Friday, February 22, 2013
Digging Out and Cleaning Up
The storm has moved on out of the area. Since we were getting hit with the Southern part of the storm the first half and worst half was actually hitting us from out of the East/Southeast instead of our normal Western direction due to the overall swirl effect. It provided some interesting drifts in areas we don't usually see drifts and revealed a few little gaps in my weatherizing of this old farm house that I had missed. One big one was the bottom sweep on the kitchen door which had come apart some while back and I replaced with another that also came apart. I have been just putting a store bought foam thing under the door but the wind blew it out and exposed the small gap. While I was out rescuing the Mrs. the storm made good use of this gap and blew in a pretty good sized pile of snow that I had to remove. I need to just take the damned door off and replace the sweep permanently but that is such a pain.
So this morning I began removing tarps and making some permanent paths in the snow. The Mrs. seems to think all walks and drives should be shoveled while it is snowing. Personally I always thought that was a silly idea and never really attempt to remove snow while it's snowing unless I have to. If it doesn't get any deeper than 10 inches or so I don't even bother grading the driveway either. The truck never has an issue with any amount less than a foot and unless your an expert grader (and I am not) you end up scraping more gravel off into the yard than it's worth. I do sometimes have to go and remove the excess snow the road crews leave in the drive opening but I rarely bother with the actual driveway.
The pathways to the vehicles, barn and woodstove are another matter however. If I think the snow is going to be around more than a few days, which is unlikely around here, I will also clear a path to the shop but usually I don't bother with that either.
So the paths are cleared, the tarps are removed so I can once again see the lovely wood I have available and more importantly can pick out the locust pieces for select burning as the temps require. Now it is time to see if I can get to the outter bee hives.
The gravel secondary roads have been plowed now but in a way that only creates more of a problem for me. It's times like this when a little four wheeler or gator UTE would be really nice but I just can't see spending 4 or 5 K for something I would only make good use of two or three times a year, if that. I almost jumped on a used four wheeler last year but again even a few hundred dollars and the added up keep seems a bit steep for only a few uses.
So back on topic. I finally found a spot wide enough on the cleared single lane road that I could safely park without getting off into the ditch or questionable snow pile and still allow the odd truck that may come by to get around me. I then had to hike through the snow a couple hundred yards to the North Apiary and open up the small entrance ways. Yes they were totally clogged up. Now I really do not know just how important this is but the bees coat the entire inside of the hive with propolis and the theory is that it makes it almost air tight so they could have air issues if the entrance is sealed shut. I don;t know how true this is but I figure better safe than sorry and at this point and time the hives are in enough trouble as it is. I am not even sure they have enough food to make it through this storm, the thaw and on into Spring at this point.
So the nice little Winter snow hike to the North Apiary was pleasant and turned up only rabbit tracks in the snow as a diversion. I did note a couple of trees that had fallen for future reference. We always get that in the heavy wet snow. Now it is on to the West apiary and I wasn't looking forward to that one.
The West apiary is about half a mile down a little access path. Normally not a problem for me to get to but it is pretty rutted out and I am not sure I could get in and out of it today. It also is a spot that the county likes to push snow into as they remove it and sure enough they had created a pile of snow about 3 foot or more tall right at the entrance. So another hike is in order after I find a suitable spot wide enough to park along. At this point I am looking at a little over half a mile hike, one way, over fresh snow about 10 - 12" deep.
None of that is the problem though.
The problem is the home owners who live right at the entrance point of the little access path. There are two houses right there and both of them sit on ground that used to belong to my Step father. One lot of about 10 acres his friend talked him into selling to him some time ago which was fine and good until it came divorce time for his friend and then the land ended up changing hands again of course. The other partial is about 5 acres and was cut out for my aunt to retire on. The original deal there was he gave her the lot and she was suppose to assure it would go back to him but of course she never got around to it. When she died unexpectedly everything went to her useless drug addict son, whom I have never met, and was sold. Last I heard he spent all the money he got and is homeless now but not my problem.
My problem is these home owner's friggin DOGS.
Between the two houses these people own somewhere in the neighborhood of 13 or 14 dogs. I am really not sure which house owns which dogs except for the two pack leaders which both happen to be Newfoundlands. There are also a couple of pitbull types, a yellow lab, a bird dog cross, a doberman of some kind and various other sizes and shapes down to a little black poodle about the size of a football at best. All of them are friendly except those two Newfoundlands and I do not trust either of them one bit.
Now of course there are 100's of ways to deal with these two aggressive animals but the real pickle is you and I know how people are about their misbehaving pets. Look at all the bad publicity that old guy got down in Alabama or where ever when the news media started saying he was a dog killer. I could fire off a round or any number of things but once I do well the homeowners, or at least one of them for sure, is going to take that as a personal attack and then it's on.
You know it, and I know it.
I have talked to the guy and he told me in no uncertain terms he was going to do what he wanted and I was not allowed even on the road in front of his house. He even attempted to block my access to the easement road I use somehow thinking it was his I guess. His wife was a wonderful lady and easy to deal with but she died over a year ago and this guy has just gotten worse since. The dogs roam around for about half a mile or so from his house and will attempt to sneak up on you when your back is turned.
Once I am past the access road and around my hives well all bets are off but I would really just rather avoid any show of force unless I have to for self defense. I have no illusions about winning such a confrontation, I can handle dogs, but I also have no illusions about finding nails in my tires or worse after booby traps have been set on the road I have to travel down several times a week in Spring especially. One that this guy has a access to and can view 24 hours a day and I do not.
Usually of course it is no big deal. I just cruise right on past while the more aggressive of the Newfoundland pair is usually biting the bumper of my truck. I am not kidding either he does literally bite my bumper.
So I had to hike right past this Newfoundland and his co-leader on foot, in 12 inches of snow today. Yes I was armed and yes they knew it, so did the owner as he glowered at me from his front door. I had my hand on my 1911 and never turned my back on those dogs for long. The whole time one of the pitbulls was running and rolling in front of me attempting to get me to play with him in the snow. At about 100 yards down the access road the Newfoundlands just stop following and stand there and bark. They usually will not come down to my hives although one did last Summer and stood by my truck door growling until I pulled my sidearm and pointed it at him. They do know what a firearm is for.
So that was my excitement for the day. In all fairness I must admit the Newfoundlands are becoming a bit less aggressive than they used to be. Maybe they are finally starting to realize I am not a threat. I tell ya though I wouldn't want to be a delivery guy to either of those houses at all.
I have done everything I can to try and keep the peace with these "animal lovers" as they are kinda neighbors but I tell ya it has been tough to not escalate the entire situation. One reason I hate cities it just means more stupid weirdo neighbors to deal with.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!