July Already

It’s July first. That’s pretty scary given how much we need to do before snow flies. However, for the first time in a long time it really feels like we accomplished more this weekend than just take care of (and chase) the animals.

Yesterday we built half a raised bed. The one we have is 4 by 16 by 2 feet high, which we find perfect. You can sit on the edge while you work and you can reach about two thirds of the way across from either side. We had enough 6×6 on hand to build one that was one foot high. We did, and planted potatoes and beans in it, crops we hope will come in this year. It’s not as convenient, but it’s there and working. We filled it with six inches of horse manure, three inches of dirt and three of compost. I used the new tractor to bring the dirt over from the pile. It didn’t get screened that way, but it was so much faster and easier. We’re thinking of building a bigger screen that we can put on the bed frame and then dump the bucket onto, thus getting the best of both worlds.

Using the tractor was great fun. It’s New Holland’s budget model, without bells and whistles. The salesman told me it’s a 1979 Ford 1710 with new sheet metal. Works for me. Compared to the Shenniu, the postwar Massey Ferguson we had before the fire, or Uncle Dick’s 8N it’s freaking luxurious. And the bucket is why we have it: Horses do not come with front end loaders. A tractor’s other advantage, to offset horse’s ability to make new horses, is that it only needs to be fed when it’s working instead of every day. On the down side, I noticed that neither the tachometer nor the hour meter is working. They’re in the same window in the instrument panel so I’m hoping for a loose cable somewhere. Yes it’s in warranty, but I don’t have a trailer to take to the dealer in.

nullI started today by checking in on the bees. I’m glad I did because three of the hives were ready for honey supers. Fantastic. They have time to fill them, and that’s fifty pounds of honey each. The fourth hive is the one that I noted before simply hates the black plastic frames. They’ve finally started to draw them, so I’m hoping that when I check again in two weeks they too will be ready for a super.

Then it was off to use the sawmill, hopefully to make 6×6 for two more (half height) raised beds. This was not so much a success. It threw the blade halfway though slicing up the oak log on the mill. The new blade I chose is an inch longer than the the old one. I spent over an hour unsuccessfully trying to get everything adjusted. I finally decided to sleep on the question of exactly how to do it.

Lisa meanwhile staked the tomatoes, and we finished the day by hauling the first few logs out from in front of the horse house.

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