Gardening · Lazer Creek Apiary · Natural Food Sources · Queen Bee · Supplemental Feeding

Cooking with Gas – April Updates

Enough propane to last a while!
Enough propane to last a while!

Today we got a very large propane tank to power our tiny home!   This will be the tank that provides propane to the house eventually, but it’s worth it even now — both for the convenience of having a reliable source of heat and hot water and for the cost savings.   We ran out of propane one of those well-below freezing nights over winter break, and we don’t want to make a habit out of that!   Getting up in the dark and the cold to drive 10 miles to get a tank of propane is not fun.   Well, it wasn’t bad for me as I turned the electric blanket up and waited for hubby to return, but it was no fun for him.

Future workshop site
Future workshop site

We’ve made other great progress this week.   Hubby has leveled the site for the future workshop.   He had to take down some trees and scrape off the top soil to get down to clay, so I now have temporary raised beds made from those trees and the soil for this year’s veggie garden.   I’ve also planted more grass, clover, and wild-flower seed to reduce erosion along the driveway while providing for the bees.   The bees are still very interested in the syrup buckets, so I’m impatient to see some nectar plants start supplying them with what they need.

Temporary raised beds
Temporary raised beds

For some reason, the well filter keeps clogging, and I wonder if the tree clearing across the creek has anything to do with it.   We ended up removing the filter after the third after-dark trip to the well house one night, but now silt clogs the sprinklers so they don’t turn off.   That made for an interesting shower last night — five sprinklers were running and I got to wash shampoo out of my hair with  the left over trickle.    After that, walking across the slick clay to turn off all the faucets in the dark was a challenge, but then I looked up at the beautiful night sky and the challenge turned into a blessing.   It’s been too long since we walked down the driveway after dark.   I love the electric gate opener, but I didn’t realize how much I missed our evening walks to go lock the gate.

The really good news is that most of the bee packages and splits we made are doing well.    Bees moved out of one of the hives that took a long time to release the queen, but the rest have eggs and/or brood in various stages and all of the queens are fat and active.   The hives in the old location are still battling small hive beetles, so we’re trying beetle traps made of Borax and Crisco paste in CD covers for the first time.    We’ll let you know how that goes.   The hives in the new, sunnier location have far fewer problems with beetles so far.

More good news is that I received a job offer for next school year, so I’ll be living at the farm full time after June.   That moved the workshop up the priority list as we’ll need somewhere to put all the tools from the garage, but at least we’ll no longer be moving carpentry projects up and down I-20!   I’m enjoying spring break, so I’m trying very hard to not think about packing up everything else in the house and getting the house on the market.   It’s much less stressful to think about being able to monitor the bees on a more consistent basis.

Blue bells
Blue bells – another childhood favorite of mine.

 

 

 

Lazer Creek Apiary

Come on baby, light my fire.

I know I’m showing my age with my recent music references, but it doesn’t bother me to let people know I’d be retiring next year if I still lived in England!

Bonfire at the future house site
Bonfire at the future house site

We were both so tired last night that we didn’t think to check the propane tanks.   Even the luke-warm air flowing from the vents didn’t clue me in, so we awoke this morning to a chilly camper.   Thank goodness for electric blankets and the electric radiator.    Hubby got up to make coffee and found we also had no water.  Thank goodness for the Brita pitcher in the refrigerator.    Now heat and water are both restored and we’re planning ahead for colder temperatures tonight.   I’m also keeping an eye on temperatures in the city as I may need to go back to make sure pipes don’t freeze at the house, although we have everything well insulated there.  Still, it’s a concern when we’re a few hours away.

Again, I have to concede that hubby was right when it came to spending money on a new furnace.  Not only is this one more efficient, it is quieter than the old one.  Never mind that hubby was correct in his assumption that the electric radiator would be insufficient once winter arrived and the old furnace stopped working Thanksgiving weekend.  That’s also the weekend someone hit my car at Starbucks and the washing machine had a violent-sounding death.   The new furnace is better; the new washing machine is bigger and better; and the repair shop detailed my car inside after repairing the front fender, so the interior of the car looks and smells better than it has in years!   Now that Maggie travels better, maybe it will stay that way — I can deal with clay, but I can do without dog barf in the cup holders!

Cold as it is this morning, both fires still had hot coals, so I was able to get the one by the future house site going again very quickly.   As we’ve been bush-hogging more land, we’ve been adding to the burn pile up here, and even though I doubt it’s raising the temperature much outside, it looks warmer out there.  Still, it’s a good morning to stay inside and get some more grading done.

Hubby is building shelves for the 20 foot shipping container.   We had to take everything out to slide the back shelf in yesterday.  Surprise, surprise — everything that was on the floor except for some wood and the old couch from the camper fits onto the new shelf, with space to spare.   We’ll be able to start moving some things from the house down here now.   Hubby is also going to build a base for the old scissor couch.   While I hope we never have to ride out a tornado in the shipping container, I’d rather have a semi-comfortable seat if we do need to!   That was the main reason for putting the container up here and it does give us peace of mind.   Apparently this part of Georgia had a record number of “weather events” in 2017.

Along with the less pleasant surprises of no heat and no water, we had the pleasant surprise of a visit from our real estate agent, Kent Morris, this morning.   He specializes in land sales and is the best real estate agent we’ve done business with in decades!  We hope we can find someone like him when we sell our house in the city.

2017 is drawing to a close, and it’s been another good year.  True, we haven’t won the lottery or found that elusive gold nugget on the land, but we have our health and we have this land.   Our health is better because we have this land.   Life is good and we’re looking forward to see what 2018 brings.