Wednesday, December 4, 2013
After I made the last post I went back outside to finish up the last of the preps. The county highway outside the house is pretty busy today which is not unusual for 3:00 or so in the afternoon especially the day before every radio and television station for 100 miles is predicting some major storm coming through.
Let me tell you the news/weather people around here are convinced it's going to be like cold/snow/freezing rain Armageddon or something which probably means we won't get jack... but I digress.
I decided to test my exhaust hole and run the generator for a few minutes plus with the new hole I wanted to see how loud the thing would be buttoned up with the lid closed. The wood around the hole never got that hot as I made it pretty wide and the noise was actually pretty reasonable even right up next to it. I was happy with the outcome.
So I am letting the generator run and putting tarps on my stacked wood and I look over to the road and there is this guy all dressed in black from head to foot with a dark helmet visor to boot on an all black rice burner motorcycle. I am not sure what type I couldn't see any name on the thing and I couldn't read his license plate.
This motorcycle guy is just stationary and looking at me, or at least his head seemed to be turned in my direction. So not to be out done I turn so my .45 is visible on my hip and stare back at him. Eventually he starts messing with his dials or something on his console and I go back to work. Yet the guy stayed sitting out there for a good 30 minutes in fact he even somehow got my son's notice, which is saying something because my son barely leaves his computer these days. My son actually came outside to see what was up.
That's when motorcycle guy drove off.
I got the impression the guy was younger but honestly I couldn't see any identifying clues about him at all. He could have been purple with orange hair and 90 years old for all I know.
About 10 minutes later he came screaming back from the direction he came from heading East. It was just kinda creepy but that county road is one of the few straight flat stretches of road in the region and it is lightly populated as well so people like to come out here and test their high end speed. Never seen a deputy sheriff out here sitting either.
I will keep the home defense weaponry very handy for a while now though as whoever it was knows I have a generator hidden in the box on the front porch now.
While all this was going on I watched the front move in from the Northwest and the temperatures drop 20 degrees in about an hour. The wind has really picked up and the fire is laid and ready to start.
I hope the bees are as ready for this as we are.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!
Trust me. Don't ever do that.
It was so strange by the time I left the house at 8AM it was already well into the 50's temp-wise and by the time I drove into town for my first stop to buy ice-melt and a new snow shovel I had taken off my long sleeved shirt and was just wearing a light t-shirt.
I passed a bank that had the temperature up on their sign and it said 62 degrees. 62 and I am buying ice-melt and a snow shovel LOL.
I didn't need much at the grocery store mostly just the standard junk food my son goes through each week like frozen burritos and pizzas, that type of thing. I passed on buying meats because I have been ordered to have the freezers down for lamb butchering next month.
Filled up my gas cans on the way home, unloaded the groceries and then headed right back out and cut another load of firewood. This time it was all big stuff that is going to need splitting before I burn it.
Since we are forecast to have freezing rain and temps in the teens and lower 20's for tomorrow I am leaving the wood on the truck for weight in case things get really bad.
I had all my running and a load of wood cut by 1:30 and then got started on the last bit of my generator preps which entailed cutting a hole in the side of it's storage box so the muffler wouldn't burn the thing down. I still need to put the tarp over the firewood stacked next to the furnace and I am done with storm preps.
It isn't often I get to prep for a single digit temps and freezing rain in a t-shirt.
It just seems somehow very wrong.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
I been wracking my brain trying to come up with a decent outside feeder design for my apiaries. I really should have put something up a couple of days ago that the bees can work on the rare warm periods we get instead of them flying aimlessly around.
The problems are that anything I have tried before end up becoming a midnight snack for raccoons or fill up with water when it rains. Therefore I needed something I could hang up on a thin pole to keep the varmints out of and was totally contained yet still allowed bee access.
I couldn't come up with any design I liked. Then I got to thinking what do my bees do in the middle of the Summer when things dry up and they have no blooms to hit? Well they start hitting the hummingbird feeders so why not try putting a hummingbird feeder at each apiary filled with a slightly thicker solution than than normal? It still seems to be liquid enough to flow into the opening and I only used those feeders that were shallow enough for the bees to get into.
If this works then the girls will have some syrup nearby to work on those surprising warm days and I can also keep the dry sugar stocked inside the hives for when they cannot get out.
The only danger I can see is if the liquid freezes and cracks a feeder or something. I left enough room for expansion in each feeder so hopefully that won't be an issue. Also if the solution freezes the clear plastic should allow the sugar part to thaw relatively quickly and allow the bees to get something out of it weather permitting.
Today should be a good test. The fog and clouds are suppose to clear out by afternoon and then warm up into the mid to upper 60's which should allow the bees some nice flying temperatures. After today the temps are suppose to drop once again into a colder period and the next warm snap we get I will open the hives up and add some more dry sugar.
Getting these hives through Winter is my top concern right now. Spring is a long way off.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!
Monday, December 2, 2013
I spent almost the entire day cutting firewood as usual (Imagine that). These warm dry days are just too good to pass up this time of year. If I don't get every stick and log in that I can right now come January or February I will be wishing I had. I didn't make it home until after dark this evening and I am beat.
The above tree is the big one I took down. If you look really closely you can see I left my hatchet imbedded in the trunk about in the middle of the tree to give you some idea how big this baby was. I had to step back so far it's hard to see the hatchet unless you know it's there. I got almost two cords of small stuff from the tops of these trees and am now starting on the larger stuff that will have to be split. I figure there is at least a load and a half left in this one and I can take it right to the split pile now as I cut it. Just as well because I don't have anymore room left in the smaller racks unless I add another row.
I couldn't ask for a better fall on that big tree. She came down balanced off a branch I had already cut and leaning against a small live tree that is going to be saved. I will be able to cut all but about the middle 10' section of this old girl up without needing to roll her over or worry about her pinching off my chainsaw bar.
This is one of the smaller ones. You can see she snapped off that Cedar as she fell. This was one of a trio that grew together I called the sisters. You can see this one's stump on the right. I figure there's about another load and a half left in those three as well.
Here is the other two of the sisters. Once I get these four cut up and hauled away I have a nice old White Oak right behind them I'm going to get. After that I figure I can slow down a bit and perhaps just go out cutting once a week or so as weather permits. I'm eager to get into the shop and do some reloading, bullet casting and bee hive building but getting a good jump on the firewood has to come first.
As I said I figure there is at least another three loads or so of larger stuff that will need to be split and I haven't topped one of the sisters yet along with two other smaller trees I felled in this go around. If I can add the White Oak to the mix I should be just about set for firewood except for all the splitting.
Of course I usually way under estimate how much I will end up using so I will probably be jonesin by late February once again.
Now I need a shower and off to bed. I will catch up on comments and stuff tomorrow.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!
Sunday, December 1, 2013
It was such a beautiful day I almost couldn't make myself go and cut wood but this is the only day I was able to have a partner around for the entire week and I had to take advantage of it.
Instead of just felling, cutting and loading though I decided since the only really dangerous part is dropping them down I would just fell about half a dozen trees and then I can go cut em up alone the rest of the week.
Generally speaking if the tree is bigger around than my torso I don't mess with dropping it without someone around to play spotter. There are exceptions of course like if the tree is in the open but with all the wild grape vines and small springy saplings around I have had enough close calls that I just don't risk it if I don't have to.
As it turned out today the monster Honey Locust I dropped first also had a hollow spot it was hiding and did a little unexpected twist on me as it fell. As it turned out it actually saved a smaller tree I was afraid was going to get squished so it worked out well but gave me a bit of a fright as I had a very restricted retreat avenue open.
I estimate I have at least five or six full loads on the ground now which should take me all week to haul out and opened up access to an old standing dead White Oak I want bad.
I'll take some pics tomorrow when I go back.
So the trade off was that I spent a lot more time cutting today then I had originally planned so I didn't get the Sunday reading story finished like I wanted to.
So Stay Tuned I should be able to finish it off tomorrow I expect.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!
Saturday, November 30, 2013
It hit the 60's today and the girls were out stretching their wings, bringing out their dead and generally enjoying a day of flight.
So far one month into the cold period all hives are still alive. It was warm enough to check and see if there was still sugar left in the extra deep top covers I am using this Winter but I didn't bother yet. All the hives seem to be really enjoying their upper entrances as well. The forecast is calling for mild and warmer temps for the next three or four days so I am going to wait until Tuesday or Wednesday to feed em again if they need it.
I briefly contemplated cutting wood today but with no partner available I decided to clean out the barn some more. There is a stall space that is kinda tight to get into that never gets used and had some old rotting wood and empty feed sacks in it. Not to mention a huge pile of 50 year old manure. So I began cleaning this area out. I can store some of my small engine equipment in there for Winter and build a nice little barn cat living room for Mrs. PP and her ever growing herd. She has decided the barn cats each need their own house for Winter and this area will be good because it is nestled in the middle of the barn so should be warmer. She also has a collection of cages, carriers and other useless animal care contraptions we can store in there. Once I get all the old manure removed I will put down a thick layer of wood chips to cover the dirt floor and design some kitty sleeping boxes.
I have no clue what she is going to line them with since she has already sacrificed all my towels and t-shirts she didn't like.
Four loads of ancient dry manure and hay got dumped into the garden and another load of straight manure went into the strawberry bed that was destroyed by the moles. Before I was finished the Mrs. was already out in the raised beds ooogling the plantless dirt with jealous coveting eyes. I could see the little wheels turning with dreams of useless flowers and bulbs dancing in her head. I reminded her that this bed was going to be replanted with new Strawberries come Spring and to stay out of it.
She won't listen but I will pull up anything she puts in there that are not strawberries. Believe me I have done it before. I have three beds out of twelve that I claim, two for Strawberries and one for Asparagus and I have to guard them like a junk yard dog to keep her from contaminating them. She has nine beds and I have offered to make her more.
After that I took a stroll around the place and located some more fallen limbs to cut up. I also checked the ground for obstructions and stuff in the hopes I can get a late Fall brush hog run around the pasture this week. The underbrush is finally dried out and dead enough to actually see whats hidden in there and the horses are content to stay in the hay field so this would be a good time to get it done.
If I had some hip wader mud boots it would be a good time to dig out the farm pond as well but that will have to wait. The truth is I don't think I will ever be done with all the grooming and work to do around here.
One step at a time is all I can do.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!
It makes sense really that if we are suffering a long slow decline that any satisfaction from our accomplishments or recognition of our foresight will also come in drips and dribbles.
I guess it was sometime in the Mid-90's that I seriously realized something was very wrong with our world and my interest in survival-ism began to slowly morph into the realm of sustainable living.
About that time I went through a period where it just so happened my then wife and I happened to be unemployed at the exact same time because we had both worked for the same company that had closed up shop. That experience really opened my eyes to just how bad things were getting. We both had experience in the computer/technical world but I had years more of it, had been the installation manager, had many certifications and a degree along with prior military service. All she had was a GED and a couple of years in as my web site designer.
In many instances we applied for the exact same openings and without fail my Ex got called back for interviews over and over. I got zip.Nadda. Even for positions where the "Over qualified" card couldn't be played.
If you are dead set on NOT seeing a problem you can rationalize it with any number of unseen or made up excuses. The same is true from the other side of that coin but when something begins happening over and over and to others in the same situation my "Something is up" sensors start to go off.
The real problem then became that I was not on the same sheet of music the rest of my sphere of the world was on. I was the Black Sheep who wouldn't buy new cars, home schooled his kid, was messing around with things that didn't pay out like bees and gardens. You get the idea. Before this change my interests were limited to hunting and camping type activities. Re-enactment hobbies and the like. By the time the change was complete I was some kind of hermit gun freak who refused to follow the herd and constantly grab for that high paying job carrot.
I understood all to well that carrot was now a sham.
Of course it goes without saying that when you embrace an alternative way of thinking and living from the mainstream you lose an awful lot of credibility and importance.
But the worm is slowly turning these days isn't it?
Have you noticed....
Those same people who even four or five years ago were so happy to announce their up coming early retirement living on huge pensions at taxpayer expense now get a worried look on their faces when you remind them how fragile promises can be. They seek you out asking questions like "How much did your furnace cost and where can I get one?" For the first time in their lives they are dealing with vehicle breakdowns that happen just when the thing is paid off, why for the first time they are actually paying off a vehicle before buying a new one.
Suddenly you are not quite such the loser they labeled you behind your back. You can see the fear in their eyes and the worry lines starting to form.
The Obama supporter who proclaimed loudly last year "This election was all about me" now laments with emotion about paying for some welfare queen's children with her new insurance premiums. The forty eight year old and still single Government employee now openly wishes she had found a husband in the middle of a conversation about Detroit.
Now where did that come from all of a sudden?
Suddenly the economics of raising your own livestock isn't met with glazed over eyes and indifferent comments. Instead of being an off shoot to a discussion the questions become pointed and focused.
You can see the wheels turning as they ask themselves "Is it too late?"
They better hope it isn't.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!