Farm Truck Fights Back

Ah my friends what a day it has been.

As you know from my last post the farm truck has been on sabbatical for the last few weeks. Well, this morning as I was speaking to my father on the phone I happened to glance out the window and see my dear husband pulling the truck toward the barn with the tractor. I immediately realized that the situation had gotten completely out of hand so I used my secret weapon – dad’s automobile advice.

It turns out that we didn’t have to replace the starter. In fact the fix, while not permanent, was obscenely simple. “It’s the solenoid,” said he, “the contacts are stuck together, maybe welded together. It’s not your starter… although you might want to replace that too by the sound of it.”

I went out and found Don and the truck, stationary, halfway between the house and the barn. I tapped the solenoid a few times with a small ball peen hammer and voila, running truck. Oh how happy we were. Until Don pointed out the reason he was only halfway to the barn. A distance that I should point out is not very far.

The left rear wheel was not turning. Behind the truck was a long, ugly scar in the earth.

<Insert entirely inappropriate and vulgar words here.>

This is entirely my fault. While trying in vain to remove the starter last weekend I decided to be safe and so engaged the parking brake – not an unreasonable decision I think. However, I didn’t fully comprehend, yes even given it’s taciturn history, the true recalcitrance of this cobbled together off-road beast. The brake engaged perfectly. It just won’t disengage now.

<More dirty language.>

Luckily while forward was not an option, reverse was free for the taking so Don ignored my suggestion of a blowtorch and backed the truck between the fence and an apple tree, through the pasture, between the scrap-metal pile and the burn pile, and into one of the bays in the barn. It really was inspiring to watch.

Only once we had the truck inside the building did we realize that we now have no choice but to fix it right away. There is no way to get it out otherwise.

Beehive Pride

Today had a less than spectacular beginning. The starter is screwed up on the farm truck. We only use the truck to haul stuff so it’s not a do or die situation but the woodlot at work has been filling up with some delectable goodies that are just too big to fit in my Ford Escape. I decided I would get it done this morning. Well, let’s just say that things didn’t work out that way. The starter on this truck is surprisingly accessible and held in by only two bolts. Unfortunately those bolts might as well be welded in place. I tried wrenches, sockets, even an impact wrench (granted, only a cordless impact driver but still) and no luck. Finally, after lunch I went out and sprayed them with WD-40 and am praying they might loosen a bit by tomorrow.

The beauty of the day is that the truck roadblock cleared the way for us to work on our beehive.

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Yes, here it is. I can’t properly express how proud I am of us. We have two more steps for it to be complete cut and install the top bars in the boxes and install the burlap bottom on the quilt box.

These stacked boxes don’t just represent another farm goal they also represent ingenuity. When we decided to get bees I was very dismayed at the cost. We looked at hives online, in stores, and even in kit form. Prices ranged anywhere from $150 to $350 dollars depending on quality and how much assembly we were willing to do ourselves.

We have about $32 invested in this hive and after building this one I think that by taking advantage of the aforementioned woodlot at work I can build the next one for free!

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I have to say that all in all this turned out to be a very good Saturday.

Battling The Gray Days

It’s been gray and rainy since last we talked. Even though we’ve passed the winter solstice and, in theory at least, the days are getting longer the sun is still gone by 5 around here. I have to admit that I’ve gone a little stir crazy being cooped up in the house.

That is until this happened!

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Yeah baby!! Woot! I don’t know if Don was acting out of extreme generosity or extreme self-preservation but through a very creative use of power strips and extension cords he has managed to bring light to the darkness. We actually stayed out after dark today! I felt so adventurous.

This is what we created this evening.

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That is our very first bee box. I know it’s not fusion power but to me it might as well be. It’s another step on our journey that seemed like it would never happen. And just to belabor the point that my husband is THE BEST husband in the world, you will notice how bright it is inside the shop while it is dark outside the shop. Yes, I will probably be obnoxious about this for a while. Thanks for your forbearance.

We’ve decided to build Warre hives otherwise known as The People’s Hive (isn’t that cool?). It was developed in the first part of the 20th century by a French priest who thought that beekeeping should be accessible by anyone. We’ll see if this is true!

We’ve got two packages of bees coming in April so we’ll build two hives and a couple of extra boxes. Warre also provided plans for an integrated feeder which we plan on constructing as well.

If you are interested in learning more about Warre hives you can visit this link biobees.com.

This has been a very good Tuesday!

2016

First, Happy New Year to you! I hope 2016 proves to be joyous and fruitful.

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We decided to try something  besides resolutions this year. It’s something of a master to-do list. We listed tasks to accomplish in 2016. I don’t know if this will help or not but I do find that if I have something to check off a list it’s much more likely to get done.

Soggy Bottom Farm

It’s been cold and gray and soggy since we returned home. The constant drizzle combined with the loss of daylight at four in the afternoon has been my excuse for not doing anything productive.

But today I went and hung a fluorescent light in the tractor shed/workshop and I feel so much better. I didn’t do anything else of course – like clean up said shop – but sometimes when you’re in a rut you just have to pick one thing and do that one thing. It’s the break in the dam.

Suppressing the Wackadoo

Is it a little weird that one of the reasons we chose this place is the hope that it will weather climate change better than where we were and that our children and grandchildren will have a place to go? Because deep down where I hide the little bits of conspiracy theories and the hope that elves are real and the fear that Bigfoot does exist that’s really one of the reasons we’re here.