Saturday, November 30, 2013

The End of November

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!!!


  1. I had to laugh about the garden beds. It's pretty much the same way here. I've got three smallish flower beds because (you'll love this one) it will attract bees and butterflies to the area. Well it DOES! lol Mars keeps eying my beds though and makes "suggestions" of what I might plant in there. One of the beds has garlic overwintering now. Tell Mrs PP that marigolds planted around the tomatoes seems to help with bug control. That's how I got to plant some extra flowers last season!

    1. SciFi - Mrs. PP says the same thing and admittedly she has a few varieties that the bees hit but typically the honey bees go for the more plentiful blooms. The bumblebees love her flowers I will say that.

      The original deal was a 50/50 split on the beds but I kept giving ground like Republicans in government so now I am down to only three beds.

      We plant marigolds everywhere. Honestly I think they are way over rated on bug control but as you are so smart to realize... they are a convenient compromise :)

  2. We have a rule. In front of the house , flowers, play area and pasture for the Welsh cobs(11 acres in total) rear of the house mine (441 acres) about half of which is in timber. As I bluntly put it, if we start having to buy food she gets to go to work. We have seventeen poly tunnels which we grow year round in and with the income from breeding rare breed chickens, beulah black faced sheep and the timber business she has always been a stay at home mum. I don't think she wants to change that after 20 years.
    The timber business is highly competitive and its good to have an angle. One of the things we grow is ash boat ribs. This involves strapping 2 year old saplings to formers which then take 14 years or so to grow to the minimum size for a traditional boat builder in Southampton who pays us to plant and maintain the trees. In effect we get paid up front, which certainly makes a change!
    Companion planting works to a degree but our best results come from giving the pest predators plenty of accommodation. Various birds species can decimate your insect problems. We not only put up bird boxes and lay traditional hedges but we have access points in the polytunnels for them to get through. Nematodes work too but a blackbird will eat its body weight in grubs and slugs a day! We also had major problems with field mice years ago, then I designed a box for barn owls, 2 years and problem under control. We still make and market the owlhouse as years have gone on people now recognise the value of having them around!

  3. The afternoons have been really nice but the night are still in the low teens. Our power went of at 3am, what a way to start the new month, it came back on late in the afternoon. I haven't seen any bees flying here but there are some insects out as are some dandy lions.

  4. Since my edibles require Fort Knox style protection, the garden versus flowers war is not such a problem. I could probably usurp flower space if I had more time/energy to enclose more.


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