Thursday, May 31, 2012
Welcome to the Hen House
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
I hit the sack last night at 7:30pm, and then slept until 7:00am. I can hardly believe it. I usually sleep until around 5am. Of course, the old sprained foot isn't much help, and now my left leg hurts from compensating for the right foot, my armpits and arms hurt from the crutches. I guess I'm just tuckered out!
Then again, there is not a darn thing on the boob tube, of which I don't watch much anyway, I usually read, but I couldn't keep my eyes open last night.
Throw in that I'll be 45 next month, and I guess I'm turning in to my grandparents. Early to bed, early to rise (except on a rare occasion like this morning) makes a person healthy (healing the bad foot), wealthy (not so much thanks to the economy) and wise (definitely getting wiser as I get older).
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Our home office is on the 2nd floor, I'm relegated to working from the dining room table as steps are impossible. All of this sitting around, when I'm not hobbling to the kitchen out of boredom to see what's in the fridge, has made me really think about our medical supplies prepping. The Moose went in to the attic this morning in search of his old crutches. Guess what? He's 6', I'm a puny 5'4-1/2". They won't work for me, unless a miraculous occurrence happens and my torso grows another 6". Trust me, you can not make crutches that are too tall for you work! It's impossible, and would likely cause me to hurt something else, and I don't need the added pain. So it's off to buy a pair that will work for me.
We have band aids, aspirin, ointments, alcohol, peroxide, ace bandages, etc. Quite a bit too, but never thought of crutches. Did this item cross your mind for long term planning? If not crutches, then a cane? Something to help you hobble around may be needed. Well, now the Moose and I will have matching pairs, as soon as he gets back from the pharmacy.
Monday, May 28, 2012
We were however, devastated to find around 20 or so Egrets and Storks in our pond. Yes, the pond that holds our Tilapia! They're awesome to watch, but NOT when they are in your stocked pond. We've not had any issues with birds in the pond for the past 2 years, but now we do. What is the solution? Don't know. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. The best idea we could come up with was cutting down some more palm fronds and floating them in the pond, to give the fish an area to hide from the birds.
Then to top it off, we still have animals eating the ripe tomatoes off the plants and leaving a mess in their wake. We also have a huge bug problem. Anything and everything that eats leaves and the fruit have descended upon my garden!
We need to persevere. I know people who would walk away from this challenge, but not the Moose and me. On went the garden dust. We were still able to leave with a basket full of produce, so I'll count my blessings.
We also let the Class of 2012 out of the coop for a couple of hours. We had to get the Moms and Dad out first, and they were not happy. One of the Moms got in, and she didn't waste anytime trying to exude her dominance. Poor little bugger lost a chunk of newly grown feathers before the Moose was able to get the hen back out of the run. The little one's sure enjoyed themselves. At first they wouldn't even come out of their coop, but once they figured out that scratching, flying, running and eating would be involved, they were happy campers.
I left The Compound with a sprained foot, and will spend the next day or so with the foot elevated. Have a good week! Thanks for following along.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Monday, May 21, 2012
Friday, May 18, 2012
I may yet end up with enough tomatoes to actually try my hand at canning them.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
MDR, Modern Day Redneck was pontificating the other day about how we bloggers post, but have failed to post about our mistakes, and also was wondering if we've grown soft or just given up on prepping. I am about to answer both of his questions;
First, I made a blunder while setting up my honey bees today. I'll explain as I go. Second, I want the honey bees to be an addition to our prepping, providing sweetener to food, minor wound care, and selling the extra honey, beeswax, making candles, lip balm, etc. I need to make considerations for all possibilities.
The post office called around lunch time today to let me know the Sopranos arrived, and they were in a hurry to have me pick them up. I wish I could have a running video camera (you know the one's that are hidden in your sunglasses or a pin on your clothes) so you could have seen the faces I saw today. I heard the "what are you going to do with bees?" "What's in there?" Bees I replied. Now, I mean absolutely no offence, but I live in central Florida with a large Hispanic population, and I just love their language. The response was "dios mio", or "oh my God". It was funny. Away we went, back to the Compound to get them established.
Side note; not sure if you can see it or not in the photo of the bee box, but there is a lone honey bee on the OUTSIDE of the box. He followed/stayed on this box all the way from Georgia. Tenacious!
I've watched a video twice, read the "Beekeeping for Dummies" book at least twice, and I still made a rookie mistake. You have to remove a small piece of wood at the top of the box, to access the sugar water can. I did all this. Then removed the can, but in the process of removing the can, I also lifted up a white tag, which is what holds the queen cage in place. As I removed the can, the queen cage dropped in with the 10K bees! Neither of the videos, or books prepared me for this. My box of bees was different then what they were presenting. Sounds like life, right?!
I didn't panic, I stopped, covered the box back up and the Moose helped me find a pair of tongs. I needed to get the queen in the hive first, so that was my focus. Then I had to remove a small cork from the queen cage. I used a sheet rock screw, like a wine bottle opener, and pulled out the small cork. I should have then been able to attach the cage to one of the top bars.
Second problem, the candy that was supposed to be behind the cork was all eaten away already. The queens entourage already ate through it, and were on their way out, along with the queen. I had to make a quick move to get the other 9,997 bees into the hive. I did it! I've read several options on how to introduce the queen; either attach the cage on the hive bar, or open the cage up and let the queen out right away. I guess we'll see how the latter option fairs as the choice was made for me today. Now, in a couple of days we'll peek back in there and see how things are progressing. Hopefully the queen is still in residence, and they've started to build their combs.
O.K., now for the strange part. I spent the better part of 15 or so minutes surrounded or working with 10K bees, and not once was I attacked, or did a bee try to sting me. But, when I went back to our camper to put away some supplies a wasp/hornet swooped down and stung me in the face. It can only happen to me!... I'm OK, just some local stinging sensation.
As we left, the bees were doing what they should be. Hanging out on the front of the hive sending out pheromones letting the bees know this was the new residence.
Crested Caracara You have to take a look at this site, as this Falcon was at the Compound on our arrival this afternoon. I've never seen one in the 7 years we've lived in Central Florida, and he was as tall as a turkey vulture standing nearby. He was awesome to look at.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Monday, May 14, 2012
Friday, May 11, 2012
Aren't these some of the cutest?!... noisy but dang they're cute!
Thursday, May 10, 2012
I planted what amounts to about a 15 foot row of pole beans. It's my first experience with them and I have to say, I like them better than bush beans. First of all, they produce more and longer beans, and it's easier standing up to pick them than it is to bend over picking bush beans. There flavor is great. The Moose and I have been eating them as we go, but I decided to freeze some from our last two pickings. Here's how;
-Get water in a pot to a rolling boil
-Wash and prepare beans, cut off the ends and to the size you'd like
-Put them in the pot of boiling water for 3 minutes (I used my pasta pot and strainer together, so it was easy to drop the beans in, and them lift up the inside strainer)
-Put them in another pot or bowl with ice water, for another 3 minutes
-Bag them up and freeze
I ended up with three bags this time, but it's a start! Not hard at all, and better than letting the beans waste away in the frig or on the vine.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
He sold me a 12 oz. bottle of wild flower honey for $5.00. I can understand he thinks I'm just another link in the chain of reasons why business gets harder each day, but I think he's missing out on an opportunity to increase his business, by offering items or classes in beekeeping for backyard hobbyists. Maybe I'll have to start something on my own. Something to ponder...
Monday, May 7, 2012
The new girls weren't taking any of his "crap" either. They put him in line right away, and of course he set off to make himself seem important by finding them bugs. I was glad to see him fit right in. It's still sad. So long Monkey.
Friday, May 4, 2012
The number and amount of weeds is drastically reduced. However we have dollar weed, and another grass/weed that I can not get control of. No matter how much mulch I place on top. It is recommended 6". We are at least that if not more, but still they will not abate. And no matter how often I pull them out, they just return, and more. I'm convinced for each one I pull, three more show up.
There are no more mud problems. Although we haven't had much rain to speak of the past several months, and we're under "red flag" warnings, but when it does, it is easy to maneuver around. The mud was so bad it would capture your boots and pull them right off!
There are definitely more spiders. I wonder if this is because of the mulch itself, or that I can now pick them out because of the mulch. They haven't bothered me yet, and I know they eat some garden pests, so they will stay right where they are at for the time being. Like I have anything to do with it.
At this stage, our garden is a bit anemic. My plants are not abundantly green, or bushy. I have had success growing beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini at this point, however they are not the size plants I would like to see. Our soil is extremely acidic, and before we started the BtoE program, we never got a handle on that problem. There doesn't seem to be enough lime on the planet to help correct this issue. We cheated a bit as well, and have tried to use up the Miracle Grow we had in inventory to help the plants along. It helps for about a week, and then the plants yellow up and thin out. The purpose of the program was to help eliminate the need for chemicals to make your garden prosper. The jury is still out, we'll keep going as it may take a year or two to get the kind of results we really want.
We are having good success with romaine and spring mix lettuce. Really no problems here. See the photo, notice the friendly dollar weed?
The butternut squash we planted are also taking off. At this point, it looks like the watermelon, cantaloupe and pumpkin will do fine too.
Other than that, we'll keep you posted on the BtoE program results. In the meantime, we had a whirling dervish in the corn. A twisted up, broken off mess! That ends corn for the season. It wasn't doing that great anyway, but it's sad to see it happen after all the energy needed to work a garden.
The pond level is seriously down, we really need rain. The water used to cover the bucket with an inch or two over the top. Palm fronds are in the pond to help create a shady area for the tilapia, just in case you were wondering.
One final note; here are some photos of the Hooligans Class of 2012. They are now three weeks old, and a very friendly group. Still to be named, except for one who is Elmer. He had a case of pasty butt. Can you figure out why he's called Elmer? The Moose came up with that one, and it stuck. (no pun intended)
Off to our daughters graduation in Gainesville! Have a great weekend and thanks for following along!
Thursday, May 3, 2012
You see, my youngest daughter, D2, is graduating from the University of Florida, School of Business this Saturday. She follows in the footsteps of her sister D1, who graduated 2 years ago. I am uber proud of them both. They excelled in their studies.
Now that this chapter of life is behind me, I do look forward as well. I look forward to D2’s graduation ceremony. I look forward to seeing how they grow and mature. I look forward to planning weddings, and maybe someday seeing more drooling toothless grins. Just not quite yet! I still have to get over the fact that I turn 45 next month!
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
While driving from one appointment to another yesterday, the Moose and I came upon a man and a woman on a motorcycle. Not an uncommon occurrence to be sure. However, what struck me as strange was the following;
Said man was completely shirtless, not uncommon but it appeared he was trying to even out his sunburn. He must have been wearing what my children refer to as a "wife beater" shirt. White ribbed tank top. Only his arms and neckline were bright pink. Sitting behind him was a women, nothing strange there. However as he pulled out in front of us, her dog peaked his head out the side. I've not seen that before. Is it even legal? Think what you will, but it doesn't end there. While hanging on to her dog with her left hand, she lights up a cigarette with the right hand. That's dexterity right there. The whole scene was totally out of place.
Then we're having breakfast at the table watching the local news. (Has anyone noticed the uptick in violence on a local level in your area?) A stranger than fiction piece came on. You couldn't come up with a story like this on your own; Grandpa and Grandma decided. Excuse me; drunk Grandpa and drunk Grandma. Excuse me again; 4 time DUI, revoked licensed drunk Grandpa was driving drunk Grandma down a road going 10 miles per hour, while towing their 7 year old granddaughter in her toy car behind them.
Need I say more?! What have you seen lately than makes you scratch your head?