The Making of a Beekeeper

A few years ago, the little boy found himself in the middle of an angry hive of stinging, flying somethings. They were in his shorts and up his shirt, he got it pretty good. The following summer he stayed in the house every time we checked bees.

Fast forward to this summer, curiosity got the best of him. One night I went to check the bees and he asked to come with. “Next time. You need pants and boots and long sleeves.”

We weren’t even finished with supper the following night and he has excused himself from the table and came back dressed to check the bees. Together we built a fire in the smoker. He “suited” up in Mike’s beekeeping hat and gloves and grabbed the hive tool. We hopped on the four-wheeler and headed out for his first hive check.

I wasn’t too sure how this would go considering the past and knowing that the bees fly about and land where they please-sometimes on the vail in front of your face. We parked in the field and put green grass in our smoker to cool the smoke. I gave a last warning about the bees flight/landing patterns.

“I know mama.” He marched right over.

He watched intently as they flew in and out of their entrance. I removed the lid and he was eager to climb the up the pallet. Just his toes fit in front of the hive. He hung on to the boxes and got his nose as close as he could to peer into the hive. I pulled out a frame for him to watch the bees work in and on the comb. Wide-eyed, quiet and beaming. The frame was packed with bees.

When he was satisfied with the workings of the first hive we checked the second. That hive is a little slower and there wasn’t as much going on so that one went a little quicker.

From that night he’s been checking the hives with me ever since. I get home from work and he’s suited up, smoker going, hive tool in hand waiting by the four-wheeler.

The Beekeeper
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One Special Duck

We had eight of twelve duck eggs hatch. The eighth I’m hoping will make it, he’s been looking better but I’m still cautious to say we are in the clear with him yet. All animals have a “best outcome method” (my own official term) of birth. Cows it’s best to see the two front hooves and nose coming out first, goats too. Egg hatching birds (all that I am aware of) are supposed to peck around the top of the egg which is the more round end, the bottom being the pointed end. These don’t guarantee a healthy baby but the odds are much better.

Duck8 started pecking at the point of the egg. With a very small hole pecked he made no progress what so ever for about 24 hours. There was still a little wiggling in the shell so Mike decided to help the little guy out. This is not recommended by the way, but we can only watching something struggle for so long before we have to step in and help in hopes of saving the little life. Mike pealed back some of the shell leaving the inner lining intact. It reminded me of a beating heart, the motion of the lining (it was white though, not red and bloody). Then he left to go disc the hay field.

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Learning Forgiveness

Before I forget here is the “part 2” to Teaching I’m Sorry” from last week.

Forgiveness is a tough one, even with a heartfelt apology, some pains are very hard to forgive. One can make a meaningful apology and begin to feel better. They did what they could to right a situation and that’s that. To forgive can take an ongoing effort because forgiveness is most often tied to trust and that isn’t gained back over night. Regaining trust can take days or even months, it’s a long process that requires the offender to not repeat the offense and the offended to recognize that. Therefore, I find forgiveness to be something that is learned through unfortunate experiences and not as easily taught as an apology. (Not that apologies are that easy either.)

“Forgive but don’t forget.”

I don’t buy this as it stands. “Forgive but don’t forget.” Sounds like a good grudge to me and a grudge is only verbal forgiveness at best. Short term a grudge may seem like a faster way to move on, long term it holds you back and affects more aspects of your life that you may realize. I’m not a crazy hippie but I do believe that having inner peace is extremely important for a healthy life. The healthier way to keep the saying would be “Forgive. Let go. Forget if you like.” Then there is peace again.

Let go.

This doesn’t mean that the wrong that has been done is ok, it means that you have made peace with it. It’s not ok, but you are not going to dwell on it. You have taken some time to accept what happened and allowed yourself to move on (not hold a grudge). This may mean that you have learned a lesson to not put yourself in certain situations or that you have realized that it really wasn’t your fault. This is not to say that in some situations the offended is not partially to blame, in which case taking ownership of those actions is important too (and may require acknowledgement and/or an apology). It is very important to take time and realize your role or lack thereof; don’t just assume you’re the victim.

When I opened my bakery years ago I started with a partner. Hindsight’s 20/20.I was just barely 20 and naive to think that she was not going to talk about me as she did her own family and other so-called “friends”. She lasted the first year with the bakery and it was finally too much for her to handle. During that year, I couldn’t believe some of the things she said about her husband and sisters and looking back I can’t believe that I didn’t think she was saying things about me as well. I never took time to think much past her words to think that some may be about me. I ignored the bad and continued to look for the good.

When she left, I thought it was on good terms, we agreed that she could use the kitchen after hours to do some wedding cakes on the side to help her get going again. I called a few times just to say hi and see how things were going. All the calls were short which struck me as odd and still I was blind. It wasn’t until things started going missing and a friend of mine mentioned some of the thing that were said when I wasn’t around. Finally everything made sense. I called the former partner asking about the missing items and even gave her an easy out questioning if someone helping her grabbed them by mistake. I will never forget her reply “maybe the fell in the garbage or maybe one of the construction workers took them.” Seriously, I may have been blind but I can wake up quick. That was the last straw, I waited for another weekend to pass in hopes that the items would mysteriously show up in an odd spot and then promptly had the locks changed.

Nothing was returned, no further calls were made. That was it. I saw her mother a few months later and got a very cold shoulder. I expect a parent to side with their child but I also know that what was said in my absence was a whole lot of bologna. Between the lying to me, about me and theft, forgiveness was a long time out. There was no monetary value to what was taken, just sentimental to me and I’m not sure to her. Some contained letters from my family and recipes that she knows I would have gladly reprinted upon request among a few other things.

No apology was made and I don’t expect to ever get one (or hear from her again). These days that’s ok. It took years for me to be completely at peace with everything. There was a lot of looking back at her actions and mine. I won’t claim victim because I wasn’t helpless, just blind. Peace came when I realized the problem was indeed hers; you don’t talk about your family like that without having a personal problem, she held a grudge against her husband and more that really doesn’t need sharing. In the end she has to answer for her actions to a being much greater than I.

The material things taken were just that. I have other letters from mom, recipes from grandma and I can look up new articles about my sister’s volunteer award. Would I have liked to hang on to them? Of course! Are they a necessity to live or keep the bakery going? No. (In fact without the partner, I was able to run a much better business without her and with the help of a dear friend.)

As for what was said about me, that was probably the easiest thing for me to let go of. The truth comes out eventually and actions speak louder than words to quote another cliché. I may never get acknowledgment from anyone she spread rumors to, but given time they will see her ways and rethink their opinions. I know the truth, God knows the truth and quite frankly, that’s all that matters. I forgave. I let go. I learned many lessons. I did not forget.

Forgiveness is a journey, sometimes a very long one. It requires reflection, patience and a willingness to continue unburdened by a time consuming grudge.

It’s not easily taught. It’s not easily given. It should never be taken for granted.

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Teaching “I’m Sorry”

I stumbled upon a blog post explaining why a mother did not make her kids apologize when they’ve done something wrong. Found here. I found the title intriguing and by the time I was done reading I was a believer in the concept with a couple changes. In all fairness, I don’t recall a single time so far that I have ever said “Say you’re sorry.” The little boy knows the rules. He doesn’t always obey, we are learning, not perfect. So this isn’t switching directions on him; I’m not sure it would make a difference if it was though. As parents, we have already been doing some of this without realizing. I just took the time to write it down and hey, we aren’t doing half bad!

Long example: When we talk about going to church on Sunday with the little boy, we state that it is important to be quiet when we are in church, to listen to the stories and sing the songs. When we are in church we need to sit still, it is not time to play. Most Sundays after mass coffee and doughnuts are available and this is my “no bribe” rule exception. If you are good in church we can have a doughnut. Before church we go over the expectations once more. After church, we take a quick minute to ask “Were you good? Did you sit still? Were you quiet?” Usually the reply is “no” to 2 of 3. But it makes him take a second to think about his actions. He has learned he doesn’t want to leave early. We’ve made a little progress there.

Thinking about your actions is the first step in being sorry. What do you have to be sorry for? In the beginning just telling the child to “Say I’m sorry.” Really doesn’t do anything but possibly force a lie. Instead, we started with “I should not have ___. I know it wasn’t right.” They are taking ownership of what they did and acknowledging it wasn’t right. This may need a couple helpful questions; “Did you___? Is that something we are supposed to do?” This simple reflection of what just took place is usually enough time for them to realize just what they did and after a few times will lead to feeling sorry (with any luck).

Them feeling sorry for their actions is when “I should not have ___. I know it wasn’t right. I’m sorry.” comes in to play. From here things can usually move a little quicker with a couple more reflection questions: “why are you sorry? How do you think that makes___ feel?” By the time you are able to ask these questions, the previous questions usually can be skipped because the child has gown enough to make that connection.

Now that they are taking time to think about how it made the other person feel you can encourage “I should not have ___. I know it wasn’t right. I’m sorry I made you feel___.” This doesn’t happen overnight, in fact it can take a couple years depending on age. This takes a lot of personal growth and maturity, which takes time. Once you have made it this far the very last step is the easiest to teach and the hardest for everyone to do:

“I should not have ___. I know it wasn’t right. I’m sorry I made you feel___. I will try to not do that again.”

This last statement is what we are striving for should the event arise. Really, we are trying to do good so we don’t have to go through this but it doesn’t matter the age of the person apologies need to be made every now and then. It can be very hard to own up to what you done especially when talking to the person whom you are apologizing to. In fact I’m quite positive there are some adults who have never got this lesson and really should. Their quality of life would improve if they were capable of something so simple as saying “I’m sorry” meaningfully.

Being able to give an honest and meaningful apology isn’t the end of the lesson. Once the child (or adult) has this skill, they are thinking not only about themselves and their actions but of others and how they can affect those around them, good or bad. Thinking about others will be second nature, which means they are much more likely to be helpful, caring and compassionate. This means they will be using the skills they have learned to not need to apologize (not often anyway). They will be able to think ahead of what could happen should they do or say something and prevent the hurt feeling or whatever the outcome may be. That is the key.

 

 

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You’re Not Supposed to Swear on Sunday

If you really want to get into it, you’re not supposed to swear at all but it seems worse on a Sunday. One Sunday however, I made an exception… It’s supposed to be a day of rest and that already went out the window. I had a barn to clean, a coop to clean, the house to clean, baking to do, this list went on. Little by little I was making some progress.

FlourMill1

I was into the “kitchen” portion of my list, the room was a disaster as I had chicken bricks mixed up, little boy lunch going, my husbands lunch going, bread to start and so on. I ran downstairs to get the flour mill going, because of course I had ran out of flour. Filled the hopper with grain, plugged it in and ran back up to the kitchen.

A short while later, this horrible smell started to waft through the house.

My first thought ” why does my coffee taste bad all of a sudden?”

I went down to check on my flour and then the explicits started to fly. My flour mill was radiating the stench that was filling my house and ruining my coffee. Not only that but it was smoking, not because it was grinding wheat super fast. Nope. It was not doing anything but smoking and stinking.

Why not add a little fuel to the fire…

After I unplugged the mill, I tried to remove the grain filled hopper, carefully. That went well. I had grain everywhere…

Oh what a beautiful day it was.

Now, that little mill is as old as the hills. It’s got a well seasoned mill stone and the rest is heavy cast iron. It worked so well and I loved it. I used it a lot. To replace it would cost at least $700. You know, pocket change. Ha! To have it fixed may not be worth it though either. Then the thought of replacing it, if I’m going to spend the money, I want something of the same “hundred year” quality, but with a bigger capacity. For how often I use this one, something a little bigger (twice the size) would be really nice.

(sigh)

I think I will be adding a mill to the “Save For” want list. Until then, I have some plans to make a hand mill, not that I want to use one of those frequently. It may be time to give making one of those a try.

That’s what I get for working on a Sunday…

FlourMill2

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