Sunday, April 25, 2010

Illness, an Execution, and Package Bees

  I picked a bad day to come down with the flu. It wasn't the very worst, but close to it.  I wake up with the flu, the day before our second delivery date of package bees (Thursday morning). So I'm lying in bed feeling badly about all the work that I'm not doing at the bee store and all the work that my red headed daughter is now shouldering when Linda bursts into the room complaining about all the noise that the two guinea hens are making. I was a little concerned when she asked about the best way to kill them. I gave her my advise as follows:

   "Why don't you wait until I'm feeling better and after the package bees are done. Its just a few more days. Then I'll take care of them."  When that didn't placate her, I advised her that either wringing their necks or cutting their heads off would work just fine.  With most women that little exchange could be termed as "calling their bluff."  Not so with the woman I married. Within 20 minutes she had wrung the neck of one of the guinea hens.  The white one escaped that fate only because Linda was unable to catch it.

    Later, when I told the tale to my friend, Quinten, he said (after he had stopped laughing) that I should definitely add that to my list of reasons why I'm glad I married her. He was obviously impressed with her grit and tenacity.  I have to admit that I was mildly surprized that she carried out the deed so quickly. I didn't doubt that she was capable, but I had mistakenly assumed she was merely putting pressure on me to do the deed soon after I was feeling better. Linda's spunk is definitely on my list of reasons I'm glad I married her. However, if she ever threatens to wring my neck I will probably be less inclined to dismiss it as a mere idle threat.

   As for the package bees... We received a lot of help from several good friends and by Friday morning, most of our assembly orders were ready.  Package Bee Day, Part II actually went very well. Tim Beuler was there right at 7:00 a.m. to drop off 200 packages of bees.  Quinten showed up at 8:00 a.m. and assisted me in pulling off the lathe strips that connect the packages into groups of five and vacuuming off the loose bees from the outside of the packages. Rachel came in early to finish a few assembly orders. Shannon Boling and her daughter, Savanna, were there by the time we had opened for business.  Rick Jamsgard and Dave Pearson came by later in the afternoon. The day went well and most of the packages went off to good homes before the end of the day.  We've had a good year so far, but we've only gotten by with a lot of help from friends. From my perspective, the only significant down side to the bee store is that six months out of the year it is more work than I really like to do.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Be Careful What You Ask for..

     We had a quiet house last week with Rachel and her children down in Oregon for spring break. I had commented to Linda that I missed having Lance play with my spinning wheel. It seemed kind of sad that when I came home from work the wheel was always exactly how I had left it. Rachel and the kids finally got home on Friday night. Lance started making up for lost time the following day.  I had been spinning a lot on Saturday while I listened to two General Conference sessions.  As a result I had a lot of one ply wool on the bobbins when I left with my son-in-law to go the Priesthood session on Saturday evening. When I came home it was obvious that Lance had spent some quality time with my spinning wheel.  He had successfully transferred some of the one ply yarn into four little balls of yarn using my ball winder. (Pretty impressive for a four year old). He was less successful in plying two single strands into two ply yarn with the spinning wheel. It took me about a half hour to undo the rats nest from the flyer. I was actually quite impressed that he had paid enough attention to attempt to duplicate the specific activities he had seen me do. I consider the rat's nest a small price to pay for Lance's avid interest in my hobby. I should have taken a picture of the aftermath, but thoughtlessly staightened out the mess before I realized I had missed an opportunity.

    I really don't mind the grandchildren playing with the spinning wheel. There really isn't much they can do to damage the spinning wheel as long as they don't take a hammer or a hatchet to it. Usually I just have to put the belt back in place and every once in a while I lose a little bit of yarn or carded fiber. I love the fact that they're interested in the spinning wheel. I would hate for them to have memories of me being grumpy about it.

    I'm currently spinning some dark brown shetland wool that was a gift from a student in one of my bee classes. It is relatively soft and I suspect it will make good socks, hats, and mittens which is mostly what I knit. So far I've been given two fleeces by bee class students and three others by a member of our bee club. Between those fleeces and the goats I'm pretty well supplied with fiber to spin. Linda has been pretty patient so far with the four bags of carded wool currently in the loft.

     We are only a week away from package bee week.  I got some help today from several friends today as we're trying to get the trailer in shape for the trip.  Quinten Williams hauled the trailer to the bee store for me and Don Smith welded a new hinge onto one of the doors.  It's an exciting time, but I'm feeling a bit of stress.  The store has been really busy the past two months as we are continuing to do better each year than the year before. I pray for the success of our business and then stuggle to deal with the resultant growing pains.