Walter's old Brewer shirt had gotten a little small and a little worn, so he and I spent our Sunday afternoon cooking up a new Brewer shirt. From a pile of blue and yellow knits, he chose the shades. He also helped me pin the fabric together and then sat on my lap and wiggled while I tried to sew. (Sometimes "helping" makes things take twice as long.) But we got it put together and then added a little freezer paper stencil to the front - a nod to our mustached mascot, Bernie Brewer
New Brewer shirt
Walter's strong man pose:
New Brewer shirt
And his "I don't want you to take my picture" pose:
New Brewer shirt
I think he's ready for a game. Go Brewers! 


Hive helpers

The bees needed more food. Both hives had gone through a quart of syrup already, so we gave them both a refill. Walter was a great helper! He was happy to put on a veil and gloves and he calmly looked around, asking questions the whole time. I love that he's so interested and able to keep his cool around all those bees.  
Hive helper
Hive helpers
Molly is doing great with them too. So far she's more interested in the jar of syrup than the bees.


Beezus and Ramona

Today was the day! Bee day! 
A little background... My sister, Kristin, and I decided to get some bees – two hives, living on our property. Kristin is in it for the honey. We get the added benefit of bees pollinating our fruit trees and garden. We built our hives a few weeks ago, and today the bees arrived!
You guys, this was one of the coolest things I've ever done! Let me walk you through the afternoon. We picked up our bees in Watertown, from Dadant & Sons. It was an entire barn full of bees. Here's what a pallet of bees looks like:
Pallet of bees
And here's Jess, with his package of bees. We carpooled with Jess, and since he did this last year, we stuck around and watched him install his bees before attempting it ourselves. It was great to be able to watch a successful installation to build our confidence. 
Jess' bees
Here's a "package of bees." Each 3lb package holds about 10,000 bees. We got two packages, one for each hive. The can in the middle is filled with sugar syrup to feed the bees and that tiny tab of metal on top is connected to the queen cage. 
Package of bees
This is the empty hive, with a few frames removed so we can install the bees.
Empty hive
First, we removed the queen cage from the package.
Removing the queen
There she is! The queen cage has a cork on the end to hold the queen in. We took out the cork and put a marshmallow in the end. This holds her in until her bees eat the marshmallow and release her.
Queen cage
Next, the queen was placed between two frames.
Queen in place
Then, we poured (literally poured!) the bees into the hive.
Kristin poured:
Kristin pours bees
I poured:
Steph pours bees
Bees everywhere:
That's a lot of bees
We replaced the remaining frames.
Replacing frames
Full hive
And gave each hive a jar of sugar syrup to eat.
Feeder jar
Done! Our bees are installed! Now we give them some time to settle in and release their queens. A whole afternoon of bees and only one sting. (Sorry, Kristin. I hope it's the first and the last!) 
Here they are, our sister-hives. That's Beezus on the left and Ramona on the right.
Beezus and Ramona



A little sun, a little rain. A little outdoor play, a little indoor play. 
Walter and I spent some time admiring our favorite tree. We picked flowers, took pictures, even picnicked under it. PB&J tastes better under a pretty pink tree.
"Pink flower tree"
Walter took this one. It was certainly accidental, but I like it.
"Pink flower tree"
View from under the "pink flower tree"
When we were done playing outside, we went bowling. So much fun. I tried getting a shot of Nate's sweet bowling form, but he moves too fast. He kicks my butt every time we bowl.
Walter used the ramp for the most part, but tried one ball without it. He threw it overhand. We went back to the ramp. Maybe someday he'll pick up his dad's skills.
Aren't kid-sized bowling shoes the cutest? 
Happy weekending to you!
Psst... locals, did you know that kids bowl free all summer?


Happy Easter!

(Thanks for the wind-up toys, Gramma and Grampa!)


Color, naturally

We did a little kitchen experimenting and cooked up some natural egg dyes. We used supplies we had on hand – beets, turmeric, yellow onion skins, and frozen blackberries.
Natural egg dyes
Natural egg dyes
Natural egg dyes
I'm really impressed with the rich orange and yellow, but I was hoping for a brighter result from the beets. Those things stain my hands in an instant – why not eggs? The berries gave us a dingy gray. Blah. But overall, a fun little experiment. 
Natural egg dyes
A google search for natural egg dyes will get you tons of recipes, but I found the best variety on this site.


A few days gone

I had to travel for work for a few days. I came home to bright, blooming tulips and asparagus ready to be cooked up for dinner. A home-cooked meal was such a treat after all those heavy restaurant meals. So much spring happened in the short time I was gone. Everything turned green and color is popping up everywhere. After a long day of travel it was good to get out in the fresh air and explore all that's new.
Asparagus for dinner
Bleeding hearts
And, of course, my favorite thing to come home to:
Waving hello