Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Hive of Activity

The big brown truck drove up our driveway this afternoon delivering a much anticipated package - two packages actually.

We have had bees for years, off and on, however, all of our equipment was scavenged from here and there.  None of our hives fit together very well, being made by different people at different times.  All of our bottom boards were rotting and our hive bodies beginning to fall apart.  This year, we decided to make an investment in our honey bees.  We ordered beautiful new English Garden Hives from Brushy Mountain Bees.  Sir Knight and I have started off with two new hives, although Maid Elizabeth has plans to order two more.

Unwrapping the frames

The bottom board
Our new hives are untreated wood, so they will need to be either painted or verathaned.  I plan to just verathane them and enjoy the natural beauty of the wood.  Until then I will be putting them on a table at the foot of the stairs and enjoy seeing them in all their glory.  The  copper tops can be polished or allowed to acquire a lovely weathered-green patina (my choice, I think).

Maid Elizabeth and I will be busy getting the hives ready for their new inhabitants, which will be delivered in April (I'm pretty sure the post-mistress will love me!).  Until then, I will just bask in the beauty of my lovely new English Garden Hives!

(As much fun as we had opening the boxes, Master Calvin in his best friend Hobbes had more fun playing in the empty boxes and packaging.  It was a big day!)

Master Calvin

Calvin & Hobbes

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Perfect Moments in Time

Yesterday was a perfect winter day.  The snow fell gently, dressing the trees in spotless garments of white and covering the prairie with a thick winter blanket.

After the children had finished their school they bundled up in their woolens and boots and spent hours catching snowflakes on their tongues and creating a well-dressed snowfolk family.  As they played, I trekked through the snow, marveling at the inspiring beauty that met my eye at every turn.  Oh, the glorious, awesome world that was created for our perfect enjoyment!

Shaking the snow from my boots, I stepped into Little Shouse and began the business of preparing for afternoon tea.  As the cookstove boiled merrily along, I mixed and kneaded and reveled in the simple routine of homemaking.

As Sir Knight drove up the drive, the children hustled in from the cold, laying their snow things aside.  While Sir Knight, Master Hand Grenade, Miss Serenity and I enjoyed tea and cinnamon rolls in the kitchen, Princess Dragon Snack and Master Calvin sipped cocoa near-by.  It was a perfect moment in time - a sweet time of fellowship on a cold winters day.

I hope all of you have an opportunity to experience at least one perfect moment in time.  My best wishes for a beautiful winter.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Point of No Return

I am an optimist by nature.  I always have been.  I have been of the belief that anything that can be done can be undone.  In my heart of hearts I would still like to believe that, however, I have recently come to the sorrowful conclusion that the United States of American has quietly, blindly slid past the point of no return.

When our country came into being it was populated by rugged, double-tough individuals seeking a home - a place to live or die in freedom.  Their backgrounds were as varied as the countries from which they hailed, but they all came to these shores with a common dream - freedom.  These people were willing to endure every hardship known to mankind, every deprivation, every tribulation and sorrow, all for the promise of one simple ideal - Freedom.

Our fore-bearers starved to death, succumbed to rampant disease and were laid waste by the harsh elements of what would become our newly born country.  They buried their wives, their children and their kindred, but through all of their afflictions, the one thing they never buried was that one glimmering hope - the hope of establishing a country of free men for themselves and their posterity.  These men and women chose to give up the comfort of the known - of their friends and family, of their homes and their countries, and exchange it for almost certain death in a remarkably brave attempt to secure the one thing for their families that was impossible in their countries of origin - Freedom.  It was these people that bore our country, that travailed and labored to bring forth that legacy most rare - the legacy of freedom.  They paid the price for us to be free from the tyranny of our fellow man.  They paid for our freedom to succeed - or fail, without interference.  They paid for us to be free men, not citizens or subjects -but free men directing our own destinies.  They paid for our freedom with their very blood but it is we, their legacy, who have buried them.  We have laid to rest what they so valiantly bled and died for - our freedom.

So, why do I believe we have sailed past the point of no return?  Simply because we are no longer what we once were.  We are soft as butter, with no stomach for the harsh realities of real life.  We are weak willed and weak minded, perfectly comfortable being provided for by our kindly benefactors that want what is best for collective at the expense of the individual.  We live our lives in fear - fear of being responsible for our own selves. Can you imagine being willing to sacrifice yourself or your family for the betterment of your fellow man?  Can you imagine denying your children their next meal because you didn't have the money to pay for it?  Can you imagine providing for yourself without the help of food stamps, Obamacare or unemployment?  Can you imagine telling your government "this far and no farther"?!  Can you imagine having to work in order to eat?  Or not being able to go to the emergency room?  Or *gasp* not being able access the internet?  What about not being able to use your GPS to navigate your neighborhood?  Can you, for even a moment, imagine what life would be like without a supermarket, electricity or telephones?  How would your children survive without hall monitors and teachers solving their interpersonal problems?  What if you couldn't call the police?  How would you survive with no restaurants, butchers or dairies?  How would you manage to feed your family without prepackaged food and thermostatically controlled ovens?  What would you do without flushing toilets, hot water or washing machines?  How would you manage without your anti-depressants and pain killers?

Our ancestors built a free country with nothing more than their faith in God, their disciplined minds and their own two hands.  They bled and struggled and died for a mere idea - we won't tolerate a hang nail. They built a country while providing EVERYTHING for their own survival - food, clothing, shelter - we can barely bake bread, much less grow the grain needed to grind.  They raised sheep, spun their wool, wove the threads into cloth and dyed and sewed that cloth into clothing.  We can hardly thread a needle.  And while they provided for their every need, they built towns and churches, stores and roads.  They were disciplined and resolute and they built a nation of unparalleled renown.

What have we done with our inherited wealth?  One in seven Americans are on food stamps.  One in five American adults (not including children) are on psychiatric drugs.  49.2% of Americans are dependent on government assistance.  We have done what is always done with inherited wealth - we have squandered our legacy.  Our ancestors fought and died for our freedom and we have exchanged our freedom for dependency - for subservient serfdom.

This country, this melting pot of cultures, has risen from the humblest of beginnings to the heights of human achievement.  And in that heady pride of achievement, we have lost the very character that allowed our culture to soar with the eagles - our integrity, our vision, our will and sheer determination.  Most importantly, we have lost our faith and our faith has been replaced with fear.  With fear has come dependency and with dependency, tyranny.  And now we are too weak to think, to persevere, to fight.  The ease and comfort that was our pride has become the very disease that has brought rottenness to our inmost parts.  We are terminal.  Nothing short of a miracle will right this United States of America.

As a nation, we have passed the point of no return.  The nation that we love is no longer.  There is hope however.  Although our inheritance may be depleted, our future is our own.  The future is what we choose to make of it.  After the inevitable "crash", when the smoke has settled, we and our children will choose a new future for ourselves.  We will choose to live our lives as free men or we will choose to settle for "safety and security".  We will choose to live for an idea or we will die in slavery and subjection.  What our future looks like will depend upon me and my children, upon you and your children.  Will you raise the bar and teach your children to govern themselves and provide for their families?  Will you live your life in faith rather than fear?  Are you willing to suffer for what you believe to be good and true?

Our country is past the point of no return, but our people are not.  Choose you this day a future to own.