Monday, August 25, 2014

June 2014

This is a little late getting out... sorry!


Well that sure flew by!  I'll try to start from the top...


For a couple years now I thought it would be neat to keep bees.  So when I saw an add on Craigslist for bee keeping equipment, I jumped on it!  $80 later I came home with two books (that I could have gotten on Amazon or for less - I have to learn to be a better haggler), some lemon grass oil (for attracting swarms to a hive box), a smoker, a hat and a veil.  In all, I don't know that I saved a lot of money... well, yea, I saved a decent amount.  Oh, I also got a hive tool or two.

With all that said, I've been doing a lot of research on Top Bar Hives.  They are not your typical commercial hives and they have some benefits and drawbacks.  I think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks and I'm now hoping to build two (Tanzian or Kenyan? - Oh the choices... most likely a Kenyan) hives in the next year... then I have to find some bee's to go in them!  First things first...

Resources for Bee's: - A great article honestly!

Garden / Vineyard / Orchard

Things seem to be in full swing here, although the peppers are off to a slow start.  I got all my rhubarb planted and it's all up and growing!  (That's pretty good as the first year I got 1 or 2 of 10 plants to grow).  Stark Bro's even sent me two extra plants, so thank you for that!  Oh, I also have three wild asparagus plants growing around my yard... that's kinda cool!

I also planted my rhubarb - this deserves a quick review...  When I planted some at my parents house a few years back, it came as three spindly little roots about an inch around and 3 inches long... one was rotten already and the other two looked pretty lame.  My rhubarb from Stark Bro's came in about 4 inches diameter and 6 inches long.  I even took a shovel to one and split it to make three plants and they are all growing!

A few weeks back I planted the following:
2 Peach Trees, 2 Pear Trees, 2 more Apple Trees and 1 Sweet Cherry Tree (the other is coming in the fall - they had sold out before I made my order and didn't update the web page).  The good news - they are all budding out and growing!  In comparison to the trees I bought from gurneys, these things are doing great!  (Gurneys did give me a substantial refund by the way - I think it's noteworthy, although I'm a huge Stark Bro's fan now)

This pas weekend I put the FOUR grape vines in the ground that I got for free from Tractor Supply... I know, it's kinda strange... but I'm excited about growing my own grapes now too!  I have all sorts of plans in my head for what I can do with them.  I have two Concord Grape vines to make juice and jelly, a Niagra for eating and I can't remember the other.  I am a little worried about the Reliance grape vine I got from Stark Bro's however, as it's not yet budding out.

I'm also getting ready to build... drum roll...

The Planet WhizbangT-post Grape Trellis

Hopefully I'll have pics of that soon! The only difference for me is that the 1" Conduit comes in 10' lengths, so I'll have 10' spans between posts, unlike Herrick Kimball's 8' recommended length.

I also planted 3 Primocane Red Raspberries a few weeks back that have yet to show any life sign... so I may have to make do on Stark Bro's 1 Year Satisfaction policy.


Good news - I haven't killed any more of them!  I also, through some roundabout ways, determined that the first chicken had "Water Belly".  This is apparently a relatively common event with chickens, especially fast growing meat chickens.

Here is a quote from a great site to learn more about it:

"Water Belly refers to the fluid accumulated in the abdominal cavity as a consequence of heart failure. The disease is more scientifically known as pulmonary hypertension syndrome and this disease may or may not actually end up as what is known as ascites."

Hopefully it isn't a problem in a large number of birds... I'm butchering in less than two weeks!  Speaking of which, those guys are getting a little bit more cantankerous to those ladies in there... not to mention working on crowing every morning... I'm sure the neighbors love it! 

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