Saturday, March 12, 2011

Wal Mart Now Offering Honey Bees?

Yep. That's right folks and you read it here first!!

Wal Mart has just about anything you could want or need but.....honey bees?
Yes. Even honey bees. Last week Ethan, Brandon's beekeeping mentor, found this "hard to find item" while shopping at Wal Mart. Actually he was in the parking lot getting ready to leave when he discovered a swarm in a tree.

Like any true beekeeper, Ethan just happened to have a super or two in his van! Perfect! The bees we owned left their hive a while back so Ethan was so kind to bring the swarm to our empty hive and I am so excited because they arrived just in time to work in my vegetable garden and the orange blossoms!

Notice how comfortable Bryce has become around the bees. I am not that brave yet! They are even crawling on his back....ewwww!

They seemed to accept their new home right away.

The bees were full of nectar so they can't sting. Me? Still not brave enough for this!

And I am certainly not brave enough to bring a swarm of bees across town in my vehicle. If they were to start swarming around me while I'm driving I would probably crash!
Just look at the bees still left in the van....ewwww!!!

I must say, though, there is nothing better than fresh, raw honey. So, THANK YOU Ethan for thinking of us and for driving the swarm of bees over to our place!! You are the bestest!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Update on Monroe

What a bumpy, unpredictable time we have had lately! After Monroe was released from the hospital for his back surgery he was having extreme pain in his right knee and thigh. The doctors did many tests before releasing him and came to the conclusion that the pain was due to inflammation from the surgery that was pressing on a nerve. The only cure was time and pain medication. My husband can tolerate a great deal of pain but this pain was unbearable!

After being home 4 days he ended up back in the hospital with blood clots in both lungs! This was such a scary time for us!! But the Lord was with us and many prayers were being sent on his behalf. Three days later he as back home. He is slowly recovering and getting stronger every day.

He sits on the front porch a lot enjoying the gorgeous weather we have been having here in Florida. It has become a regular habit for the two of us to sit out front and have our morning coffee. I am really enjoying that because Monroe was never one to sit still very long. I believe the slow days and solitude has been good for him. He has time to reflect on life and the Lord.

We bought a couple of bird feeders to hang out in the front yard. He likes to sit and watch all of the different varieties of birds come and eat.
And this past weekend our church provided a huge barbeque for the children of Upward Soccer, which our church sponsors, and their families. This is a great opportunity for outreach in the community and it has been a great success. So, of course we were glad to help out and cook the chicken for the event. Now Monroe did NOT cook. The lids to this smoker/grill are so very heavy. He was given the position of supervisor and Brent and Brandon were the chefs this time! I did get his picture wearing his "Old Guys Rule" Grill Master shirt-a Christmas gift from Brooke & Ricky. It is perfect for him. I love the saying on it...."well done and rare"!
We had both smokers going and they were packed with chicken. We cooked 7 cases of chicken!!
Here they are loading the cooler to take the meat to the church for the meal. was so tender it just fell off the bone.

I know my hubby can't wait to get on his feet again. It is so hard for him to sit back and let others do the work. He is such a go-getter. This has been a very difficult season for him but I think he is learning a few things so in that way it has been good for him.
Please keep him in your prayers for no more complications and a full recovery.
God is Good!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Prayer Needs and God's Faithfulness

Wow, my life has been anything but boring these past few months. I wanted to be more diligent about blogging but I never seem to get that far on my "to do" list for the day. Geez! I feel like I am more busy now than when I had sleepless, nursing babies to take care of and energetic toddlers to chase!! At any rate, the purpose of today's blog is just an update of the happenings around our home.

At the moment, I am sitting in yet another hospital room with Monroe. Sorry, no pictures for today and many thanks to my dear sister-in-law, Sandi, for the use of her laptop!! As many of you may know but some may not, Monroe opted for a second back surgery. The first surgery was in October and at that time the Dr. gave Monroe the choice of a one level fusion knowing that in the future he would eventually have to have two more fusions or the choice of having a three level fusion in the first surgery. Because he has many more years to work and be active we chose to fuse only one level. Everything was going great for the first three weeks but then he had some setbacks. The pain and tingling/burning in his back and legs returned. Through many tests the Dr. concluded that the two levels above the first fusion would need surgery to bring relief. He gave Monroe the option of when to have the second surgery and Monroe chose to go ahead with it. Poor guy. He is just tired of lying around with the recovery of the first surgery but he is not able to go back to work due to the pain he still has. So this past Friday he went ahead with the second surgery. He is doing okay today. Having bouts of nausea which he didn't have with the last surgery but he was under anesthesia much longer this time so that accounts for some of the nausea not to mention the pain medications. Please keep him in your prayers for a speedy recovery with no complications.

Please keep my family in prayer as well. We are dealing with a variety of issues that I am not at liberty to share. Our family is going through many trials right now but oh how we can see the Lord's hand and His provision every day. We are not alone and our faith is growing as we see Him carrying us through. God Is Good All The Time!

As for things on the home front, my spring garden is a little behind. I had planned to have my seeds trays started by now....oh well, I may be late getting them transplanted but it will all work out fine in the end. We left onions, carrots and cauliflower in the ground from the winter garden. Brandon tilled the rest of the garden last week and we added wettable sulphur to the soil because our soil test showed a high ph. After applying this amendment we can plant in two weeks. By then I should be able to get out there and get busy planting. I miss gardening.

We were also able to process one of our hogs before Monroe's surgery. When we get back home and back to some sense of normalcy, we plan to make sausage with the pork and venison from this year's butchering and hunting. Actually, there wasn't much hunting going on around our place this year but God once again showed His faithfulness and the past two weekends we got a call from a friend of ours that he had been hunting and got a deer but didn't want the meat! I'm telling you that is the kind of thing the Lord has been doing in our family lately. I could tell you of many, many more instances such as this! I am writing down all the blessings we have been receiving for my children to remind them of what they are seeing happen in our lives. I want them to never forget the love and goodness of Jesus.

I expect Monroe will be in the hospital a couple more days. This hospital is 1 1/2 hours away from home so I am staying with him. Thankfully I have older boys to hold down the fort till we can get back home!!

Thanks to all for your prayers!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I Miss Them!

Our two youngest boys were invited to go with Brooke and Ricky and family last Thursday to the Smokey Mountains to see SNOW!! Monroe and I had planned to take a short family trip up to Tennessee to see some snow this winter but Monroe's back is not doing too well since his back surgery in October. It is just too painful for him to sit more than 30 minutes at a time. So, to say the boys were elated with this invitation would be putting in mildly!

Brent and Bradley are not home much with school and jobs so our house has been extremely quiet the past 4 days and I hate it! I miss the antics of the two younger ones, like this for example:

I even miss the gross surprises when I turn around to see this:

And the times when they are so bored that they get creative and make paper clothes....LOL!

And I do so miss these 3 lovies!!!

Oh. I miss Brooke and Ricky too ;-)
My dear family is on the way home. They had such adventures! I can't wait to hear all their stories. Most importantly they got to see SNOW and lots of it! They got to spend every day playing in the snow. I let Brandon take my camera so I will have pictures to show soon. I will keep you posted....

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Nonna's Baby Girl Is Sick

Let me just begin by saying that girls are most assuredly different than boys!! Oh the drama and emotions this little darling displays!! Reese or Reesie Pie as I call her, has been feeling bad the past few days. Brooke gave her medicine and watched her for a few days to see if she would begin to feel better (I can tell she is the third child because Mom and Dad didn't head to the Doc right away!).

After about 3 days of Reese moaning as she walked around the house, Brooke said if she wasn't moaning she had her little bottom lip poked out(ok I can't handle the pouty lip, it melts Nonna's heart)-Mom decided to let the Doc take a look and see what was causing all the fuss.

Brooke was expecting some sort of terrible infection somewhere by the way Reese had been behaving. As it turns out, the Doctor couldn't find anything wrong except the very beginning of ear infection. Thankfully, Reese has not been very sick for the past year and I suppose she just couldn't figure out what was wrong with herself!

Oh. My. Goodness. What is she going to do when she loses her first tooth???
I must confess something. All the pictures above were taken by Brooke except the last one. I only wish I could take such nice pictures..... Brooke keep your opinions to yourself!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Candied Lemon Peel

Have you ever eaten candied lemon peel? I had not until last year. I was at my dear friend Kay's house and she had just finished a batch. She let me try some of her candied citrus and let me tell you it was DELICIOUS!! She graciously shared the recipe with me. After listening to her tell me all the steps involved I thought I probably would never give it a try. However, another precious friend, Nicki (actually she is pretty close to being a daughter to me) allowed me to pick all the lemons on the tree in her yard last week. Thank you, Nicki!!

I knew I wanted to freeze the lemon juice for later use. I decided to give the candied peel a try as well. I grabbed two of my boys to help in the process and we got started.

I wanted to share the steps with you so you can give this a try sometime. It really is worth the effort. The nice thing about it is you can make a small batch or big batch. I used a lot but then I had some help.

First of all lightly scrub the fruit. If it is not organic, I would use Veggiewash.

Next, peel the fruit getting as little of the white pith as possible. This is very important when the peel begins to dry. I was still able to juice my lemons because there was so much of the white pith left on the fruit. (Sorry about the poor color of these pictures. I have a new camera and I am still learning all the settings). Next, take some kitchen scissors and cut the peel into thin strips. I cut the pieces you see in the picture below into half the width shown.

Maybe you can see how I cut the thin strips in the pot below. After cutting, cover the peel with water and bring to a gentle, rolling boil. Boil for 20 minutes. Then pour off the water. Repeat this process two more times.

After the third boiling step, drain and gently dry the peel. I used a towel to dry mine.

Next, lay wax paper out on the counter top or surface you have chosen. Sprinkle the wax paper with sugar and lay the peel out in a thin layer. Sprinkle more sugar on top. That is all there is to it! A couple of times each day use your fingers and gently stir the strips so they are evenly coated with the sugar. Then sprinkle another layer of fresh sugar on top. This is the drying process and it will take up to 4 days. After the first day, you will begin to see moisture on the peel and the sugar will begin to clump. That is why it is important to keep stirring and sugaring each day.

When the drying is done the peel will look shriveled and it will be slightly crispy in texture. That is how you will know it is finished. Store your candied peel in a jar or airtight container. I am not sure of the shelf life because around my house this delicacy will not last long enough to spoil!!
Wouldn't this make a nice Christmas gift for that hard-to-buy for person on your list? I wonder if you could add this to breads or muffins? It is wonderful to nibble on with a cup of hot tea! The possibilities are endless! C'mon give it a try!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The "Fire Camp"

Our grandsons, Parker and Luke, are growing up so fast. One of their very favorite things to do is to come over to Nonna and Poppa's house. Brooke says the boys get so excited when they find out they are coming for a visit. She will not even stop by to drop something off to me if she can not stay because they will cry all the way home. Of course this just makes Nonna and Poppa over-joyed!
Lately we have been enjoying the cold (not freezing!) nights outdoors by having a cookout/campfire. Parker and Luke unintentionally have named this outing a firecamp! They absolutely love to have their firecamp in the evenings whenever they possibly can.
Even little Reese gets in on the fun. This is the rare occasion that she is not dressed in something girly! Don't tell her mother but she kinda likes getting dirty too (tee...heee...heee!)

Monroe and the boys have built an open fire stove pit for us to cook on. We have tried stew and chili and both were delicious. Love that cast iron!! Why is it that food tastes so much better when it is cooked outdoors?

Tonight as Poppa and Parker were putting out the "fire camp" with the water hose Parker told Poppa he wanted to make a wish before they put it out. After they finished dousing the fire Parker told Poppa what he wished for. Would you like to know his wish? Because I was dying to know what my four year old grandson would make a wish for. This is so cute. He wished that Parker, Poppa and Daddy could all go hunting and get a deer. Ain't that just precious!