March 31, 2006 – Jr. Beekeeper

Martin has shown a great affinity towards the bees and seems to understand and play out the different roles of the different kinds of bees in a hive. Grandma Jo wanted to make sure he was comfortable around the bees – here he is in his new beekeeper’s suit that arrived today.

I’m guessing he’ll be the only beekeeper at Halloween next year.

We missed out on all the severe windstorms last night, but got a good downpour. Since it is not forecast to be below freezing through the entire forecast period and it was very windy today, I took the cover off the cold frame (purchased at Theisens a few days ago.)

March 29, 2006 – The Ultimate Pruning – A New View!

Today was the day two of the three old apple trees were cut down.

This is the view before the cutting.

After the cutting/Before the hauling.

This is the view after the cutting.
The apple trunks were cut into logs and ends sealed with wax to prepare for Shiitake mushroom spawn in a few weeks. The branches (all four loads) were hauled to the burn pile. It was with both sadness and relief that the trees were cut. They were very bland tasting apples and the trees took longer to prune than the rest of the trees combined and picking up the deadfalls was a pain. However, they were part of this place for a long time. We kept one of them as it has very early (July) apples great for sauce and we’ll give it one more year and graft some branches to new rootstock to continue it on this place.

If you look closely, you can see the first raised bed in place – I’m going to build a bunch of raised beds where the trees used to be for more gardening space. Right now, there is a chicken tractor perched on top – we’ll use that to create the soil.

We also put up a small cold frame to get a jump on lettuce and early spring crops.

March 28, 2006 – Off-Topic

Every day at High Hopes cannot be about the farm. Many news services have picked up on the story today of a Drake student who hung out in a Des Moines Wal-Mart for 41 hours without being detected over spring break.

I don’t think it’s THAT big of a story to warrant Letterman, Good Morning America, etc. For my money the story is Nathan Bush. On his “amazing” web site, Nathan documents with grainy photos and appropriate commentary the Wal-Marts, K-Marts, Pamidas, and Fareway stores of Iowa – all while he dreams of the day he becomes a supervisor at Wal-Mart. Nathan confides in us that he snuck out of town to make a pilgrimage to a new Pamida store over 50 miles away from his house without his parent’s permission!

In addition, I learned that Nathan has posted photos of himself at “” and invites readers to rate him. I’m adventurous on the web, but just cannot take that jump!

March 27, 2006 – Destination Imagination

Today was a gloomy, brown, drizzly day. The kind of day to get inside work done. It was a good day to go watch Emma. This morning Emma’s Destination Imagination team competed in the State Finals at Grinnell College.

They have practiced for months after school and advanced from the regional competition in Ankeny while we were in Santa Fe.

Here’s a part of the skit where the TV broadcasters present the news and weather for Paris.

Here, the judges ask questions and congratulate the team on its performance.