Gigi Blog » The life and loveliness of Gigi's World

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  • Welcome to the Gigi Blog!

    Blessed to be a mother to half a dozen girls. Wife of an undertaker.
    Photographer. Homeschooler. Daughter of the King. Chicken raiser.
    Lover of Jesus and all things pink and vintage. ♥

In Which We Adopt The Right Sort of Bees.

“That buzzing noise means something.
Now, the only reason for making a buzzing noise that I know of is because you are… a bee!

And the only reason for being a bee is to make honey.
And the only reason for making honey is so I can eat it.”

- Winnie the Pooh

 

 

 

Last night, my husband and I drove a few hours together with over 10,000 bees in our truck.

 

So exciting!!!

 

 

 

We’ve been researching getting bees since last year and now they are here! It was thrilling speaking to the owners of the bee company where we purchased our Nuc (Nucleus Colony). They have five children and run their honeybee business full time – all their children help. It was fantastic and inspiring! {I think any family business where everyone can be involved in the economics is a wonderful idea!}

Anyways, today, with the girls watching in great anticipation, we gingerly set up the hive, transferring the bees slowly and carefully into the new hive. Let’s just say, it was rather intimidating for our first time – especially since we do not have any bee equipment/gear yet {I wrapped my head with a sheer curtain so as not to have bees fly up my nose}! We are definitely “new-bees” in this but I hope to learn quickly and teach the children along the way.

 

Things I have learned about bees in less than 24 hours:

1. Bees do not want to sting you – stay calm and do not act panicky. Be friendly.

2. Don’t wear dark colors. Most bee predators are darker colored – so therefore, you do not want to look like a predator to your honeybees!

3. If taking the hive apart, approach the hive from the back end.

4. Beehives need to face south/east to catch lovely sun on their front porch.

5. Honeybees never stop working. {We knew that already but it is proof when you watch them!}

6. A worker honeybee only lives 40 days. The males do nothing except breed with the Queen. {And I mean, NOTHING – the females even feed the male drones.}

 

{Yes, bee people, I had the door on wrong in the above photo.  I fixed it afterwards when my daughter pointed it out to me.}

Honeybees are incredible – such an amazing creation by God. Take time to study the honeybee and you will learn so much.  We can’t wait to learn more about these wonderful honeybees, incorporating it into a unit study for school. Thank you, God, for creating the honeybee!

 

P.S. And I think I will paint the hive pink! What do you think?!

May 26, 2015 - 7:17 am

Terri ann - Hi Gillian,
Can you recommend books/sites to research. On our list for next year!!!!,
Love,
Terri ann

Queen Calico

The girls were so disappointed when we had to leave a church BBQ early, missing the party fireworks, to come home and lock up the chickens and animals for the night … however, as we pulled into the driveway, we saw our dog, Winnie, slowly following something through the side of the yard.

We all hopped out of the truck and I told the girls to go see what it was, perhaps it was a frog …

Much to their excitement, it was not a frog but a sweet, fluffy, adorable baby bunny. It certainly made coming home early worth it!

Of course, six girls crowding around, this was a little girl’s dream come true. A baby bunny from Heaven. We all voted that Lucia would be able to tend to this bunny, as her dear pet, a hedgehog, passed away after only having her for a few months as a pet. So, Lucia was the lucky one this time. So far, Calico, as Lucia has named the bunny, is actually doing really well. I fully expected the rabbit to die overnight, not knowing if Winnie had caused some internal injuries. But so far, the bunny is drinking and eating and hopping about …

This has truly made our shy little Lucia so joyous. She is now the first one up in the morning (a big deal for this sleepy girl who is slow to rise and slow to do a lot, especially in the morning!) and hops down the stairs, happy as a lark, with her bunny cuddled up in her blanket. She even toted Calico to piano lessons and to a visit at a friend’s house.

 

 

This goes to prove that Charlotte Mason was right in allowing children to blossom with these things daily:

Something to love, something to do and something to think about.”

On a side note, we have hit the spring/summer season full swing. There are 20 meat birds growing in the backyard (and they do grow fast!), 20-something laying hens, a few ducks for fun and eggs, of course, the goats … one broody hen (so exciting as she is Lucia’s fancy hen and it will be so great to see baby chickies soon, we hope!) and one broody duck (our last duck clutch never hatched so we are hoping this one is successful!). There are 12 young turkeys arriving tomorrow, two ducklings and Friday, we are getting bees! Oh my! It is a busy season for us right now,  no doubt. The girls are fantastic at helping and I really appreciate the fact that we are learning, working and doing things together, even if it is collecting eggs and scraping out chicken poop from the hen house!

We’re nearly done school but still a few pages left, which is painful in this gorgeous weather.  Grateful for a few cold, rainy days where we can stay inside and get some extra book work done for the girls’ sake.

 

 

 

 

May 23, 2015 - 6:30 am

admin - We had a little extra bunny cage she kept Calico in … :)

Sadly, Calico passed away yesterday. She lives almost a whole week since we found her and we really thought she was doing well. Poor Lucia – she says all her pets die. It certainly is a life lesson for her.

May 20, 2015 - 12:00 pm

Our Home of Many Blessings - Awww,how sweet!! That’s awesome that she is able to take care of it! Where does she get to keep her? We would love to get some bunnies and chick’s and go from there. Not sure where to start but hopefully by next spring I would love to even have a milk cow and baby ducklings running around! Have fun with your new addition!

{Vintage Recipe} Honey Muffins

Hand me an old book and you will see me smile.

In our home, we love collecting old books, antiques of all kinds, vintage housewares … they all tell a story …  and are so delightful to incorporate back into a daily life schedule.

 

This morning, we had oatmeal and honey muffins for breakfast – the recipe for the muffins is in an old Purity cookbook, dated back to 1932.

They were a delicious breakfast muffin – not too sweet and perfect with homemade strawberry jam. The honey was locally made, as well.

Here is the recipe, if you are interested:

Honey Muffins

2 cups of sifted Purity flour
4 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt1 egg
1 cup of milk
4 tablespoons of honey
3 tablespoons of melted butter

Mix and sift flour, baking powder and salt. Combine beaten egg, milk, honey and cooled butter.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.
Pour wet mixture and mix very quickly (mixture should be lumpy, not smooth).
Fill greased muffin tin and bake at once in a hot over of 400′ for 20-25 minutes.

{of course, we double or triple everything because on batch is simply not enough!}

 

 

 

Enjoy!

May 23, 2015 - 2:40 pm

Courtney - Thank you for sharing! We made this recipe today and it was delicious. The only thing I changed is I used 1/2c milk and 1/2c honey Greek yogurt (because I ran out of milk.. Whoops!)

May 14, 2015 - 1:54 pm

Erin Lynn - Looks so yummy! We would have to triple it too! My husband says I’m finally adjusting to having six kids, as I am cooking big servings of food for meals, :-)

May 14, 2015 - 12:58 am

Our Home Of Many Blessings - Oh my gosh,me and you would get along sooo wonderful! I just know IT!..I am for sure gonna try this recipe and will have to triple it because we have 7 sweet kiddos running around our home and whoever comes over! I also love love love and collect old recipe books! I added you to my Large Family Living page!Thanks for sharing!

Blossoms of Dandelions

“When you look at a field of dandelions,
you can either see a hundred weeds or a hundred wishes.”

One of my passions is herbal medicine- and while I am rather new to it (I have been making tinctures and salves and other herbal remedies for a year now), every time I learn something new, it continues to amaze me how wonderful and creative our Heavenly Father is!
As a society, we have come so far away from nature … the majority are unaware of the medicinal properties of most plants.

 

But God is the one who created all of these delightful flowers, herbs and berries and He designed these beautiful plants to help us in our journey through life.

Enter the dandelion.
The lovely, golden dandelion.

The one ‘weed’ many curse, but for herbalists, it is a delight to see such a flower growing closeby.

Did you know the dandelion will aid digestion, it is a powerful diuretic activist, restore and rejuvenate the body, cleanse the blood, high in vitamins A,B,C and D,  the flower can be used a pain reliever, aids in easing PMS, and even the milk from the stem can be used as a wart remover! Amazing! Here is a link to more details about this fabulous flower.

One of the best ways to use your dandelion is by making dandelion infused oil. It can then be added to lotions, soaps or even applied straight to the skin.

 

Here is a simple recipe to make your own dandelion infused oil:

 

Harvest your lovely dandelions {which should be unharmed by pesticides and chemicals}.
Pop the beautiful yellow blooms into a mason jar and cover with olive oil.
Let it sit {covered or in a dark location} for a few weeks.

After it has infused, strain the dandelion heads and there you have it – your own dandelion infused oil, to be used in many of your homemade products.

 

Here is one example of how you may use the oil – Dandelion blossom salve.

It can be used on aching joints, sore backs and generally as a healing salve on your body.

This salve is made by heating coconut oil and shea butter over a double boiler – when it is melted, stir together and add your dandelion infused oil. [I did not measure - but use common sense when adding the dandelion oil.] Stir gently. If so desired, add a drop of preferred essential oil for preferred scent. Pour into a jar and let it cool. Once it’s cooled, you have your own healthy, homemade Dandelion Blossom Salve.

 

Isn’t it the most delicate shade of yellow? Like sunshine and spring in a jar.

 

Amazing and lovely – there is something so delightful about creating medicine from your own backyard.
Tomorrow, I think we shall try to make Dandelion Honey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 18, 2015 - 11:51 am

Deidre Unangst - You inspired me to ‘ask’ my husband to walk down the lane to seek out a qt. full of such lovely yellow blossoms! We now have a jar of oil and flowers waiting salve-time. I can harldly wait!(linked your post, hope that was ok)…Deedy

May 17, 2015 - 5:34 pm

JES - I haven’t made dandelion oil yet but I am hoping to soon! Thank you for the inspiration and for sharing at the Art of Home-Making Mondays. I will pin this ;)

May 14, 2015 - 3:21 pm

Courtney - This is great! We do something similar with plantain :) You’ll love dandelion honey too!

May 14, 2015 - 3:28 am

Hannah - I like herbal medicine as well, I have used a lot of plants in my yard to make salve, but somehow I never tried dandelion flowers. The color of the salve is so pretty, I will have to give it a try.

May 13, 2015 - 9:27 pm

Amy - Have you seen this blog? they are a Kitchener family and have lots of inspiring ideas
http://littlecityfarm.blogspot.ca/2011/05/dandelion-season-dandelion-fritter.html
they also have a recipe for dandelion lemonade, jelly and more

Kindness without Hypocrisy

Recently, our family witnessed some seeds of un-kindess sown towards others. It amazed me at how the ripple effect of the unthoughtful act sadly affected the two families involved- those who were unkind and those who were hurt. Everyone felt upset, all feelings were bruised and at the end of the day, it all stemmed from an act that could have been sprinkled with a bit of sweet kindness.

 

 

But all of this made me pause and look at … myself.
We are quick to judge, questioning people’s actions and motives, but then I was truly humbled as the Lord showed me areas in my life where I am, sadly, unkind. I want to be remembered as a mother who was kind, gentle and not harsh. And that is a character trait I must work on.

Sometimes, my reaction to my children when they spill their milk or drop an egg on the way in from the hen house is too sharp … or perhaps it is my actions lacking mercy towards my husband when he forgets to tell me he’s working late and we sit waiting at the dinner table  … if we cannot be kind and loving to our own family members, then we are hypocrites just the same.

If we are rude to little children when they make a mess in your kitchen and litter your floor with hundreds of crumbs, but then smile and show kindness to your friend who comes to visit for tea, is that not hypocrisy?

 
Charlotte Mason writes:

 

The office of Kindness is simply to make everyday life pleasant and comfortable to others, whether the other be our pets which we feed and attend to, our dog which we play with and take for a scamper, our house which we feed and care for, but cheer and encourage with friendly hand and friendly word, or our family and neighbours, rich and poor, who offer a large field for our Kindness. The kind person is … called courteous or thoughtful, obliging or considerate, showing kindness by refraining or speaking by his manner, his regard, his words, his acts.

The essence of the acts of kindness is that they should be unremembered. Let us beware that we do not say to ourselves, ‘I have done this and that for so-and-so and now see how he serves me!’  Kindness is simple.”

 

 

I wonder if  most of our conflicts in life come from being unkind?
Sometimes it is the other party being unkind to us. It is hard to react gently in a situation where you are being treated wrong, but it is Biblical.

 

Right now, we’re memorizing a chapter in Romans for school. The Bible is so practical! The one verse that we are memorizing comes to my mind:

“Let love be without hypocrisy …  abhor what is evil.
Cling to what is good.
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love,
in honor giving preference to one another …

Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse …
repay no one evil for evil.
Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
If it is possible, as much as depends on you,
live peaceably with all men.”

Romans 12

 

I suppose this week we are putting this into literal practice, living out what we are learning. I am humbled to have this brought to my attention and am going to guard my actions and re-actions closely to as to not react with unkindness in such situations.

 

 

 

May 13, 2015 - 11:32 pm

Heather - Oh my goodness, I just wrote about this myself. Icky unkindness at our house. Hypocrisy–yep, that’s what it is. Thanks for being honest, Gillian :)

May 12, 2015 - 9:37 am

Hilary - What a beautiful post! Your words are thought provoking and your lovely photos bring a smile to my face. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this so-important subject. It seems our families are the truest test of our patience at times. I really appreciate the quote from Charlotte Mason. Today I will be more aware of opportunities to practice “simple” kindness toward my family. God bless you! Joining you from the Strangers and Pilgrims link up.
Hilary at Wholesome Reads