Sunday, March 30, 2014

MARCHing On...

I haven't seemed to have gotten too much achieved this month and not sure why.  It's not like I've been out and about every day, not even every week.  We did go away for a few days just recently but that is all.  I have had weeks of crankiness so maybe that's why.  It seemed a busy month but I think I've been busy being cranky and that's not productive.  I need, and want, to be more productive...

Our town has markets one Sunday a month and for the last 6 months or so I have been saying that I will have a stall at one.  But I haven't.   What with the honey extraction and jars of honey around the place it seems like a good time to get organised and book a stall.  And I want to...but the jars of honey need proper labels, ones with proper information on them.  And I am too tight to buy any and thought that it would be easy enough to make some myself...I haven't worked it out properly yet and can't sell any honey at the market without labels...I have 5 days to get them sorted.  Daughter and I will also have a table with odds and sods on it so we need to get tables, float, shade, anything else that sellers at markets need, ready.  She will come out here during the week and we will try and get something done about it all.

The gardens need more work and I need to get more seeds in if I want to be eating from them anytime soon.  Chokos are coming along nicely and I may have enough of a decent size to take down to the markets to sell.  Will maybe have some excess capsicum and chillies too so that will be good.

House is a mess, I haven't done anything with it for weeks what with being cranky and all so will need to start a list to try and get that back into some sort of order. 

I want to get the van cleaned out and taken in for a service, this has been on my list for weeks but still hasn't been done.  I really want to get onto that as I'd like to take it up to Lane Poole for a solo overnighter.  I want to do this but...I need to stop being such a SookyLaLa about it.  If I don't hurry up and do it though it will be too wet and cold and then I will use that as an excuse...There are so many things that I want to do, places I want to seems like I am wasting my life away.

We recently heard sad news about a bloke that husband used to work with, he probably wont get to do the things that he and his wife planned and I have had sad news about a friend, the chances of her getting to her next birthday are very slim...How do people handle stuff like that?  And here I am whinging and being cranky for no good reason.  I want to change that.

And today is/was my birthday.   It seems like life is passing me by, some are out doing what I am too scared to do, some wont get the chance now...
I don't think I am depressed, just sad and cranky and to be honest it will more than likely be fixed as soon as I start eating better and moving more...maybe I'll try that, starting tomorrow.  I hope so, I want to do better with a few things before the next one gets here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Feeling Cranky.

Today I am a real ol' CrankyBum.  To be honest I have been for a while now and I'm not really sure why.  I have reasons and some of them are my own doing so of course I'm not going to own up to them ones.  The other ones are because some people are idiots.  Proper idiots that I'd rather not deal with but sometimes have to.   But I shouldn't let their idiotness affect how I feel, that's just dumb.  And some people have other ideas on what a plan should be, what would be a fun thing to in the end no-one does anything...

I have a birthday coming up soon and of the everything that I was going to do since the last one...I have done nought.  I have done nothing of the plans I had for this month, last month, the months before.  And to be honest again, will probably not get next months plans done either.  Even my had for ages birthday plan is now not going to happen and I'm real cranky about that.  I have made a new plan but it depends on husbands plans when he gets home from 8 days away.  On how long he is home for, if he will now have time to fit in my new plan...Maybe I need to sort out a back-up plan...

So why not, why haven't I followed through with anything?  Why make plans if I don't follow through with them?  Dunno.  I don't know why I let things slide, not sure why I don't follow through...It's not like these plans are going to cost a lot of money, it's not like there is too much hard work involved...

One plan was to get fitter.  That has been my plan for years and I still haven't just got on and done it.   I went for a bike ride yesterday...only around the corner, less that a kilometre, and by the time I reached my destination I was huffing and puffing and feeling a bit crook.  I am now the unfittest that I have been in a long while and all because I am too lazy to do something, anything, every day.  The sad thing is if I did get out and do something, anything, then I maybe wouldn't be so damn cranky!!

I planned on getting the van cleaned out and serviced then going up to Lane Poole, just for an overnight stay and a bushwalk.  Nope, I moved the van closer to the shed to make it easier to clean and it's been there now for 2 weeks with grass growing up around it and all the dust and spiders and mess still inside...Went to move it yesterday and the battery is dead!  I haven't been away anywhere, haven't taken the van anywhere, nor even caught the train for a day out in Perth.   All because I am too damn Sooky to go by myself.  Dumb.  Stupid.   And I have no friends to go with...probably because I am so damn cranky all the time!!

I know what I need to do to get out of the CrankyBum stage, know I will feel better all round when I stick to the plan...but for some dumb reason I choose not to. 

Do you ever feel cranky for no good reason?  Tell me what you do to get over it.  And I am open to any and all ideas on how to make a plan and actually stick with it so that some of the crankiness wont occur in the first place.  Thanks.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Husband Found A Calf.

I was at Vinnies on Friday morning when I got a phonecall from the husband.  He wanted to know if there was anything down there that would be suitable to feed a calf.  A calf? says I.  Yes a calf says he.  I tell him to look in the bottom drawer, lefthand side, back corner.  That is where I keep a teat suitable for lambs or calves.  Because that is how prepared I am.  So say I anyway.  In reality I cleaned this drawer out sometime last year and found this teat and ummed and ahhed about keeping it.  We had had it for a few years and hadn't used it in that time but it had been used quite a few years back.  I though that it might be used again some time in the next few years and it was better to keep it *just in case* even if it was never used again.  But I win!  It was needed and used again...

Why did he need something to feed a calf with?  We have cows and sometimes they have unexpected calves but they always feed them themselves.  This calf...Poor little baby calf (ha, I said it!) was found by husband under a tree, by itself but with our cows mooing near it.  It didn't belong to any of our cows.  It belonged...?  Where?  Where was it's mumma. 

Husband was driving home with a super from a neighbours beehive on the back of his ute when he first saw this calf but he had to bring the super home and unload before going back to the calf.  It was a real hot day, he had no idea where the cow was.  He looked around and across the railway line where sometimes cows are but there weren't any there.  So he brought it home, gave it a bottle of milk, with the teat that I had kept!! and put it in a small chookpen.  When I get home daughter T is there with the calf out on the grass.  The poor little thing is weak, can hardly stand but we figure it is less than a week old and maybe weak from no food and the heat.  We go into town to talk with the vet and buy some more full-cream powdered milk.

PhotoThe calf has cloudy eyes and we asked the vet about that but without seeing it he couldn't say if it was bad or not and said to give it a few days to see if it clears.  In the meantime the poor little thing doesn't seem to see too well.  We feed it another bottle of milk but this time with a raw egg in as I had read somewhere that that is good to prevent scours.   Throughout the day we feed it a few more times but it still seems weak and has trouble walking and I wasn't expecting it to still be alive in the morning.  T feeds it around 6PM before she leaves and we bed it down on some hay.  I go in to see if it wants more milk just before I go to bed at 10 but it wont wake up so I leave it in peace.  The next morning I figure I should feed it before I have my coffee and when I go out at 5.30am it is standing up and has moved away from it's hay bed.  It looks good.  During the morning I ring the ranger again and she says that someone has reported a missing calf.  A newborn!  Bleedin' hell, that's not good.   She rings him, he rings me but I miss the call, I ring him but have to leave a message.  I tell him where we are and not too long afterwards 2 guys show up.   They say the mother is old but the baby did get a first feed and she was missing it.  He says the cow and calf were in the paddock across from us over the railway line but there were no cows in that paddock.  We looked.  And looked again. 

They took the calf away, back to it's old mum, Saturday morning.  On Sunday one of the guys comes back here and says that the cloudy eyes is cataracts and the calf is blind.  The mother is old and wont eat so they are supplement feeding the calf.  He doesn't think that the mother will be able to look after the calf.  Did we want to?  Did we want to hand feed this blind calf for 6 months then give it back to them so they could send it off to slaughter?  He says he will give us a week to think about it.  Do we want to do that?  No, no we don't.  I cried.

They had no idea, we have no idea, how this blind newborn calf managed to get away from it's mother, through a fence, up an incline and over a railway line, over a road and through a small mesh fence into our paddock.   But it seems it did.   I have no idea why they wouldn't call in to houses in the area as soon as they noticed the calf missing and the mother cow fretting but it seems they didn't.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March Extraction.

March 2014 and I have had the first proper extraction from hive number 1.  Husband says I need to number them so that when I have lots a few more it will be easier to know what needs doing with which hive.  So, Hive number 1 was extracted.

Here it is amongst the bushes, easier to get to now after I cut them back a bit and cleared the long grass.  It has a bigger bottom box, the Brood Box.  It is where the Queen lives and lays her brood and we will not extract this box.  We have an excluder on this box so the Queen cannot get up into the top boxes and that saves having to keep an eye out for her whenever we remove any frames.

This is me, the empty box is to put the frames from the top-box into.  I will not be able to lift the box off, I will need to transfer frames one at a time into here then wheelbarrow it back to where I will extract.  Husband is home and has agreed to *help* me.

OK, I have puffed smoke around the entrance and over the top and taken the lid off.  I need to use the hive-tool to loosen and lift each frame out.   They are stuck together with honey, the bees are cranky,

 Pull a frame out, give it a good shake to get the bees off...

I managed to do 2 frames, they're heavy and it's hard to shake hard enough to quickly get the bees off and they are cranky... I asked him to take over...Notice he doesn't wear gloves.

This is the next box down, it will need extracting next week but we took it off to check the box of foundation that husband put on last week.

It looks OK, the bees have started *drawing it out* which means they are building it up with wax ready to fill with honey.

 And here it is all put back together.

And nice husband pushes the box of frames filled with honey and the now empty top-box back into the yard for me.  Thanks Hun...Hun, honey... Ha!  I make myself laugh...

I know it looks like there weren't very many bees buzzing around my head trying to get to me but there were heaps more than these...maybe the million others were camera shy...

Then after all the selfies were taken it was back to work.   These frames are old and not very clean looking but underneath the honey is fine.  Husband cuts off the capped wax so the honey can be released from the frames. 

The extractor we have holds 3 frames and is turned manually.  It doesn't take long before the honey is spun from the frames and settles in the bottom of the can.

We can then open the gate/tap and let it drain into the bucket.  I mucked up here though as I forgot to put the strainer and mesh over the bucket so now I have to strain it all into another bucket then back into this one.  I want it back in this bucket because it has a tap at the bottom to make it easier to fill jars.

This is the crate that we scrape the uncappings into.   Later on I will scoop it up and mash it and drain the honey off and add it to the bucket.

I thought I'd be clever and put the uncappings into a mesh bag and spin it to get the honey out.  It kinda worked but not as well as I thought it would.

Husband says that I have around 15 -16 kilos of honey from this one box and next week when I/we/he do the other box we should end up with the same.  I will weigh it up as I put it into jars but I am happy with this.  Next time I/we extract, in 3 -4 weeks time, there will only be  the 1 box to extract but if I get 15 kilo of honey each time it won't be long before I have enough to have a stall at the local Farmers Market.  That will be cool.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

I Extracted. They Attacked.

Stung on the neck by one of my bees.   How rude!  I was kitted out but didn't have my shirt top button done up or the collar pulled up properly.  It got me through the net on my throat area..   Their honey is yummy though so worth a sore and red neck but the comfrey oil seems to have worked on the sting so it's not that bad.   Yep, home-made last week Comfrey oil.  It's all happening here folks.
More soon. 
I now need to get out and extract some older frames that I found in a box in the shed last week.  Not sure where they are from...They had wax moth so I put them in the freezer for a couple of days but they now need to be extracted and cleaned up.