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Homestead Update 12/23/17

23 Dec

Well, it’s been a while since I have been here hasn’t it? I thought about the end of the year being near and I looked back to see what I had actually accomplished around here and I realized not much. I did manage to get a few routine chores done but not much in the way of big projects.

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I came home one day and found this Shepherd mix on my front porch. I checked his collar and he didn’t have a name tag. He was very friendly and I could tell he was very frightened and lost. I figured he would leave and go home on his own but after a couple of days he showed no sign of leaving. We posted him on Facebook and eventually we found his owner. Turns out, I actually knew his owner so I am sure he got back to his real home. Sweet Thing didn’t know it, but I was making plans in my head to keep the dog if no one claimed him. Smile

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I pulled my professional chipper-shredder out of storage after 3 years to get it started. I checked the oil and discovered the crankcase was full of gasoline which had leaked into the case. Not good! I changed the oil and started it up. It ran about 30 seconds before bright blue smoke came out of the exhaust the the engine shut down. I took off the carburetor and cleaned it up with carburetor cleaner. I put the carb back on the the engine and it ran like a sewing machine. Hard to believe after it has been stored all that time without being properly stored or started. I guess I got lucky on that one.

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I went into a convenience store recently and as I was walking in I noticed this garbage can. There were at least a dozen honey bees buzzing around it. They were feeding on the sticky residue from the spilled sodas and such. All of the natural forage was gone for the winter but since the temperature was 70 degrees the bees were out foraging anyway.

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I am going to try a different style of bee hive next summer as an experiment.  This is a Layens style hive. It is like a combination of a top bar hive and a langstroth  hive. It is constructed with 2 by dimension lumber so all of the sides and bottom are 1.5 inches of solid wood. This is intended to give superior insulation power. The hive is also narrow, deep, and dark inside which more closely mimics a bee’s natural home in a hollow tree. I will let you know how this works out later next year.

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I attended a business meeting last week at the world famous Peabody Hotel in Memphis. The hotel was beautifully decorated for Christmas and we were entertained by a Choral Group from a local middle school singing Christmas carols.

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While I attended the meeting, Sweet Thing attended a painting class where she painted this snowman. Apparently that is the latest thing around here to hold classes where the participants are giving painting instructions. Not to mention socializing and drinking lots of wine!

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Keep prepping everyone!! Oh, I almost forgot it’s almost Christmas! How about a tune from Bing Crosby? Enjoy.

 

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Homestead Update 9/10/17; Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma

10 Sep

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When they first started talking about Harvey two weeks ago, it reminded me to check my preps. I got my two generators out and fired them up and let them run for 5 minutes each. I checked and made sure we had batteries for all of our flashlights and electric lanterns. I have Coleman Lamps and Coleman Stoves with plenty of fuel. I have propane fueled lamps and heaters with plenty of fuel, as well as kerosene heaters with fuel. I have a wood burning fireplace and a natural gas cook stove. The pantry is fully stocked. I only have 10 gallons of water stocked up which needs to be rotated and I need to add to that total. You might remember I had a shallow well bored two years ago, and I still have not attached a pump to the well. That will be one of my projects in the coming weeks. Spare water is definitely one of the areas I fall short in with regards to prepping.

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We have a small garden in the back where we have been having a fair harvest of tomatoes, squash, okra, and peas. We shelled two gallons of peas just this week and my thumbs are sore!

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I saw this 1966 Ford pickup at Lowe’s last week and instantly wanted one! He had it restored really nice but he was driving it around not just using it as a show truck. Nice!

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All of the talk of removing our monuments just makes me sick and scares me to death. For any of you that have not read the novel “1984” by George Orwell, this is exactly the prediction he foresaw while writing the book. The government controlled every aspect of your life, even what you could think. There was an entire, huge department of government workers whose job it was to rewrite and erase history that did not conform to the governments desired perception of reality. Scary spooky isn’t it? The communists and socialist are destroying this country one tiny step at a time and we are letting them do it just like a frog in a pot of boiling water. All the more reason to keep prepping everyone!

Memorial Day 2017

29 May

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I would like to take a moment to thank all the veterans out there on this day, as we remember those who gave all in service to our country. We should all thank God we live in this country, even with all our problems the USA is still the best country in the world in my opinion. So if you are out and about just enjoying a day off, at least take a moment to think about those who serve so that we may enjoy our freedoms. Thank You, God Bless America, God Bless Our Troops, and God Bless You.

Christmas 2016

25 Dec

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Here’s wishing everyone a Merry Christmas! I hope each one of you is spending your day with family and friends. With all the hustle and bustle of the season, let us not forget the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus is the reason for the season, may God Bless you all!

 

Veterans Day

11 Nov

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Today is a special day, a day to honor those who sacrificed so much to protect our country. Take a little time to say “thank you for your service”, they will appreciate it. I noticed this morning, McDonald’s is giving free food items for Vets and I saw several Vets siting there telling stories to each other. So here is my thanks to all of you Vets.

 

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!

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!