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Homestead Update 10-30-16

30 Oct

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Just a quick post to let you know I am still alive. I haven’t had an outbreak of psoriasis in 3 weeks so maybe the medicine is finally taking effect. Our cotton is almost completely harvested and the yields were pretty good.

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I made this cherry picker basket to lift up with the bucket on my front end loader on my tractor.

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I had to replace the security light on the front of the shop. While I was at it I replaced my American flag. She’s flying pretty and proud ain’t she? I had to buy that light at Home Depot, they don’t sell metal halide lights at Lowe’s anymore. All they had were fluorescent and LEDs and I thought the metal halide would be brighter.

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After I took the old one down, I had second thoughts however. This old one got hot enough to burn and melt the wires and ballast in the fixture, that is why it quit working. If I hadn’t already mounted the new halide light, I think I would have opted to put up an LED light. I have decided I really like the LED lights in the house even though they are really expensive up front. As the lights need replacing around here, I replace them with LEDs. Someday they will all be LEDs unless they come up with something better in the next few years.

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I planted these mustard greens 4 weeks ago and they have grown big enough to pick. Sweet Thing has already picked several sacks and took them to her mother and sister. I guess the next sack will be mine. I love fresh greens!

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I grew a few cantaloupes to go along with the peppers and tomatoes I grew in the raised bed I made. I am declaring the raised bed method a success! Next Summer I will have a couple of more beds ready. Until then, keep prepping everyone!

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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!

Electrical Fires

21 Dec

I started this post a couple of years ago when we still had the house in town. I decided it might not be a good idea to post this in case my insurance agent stumbled across it so I just saved it in drafts, but now it is ready. I think fire safety is especially important this time of year due to fires caused by Christmas lights and electric heaters so I am posting it now.

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This is a building on the corner of downtown which burned recently. The downstairs were office buildings and upstairs was a residential apartment. A fire started from a faulty space heater; fortunately no one was injured. They are tearing it down and cleaning it up. I sure could use some of that rubble to fill in some of the gully behind the house.

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We were in the process of cleaning out the last of our stuff from the old house in town. We went in recently and noticed the pump for the aquarium was not running. When I checked it out I found this sight above. This cheap electrical strip shorted out and we were very, very lucky the house didn’t catch on fire! When I saw this my stomach did a flip flop let me tell you! I’m thanking my lucky stars everything turned out OK. Do you have fire extinguishers handy? We do and so should you. Keep prepping everyone.

Homestead Update

15 Feb

I’ve been busy with job related tasks the last few weeks so I haven’t done much in the way of prepping.

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I have attended two meetings in Nashville and three meetings in Memphis in the past few weeks. While I was on the road, I stopped in a convenience store and I saw this firewood stacked by the door. It is for sale for $5.99 per bundle, and it looks like it would take two bundles to fill a 5-gallon bucket. Man, at that rate I bet I have $3000 worth of firewood just laying on the ground behind my barn. I better get out there and cover it up with a tarp, I didn’t realize it was so valuable!

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I also noticed the gas prices are going back up quickly. I think they got as low as $1.82 around here, now they are up to $2.09 at most stations. Oh well, I knew it was too good to last. I planned on getting my new diesel tank set up and filled while the prices were down, I think I better get on that next week before the prices go up any further. The weatherman is prediction snow and single digit temps for tonight, I hope he is wrong this time. P.S. As an update to this post, they are predicting 6-9 inches of snow and sleet, then freezing temps all week with one night possibly below 0! I can’t take that! I grew up in SE Arkansas about 30 miles from the Louisiana border, I am practically a Cajun!

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I refilled the firewood rack on the back porch. I hope we burn a fire because we want to and not because we HAVE to. Those cold winter days with no electricity really suck, but we are prepared as well as we can be I guess.

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I looked over towards the barn last night and noticed the security light was out. RATS! It burned about 2 years before the bulb burned out, but I have it replaced now.

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I ordered another beekeeping book. I have three electronic beekeeping books on my ipad, but it might be handy to have a hard copy of one just-in-case.

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I also just received an email from Sam’s Club about a fire extinguisher I purchased a few months ago. These units have been recalled by the manufacturer and I have to contact them to get a replacement. I hope we don’t have a fire in the meantime. I’ll probably go to Lowe’s tomorrow and get a couple to have on hand while I wait on my replacements to come in. Keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update

15 Nov

I spent several days away from home during the past 2 weeks, including some time I spent at my parents house.

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Their house is on the lake, and they needed the seawall replaced. Every 4 years, the lake authorities lower the level of the lake so people can make repairs to the seawalls and docks. I had to hire someone to do the work since I was occupied with other things. I sure didn’t want to pay for that, but I just was not able to do the work myself. The men that put up the wall did a good job so I am satisfied.

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You can’t see it very well, but if you look below those red flowers, you can see a solid black squirrel that showed up in the pecan trees and my Mom is tickled to death to watch it running around her yard.

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I went back into the woods behind our house and finished clearing a path to the back side of our property. The leaves are falling and the woods are starting to open up where you can see a long ways looking through the trees.

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But I finally made it all the way through today! Now I can bring my tractor or ATV all the way to the back line.

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Joining us on the back side of our property is a 200 acre field that is usually soybeans, but this year it was planted in half corn and half cotton. Those trees are about 1/4 mile away, and they are surrounding a really nice lake. If the grid goes down, that will be my third source of water!

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This is a view from the field looking back towards the path I cleared through the woods. I cleared out a spot on the edge where I plan on having some bee hives next year. They will have a good source of water right in front of the hives, and be in a secluded location away from any roads where no one will be able to bother them.

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For safety sake, since my eye is still healing up, I decided to wear my safety helmet with full face shield to guard against any limbs and branches whipping across my eye.

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I also stumbled upon a prize this week. I looked in the local shoppers guide, and saw this table saw for sale. The man was asking $200 for it and he said it was working perfectly, but he wanted to warn me before I came to pick it up, it was over 30 years old and it was a big heavy steel model, not one of those nice, new lightweight aluminum ones. When I arrived to pick it up, I plugged it up and it did indeed work perfectly. He had 7 blades to go with it, a dado set, an adjustable extension stand, a precision fence, an angle jig, and several other items. It was a steal for $200, the blades alone were worth more than that. As we were loading it into the back of my truck, once again he apologized for it being so old and heavy, but I just grinned. That was exactly what I wanted, I already have one of the new, light weight cheap ass aluminum models. This steel table would cost $600 for a similar saw now. I am going to use it this winter while the weather is bad to make some bee hives for next Spring. Until then, keep prepping everyone!

When Seconds Count,,,,

25 Jul

We had an interesting experience here a few nights ago. It was 3am and we were awakened by the doorbell ringing and pounding on the front door. What in the world? I jumped out of bed and put on my pants that were on the stool at the end of the bed. (I keep my pants at the ready on the stool every night, don’t you?) I grabbed my 9mm from the nightstand and headed for the front of the house. I looked out of the front window before going to the door and I saw 2 Sheriff’s patrol cars in the drive. Well, that took some of the high anxiety away. So then I thought to myself, have I done anything lately that the Sheriff would want to talk to me about in the middle of the night? Nah, I’m ok, I’ve been too busy working to get into any mischief. Then I laid my pistol on the kitchen counter, I didn’t want to answer the door with a pistol in my hand.

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The deputy said they had an open line 911 call from this address and I said there must be some mistake. There was no one here except me and Sweet Thing and until 2 minutes ago, we were sound asleep. He called in to the dispatcher and verified the number and address and the dispatcher said the line was still open. He asked us to check the line so Sweet Thing brought one of the portable hand sets to the door and I checked and no dial tone, just static. He said he was glad all was well and we should have the phone line checked out tomorrow. After he left, I thought about what had transpired and I was a bit concerned. I know I have an honest and sincere face, but he didn’t even come inside to check around. Sweet Thing and I could have been a pair of serial killers with the real residents of the house bound and gagged in the back room. Or some crazed killer could have sent us to the door with orders to get rid of the cops while holding a gun to our children’s heads. The deputy would really have no way of knowing anything was truly safe without checking further. I guess my bright smiling face convinced him everything was A-OK. So just remember,,,

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Keep safe everyone!

Tragic Fire Fatality

10 Feb

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I found out one of my former clients died in a tragic house fire last week. The man was semi-bed-ridden at home and used oxygen full-time. The electricity was out due to the winter ice storm and the family was using a kerosene heater and a kerosene lamp. The details of the event are a bit unclear to the person relating this tale to me, but somehow the man caught on fire from the kerosene. As the man’s wife and son were attempting to get the man out of the house, the oxygen tank exploded. The son and the wife escaped, but both are still hospitalized with severe burns and the man died in the house. So once again let’s remind ourselves to be careful with open flames such as kerosene and be doubly careful to avoid flames around oxygen. Be safe out there!