Snake Bite!

8 May

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My sister was cleaning up some old firewood on the patio and she was bitten by a Copperhead! You can see the fang marks in the center of the circle by her little toe. She said she knew she needed to be careful and watch for snakes and spiders but this one got her anyway. She said the doctors didn’t give her any anti-venom. They told her the anti-venom could be as bad or worse than the bite itself. They are giving her intravenous antibiotics and meds to control the pain. I sure feel bad for her, get well soon, Sis!

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Speaking of snakes, I was riding along a drainage canal when I looked over the edge and spotted this Moccasin curled up on a limb soaking up some sun.

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I picked up a clod of dirt and threw it at him. I partially dislodged him from his perch and needless to say he was not pleased! He is coiled up in striking position flicking his tongue like a whip!

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I have been going out in the fields checking on crops, and I found a new spot to look for Native American Artifacts. These are some bits and pieces of artifacts as well as some pottery shards, so I know I am searching in a good spot.

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I found this nice, round smooth stone as I was searching. I can’t be sure it is an artifact, but it sure fits my hand well and could be very useful to a Native so I am hanging on to it.

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I did find one decent piece so I am excited to come back and check this spot again. It is in a corn field so I will only have a few weeks before the corn becomes too big and hides the ground.

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I wondered what might have attracted the natives to this spot so I looked around and sure enough I spotted this naturally occurring small river at the head of this field. Of course, modern men have cleaned all the trees and brush out of the channel for faster drainage, but it still would have been here 500 or more years ago to provide many of the things a primitive man would have needed. The river would provide water for drinking, cooking, bathing, as well as providing fish, frogs, turtles and act as an attractant for game animals and birds.

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Just a quick update on Brandy. Here she is in her favorite spot, nestled up in the crook of my arm. She is making good progress on her biting control and house breaking. She might end up being a good dog after all. Keep prepping everyone! Get ready for Hillary 2016. Heaven help us all!

Homestead Update 5/1/2016

1 May

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Well, it looks like we are going to be keeping Brandy after all. You look at this picture and say “Ah, Isn’t she a sweety.” No, she is not! She is so bad! I know why she was dumped. She bites and chews on everything, including our fingers. I understand that is partly from being a puppy, and partly from being a Terrier. We are trying to break her of the habit, I hope we make progress soon, I can’t stand to loose much more blood. We are also working on house breaking her and we are probably 80% there. Hopefully we will be 100% very soon.

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I had to work on getting my parent’s house ready for them to move in, and we are almost there. This is the dining room after I added the beadboard and trim. I think it looks pretty good.

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I was looking at my deer browse area in the back of the property and saw a lot of bees working the blooms. As I was watching that clover I noticed lots of Bumble Bees feeding there.

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As I was out working, I saw this field, probably 80 acres, just covered in some sort of Winter crop which was blooming heavily. I sure wished this field was closer to my hives, they could do a lot of foraging there!

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I saw a recipe in a newspaper that looked interesting, so Sweet Thing fixed it for me. This is a mix of Jalapenos, red and orange bell peppers, with a clove of garlic all steeped in a mixture of vinegar and sugar. Man that stuff is good! I could eat this every day! Keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 4/24/2016

24 Apr

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I was heading to town Wednesday and I saw that some low-life, scum sucking, sub-human piece of pig crap dumped this puppy on the side of the road. I picked her up and knew we couldn’t keep her so I headed to the Humane Shelter to drop her off. I arrived there at 8:30 and they didn’t open until 10:00. I needed to get to work so I dropped her off at my Vets office for the day. We intended to find a good home for her. We kept her a few days and decided to keep her, so we named her Brandi. An indoor dog was one of the last things we needed right now, but we couldn’t bear to take her to the pound.

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On the home front, I went to my bee yard and discovered one of my hives had swarmed. Darn! I split this hive twice this Spring and they swarmed anyway. I can’t believe how many bees came out of that hive. The swarm was 20 feet in the tree so there was no way to get them back. I have more to talk about but I just got in and I need to shower and get to bed, I have an early day tomorrow. Keep Prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 4/17/2016

17 Apr

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I decided to try my luck with raised bed gardening. I know I am going to be too busy with my job this Summer to really have a garden so this may be the next best thing. I have been reading about this method and everyone said to fill the beds with a mixture of topsoil, sand, vermiculite, compost, and manure. HUMM? I have plenty of topsoil and sand but nothing else. But wait a minute, what is that behind me underneath all those trees?

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Underneath the trees lies 40 years worth of leaves and branches which have fallen and laid there composting as Mother Nature intended. After you scrape away the top layer of uncomposted leaves you find this fine, black humus. So I just took my front end loader on my Kubota and found a few good open places among the trees and scraped off the top two inches and had several scoops of this fine compost which I dumped into the raised beds. I did have a few bags of composted manure left over from last year which I spread over the top of the beds. I’ll probably stick to tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots and onions this Summer to see how this turns out.

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On the bee keeping front, the turnips I planted last fall are blooming and the bees are working them heavy.

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On the other side of the open lot where I planted the deer browse, the clover and wild flowers are blooming. I think that is crimson clover, which the bees don’t care too much for, but it sure is a thick, green mat of vegetation for the deer to eat.

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I decided I needed a water hydrant in the front of the house so I can water flowers and shrubs around the driveway. I had to use a shovel to dig around to locate the waterline, then I was able to use the back hoe on my tractor to dig a trench over to where the faucet will be located. I have a plumber coming tomorrow to put it in. You might remember I did the plumbing myself for my bathroom addition in my shop, but since this is the main water line running to the house, I felt this is a job best left to a professional. Keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 4/10/2016

10 Apr

I didn’t get a lot accomplished around the homestead this week. I worked at my job two days then spent 3 days working on my parent’s house so that didn’t leave much time for anything else. I did manage to put out 3 more swarm traps, giving me a total of 20. I put together enough frames to fill the remaining 4 swarm traps I have made that are now ready to go. I looked in my hives and they seem to be doing really well. I hope I can get 10 more hives before this Spring is over. One of my employees was working in Missouri on a day when the wind was blowing 30 MPH. When that happens, sand and dust will blow in your face and get in your eyes, ears and nose. I told him he needed a Shemagh. He asked what is that? I sent him this picture and said it is a Shemagh worn Special Forces style.

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He texted me back “Looks more like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to him, HaHA!” That’s not showing much respect for your elders is it? Oh well, Keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 4/2/2016

3 Apr

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I managed to put out some more swarm traps this week for a total of 16. As you can see this one is about 15 feet in the air. I think I have them all positioned from 9-15 feet high. It’s not easy to haul them up that high pulling on a 1/4 inch rope thrown over a limb, let me tell you!

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I went on YouTube and copied this idea for a table saw sled to cut hand holds in bee hives.

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It makes hand holds almost as good as factory made. I couldn’t cut them on my saw nearly as fast as the videos showed. I don’t know if my saw was underpowered or maybe I was using the wrong blade. In the videos, it takes 5-10 seconds to cut this out. On my table it takes 60 seconds because I have to “hop” the sled on the blade instead of just using a steady cut. Never the less, it got the job done.

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Spring seems to be in full force now and my hostas are coming up. Take a look at the bright yellow leaves on this specimen. I forgot the name of it, but it sure is pretty in the early Spring.

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I noticed a row of these trees blooming at a park. I walked under them to look and sure enough, the bees were working like crazy.

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I’m not sure what it is. Probably a sort of Japanese Cherry if I had to guess. Anybody out there have any ideas?

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I also came into possession of this aluminum up-right scaffold/ladder. It doesn’t look too safe does it? It has a platform that extends from 9 feet to 14 1/2 feet. I had one of my employees climb up at 9 feet like you see here. He said “this is not too bad.” We raised it up to 14 1/2 feet and he said “Uh-Uh, I don’t like this!”

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It is called a Tallescope and they are used extensively in the UK, particularly in the Theater business. I couldn’t find any information about this item in the US which leads me to believe OSHA probably has banned their use. There are supposed to be 2-4 outrigger legs on the sides which this one is missing. I think I can buy some that will fit so that will make it much more stable.

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This is one in use in a theater and those outrigger legs do indeed make it look much more stable.

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We were visiting another couple last week and we got to meet Albert. The owner whipped out a bottle of Visine and put drops in his eyes and I said “what in the world is that about?’ She said he had some surgery for a condition called “Cherry Eye” and it messed up his tear glands, therefore the eye drops. She said they spend more on his Doctor bills than they do on themselves. I know the feeling! Until next week, keep prepping everyone!

Rain And Flooding

27 Mar

Two weeks ago we had 8-10 inches of rain in this area. Further South, where my parents live, they had 18-20 inches of rain in two days. That was not good.

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The lake is so high, this is the dock and little fishing house mostly submerged. I know it has never been nearly this high in the 20 years they have lived there.

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This is a cemetery near their house. Yes, those are headstones peeking up out of the flood waters. That is not what you want to see. But worst of all, we were preparing to move my parents into town and the house we just bought flooded 10 days after we closed the deal!

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There were over 200 homes flooded in this town, and some houses had it much worse than we did. Some houses had 2 feet of water inside them. We only had 1 inch in ours, but that was enough to ruin all of the carpets. The 2X4 base plates for the walls were saturated so I had to remove the baseboards and cut off 3 inches of the drywall so the base plates could dry before mold set in. I bought a high velocity fan for each room, and someone has been going in twice a day and moving the fans around to keep the drying out progressing. Since the flooring has been removed, and there is no furniture in the house, I figured now would be a perfect time to repaint the walls. This is the room I chose to stay in when I go to visit, and I decided that “Princess Pink” just wouldn’t do! I had those walls painted a nice, neutral beige color. I still have a lot of work to do before the house is move in ready. Just another thing on the long, endless list of things I have to do. I did manage to put out 4 more swarm traps yesterday. Every time I was putting out a trap, I heard bees buzzing around foraging on wild flowers so I know there are some in the area. I will try to put out of the rest of them this week. Until then, keep prepping everyone!

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