Archive for August, 2009

Mr. Mimic’s Big Long Birthday Party Post

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

For his birthday dinner at Grandma’s, Mr. Mimic got to make pizza with all his cousins.

All the cousins making pizza.

All the cousins making pizza.

The kids enjoy watching movies at Grandma’s during family dinner and Mr. Mimic got to watch “Ratatouille” which is his favorite.

Eating pizza downstairs.

Eating pizza downstairs.

He was very excited about his cake and I successfully caught this on film

He also got the usual Allen clan birthday song treatment

He got a shiny red bike for this birthday. . .

Mr. Mimic on his new bike.

Mr. Mimic on his new bike.

. . .but his initial reaction was stunned (and tired because it was so early) disbelief

Thankfully, he warmed up to his bike later that day (we actually ended up trading in the original bike for a larger one.)

He is still riding around with training wheels, but I’m hoping to remove them within a couple months. In the meantime, he’s enjoying the feeling of riding a big boy bike and is slowly learning to keep up with his brother. We’ve enjoyed riding around the bike/jogging trail at the park a few blocks away.

Imitating Canines

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

I have birthday and sealing entries coming, but I didn’t want these videos to get left behind. My children have decided that since the dogs are the most loved creatures in the house, they will now be dogs.

 


 

 

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Wednesday, August 5th, 2009
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Judging by our analytics, we’d get a lot more repeat traffic if we had more pictures in our gallery of winged wolves. Perhaps I should get back to working on that gallery software. . .

Who’s a good widdle bee? Wes you awe!

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Last autumn, we went to the Utah State Fair and saw the beekeepers exhibit (Utah Beekeepers Association? Something like that.) I have always liked bees. They’re so industrious and single-minded. The way they go about their business with singularity of purpose makes me kind of root for them. Go bee! Go be a good little bee! Yay you!

So after I spent enough time mooning over the beehive encased in clear plastic for my husband and children to wander away, pet the bunnies, realize I wasn’t with them, search the bunny house, and wander back, I decided I wanted to try to keep bees. Of course, I’ve also always wanted to keep goats (for milk and wool!), chickens (for eggs and to eat my kitchen scraps!), pigeons (to fly around and look pretty!), and a red Highland cow (to look cool. Seriously, go look up a picture of one), so wanting to keep bees doesn’t really mean much. Except this time, my mom got excited about it too. Our conversation went something like this (note the exclamation marks):

Me: MOM!!!!! I TOTALLY WANT TO KEEP BEES!!!!!

Mom: Oh?

Me: Yeah!!! It’s so cool! They give you honey and they’re supposed to kill wasps so then you don’t have to worry about wasps around your property and they’re so CUTE!!!

Mom: Yeah, they are. That would be cool.

Me: Yeah!! Did you know that when you introduce a new young queen to a hive you encase her in candy and the bees try to eat through the candy to kill her but by the time they get through the candy they’re used to her smell so they don’t kill her and she comes out and she’s their new queen?!

Mom: Oh really? That is really interesting!

Me: Yeah! And if you eat honey that comes from the nectar of local flowers, your allergies get a lot better because your body is exposed to the pollen.

Mom: You know what?! And they pollinate your yard so you have a ton of fruit and vegetables! And there’s a bee shortage so it would be really good to keep your own hive!  For the good of all the plants!!!!

Me: . . . Yeah!

Mom:  That is so COOL!!!!

Me: . . . Yeah?

Mom: I TOTALLY WANT TO KEEP BEES!!!!

So I guess the enthusiasm was infectious, and I got online and actually, remarkably, found a couple, Aaron and Annette Hansen, who are beekeepers and wanted local people to allow them to “host” a hive on their property. (www.hansenhives.com) Basically, you let them place a hive in the corner of your yard, they take care of it, and they will teach you how to keep bees so that if you want to do it yourself you can. They’ll even bring an extra suit and let you help with stuff when they open the hive. If you like being a beekeeper, they will sell you the hive on your property at the end of a year, or else you can keep “hosting” it for them. We got very excited about the possibility. I know many people are afraid of bees, but to my mom and I it was like someone saying, “Hey, I got a new puppy. I want to feed it, clean up after it, and exercise it, but I need you to play with it and cuddle it.” We were more than happy to have a beehive without the actual work of a beehive.

I emailed them, and last spring they brought out a platform and a beehive. They also brought about 6,000 bees. The bees were confused and kind of disoriented, so they acted more like slightly agitated marbles than anything else. The Hansens flipped their little carrying box over into the hive and all the bees just fell out with a slightly buzzy-sounding clatter. The ones who were left got shaken and scooped into the hive proper. There were bees flying around bumping into us (none of us had bee suits on), but they just kind of dizzily flew elsewhere, and nobody got stung. It was really interesting to see them flying around in a circle above the hive like they were in a big circus parade. The Hansens told us that they were orienting themselves to the sun, and sure enough once they flew around enough to know which way was North, they would zip off in a random direction, off to scout for flowers. Bees actually fly in a very straight line when they are on official bee business. In fact, when they are laden with nectar they fly straight back to the hive, which is where we get the term “beeline.” If you catch a bee and let her go again somewhere else, there is a good chance she will lead you directly back to her hive. And if you follow her, you can either find another nice friendly beekeeper, or else find a wild hive that you can catch and install in your very own beehive. Were you so inclined.

While the bees were thus engaged, the Hansens put the queen in the hive – and yes, she came in a little cage with a plug of candy. I was very excited about that. The bees were queenless, so they would ally themselves with her by the time they ate through the candy, and she would then begin her task of laying eggs. We put some sugar water in the top of the hive for them, made sure they had a dish of water close by to drink, and left them to their confused and disoriented exploring.

(to be continued)