Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Field Tractor Repair and BeeKeepers Revenge

So I finally gave up trying to get that 8N running. I am at a complete loss what is wrong with the thing and my working on it just made it worse. So yesterday I put it on the trailer and took it into my mechanic. My original plan was to pull the trailer out of the field with the 850 I used to rake with but I'll be damned if when I got out there the 850 wouldn't start.

Now I have had that 850 as a backup tractor for over a year now and never once had an issue with it not starting.  It needs a new exhaust manifold and some minor work and the ignition is a bit loose but it has always started. After poking around a bit I figured out what was wrong. One of the sheep decided to take a taste test on the hot wire that goes to the coil. I had to do a little quick field splice to get the thing running.

So I can add another little project to the list now and run a more permanent hot wire on the thing.

Of course my few blissful days of getting things done besides mowing are coming to a temporary close once again. Yep it's time to mow again and today I got my dad's place mowed and stopped by the poor neglected hives I keep at the orchard. Just as I suspected I had two deadouts down there so after weed eating around the remaining hives I loaded up the hives that are now filled with ruined comb and crawling with wax moths and worms.

Pretty nasty looking stuff ain't it? Whenever I have a deadout during warm months it doesn't take the wax moths and worm larva long to destroy the remaining comb. They eat the comb and crap out this cobweb looking stuff and small black pellets everywhere. They also have cocoons that the worms turn into moths inside and either eat or somehow manage to put little dents in the woodenware.

You can see the little dents in the side of the wood on the bottom left if you enlarge the picture. I don't think it hurts the woodenware any but getting all that sticky gunk out is a pain. One reason I use plastic frames because the worms can't hurt them. I clean em off as best I can and put them right back into use with a new hive.

Of the two deadouts I had there I am pretty sure one hive starved more than likely from being locked inside the hive due to so much rain. The hive was full of dead bees and many with the bodies head first in empty comb. This can happen to a large hive when it is trapped and unable to forage for a long stretch especially in early Summer. Also the humidity didn't help because it took longer for the bees to reduce the nectar down into honey.

The second hive I believe absconded or the queen failed. Either it over swarmed while I was tied up working all that overtime due to the Ghetto Lottery co-worker or the queen didn't breed or was killed during her mating flight after a major swarm. There were few dead bees inside which indicates it dwindled somehow.

Another interesting thing I discovered is some animal had been chewing on the underside of the bottom board. This can cause bees to abscond too if they are constantly being harassed. I am not sure what animal would do this as it looks like flat rat teeth type gnawing. Whatever did it somethign was trying to get into the hive from underneath it seems.

Now for my revenge. The wax worms had pretty much devoured all comb inside the hives and left me hours of work reclaiming the frames and woodenware for use next year but as we say around the Small-Hold "Nothing goes to waste"....

Guess where all those nasty crawling worms and half formed moth cocoons ended up? You got it... Chicken Food!!!!

As soon as the hens saw me scraping the wax worm goo out of the hive boxes they came running much to the rooster's dismay. They would devour any pests that came out of the mess quicker than I could see it myself. Scratching through the debris and finding those nasty worms like total pro's. Which I guess they would be.

It was sort of a mild consolation prize for me to imagine those worms, half formed moths and wood roaches screaming in terror as they were pecked and devoured to be ground up in a chicken gizzard. Kinda made the work a little more satisfying to be honest.

I still have two more dead out hives to bring in yet. Looks like I lost four hives this year due to over swarming. neglect and over wet conditions. While it was humid and hot making working outside almost unbearable the actual air temps never really got much above the mid to upper 90's. The only thing that combats wax moths and worms is heat inside the hives of over 100 degrees so to them this was a vacation year.

Gonna take me a long time to recover all the losses from this year I think.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

And So We Come to This

I had a different post in the works for today but this afternoon and this evening I was bombarded with the news about the latest hate crime out of the University of (I wish it wasn't in) Missouri.

MU Frat Suspended Following Reports of Racial Slurs On Campus

LOL and this is news?

I seriously cannot believe this kind of thing made national news. Not only that but the scuttlebutt I been hearing and reading on some other local comment sections is that this thing went down nowhere near like all these "Lame Stream" media places are saying.

Two innocent young black women were strolling down the street minding their own business on their way to the local charity night at the bingo party type of thing.....

Ya right.

When they were accosted by evil white men and their screaming white woman who just started yelling racial slurs. When the innocent young black girls called for help the dashing young ebony knights came to their rescue only to be verbally attacked themselves from the racist, evil white fraternity boys.

Ok you buy into that if you want to.

No dear readers the truth of what actually happened will never be reported although rest assured if I see a good first person account I will repost it. All we will know for sure is that whatever happened is not what is being portrayed and the MSM has an agenda it is still following.

That last point ought to be enough in it's self.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Can YA Believe I Got Back to the Fencing?

I didn't take any pics so I re-used one from this last Winter BUT I am back to work on the fencing project!!!

Currently I am working on the Northern half of the control paddock which some of you may remember is a little paddock off the side of the barn that will have gates into the barn lot, Ram Paddock number 2, the Horse pasture, the East Sheep pasture and the South Sheep pasture as well as a gate out into the front of the barn and access to a storage shed. So seven gates in total. Five of the gates are already hung and in use but I need to move the ram into the paddock for holding while I finish off the North side and then the North and West side of his new paddock.

Another words it's one of those do a little taking two step forwards then arrange stuff taking a step back. It's really very annoying to be honest but I am back to making headway and should with luck be able to move the ram into his temporary digs this week.

This part will also require me to make a shelter for the ram as the end result will cut him off from access to the barn. When it is all finished however I will be able to allow both rams access to whichever pasture the ewes and lambs are not using. Give them a chance to stretch their legs a bit more and act more Ram-like and pretend they are not shut up in a small paddock all the time and eat some real grass.

Of course the ewes, yearlings and lambs all had to come see what I was doing and sniff all my tools to see if they were edible. They even tasted a few things.

I also put up the 12 or so bales of hay that got wet before I could put them in the barn. Maybe 7 of them were getting some mold but I used them to finish up around the basement, fed the good stuff to the sheep and saved 2 bales back to scatter around the chicken coop area. Even when the hay gets ruined around here it is still usable for something worthwhile.

All I can say is I am celebrating the fact that this heat, rain and humidity has finally broke. Once again I feel like I am getting stuff done besides mowing every day. Speaking of which the grass hasn't stopped growing so I am going to have to start the mowing rotation again soon but at least I am getting some breathing room now.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Reading - Is The Prepping Movement Dying?

Eight or Nine years ago I noticed a huge uptick in the numbers of rural folks around here. Seemed like everyone was attempting to move into the country on a few acres of land, start a garden and raise a couple of goats. There was a new house, trailer or something being put in every quarter mile it seemed and many of the old land owners around here were parceling out all the property they had that faced the roads.

These days a few of these little pre-fab type houses are sitting empty. The trailers have been moved somewhere and the gardens are now overgrown mini-fields.

Perhaps this is just localized to my general area or something. It may even have something to do with the wet, humid terrible conditions we have had this Summer. Lord knows I have thought about throwing in the towel on many things this year it has been so tough and many things I kept up in previous years I have let go but I never thought about selling out and moving.

Prepping, or more to the point homesteading and sustaining is not a cheap endeavor especially in the short to mid term. Many fail to understand that what you are really doing is creating a savings account in many ways. These days sustainers are tasked with living in one world and preparing for another which has some real advantages but some pretty big disadvantages as well.

The main disadvantage that I think many people fail to consider is that we are often using non-sustainable resources and technology to create a homestead that can continue on it's own more or less once those resources are removed. As an example my use of older yet long term unsustainable tractors and implements. While in an extended grid down situation they would more than likely end up rusting away due to a parts or fuel shortage until such time arrives they are invaluable as tools to build and form things that will last long after inputs and resources are so easily obtained.

Bottom line maintenance costs seem to disillusion a number of small scale preppers and homesteaders I see around here. They focus so much on the upcoming long term they fail to account for the short and midterm emergencies that arrive and end up placing themselves in a financial bind before they can accomplish their goals.

Another disadvantage I have seen is an over reliance on current resource inputs that are not under the prepper's actual control. Most often this one, and I have witnessed it happening more than a few times over the recent years, boils down to one family member (usually the Husband) having a well paying job that he loses in this ever shrinking economy. This initially causes the first mentioned failure and then the entire house of cards falls apart.

As I have stated over and over. The largest single factor working against Sustainers and homesteaders today is the fact that we must live in two worlds until one (the current world) releases it's grip far enough that we are forced to move totally into the other.

It's a problem I see playing out around me lately. Perhaps others have noticed this as well in their areas?

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

First Day of Fall

The last few days have been hot but more importantly DRY!!!! I have managed to actually get ALL THE MOWING DONE and still have a day to get some other things done tomorrow believe it or not. Along with the mowing (including mowing around the bee hives!!!) I got the poor Walnut tree that was about to collapse under the weight of it's nuts pruned back. I took off a lot of limbs so I hope I didn't kill it but at least it can now stand upright and I can actually mow under it.

The experts are saying this should be a year for the record books as far as the harvest goes but it will be another few days or so before they can really get started because the moisture levels are still way too high. I know it finally dried out enough that I could get the mowing done around the hives and that grass was so high any wetness would have stopped the mower up.

There are still some areas that will just have to wait until next Spring though. Mostly edges and weed choked spots that have become so thick it would take the brush hog to cut through them. I will let Winter do it's thing on those spaces.

The Golden Rod is in full bloom and it looks like it is going to be a wonderful flow this year. I atill have at least two dead out hives to take apart and I haven't checked the hives down at the orchard in months either. If they did die out I am sure the wax worms have ruined the comb by now.

So that's why posting has been light and replies thin. I been pushing it as hard as I could to get things caught up. If the rains stay away it looks like it might be a glorious Fall.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Another Day Another High Profile Police Shooting

Watching the drama between the Black lives matter yahoos and the police thugs has been mildly entertaining since the entire Ferguson thing last year. As I have repeatedly said I don't have a dog in that fight which makes for a unique kinda experience for once in this crazy White Male hating world.

My guess is that most of those on the side of the BLM crew look at this as another step in White Male bashing and standing up against "oppression and Waaaycism" which ought to make me be sympathetic to the police thugs but truth be told I kinda think the White guy haters have a point this time.

Oh wait NOT in the waaaycism charge but in the fact that by and large cops are completely out of control these days.

Now I am no expert but I seem to remember when I was a kid that cops had to have legitimate and open cases of the suspect being armed and preferably being shot at themselves before shooting otherwise the entire incident was highly suspect and likely would end a career. Perhaps I am simply mis-remembering though.

These days it's Bang Bang --- Freeze and then the wagons circle and the politician/judges start getting behind the scenes calls.

I can say that my local county deputies seem to be all up right types. Never had a bad encounter with them except one time several years ago when some woman I was dating attacked me in my own home. The local small town rent a cops however are a different matter. Best to just stay clear of them but that is almost impossible since they will find the slimmest of excuses to pull you over for no reason and ask "Papers Please".

I had that happen the other night in a church parking lot of all places. Wasn't even 9:30 PM and they claim they pulled me over because the license plate light on the back of my truck was out. Really? Hmmmm that's odd since I have farm plates and don't even have to mount a plate back there to begin with. Then the little thug has the nerve to ask me if I am armed. My answer was there was nothing illegal in my truck and then I let him chew on that one a while.

We won't even get into the abuses I would see with the networked, super secret LEO computer system the state runs. I used to work on it and I will only say when I brought the system back up I saw more plates being run with names like Jennifer and Amanda as owners than Lavitius or Levi.

One thing is becoming clear though. While the BLM creeps think they are attacking waaaycism and White Men they are not stopping to look that it is Blacks and Women cops who are doing just as much of the shooting like this latest incident down in Oklahoma.

Like I said. I don't have a dog in this fight. Maybe the two will just cancel each other out.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Reading - Catch Up Week Maybe?

Over night the forecast for this coming week changed from chances of thunderstorms to partly cloudy and dry conditions but the heat is suppose to come back. Well if the humidity stays away I can mostly handle the heat just fine but more importantly as it stands now I may be looking at five full days of no rain.

Man have I forgotten what that is like.

I may even be able to get ahead on this constant mowing although as it stands now I am counting my chicks before they hatch.

Things are even beginning to slow down at work believe it or not and I have only had to go over my scheduled hours twice this last week.

SO much potential and so much to do if it wasn't for the obvious explosive grass growth that I have little time to think about just mow I might be so overwhelmed I wouldn't know where to start.

Top on the list behind mowing catch up is dead out hive cleaning and storage followed by the fence project getting kick started once again. I have two gates that are ready to hang and I am sure I have totally misplaced the hanging hardware for them as well. Then of course there is the 8N points thing I have to finish up and I need to start thinking about the final round of hay baling which is coming up quick.

The Walnut trees also need a huge trimming. All this rain has snapped many branches from the abundant weight of Walnuts over burdening them.

Looks like naps may not be on the agenda this week!!!!

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Rainy Day Update

Yep we are still getting about four times the amount of rain we are suppose to this time of year. The temps have dropped a little though so the high humidity is not as unbearable as it was. The truth is pretty much every day I am still forced to either mow or take care of some job directly related to mowing. Yesterday before the rains hit I managed to pick up one of the gas powered weed eaters from the shop and finish up my Dad's yard before having to stop. I had hoped to get back and finish the entire round of mowing but once it started coming down I was locked out so now I am way behind and looking at about the last 25% of the entire mowing job unfinished and as usual the first parts need to be started again.

Just means more work when I can finally get out there and get it done.

I also started cleaning up the remains of the dead out hives I have this season. Looks as if I lost three hives somehow and I am sure the wax moths have destroyed the comb inside since they have set unoccupied so long. This is a common problem when you lose a hive during the warm months but I have been so pressed for time I couldn't get them taken apart and stored properly.

One reason I use plastic frames though as the equipment will still be usable once it is cleaned up. I also discovered the chickens LOVE the wax worms when I scrape em off onto the ground. My guess is these deadoust either had a failed queen or over swarmed since I had no time to properly inspect or manage them this year.

Oh well as I said this year has been a net loss almost across the board due to the time restraints and constant rains. I have lost about half the hay crop, about 20% of my hives and spent more on constant equipment repairs than any other year so far.

Short term extremely wet years are more costly than droughts actually. Long term not so much I bet.

The Peacock managed to survive five days living wild down in the back pasture before something got him. I am not sure what did him in nor do I have any idea where his two Guinea hens got off too but the dogs drug the remains of the Peacock carcass up to the yard yesterday. I know he wasn't killed anywhere in or around the yard or barn lot because 90% of his feathers are missing and not scattered about to see so where ever he was done in at was back in the brush. If I had to guess I would say he got into it with something and escaped but was mortally wounded and the dogs found his remains. I don't think he was hit by a car because there are no feathers along the road that I could see either.

It will always be a bit of a mystery but that's why we lock our chickens up at night because the coyote, raccoon and fox populations are so bad around here. No large bird will survive the night very long without being inside a guarded structure and the owls will get them in the trees. I knew when I saw the trio heading into the brush at night they wouldn't be around long.

I will always wonder what prompted the bird to turn vagabond and end up roaming around the Small-Hold though.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!