Patchwork Snow Quilt

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I want to live in a homespun world where Mother Nature tucks us in.

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Just A Big Ol’ Data Dump

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The night of my last post we had a snowstorm blow in. Somewhere between 12 and 16 inches depending on how you measure I guess. I measured 12, my coworker who lives two miles away measured 16. He measured 5 inches that evening then wiped it away and measured 12 more the next morning. I just let the snow pack down. Potato, potahto.

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I know it’s not much to those of you who live further north or in the northeast but for this Texas boy it was quite the show. This was the scene Monday morning so we had a day-in. (Does “in” count as a preposition if I hyphenate it with day?) Luckily, or unluckily depending on your perspective, it started raining and the snow was gone by Wednesday morning. Unfortunately the snow and the continuing rain have added up to a new precipitation record. On Thursday we were 1.5 inches away from doubling the normal precipitation for February… and it’s on the 18th. Still it was beautiful while it was here. The snow looked like nothing so much as the top of a frosty white cobbler and every footprint was the first footprint.

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Even the pig pen was somewhat romantic. Somewhat. The poor guys were literally knee deep in mud by the time I could move them. I don’t think they would’ve minded but the water and feeder are attached to the sides and as the pigs sank reaching sustenance became quite the chore. Speaking of the pigs, I’m not sure if I mentioned it but one of them got sick two weeks ago. We had to call the vet – a GREAT guy by the way and someone we will stick with – who prescribed some antibiotics and wormer to cover all bases. The change in the pig was nothing short of miraculous. I hope that the warranted concern over antibiotic abuse does not overshadow the legitimate good they do when used properly.

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I went out today and measured these guys and if my calculations are not too far off they weigh about 195 pounds. They always look so much smaller in pictures than in real life. How come the camera is never that kind to me?

They will be headed to the butcher on the 20th of next month so I’m guessing they will be around 210 pounds or so. We’re going to keep one, one half of the other is promised to my friend and coworker for all his help over this past year, and I’ve been trying to sell the remaining half. Thought I had it sold yesterday but the buyer flaked out today. I haven’t told Don yet but I’m thinking about trying to trade it for some geese. I’ve always wanted geese. Don’t know why. I guess if worse comes to worse we’ll eat a lot of pork. First world problems.

We put a second roof on the machine shed. Some people might call it another tarp. 🙂 It’s working though and it’s cheap and instant, which as I’ve mentioned, our current weather situation demands. We also completely embraced our white-trashiness and ran plastic down the back of said shed to divert water away from the walls. It looks like hell but for the first time since summer the floor is completely dry. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me!

The rabbits are growing and will have to be separated by sex tomorrow. They’ll soon be 10 weeks old and are capable of breeding around that age. In the span of a month we went from three rabbits to 16 so we definitely want to prevent any more if possible.

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This little guy joined the farm the day before yesterday when he just showed up. I went out to feed in the evening and he was standing in the breezeway. At first I thought one of our does was loose. Then I thought he might be wild but he didn’t scram as I got closer and he’s a pet breed, lion head I think. I keep saying he but it may be a doe, I haven’t checked. I put out ads on local Facebook pages and asked all the neighbors but no claims so far. He loves to have his head rubbed. I have a bad feeling that someone dumped him.

John Henry, our rooster, is still separated from the hens. Maybe not for much longer though. The hens’ feathers are growing back and we will need to start a new batch of layers soon. Our current flock will go through their first molt in a few months and then their laying will begin to slow. I’m thinking of trying a batch of Cornish Crosses this year for the freezer as well.

I ordered two more packages of bees today. They will be here April 15 and their Langstroth hives are waiting. I’m looking forward to trying again, this time with more standardized equipment.

That, my friends, is all the news fit to print here at Creating a Home(Stead).

 

Tough

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Neither of my colonies made it through the extreme low temps and sogginess we had a few weeks ago. When I finally convinced myself that they were gone I went out and took apart the final hive. I found what I think is evidence of foul-brood. I can’t prove that it is foul-brood but more importantly, I can’t prove that it’s not.

Foul-brood is a fungus. The spores are almost impossible to destroy and it’s extremely contagious. Basically your bees just rot. Not enjoyable.

I set the hive boxes in the barn for awhile until yesterday when I finally convinced myself that they had to go on the burn pile. A part of me feels despair. I built those boxes. I built them out of scrap wood that would have gone to the landfill. It was my determination alone that brought them into being. Now I have to burn them.

I have a William James quote taped up in my cubicle at work:

Be willing to have it so. Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.

I moved the boxes to the barn because I was not yet willing to have it so. I was still telling myself that it might not be foul-brood or that I might still be able to salvage my effort. But that was not true. And by refusing to acknowledge this reality I was blocking any chance of recovery. Now that I have settled into reality I can take action. I will burn the boxes and remove the main infection. I will use my weed burner to disinfect the hive stand. And I’ve already bought one Langstroth hive in preparation for the upcoming season.

Recovery is not without discomfort but it sure feels better than denial.