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Next batch of wine: Californian Merlot

Starteda batch of Wine Experts Californian merlot yesterday. I have it on a heating pad to give it heat during this winter. We'll see how it goes.
Wine Experts Californian Merlot


1st frost

1st frost today, rather late I believe.


Damn yellow jackets!

Damn yellow jackets! The murderous bastards!

2 weeks ago I went thru the hive, checking how things were and I removed 3 frames of honey. The bottom 2 mediums were completely empty, but since the bees were getting antsy I closed up the hive with a ToDo to remove the bottom boxes.

Sunday I went into the hive to remove the boxes, the hive had a lot of yellow jacks in it and no bees. All the honey was gone and the yellow jackets were removing the brood that was still left. They killed off the nest!

I saw what looked like bearding last week due to the high temps, it was probably in response to the # of yellow jackets invading. I expect the bees absconded and left the nest to the damn yellow jackets.

Next year I am hanging up yellow jackets traps all over when the queens hatch out so I can kill as many of the damn queens as I can. L has become really allergic to them and is afraid to get stung by them.

A lesson learned. No more Mr Nice Guy to the yellow jackets.


Reviews... for Chicken watering devices

I've tried 2 different types of watering devices that you put into a bucket, the chicken nipple and poultry cups. After over a year of using, I prefer (and the chickens prefer) the poultry cups.

I have 4 of the nipples in the bottom of a bucket, the chickens need to bend their necks up to get to them. Since they are in the air, only nearly full grown chickens can use them, chicks cannot. They make it more of a pain to clean the bucket since they stick up and gouge your hands if you are not careful.

I have 2 of the poultry cups in a bucket sitting on bricks off the ground. Chicks as well as chickens can get to them, I see this being used more often. I'll be adding 2 more cups to the bucket.

I've filled the 2 types of buckets at the same time and the chickens definitely prefer the cups.

I've also noticed that bees will use the poultry cups, I might have to setup a bee watering station for them.

Chicken nipples

Poultry cups


Hive and honey

Well, added yet another box, but removed the spacer and crushed/strained the honey out. Gave crushings back to the bees to clean out. I saw honey bees, yellow jackets (the bastards), and a few black/yellow striped bumblebees feasting away.

Looks to be about 7 lbs of honey. I'll update when I know for sure.

Allergy update

Something has started blooming, my allergies are going crazy, my nose is running like a river and my head feels like it is filled with marshmellows.

Looks like it's Queen Anne's lace blooming time again.


Hive is getting larger

I just added another medium super to the hive. #4 from the bottom, so the queen has room to lay.
The hive is now 6 boxes high with a feed spacer full of drawn comb. I'll have to harvest that shortly.
I expect they will swarm, I'll setup a swarm box where the swarm went last year just in case.


2 down, 2 left

So 2 kittens went to a new home last Saturday.
These went to live with a friend of Q's:
  • 2spot (aka Sweetie)
  • Bogard
We are keeping these two (who are getting fixed this week hopefully)
  • Jerome (old 3 spot)
  • Freya (aka Stripes aka Crash)

They will be given the run of the house shortly so we can get the guest bedroom ready for guests.


Poor chick

Well, the poor chick died, it was left out of the coop 2 nights ago, the roosters were out late and I did not realize that the chick was out also. So it stayed out all night and I found it dead yesterday evening. The chicks can come out, but don’t know how to go back into the coop w/o me showing them the first time.

Hopefully we'll get more chicks.


Kitten update - week 7ish

Kittens are now drinking milk with kibble soaked in it from bowls. Yeah! Next step, eating dry kibble and water. We'll start that in a few days.

Then it will be time to get them fixed.


Finally! Bloody chickens

There has been a hen sitting on eggs since February, through rain and snow, dark of night, yada yada yada.
I've become disheartened that the main rooster is doing his job of fertilizing eggs.
So I went out yesterday with the intent to add more shavings to the coop and throw away all the eggs so I can mark them and they can start over. I opened up the main door and there were 4 hens all squashed into the nesting box. And a chick! They hatched a chick! I quickly closed the main coop doors to calm them down, then opened up the roof of the nesting box, I saw the chick and a 2nd one that had just hatched, I quickly closed the roof, hopefully they got in there and got the 2nd chick dried out and fluffy. Next weekend I'll add shavings..


Kitten update

Well, we figure the kittens are now 6 weeks old. Cute little buggers, they are learning how to be cats. Kushie (the smaller black cat) is being a helpful aunt and cleaning them and playing with them and getting them used to other cats.

Their temp names are:
Crash (short for crash test dummy)

Jerome and Sweetie have no tail, and that has caused a problem for Jerome. Since his tail was not developed, he's missing nerve endings that control his bladder sphincter. So he is always dribbling pee. Because of this, I doubt he'll get adopted out by us, and I doubt he'll survive at a shelter. So we are considering having him become an outside cat. We'll probably have at least one other of the kittens to be an outside cat along with him. Poor guy,


Hive status

Well, lost the small hive over winter. They did not survive, the mouse moved back in each time I evicted it and that probably was the main cause.

The other hive is going great. I just added another medium on it (5 now), I think I added the last one a month ago.

And I forgot the sugar feeder spacer and now it is almost full of drawn comb. I'll leave it on since it has brood in there.


Allergy season has officially started

The cottonwood storms started on May 20th. We have nice drifts of cottonwood fluff floating all over and making white fluffy areas on the lawn...
Lovely. I'm glad I have some prescribed allergy meds this year...


Lawn mower purgatory

So I am in lawn mower purgatory.
I have 4 mowers, here is their status:
-Weed-eater push gas mower: having issues keeping running, hard to start, runs rough, dies often
-Murray riding mower: mowing deck supports rusted so it scalps the lawn. i removed the mower deck and use as a lawn tractor with the dumping trailer i bought.
-Ariens riding mower: lots of problems with broken spindle and blades. recently I’ve replaced:
    -entire spindle
    -spindle inside
    -blades twice
    -drive belt (belt became wedged between a pulley and the axle and I could not remove it so had to cut it and pull it out).
    -mower belt (ran over a tomato cage which wrapped itself around the blades and ended up burning the belt down)
-Craftsman mower: state mostly unknown, need to get it working, now a bed for a litter of kittens. Yes kittens. 4 kittens that look like a white/black cat we see wandering around the area. Their eyes are still closed, only about 4" long. I'm going to keep an eye on them and see how they do.

i just purchased an electric mower to replace the weed-eater mower and a Cub Cadet wheeled line trimmer to act like a brush-hog so I can cut back the blackberries/grass as it grows.