* * * * * * *

"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Back in the Saddle Again

Goooood Morning, Vietnam!

Okay, okay . . . channeling my inner Robin Williams this morning . . . Good Morning, Dear Readers!  Doesn't have quite the same ring, but you get it.

First off, I'm thinking of all of you on the East Coast this morning.  I got a note from Erin at Garden Now - Think Later, and they fared better than most, she said.  The family was heading outside to survey the damage and start yard clean-up.  That's what I know so far.  (And I see she just put up a post regarding same.)  Now for Susan at e-i-e-i-omg?  How about YOU?  Lisa in Delaware?  Please check in!  Karen L. and Peggy in North Carolina - are you both far enough inland that Irene missed you?  As Ms. Apple Pie said after last week's earthquake hit the East Coast and she was worrying about Erin, we bloggers need a phone tree . . . or at least an e-mail tree!  :)

So.  As my new header image indicates, I am back in the proverbial saddle again!  (And I wish I looked like that pin-up girl in the image, but that ain't gonna happen.)  Yesterday provided me a nice break from any real time to think about The Situation (and no, I don't mean the guy from 'Jersey Shore'), and that was great!  I had a full, fairly exhausting day beginning with taking care of Bundle of Joy again and then zipping into town to help Mama and Papa Pea with this year's honey extraction.  I'm sure you'll get a full blog post from her regarding same, but I'll share some images here, too.

First, though, Bundle of Joy.  Her daddy came home for lunch, and she couldn't wait to put on his work boots and cap.  Purdy cute!

When her mama came home from work, it was time for Changing of the Guards and then I headed into town for the sweet (yuk, yuk) project at hand.  Speaking of hands . . . I wasn't as much help as I could have / should have been yesterday!  The messiest job during honey extraction is decapping the frames (and requires two strong hands - one to hold the frame, one to wield the knife).  Buuuut, in timely fashion, I did this to my hand and wrist Friday afternoon:

Just call me Puff Mama!  This is my hand and wrist ("Wrist?  WHERE?") this morning.  Oh, and the dark is SHADOW not bruising!  Ha ha!  Although, were it bruising, it would be a better indication of how it feels!
Anyway, it was a good lesson learned with no bones broken.  Just about every tendon in most of the fingers of my left hand and wrist were wrenched out of (any normal) position, though.

So, you know those piles of scrap lumber that you keep looking at and saying, "I have GOT to do something with that or I'm going to trip over it and kill myself ones of these days!"?  Yup.  'Bout did kill myself.  Said pile is in the woodshed.  I was walking out of the woodshed with two five-gallon pails in hand while sidling around the wheelbarrow and trying to step over the pile.  Apparently, my right foot didn't clear it.  Suddenly (and too late!) I felt that "oh, sh*t!" moment when you know it's too late to catch your balance.  

The pails landed about 10 feet in front of me as I slammed down on the concrete floor of the woodshed.  My right kneecap struck first and then my torso went WHAM!  My head and shoulders landed in the gravel just outside.  I went down so fast, and with the buckets in hand, that I didn't have a chance to get my arms out in order to catch myself.

The second I landed, I couldn't breathe.  Geez, I thought, did I hit hard enough to knock the air out of my lungs?  Noooo . . . it was the PAIN that took my breath away!  Besides the pain in my right knee, something was NOT RIGHT with my left hand.  And, WHERE THE HECK was my left hand??  Somehow (you can call me 'Grace', too), I'd caught my left arm and hand underneath my torso and the fingers of my left hand (hang on, this is cringe-worthy) were completely bent BACKWARDS underneath my weight.  Holy mother of . . . all things painful!

Slowly, I got myself up and made sure my knee still bent.  (It did.)  I hobbled into the house and got an ice pack and bag of "injury peas" out of the freezer.  A liberal sploosh of white wine into that morning's empty coffee cup was applied orally.  After icing all the painful parts for a while and testing each joint & bone, I knew nothing was broken.  As Mama Pea said, thank goodness for our strong bones!

But, lordy, lordy:  what an idiot.  As I was saying to Mom last night, I'm always so careful when working with chainsaws or doing something like climbing up a ladder onto the roof . . . but it's the dumb little stuff that we leave lying around "until we can get to it" that ends up causing the problems!  Lesson learned.  Pile of scrap lumber will be cleaned up.  Jeez.  Idget.

So, now you know why I wasn't part of the decapping detail yesterday!  I tried my (good) hand - yuk, yuk - at the extractor but was kicked off that detail, too, when I tried to overcompensate for my limited abilities and spun the thing too hard . . . almost blowing out the internal wiring of one frame!  Oops.

Finally, we found a do-able job for me where I didn't feel like a complete waste:  I got to be the bottler.  :)

But, really, I suppose we should go in order, yes?

Above and below:  decapping frames.

I'm tickled to say that I am the recipient of all these cappings!  I'm going to cook them down today.  Stay tuned.
Above:  Mom & Dad extracting honey in 2011 on the left; Mom & Dad extracting honey 30 years - gak, NO 40!! years - earlier in 1971!

Coaxing the Grade B through the filter.
Above and below:  for some INSANE reason (okay, so it was the end of the day and exhaustion had set in), Mom offered to be the one to stick his/her arm into the extractor to push the very last of the honey through the drain.  As she stepped up to it, though, she said, "Oh.  I don't think my arms are long enough!"  Dad and I assured her to, "Try.  Just try!"  ;)

And, that's it!  Finito!  We got 105 lbs. of the good stuff . . . not counting what I'll get from the cappings today in both honey & candle wax!
I'll be on the look-out for mom's recap (ha - pun unintential!) of the same process.  Should be fun to read the similarities / differences!  :)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Why do your photos of the great extracting event look so much more "artsy" than mine? (Never mind. There are uncountable reasons why. Sigh.)

  3. Wow, that looks so very good. I'm impressed, and wish I could coax my bees to perform as well. Unfortunately, we've lost all our swarms, I think to the commercial farmers around us who spray. What wonderful things will you be doing with all that wax from the cappings? It's a marvelous thing you're doing.

  4. I love Honey but bees dont survive here n Delaware. Too much pollution I guess. Everyone in Delaware faired well in storm. Definently less invasive then predicted.Flooding all around but predictable since most ground is below sea level.

  5. OUCH!!! :oD Puff Mama! HA!

    You are such a goof!

  6. Holy mother of all things painful! That sounds and looks incredibly painful, W. Are you sure you didn't break anything? Geez. It sounds like we have same type of ice pack in the freezer - those handy bags of peas! That is really nice, dark honey. Mine always tended to be light. Hope you're feeling less ouch-y tonight. Be careful of those piles.

  7. I love those comparison photos! Shows that no matter how much things change, certain tasks are always comfortingly the same! The boots had me laughing - When Finn was that age we used to put him into daddy's combat boots and once we realized he couldn't really move we laughed and started calling them "Time-Out Boots"!

  8. Thanks for thinking of us in NC. Yes, I am in the north central piedmont area of NC so all we got were grey skies, stronger than normal winds, and about 5 or 10 minutes of rain. Boy, do we ever need rain!!! Hope you hand is feeling better. What sweet (pun intended) memories I have of extracting honey with my Dad back in NJ where I grew up. He had several hives on friends' farms and in our backyard in suburbia. I vividly remember mowing around that hive. Also I remember moving a hive once with our dog in the car. She was not a happy camper. Thanks for setting those memories off. Now, be careful while that hand mends.


If you are familiar with me and where I live, please respect my right to retain some anonymity by not referring to me by anything other than Chicken Mama nor mentioning city/town/villages by place names. Thanks!