The damn tractor

We have been trying to get the tractor fixed for over a year. It isn’t our tractor. It’s a friends tractor. The deal is that if we can get it running we can use it to plow.  We replaced the battery, some of the connectors and the fuel hose. Hallelujah it was running!!  Problem is…  We can’t get it to plow. The metal connectors hooking the tractor to the plow keep breaking. We think we may finally have it fixed (which I sincerely hope we do) because we really need to get these fields plowed. We have about 2/3 of the first field finished.  

 Now to get the rest of it done    

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Bees!!

So many updates need to be made, not so much for the house but LOTS for the farm.  Our beehive survived the winter spectacularly well. We have a very strong hive. Now we need to make sure it doesn’t swarm. Talking about swarms, we are looking to increase our hives to 4 this year. We would prefer to find swarms so we have been on the lookout.  

Today was a crazy day. On top of my son having therapy for a large chunk of the day, and ukulele lessons, we also had plans to get the 3 garden plots plowed with the tractor we just fixed (which will be a later post), and also had our first date night EVER planned and half payed for. We were going to see a movie screening my friend was hosting and going to dinner afterwards. We even had a sitter scheduled. 

But as always life happens. 

As we were coming down our driveway, we noticed a large moving growth on one of the trees. We moved closer and realized it was a honey bee swarm!!  We turned around, went back up our driveway, got a bucket, drilled holes in it, grabbed the bee suit, and headed back down the driveway. Thirty minutes later, and about 5 tries, and we had what we hoped was a swarm with the queen in our bucket.

  

The problem?  We have no spare hive. Off we went to the bee store 30 minutes away to buy a new hive (just the brood box with frames and a top and bottom), and a feeder to help coax them to stay in the hive. After spending $125 we really didn’t have we had a bunch of wood to put together, that hopefully by the end of the evening would be a hive.  
This is us putting it together:

   
 We had to forgo not only my sons ukulele lessons but also our date night. The one I had been planning for two months. I was very dissapointed, and I cried a little, but in the end we will hopefully have a new hive. 

The bees seem to be taking to their new hive  very well. We will know in about 3 weeks if they approve and stay. 

Meanwhile we learned an important lesson. We need to invest in a second bee suit, after taking 4 bee stings to the face. 

  

I just need to school sometimes…

I’ve decided to write a research paper. I know what you are thinking.. “But you aren’t in school. Why on earth would you spend the time and energy writing a research paper if you aren’t using it for a grade or a degree”. Here is your answer: to learn. 

The Internet is a funny thing. It somehow allows the user to believe they have some sort of inate knowledge that other seem to be lacking, and we are encouraged to spout that knowledge as if it’s our own thoughts and ideas. I don’t want to say there is something wrong with this because I think to an extent there isn’t. People are educating themselves on contemporary issues, which is a good thing. I think the problem comes when we rely solely on the fleeting memes and articles we come accross on social media without figuring out how true they are. I don’t want to be “that guy”.  I want to be sure of what I am talking about with real resources to back it. I know I don’t understand economics as well as people who have studied it in school, but I think I can grasp some of the concepts pretty well. Who knows, after getting my masters in biology I may go back and get one in economics too. 

Here’s why I’m doing this:  I strongly believe raising the minimum wage will help this country. I know many people who disagree with me. I want to really delve into the numbers, look at arguments made by the opposing side, and figure out if I want to maintain my current opinion. Basically I’m looking at economics from a scientific eye.  I think it’s appropriate to do this because really all we can do is draw a hypothesis on what we think will happen based on historical fact and past observation, much like you would do in a science paper. Nobody knows what will happen until it actually does, but I think we can make a pretty accurate prediction. I’m sure you will hear about it as I work on it. 

Plumbing is done (for now)

  We have completed the plumbing that will go beneath the concrete floors. The next step is using the excavator to finish leveling out the ground so that we don’t have to buy as much gravel. We still plan on getting 2 truckloads, but if we do it as it is right now part of the ground is above the concrete forms and will have no gravel and some needs a foot and a half of gravel. We just need to level it out. We ordered the excavator, now we just have to wait for it to arrive. Once it does we can order the gravel. I’m a tad bit excited.  

        
     

So much progress. 

We worked for 4 days straight over the Easter holiday and C’s days off. We finished laying the drainage pipe, started on the water lines, and finished the curved part of the concrete forms. We still have to finish the water lines, put in the conduit, and level out the ground a bit more with an excavator. Then we can finish the straight parts of the concrete forms and lay the gravel. We feel so accomplished. We did have to move the projected concrete date to the end of April, but those things happen, thanks to the weather. We are still on target though. It looks so much more real now, especially since every part of my body hurts from moving dirt and tracking through mudholes. Here is what we have so far (notice the wheelbarrow for prospective…)