Wednesday, July 23, 2014

And we Bayfielded again and AGAIN!

It IS official everyone.  Bayfield is now a verb.

One of the Apostle Island Cruise Double Decker boats

Bayfield is beautiful in calm or rough conditions

Bayfield: verb  Pronunciation- bay-fee-ill-d  To drive up to Bayfield, WI and hang out there.  All trips must include the Big Water Coffee Shop and standing at the end of the piers staring at the water or it isn't a true Bayfield.  Ferry rides to Madeline Island are not required but are highly encouraged for the full bayfielding experience.

Shy people who didn't know I was doing the selfie!
The Harbor from our favorite place on our favorite ferry

Lake litter!
So my compadres and I ( the Mad-English teacher, Adam and the Mad-Science teacher, Laurie) have Bayfielded a couple times now in the last few weeks.  A couple of weeks ago we went up there for strawberries- funny story:  The MA was shocked and slightly dismayed at the fact that we do NOT pick our own berries.  We have other things to do!  Silly boy, we don't have time to actually harvest the berries when there are beaches to be walked, coffee to be sampled, shops to be looked in and ferries to be ridden!
Coming in to the dock

The cars on the ferry- we got OUT of the car!!

Kayakers off the shore of Madeline Island
So we have now taken a vehicle across on the ferry now, and went over to the BEAUTIFUL town park on the Island.  WOW is that a nice place.  We had picked up a yummy lunch from the Fat Radish, and we got ourselves on the ferry.  It was pretty cool to be going there with a vehicle so we could see some more of Madeline Island. Adam and I did go over there on the Ice Road  (still gives me goosebumps thinking about driving on the ice there) but - you know, snow.
Part of our picnic from the "Fat Radish" deli and restaurant

On the beach at Madeline Island

The town park on Madeline Island

We ate a picnic lunch, went on about a 2 mile walk on the beach looking for agates, and just getting some movement in, and then we sat in the sun before we made our way back to the ferry.  We had driven over to the strawberry place to pick reserve our berries and we had to pick them up by 4.  I picked up some really good vinegary and spicy salsa at a cute little store in town, picked-up some preordered Sumatran coffee, had a little caffeinated refreshment, hung out on the dock, enjoyed the view and an adult beverage on the upper deck of the Bayfield Inn and then we decided to visit a waterfall on the way back! We stopped at the lovely Morgan Falls, which is by St. Peter's Dome- a land formation up near High Bridge.  It is not an easy place to find, but once you get there it is pretty neat!

Morgan Falls

Morgan Falls

The Falls through the trees
This past Saturday we drove up and went to the Arts Festival on the Lake Front.  Breakfast was at the Egg Toss, followed by wandering and people watching and walking and admiring the massive yacht that is moored at the docks and talking to the people we know there......  it was a hoot.  We got ice cream from the candy shoppe, and stopped in the evening at the Black Cat in Ashland for a late dinner. After discussing our trips last year, I decided I needed to outline what we did, as we were all mixed up over which trip we did what and was I there, because I missed a couple trips there and all that jazz.  So, this is my attempt to record the 2014 trips in a sort of concise manner.  We won't discuss the turtle.

The yacht that was docked and caused a bit of excitement.  It was moored there for 2 weeks

St. Vincent is the flag that is flying

One of the participants in the sailboat race that day

We stopped at Eckerts pottery shop, too, and I've begun plans to do a field trip for a raku experience for my art kids, and there could be some cross-curricular activities as well..... we shall see.  TOTALLY in the development stages.  THAT is a cool place!!

Cool things at Eckerts

Friendly greetings even in the canine world!

The weather this past weekend was a little wild and wavy.  It was beautiful in a different way!

At the docks

Coast Guard boat

The Statue of Liberty at the end of a private dock.  I love that the boats are Freedom and Justice

It again was the perfect way to get the most out of our summer.  We did not go over to the island on Saturday (soooo many tourists there on the weekends- YES I get the irony there)

Until next time be a joy giver and make sure you take time to soak up the summer!

Monday, July 21, 2014

To Beezzzzzzz or not to beezzzzz

 I know that is a corny title, but I tell you, it is hard to come up with a good bee update title that isn't "Bee Update #4" or something equally mundane!

Honey frame- you can see the shiny cells of uncapped honey
So it has been a while since a bee post.  The bees for the most part are humming right along (I can't help myself) and are doing fine.  I need to tell you right off the bat that we discovered about a month ago that one of our hives lost their queen.  As you can imagine, this is not good.  And we do not have really easy access to new queens, plus it looks like the little guys may have made their own queen, maybe, so we are just letting nature proceed.  What this means in the end is that we are going to have a couple brood boxes full of honey that we will be able to take, because there is no way this hive will make it through the winter.  Missing a queen is a problem, because there will not be enough workers to get enough food and no queen = not enough workers.
Separating the frames

This little hangy downy think we "think" is a queen cell.  Yes hangy downy is a real phrase

This is the hive that isn't doing as well.  You can see the larger hive with more boxes behind
So yeah that is a bummer, but we feel ok, because the same thing happened to the Mad-Middle son's hives so we don't consider ourselves failures.  We do assume the other hive WILL indeed make it, as they are thriving.  We have a honey super that is almost full of uncapped honey and we will need to put another box on top.

More burr cells to remove

One of our cats stepped on this frame and broke the bees wax off early this spring.  The bees just merrily fill it in themselves

When we smoke them (use the smoker to calm them and drive them back into the frames), they start eating the extra comb on top- we do (carefully) scrape off the extra

As far as the honey, the bees fill the cells with nectar and then fan it until it is the right low moisture level and then cap it with wax.  If they capped it too early, it would ferment.  Not good for the bees winter dining!  Or ours.

We keep checking the bees for any problems (not sure we would recognize that right away) and keep feeding them sugar water and tidying up their frames.  And people who visit get treated to a little bee tour.  We don't go into the hives too far most of the time, though.  They need to go about their business undisturbed.

My friend Jane came to our house Sunday to check out the bees and get a mini introduction to bee keeping.  I think she had a good time!  She was sent home with some honeycomb with a little young honey in it- it was burr comb that gets removed anyway.  AND I got a nice dozen of farm fresh eggs in the deal!!  We do enjoy showing the bees/supplies/hives.  We inspect them every 2 weeks (usually on Sunday)

Hopefully the bears/skunks/otherpests stay away and we can keep marching along!

THAT will be a joy!

Friday, July 18, 2014

The kids and grandkids-

This whole Gramma thing is a serious hoot!  And I am so in love with these little people!!  Everytime I get a picture of one of them, I just melt a little.  I got a pic of little Greggy with his mama last week, and I seriously teared up.  He is such a cute little thing and wow is he an observer of his life!  Interesting how you begin to see things about their little personalities already at 2 months of age.  Anyway, visits with the kids have a whole new dimension, now!

Playing the piano with dad

Anyway, I digress.  I was fortunate enough to hang out for a day or two with both of my farther-flung children and their off-spring.  I stopped at Jon and Sarah's on the way to Missouri and at Greg and Sarah's on the way back.  I know Missouri to Park Falls by way of Waukesha may seem unusual, but there was a grandchild to see, so there was no missing that little trip!
Ella likes her block towers

First time she crawled into Manny's kennel and opened and shut the door!  LOL
Good morning!!

Things are looking good for both sets of parents and children, and it was a nice trip.  I helped Sarah and Jon with their garage sale, hung out with little Miss Ella and in general had a nice time being with them.   After the trip to Missouri, I stopped back in Janesville to pick up some things that I decided did not need to be dragged all the way to Missouri and back (like some extra tomato plants) and the things I picked up for the MA at Menards (or maybe it was Home Depot- they all look the same to me) and I drove ANOTHER hour after putting in 6 on the road before that.  Little Greg is doing so well, getting so big!!  
Morning selfie with Ella!

Morning selfie with Little Greg

LOVE that little furrowed brow

And we had a nice time snuggling.  I also got to snuggle with these two- what can I say, I am very popular.  :)

It was nice being in Waukesha and spending a little time with Sarah and Greggy and helping out where I could so the parentals could do some things that are hard to do if one person is on baby patrol.  I also babysat the little guy when Sarah had an event to attend and Greg was not getting home from work for a few hours.  He has his fussy times still at night, but it was fine.  We all have our fussy times!!

Full disclosure:  I was so tired from traveling, I only got phone pictures of Little Greg and NONE of my Greg or Sarah!  I was horrified.  Lol. It was a surprise to download those pix and figure out what I did.  Oy.

I could die this is so cute.
Whew he's sleeping!  :)  He was a lot of fun to be with, he does like being held!  

You will notice that Gramma Debi likes to take morning selfies with the little ones!  It makes me happy!!

I stayed through Saturday morning, and then drove home. I had exactly 3 days to then prepare myself, my home and my refrigerator (I was gone for 9 days) for company for the 4th of July.  Jon and Sarah came up on Wednesday night, so we could go for a little trip to the Wildwoods on Thursday and they stayed through Sunday.  That was a very nice amount of time for them to be at our house.  I wish I had a pic of what Ella learned to do!!!  Climb the stairs!  Lol, and she was darn good at it too.  

Learning to negotiate the little step between the kitchen and living room
She loved sitting in the little chair that Great Grandpa Oswald made for her dad and uncles

Grandpa snagged her as she was crawling by!
What is this thing, Grandpa Fred? 

LOVED swinging!
The Wildwoods in Minocqua is a little zoo that I have blogged about before.  I like it there, especially the tigers and the aviary!

Not sure about the goats

This picture cracks me up!!  "DAD WHAT ARE YOU DOING, HERE??"

Ella LOVED feeding that camel

Crackers are much appreciated by the camel

Thinking maybe the goats are ok

This partially albino deer was happy to get crackers

I dogsat Manny when the kids went to visit friends

The boy still smiles on cue for the camera!!

And they are headed for home!  See you soon!!

Anytime spent with the kids is a time of joy!  Until next time, be a  joy giver!!