Welcome to the journey,the tale and the saga of our

Monday, June 25, 2012

Part 2: Crohnies

A comment was left elsewhere regarding an interest in hearing more about Issac and I's Crohn's.I had not intended to go there yet but maybe a sidetracking of things will work out in the end.

Issac and I both have Crohn's that is easy enough to say but it's not really enough of an explanation.Crohn's can be located anyplace between your esophagus and your anus.The body's autoimmune system is confused when you have Crohn's,it decides that a section along your digestive track is a germ or foreign invader and attacks it.Crohn's can also cause inflammation through out the body,this inflammation is kind like the "side effects" of having Crohn's.My doctor once told me that you could wall paper a small room with a list of these.Because Crohn's is an autoimmune disease it ends up doing some wacky things,like the big black goose bump looking things I had on my shins in high school.Charming when you are 17 and wanting to fit in with your school mates. 

At this point in time there is no known or proven cure for Crohn's Disease.Some people say they have done it with diet but there is no solid proof of that.There are plenty of meds to control the disease some of them are dang scary,like the chemo Issac was on. Flare ups (that's when your disease is active) can happen on or off of drugs,there can be weeks,months or even years in between them.Both Issac and I are currently in what is called Surgical Remission, remission brought on through surgery.I have been off of drugs for 5 years now,not common and a mystery to my doctor.Issac has been off his meds for a year now.Is it luck or our diet?No one knows.

Ok,this is how I look at Crohn's,why it is hard to pin point and why it is different for each person.You have a deck of cards that is called Crohn's,each time that deck is dealt out it is first shuffled giving different results each time.Each person with Crohn's body is already unique through it's genes, life events or even the environment it lives in these things in my mind are part of how the Crohn's will present it's self.Yes,you have these set symptoms that make up the Crohn's but they get shuffled each time making it hard to make that winning prediction of this is the cure.Maybe that is a crazy crock of who knows what,sometimes I know something but getting it out in a nutshell is weird.  

Here Issac and I are, two Crohnies with the same disease located at the same spots in our bodies,right at the terminal ileum. That's right near your appendix,from the point of your right hip bone turn about an inch to the left.But that is where the sameness stops for us.

Issac has the kind of Crohn's that will burst his intestine and is the most unpredictable and very dangerous.When Issac's Crohn's is active it turns his intestine into tissue thinness and as of yet we don't have any idea what his warning symptoms are.Four years ago when Issac's bowel ruptured we had no warning other than he was in great pain,his bowel had already burst when we got to the E.R.

A lack of warning is common,some people are lucky and their bodies send warnings like weight loss,pain,no bowel movement or too many.Those black goose eggs I had in high school,those were one of my warning signs but the doctors were not paying attention,also common.

My Crohn's is the kind that causes my intestine to slowly swell shut.Leading to nothing passing and then I am in pain.If I am lucky and it is caught before it is completely shut the doctors can medicate me to open things back up but twice I have had surgery to remove parts of my small intestine because it was too damaged. I don't always get any warning a flare up is happening.In high school I lived through one for a year and a half with no idea what was going on other than if I ate anything my gut would kill me.Half a sandwich had the feeling of a 10 course meal in my stomach. The doctors just would not believe I was sick,they thought I  just wanted to skip school.Ha! Me the nerdy geek with straight A's. I ended up in the E.R and stayed in the hospital for 2 months under going 3 surgeries. But since then if I am having a flare up I just go from zero to the E.R.No time to prepare or prevent.

It all sounds scary doesn't it? And it can be if you let it be.That sounds a bit glib.Don't get me wrong here,I have panic attacks at times that I have to stop and check myself over.I  know my routine,I know what to predict,what the questions will be in the E.R and how it all should go.There's an odd comfort in that but it can still really,really suck.Having a disease that people can't see is like it does not exist,that I am just wanting to get out of living life somehow.People can be very quick to judge you.

 As a Mother there is nothing more horrid to hear the doctor tell you and your son that he has Crohn's too.It was a whirlwind flash of a moment,I could feel all the pain I had been through,all of the social awkward things that had happened and the wishes to be dead came flying into my Mother's heart.I was ready to melt into a sobbing puddle on the floor right then and there,my heart was shattered.

But my son is an amazing person,he turned to me and said "It's ok Mama,you have learned to live with it and so will I." What blind faith and courage. Ah man,how could I fall apart,here was this kid ready to take this on and I was going to have to lead the way.Pull up your boots Mama there's work to be done.

So now I am really at the beginning of my blog,how could we make a positive change in our health,we would grow it ourselves that's how.I had known that food impacted my health for a long time just not exactly how but how was I going to get my young teen son on the bandwagon with me was the bigger question.And how was I going to get the whole family in on this? (Chance and I try our best to make sure Sol does not feel like the Crohn's factor in our house overrides his needs and wants.Parenting is an act of balancing between your children,keeping things seemingly fair and equal but when one is sick for a long time that juggle gets harder.)

Sometimes when I think of the how and why we started to Urban Homestead I feel like we were giving the "system" the bird.There is no medical proof that changing your diet will cure our Crohn's but I am going to try anyway,or at least prolong the inevitable.That's kind of giving the doctors the bird,I am putting trust into myself,I got this handled if I need you I will call.You can keep your nightmarish drugs,please pass me some organic veggies instead.Homesteading is a bit radical in some circles,we are not buying into the big food systems and we are not buying into the lies about crappy food being safe.

From here on out the rest of my series will be about the positive changes we have seen over the past three years.Writing this post was hard to do,I am kind of superstitious about talking too much about the Crohn's,don't want to jinx things.I have also faced tons of negative judgement,been through trauma that has left me with panic attacks and pain of body and heart,as a fairly private person I would rather remain silent.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Part one: Crohn's and the beginning.

I have been thinking about this post for a couple of weeks now.Wondering,thinking,chewing ,reflecting over it all ,like a dog with its bone.I think in order to say all I have to say this may end up being a multi-posting kind of thing.

I have been blogging now for just over 3 years,it all started with our journey into growing more of our own food with the hopes that we could take control of our health in a better way.At the time we had one sick kid and me just back on my feet, both of us were recovering from surgeries for our Crohn's Disease, a stack of medical bills and vague answers from the doctor about diet and Crohn's.

Since starting my blog I have not wanted to write about the Crohn's factor in our daily lives.I don't want pity because in the world of Crohn's Issac and I are blessed with mild enough cases,we are fortunate.Pity and coddling really pisses me off .And honestly like Lance Armstrong not wanting his book to be about his cancer I did not want my blog to be about our Crohn's, It is not the sum of us,it is only a part of who we are.But it is the deep core of why I started my blog that has reached it's "ah ha moment" finally after three years of work and writing.

Four years ago the vagueness of the doctors was frustrating,how can diet not make a difference?A good diet when you are healthy is important,why wouldn't it be critical when you were not?Malnutrition and absorption of certain vitamins and minerals are a big issue with Crohn's,so when you are able shouldn't you be eating to build a strong body as a way to stock pile for the times when you can't eat? I kept hearing Issac's first   doctor talking to me when Issac first started to eat solids,"If you only feed him healthy foods,he will be healthy."
## Ok, that last bit about, he will be healthy,that kind of backfired didn't it.But we won't go there because my Mama's guilt can't handle it.I carry the Crohn's in my genes not Chance,it really sucks to the point that I still cry over it.As in right now my eyes are teary.  

Yet,all the gastro doctors would say is "Eat what you can tolerate". WTF is that supposed to mean?

I did a ton of reading,about Crohn's and what it does to your body as a whole, food and how it nourishes our bodies,all the crap in our food,organic,every diet out there (and some were out there.) and how some foods can combat the effects of diseases.

It was a worlds worth of information and like the world conflicting.But one of the things I did find over and over again is that all the junk,additives,pesticides,corn syrup,bad fats and all of the things with names I can't begin to pronounce were not good for our bodies at all.So my thought was "if all of these things are not good for a healthy body that can fight easily for its self,what are they doing to our over worked autoimmune systems** that is always in overdrive? If we eat a good clean diet maybe our bodies will calm down and be able to stop fighting so hard." Kind of like being able to work on a project in a tidy work space,you are not all tangled up in the junk that's in your way.

**When you have Crohn's your autoimmune system is always on over drive when your disease is active,your system can attack your own body because the Crohn's thinks that spot is something to get rid of.Sometimes it's your gut,sometimes it's places that are a bit random like your eyes,joints,skin or mouth.

I had known for a long time that junk/processed foods were not healthy and we did not eat many of them.I also knew that organics were the best choice for the health of ourselves and our planet.With all of the new information I now had in my head we decided to get rid of the rest of the crap food in our house,cook even more from scratch and go organic.

The first two were easy enough but the sticker shock of eating all organic was a blow.We were living on one modest income with 100 K in medical bills (never let anyone tell you there is nothing wrong with our health care system.We have insurance,imagine if we hadn't.) how were we going to make this work?As some of my long term readers may have guessed Chance and I are very,very determined.Give us a task and we will find a way to make it happen.We knew we could garden,we were already raising chickens and we knew we could work hard for our family. It was time to dig a bigger garden,raise more chickens and see what else we could do for ourselves to make things better.

Little did we know at the time that there was this whole movement going on,Urban Homesteading.And there were others out there doing the same thing for some of the same reasons,zero mile organic food growing right out your door.

The trendiness of it still  makes me chuckle,I was raised in a household with a big garden,chickens,cooking from scratch,canning and doing for your self,it was all normal to me.We were just going to go bigger than in the past with the hopes we could put up enough to get us through most of the winter.We also hoped that by growing our own we could free up some of our cash to buy organics we could not grow ourselves.

At the start of the blog all we thought we were doing was growing more food on our double city lot and sharing our journey through the blog.Man,has there been so much more than that happening.Things we never would have guessed at.How could we know how our whole household would change and evolve in some very positive ways.

I am going to close this here before I get ahead of myself or this gets too much longer.First though,I'd like to ask what brought you to Urban Homesteading and my blog?


Monday, June 18, 2012

This and that.

All righty then, we have our final answer about the Ants,they are not sure! You can read their whole reply here.  Without digging up the patio we may never know what's going on.They suggest Earth Worms are pulling the bits down to feed on.Personally,I think the hole size verses the size of the Worms in our yard does not work out.Tiny holes + fat Worms just won't add up in my book.Oh,well another mystery.

Last night Chance and I picked 3 pounds of Strawberries from the yard.This was our 3rd picking this year and since we have had our fill of fresh berries we put this picking aside for Jam.We will be using Food In Jars recipe for Strawberry Vanilla Jam minus the vanilla bean.From last nights picking we will get a double batch for now. We may do another picking and make one more batch if it works out.
Strawberries sliced and waiting to become Jam.

We are totally in love with small batch canning it is easy,fast and we don't end up with 500 jars of the same thing that we can't use up. I know most people want tons of extras for sharing but most of our friends can too so it is hard to find someone who would be excited about receiving jars of homemade jam.One friend of ours has started experimenting with turning extra jars of jam into fruit leather because they have been gifted so many jars.I find this to be inventive and a bit humorous,the visual in my head is a silly cartoon of a lady buried under a mountain of jars of jam with a "Help Me" flag flying above. 

Now that I am working the small batch canning also fits into our schedule nicely.The recipe says start to finish 45 minutes,we can easily accomplish that after dinner.Last night Chance and I chopped and sugared the berries and put the bowl in the fridge for tonight's jam session (oops pun there.)

We also feel like the small batch canning is proof we are doing a  good job around our homestead. As of last year more of what we are putting away for winter is grown right here at home by us with a zero mile footprint and totally organic.Two of our original goals when we started to push ourselves to do more for ourselves.
It's a huge feeling of accomplishment.Last night as we sliced the berries Chance and I were talking about how that bowl of berries was one of the pay offs for all of the hard work we have done over the past three plus years.I will admit that just a week or so ago I was so over the work hours we put into the garden this time of year.My body was rejecting and objecting,all I wanted to do was sit and enjoy the sunshine,not be out working in it while it was here.But that bowl of ruby red sweetness was like a big prize ribbon,although it was not blue it sure did feel like a first place prize.

Chance also picked about 1 1/2 pints of Raspberries last night that we put in the freezer.We will keep adding to the freezer bag until we have enough to make jam.It should not be long before that happens,our bushes are packed with berries this year.

I would really like to blog more about how we are feeling about where we are as homesteaders and what we hope is coming for us but I must get off to work for now.

How are your gardens growing? What are you proud of? What goals have you set for yourself?



Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ant update.

When I blogged about the Ants under our back patio I mentioned sending an email to The Ant Blog asking them about the twigs in the Ants holes.

Last night we received an email asking for photos and more details! I was so excited to hear back from them I did a bit of a dance.

The people at the Ant Blog told us in their email that they had never heard of Ants using twigs and leaves to fill their holes,just rocks.They are curious to learn more too.

I just sent them our reply and now the waiting begins.Having someone who knows Ants ask us about our Ants and their unknown behavior is very intriguing.The science loving Geek in me is chewing her nails all while the gears in my head are turning.

It's most likely not as amazing as I am thinking it is.I bet the Ants are just using what materials they can easily find in our back yard.Which is cool for the reason that the Ants are adapting to their environment.I really wish we had some sort of micro sized camera to stick under the patio so we could see the Ants at their work.

Gotta love nature and all of it's creatures.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Turkey Butchering

Last night we finally butchered the two Turkey Hens.Whew,that's done and over with.It was not the butchering I was glad to be done with but the Turkeys themselves.

We had a handful of friends who came to watch and lend a hand making the work go by quickly.

One friend came because she thought as a meat eater she should know a bit more about the butchering process.At the start she said she did not want to help,just watching thank you.That was fine by us,she was learning in her own way.By the middle of the whole thing she was helping a bit with the plucking and was more interested than she thought she would be.

Another friend thought that maybe he would feel squeamish but found it to be not so bad after all.What I think might have been helpful to this friend was Chance and I were simply talking about what we were doing,what was going on with the bird and what would be next in a calm relaxed way.Sometimes knowing what is going on can help a person relax and take things in.

The other two friends jumped right in asking how they could help.

Everyone had lots of good questions from the start to the finishing of the process.Chance and I both felt like we had finally done enough teaching of butchering that our answers came quickly and with confidence.

I did not take many photos of the whole thing figuring that I had posted before about Chicken Butchering and Turkeys are just the same just bigger.But my friend snapped one really awesome photo of the eggs we found inside of the first Turkey we opened up.When we opened up the Turkey the eggs were laying along her spine. The littlest one was farthest from her vent while the second one from the top was just before her vent.As a reminder a birds bum is called the vent.

 I did lay a  fully formed Turkey at egg at the top of the line up to show the eggs in order.So sorry for the splotch of blood there,I hope you don't mind it too much because really that was all of the blood that there was on the cutting board.

Turkey eggs in various stages.

So if you are looking at the photo from the bottom up you will see the growth of a Turkey egg.The ones that look like just yolks were pretty much that,little bags of yolk.After the photo was taken we popped each one to see what they were all about.We really were inquisitive last night.Chance and I had lots of "teachable moments" with our friends.Having such a small group of eager minds gave us time to stop and be in the moment.

The third one from the top had a nub of membrane that really had me wondering about the the "how does this form into an egg in a shell " question.When I have some time this evening I am hoping to do some research on the formation of poultry eggs.Hopefully I get the wording right for Google and will find what I am looking for.I find that sometimes I just don't have the scientific terms to get me where I want to be.

The second from the top was the most impressive.When we picked it up it had the feeling of an egg made of Jello,it was even wobbly yet firm.It was also smooth and not sticky at all,I thought it might be sticky. The hardened outer shell of the egg had not developed at this point.I was wondering if this would have been now today's egg.We popped it open and inside it was just like when you crack open an egg.It had both yolk and white.The outer membrane-would-have-been-shell was very much like a balloon in feel.

There was also a cluster of tiny eggs to be that did not make it into the photo that would have been at the very bottom of the line up.

Last night was a very good evening.Chance and I have found that people usually get wrapped up in the biology of the birds we are butchering.There is always amazement that our own organs and the birds are all lined up just the same,top to bottom.And even when we explain some of the twitching and sighs that come as a birds body is totally finishing its life people accept it as simply part of  the life cycle.( There movements in the now dead birds body after death that are just the nerves releasing that last bit of energy.The birds will also sometimes pass gas or make sounds that are just air leaving the body.Nothing scary,just a body working towards being done.)

Chance and I were reminded last night that although what we do around home has become ordinary to us,other people still find wonder in it.It was good to stop and enjoy everyone and to share our knowledge.

The other news from yesterday is very frustrating,Chance has been working a side job remodeling an apartment.He had been leaving all of his tools he was using locked in the apartment.Yesterday afternoon when he went to work on the apartment,the apartment had been broken into and a majority of his tools were stolen.The thieves not only took Chance's power tools but also some building materials.We are hopeful that the owner of the buildings insurance will cover the replacement of the tools.If not who knows how we will replace $2000 worth of tools that took Chance several years to purchase.Bloody thieves,what comes around goes around.Your day will come!


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Buy Vs.Make

The question about what we make and what we buy and why/how we've made those choices was posed to me today.That's a good question with an answer that is always in flux.

The fluctuations mostly depend on the variables,time,money and did anyone like it.Sometimes it's all about one of those and sometimes it can be all three.Yet there are a few things we do simply because we love what we are doing.Moments of passion can be blinding and make one look a bit foolish to some but that is love for you.

The one thing we do that is highly debated is raising our own chickens for their eggs.Is it really cost effective? I have yet to figure that one out.I think the start up of chickens can be a big dip into the pockets but once you have established your flock and coop things kind of balance out over time.

Right now we are spending around $30 a month on feed and get an average of 150 eggs from 8 birds.That comes out to about 12.5 dozen eggs which costs out to around $2.50 a dozen.You can buy eggs for that but do you know where they come from? Most likely they are not organic free range eggs either.(None of this factors in the start up costs.I left that out because we have had our coop for many years now and our flock is 3 years old.) If I sell the extra eggs this would be different of course but I give the extras away a lot of the time.

One thing not factored in to the eggs and chickens is all of that free lovely manure they make for us for the compost.In my mind having free manure that feeds the compost,that feeds the garden ,that feeds us is the biggest bonus ever. So I think for us the chickens are cost efficient and a passion.How can one not love chickens?

The talk of eggs brings up the making of homemade Mayo.We are always looking for ways to use up the extra eggs and so Chance started to make our own Mayo.It's super easy to do and very good but there were a couple of issues.The one person who was eating the Mayo most did not like it,while the other three of us who liked it could not eat it up fast enough.Issac won that one and we went back to store bought. It's not thrifty or smart if it's going to go to waste.

The baking of bread is always up and down here.The cost is so cheap that's never an issue.Mostly it's about time since no one ever complains about having fresh bread to eat.I am finding that although we love it my days at work tend to eat up the time it takes to bake bread.I have come straight home from work to bake the bread but ended up staying up a bit later than I wanted.Also do to changes in our eating habits the bread is not eaten quickly so is it worth the time spent making it? I love baking but if no one is going to eat what I bake I will move on.

Chance really enjoys making bacon for us but it's not a low budget item but the end product is worth it.Bacon is one of the few things that is all about the love and passion blinding us.

When we started canning our own stuff I was not sure if it was any cheaper or not.I bought my canning kettle used and jars have been easy to find either on sale new or second hand but it all did cost.I think canning is like starting up with chickens,you pay out more at the start than you do later on.

We have the added benefit that our garden is now able to produce most of what we need for canning jams.That has taken us 4 years to achieve and from here on out we may not have to buy fruit for jam.Well,apples we will still need to buy but berries we have plenty of.

Now Sauerkraut, that is off our list of things to make.We did one year,it was really easy and not much in costs but it made a dozen jars.After a few months we realized that we don't even eat Sauerkraut all that often.We like it but if it's just going to sit forget it.I know some people hang on to their canned goods for a few years but that kind of freaks me out.I want to eat up what we have canned by the next growing season for the item.I don't know why it makes me squeamish,it just does.

Once Chance priced a few of the things we had canned that would be equal to what we made and it looked like it was slightly less than buying.The amount of time it takes to can your own food is never paid attention to at our house,it's all about the love of good food.

Growing a garden is a must for us.It saves us money,we are blinded by it's bounty and we only grow what we will eat so no waste.For example,we are on our second picking of Snow Peas,we picked about a pound yesterday. We grow an organic garden and buy organic seed packets for around $2.50- $3.00 each.I have not checked the price per pound for organic Snow Peas this week but I bet the ones we are growing have already paid for themselves.I always figure that after I have picked one picking I have probably evened things out cost wise,after that in my book it's like eating for free.

I think this question is kind of a hard one to pin point.We cook a large portion of our food from scratch,close to 90% of it because it is a money saver,Chance and I are passionate about cooking and as a family we prefer the taste of homemade foods.Besides these points we consider the impact on health as well.

Over the years we have tried making all sorts of things,some were good and some were not.At this point the good ones are around and so ingrained into our pantry I don't really notice them anymore.After thinking this through with Chance we think the whole buy VS make issue for us is all about how much time we have.There has yet to be a project that was a total loss to us.We did whatever it was for the experience of doing it for ourselves.When things like the sauerkraut happen we just chalk it up as something learned and move on.
***Ah, Chance just added " Or the Hay bale garden from way back at the start of the blog.That was a total fail on every level we are talking about, it cost us money,we hated it and it failed." Yup that was an epic fail.

Some things are more time consuming eating this way and that can be a drag.There are days when I come home from work and think "Ah Crap!,Dinner." I will be honest here,Chance cooks most dinners during the week,he's home before me so it has fallen on him.On those nights it's all about getting something on the table before we are all ready for bed.That's where eating out comes into play or just some quick meal like Breakfast for Dinner.

Lately the one thing I really,really wish I could buy for us is a housekeeper who came daily.I would much rather spend my home time outside in the garden or working on some fun project. Wishes are nice to have aren't they?

What are things you make VS buy and why?


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Celebrating Sol.

Yesterday was our young Solomon's 15 th birthday.At his request we had Asian Salad Rolls for dinner followed by Chocolate Pie for his treat.

Yet again I am amazed that time is passing and our boys are turning into fine young men.Sol is now taller than Chance and won't be done growing anytime soon.Solomon Foster,his name means borrowed peace and that is him.Sweet, tender hearted and caring but needs reminders that  peace needs to be nurtured.

Sol is our tinker-music man.His love of music always makes me smile,as a young child he hated it when we played any kind of music and would cover his ears.Now music is always playing  when he is around,either on his guitar or from the stereo.He is also a great builder of wondrous,useful and whimsical things.He has built cameras,cigar box guitars,bikes and many little gadgets.He is spending all of his birthday money on building a moped to ride.
A boy and his bike.

The video below is dedicated to Sol,who is always growing the garden in his mind.Filling it with dreams and ideas and sharing them with us as he goes along.

Happy Birthday my Not so Little Man.Thanks for your handsome smile,bringing me snail shells from the woods,your love of creating and for homeschooling with me that year,we did it just fine.Love Mama.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Wee folk of Hrafinstaad

I wanted to share some of the littlest creatures that live with us,the ants and the bees.Two very important colonies that help complete our ecosystem here.

First of all let me show this interesting photo of the Ants.Well actually, that twig is sticking out of one of the ant holes in our back patio.Chance and I have been watching the Ants over the last many weeks and we have noticed an interesting thing the Ants do.
The Ants weather vane.

The day before it starts to rain here the Ants fill their holes with twigs that are up to 10 inches long.The twigs are placed evenly across the patio stones,about 8 inches apart in fairly straight lines.When our pear tree was loosing it's blossoms,the Ants used the base of the blossoms as tiny green umbrellas.Once in a while they also use little leaves like the pear blossoms.Once the sun is due to be out for several days the twigs and other bits are gone like magic.

We have never seen the Ants busy at their work. We are very fascinated  about this whole thing. How on Earth do they get those long twigs in those tiny holes?Sometimes the twigs are pulled down a few inches.I think pulling a twig in the hole would be easier than pulling one out,right? How do they know the rain will be here the next day? And why are they doing this? To keep rain out? To funnel it in but keeping it from being a gush of water,more drip/trickle like? 

I searched all over Google for information but mostly I found how to kill the Ants.I finally found " Ant Blog " based from The Field Museum in Chicago.The blog postings are based on peoples Ant questions.I emailed them my question and the same photo,I am still waiting to hear from them the answer for what the Ants in my yard are up to.

Bee House.
 The photo above is an old bird house that fell from the back fence.We had set it under our pear tree last fall to keep it out of the way.Then this spring when we started our yard work we noticed that someone had moved in.There is a family of bumble type Bees living in the house now.We have left the house to encourage the Bees to stay.While peering into the hole one day a Bee came zipping over  my shoulder and into its home,not worried one bit about what I was up to.Chance has a snake like flashlight for motor repair that we used to also look into the hole.There is an old birds nest that the bees seem to be using as the base for their own home.

We are more than happy to have the Bees living here.We see them out and about in the yard going about their days as busy as Bees can be.

Since they are a bumble Bee there's no hope of finding much honey in the hive but the Bees are useful any way.I read here that Bumble Bees do make honey but only a few ounces.The article also says the Bumble Bees will die in the fall but the Queen will live on.So we will leave them alone and let them live with us and hope the Queen stays and we have our Bee friends next year.

I have no photos of either creature.The Ants are tiny sidewalk type Ants,that are too small for my camera.The Bees are too busy to hold still for a photo.I tried to Google a photo of the Bees but could not find one that looked like ours.And after a couple of pages of images,things were no longer looking like my search so I gave up.Google can be a strange thing that way.

Hrafinstaad is looking green and lush this time of year.The gardens and fruit trees are full and growing.Sometime in the coming week will be finally butchering the Turkey's,something I am more than ready to do.I don't think I would want to raise Turkey's in the city again.Only because of their size verses anything majorly hard about them.They have been quirky homestead mates for sure.