I called SMG (who is now Champion) on Monday, and got some advice on the sawmill. (Yes, they now have bilingual tech support.) I’ll be writing some pages about maintaining the sawmill soon. There’s a lot that’s simply not in the manual. Anyway, the advice was on shimming to extend the length of the bandsaw to accommodate regular blades. Aubuchon didn’t have as much neoprene as I wanted, but I took what they had. It’s definitely tighter, and cut usably for one night. Then it threw the blade and quality is back to where it was, even though the blade is clearly tighter. I’ll buy more next trip to town and try again. If that doesn’t work, we do get a Quebec City vacation.
Yesterday we tried to harness up the horses, with the idea of skidding some logs. We got the basic harness on in pretty good order, although it took longer than anyone liked because everything had to be adjusted. Fortunately that’s a one time deal. Next time it will be ten minutes instead of an hour. Unfortunately we’ve completely spaced how to hook up the lines. We just had a rush of brains to the head. Yup, Lisa took a bunch pictures at her draft horse class. I now also discover that Lisa believes that we should first take out both horses singly so that Polly can go with her mom, and Prince won’t get jealous. Unfortunately that means we need another set of lines, which in turn means another couple of days delay before we can do anything.
So instead, 2e skidded the logs this morning with tractor. This is almost all that we cut down last spring in the first attempt at the horse house. There are two more really big ones out there that I don’t want to deal with until the sawmill is really working correctly, so I left them in the woods rather than have to work around them.
After lunch yesterday, I did yet another quick mushroom check. No joy. Perhaps a few more random Russelas and some earth tongues which I hadn’t seen yet this year, but still no chanterelles or black trumpets. This is now three solid weeks later than last year, and counting.
I put a bit more wood onto the horse house. There is now one actual stable corner of the thing. Would that there was more wood. I think it may be time to spring for $100 in waferboard just to keep the rain out.
Finally, I happily broke my resolution not to go into the hives. That second hive from the left just did not have enough traffic. Sure enough, no bees in the super, so I went on down. It’s queenless, has no honey and looks to have several laying workers. Oh joy. I then checked the leftmost hive. No progress since last week, and again fewer workers. So I went on down. Whoops, one hot hive. After regrouping into better protective clothing, I verified that this one too has zero honey and the worlds worst brood pattern. It does still seem to have a decent number of workers though.
The two hives on the right are doing better, but I could be happier with them too. The second from the right has completely filled its first super and is grudgingly drawing the second. I didn’t see a lot of honey in the hive bodies, but there must be some by the heft. I reversed the hive bodies because all the action seemed to be in the top one.
The leftmost hive had about 40 lbs in their first super, and lots of bees in the main hive. They were also quite stingy so I didn’t go farther than checking a couple of frames in the top hive body.
One thing I noticed is that bees crawling over the glove sleeves get inadvertently pinched and sting. This is a win for no one. A real bee suit is only $55. I don’t want another fiasco like today. So I’m placing an internet order to Betterbee tonight for a case of 12 oz bears and a bee suit.
I’ll be calling Champlain Valley Apiaries in the morning to see if they still sell queens: I need two. If they don’t, I’ll have to get southern ones, but I’d rather try to overwinter bees whose grandmother came through a Vermont rather than Georgia winter.