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Grass season has started!

 Grass season has started. I feel like crap today, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, itchy/sore throat. Going to coast tomorrow night.


Cottonwood almost over, grass when?

 The cottonwood storm is mostly over, grass should be pollinating soon, but due to all the rain we are getting, the pollen is being washed away or delayed. Which is good for my allergies. 

But I expect they will come back with a vengeance soon.

We'll see what happens. The weather this year is crazy.


Cottonwood season has started!

 The cottonwood fluff is flying.. Time for my nose to start running..


House upgrade: wood stove

 We bought and had a wood stove installed on Aug 13th. We are seeing how well we can use it for this winter. So far it keeps the main part of the house warm, the offices area cooler and the master bedroom we just keep the door closed until its bed time.

We also bought 3 cords of alder/fir from the Toledo Lions club for $450. Took a while to get it (they are all volunteers),  but it was decently seasoned. I've been splitting it with a Harbor Freight manual splitter. It works well, splits wood within its size limit nicely.

The stove we bought (we can also cook on it).


Hive update - sad news yet again

 Well, inspected the hives today. They died off. damn it


Some notes/observations:

Swarm hive:

  • 2 mediums, closed bottom board
  • put on winter cover back in nov?
  • inside was wet, dripping honey from non sealed cells
  • bees dead, soft and turning moldy.
  • lots of partially filled in comb and open cells
  • bees mostly on bottom board, not enough to keep hive warm i expect


Package hive:

  • deep on bottom, 2 mediums on  top
  • put on winter cover back in nov?
  • open board bottom
  • hive drier, not as much moisture
  • deep was mostly empty, very little drawn comb
  • medium box had brood come and some honey
  • top box had some full frames and partial frames since I do 1/2 comb guide and half (on the sides) of empty space
  • bees all clumped together on 3 frames (one side, both sides, one side) in top box
  • no honey nearby, but honey was at end of frame, so they starved
  • lots of bees head first in cells


Sangria wine kit started

 I started a sangria wine kit we picked up at Baders. Simple kit, mix water with fruit juice and yeast and wait. We'll see how it turns out in 2 months. I used a Lalvin K1-V1116 yeast.

The wine kit.

From their site:

Vintner's Best® Fruit Wine Bases are all-natural and made with real fruit juice. They are blended from the same formulations used by commercial wineries and allow you to avoid straining out the fruit pieces. Vintner's Best® Fruit Wine bases make 5 gallons of high-quality fruit wine at around 10% ABV. Easy, convenient re-sealable packaging with no pH or acid adjustments allows you to scale depending on your batch size. All you have to do is add yeast and water.

A blend of juice concentrates, corn syrup, citric acid and natural flavor designed to make a fermentable base for a sangria style wine blend at 18.6 Brix. The product is blended, pasteurized and can be stored at ambient temperature.

Recommended Yeast: Lalvin K1V-1116 or Red Star Premier Classique



Initial SG: 1.072

Next Steps:

  1. 7/15/21: Started
  2. Wait 2 weeks
  3. 7/30/21: Rack to secondary carboy after 2 weeks
  4. Wait 4 weeks
  5. 8/27/21: Test SG, if above 1.0, let ferment, if below, continue
  6. Rack it
  7. Add 1 crushed campden per gallon to wine
  8. Add 1/2 tsp of potassium sorbate per gallon
  9. Stir in
  10. Wait 1 week to clear
  11. 9/3/21: Sweeten to taste using wine conditioner?
  12. Bottle
  13. Drink now or wait up to 6 months

Wine conditioner info: https://blog.homebrewing.org/wine-conditioner-sweeten-wine/



 Well, we are down to 5 chickens. They are:

  • rooster - speckles
  • twins - 2 grey hens that hang around with speckles
  • henrietta - hen that came with us from port orchard
  • white hen - semi feral, hangs around with other chickens sometimes, but sleeps in trees

Well, Q just found the little white hen with 6 chicks under the HF trailer. I am not going to try to catch them and move them to the coop, that would just stress them out and would be futile since they are in long grass and I don't want to step on them. So we'll leave them be, and see what happens. But I did put water and chick starter food out for them.


Hive swarmed

Hive #1 swarmed, I caught swarm and put it into hive #2


A beekeeper again

I bought a nuk from The bee lady near Roy, Wa. $225 for a nuk, 5 frames, about 75% drawn, lots of bees, Queen is marked with white paint. 

Bees picked up 5/11/21, hives 5/12/21.

 When I hived it, they were calm and mellow, so that's good. She has good bees.

I'll do a check tomorrow and see how they are doing.


Allergy season started

 Well, nose getting stuffy, sneezing outside, cotton wood seeds starting to appear in the air..

Glad I have PB to go to so I can clear my nose when its really bad.


Non honey bees

 I bought the following non honey bees from Masonbeesforsale.com:

  • orchard mason bees
  • leaf cutter bees
  • something else.

I've been finding any hole filled with mud, including power outlets. I bought a package of the kids proof power caps to keep the bees out of the ground holes.




Diary update

 Its been a mild winder, no snow, no heavy frost, only a few medium frosts. Lots more rain than last year.

The frogs have started their froggy concerts in the last day or two.

Spring is approaching.


Allergies wave 3ish

Well, queen anne's lace season started about 2 weeks ago., but it is not as bad as previous years. I've cut down my allegra meds from 2 to 1 pill a day.
So that is good allergy news for once.


2nd wave of allergies

Allergen update:
  • Cottonwood almost done, thank goodness. 
  • Other things are blooming and my nose is running like a hose and my skin itches. Amazing I have any brains left after sneezing so much.
  • I wish B's coast place was done, i'd go there for a week.