Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pumpkin Carving

We have a friend who is quite adept at making those beautiful pumpkins with all the intricate detailing. She has brought a jack-o-lantern to the children for the past two years and we have become inspired to raise our bar. We usually carve out the typical triangle shapes in our pumpkin creations, but this year we bought one of those kits and had a great time making something pretty.

I was a little worried that I would end up having to finish the children's pumpkins, but we chose simple patterns and the children determinedly finished their creations. I cut one, too! My husband's pumpkin was so interesting in its own right that he decided not to cut it.

Here are our Jack-o-lanterns!! My picture is not as great as Zilla's, but the moment was preserved. I am reminded of a song/dance Princess learned in her creative movement class:
Oh! A pumpkin is a pumpkin
A pumpkin is a pumpkin
A pumpkin is a pumpkin
Pumpkins are round.

Ew Ah ! A pumpkin is a pumpkin
A pumpkin is a pumpkin
A pumpkin is a pumpkin
Pumpkins are orange!

You cut the eyes,
You cut out the nose,
You cut out the smile,
And now . .
It is a Jack-o-lantern!

EW ew ew (witchy sounding)

Life is Full

I'm sorry for the lack of consistency in my blog. Two people called yesterday to tell me they were waiting and to ask why I haven't been writing. Well, life is full. I have been in a frenzy trying to balance work, children, school, farm, and husband's business. Being capable is sometimes a burden and I wish I didn't know how to sew, cook, use Photoshop (or any other program), write or use databases, repair computers, etc., etc., etc.

Just yesterday I made bread, spent 3 hours teaching, 6 hours on the computer creating brochures and mailers for my husband, 2 hours on the computer answering email and working on the website for my paying job, 30 minutes on the phone with a customer whose computer would not work properly (Thank goodness I didn't have to go down there since I didn't have time to shower or dress), 2-1/2 hours sewing a pink panther costume, and an hour carving pumpkins. Add into that meals, hugs, feeding of animals, washing of clothes and helping my son sell Scout popcorn and you get a picture of my life lately. Right now, I can't think of anything I can cast aside, so expect patchy blogging.

Life is full, but isn't it grand! After school today, we will make gingerbread ghosts and finish the costumes. Then, we will Trick-or-Treat! I hope a lot of people will come to our house!

Thursday, October 26, 2006


As late as October 15 I was lamenting the lack of sufficient rain. Since that time we have gotten 8.20" of rain. Our average for October is 3.30". We were so drought stricken that even with all this rain, I have not heard one complaint and I certainly haven't uttered one.

Today, we have more rain. In fact, it should be raining until Saturday. During the dry of the Summer I forgot about how slick the red clay in front of the chicken roost gets, how muddy the dirt roads get, how the roof will leak if I don't clean the valleys, and how much mud the children can track into the house.

I also forgot how amazing the rain sounds on the tin roof. If I didn't have so much to do I would go take a nap.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I promise we are schooling!

I know I have not written a thing about our homeschool in soooo long, but we are progressing nicely. In fact, I have amazed myself with my consistency this year. In past years, if the children complained, whined, or told me they were bored, I immediately withdrew. This year I am immune to whining, will listen to complaints only if they are based on legitimate concerns, and process laments of boredom within a week. I have found that if the children know they are going to do the basics every single day they will not waste their time whining, complaining, or telling me I am boring.

Consistency can be boring, but it can also be rewarding. Spelling is improving dramatically and math concepts are being mastered. The children are learning that a little discomfort and boredom today will be exchanged for a vast store of knowledge and skill that will work for them later. Yes, I attempt to actively engage my children with exciting projects, experiments, and hands on learning, but I have stopped trying to make all learning a game. Some things just have to be memorized.

I realize there is a balance to be obtained, so I am actively pursuing a balance of fun and games and serious "get it done" study.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Rushing Things Just a Bit?

Today, is/was ballet day. We drive into the city for ballet and do a little shopping, see my sisters, and other necessities. While doing the shopping, I was amazed to see the first of the Christmas decorations and Christmas items for sale sitting right next to the Halloween stuff.

Let me enjoy the seasons!! Please!! I have not finished sewing Pink Panther's Pink Panther costume. I have not carved a pumpkin. I have not made gingerbread ghosts. I have not filched chocolate from the children's trick or treat bags. I have not seen The Great PUMPKIN!!!

I want my full measure of Halloween before I start thinking of Thanksgiving, much less Christmas cards, presents, trees, lights, wreaths, and Christmas cookie baking. I don't want to be bombarded by commercial Christmas before I have even looked Winter in the face and before I have watched, at least, a part of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. So, go away, you who are so anxious to rush the seasons. Let me enjoy Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, without listening to Jingle Bells while looking at cheesy Christmas decorations.

Does this make me a Scrooge?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A Subtle Change

When I woke this morning, I noticed that, seemingly overnight, the seasons have changed. Though the temperature is not cold (cool by our standards but not cold), there is something about the light and air that says get ready for winter. Again, winter here is not the same as a Northern winter, but some preparation is needed.

Just yesterday, we harvested honey which screams of Summer. My brother, in fact, questioned my sanity because of yesterday's harvest. He didn't understand I still had the honey supers on the hive. He thought I was taking Winter food from the brood chambers which I would never do even in Summer. Even though it was late in the year, yesterday was a perfect harvest day, warm, but not too hot, and sunny. Harvesting honey is great fun. The children both think it is better than computer games and running around outside. I think what they really mean is that they like the perks of honey harvest - the shards of comb dripping with honey. We run a small bee operation so we don't have a dedicated honey place. My kitchen is sticky but we are waiting for the cappings to drain to produce the last quarts of honey before we do the major cleaning. Obviously we did spot cleaning and cleaned the thruways, but a major scrub is in order later today.

This afternoon we gathered pecans stripped from the trees by the wind and rain last night. Gathering nuts screams Fall, especially if you are a squirrel.

Instead of actual cues in nature such as temperature, light, color, and air, maybe I have just decided it is time so I am more attune to the signs that have been around for a while. But I think the animals have just noticed, too.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Water for Elephants

I just finished Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I was mesmerized by the depression era circus story - the characters, the class stratification, the animals, the camaraderie, the danger, the fear, and uncertainty- and the story of a 90ish year old man who is dissatisfied with his assisted living arrangement. No, this is not high literature, but it is a good read for adults. I know ya'll will think I am a total prude (especially after some of my other posts), but can nothing be left to the imagination? I can imagine that the cooch house was real in some of the seedier circuses and that in order to make the book believable some of that reference needs to be included. But, I don't need a play by play of Jacob's humiliation.

Overlooking being banged in the head with sexual details, I think this book, like The Devil Wears Prada, is just asking for a movie. The texture, color, and movement of the Big Top lends itself to The Big Screen. I would love to see the right actors and lighting in this obvious screen play.

When I was young, I wanted to be in the circus. I used to practice tightrope walking (though the rope was not as taut as it could be and I was never successful) and acrobatics and my imagination took me on many journeys. The circus of my imagination is certainly denuded of any romance by the reality of the violence and lack of consistency shown in Water for Elephants. Though Gruen is careful to say many times that Ringling Brothers is not as sleazy as her fictionalized circus story, you have to realize that a show is just that - a show. The reality of the life behind the show can never be as glamorous as the production.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wonderful resources that can't wait until

I can think of something wonderful to say. This is unbelievable - a searchable online Charles Darwin complete with pictures. Sometimes, I am completely blown away by the wonderful resources on the internet. Usually, I am astounded by the junk, but today, I bow to the people who worked so hard to make an almost complete works of Darwin available online for free!!

Tractor Therapy

I've spent the last couple of hours riding a tractor and my mind is completely cleansed of all worry - not because there is less to ponder but because the vibration, shaking, noise, and routines of tractor use completely squash other meaningful thought. Much has been made of lawn mower therapy which is the same concept, but tractor therapy is far superior because of the grander scale.

My husband is home!!!, but he came home wounded. He has an old football knee injury/knee surgery thing that did not enjoy his standing, walking, and living on concrete floors for the past three weeks. He couldn't even push the clutch on the tractor, so all the tractor tasks I had been putting off until he arrived home had to be done today by me. It serves me right for procrastinating and evading.

Bread Recipe

Here is the promised bread recipe with a few caveats. The first caveat is that I never make this bread exactly the same any day so this is only a base recipe. The second is that the pan I use is larger than a regular bread pan so adjust accordingly. My pan measures 12.5" x 4.5". Third caveat - Not all flour is created equal. Don't use a southern biscuit flour for the white flour. I buy King Arthur unbleached white and red whole wheat since Mississippi wheat tends not to be the type for crusty breads.

Everyday Bread
3 tsp yeast
2 cups warm water
3 TBLS honey (I don't measure, just pour some, but this morning it was about 3 TBLS)
4 1/2 cups - 5 cups flour (I use a mixture of whole wheat and white changing amounts according to what will go on the sandwiches. Tomato sandwiches call for a whiter bread.)
3 TBLS melted butter
1 tsp kosher or sea salt

I mix all this up in my mixer(use a dough hook) and add flour and knead until it isn't sticky and pulls away from the sides into a ball. I let it rise under a flour sack towel with chickens painted on it that my friend brought me as a happy. Once it is doubled I dump it on a board and knead it and shape it into a roll. I punch the narrow ends into the bread and plop it into my greased (with butter) pan. I let it rise again and put it in a preheated to 365 degree oven. Cook until the outside is browned and crunchy and the bread sounds hollow, about 30 minutes. Remove from pan immediately and cool on a rack to maintain perfect crunch, chewy goodness.

If you get bored with plain bread add pecans, sunflower seeds, or anything else that suits your fancy.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Baking Bread

I bake almost all the bread we use. I started when we moved here and visited the local grocery to buy bread. The only bread available was the mass produced squooshy white bread and some similar whole wheat colored bread. I went home and started baking, immediately. This was ten years ago, so the routines are set, the baking is not stressful, and it seems natural to start bread as soon as I finish the outside morning chores. I'm not weird about it. If I get in a bind or crave Broadstreet sourdough baguettes, I buy them and don't feel guilty. Nonetheless, baking bread feels good and I do it often.

The bread I bake is made with only the best ingredients. There is no high fructose corn syrup and no preservative that will keep it fresh for weeks. My favorite bread has only wheat flour, water, honey, butter, yeast, and salt. The crusty exterior, light brown interior and full bodied taste are worth every kneading minute.

"Okay," you ask yourself, "Why is she writing about making bread?"

It may sound a bit weird, but I would like my whole life to be like bread baking. I want everything to feel this good. By not supporting the mass produced, preservative laden, artificially enhanced bags of squooshy wheat product, we move towards sustainability, we eat a quality food that is nutritious(without artificial additives) and delicious, and we save money.

How do we save money when the commercial bread is frequently on sale for two loaves for a dollar? We save because raw bulk goods are cheaper than you would expect and with homemade bread we don't eat multiple sandwiches to satisfy our cravings. My homemade sandwich whole wheat bread costs about 85 cents a loaf plus my time which I am donating because it feels so good. Now 85 cents each does not compete with two for a dollar, but whole wheat is almost never two for a dollar. But, the "mama bread" is honest so our bodies feel satisfied because our bodies know how to process the ingredients and the bread is more substantial so smaller portions are needed.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

What We Have Been Reading

Though our life has been super busy in the past few weeks, we have one constant - reading. When nothing else is going as planned or desired in life, school, work, or farm we tend to retreat to books for encouragement, direction, motivation, relaxation, information, and entertainment. Even when life is grand, books pepper our lives. Maybe this explains why I have so many books. Anyway, this is what the children and I have been reading. I'll let you guess into which category each book falls.

Books for Me
Our Lady of the Forest by David Guterson -- I listened to Our Lady of the Forest on my car adventure and have read it again since I have been home. I really like this book, though I am sure it controversial. Any book that deals with Marian visions is forced to deal with the possible miracle, the church's ruling and reaction, and the hordes of fanatics. Guterson, who doesn't flinch from the dangerous ground, does a fantastic job meticulously characterizing the types and the individuals. The language in Our Lady is rich, questioning, and honest in its search for truth. Even if the truth seems elusive, the power of possibility certainly is not.

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weinberger is not the same sort of book as Our Lady of the Forest, but is a fun read - a diversion into a life not my own. Though the book focuses on the fashion industry, of which I know nothing, the new job, envied by all yet not as good as it seems, is certainly within the realm of my experience. After having read most of the book, I called my sister who is a F.I.T. graduate and fashion aficionado to find out if the book is believable. Do people really take fashion that seriously? Her response was, "Yes, the book is very believable - probably truth with name changes." Wow. I was interested in the way Andie was dragged into the importance of the job. In her struggle to satisfy Miranda and not get fired, she sacrificed her personal life and relationships. Finding a balance while nurturing career and nurturing self and relationships is a universal plight.

The Field Guide to Weeds, a useful book with both color images and line drawings, is exactly what the name implies. The images are so nice that you forget why you wanted to dig that weed in the first place, yet the short narratives give you important information like which plants can become pests and which are harmful to livestock.

Keeping Livestock Healthy by Bruce Haynes, DVM is a fantastic livestock medical guide for the worrying sort. I find that I never finish the book, but continue to use it as a reference reading only the pertinent sections for the emergency at hand.

Gardening Southern Style by Felder Rushing is a gardening book just for the Southern states. Many times I am stymied by advice and planting schedules from well known gardening publications. What is harvested in Maine in May has little to do with what is happening in my Mississippi garden. Felder Rushing is a Mississippi native and is familiar with the routines of the Southern garden including his love of Round-up and Sevin dust. The herbicides and pesticides aside, the Almanac at the end of the book helps to keep me on track with gardening chores and possibilities.

For the Children
Dancing Shoes by Noel Streatfeild is a feel good book. You just have to love when Hilary and Rachel grow into themselves in spite of all their adversity. Rachel, who is castigated for not fitting into the dancing school home of her aunt, stays true to herself and is rewarded.

The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit is another older book with enduring appeal. Children, in this case Bobbie, Phyllis, and Peter, are faced with the adversity of having their father away and becoming poor. They maintain their standards and their mother writes her way through the struggle. I love those strong female characters in children's books.

Henry and Ribsy by Beverly Cleary -- What is a house with a seven and ten year old without a bit of Beverly Cleary humor. We love the books with Ribsy because he is so like our Yellow Dog.

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren is a book I chose for Princess. I remembered it from my childhood. Once we purchased it I picked it up and realized that what I thought was funny when I was 8 or 9 is not as funny now. Princess is loving the book, but I just keep shaking my head thinking, "This is ridiculous." To my credit, I keep my mouth closed.

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl is Pink Panther's latest diversion. I must admit that I have had a difficult time keeping my hands off this one. What a wonderful lark and in one of my favorite fruits.

Gilgamesh -- After our shocking encounter with Stephen Mitchell's edition in the audio book format, I retreated to the David Ferry rendering. I believe the Ferry edition is a scholarly rendering and the verse seems more fitting for children than the narrative of Mitchell. As an adult, I appreciate Mitchell's stronger language and imagery.

Waiting for Rain

With only three more days as a single farmer, I am here and waiting for rain. Last week I got the rye grass planted (with the help of my Dad) and yesterday I over-seeded with white clover. Tonight and tomorrow we in drought plagued Central Mississippi have a forecasted 100% chance of rain. Right now, we have one of those wonderful high blue sky days that lures you outside with the perfect mid-seventies temperatures and light breeze. Maybe it will rain, tonight, but now it is just as dry as it has been all summer. I will be disappointed if the forecast is wrong. I have worked so hard getting the winter grass seeds sown before today.

I will go out and finish sowing seeds for the winter garden when I get through here. I am planting lettuce, spinach, sugar snap peas, potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, and radishes. I only plant in the raised beds for the winter because they are easier to protect from the few truly cold days.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

You know you are an adult when. . .

You see the toilet paper hanging from the trees and in the yards and think, "That's a week's worth of TP hanging in those trees. Why would they WASTE it?"

Halloween pranks start early around here because of all the school rules and town rules prohibiting rolling of yards, soaping of windows, and miscellaneous mischief. The powers who be are out in force on the days immediately preceding and following Halloween, but they are resting now and the yards, browned with drought, are now white though there is no forecast for snow - ever.

I was never a yard roller because my dad had us in the house by ten o'clock, but I always thought it would be a cool thing to do. Even after my yard rolling years, I craved the adventure of some major prank. I even wished someone would roll my yard so people would think I was cool. Now, I think about the waste - of trees used to make the paper, of money used to purchase the wasted toilet paper, of energy to produce the paper and to clean the mess. Does age, maturity, and responsibility equal rationing of Toilet Paper squares and boredom? Or does it equal sanity?

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Cattle Business

I've been busy being a cattle woman. I found the missing cow. While she was rambling in the brambles finding the perfect place to calve, she got a thorn in her eye. When she reappeared she had a calf and a "stick" hanging out of a messy, runny eye. She wouldn't come anywhere close to the holding pen. No amount of feed, hay, nor bribes would encourage her to bring her calf to the corral.

I called everyone I know for help. One man suggested putting out feed. The next man suggested hay and if that didn't work dart her and do the work in the field. Another cowboy, the one I trusted the most, brought one of his cutting horses, found the cow, and didn't see the thorn. He thought it was out because he was looking at the eye from above. My dad, finally, arrived home and I called him. He sent someone with feed. The cows without calves came, again. The mamas didn't come close, again. We, then, did a most horrendous thing - we stole her baby and took it to the barn. She came and once she was in the barn, dad cornered her with another gate and she let him remove the 4" thorn without any other restraint (I have tame cows). She was relieved. I was relieved. The town, including my dad, was relieved because now I would leave everyone alone for a few minutes.

We now have eleven calves. Ten healthy and one with a hernia that will need medical attention. Dad was able to get that calf and his mama in the barn, too! Tomorrow, I will load and transport them to the vet for the surgery. Then, I will school the children, transport Princess to ballet, and fulfill my work obligations. I am exhausted, completely stressed, and the emergency to do list does not seem to be shrinking. I feel like I could spontaneously ignite.

My Mom came and sprayed some water on the embers today. Though her labor of love was not as spectacular as stealing a baby calf to lure a cow and removing a stick from the eye of the cow, I am lucky to have a mama who can recognize true need and help in a non-obtrusive, non-judgemental manner.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

We've been counting all day

And we are still a cow and calf short. Common sense tells me they will appear, but I just can't quit looking. This, of course, has been a wonderful diversion on this gorgeous day. The children and I have walked to one of the springs, through the woods, and in the brambles.

Princess has been picking up and eating pecans at every non-searching moment. Pink Panther has been blasting his 410 every few hours to scare the crows who are eating pecans faster than we can gather.

Mostly, we are doing nothing of any merit - just relaxing. I like days like this.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday Updates!

My husband has been gone one week and we have seven calves! So far, there have been no farm disasters. I have wandered around in the near full moon two nights in a row to check noises - a moo that didn't sound quite right and a chicken clucking and scared. Neither sound was a result of a crisis, but you don't know unless you go and see. At first I was grumpy that I had to leave my bed to check noises, but as soon as I walked a few steps into the pasture I was glad I had come. No flashlight was needed, the moonlight provided silvery illumination to all but the most shady of corners. The damp air, wonderful night sounds, and the peace of being completely alone lured me further and further away from the house. Maybe I will hear something tonight - the night of the true full moon.

This morning when I was feeding, releasing, and counting cows and calves, Yellow Dog "helped" and ended up running one of the heifers through a gate. The steel pole holding the steel gate broke at the ground. I can't move it by myself and can't fix it by myself unless I first learn to weld. I've always wanted to learn (for what, I don't know), but this doesn't seem to be the time. I'll have to call someone, which I absolutely hate doing because I don't want anyone to think I can't manage with out the husband.

I've been researching this Gilgamesh issue. The book I read was rendered by David Ferry and does not contain the offending language. The audio book I chose for the children was Stephen Mitchell's unabridged translation. The versions are completely different which is why I didn't remember the scene. The scene was much more tame in the David Ferry poetic rendering.

After a week of over ninety degree days, we are cooler. The otter search will be more pleasant today, as will all farm chores, school and house work. I am hoping for a complete weekend of 78 degree days.

Have a great one!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Otter Watch Day 4

We have been diligently searching for the river otter my cousin saw Monday morning. So far, we have not seen a trace of the otter, but we have seen some other interesting things. Among them:

A meadow with a small stream,

A pond with what looks a lot like a small alligator, though we couldn't get close enough for a positive identification,

A raccoon that died an unknown death, and

goldenrod a buzz with insects.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ancient History Revisited

We are still working our way through The World in Ancient Times series by Oxford Press. Having finished Early Human World, we have moved to The Ancient Near Eastern World. The study of Mesopotamians as they begin to communicate through writing with their clay tokens and envelops, progressing to pictograms, and cuneiform is fascinating. We are using Sculpey for our recreations since it is much less messy than our natural clay. The clay tablet above has Pink Panther's monogram in cuneiform. Write like a Babylonian is a website that will convert your name and initials into a cuneiform monogram. The children then copied their monogram into clay and baked (and since our clay was sculpey, painted). The children found out that the seemingly simple cuneiform is more difficult to produce than it looks, and erasing on clay is easy but not precise.

I've learned many things too. First, I owe Henry Cate an apology. When he responded, in one of my planning entries, that he and his children started reading the Old Testament last year and were now in Kings, I thought (thank goodness I didn't open my big mouth) "They must be piddling around, only 10 books in a year." After two months, we are just finishing Genesis. I am sorry, Henry. I have learned that The Old Testament is dense and if we make it to Kings by next year we will be accomplishing something remarkable.

I have also learned that ancient literature is not devoid of the sexually explicit language and images that we so lament in television and advertisements of today. All literature, including The Old Testament (even if you have read it and think you know it) should be previewed to prepare you for edits or the questions that arise. The Old Testament is replete with incest, giving of slaves for pleasure or reproduction, murder, and surprising intrigue. The unabridged Gilgamesh, which I chose as a audio book for our ballet trips, has at least one "Oops!" section in which I was frantically looking for the mute button. Both of these books, I had read as an adult but not as a parent/educator of young children. There is a difference.

All in all, though we have not gotten to the more popular Ancient Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Egyptians we are having a great time in history.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Looking for the Rare

One of my aunts and a cousin spent Sunday night with my mother on their way home from a trip. Monday morning, while they were walking in the woods, they saw a rare species for our area, the river otter, on my parents' place. My cousin, a naturalist, was aglow with excitement when she stopped by my house on her way out of town. She gave all the details so we could search. So we have. We have walked their circuit twice. The children and I are determined to find the otter, watch him in the wild, and take his picture to document his existence.

Rural, with swamps, pastures, woods, and hills, we have great wildlife diversity. We also have much of the "shoot anything that moves" mentality. Hopefully, this little guy will safely find his way back to swamp or stay in the "bon secour" of my parents' property. Day two - otter alert!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Single Farming and Single Parenting

My husband left for a three week business trip Saturday at 5:30 a.m. I am used to the routines of single farming and parenting because he travels frequently, but so far this has been a humdinger. We have had three baby calves and one of our hives swarmed.

I have done fine with the calving, which though unscheduled is obviously in full swing (2 yesterday). We let the cows calve in the pasture, only moving them to the barn if there is distress. I have been able to keep tabs on springing cows and watch them closely. So far, there has been no trouble and my only job is to monitor and record, which in itself is an adventure.

I have been letting Pink Panther drive me around the pasture. He has only been driving the truck for a few months and he still can be abrupt with the brake and acceleration. I practice patience. Yesterday, after having been launched into the windshield, I physically removed him from under the steering wheel while we were moving, promising that he would not be allowed anywhere close to the driver's seat until he was 16. He laughed and said, "You know that's not true." I did know it. I hate when I threaten with impossibilities.

With the bee swarm, I didn't do so well. Bees swarming at this time of the year is not good. It weakens the wintering colony and the swarmed bees have to be fed all winter long. They swarmed when the temperatures rose after those few weeks of gloriously cool weather. They were tricked into thinking it was Spring. I captured the swarm in a cardboard box, because we didn't have any hive bodies, using a white sheet as a base. I was proud of my resourcefulness. Before I went to bed, I placed a couple of bricks on the corners of the box so Yellow Dog, some other animal, or the wind couldn't move the temporary hive. This morning I checked the hive and the heavy dew had settled the box and apparently closed the entry. There were also ants everywhere. My small Fall swarm is so small now that it is unlikely to survive. I feel terrible - a failure at animal husbandry.

I wonder what will be next.