Homestead Update 2/21/2016

21 Feb

I am in a really bad mood as I sit here writing this post but I will get to that part in a few minutes.

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I was visiting with one of my clients in his office this past week and his big handsome Sheppard was laying at my feet. I took this picture and sent it to Sweet Thing and asked if I could bring him home. She said NO! You already have two dogs. Yeah, but mine are not even remotely well behaved like this dog. I need to get busy trying to train mine I guess.

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I also went downtown and early voted this week, and yes, I voted for Donald J Trump! I don’t think he can beat Hillary, but I am tired of voting for the lesser of two evils just because I think they might win. I want Donald to go to Washington and tear the whole system apart! We need to just burn the whole thing down and get back to the basics of the Constitution once again. I probably agree more with Ted Cruz than the others, but I know he has no real chance. His personality and appearance are just too off-putting for many people. I probably should have voted for Marco Rubio because he has a slight chance of actually beating Hillary in the general election. But I am ELATED Jeb Bush dropped out of the race. If he had been the Republican candidate I would have had a really hard time pulling that handle for him.

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I managed to put together 10 swarm traps this week, and I even painted a few of them in a sort of camouflage design so they would be harder to spot hanging in a tree. Maybe then some YaHoo won’t see them and use the traps for target practice!

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I can give a favorable review of the battery powered Porter Cable brad nailer. A fully charged battery will drive a lot of brads, and I mean it will fully sink these 2 inch brads into plywood and pine boards. I’m still not sure how well the brads will hold once the plywood starts to warp and buckle. Those 18 gauge brads are 2 inches long, but they are really thin. We shall just have to wait and see. Now on to the part putting me in a bad mood.

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I bought this used Honda ATV for Sweet Thing to have for her exclusive use. I went to check it out prior to purchasing it and I was happy with what I saw. The only negative the owner could tell me was it had a gas leak when the engine was off, so he had to shut off the gas line after each use. I looked and decided that could be fixed so I bought it. It also needs some brake work, but that is something I can handle myself.

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I decided the leak was coming from this spot on the old carburetor. That black knob is a fuel pump knob for use when the temperatures are extremely cold. I researched it on-line and discovered that part has a rubber seal that often goes bad after years of Ethanol gas. If you buy that knob as a OEM it would cost $51. Even buying it as aftermarket it costs $31. I bought that entire new carburetor for $57 and figured if that knob didn’t fix it I could replace the entire carb. Well, sure enough I replaced the knob and it still leaked. RATS!! What I hoped was a 10 minute job is back to a two hour job if I am lucky.

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But what really upset me is I discovered two of my bee hives have died since last week. The temperature was 68 degrees today so I opened the hives to add some more dry sugar on top of the inner cover. As soon as I lifted the outer top I knew it was bad news. I pulled up this frame and all those bees are freshly dead. I guess they starved to death even though each hive had a deep super full of honey going into winter.

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I opened the other hive and saw these bees also dead.

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If you look closely you can see some hive beetles in that open section, but they are also dead! I took several more pictures to show to the old timers at my next bee keepers meeting to see if they have any ideas about what happened. Last week both hives were flying on warm days and I had no inkling that any thing was amiss, so I am really ticked off by this development. Oh well, that is all part of the learning experience. I still have two hives with live bees, and I gave them some dry sugar today so I hope they make it. That’s all for this week. Keep on prepping everyone!

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6 Responses to “Homestead Update 2/21/2016”

  1. jcampbell99 February 21, 2016 at 8:05 pm #

    That sucks about the bees. That is what’s worrying me about my hives with the weather being so bi polar. Few days in the 60 and 70s then bam back into the 30s

    • doublebhomestead February 21, 2016 at 8:59 pm #

      Thanks for commenting Jon. I sure fell bad about my bees, but now I am motivated to build more swarm traps. I want to have 25 by the middle of April so I can catch swarms to stock my hives.

      • jcampbell99 February 21, 2016 at 10:58 pm #

        Are you using somebody’s swarm trap plans or just building nuc sized boxes? I want to have 5 made before then end of February

  2. doublebhomestead February 22, 2016 at 8:51 am #

    Jon, I am using 8 frame deep supers. That gives me the approximate cubic space the “experts” say is needed. I nail a piece of plywood on the bottoms and make a top I can attach with 2 screws. I’ll post some pictures soon.

  3. Pioneer Preppy February 22, 2016 at 4:47 pm #

    Got caught above the stores when a cold snap hit and couldn’t move the ball to where they needed to go. Not much that can be done about that. Were the hives insulated? That seems to help as it allows my girls to break the ball even when it is really cold and move when they need to. I am getting away from dry sugar feeding as I am not sure it does any good since it takes so long for the bees to turn dry sugar into a honey like substance that can be used. I am leaning more towards open feeding sugar water these days.

    • doublebhomestead February 22, 2016 at 9:55 pm #

      I definitely think they starved to death, there is no honey left in the hives at all. I hope my other two hives make it.

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