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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!

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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 4/2/2017

2 Apr

Just a quick update, my phone and computer are not communicating properly so I couldn’t upload any new pictures.

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I do have this picture I haven’t used yet. Two weeks ago when we had the below freezing cold snap, I covered my Hostas with a blanket. And I literally mean a blanket. This is an old reject I use for hauling furniture and such so I didn’t figure it would be a big loss if it was ruined. The next day was cold but sunny so I just laid it out across the hood of my truck and it dried just fine. I’m glad I covered them up. I missed one and the freeze bit it back to the ground.

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I also managed to put out 15 swarm traps in the last 2 weeks. I still have 10 more to go. If the weather will cooperate I hope to put them out next week. Hopefully I will get my computer issues corrected, until then, I’ll let you know how it goes. 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 2/12/17

12 Feb

The temperatures have been unseasonably warm the past 3 weeks so we are having a false Spring. When this happens, we always get  another hard freeze after the fruit trees have bloomed out so we will have no locally grown fruit this year. The daffodils are starting to bloom, the trees are budding out and the forsythia is blooming. This is 2-3 weeks too early for here. It has been so warm my bees have been really flying! They are not just cleansing, they are foraging and bringing in pollen. I plan on adding some sugar water to the feeders next week so they don’t starve. I went into Winter with 5 hives, but now I am down to 4 hives.

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This is the dead hive. I was one frame short in the lower hive body so when I placed the medium super on top of it, the bees drew out the comb to fill in the space anyway. The comb just hung down from the frame above it.

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I set up 7 hives in anticipation of swarm season and I will add 3 more hives next week. I am tired of the grass growing up around the hives so I put down a layer of landscape cloth before I set the hives.

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I will come back soon and add some pine bark mulch on top of the fabric to hold down the grass.

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I took this picture of a tree outside of one of my farmer’s shop.

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That is what a 20 year old crepe myrtle looks like if it hasn’t been butchered back to keep it short. I really like the look of that trunk with the bark peeled off, that tree has a lot of character.

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I used my front end loader and pushed up a pile of old limbs and I discovered this really nice looking composted material on the bottom of the pile. I flipped it over with the old compost on top of the fresher limbs on the bottom. I think in a couple of more years, I can get some good usable compost from the bottom of the pile. I also uncovered a big brown snake under the pile. I’ll have to start watching out for them now since the weather is so warm.

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I put together this 12 inch bandsaw from Harbor Freight. And like anything from HF that has a lot of parts, following the instructions is a bit problematic because they are obviously written by some Chinese dude with only a rudimentary grasp of the English language. You really have to use your imagination and judgment to put this together. But after a little trial and error, I only had one small screw hole that had been drilled incorrectly, but I redrilled the hole myself so problem solved! I’ll have another post next week, 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 8/20/16

20 Aug

I am happy to report my psoriasis is getting better every day! I decided to go outside today since it was overcast and cooler. It has been raining here off and on for ten days straight. That is bad news for our crops. The bolls are rotting on the cotton, the pods are shedding off of the soybeans, and the corn ears are sprouting on the stalk. In fact, I went outside while it was raining. I think it rained over an inch in 30 minutes, it just poured down. There was no lightening so I felt it was safe to be outside. I wanted to look at my culverts while it was raining; now I know why they washed out. The water was running so deep in the side ditch where I have the two small culverts, the water was overflowing the crossings. The water has never been that swift and deep in that ditch previously, so I think someone must have changed something upstream. There must be a new ditch or terrace dumping water into my ditch that wasn’t there before. This winter, I will walk upstream and see if I can see what is going on.

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After the rain let up, I brought out my 45 Colt for a little target practice. I am so sick of being cooped up inside, I really needed to hear something go BOOM! I had my pistol in this nice leather bag I bought at the Goodwill for $2. I don’t know who Chuck is, but I am glad he donated his bag. I need to keep my shooting skills sharp because no matter who wins the election this Fall, things are going to be bad. It will just be a matter of whether things get bad fast or get bad slow! It is really hard to believe these two &^%$# are the only choices we have now. Keep prepping everyone, and keep practicing your shooting skills, the Zombies are coming!

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