Monday, March 11, 2013
Back to Work
I took a trip down through the hayfield yesterday afternoon and was walking in standing water about 2 inches deep the entire way. A vehicle would sink to the axle right now but the ground is so wet it doesn't even form mud on your boots. If I had the money and had gotten my pond dug out deeper this Fall or Winter when the ground was so dry it would be filled by now. One of the guys who dug out a new pond of about 2 or 3 acres across the road this Fall has already seen it completely filled. The run off through my pasture was swift and deep I could have floated a canoe down it had I wanted to.
I can confirm that as of yesterday five of the remaining six hives are still alive. Another of last years swarms I am unsure about. It was warm enough to pop the top a little bit and I saw some bees but there was no activity at the entrance. It was not warm enough to actually open the brood boxes up so they maybe out of stores completely.. What I could see didn't fill me with much confidence but still if I manage to hold on to five hives at least it is some progress overall yet still a disappointing loss from what I had hoped for.
The girls are so eager for forage right now that the garden hive is actually hitting the compost bin. I have never seen the bees in my compost bin before but Saturday afternoon there were hundreds of them in there. I can only guess they are foraging on the remains of banana peels and grapefruit rinds unless there is something they can get off of egg shells.
For the first time in years the remaining hives actually consumed all of the dry feed I placed inside for Winter. Every other year before this I have had to clean out the old feed about this time of year and leave it for open feeding. Not this year. It is all gone.
With the rising overall temps and the snow gone but the ground still too wet to get any actual work done outside I at least have been able to get back into the shop once again. I still have a few weeks left before I need to begin placing swarm traps and with the Winter losses I am way ahead in constructed and painted hives for any new swarms or splits so I can dedicate some more time to bullet casting and reloading once again.
All I can say is I am damned glad I took up bullet casting because I cannot find any reasonable priced bullets in the sizes I need anywhere. Powder seems to have come back into supply in most places but bullets, other than the very expensive ones, are nowhere to be found. I cast out another couple hundred .38/.357 slugs last night and will let them harden a few days before lubing em up and sizing them this weekend.
I still have not found a good supply of free lead at all, or even a reliable supply of lead for a price either for that matter. The damned government regulations have just about closed all avenues of lead purchasing and use I can think of to check. That and I imagine a number of others are beating me to what little is out there. I still have several pounds left in my supply but it is amazing how fast that goes down when you are casting.
After casting out several hundred so far, loading em up and shooting a bunch of them I am much more confident of the process now and have a pretty firm idea of the accuracy I can expect at least from the .38 and .357's. The choke point of course is still primers and powder for any long term (and I am talking like forever) cottage ammo production but I figure I have enough supplies stored back now short of foraging for lead to last for decades. At least in that one caliber anyway. I am set enough at this point that I am more curious than worried about the current ammo and component shortage. I am pretty convinced it is government contrived as many claim and I am interested to see if they can continue to pull it off for very much longer. The key is going to be if they can manage to stop foreign ammo imports because that is what I see beginning to take up the slack in several places. One of the local shops that used to only carry Federal or Winchester primers is now stocking Selliers and Belloit, TULA and Bear primers among other names I have never even heard of.
We are seeing off brand and surplus 7.62x54 and even .308 ammo on shelves that these vendors wouldn't have bothered ordering in before. The market is adapting even if it is a bit slow.
I believe the magazine crisis is ending actually after seeing all the stocks on hand up in ST. Louis this weekend. The plastics industry took a little bit to ramp up but at the prices they were getting you just new they were going to. As long as a ban doesn't get passed I imagine prices will begin to drop on magazines again soon. In that same vein there are plenty of ammo manufacturers out there who did not get government contracts that are already jumping on this cash cow. We will see I guess but unless the Liberal/Feminist want to stop all imports there will be companies out there jumping to make money. I can just imagine some plant manager in an Eastern Slavic nation pulling his hair out trying to get more production pushed out.
Also don't discount good old American ingenuity. We are fighting the opening stages of this war and I believe we are winning it quite handily as they attempt to choke off our supplies. Many and I mean Many private citizens are making their own ammo now. My bet is the Obummer-ites just never thought for a minute we could go back to the basics as easily as we have.
A new sign of the patriot movement is a lead cake and a bullet mold.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!