"Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage."
C. S. Lewis

Come Let Us Adore Him

15 December 2011

Christmas is just around the corner - am I ready? No - but I'm trying to savor the Saviour
and the season. I've noticed that our modern culture is doing their best to erase the Christmas
of Believers. I've seen "Winter Solstice" more than I ever have before in publications and
advertising. Recently I read through the December issue of Better Homes & Gardens. I saw
Happy Holidays and Christmas cookies - but nothing about the holy celebration we hold dear. They did have one page devoted to Hanukkah cookies. Not a word about Christ, the nativity, or baby Jesus. The cashier at Home Depot, wished us "Merry Christmas" and then apologized for saying it (in case she got in trouble).

Well Merry Christmas (without apologies). Enjoy the season, the celebration. Christ, The Messiah came to us as a baby - His name is Jesus. That is what Christmas is and that is why
we celebrate it.

Come Let Us Adore Him

Change of Planes - Kansas City, Missouri

5 November 2011

On my way home from Houston, I had a connecting flight through Kansas City, MO. It isn't the most direct route home - but then again I would have missed so much . . like . . .

Robyn the sweet lady (and kindred spirit) I sat next to. I don't often converse with my seat mates - I usually am in the "zone" just trying to get home - but after a brief exchange on the purpose of this trip - we talked non stop.

When I landed - the mural in the airport told me that two of my favorite actors hailed from Kansas City - William Powell and Jean Harlow. Some other actors that made their home in Kansas City at one time - Joan Crawford, Billie Burke, Noah Beary and Wallace Beary - who knew?

When I had a bowl of chili in the airport cafe, a guy at the bar (thought he was in an episode of Cheers I guess) let everyone know (all five of us) he was ordering a "Pickle Back" and did we know what it was. I know you are dying to know too - it is a shot of Jameson Whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice - yum! He proceeded to tell all of us that you could go all night and not feel a thing with this concoction. He was so excited he bought a round of drinks for everyone at the bar - all three of them.

Only in a small town would the airline representative come to the cafe to notify you of a change of Gates in case you missed it on the public address system.

After getting on the plane as the flight attendant gave pre-flight instructions - she came to the part about the exit aisle seats and the responsibility of sitting there. Well you might have seen this coming already (I didn't) - the guy doing the Pickle Back shots at the bar is now sitting on the emergency exit aisle????? When the attendant asked them if they would accept the responsibility. Pickle Back's friend asked if he would have time to review the emergency instructions before he had to open the emergency door. Great!!!!

My new seat mate was anxiously looking out the window checking on his baggage being loaded. He was a part of several people on board conversing back and forth with each other. I asked him if he was part of a band and he told me that he was part of a documentary crew. I said, " oh that is like a band - but without the music". He didn't think that was very funny and just looked at me with a blank stare. I think I will have plenty of time on this flight.

It Is Well With My Soul. . .

18 September 2011

Every sunday I look for inspiration in our worship time. Sometimes it is a new song of praise and sometimes an old hymn. Today it was this. . .

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Horatio Spafford

The author Horatio Spafford suffered many sorrows and disappointments - all four of his daughters died while crossing the Atlantic - but he still was able to pen these words of encouragement and peace that can only be found in the Prince of Peace.

The Color White

14 September 2011

Recently on a family camping trip to Cambria, we went on a short walk along the seashore. They have a wonderful "boardwalk" that makes it accessible for strollers, wheelchairs and just "walkers". These are some photos of the beautiful flowers I saw that day - all white.

Even the pine cones had a "whiteness about them. I thought it was my imagination,
but - no they were white and almost appeared to have a "frost" on them.

Technically white is not a color, but the "absence" of color. But the flowers I saw
that day were every bit as vivid and rich as any flowers "of color".

Bees At Work

June 6, 2011

This is my bee keeper at work. We have roof tiles on top of our hive box just to prevent the wind (Tehachapi is known for it's wind) from blowing the tops off the hives. We always try to work with the bees at dusk. They return to the hive for the night and settle in - they also seem to be calmer. The last time Mr. Bee Keeper worked with them, he was stung twice. He decided to "suit up" and also had his smoker at the ready.

Upon opening the hive box, there were some dead bees on the top of the frames (not sure why?). Bees are very clean and will actually haul the dead bodies out and through the opening, dropping them to the ground.

Pulling out the frame, we were quite excited at all the comb the bees have "drawn" on this frame. This first box, known as the brooder box is almost completely built up. In the next couple of days we will add the next level box known as the "super". The super box is where the bees will continue to make honey, which will be their supply for the winter. Depending on their activity and success - if this second box is completed, we will add a third "super" box which will be where they will make honey which is above their needs for winter and which we will (hopefully) be able to harvest.

To Feed or Not To Feed

27 May 2011

Bees At Work

After two weeks, we took a peek inside our hive boxes to see how our bees were doing. Both hives have started "drawing" comb. That is a good sign. It means that they have established some food sources and are making cells to manufacture and store honey. It is essential that the bees have sufficient honey stores before winter comes - that is what they will rely on to sustain them through the cold winter months. However,we were disappointed that they hadn't drawn the quantity of comb that we were expecting. I contacted our bee expert - Bill the Bee Guy and he advised installing an internal feeder to supplement them with a sugar water formula.

Cover and "ladder" for internal feeder


The "ladder" inside the feeder is used by the bees to walk into the feeder without drowning. We installed the feeder and in a couple of weeks "we" will go back inside and see how they are doing.

My Beekeeper At Work
(notice he isn't wearing his bee suit or gloves???)

Getting Ready For Our Bees

08 May 2011

Preparing for the arrival of our bees required getting their new hive box ready. The large bottom box is called the "brooder" - this is where the queen lays her eggs. There are ten "frames" in this box for this purpose. Before eggs can be layed or honey produced, comb must be "drawn"on these frames. Many beekeepers use commercially manufactured comb cells to help the bees get started. We chose to let the bees begin their comb from scratch as they do in nature.

individual frame with rectangular cardboard inserted in frame

Melted bees wax is painted on rectangular pieces of cardboard that has been inserted in the frames.

melted bees wax

These frames are then put back in to the brood box. The queen bee will then lay her eggs in the newly formed cells. At the same time cells are being formed for the storage of honey which is food for the bees. When the bees have a surplus of honey then the beekeeper is able to harvest this excess - always making sure to leave sufficient supply for the bees.

close up of frame with "painted" beeswax

brooder box with frames in place

Finding God in Segovia

30 April 2011

There are many beautiful churches that we have seen in Spain. Some are a little worse for wear - but I can't imagine the cost involved of maintaining these enormous structures. The oldest we have been in so far is The Church of St. Martin in Segovia, dating from the 10th Century. This church has existed through conquest of Spain by Moors, the Crusades, wars with France, and Civil War. The Church of St. Martin still holds worship services here on a regular basis.

As I walked through the sanctuary, I tried to imagine the people that have come here over the years seeking hope, solace, calming fears and looking for God. They weren't any different from us. They prayed for safe return for husbands at war, sick or dying children, good crops and prosperous futures for themselves and their children.

Even if they could read or write, they didn't have access to the Scriptures. Their experience with meeting God was through hearing His Word during Mass and visualizing what Heaven, Salvation and Judgement were through the art and architecture they were surrounded with.

They weren't very different from us.


06 April 2011 Some days we are favored with the site of these beautiful cattle on the property behind our house. There is nothing more exciting then looking out my kitchen window and seeing these cattle grazing. I had never seen this white breed of cattle and had to ask someone what they were called.

The breed traces its origins to southeastern France. Records dating to the year 871 A.D. mark the presence of this breed of cattle in the old French provences of Charolles and Nievre. They were selected for draft, milk and meat.

Following the First World War a Mexican industrialist, Jean Pugibet, imported two bulls and ten heifers to Mexico.

In 1936, the King Ranch in Texas bought two bulls "Neptune" and "Ortolan" from Pugibet. The bulls are large and can weigh from 2,000 to 2,500 pounds and cows from 1,250 to 2,000 pounds. They are stocky, well muscled.

The bull that I have seen, must be at least 2,000 pounds - he is as big as a truck! This season one of the cows had twin calves - they are a beautiful milky white. In doing some research, I found that twins born (open range) rarely both survive. The mother cow usually can't produce enough milk for both and can abandon the weaker of the two.

I hope they make it. They are so beautiful.

First Day of Spring - Two Days Later

23 March 2011

It was a snowy morning on Monday - and yet it was Spring. Annie the d.o.g. (she doesn't know she is a dog) and I decided to give the snow shoes some use and took off on a walk. The daffodils were covered by snow . . .

With 3 to 4 inches of snow - it truly is a "blanket" of quiet. The only sounds we heard was the snow lightly falling from the trees as we took our walk. Snow shoes force you to pace yourself as you take slow, purposeful steps - always looking ahead to where you will place your foot.

We've had six days of snow this winter - so we take advantage of these opportunities when we can.

The air was invigorating - and it was a great way to start the morning.

19 March 2011

"Of Sacred Bees, the Muses' Birds" Charles Butler

-Bees, beehives, honey bees, queen bees, wax, honey - if you care to follow this adventure with me. You read that right, just picked up the beginnings of two bee hives. If you've paid attention to the "bee" news in the last few years - you might have read about the threat to honey bee colonies that are dying due to a mysterious bacteria. Sometimes called, "colony collapse" - it has decimated bees across this country. Many people have taken up the challenge to start hives - thus genetically strengthening the bee population. On the plus side, your hive will produce honey for you as well as bee pollen, propolis, and beeswax (candles). All we need is to provide them a warm, safe place to live with access to water.

Picked up our bee hive boxes today along with a bee suit, hat, veil, gloves, smoker etc. As we get further along we will go through all of these one by one.

We have ordered our first two "starter" colonies, due for pick up in late April, early May. Stay tuned!