Swarm Traps, Homestead Update & Roadside Treasure

18 Apr

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I finally took some time to make some swarm traps today. As you can see, I have a large, medium and small size to see which works best. The small size is made from the 10 frame medium super I found on the roadside last Spring. It has propolis and wax on the inside so it should have that good bee smell already. The middle size is made from a new 8 frame deep hive body and the large size is made from a pine 1X12. When I found the 10 frame super I also found 2 frames still intact with old black wax and I will put one in each of the new boxes. Some of the people I’ve read recommended that, but some said not to do that because it would attract wax moths. Well we shall see, after all, this is a new learning experience for me. The weatherman says we will get some storms and rain tonight and tomorrow. If so, I will put a couple of coats of paint on them tomorrow. The lid on the small trap has a single coat of paint I put on it already today. I used a partial can of  paint I bought 17 years ago that has sat in my storage area where it probably froze and thawed repeatedly over the years, but I think it is still useable. Does it have some lumps and clumps? Yes it does, but I am just painting hives with it so I can just flick off the lump when I see it. The bees won’t care if it is a perfect paint job or not.

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When I brought the two boxes of bee supplies over to my shop, I set them in the man cave while I went to unlock the back door. By the time I had walked around, Kensey and Oreo had already spotted the boxes. “Hey what’s this? This stuff is new, we need to check it out!” Thanks for the help guys.

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I had to make a new burn barrel because the previous one finally fell apart. It lasted 2 years but between being weakened by the heat of the fires and the @#$%!! raccoons crawling in and out of it the wire finally broke down. I’m using rabbit cage wire so I have about $10 invested in it as well as 1 hour of my time. That’s much cheaper than the $459 model from DR Manufacturing I reported on last year!

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I also bought this little jewel. I have a large, professional model Troy-Bilt weed eater with the chainsaw attachment. It is a fine heavy-duty machine, but it is difficult to start for the first time of the day, especially if it hasn’t been run for a while. But you can plug this electric starter into the end and push the button and it will fire right up. It cost $29 but it prevents a lot of cussin’ and fussin’ on my part!

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I also found this roadside treasure this week. It is a brand new double roll of plastic warning tape, similar to police crime scene tape only it says “Warning, Buried Electric Lines.” Who knows I might need to mark off an area as off-limits some day and this will do just fine. I made Sweet Thing jump out of the vehicle and pick it up, by the way. She wasn’t too pleased about that! I guess that is enough for now, keep prepping everyone!

Trailer Truck Of Bees Overturns

17 Apr

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I was watching the news this evening and I saw a story about a truckload of bee hives overturned near Seattle, causing the death and destruction of millions of bees.  These bees were traveling to area farms to pollinate berry crops. This traveling around the country may be part of the colony collapse disorder you read so much about. It seems if everyone wants to point their fingers towards farm insecticides as being the major culprit in CCD, but there are many factors involved. One of which may be loading bees onto trailer trucks and hauling them all over the country to pollinate different crops. As I was doing a Google search for these images, I found many more instances of trucks overturning, not just this incident in Seattle.

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After they saved what they could, they just took a front-end loader and scooped up the rest to haul away. It hurt to watch that, I could have used some of those old, empty hives!

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As I was surfing around reading about bees, I came across this new invention someone is promoting. It is called a flow hive and they claim you can harvest your honey without opening your hive and disturbing the bees. (not to mention not having to do all the work to harvest honey the traditional way) I found a place to buy the inner workings to install inside your own wooden ware and it was priced $460 for the complete works. I will have to do more checking up on this before I invest that amount!

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We have been  getting lots of rain this week so I tried to slip out and mow some today before the next round of rain gets here. I got the ZTM  stuck 3 times! As I was mowing I watched the henbit and dandelions for bees but all I saw was bumble bees. But when I got close to the old turnip patch in the back, I saw hundreds of bees working! I don’t know who those girls belonged to, they are not mine. My bees will be delivered on May 5th, and I am stoked!

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I have been gathering supplies to make some swarm traps similar to the ones pictured above. I ordered a bunch of stuff from Mann Lake and I received 2 big boxes today from Fed-Ex. Oh Boy!

I opened the boxes and checked off the shipping list and discovered they had backordered my swarm lures. Rats! I was going to put some traps out next week, I guess I will use the lemon grass oil and put the traps out anyway. When the lures arrive I will go around and insert them in the opening. We will see what happens then, this is all new to me. Keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update

11 Apr

We had another warm week here with several days of rain showers. We still haven’t had the damaging winds and hail like others have experienced near us, and I hope we don’t.

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I did manage to get my bath room in my shop insulated, walled up, electrical installed, and painted. Fancy colors, Huh? I got some of the trenches dug for the water lines but I didn’t have time to actually lay the lines. Hopefully I can get that done this week, but the weatherman is calling for 50% chances or more for rain all week so I may just have to straighten up and organize inside my shop. That will be a major task in itself! I also got the push mower running after sitting up all winter. I had to clean the water, rust and varnish out of the carburetor but it runs fine now. I put a new mower deck belt on the ZTR then I mowed for 30 minutes until I got it stuck. I told Sweet Thing it was too wet to mow! There will be plenty of time to mow all Summer! Keep prepping everyone!

He Is Risen!!

5 Apr
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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.

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

Homestead Update

4 Apr

The weather has really warmed up this past week. We had several really nice days and unfortunately I had to work so I didn’t get as much done around here as I would have liked.

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I put two coats of grey paint on the new addition to my shop and I think it looks good now. I also added 10 shelves on the back wall of the open bays. The shelves are each 2 feet wide by 10 feet long so I should be able to store lots of junk excess material on them.

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I was passing through town and watched a crew tearing down an old motel. The doors to the motel opened to the outside and I noticed they had removed the big plate-glass from each room. I don’t know if they hauled it away to melt and recycle or to sell as used sheet glass. If you will look closely at the picture, you can see doors leaning against the walls inside the rooms so I guess they are not going to salvage those since they were tearing it down as I watched. Seems like a real waste, that would be close to 100 metal doors that could be resold and reused. I could use a couple of those myself! I realize when you are figuring salvaging something for resale on a commercial scale, you have to figure in the cost of the labor involved. That probably makes it more profitable to just tear it down and load it on the truck and bury it somewhere. It still pains me to see that though. I am just too much of a prepper, scrounger, and pack rat to throw all that stuff away.

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I also had to was privileged to attend a wedding last weekend. The theme colors were black and white, and I didn’t know they used black at weddings. I thought they reserved black for funerals, but as I think of it, black is entirely appropriate for many marriages I see!

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The grooms cake was decorated to resemble a corn field at harvest with toy tractors on it for decoration. It was quite tasty as well. Maybe I can get some more projects done in the coming week, I’ll keep you posted. Until then, keep prepping everyone!

Gypsy Spring

3 Apr

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I was checking my orchard a few days ago and I noticed the peach trees blooming. I saw 2 trees out of the 36 I planted that are not budding out as of yet. I will give them a few weeks just to be sure then I will replace them if need be. I might add some more blue berry bushes while I am replanting. Fruit trees blooming are a sure sign of Spring, as well as Gypsies passing through. That is known as “Gypsy Spring” in these parts, and why you might ask?

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We live near a major North/South corridor, and we get quite a few hitch hikers coming through. Many of them are like this couple pictured above, modern-day Gypsies. These Gypsies are street people who spend the warm weather up North in cities like Chicago where they ply their Gypsy trades, then they travel back down South to winter in the warmer climes like New Orleans and Key West. Many of these people ply the traditional Gypsy lifestyle of pick pockets, purse snatching, petty theft, con games and scams. Being homeless and mobile, when the law begins to look at them too keenly, they just up and move to the next town. Around here, one of their favorite scams is repainting metal grain bins.

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After time, grain bins get rusty and need repainting. A group of Gypsies will come through and catch some farmers unaware of the scam. They will paint the bins with silver paint, and immediately afterwards they look good. But being a Gypsy scam, they thin the real paint with so much diesel fuel, after a few months of sun and rain, the paint fades away and the bins look worse than they did before painting. But by that time, the Gypsies have moved on down the road and are long gone.

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Another of their favorite scams is driveway sealing. They come around and offer to seal the driveways for a really low price. But, being a Gypsy scam, they will cut the sealant with diesel fuel, and after a few months you can’t even tell the driveways have been sealed. Once again, the Gypsies have moved on and are long gone by that time.

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But probably one of their most profitable scams is roofing. They will follow around the country following hurricanes and tornados taking advantage of the desperation of people to have their homes repaired after a storm. They will offer to make the repairs at a seemingly good price. They will ask for a large sum up front to purchase the supplies and will promise to start in a couple of days. They might even climb on the roof and cover the damage with blue tarps to make the homeowner feel at ease. Then they never come back! After a few weeks of scamming, they have to leave the area when the police start getting complaints. All of this is just part of the Gypsy way of life, so as they say, let the buyer beware!

Homestead Update

28 Mar

Last week the weather finally warmed up and made it feel like Spring, although tonight we are expecting near record lows in the upper twenties. But while the weather was nice last week I took the opportunity to do a little work around here.

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I noticed the field across from our house had a purple haze of color to it from the Henbit blooming!

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That reminded me to get my bee hives set up and ready for the arrival of my nucs. You might notice the bottom board of one of the hives is painted purple. Why? Well, that bottom board is a screened varroa mite board and it came to me unpainted. I already had a can of purple spray paint so I thought “why not?”  It will add a little splash of color to my hives.

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I was also able to get the 10X30 addition to my workshop framed up and sealed in. I was able to get the cat enclosure set back up so my kitties can come back outside and look around. They had been cooped up inside for 2 weeks and they didn’t like it one bit. I even got the garage door installed. This was my first attempt at a garage door and it worked out well. It took me and my two employees 4 hours to put it in and get it adjusted properly, but now it works perfectly. I think I could put one up in 2 1/2 hours now that I have some idea of how to do it.

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Those metal tracks allow the door to roll up and down, and it has many places where you can adjust the spacing of the track and the rollers. Now that I have it adjusted properly, you can literally raise and lower the door with one finger. This additional space will be where I lock up and store my rolling stock, dirt bikes, ATVs, etc. so I will have room to work inside my shop.

Finally I might get around to doing some of the projects I have been putting off. Keep prepping everyone!

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