizing, they say, is an effective way of 'letting go' of their anger, of humbling themselves.  As this mother said:

It's like giving some power over to your children rather than hoarding it all to yourself.  Especially if you ask them to forgive you.  So many parents think they have to appear perfect to their children but I think you're doing them a greater favor if you teach them ways to cope with being imperfect - as we all are.  If you can tell them, from time to time, 'I made a mistake', you might find them willing to say the same back to you some day.  Then they have learned to take responsibility for their behavior.

Excerpt from Buddhism for Mothers:  A calm approach to caring for yourself and your children.  I found this selection listed in SouleMama's Book List, and then checked it out from the library.  I've found it to be so helpful!  Also, I checked out:  Calm and Compassionate Children, a handbook by Susan Usha Dermond.  These are both great & will be, I'm sure, added to our home library in due time.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


A new favorite spot to explore:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Walking Iris

Joe's Nana Mott had one of these - I remember it on her back deck.  I regret not getting a cutting of it when she died.  A gardening friend gave me this one - which has now multiplied & fills several hanging pots.  This is a great pass-along plant, because much like a spider plant, it drops many new plantlets than can be easily rooted.

The bloom lasts only one day.  Here's one popping open: 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

installing a package of bees

the first step is to pry the lid off

underneath is the top of the can of syrup - it completely fills the opening of the box & blocks any bees from escaping - it must be pulled up & out with pliers - also is the little metal tether attached to the queen cell

here's the queen cell & its metal tether - there are a few worker bees clinging to the outside

the queen cell is hung between two frames in the hive - the workers will eat through the candy cork & release her from her cell

this is the FUN part - dumping 10 thousand bees out! - you really just pour them out of the box

with a few good shakes & most of them are out - they are attracted to their queen's phermones - this will be our 'blue' hive

one down & one to go - getting ready to install bees into the 'white' hive

I was tickled Levi wanted in on the action, not every child wants to hang around with bees circling your head

 "Now remember, if you're cool & calm the bees will be too.  Okay?"


Friday, April 20, 2012

New Arrivals

I went & picked up two 3# packages of bees today {queen included in each}.  They're hanging out in the mud room until tomorrow morning when I'll get a little quiet time to install them.  

I've been working the last few days getting two hives up & ready.  

There's been a succession of beekeepers in Wildwood & a hayloft full of old woodenware to show for it.  I've brought some of it south to start a beeyard here... 

three pounds contain approximately 10,000 bees

each package comes with a tin of sugar syrup that the bees live on during transit

the queen is in there somewhere protected in her own tiny package - part of installing the bees tomorrow will be to place the queen in the hive - the workers will free her by eating away at the candy cork which is at the entrance of her package/cell

Doing a little refresher reading lately

Thursday, April 19, 2012

tap, tap, tap

I'm on the back deck hanging laundry on the drying rack & little missy grabs a rock from her nature tray & starts tapping on the glass to get my attention...  Happy girl!   

Pampered houseplants used to reside in the sunny corner of the dining area {to the left of where Indi is standing} - now it's full of treasures we find outside for baby hands to explore:  giant longleaf pinecones, seashells, large rocks....

Sunday, April 15, 2012


We had three hatches of eggs that have resulted in 24 chickens.  They are getting big, fast!  The older two hatches have got most of their feathers now - still a few downy spots here & there.  We're starting to be able to tell ladies from gents.

Joe retrofitted a section of the barn into an inside/outside chicken coop.  There's a smaller free-standing coop that we've been cycling groups of chickens into - for fresh grass & bugs.

The kids love tending the chickens - Levi always has one in hand.

inside the barn coop

a group of older chickens in the 'fresh grass' coop - these two ladies in the middle have ruffled feathers around their cheeks, a trait of Araucanas

these are over my shoulder shots - Indi riding in the back carrier - she gets excited!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday Outside

A little late getting this bed seeded, so we'll see how summer carrots turn out.
This was certainly a practice in patience - this 50 foot raised bed is wide enough for two rows of carrots, so it amounted to dropping a seed every two inches along a 100 foot row.

Staying accurate

interseeded crimson clover in the garlic patch

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Van's hoe

Sylvanus Alonzo Neely {Van} was my great-great-grandfather.  He was a blacksmith and a father of four boys.  He, with the help of one of his sons, built a home in Wildwood, Georgia.  When the cement was poured for the extensive front porch, he inlaid his name in copper on one of the front steps {S A Neely}.  

The copper has a beautiful green patina today, and the house is my parent's, where I grew up.  Many in the extended Neely tribe still reside in Wildwood.  

My Granddaddy Joe lives next door to my parents.  In the steps leading to his mailbox is a small footprint that was pressed into the wet cement long ago - this is Sarah's footprint, the wife of Van.

I love that this family history is there in a tangible way.  That I can see where they were once were and know something of their lives.

I know that Van and Sarah must have kept a garden, and that when Van no longer used his hoe my Grandmother took it up.  Granddaddy Joe tells of keeping it sharp for her and that over the years the hoe head slowly became smaller with use.  It was in the tool shed when I asked for it, many years now after her death.  It was then that I was told it's beautiful history.

The hoe is now here with us as we build our little farm in Cairo.  I use it daily and in the quiet of garden work I think of those who used it before.  I was delighted, when making hills for butternut squash yesterday, that Levi wanted to help & got a chance to use it.  This was his great-great-great grandfather's hoe!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Our Tiny Tree Frog

in the middle of our bed, in her preferred pose, tiny tree frog we love so dear

Mom & Dad visit Cairo

My Dad, the geologist.  Levi, an avid collector of rocks {they're always in the bottom of our washer}.  They had lots to talk about on this visit.    

Learning to clap.

A story read in the library.