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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Bee Swarms, Hay in the Barn, Lyme Disease and Caregiving....Oh my!

 Fort Stevens was once the primary military defense installation in the three-fort, Harbor Defense System at the mouth of the Columbia River (Forts Canby and Columbia in Washington were the other two). The fort was in service for 84 years, beginning during the Civil War and closing at the end of World War II.

That is your history lesson for today!  We camped at Ft Stevens for two nights so we could attend a rabbit show in Astoria Oregon.
 Ft Stevens is an AWESOME place to explore as there are many ruins and lots to see and think about.

It was a nice escape from our everyday life.

Life on the farm has been BUSY!  Our weather has been unseasonably warm & dry for Western Washington which has accelerated everything!  My husband caught 4 honey bee swarms to add to our colony which is now going GREAT GUNS! 
 Our barn is already FULL of the hay we'll need for the winter for our goats & steers.  We're still milking two goats (Paxton, the herd boss and MaryAnne, the sweetie pie).  I just dried off Shiloh (the dingbat) because she's a hard milker and it wasn't doing my arthritis/carpal tunnel problems any favors.  I can't bear to sell her, so she's off in pasture land until next milking season.
 My mom (remember, she lives with us) is undergoing another round of cancer treatments.  Her protein levels were rising quickly, so back on treatment she is.  We've done two rounds of 5 days on (oral treatments) and 4 weeks off.  This time her appetite & energy levels just dropped off completely.  She's at about 97 pounds and frail, but she's still feisty!  She has just informed me that before her appointment at the cancer clinic tomorrow I MUST trim her hair.  She has already had my daughter iron her jeans (?) in preparation! 

There are lighthearted moments, always blessings too, but so many hard things when your loved ones battle a monster like CANCER.
 I get up between 5:30 and 6am every morning.  After enough coffee to get me motivated, I discuss the weather, her health and other topics of interest with Mom & my hubby.  Let the dog out, get out to feed & water rabbits, then down to the barn to milk.  This morning one daughter and I picked about 8 cups of pie cherries and I came in and canned a batch of Sour Cherry Jam. 
 The temperatures are supposed to hit 100* this weekend, so we worked on outfitting enough outdoor cages for my English Lop and Netherland Dwarf rabbits as it will be too warm in their building.  Rabbits can tolerate a lot of cold weather, but don't do well in the heat.

Weeded the green pepper and tomato patch, watered them, the raspberries and the strawberry plants.  Watered all the porch plants.

Did I mention that I have Lyme Disease and everything hurts?  Well, never mind.  Take some Ibuprofen and keep on working!
 My daughter (same farm, different house...) had a mutual friend and her four precious kids over for coffee late this afternoon, so I went down and visited with them.  They are SO sweet and I just love them all!  A little more coffee is always good, right?

After they left, we meandered back towards the 'big house' and just as we got up the driveway, the UPS truck stopped at my daughter's house and left packages!  She has a fabric/quilt shoppe on Ebay and Etsy and new fabric had just arrived!  BACK down the driveway to inspect, ooh and aahhhh over lovely bolts of new fabric!!  And, yes, of course I came home with samples ;-)
 Dinner tonight was oven roasted potatoes, teriyaki hamburger patties and oven roasted broccoli.  Have you ever eaten oven roasted broccoli??  

OH MAN.  You'll never boil broccoli again!  You just drop your broccoli florets in a glass baking dish.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper to taste and roast!  I did mine at about 400* for 30 minutes.  TO DIE FOR! 
 One of the parts of Ft Stevens that I enjoyed the most (call me weird) was the Guard House (jail).  The prisoners had to do their own laundry in these two sinks!  As it should be!
The solitary cells (below) each had only a bunk hinged to fold up to the wall.  Prisoners were not allowed to lie on the bunk during the day, but were required to stand or sit on the floor!  They spent the day at hard labor, walked to a nearby building in cuffs for meals, had no privacy for restroom/showers.  They were actually being punished!
 As much as I enjoyed the Fort (and not so much the rabbit show!), it's much easier to be home.  I'm not a very good traveler and the daughter I left home with Nanny hasn't felt well for a long time.  I always feel guilty if I'm not here trying to make life easier for us all.

 My Ebay & Etsy stores hit a slow period during the last of April, lasting through May and into the first part of June.  Now it's suddenly picking up again so when I'm not outside working with the garden, yard & animals, I can be found upstairs in my sewing/crafting studio inventing new primitives!

Housework?  What's that?

 Patriotic primitives are popular at this time of the year, but I should already be working on Fall/Autumn items.

I made and painted a couple of foxes.  One daughter snatched one of them up.  The other fox just sold on Ebay, so it's back to work I go!
Thanks for joining me on this whirlwind blog post!  I just turned around and it has been over a month since I posted! 

I leave you with a verse that I try to apply to my life.....

1 Thessalonians 4:11 (NAS) and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you.
May God bless you until we meet again!  Pam


  1. One question. How do you catch honey bee swarms?

    Enjoyed hearing about your day. Good luck to your mother.

    1. I stay far, far away while my hubby suits up in his bee-proof attire and proceeds to capture them... It has something to do with making sure you've got the queen and convincing them all to slip into a bee box. Depending on where they've landed, it becomes more tricky.....

  2. I love this post.

    Mrs. RWP would like to order some of your energy, minus the pain of course. How do you do it? (Keep up with all the work there is to do and still have time to go camping, I mean)...

    The foxes are wonderful! I understand that it is the little foxes that spoil the grapes.

    1. I love this farm and am driven to prove to myself that we can do this, competing with Lyme Disease & Cancer and still running this race to win. Did I mention that I'm a Type A and can't actually sit down, even if I wanted to?
      I was actually rather pleased with the foxes, as well ;-)