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We killed all of them?

We killed all of them?

Bees are truly incredible creatures! As you may have read in my wife’s post earlier, our bees were doomed.
It was sad. Our package starving, likely with bee dysentary, a third dead. Then the weather was against them. Cold and raining for a week! 

We were like new parents. Sure that everything we did was wrong, that we had doomed these little critters! Then, we fearfully checked the hive. They were clustered. Barely any syrup consumed. In our minds….. goners. 

I was continually harassing a master beekeeper at honeybeesuite.com Rusty was always helpful and her blog super informative! Go say hi and fill you brain with beeknowledge. Rusty is a straight forward lady with a love for bees and words…

Yesterday we exited the aparant nuclear winter! It was sunny and 70+ degrees! You know what miraculous thing was happening? Bees! Buzzing around, flying away from the hive as others returned. Some even had bits of pollen on their little legs!

The streaks are bee poop from the dysentary

We did another hive inspection. We have a top bar style hive. Why? Just ‘cuz. Anyway, bar # 1….. NOTHING. Not even a bee! Hmmm. Bar #2 & #3 same. Then #4!  Had bees and a little chunk of comb! I was so excited. (Which for me meant I smiled.)

#3 with the baby comb!

As we went on we found a “huge” drawn comb! It was amazing! They built this on their own, they were filling it with nectar and pollen. Against all odds (in our minds) these little critters were making a home. Amazing! 

There is nectar!
Our seasons first package of bees installed

Our seasons first package of bees installed

Unfortunately the night before we picked our package of bees up, there was a big freeze and the bees were left unprotected in the back of the suppliers truck.   About 1/3 of our bees were already dead when we picked them up. The supplier did not offer to discount our package-  which was our first red flag. Unfortunately, package bees are very weak already- as they’re unprotected, without any “home” or honey stores and already stressed being with a bunch of new bees and new queen. 

   We took a 2.5 hour drive home with bees escaping the box here and there throughout the journey. When we arrived home, we decided to quickly install the bees into their new hive as it was late afternoon.   We took a much less stress filled approach to installing them by leaving the open bee package in the hive body itself and allowing the bees to move out of the box at their leisure.                  Unfortunately their syrup can that was in their package was bone dry, and who knows for how long.. so that definitely could have attributed to our bees suffering so much initially.   We were able to check on the queen and she was in the cage. She was slowly moving, but there. We removed the cork that kept her inside, and quickly placed a tiny bit of Marshmallow in the entrance to keep her inside for another hour or so. 

  The bees were left untouched for a couple of days with 2 quarts of 1:1 sugar syrup installed into an internal feeder.  When we opened the hive to remove the package box we had allowed the bees to leave themselves- another bunch  of the bees were in there, dead. All clinging to each other. Those poor bees didn’t have a chance. They were likely dead when we picked them up- and they just looked alive like the rest of the bunch clinging to the queen box.    We didn’t touch the hanging queen cage when we opened the hive for the first time to take out the box as that had a cluster of bees around it still.    It was quickly closed up and will remain untouched now for about 5 days when we go in to check on the syrup and fill them up.  With half of our 3lb package of bees already dead the day we picked them up, they would have a lot of building to do with a such a small amount of bees.. and that’s if the queen survived the cold in the suppliers truck as well. We’re trying to keep up hope! It would be difficult for the hive to thrive with the numbers they have- but still possible if they snap back. If the queen died, however, they really have no chance.   

   We’ve done everything that we can to help these guys thrive if they’re going to get over that big freeze in the suppliers truck.  You live and learn. In 4-5 days, we’ll have a better idea of whether the hive will survive or not.   Here’s to hoping!  

Dashing through the snow, in a one dog open sleigh..

Dashing through the snow, in a one dog open sleigh..

They’ve waited through manufacturing, failed attempts to go out and pick it up due to snowstorms- additional time it took for the manufacturers to tear it back down, box it up and ship it here  when it seemed like we’d never find our window in this weather- but wait is over.  The kids finally have their dog sled.

It’s quite the learning process for all involved (including mom & dad), but they have had a blast getting their first dog trained up enough to pull them around.  They’re having a blast- and getting better at running the dog on their own without help.  They have another dog that’s training as well that is young yet- so we’re waiting for him to mature some more before he can run with them.

This has become quite the adventure for the entire family.  The kids already have big dreams of getting their own sleds and teams of their own so they can all run together.  Sounds like a plan to me.

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Affordable homeschooling option for the entire family

Affordable homeschooling option for the entire family

Many families new to homeschooling can have a difficult time choosing the right curriculum for their children.  Some of us may struggle for years with different learners and teaching styles until we finally find the perfect fit.  We are not “one size fits all” families. We have little ones that do not all learn in the same way. They have different interests,  limits, and personalities- all of which need to be considered when choosing the right curriculum for them.   You may not have a problem finding a curriculum that works for your children- but for some of us, it’s a learning process for ourselves that can take many years of trail and error to perfect. After a few years of trying a more traditional approach to homeschooling,  I have found that it is best for our family to build each child’s curriculum around what they love most.  In doing this, they are always look forward to learning.  Coming to this realization, and trying to figure out how to do this has been quite the experience.  If you’re able to do a little research and find a curriculum that works real well for your family on the first time- consider yourself lucky! Most families I have come across have gone through a much similar process of elimination when trying to settle on a curriculum that fits. We have tried out 4 different math programs in one year for one of our children before finally finding one that works for her, thankfully she really enjoys it.  For some families, they’ll do that several times over with 5-7  subjects, sometimes with 3 or more children- possibly even for years before they find their niche.  I’m not joking- the struggle is real for some of us!

Two years ago we had a curriculum set up for our children that ended up being ridiculously expensive. I was actually homeschooled using them.  I didn’t die, so I figured it would be worth a shot trying it out with our own children. For whatever reason, I failed to remember that I was the only one in our family of 4 homeschooled kids that really did well with this curriculum. The others were bored out of their minds, were unable to get through their lessons in a timely manner, or simply didn’t enjoy doing it.   I didn’t care much for it to be absolutely frank, but they worked. They were long, drawn out lessons on very boring, too-simple subjects for me. Not even considering how I was the only one in our family to do well with this specific curriculum- I went all out and purchased all subjects in for all 3 of our children.  That was a huge mistake. They really did not work out very well for our kids.  We continued with it for the first couple of months of that school year because we had already purchased them, and didn’t really feel like wasting any more money on more material that may or may not work out.    I  didn’t want to admit that I had just wasted over $1400 on school books and other materials for 3 children that just wasn’t being enjoyed by the kids. They all hated it. It was a total flop, but we had to make the best of it.

We were about 2 months into our school year with that particular curriculum when we lost everything we owned due to a fire that burned down our apartment building.  We made it out OK- but we had to completely start over. We had lost all of the precious books we had acquired over the years & that awful, expensive curriculum that we all hated.   When we hit our rock bottom, couldn’t justify spending a bunch of money on a new set of school supplies that we all hated..  but we had to figure out a way to continue schooling.  I searched high and low, eventually finding  a couple of amazing options for us.  Our greatest find was  Schoolhouseteachers.com.

This website has been an invaluable resource for us since that fire.  Since switching over to  Schoolhouseteachers.com, I have saved an unbelievable amount of money. I have actually spent less on the membership for this website for 2 years than I had previously spent on ONE SUBJECT, for one child. After years of trial and error, we finally have something that works for us. That fire was a blessing. If we hadn’t lost all of the overpriced long winded school material we had before, I would likely still be doing the same thing today. Our children would still hate their schoolwork. We’ve been using this as a large part of our schooling for the last 2 years now, and couldn’t be happier with the variety in lessons.  There are so many options on this one website that every family out there could find something on there to supplement to what they already have going on at home.   And the great thing is that anyone can use it.  You don’t have to be homeschooling.  If your kids are enrolled in public school, or you run a daycare- the lessons on there are fun and would benefit your kids as well.

If you’re switching over to this from a more traditional curriculum- you’ll be amazed at the money you save.    You pay a small one time fee for access to 300+ self-paced course options for your child’s age/grade, preschool through high school. It includes as many courses as the family needs. There are over 150 teachers that have lesson plans and material on there for you to print out- with no additional textbook fees. They set no limits on classes.  Check out whatever you want- and don’t waste any money “trying” new material from new teachers. If it’s not what you’re looking for- go onto a new teacher within’ the same subject.  Some lessons have videos for the lessons or as supplement to the lessons- also at no additional cost. Did I mention that you also get FREE access to RIGHT NOW Media,  a christian video streaming service? It’s similar to netflix- but has wholesome content.   Sign up for the year for your kids curriculum- and you have access to this amazing video streaming service for FREE!  It’s an amazing resource that I feel so very blessed to have found. Schoolhouseteachers.com truly does help make Homeschooling FUN again.

Having so many options for curriculum materials  allows us to find what we feel fits our children best- and which teaching style we prefer. We have so many options! I believe that most families that use Schoolhouseteachers.com use the materials on there as a standalone curriculum for their children. We use the materials on there as our framework for most subjects- and then use library books and videos that we find as supplemental material.  Most subjects I feel do not need any additional supplementation to already well planned lessons- but I like to add as much fun and interesting information I can find out there to  keep them thinking.

When I think about what I used to spend on homeschooling supplies and curriculum- I just smile.  I cannot believe that we now pay less for materials to school all of our children for the entire year than we were paying for one subject for one child using the previous homeschool curriculum.  That just blows my mind.

Now, that being said-  this probably isn’t for everyone.  It’s worked out very well for us, and I thought I’d pass on the information to those looking, but having a difficult time finding something that works for you.

I do hope that you’ll take a look at what Schoolhouseteachers.com has to offer..  It truly has been an invaluable source for our family.  It isn’t FREE- but it’s affordable.  They also offer discounts for Military and Police families- and also to those who are members on HSLDA.org.   Check it out today for $1.00 for your first month.  Print out as many lessons as you want. You’ll have full access to their website.

Autumn gold

Autumn gold

Fall has always been my favorite time of year.  I love when the first dips in temperature comes,  turning the leaves brilliant reds, orange and yellows. The crisp north winds hits your face, hinting at winter which waits patiently just around the corner. When we’re out for a walk and see the animals hurry about getting their last stores in before snowfall- it is a great reminder to start doing so for ourselves. This is the time of year we start collecting firewood, preserving food, sippin’ hot chocolate- and the last of the years bonfires slowly pass us by.

Our first fall in North Idaho is proving to be nothing short of spectacular.    We have already discovered a few new fall favorites.   The ice cold mountain creeks fill to the brim with the first fall rains- where kokanee salmon were spawning within’ them just a few short weeks ago.      The tamarack trees turn to beautiful Autumn gold among the evergreen hillsides- and you can’t help but smile at how they pop up more and more as the season progresses.   So thankful to God for allowing us to live here.

 

 

Our adventure begins.

Our adventure begins.

20161011_174351   I bugged my husband off and on throughout the last 10 years to go to Idaho with me- just for a visit.   Getting him to agree to it was the easy part. Getting him to actually COMMIT to it was something entirely different.  😉

After years and years of hinting, mentioning, and downright begging him to consider visiting Idaho- he surprised me with a quick trip to Idaho 2 years ago.  We had our van packed up to the brim to head out to our cabin in Northern Wisconsin- and then he headed West. He made a spur of the moment decision to go to Idaho instead of our family property up near Lake Superior..  We were finally headed towards Idaho!   I did make him turn around to drop off some of the huge unnecessary things I had brought along to leave up at the cabin-   hoses, lawn mower, water filters- That sort of stuff. After the quick U-Turn to get rid of all of that, we were on our way.

My husband came out with no intentions of actually moving here, but he did look around and found a couple of places that were hiring. We drove around Coeur D’Alene, Post Falls, Up through Sandpoint, Ponderay, Bonners Ferry-  then headed East through northern Montana towards Glacier National Park for a quick visit before heading home.

 It was incredible.   I was so excited he finally got to see a bit of Idaho.. I got to visit some new places myself, and fell in love with one area in particular.

We took another trip for an interview after a long, drawn out background check with a department there in CDA. After waiting 4 months- and thinking about it for a long time,   he decided that it was best if he pulled his application from the hiring process. He wasn’t impressed with the way they were handling things- and didn’t want to start out life in Idaho with a crappy employer.

A few months later,  a job in the same area we fell in love with popped up for what he was currently doing in Minnesota- and he put in the application on the last day they were accepting them.  I don’t need to get into details- but we prayed on it, and it just seemed like it was  meant to be.  We took another trip very shortly after for an interview with this place- and we made preparations for our move the day we arrived back home.  He was given the job offer when we were on our way back home- we moved here after about 6  weeks of preparations- and we’ve been here now for 5 months.  We couldn’t be happier.

It was quite the adventure in itself finding a place to rent…  We actually lived in hotels or our van for 2 weeks before we found a place..  We did get into a tiny little place that allowed us to keep our pets- and that was incredible.  It’s close to impossible to find a rental here at the time of year we came- even more incredible that they were pet friendly. God is good.

We’ve been on many incredible hikes and mini adventures in the short time we’ve been here.  We still feel like it’s a dream, and that any day now we’ll have to pack our bags and head back to our old life in Minnesota.  I wonder if that feeling will ever go away?  I’ll be happy when I can lose this crazy anxiety about having to “go home” and leave this incredible vacation we’re on. We’re here to stay.  My brain hasn’t grasped that idea yet.
As a team, we’ll be using this blog here as a journal of sorts- a way to document our life here in Idaho as well as our travels.  If you happen to find yourself reading here, I hope you’re able to enjoy our journey as well.

 

Glory to God in all things,

MrsTFN