The Dog Days with a Vengeance

This weekend has been hazy hot and humid. The kind you’d much rather spend at the lake. However we got quite a bit done.

The sawmill is working! I actually got the sawmill running Friday night. A new blade finally got it working. We got four logs done, then I had to change the blade again, and it’s back to cutting junk. I did have to refill the hydraulic jack that’s used to tension the blade. I may well have overloaded it at some time, but I don’t think that’s the current problem. The blade feels just as tight as it was Friday night but it’s wandering again. We have enough lumber to sheath two walls anyway.

One tidy spot While I fought with the sawmill, Lisa weeded two beds in the center island, including pulling two forsythia bushes she’s loathed since 2001. They only bloomed once in all that time, this year, and are very ratty looking, as well as shading out things she wants in those beds. It looks much nicer with mulch instead of weeds. We fed them to the sheep, who love them. That whole bed has things trimmed to sheep height from all the times they’ve gotten out.

Moving manure I took the backhoe off the tractor so we can put the wood chipper on and get some bedding for the horses,and get rid of some brush at the same time. I followed the directions and it ‘just worked’. I like it when things do that. It certainly makes bucket work easier as well, as we discovered when Lisa cleaned out the horse house last evening.

All cooped up Last thing at night, we lured all the chickens into the coop and locked them in. First thing this morning, we went out and grabbed all the boys except for Egil and a spare — it came to five. We’d been going to keep two, but it seems we’re down to 9 hens. That means that only 11 roosters and 7 hens (we slaughtered one hen by mistake) made it from the 30 that hatched in April. That’s honestly not good odds. We could keep them in a coop, possibly with a covered run, but then who would eat the bugs? There’s a similar problem with a chicken tractor. Even if we had nice pasture to put them one, we want them running around in the flower beds: We’ve beaten all the universities to a successful biological control for lily beetles.

Sizes of eggs The good news is that the young girls are laying. We got four small eggs along with our one medium one today. The hens are going to spend the next few days in the coop to get them conditioned to laying there. We’re tired of buying eggs.

Bee excluder This morning, I put feeders on the two queenless hives. The leftmost one still has plenty of bees, but no honey. The one on the right has neither bees nor honey. On the two good hives, I swapped the honey supers, putting the full one on top with a bee excluder below it. We should then be ready to extract next weekend. I got to try out my new bee suit. It’s small. Betterbee recommended 2 sizes above your jacket size. They also said get a long if you’re 5’10 or over. Make that 5’8. I’m 5’9 and it’s both short and tight. It’s a bit big on Lisa, but hopefully it will get her back out with the bees. I’ll buy a larger one for myself next spring.

And another bee note: They are not working the white clover. I see an occasional bumble bee, but no honey bees. This is a big change from our previous experience. In 2003-05, they loved the stuff.

One wall down, four to go, plus roof We capped off the weekend’s work by finishing one out of five walls on the horse house.

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