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Homestead Update 5/7/2017

7 May

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I have been working around the yard this week planting new shrubs and perennials. I received another order from Hostas Direct and they came in perfect condition. It is hard to believe I can open the shipping box and find 8 perfect specimens like this. I also bought some hostas and other plants from the FFA chapter of a local high school and they were really nice. I planted some tomatoes and peppers in the new raised bed I made last month and they seem to be doing well despite the 6 inches of rain we received last week.

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Sweet Thing has been working on some crafts so she made this picture frame. I cut the wood and sanded it down then she white washed it, added the twine to hold the picture, and added some decorative accents. She is going to donate several of these to our local Bee Keepers club to auction off at our yearly fund raiser.

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She made some vinyl letters and designs to stick onto these drink glasses. One of those machines I showed you in her sewing room printed these on vinyl and cut them out. Don’t ask me how. I may think of some ideas she can do for me with that machine!

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I was in my shop last week making 3 more swarm traps to put out and Oreo and Kensey came in to help me. I have 22 traps out now and 4 of them have bees in them but I haven’t brought them in yet. I might get one or two tonight and bring them in and transfer them in the morning. The past two days have been sunny but the wind was blowing 30 MPH gusting to 40 MPH. Not good conditions for working bees, that wind puts them in a really BAD mood! I don’t like the wind either. I’ll keep you updated on events around here. Until then, keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 4/16/2017

16 Apr

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I had some slopes on the Homestead that were starting to wash and develop the beginnings of gullies so I went to the Nursery and bought 1/2 of a pallet of Zoysia Sod.

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I used my Kubota tractor and disc to work and loosen the soil before laying the sod. Since then I have been watering the sod every day and it is supposed to rain several days in the coming week so I hope it takes hold. If this works out I plan on doing more of this next Spring because I have several spots with washes starting.

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The lettuce in the raised bed is doing really well. Sweet Thing picked a big mess to take to the in-laws for Easter dinner and I expect it will be delicious.

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Speaking of Sweet Thing, she has been working to straighten up and organize her sewing room. I noticed 5 different sewing machines over there and I asked her why she needed so many. She asked me how many woodworking saws I had so I just shut up and smiled!

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She really has everything neat and organized. Maybe I should ask her to come straighten out my workshop!

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On the bee keeping front, I caught my first ever cluster swarm. This lady called three weeks ago and said she had a swarm in a bush, but before I could get there the bees left. Then she called a few days ago about this swarm.

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The swarm was so low to the ground I couldn’t rake them into the box so I just reached into the swarm and pulled off several double handfuls of bees and dropped them into the box. Eventually the stragglers began to go into the opening on their own.

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After the cluster got smaller, I got brave and removed my glove and scooped up a handful of bees barehanded. That is a really strange feeling to have a hand full of bees, and not one single sting! I transferred them into a hive when I got home and now after 5 days they seem to be doing fine.

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I was out and about putting out my swarm traps and I noticed this shrub. There were many of them in this fence line and most of them had really pretty red flowers on them. I researched it and determined it is a native plant “Red Buckeye”. I think it will be suitable for naturalizing so I am going to dig up some of the smaller ones and replant them. Have any of you had any experience with this plant? And oh yeah, my swarm traps. I put out 22 traps, some of them have been out 3 weeks, some 2 weeks and some 1 week. I checked them all Friday and I had no bees. Skunked! 0 for 22. I still expect to capture several swarms and I’ll keep you posted.

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I hope all of you had a peaceful, blessed Easter. Keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 3/19/17

19 Mar

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Tomorrow is the first day of Spring, but this is what we had last week, maybe 2 inches of snow.

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I ordered these large bags of wild flower seeds but I need to wait another month before I plant them. I wanted to have some flowers for my bees to feed on. Speeking of bees, I split one of my hives today. I opened it up and every frame was crawling with bees and there was a LOT of brood, much of it capped and ready to hatch. I did a walk-away split on this hive last year and it worked perfectly, I hope it turns out that well again.

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I made 10 telescoping covers for my hives recently and I wanted to put metal on the covers like the ones I buy from Mann Lake. I bought this metal brake from Harbor Freight two years ago so I decided it was time to give it a try.

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I have to admit my first attempt was an abject failure! The cover on the bottom is my second attempt and it looks just fine. The cover on top is the one I had to re-bend and try a second attempt, that is why it is so wrinkled and ugly. After covering six of the tops, I realize I really didn’t need the metal brake because the aluminum flashing is so thin. The flashing might be twice as thick as a store-bought pie plate, but describing it like that is being generous. I could have made a metal brake using a couple of 2X4s and it would have worked just fine for this task, but I might need to bend something heavier in the future so I will hold on to it.

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I had a meeting with one of my clients at his office and I checked out his train set. This is not a child’s set, this is a big-boy set!

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I doubt if I will ever see a more elaborate set than this one!

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I was looking through my pictures for this post and I realized I haven’t posted a picture of Brandy lately. She weighs 9 pounds now and that should be her final, adult size. It is a real ball of laughs watching her play with her toys!

 

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I was in the restroom of Subway recently, and I saw this sign written in braille stating employees must wash hand before returning to work. Then I wondered to myself “how many blind people do they have making sandwiches at this Subway?” Just more unnecessary government regulations intruding on our lives. Keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 3/5/2017

5 Mar

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This week I planted some cold crops in my raised bed. The bed did so well last summer even with me neglecting it badly I decided to give the lettuce, broccoli and onions a try.

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I put together and painted some bee hive supers and assembled some frames. I even made some frames from scratch and they turned out really good. But, I have to say, if I can buy them from Mann Lake for 88 cents that is cheap enough not to make them myself.IMG_20170215_092921808_HDR

I saw this cardboard box on the side of the road near our house so I just had to stop and pick it up.

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Turns out, it was just filled with garbage! Oh well, you can’t find a prize every time.

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The wind blew our newspaper down the road and when I walked over to pick it up, I found this nice, Uncle Mike’s sidekick holster. Score!

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We spent the weekend in Memphis at the Peabody Hotel for a meeting I attended. While there we dined at Texas De Brazil. After consuming several pounds of grilled meats, I finished off my meal with Key Lime pie, vanilla bean ice cream, and coffee.IMG_20170302_201907071

Sweet Thing finished up with Pecan pie, ice cream, and coffee. If you go to Texas De Brazil, be sure to bring your appetite! Keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update: 1/15/07

15 Jan

Since I last posted, I have spent most of my time working on my taxes and working in my shop.

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I have been getting things straightened up and organized. One of the first projects I completed is this lumber cart for storing my short scraps and sheet goods. I put the really short pieces on the shelves on the right side and the longer pieces stand up in the bins to the left. On the back side I have a place for sheet goods like plywood, and in the middle I can store longer pieces of 2X4s and 1X4s. I put it on casters so I can roll it around out of the way when I am not using it.

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I also built this rolling cart to fit underneath my table saw. The cart has shelves for storing my accessories  such as push sticks and feather boards. I also use it for storing my miter gage and rip fence when not in use.

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I needed a way to rough cut plywood before I bring it in and finish it on the table saw. I cut these brackets I can mount on top of my saw horses.

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Then I can add these 2X3s to hold full 8 foot sheets.

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I can quickly take this apart and stack the saw horses and store all of this inside out of the rain. I have some more projects I will show you later, until then, keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 12/11/16

11 Dec

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Once again, I haven’t accomplished much around the homestead lately. I did cut up two small trees that died during the summer and I stacked the wood on the back porch in the stand Sweet Thing bought at Big Lots. The temperatures fell into the teens this past week. I know you Yanks probably consider that “light jacket” weather, but around here we consider that bitterly cold! I told Sweet Thing it was time to light a fire in the fireplace, but she said “No!”

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She already had the fireplace decorated for Christmas and she refused to take it down unless the power goes out and we absolutely had to have the heat. I guess I’ll have to wait until after New Years to have a warm, cozy fire.

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My niece bought a house recently and the previous owner subscribed to a garbage service which she wasn’t going to use. She called the company and told them to come get this big, green, heavy duty, rolling garbage can. They told her to just keep it because it would cost them more to send a man out to pick it up than it would to just write it off. She asked if I wanted it and I said “of course I do”!

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One of the young men that works for me recently bought a house and he wanted to dump into my back gully some old carpet that he tore out while he was remodeling. He also dumped this wood and fortunately I discovered it before it rained tonight! There was a good 2×4, 1×4, 2×8, 2/3 of a sheet of interior paneling, 1/2 a sheet of particle board, several smaller pieces, a roll of hardware cloth, a package of gutter leaf guards as well as this solid wood door. I asked him why he threw this away and he said he thought I didn’t like particle board. I said I don’t really like it, “UNLESS IT IS FREE’! Then I will take all I can get. This heavy wooden door is way better than the back door I have in my shop right now so I will replace it with this one soon. I told him not to throw away any more wood without checking with me first. I have several projects I can use that wood on. I will keep you updated on my projects, until then, keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 11/6/16

6 Nov

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I took a little trip this week to Heaven on Earth, otherwise known as Baxter County Arkansas. I had the opportunity to trout fish on the White River for two days and just relax and take in the scenery.

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I re-tarped my Harbor Freight Portable Garage after the original cover finally deteriorated. The cover lasted three years even though it was not set up on a level as the instructions said. I think if you bought this garage and set it level I think you might get 5 or more years out of it. That’s not bad for something that only costs $169.

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I noticed Missouri is voting on whether or not to require IDs for voting. I can’t believe you can vote ANYWHERE without ID, you need photo ID for almost anything. I’ll bet 99.999 percent of the population already has photo ID and if not it is really easy to get one. There is no excuse for not requiring an ID to vote, that is unless you want to make it easier for people to commit voter fraud. Humm, who is dead set against requiring IDs to vote? Democrats, that’s who! Enough said!

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I am in the process of reorganizing my work shop so I hung this cabinet on the wall with French cleats. The cabinet came with a dart board which I removed. I think I paid $5 for it at the second hand store.

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I put some shelves inside so I can store my safety glasses, pens and pencils, and latex gloves. I even cut a strip of Plexiglas to go across the bottom so I can see my pencils and markers. After I get a little further along I’ll post some pictures so you can see my progress. Until then, keep prepping everyone!