Sunday, October 5, 2014

It warms you more than once!

How do you keep warm on a 50° day?  You split wood for 6 hours!

First fire of the year

Had our first fire yesterday, and its still going today. It was a high of 51 yesterday and today and  low of 38.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I am back!

I have been very busy at work all summer and have not gotten anything done. The garden is a total weed factory, the chickens have all but been wiped out in two separate incidents. Now the season is over practically I am finally finding time to do some things.

This is what happens when you work 12 or more hours a day, then come home and crash!

 I have been spending my time, when I had time,battling the weeds in the aisles and not even getting to the beds. I would weed, then throw spoiled straw on the aisle, weed, more straw etc. Then I got the revelation, heck with this, why I am weeding the aisles, so out comes the weed wacker! Smack myself in the forehead, why didn't I think of this earlier? Why do the aisles have to be weed free? Wack them down and then spend the little time I do have on the beds!
I got all this done in a couple hours this past Sunday. Its not pretty, but it will be. The weeds were taller than me, and I am 5'6. If I just weed wack once a week or every two, easy peasy right?
So then I made a new rule, the beds are only 3' x 10'. I made them that way so I can practice square foot gardening, and no walking on them, to reduce soil compaction. I can weed one in about a half hour taking my sweet time. So the new rule is one hour a day weeding and spreading the spoiled straw on the beds and I should be able to get two done a night. So it goes in my head! All I have to do is Do It!!!


Sunday, April 27, 2014

An awesome day with bees!!

Assembly begins on 30 more frames!

I picked up the bees yesterday. Nothing like the sound of 9 pounds of bees buzzing in your garage.

1 down, 29 more to go!

The packages are installed! The straw I used for winter insulation is all pulled away and ready to go on the garden. The second hive from the left is a split from the farthest hive to the right, I wasn't planning on splitting put when I opened that hive it is just over flowing, so I am trying a split, and it may need it again. I wasn't planning on seven hives, put now I have them I am calling them my lucky seven. I need to order some more hive parts, you can see I had to make do with a bottom board as a outer cover, like I said I wasn't planning on a seventh hive! Good thing there is a bee supply company here in town! All and all an awesome day today!!!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Seed starting has begun

Last Monday I started some tomatoes and they are up and received their thinning. I started Black Plum and Jasper Violet from the seeds I saved last year. I also trying Mortgage Lifter and Abraham Lincoln this year. All of these are heirlooms. I left the clear cover on the mortgage lifters and Abraham Lincoln tomatoes a day too long and I started getting white fuzzy stuff on the soil surface. Hopefully by taking the cover off it dries up and that will go away.

I have Black Plum and Jasper Violet seeds leftover if anyone would like to trade.

Friday, March 7, 2014

First hive inspection of the year

Today has been the first day of 50° sunny day of the year. I thought I would use the awesome weather to look into the hives. I bought some fondant on the way home from work. I know there is bad stuff in it especially since I bought it at Walmart. But I figured it is better than nothing. And being in NE Ohio it is too early for sugar water, it will just freeze tonight. I don't use any chemicals, so if this is the worst thing I put on my hives, then I can live with that.
Here is the fondant, it comes in a big block. I cut it into junks and then rolled it thin to fit under the inner cover. I used some powdered sugar to keep it from sticking to everything.

Upon going to the bee yard I noticed all my hives look like this. Poo everywhere!!! I hope the don't have nosema.

These are my hives. Starting from the left, is a small hive that I got as a swarm call last year, if you look in earlier posts, this is the swarm that was just on the ground. It is alive but week. There is no poo on the inside of the hive. I laid fondant across the frames.
2nd hive from the left is dead, but it was dead before winter, it was another but much smaller swarm I caught last year.
3rd hive from the left, all the bees are up in the top box, very week, alot of dead bees and a small cluster. I did not dig to deep since they were all the way on top. I laid fondant across the frames.
4th hive from the left a complete dead hive. Very few dead bees. This was a very strong hive going into winter, and for the amount of bees that were in there before winter, there should bee more dead bees.:(
5th hive from left this is the one with the most poo on it. I couldn't here any bees inside, but when I popped the covers off surprise bees at the very top. I removed just 1 frame and there were lots of bees. I didn't see any poo on the inside, but I didn't do a complete inspection. I laid some fondant on the frames.
6th hive from the left. Awesome, pure awesome. Had a few dead bees in the honey super, not bad. I cleaned them out. This hive a queen excluder on it. I took it off to look further and this hive is just full of bees. I didn't inspect too much, but they looked healthy. I put fondant on the frames, put the queen excluder on and put the honey super back on. I have to check by records I think this is the second winter for this hive.

Poo everywhere!!! Is this normal or is this a sign of nosema?? If it stays warm I have going to try some sugar water with honey be healthy in it. It has worked in the past. Hang on girls just a little more time.

This is the dead hive, plenty of food stores.


Still the dead hive. No bees with butts sticking out???

Another shot of dead hive.

Dead bees.

Not a very big pile of dead bees, this hive was thriving before winter.

This hive is covered, they are using the top as their entrance, this hive has to have nosema, I have never seen it this bad.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


I have all this firewood that I got last summer off of a coworker who had some trees cut down. The guys that cut the trees down also cut the logs to size. The only probably is that some are stove length and a lot are 2" to 4" too long. I am to the point where I have to do something about these long pieces of wood if I want to keep burning this winter.

I spent a couple hours today doing just that. I built a 16" deep box that I can stack the wood in and use the saw to cut them to size then restock and keep going. I got quite the pile done before the toes started getting cold.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Another beaded butterfly

I started another beaded butterfly. When I first got this bead book, it said to use Japanese beads, that they were the best as far as quality and uniformity. I thought this was just a gimmick to get you to buy more expensive beads. So the wife and I went Joann Fabrics, and Hobby Lobby and I bought some beads, I couldn't find the correct colors so I just winged it.
Boy was I wrong, sure Joann's had the beads 50% off, but they are not uniform in size, you might get a tiny bead next to a large bead, or you might get one where the center hole is not all the way through, or the bead maybe lop sided, you get the picture.
So I got on line and ordered the Japanese beads in the right colors. And you know they were not that much more than the before sale price at the craft store.
They came in the mail the other day, I dumped a few out and right away I could tell, these are a lot better product. Now I restarted my butterfly, and you can see the difference, not to mention I am using the correct colors this time,


These are yesterdays chicken photos that I thought I would share. Yesterday morning we only had about 4" of snow, so instead of getting the tractor out, I thought I would shovel, and maybe burn off some winter pudge. It wasn't that bad. And then begin the ritual of feeding and carrying water buckets began. But I got a nice reward in the end.
The reward 16 eggs! Thank you girls!

The dreaded water buckets, I really need to figure out how to install a water line so it wont freeze in Ohio's winters.

The girls got some black oil sunflower seeds to help with the cold. When all of them are eating it sounds like pop corn popping, its too funny. They have been holding out for the sun flower seeds, or maybe they are filling up on the seeds, it doesn't seem like they have been eating their feed as much. They haven't gone outside in about week also, even though I have shoveled a path and put down straw for them to walk on. This is just a couple of the girls the rest are being camera shy.

Blah!!! Im tired of winter

Over the last couple days we got 10" inches of snow, its 8° with the wind chill it -9! And the worst is coming this Tuesday, with another polar vortex that could reach -40 with the wind chill. Oh ya its still snowing! I think I am going to become nomadic. And just pick up and move when ever the weather doesn't suit me. Lol.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Misc Stuff

Sorry for not posting lately, after my 2week vacation over the holidays, I went back to work, and it has been a nut house ever since. It is all I can do to go to work, come home do what chores need done and go to bed.

I have managed to quit smoking! Yay me! Ok its only been a week, but for someone who smokes a pack and a half a day, I think that is a huge accomplishment!

To help with the no smoking I have been working on my beading of the insects. To keep my mind off of smoking, and it has helped plus I got one of the butterflies done.
I have also been making more candles, hoping to stock pile them, to sell at the farmers market this spring.
It seems the animals have made it through the polar vortex a couple weeks ago. Peacomb the rooster has some frost bite on the top of his comb.
And I also found a local farm that is selling organic chicken feed. It is a little more in price than the commercial feed at TSC or the feed store, but it is ground right on the farm, and has all the essential minerals and everything and its local. I don't have to pay for shipping. I bought it from Breakneck acre Farm, I dumped in a bag with their commercial feed last week to get them transitioned over to the good stuff. I am hoping to have them completely on the organic stuff by next week.
The new organic food is in mash form, and their old food is in the crumble form, so there is some adjusting on their part. But if they are hungry they will eat it. And actually they are holding out for sun flower seeds. With the polar vortex I upped their rations of sun flowers and now they are spoiled they are not eating that much feed because they want the sun flower seeds. So I lowered their sunflower seed intake, and they are not happy about it.
My wife has been making soap,
the big waffle looking one is shea butter soap,

this one still stuck in mold, is tea tree and bentonite soap, both need cut into bars, then cure for a couple more weeks and it will be ready to use.