Saturday, April 28, 2007

April Showers Bring......

Grass. Lots of tall grass. Which is a good thing, because this homestead needs some more grass. We've been tracking in mud for a year and after over-seeding in the fall and early spring, we finally have some grass. And that means we need to mow and weed eat. Which is what we did today.

We were supposed to do bee hive inspections, but since it didn't get above 60 degrees, we had to delay that. Even though it was cool, the bees were really very active. It was awesome to watch them. I wrote about it on The Bee Buzz blog, and put pictures up on the website.

We walked around the property and were happy to find a great number of dogwood and redbud trees in bloom. The wild cherry trees have been blooming for a couple of weeks - along with a couple of apple trees. There were a few other trees blooming that I don't recognize. Soon we'll be seeing some blue berries and black berries. I hope I can get to them before the bears and birds eat all of them.

Bee Free,

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Set Those Puppies Free!

Well, today was another gorgeous day and we got up early to go down to the apiary and remove the hive reducers so the bees could freely enter and exit the hives. I wish you could have seen how happy they were! I put some pictures up on The Bee Buzz website.

Afterwards we finally had time to walk around the property and could not believe the damage that storm caused. There were more uprooted and fallen trees than I could count. It was pretty depressing. We were really depressed to find that a tree that housed a tree stand was uprooted. It was one of the nicer stands and a favorite of our friend, Eddie. He claimed that stand as his and anytime he hunts our property, he goes to that stand. Bernie named it "Eddie's Last Stand". We haven't told him it's gone yet. We just dread it. You can check out some pictures of it and other damage on the Back To Basic Living website.

Next weekend we have a list of about a thousand things to do on the homestead. We'll prioritize them this week and figure out what we can accomplish. I'll be sure to put up pictures and write about what ever we decide to do.

Bee Free,

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Calm After the Storm

Last weekend we left the homestead in the middle of what felt like a monsoon. We got several inches of rain from Saturday through Sunday. Then on Monday the wind started. It howled for 2 days. The entire North East got hit with this storm and it was brutal.

We worried about the homestead all week. We have big, tall trees and we knew the ground was completely saturated before the winds started. That makes the ideal situation for trees to be uprooted. And uprooted big, tall trees can really cause a lot of damage.

Sure enough when we arrived Friday night, we found two trees down in the driveway and two trees hanging over the driveway, held up because they were entagled in other trees. All of them were uprooted. I put some pictures up on the website. We walked up to the house, got the chainsaw, and cleared the driveway of the two that had fallen. When we got up to the house we noticed 3 more trees that were down in the front yard, and several in the back. This morning we saw there were actually 4 trees down in the front yard. The good news is there was no damage to the house or garage. Well, I guess there was a little damage - the storm door got blown open and beat itself to death. We had to remove that. But we are so very thankful no trees fell on the house.

Needless to say, we spent today sawing up trees and removing the logs and branches. Bernie used his backhoe on the two that were looming over the driveway. He knocked them down pretty easily with the bucket and the boom. We spent about 6 hours clearing out all the trees and then decided to move all the shredder, splitter, boat, lawn tractor, motorcycles, motorcycle trailer, and ATVs into the new garage.

After a full day of working outside, we came inside and I cooked a nice meal of fried deer steak, rice, gravy, aspargus, and biscuits. Bernie helped me clean up the kitchen afterwards and we are both officially plum tuckered.

I am very proud to report the bees made it through the nasty weather just fine. Today it was near 80 degrees, and the girls were just a blur of activity. Tomorrow morning we'll go down and remove the hive reducers. I think (read hope) we are finished with the really cold weather now, and the girls are just fighting to get in and out of the entrances. I am really very proud of them. They are tough little cookies.

Bee Free,

Sunday, April 15, 2007

All Washed Up

It was a rainy weekend at the homestead. It was cloudy and misty when we got up Saturday, and it started raining before noon. It rained all day and all night - and was still raining when we left. The two creeks that our driveway passes over were full, and I'm fairly certain they will likely cover the road before this is all said and done. We haven't had this much rain in quite a while. Hopefully not all of the grass seed we've spread around will wash into the woods. It would be nice if at least a little stayed in the yard and sprouted.

Because of the weather, we didn't get out on the property much and spent the time relaxing a little and keeping a nice fire stoked. I did want to mention that after I checked the bees last weekend and started walking back up the driveway toward the house, a red fox pranced right across the road in front of me. He never even gave me a glance. He sure was pretty, and I couldn't help but hope he doesn't end up in our chicken coop once we get settled out there.

The bees are fine. Friday evening when we arrived they were buzzing around the outside of the hives. They're safely snuggled up in the hives trying to stay warm and dry today.

Bee Free,

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Hot or Cold? Make up My Mind Already!

I forgot to post last weekend! Which is really surprising to me, because we had a busy weekend on the homestead - and we had GREAT weather. Last weekend it was in the 80s! This weekend it's in the 30s. We've been down to the low 20s at night. It just doesn't seem right.

Last weekend we had an enclosed carport installed. We are convinced we are going to quickly sell our home in town and be caught totally unprepared to move all that crap out to the homestead in a timely manner. The sea container we got to hold all the furniture while we decide what to do with it, is currently completely filled with motorcycles, ATVs, etc. So we decided to purchase this carport and get it quickly errected so we can clear out the sea container. I put a picture of it up on the website. Certainly we will be building additional buildings, but this is something that will help us get everything from town out here as quickly as possible.

We spent last Saturday chipping wood. You may recall from past pictures that we had a HUGE pile of trees, branches, etc. piled up by the sawmill. Most of these were small scrub pines that were left there when the drain field was cleared for the Sewage Treatment Plant we had to get. It was not only an eyesore, but a great spot for snakes and wild life to make a happy little home. So we spent the day trying to get rid of most of that pile. And we did a darn good job of it.

As I said earlier, this weekend has been pretty cold for this time of year. We were around 30 degrees at 1PM when I went down to check on the apiary. The girls are fine. They stayed home today and are cleaning house. I put a picture up on The Bee Buzz website and I wrote a little about them on The Bee Buzz blog.

A couple of weeks ago we got a Petition of Qualified Voters from Senator Obenshain's office. This is a form that all candidates are required to have filled out with signatures from within the district that signify there are enough people that think you should be allowed to run for a particular office. I don't know the total amount of signatures required, but the petition we got had room for 25 signatures. Even though Senator Obenshain has been in office for 4 years, he still needs those signatures, so we agreed to take the form around and collect 25 signatures for him. The form had to be returned by last Wednesday, so being the rediculously over optomistic person I am, I decided to wait until the last minute to get this finished. I mean, how difficult could this be right? Senator Obenshain has been in office for 4 years and he's a pretty darn easy guy to like. He's done pretty well for this district and he's a liberty loving man, so getting 25 signatures should be pretty darn easy. Well, I was wrong. I mean dead wrong. I can not believe how many people have absolutely no clue who their representatives are. Here is an example of an actual conversation that pretty much epitomizes the entire experience:

"Hi, I'm collecting signatures so that Senator Obenshain can run for office again in this next election."

"Obenstein? I never heard of no Obenstein."

"It's Obenshain. He's been our Senator for the past 4 years."

"Is he from around here?"

"He's Senator of THIS district."

"I never heard of Obenstein."

"It's Obenshain."

"I don't like politics. I don't want to sign that."

"OK. Well, thank you for your involvement."

I even tried local businesses thinking that certainly these are people who would be on top of things. WRONG! Most were not even registered to vote.

I did manage to collect the 25 signatures. If I had gone to the biker community in the area, I would have had no problem. But I was trying to do it after work when I was tired and had little time. I thought it would be easier to pound the local streets than try to gather everyone up during good riding weather. I could not have been more mistaken. What is wrong with people today? Most are quick to complain that things in this country are going to hell in a hand basket, but do these same people vote? Are they involved in letting their representatives know what's important to them? Apparently not.

Ok enough of all that. We're here at the homestead and even though it's cold, it's really nice to be sitting in front of a crackling fire and writing in this blog.

The bees are doing fine. We're doing fine. And we're going to sell our home soon. Life is pretty darn good.

Bee Free,