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!

He is Risen!

27 Mar

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When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

 

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ”

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

Mark 16:1-8

I hope you all have a glorious Easter, may God bless us all.

Goats!

26 Mar

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I was in Tractor Supply last week and two young ladies were pushing this shopping cart with a baby goat in it. His name is Albert, and he is three weeks old. He is one of a set of triplets and the Nanny refused to feed him so now he is a bottle baby. It’s hard to tell from the picture but he is wearing a diaper. I’ll bet most of you have never seen a goat wearing a diaper have you? The girls said he rides around in the truck with them everywhere they go. I assume they realize that someday when Albert matures he won’t be able to ride in the truck anymore. When he matures he will develop that special Billy Goat fragrance that the lady goats find so intoxicating, but us humans gag at the stench! Oh well, I hope they enjoy his company while they can. Someday I will have goats here on the homestead, but for now I will just have to read about them on other peoples blogs. Keep prepping everyone!

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