Tomorrow is the first day of Spring, but this is what we had last week, maybe 2 inches of snow.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I doubt if I will ever see a more elaborate set than this one!
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!
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!
I decided to try my luck with raised bed gardening. I know I am going to be too busy with my job this Summer to really have a garden so this may be the next best thing. I have been reading about this method and everyone said to fill the beds with a mixture of topsoil, sand, vermiculite, compost, and manure. HUMM? I have plenty of topsoil and sand but nothing else. But wait a minute, what is that behind me underneath all those trees?
Underneath the trees lies 40 years worth of leaves and branches which have fallen and laid there composting as Mother Nature intended. After you scrape away the top layer of uncomposted leaves you find this fine, black humus. So I just took my front end loader on my Kubota and found a few good open places among the trees and scraped off the top two inches and had several scoops of this fine compost which I dumped into the raised beds. I did have a few bags of composted manure left over from last year which I spread over the top of the beds. I’ll probably stick to tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots and onions this Summer to see how this turns out.
On the bee keeping front, the turnips I planted last fall are blooming and the bees are working them heavy.
On the other side of the open lot where I planted the deer browse, the clover and wild flowers are blooming. I think that is crimson clover, which the bees don’t care too much for, but it sure is a thick, green mat of vegetation for the deer to eat.
I decided I needed a water hydrant in the front of the house so I can water flowers and shrubs around the driveway. I had to use a shovel to dig around to locate the waterline, then I was able to use the back hoe on my tractor to dig a trench over to where the faucet will be located. I have a plumber coming tomorrow to put it in. You might remember I did the plumbing myself for my bathroom addition in my shop, but since this is the main water line running to the house, I felt this is a job best left to a professional. Keep prepping everyone!
The weather has turned so cool, my barn kitties were all cuddled up together when I checked on them today. The leaves are falling from the trees, but they have no bright colors this year. I guess the drought we are having are just making them turn brown then falling off.
I managed to get one of my projects completed and checked off of my list this week. I finished the field lines for my septic system for my bathroom in my shop/barn. That sure will come in handy this winter. There is no way I could have dug the trench for the lines without my backhoe attachment on my tractor. The trench is 2 feet wide and 3 feet deep, and the ground is hard as a rock. Even with the backhoe, it took a long time to dig. I had to drag the bucket along the trench digging up an inch or two at a time. That’s as deep as I could go because the ground was so hard.
I planted some buck wheat seeds 3 weeks ago and it is blooming! I wanted to have something blooming for my bees to work before they quit for the winter. I’m surprised that buckwheat blooms so quickly. I slung these seeds out by hand and like PP, I got mine way too thick!
I slung those seeds by hand, but I could have used this seeder I recently purchased. I used it to fertilize the grass up near the house and I used it to plant the deer browse in the back. It works well for something I paid less than $100 for. I had taken the seeder off of my ATV and I didn’t want to take the time to re-mount the seeder just to spread the buckwheat, so I just used a bucket and slung the seed by hand.
The crop year is almost finished, all that remains to do is harvest the crops and see if they are good enough for me to come back and work again next year. I need to take this computer into the shop and get some unwanted mal-ware removed from it. That is one reason I have not posted for 3 weeks. My computer is running so slowly, it has taken an hour to put up this one post. If I can’t get it cleaned up, I guess I will have to buy another one. Until then, keep prepping everyone!
I use this net to sweep through the soybeans I check each week. In this field I swept up several honey bees which was unusual since these soybeans were no longer blooming. But, the weeds in the field were blooming. The main weed they were working was prickly sida, commonly known as teaweed.
It is hard to tell from the picture, but teaweeds have lots of small yellow blooms. They sure seemed to like those blooms!
I drove by this pile of driftwood from the river backwater and noticed someone had thrown a bunch of wooden shipping pallets onto the pile. Well, you know what happened to those pallets don’t you? That’s right, I went back and got them and stacked them behind my barn. I can always use a good pallet!
I drove by this house and noticed this bush. Do you see those dead limbs sticking up and the green foliage underneath? That is a huge, old fig bush that was frozen back to the ground two winters ago, but regrew from the roots. My small bushes did the same thing, but this bush was at least 15 feet tall. That’s how cold the winter was!
Some of my regular readers know how I keep my eyes open and spot lots of things lying on the side of the road. I spotted this out of the corner of my eye and thought “Oh Lord, surely that is not what it looks like.” And thankfully it was just a doll. There are some evil, vicious people in the world today, just like the nut who killed the TV reporter live on-air last week. You never know what kind of murder and mayhem you may encounter out in the world. You have to be on guard at all times. The TV and internet has been full of articles remembering this 10 year anniversary of hurricane Katrina. Many, many people said they were shocked at how fast civilization collapsed once the electricity went off. I’m not the least bit surprised. As a matter of fact, I surprised it doesn’t happen more often! The world is full of animals just waiting for an excuse to go on a rampage. The stock market crashed (not really a crash they say, just a correction) and the powers that be said don’t worry, everything will be OK. Keep moving, nothing to see here! Keep your bullets, beans and bandages stocked up and keep prepping everyone!
As I was out working last week I noticed a stand in front of a house where someone was selling Honey. I stopped to take a look and there were pint jars for $5 and Quart jars for $10 which I thought was a good deal. I bought a pint to try out and I am going to go back next week and buy some for my MIL. The stand works on the honor system, you put your money in the toy mailbox you can see sitting on the end of the shelf. The lady of the house just happened to be in the yard watering her flowers and we had a nice chat. I asked if she ever had anything stolen and she said in the 5 years the stand had been out front, she only had 1 jar disappear that she couldn’t account for.
I have been seeing many more bee hives sitting around this year. It might be that I am just taking more interest since I am reading up on bee keeping and planning on getting hives of my own someday, but I really think there are many more around. I don’t know if people are doing it as a source of income or if more people are just seeing the need to become more self-sufficient. Either way, I am sure there are more hives showing up in my area. These hives have been varnished instead of painted, I don’t know why.
I saw this trailer full of hives by one of my fields, and I saw some hives turned over. I wondered if it was a result of vandals or animals.
Then I saw this at the next location and I think maybe the owner did it for some reason.
I noticed the hive on the left had no bee activity at all, and one other hive had very few bees coming and going. Maybe there were some of the hives dead? Would the owner open the hives if they had collapsed and let the bees scavenge the remaining honey? Would that possibly spread whatever had caused the initial collapse? I don’t know enough about it to even guess, Maybe Pioneer Preppy can lend his expertise. I did ask the farmer about the arrangement he had with the bee keeper and no money changes hands. The only thing that transpires is the farmer receives 4 quarts of honey from the bee keeper each year. The hives have been on this farm for over 10 years and the owner has never complained or commented about the farmer spraying and killing the bees. The only time the farmer ever considers the bees is when the wind is blowing directly towards the hives. He then will skip spraying right up to the hives and will come back late in the day to spray. Hopefully someday I will get some hives here on the homestead. Keep prepping everyone!
I mention bees on my blog quite often, and I saw this at the edge of a field I was checking. There were 20 boxes on this trailer. Actually I was interested in the trailer, after examining it closely I’m sure it was made out of salvaged axles and a frame of a single-wide mobile home. A good way to repurpose something like that!
About 5 miles down the road I saw two more trailers from the same beekeeper. Then I saw one more full trailer just a little later with the same farm name on the hives. The address for this beekeeper is over 70 miles from here, so he came a long way to put them out. I counted about 80 hives in this little area, and it made me wonder how many hives does he actually have? Way more than I would ever want!
I pulled under a shade tree today to eat my lunch and I kept hearing a buzzing sound. I got out of my truck and found a hive of Honey Bees in a tree.
Some of them were going in this knot hole.
Most of them were going in and out of this opening.
A few hours and many miles later I was unloading my ATV to check a field and I discovered another hive in this tree. Two hives in one day, I think that makes me the KING BEE!
After I ate my sandwich for lunch I leaned my seat back to take a 20 minute power nap and a Mockingbird cut loose with his full repertoire of bird songs.
In our area, we have Northern Mockingbirds like this one. He perched out on a barren limb and starting singing and he must have performed 30 different calls in a row without a break then he started over. Well, so much for my nap, time to move on. Stay prepared!