Operation replace every outlet receptacle in the house

Many of the outlets in our house are loose. It’s odd that so many are loose, I’ve never encountered such a phenomenon anywhere else. Perhaps it’s a case where if there is a flaw in an item, and all items are made the same way, they will fail the same way given identical usage.

Add these loose outlets to the fact we now have an infant who will be crawling before we know it, and outlet covers don’t work so well in loose outlets, replacing the outlet receptacles has become a high priority.

I bought a 10-pack of tamper resistant outlets. I plan to replace the loosest of the loose outlets and the outlets in the nursery. Hopefully the tamper resistant outlets won’t be adult proof as well.

Waiting waiting waiting

Well, we moved! Way back in May. The hubs and I have been getting used to the house and figuring out how we use it. The list of tweaks and improvements is growing, but alas, I’m quite pregnant and not up to doing any improvements, large or small. So the list grows.

The bees are living in an atrium, and they seem to be surviving. I’m not sure they’re getting enough honey stored to get them through the winter, though. They are definitely not making enough for us to take any from them. Bummer.

Lots of waiting going on around here. Waiting for the child. Waiting until I am spry again. Just waiting.

Bee Check: May 11

It’s been two weeks since we opened the hive last. This past week has been quite warm. The hive is in a yard that faces south west, so this time of year it starts getting sun in the late morning. Rob opened the hive around 3:30, when the hive was in full sun. Did I mention it’s quite warm? We were sweating out there.

Rob opened the hive and as soon as he lifted off the inner cover honey started dripping onto the ground. The bees were also building comb on top of the bars. The husband scraped the excess comb off the top, then took a look at the outer most frames. The bees have built comb out on all the frames and there’s capped honey in there as well.

Here’s the thing: we’re moving in a week. We really, really wanted to avoid putting another box on the hive before the move. But, with the level of build out, we decided that we had to put another box on or risk a swarm. So we put a medium on. If we weren’t moving, we’d have put a deep on.

I continue to be amazed at how chill the bees are. Even with hive open, frame in Rob’s hands, we can stand a couple feet from the hive and chat and the bees just don’t care about us.

I think the maple flowers have all fallen off, but the bees still fly off in the direction of those trees and the community college campus. In the immediate vicinity,┬árhododendrons are in bloom everywhere. I see the bees landing on the leaves, there are so many bushes you can’t avoid them, but I don’t think I’ve seen the bees foraging from the flowers. I will pay closer attention this coming week. I’m really weak in my flower knowledge and in my knowledge of Oregon’s flowers. Something to address in the coming year.

I’m a little worried about moving the hive. The hive is located at the bottom of a hill and there isn’t really a good route up to the street. We have straps. We have a dolly that’s up to the task. But there will be bumps. We have the hive boxes stapled together to ensure they don’t slide apart in transit. Due to the path to the street, I think we’ll move the bees right around dawn so that we can see what we’re doing.

Bee Check: April 27

Rogue Comb The bees have been in for a week, so the husband opened the hive up to see how they were doing and the status of their food. The bees were (a) still in residence and (b) building comb, so I’d say that was a success. Unfortunately, they are more inclined to build comb around the food than in their frames. So the husband cleaned up the rogue comb, took out the food and closed up the hive.

The bees have been flying out in the direction of a bunch of maple trees that are still flowering, as well as a community college campus. I’m not sure what’s blooming over there. The weather has been great in the area lately. Sunshine, temperate days, cool but not cold nights.

Bee installation

Today Rob transferred the bee frames from the nuc to the forever (knock on wood) hive.The weather was kind of icky. Overcast, temperatures in the 50s, sporadic light drizzles. Since the hive is sheltered by a tall deck, I don’t think they felt the drizzle.

I watched from a safe distance. We don’t yet have two sets of protective covering — the jacket fits both of us under normal circumstances. We bought it when I wasn’t quite so pregnant, so it may no longer fit around the belly. I want to make sure this colony is fairly non-aggressive before handling them. They seemed pretty chill. They did not swarm around Rob, nor did they fly at him aggressively. A couple curious bees landed on his back and head and rode around there for a while.

The most difficult part of transferring the frames appeared to be getting the frames out of the box without squishing bees. I believe there were several bee casualties.

We gave the bees some food and put the entrance reducer at the hive entrance. We will check them next weekend to see how they’re doing. All in all, bee installation was a success.
Frame Transfer

Bees have arrived

nucinplaceBees are here! This morning the husband and I dragged ourselves out of the house and over to Portland’s east side to pick up a nuc from Tim and Glen of Bridgetown Bees. Transporting the nuc back was fairly uneventful. No bees escaped. The car did not crash, and 10,000 bees did not go nuts inside the car.

Rob took the colony to its temporary home under the deck, they get nice afternoon light and a bit of protection from the wind, set it on a level surface, and let the bees go out and about. Rob made a perimeter out of chicken wire to prevent the in-laws’ dog from inspecting the the hive.

Tomorrow or Monday Rob will transfer the nuc frames to their forever-hive-box. That should be exciting.

How many dish sets does one really need?

One month from tomorrow we will be closing on our very first house (knock on wood). This is exciting and daunting. Exciting because we will have our own space again, I can get to work amassing baby supplies, the husband and I won’t have to walk the dogs three or more times a day. The dogs will have a yard to hang out in — Lizzie especially loves existing in the outdoors.

The daunting part is the actual moving. I did some purging before packing up the pod. Unfortunately, when we were really in pack-mode, I was ill, so I didn’t have the energy or will to go through my stuff like I would have wanted. So, I’m trying to pump myself up for a bit of purging as we move things in. My biggest problem areas weren’t put into boxes, nope, they were left in the drawers that they live in. Out of site, out of mind. They’re craft supplies and linens, and those are fine, but what are not fine is a bunch of papers and business cards and such that I really don’t need or that should be filed. My quilting supplies easily get out of hand.

And then there’s random things. Souvenirs from foreign countries; coin collections; tchotchkes.

I’ve been watching Hoarders: Buried Alive lately. It’s pretty desperate viewing; there are better things I could be doing. But it’s mindless, and it’s helping me contemplate my own collection of stuff. I also came across a book (a collection of blog posts put together and sold as a book) that is a collection of thoughts on minimalism on amazon that is part of their free lending to prime library … it is free, so I checked it out.

I have no desire to live a minimalist life. I firmly believe there is a happy-medium between stuff and lack of stuff, and that happy-medium is not in the minimal-zone. Not at all. I’ve known this for a while. Other minimalists whose thoughts I’ve read struck me as, well, nicely put, not for me.

The result of all this contemplation of stuff is:

  • The collections must go. I do not need a coin collection. I do not need a stamp collection. I’m actually not sure what other collections I have.
  • Great-grandmother’s dish set must go. It’s going on eighty-five years old. It is not approved for eating on. It has no function. Yes, it’s pretty, but 6-place settings is a lot of excess pretty. Not only is this a non-functional dish set, I have four other dish sets that are completely functional. One set is every day, one set is Christmas, and two sets are pretty. I don’t know how I’m going to properly get rid of this set, but I will. “Unfortunately”, the dish set has value, so I need to take time to figure out how to best sell it. Easy would be giving it to charity. Easy would be selling it locally as a set. Maximum profit will probably involve a couple years and ebay.
  • I need to make some sort of arrangement with myself about craft supplies and hobbies. I have quite a few unfinished projects. I either need to finish them or get rid of the supplies.
  • I maybe should get rid of another dish set…

One of the dogs is crying. I should probably see what that is about.

Frame Assembly

The bees are coming next week! And we’ve done nothing with the hive since building it. So, today we took a last-minute trip out to Ruhl Bee Supply for, well, supplies. We needed some fundamental supplies: jacket + veil, gloves, smoker, bee food, hive tool (probably don’t need that right this very minute, but we will).

Today we sealed the hive. We decided to seal inside and outside the hive with low-VOC wood sealer. We’re pretty sure it was watered down Elmer’s glue. I think I’ll paint the outside of the hive white at some point this week. We waffled over whether to seal the inside, but figured that with all the moisture in the area it couldn’t hurt. If we were still in Denver we wouldn’t have bothered with any wood sealer.

We also started assembling the frames. The minimum we need are 8, but the process seemed to go so quickly we did all 24. We’re not sure how well we assembled the frames — whether or not they’ll hold the comb and such — but we’ll find out and adjust as necessary.

Hive frames for 2 deeps and 1 medium

Hive frames for 2 deeps and 1 medium

There’s a lot of information on beekeeping, but despite reading all the information, I feel completely unprepared to actually bee keep. Bee keeping seems like the sort of task highly suited to apprenticing.

Today Rob told one of the neighbor’s we’d have a hive here for 4 weeks. The neighbor was very receptive to the idea, which was nice. In fact, he has an antique hive that he has no idea what to do with. We’ll show him our hive once it’s up and running. He is in the middle of a multi-year landscaping effort. Right now his raised beds are filled with tulips about to bloom. It will be interesting to see what else pops up in them.

And then it was April

March passed without an update here on good old Delicious Years. There wasn’t really anything to update.

Nothing’s happened on the bee front. We need to get the hive sealed and painted within the next couple of weeks, though.

During the first half of the month we house hunted. Our wants were simple: big yard, lots of light in the house, quiet street, close to mass transit, in-between Hillsboro and downtown Portland, three bedrooms, two bathrooms (but four beds/two baths would be great), a not-too-open floor plan. Alas, Portland really doesn’t do big yards, only houses that are really new have lots of windows, and we want a house in a mature neighborhood. Our poor Realtor.

We found a house though! It was above our price range, but we were able to come to an agreement with the sellers. The house is pretty neat. There is a very nice sized yard for the area. We won’t be growing fields of lavender, but the dogs and the child will have lots of room. There is also a really nice front patio. The house gets so much light, it’s by far my favorite thing. There is an atrium in the center of the main living areas that lets a lot of that light in. The kitchen isn’t updated, and that’s okay. The current kitchen is totally functional and fits with the aesthetic of the house. There are three bedrooms and two baths. The bedrooms are a nice size, and the master bedroom is very nice. The house is in move-in condition, which, considering I’ll be 7 months pregnant when we move is a Very Good Thing.

Right now we’ll getting the house purchase squared away. We just finished up with inspections and estimates on some repairs that will be needed soon. Hopefully everything keeps going smoothly. We met one of the sellers during the inspection and she was a very lovely woman. She gave me a recommendation for a good vet nearby, which is great because the dogs need shots this month.

Next thing is to take care of child related things. Finding child care. Finding child birth classes. Finding a doula. Figuring out what kind of car seat we want. etc etc etc… The kid is getting bigger. In the last week I’ve been able to feel it moving around a lot more, and if I’m laying down I can see my skin move when it kicks. It’s a little unreal.

The weather has been wonderful these past couple of days. I hope it holds out a wee bit longer. The trees and spring flowers are blooming, birds are singing. It’s a great time to be in Portland.

Hive Assembled!

HiveIn the way of “Just get it done,” Monday evening the husband and I assembled the hive. The husband has a 6th sense of where one can find the tools one needs around here, so we had all the tools we needed: hammer, drill, drill index, ear plugs. Tangent: Until this exercise, I had never encountered the term “drill index”. I just called things which held a bunch of drill bits “drill bits” or “drill bit case”. Learn something new every day!

Being February, the correct space to put together pieces of wood is freezing, and it’s also down a steep incline with stairs that would like nothing more than to eat a human foot. So, we ended up putting the hive together in a room we affectionately call the cave (because it get very little outside light and chilly when the room’s heat is off), which is a sort of bonus room under the garage, not insulated. It wasn’t the best place to do such work, but it was warm.

HammerThe actual assembly wasn’t so bad. For people who don’t mind hammering and gluing, hive assembly will not be particularly difficult. I do recommend ear protection in the event one has to coax the joints together. Hammering on wood is loud! We drilled pilot holes for the nails to avoid any wood splitting, put glue in the joints, and added nails. This hive is never coming apart. We used a rectangular card to verify that the boxes were indeed rectangular, with good rectangular right angles. When we do this again, I’ll probably use a small carpenter’s square for the task. But a card works well enough. The real test will be when we put the frames in.

So that’s that. The hive is assembled. Next up is assembling the frames. We need to obtain the correct size nails for that. We also need to prime and paint the hive. We still have plenty of time to get it done. The bees are coming April 20th, which gives us a good 7 weeks to get everything squared away.