Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Drying Out Day 2 - Bees, Birds and a Product Review

Today was just like yesterday. Gorgeous, temps in the 80's, a nice dry breeze coming in from the Southwest and it greatly expanded on the drying out of the garden that started yesterday. If the clouds and rains hold off one more day I think I will be able to at least get my seeds in the ground tomorrow afternoon and evening.

That's a big if though. The next storm front is suppose to start rolling in Tomorrow night and bringing with it temperatures once again all the way down into the 30's. So much for getting my tomatoes and peppers out.

My plan is to give the garden all morning and part of the afternoon to dry a bit more and then start putting my seeds in the ground tomorrow.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

The Spring hive inspections were finished today. Three hives are making progress but I had trouble finding any suitably recent eggs to make a walk away split with so I didn't make one. I did see several drones crawling around in one hive but none flying yet and none of the hives had any swarm cells or capped queen cells at all. My guess is we need at least another two weeks or more before swarms so I am going to have to wait on making splits as well.

I did manage to find the queen in the hive that almost died out this Winter but she isn't doing any egg laying so I am not sure what is going on there. I moved a frame of capped brood into the hive with her and hope the nurse bees won't cause any fighting. Perhaps a little boost in population will get that hive kick started again and building up.

The Spring inspections were combined with the out yard mowing and trimming which is why it took me almost all day. Once my hives get big enough I switch them over to a top entrance/cover design so tall grass isn't an issue but with the losses from this Winter only one hive is currently built up enough for two entrances so extensive trimming is needed under the hives.

Out yard maintenance along with my adherence to peak oil theory is why I have been leaning heavily towards rechargeable tools. A couple of years ago I started using the then current Black and Decker  18 volt rechargeable weed whacker and although the thing worked the battery pack was disappointing to say the least. This year I finally decided enough was enough and went to purchase a new battery for the thing.

I think the entire store heard me exclaim "Seventy Bucks!!! are you out of your friggin mind"? When they told me the price for a new battery.

So instead I bought this little gem.

So far I have used this new Black and Decker 20Volt lithium weed whacker all over the place and I am mightily impressed with it. This new version comes with two lithium batteries and although the company claims an hour or more run time I am guessing it maxes out at maybe 45 minutes per battery, but that is more than enough for my needs per day. Also you don't have to stand there and run the battery all the way out and avoid leaving it on the charger like the old style one I had. Plus with two batteries it has already handled all my out yard work, all the trimming work around the Small-Hold and all the work around our in town property and my dad's place. Just need to charge em up the night before.

This one was on sale for $79.00 so it was really the same price as a new battery for my old unit. It has some impressive power as well and is much lighter. Coupled with my solar and battery recharging set up I have now removed my dependence on gasoline small engines completely in yet another area.

If this unit works as well as it seems and lasts as long as it's prototype cousin did  this is going to pay for itself in gasoline costs and small engine repair within the first year easy. One battery got me all around the house, raised beds, fruit trees and the front of the barn before it started losing power. Now admittedly it has it's limitations but so far it will do all I need in a grid down situation to keep the place trimmed with no external energy inputs needed.

If the pole saw version of this lithium technology works as well as this trimmer I may give that a go as well for small tree trimming jobs around the place and free me from another small engine expense.

I know others have better luck than I do with em, but small gasoline engines are still instruments of the devil in my mind. I spend more money maintaining and replacing small gasoline engines than I do anything else but I have had really good luck with electric ones not breaking down. Battery technology had a long way to go but using solar panels with deep cell batteries and converters have also worked well for me in a few areas.

Maybe I will get around to my rechargeable battery cart project this year and look into replacing the gasoline tiller. Hmmmmm.

To each his or her own I guess.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!

1 comment:

  1. Black and Decker/DeWalt I have always thought of having better than average batteries. It was Milwakee and Bosch that I always had issue. But eventually they do wear down and they are expensive. But $70? Hit Amazon or Ebay.


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