Tag Archives: Dogs

Homestead Update 12/30/2017

30 Dec

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The weatherman is predicting night time temperatures in the single digits for the next few days so I have been preparing. I know you Northerners are accustomed to these temps and you stay prepared but it is rare for us to be in the single digits. I pulled my two generators out and cranked them up and let them run making sure they were ready. I bought 15 gallons of Kerosene for my heaters and lamps. It is a big pain getting kerosene out of a 5 gallon can into these items so I bought this fuel pump. I had one that is a manual model but it doesn’t work too well, but this battery model is the cat’s meow! Just flip the switch and it pumps away. I wish I had bought one sooner. I wrapped my outside water faucets with insulation to keep them from freezing. The faucets are the only thing I have exposed, I hope I covered them enough!

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I worry about Jethro and Wilma in these bitter temps, but I have made them as comfortable as possible. Brandi goes out with me in the mornings when I feed them and she wears her insulated vest for two reasons. One is to keep warm, but the other is to have a bright fluorescent color to dissuade the Coopers Hawks from swooping down and snatching her up. Without her vest, she looks just like a rabbit running across the yard! I take her out and check all around before I put her down, but I still keep her close to me. Keep prepping everyone!

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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.

 

Homestead Update 12/24/16

24 Dec

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Tonight is Christmas Eve and Santa stopped by the homestead to have dinner with all of his little friends.

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Sweet Thing has the table set with her festive holiday décor so Santa can dine with reindeer and bears.

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His other friends are Elves, Snowmen, and a Christmas mouse!

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Sweet Thing has also been busy making her world famous Chex Mix. She worked three afternoons and made 30 gallons of mix.

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Here is some of it all bagged and all ready to go. A lot of people really look forward to her Chex Mix!

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Brandi helped her make the Chex Mix so now she is asleep beside me in my recliner because she is all tuckered out! Keep prepping everyone!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Homestead Update 5-28-16

28 May

I am back to working my usual 70 hour work week for this time of year so I didn’t have much time for chores around the homestead, but I did want to write a quick update. Not only am I working long hours, when I do have a little time off when it rains, I have still been going to Arkansas to get my parents house ready to move into and check on my sister after her snake bite. She is doing much better now, but she was in the hospital 7 days receiving intravenous antibiotics. I asked her if the bite hurt and she said yes, it burned like fire anytime the pain meds wore off the first few days!

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We needed to make a quick, one night, trip so we decided to take Brandy with us on a “shake down” cruise to see how she traveled. Low and behold, she was a perfect traveler! It is a five hour trip and she slept most of the way down, and when we came home she did the same thing so apparently riding makes her calm and sleepy. When we arrived at the new house, she ran and played and was not bothered in the least that she was in a strange, new place.

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Those are volunteer tomatoes that came up in a large pot right out of our back door. The upper picture was taken only a week prior to the picture below, the third picture was another week later, they are really growing. We always have these volunteer tomatoes come up. I have read instructions on saving tomato seeds where you wash the pulp and dry the seeds on top of a refrigerator. I’m sure that works fine, but we don’t go to that trouble. During the growing season, when we see a tomato we don’t intend to harvest for any reason, we leave it on the vine until it gets very overripe. We then pick the tomato and drop it into the soil in the pots. We had literally dozens of small plants emerge this Spring. We gave some away and I replanted the rest after I put new potting soil in the pots. That is good, Miracle Grow potting soil by the way, it is much better than cheap, Dollar Store potting soil. You could do the same thing in a garden, and if you wanted to rotate locations in the garden to help reduce disease pressure, you could simply drop the overripe tomatoes in the location you want them to grow the following year. Simple and easy, just the way I like it. More to come tomorrow. Keep Prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 5/1/2016

1 May

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Well, it looks like we are going to be keeping Brandy after all. You look at this picture and say “Ah, Isn’t she a sweety.” No, she is not! She is so bad! I know why she was dumped. She bites and chews on everything, including our fingers. I understand that is partly from being a puppy, and partly from being a Terrier. We are trying to break her of the habit, I hope we make progress soon, I can’t stand to loose much more blood. We are also working on house breaking her and we are probably 80% there. Hopefully we will be 100% very soon.

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I had to work on getting my parent’s house ready for them to move in, and we are almost there. This is the dining room after I added the beadboard and trim. I think it looks pretty good.

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I was looking at my deer browse area in the back of the property and saw a lot of bees working the blooms. As I was watching that clover I noticed lots of Bumble Bees feeding there.

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As I was out working, I saw this field, probably 80 acres, just covered in some sort of Winter crop which was blooming heavily. I sure wished this field was closer to my hives, they could do a lot of foraging there!

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I saw a recipe in a newspaper that looked interesting, so Sweet Thing fixed it for me. This is a mix of Jalapenos, red and orange bell peppers, with a clove of garlic all steeped in a mixture of vinegar and sugar. Man that stuff is good! I could eat this every day! Keep prepping everyone!

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!

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!