Be true to who you are…..

And the family name you bear……

Monday, August 10, 2015

Get To Know....


This humble weed that grows in your yard could turn out to be your best friend this summer...

Plantain... Psyllium.... it has many names and many uses but today I would just like to share one use and that is topical.

We were preparing for the arrival of tropical storm Bill... the weather man is predicting 6-9 inches of additional rainfall on a Missouri that is already drowning from continual rain.  I was worried about a few of my hives and needed to work with them a bit.

I didn't want to... in fact I would have rather pounded my big toe with a hammer than work those bees.  There is nothing crankier than a hive of bees with cabin fever. nothing.  And these poor girls had been rained in for days upon days.

I had lifted the lid on a second hive and all was going as expected, they were clinging to my veil and bouncing off my suit but I was safely inside and getting my work done.  All that changed though when one little gal realized that my pony tail was hanging out the back of my hood and squeezed into my veil, leaving a pheromone trail, another handful of ladies had no trouble following her on in.

They stung me all over my face and neck.  I was far from home and didn't have a mirror so the only thing I could do was leave them and head for the house.  By the time I got there all of the sacs had drained every drop of venom into my face.

As I walked through the yard to the house I grabbed a plantain weed and tossed it to Bethany. While I removed stingers, she ground it up in the blender with a small amount of water to make a poultice.  We began applying it with a washcloth to every sting we could make out.  It looked like someone had shot me with a salad shooter.

BTW~ I apologize for the great view of my nasal cavity.. I was born before the selfie generation..

Four hours later, I made it to church looking almost normal... you can still see swelling along my chin line but the stings on my cheeks and neck are completely gone and my lips are almost normal... and again, there is my charming nose...

Plantain is not a substitute for Benadryl especially if you are allergic to bites and stings and I am not a doctor.   I can only tell you that it effectively works for my family.  We usually try to keep some ground up in vinegar during mosquito season.  How great a God we serve that considers and provides for even small matters like bee stings.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Mile High..

We have had a lot of rain.... A LOT of rain. and it's kept the bees cooped up.  The first nice day we had a while back, I inspected hives.  I noticed that one of the packages I installed in April had exploded and was building swarm cells..  I moved several of those cells into a hive that had recently lost their queen and began to destroy the rest.

As I squished the rest I gave the girls a pep talk.. "There is no need for this girls, it's only the rain keeping you penned up.  It'll end soon and you'll be able to get out more.  Here, I'll give you another box."   Well, somewhere between the squishing and preaching.... I missed a cell... and it doesn't matter how much additional space you give them, if you miss a cell ~ they're going to swarm.

And swarm they did...

On Monday, while I was fighting a nasty cold.

 I walked to the bee yard to let the sun soak into my bones and it was then that I spotted them, hanging at the top of an Oak tree some fifty feet or better in the air.  Why couldn't they have chosen a cedar?   I've caught swarms out of tall cedars before.. their branches are so dense that when you cut it, the tree rolls down kinda slow like and you collect your swarm and go home..

Not so with an Oak.. they fall, well, they fall hard like a mighty Oak tree... blah!   The first tree hit the ground and I wade into the branches, praying I hadn't hurt the bees too bad... I find them just as the queen takes off flying and am caught in a whirlwind of bees (It was actually kinda cool at the moment)




and yes, still..... UP

she went to the top of the next Oak.....really?.....crank up the chain saw ... down it comes.... up she goes..... I can't get into her fast enough and she's not about to wait so we keep repeating the same steps over and over. She got so good at it, I swear,  she would fly and be in the next tree before the last one hit the ground...  With no short trees in sight, she mocks me all afternoon.

About the time enough timber has been cut to keep us warm for the next three winters, Shane comes home from work and drives out to the bee yard... In a single instant the poor man is faced with.....

1) His wife, slinging snot and slightly delirious thanks to her head cold,

2) She is bawling because she is ticked (and that did nothing to help her snot slinging)

3) The dead remains of at least six or seven huge, oak trees. His wife responsible for their murder.

4) piles of branches and bark, cut away from the carcasses in failed attempts to reach the swarm before it flies again.

And the only explanation he is given is a finger pointed to the skyline, far above our heads where there hangs one defiant bundle of bees...

 So no one should be surprised when he says......"WOMAN!" ...uhh.... yeah, I don't think we really need to go into all that he said, it was a shock to his system after all.....I'll just paraphrase this next part.

..........I am not allowed to cut down ANY more trees..........

And the bees will be allowed to go.  I went home. I went to bed.  But not before I hung a swarm trap, set up an empty hive and drenched the entire mess in Lemon grass oil.. The forest smelled like it had been properly dusted at any rate.

Tuesday morning I was in the bee yard bright and early.  They were still there hanging in the tree.  They hung there all day.  I know this because I did too.  When the boys got home from work, I had Zac go back and help me clean up my mess of ladders and boxes and such.

While we were back there the girls left.

I called Shane to let him know.  He replied "Good, now you can quit staring at them, Shell, you're going to make yourself nuts."  He has such deep sympathy for me.

I told Zachary, with 30 acres of timber that we wouldn't find them this summer but while he was hunting this fall, after the leaves were gone, to keep his eyes open and we could possibly cut them out next Spring.

Little did I know...

As we returned home, Cody asked me if I knew where they went?


"Come here, mom."

He leads me to my front yard, and there happily humming is my swarm gathering around a hole way, way up in another oak tree.  All that timber and she brings it to my front yard.

She mocks me yet.

I sit here this morning, at the base of that tree looking skyward, like I have done for the past three days. She and her ladies are inside this tree, setting up house like her ancestors have done for the past six thousand years....... maybe she and I can just call a truce..... after all, I might enjoy having a mile high hive... I don't need anymore firewood, and I am grounded from the chainsaw......

So here's to a heart that refused to be tamed.

and Girl, I'll be looking for you next swarm season...

or should I say......

I'll catch ya later.

Monday, March 30, 2015


It was a bright and beautiful Spring day. The bees were working the early blossoms of the Forsythia tree and a rooster crowed in the court yard.. I lazily sipped my coffee and then headed out to attend morning chores....

Alright, that is a lie.... a big fat lie.. not that I haven't had farm mornings like that..... oh, wait...., I have never had a farm morning like that.

Truth is.. it is 37* out there right now, the wind is whipping and it is trying to snow big, wet flakes.

And my cow... my cow decides she is going to see if her big head will fit in the fork of a tree...

Turns out, yes indeed,  it'll fit. Removing it, however, will prove a different matter entirely...

I had seen her in the distance, standing alone.  I thought "Finally! We are going to have babies start hitting the ground."

No. Such. Luck.

Oh well, getting her unstuck will be a simple matter.. I just need to build a ramp on the back side for her to stand on until her head is high enough to come out the wider part of the fork..

Easier said than done.

I began gathering logs and rocks and placing them in front of her feet.  But, she can't see her feet and can't see what I am doing so while placing logs,  I am also dodging kicks and trying not to get smashed as she attempts to blindly defend herself..

After I have the ramp high enough I push her onto it and all that is left is for her to lift her head and back out.  Except... for whatever freak of nature reason, when cows back up they put their head down and when she puts hers down it is too low in the V and we are back to square one.  I run around to the front and lift her head up, startled that I am shoving on her, she panics and steps sideways off the ramp. I make the ramp bigger.. but it's no good... this scenario repeats it's self more times than I want to tell you about.

we have a heart to heart....

we have a come to Jesus meeting.....

I even tell her how much I love rib-eye...

I note (very sternly) there is an auction this Saturday....

nothin' doing...

It doesn't take long wrestling with an 800 lb animal before your body is exhausted.. I gently scratch her big old ears and rest my head against hers... "Girl, if you would just stand still.. stand still and I will help you. I cannot help you unless you stand there and let me."

It's no use she's too scared... it is a two person job and my girls are not allowed in the same pasture as the bull... especially when we are messing with a cow.

I call Shane, and he sends Andrew.

The extra pair of hands is all that was needed. I push her forward and hold her on the ramp and Andy pushes her head up and back.  After three tries her head busts free. She runs as fast as she can to the herd for protection and comfort.

God's creation has always taught me my best lessons.  I wonder today, how many times have I wearied the Lord?  Oh, I know, He doesn't get physically tired but how many times have I tore into a problem in complete panic, like my hair was on fire, and all I needed to do was stand still?

I'm a mom, our job is to fix things. right? Wrong.

My job is to pray.... listen....

When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the Lord thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto battle, that the Priest shall approach and speak unto the people, and shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies:

let not your hearts faint,

fear not,

and do not tremble,

neither be ye terrified because of them;

For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. Deut 20

Did He bring you out of Egypt? Has He saved your soul? If we can trust Him with our salvation... why is it so hard to trust Him in the little things too?  Can we hear our High Priest? Or are we too busy shouting our own directions?  And lastly, God goes with us but He does not fight with us... He fights for us... without us..... He is the one who does the fighting and guess what?  He wins. He already won 2,000 years ago.  The only thing left is the mop up.  What a small god we must imagine if we think he needs help from us...

So today, I resolve

to pray.

to listen.

to stand still.

especially in the storm.

especially when I cannot see.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How to Worm a Cody...

Step 1:  While feeding Hogs, notice the male has ear mites. Determine they are bad enough to need medication..

Step 2:  Return to the house and make a large peanut butter sandwich. Inject enough Ivermectin into the bread to treat an eight hundred pound pig.

Step 3:  Smell it and decide to drench it in Maple syrup to help mask the medicine even more.

Step 4:  Walk away to give David instructions for feeding the sandwich to the pig.

Step 5:  Return to find Cody leaning over the plate, watch as sandwich and drool flies out of his mouth as he attempts to tell you that your sandwich tastes like a turd.

Step 6:  Resist the urge to tell Cody what you are really thinking at that moment.

Step 7:  Fail at step six.

Step 8:  Instruct Cody to spit the sandwich out immediately and rinse his mouth.

Step 9:  Rest in the knowledge that both Amish People and Third World Countries use Ivermectin on their children.

Step 10: Think about sending Cody to a third world country.

Step 11: Be astonished that you are no longer astonished that Cody has an iron stomach and survived.... yet again.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Stumbling Blocks...

This is not a normal post. Yet, it's what my children need to hear me say.

I am glad at times that no one can see my dashboard... my drafts.  Sometimes a subject creates in me such emotion that words and thoughts fly out at a rapid pace and jumble themselves together as to make me appear crazy.. those posts never make it here they just sit unpublished.

This will be my third attempt to write on one subject... Submission.... or to be more precise Obedience...

And while there are pages that I have written on the subject, today I promise to make this short so the point will not be lost.

Here is my question..

Why do people, and more embarrassingly Christians, consider submission and obedience to be signs of weakness and immaturity?

Stop and think.. honestly.

 I am having a hard time understanding.

When a person doesn't get their way and they moan, cry and stamp their foot what do we compare them to?  A two year old, right?


Because a child of the age of two is immature.  They don't have the mental strength to make themselves obey.

So here is the twist, when a woman or young adult seeks to honor God by honoring their head.  Seek to "salute the uniform" so to speak and make a CHOICE to lay down their will in deference to another... why is that weak or immature?

Laying down your will is hard.

It takes Strength.

It takes honor.

It takes dignity.

It takes a discipline of the mind and body that few possess.

On the contrary, demanding your own way takes no skill at all... a two year old can do it.

Moreover, this skill that you mock ~ it is one that God requires. I promised to keep this short, we all know the verses to some extent right?  Please be warned that when you throw your "door mat" philosophy at my family it flies over our heads and smacks God right in the face.

Now that's a sobering thought.

Can I just ask two favors...

Please don't waste your time telling me all the reasons that submission and obedience would never work in your family.  Save your excuses for the One who made the rules.

And second

Please don't waste my time telling me why it won't work in my family, you're too late, we already know better.

May you profit. Hebrews 13:17