Hardening

I picked up a nuc of honey bees a month ago.  (A nuc is short hand for a new colony of honey bees, ie, nucleus) .

In talking with the owner about overwintering  bees,  he told me something very interesting.  He manages several hundred hives, has been doing  this for 40 plus years, is constantly experimenting, talking with other bee keepers, etc, etc. so when he’s talking, I am  listening.

Of all of the colonies, the hardiest and most robust bees come spring  he’s noticed this year were the ones  in a more open area (vs. enclosed/ really sheltered yards).

His comment reminded me of something my father used to say about raising cattle.   “The healthiest cattle are those with minimal shelter. The cattle in the sheds, tend to get pneumonia.”

Photo compliments of Google

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I think this process is constantly happening, not just in nature, but in our personal lives as well.

What do you think?

 

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I want you to be thinking…

I want you to be thinking how you would answer the question, “What is your most prized  physical possession, and why?  The answer to that question, may change over the course of our lives, so there is that.

Not right this second.  I am going to write  a post  and answer  that question myself in a couple of days.

Would love to hear your response.

Are you game?

(And finally, if you absolutely can’t limit your answer to one thing, I’ll let you have two).

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This morning

Saw this photo come across my Facebook feed this morning.

Welcome to my world.

Photo by Abeling photography

I drive by that grain elevator almost daily.  DM

 

 

 

 

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The question is…

Decided to scrap my other attempts at  “What have I learned the past several weeks” and come at it from a different angle.  🙂

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This is all farm related stuff I’ve learned as a direct result of the current situation.

(The farm related markets have collapsed, so pork prices to the farmer have collapsed…which prompted us to get back into feeding pigs short term.)

#1  I learned yesterday, my electric fence in the pig yard really works.

Yea.

Yep, it got my attention.

As I was stepping over the hog panel (to check and make sure their waterer was working),  the panel touched the “hot wire.”   Ever done that?  Ever come in contact with an electric fence?

It felt like someone smacked me on the back of the neck with a 2 by 4.

Hard.

(Maybe someone with an electrical background can tell me how that all works?  Why did I feel felt it in the base of my skull?

I’m guessing it has something to do with the electrical current traveling up my spine?  😦

The fencer is a good one.  It is rated to  handle 50 miles of fence, and I’m only asking it to guard 200 feet.

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Also related to the current situation…

#2 I had to fire up the walk in cooler…

I learned our walk-in cooler, (that we use for apples),  really comes in handy for hanging meat.

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#3 I’m still learning that not everyone winds up unemployed during a world wide crisis.  My work schedule continues to fill.

Some people still have money to spend.

As of this morning, I am booked  well into July.   There is no danger of a  corporate suit, in another state, pulling the plug on my job, and for that I am uber thankful!

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#4  I learned the little wild creatures that live on my property, love morel mushrooms as much as we do.  And you know what, I’m OK with that.   I’ve learned not to leave a small mushroom in the ground, with the intention of coming back later to see if it will keep growing.

It doesn’t work that way.

It won’t be there later.

Take Care! DM

 

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“What have you learned over the past few months?

I apologize in advance if that question bugs you just a little.  😉

But I am genuinely curious, and after it seems most of you have weighed in, I too will give that question a whirl.

Thank you in advance! DM

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The Good Gift

This will be short.

Picture of our property in 1921.

The young girl in the middle surrounded by chickens was the previous owner before we bought it.  Her name was Cecelia.   She never got married.  She loved cats.  Had over 70 of them we’ve been told.  6 house cats and the rest lived outdoors. That woman  in the background hunched over was her mother.  Just two years before, she buried two daughters and a son-in law, all in their early 20’s.  All three  died from the Pandemic/ Spanish flu that swept through the world in 1918/1919.

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The past two days we have been butchering. (Hogs)

I’m still not done.

Talk about a learning curve.

Any of you out there in WordPress land ever been around it? (butchering.)  I want to know more.

Talk about Realville.

That is one of the biggest gifts for me  growing up on a farm.  We were exposed to life in all of it’s raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized, gritty, sometimes bloody, beauty.

Nobody made a big deal out of it.  It just happened.

Life and death both come knocking when you live on a farm. You learn pretty quickly sometimes you just have to put your chore boots on and get at it.   I have had plenty of that the past 36 hours.

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I have action photos from what we’ve done so far.  If you’re interested, leave me a comment and I would be glad to share them with you via e-mail.

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 “It’s a whole lot easier to get breakfast from a chicken than a pig.”  

 

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Beast Mode

I mentioned in the previous post, the bottom has dropped out of the cattle and hog market nation wide (due to (COVID-19).  Multiple packing plants are closed and farmers who have hogs ready for market are selling them for pennies on the dollar. (No one knows when the plants will reopen, and you can’t just keep dumping feed into market weight hogs, because they will just keep growing….watch the following and you’ll see what I mean:

Wife and I decided we would look into getting a 1/4 of a hog  to take to the locker. I sent out a message to 20 people I knew locally on FB  if anyone else would be interested in part of a pig?   Within a couple of hours, 12 families said “Sign us up for a 1/4”.

Two families said they would be  interested in  1/2 of a hog.   When I called to set up an appointment with a local locker, I discovered the earliest I could get in was  mid August.

Which got me to thinking about a plan B.

Plan B:  Butchering the hog(s) ourselves with the help of a guy I know who does this on the side.

Plan B is now in effect. 🙂

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5:15 AM Saturday morning I took off  on a 360 mile round trip to  central Illinois to pick up a used commercial meat saw.  I came across the saw on Face Book marketplace.  Have you ever used it?

The homeowner (Gary)  told me the saw was in his basement. He said it was “pretty heavy.”

I asked Gary if there would be anyone on his end to help me get it loaded. Gary said his son-in-law would be available Saturday morning. When I got there, Gary let it slip that the saw had come with the house when he’d moved in 10 years ago.

I can tell you why.   The thing is a beast.

Conservatively it has to weigh  400 pounds.

As Gary, his son-in-law, and myself were  strapping the saw to the moving dolly, I looked at the width of the door we had to go through. It didn’t look wide enough.

Sure enough,  it wasn’t.  The saw was 30.5 inches wide and the door opening was 30 inches exactly.

Commercial meat saw very similar to the one I bought.  Photo compliment of Google

I realized right then and there, nobody was going to bale me out.  Ever have that experience?   Looking @ the saw more closely, I could see the sliding table might be able to be unbolted.

Ten minutes later we had off.

Time to shift gears into beast mode.

I  looked at the son in law  and asked,” Which end do you prefer? Do you want to be on front or on the dangerous end?”

He chose the latter.

(In my mind, I thought, if we get half way up the steps and this thing gets away from me, he is going to get hurt.)

We started up the steps…

BAM.

The first step snapped in half.

Whoops.

(I told you this thing was heavy)

We decided to try it again.

Ever so slowly we climbed the steps.

Minute later, we were up on top, and out the door.  I wheeled it over to the back of my pickup, I said I needed to take a break.  Five minutes later, I had the saw in the truck.

I gave the son-in-law a $20 bill and said I could not have done it without him.

He was happy.

I was happy.

FYI, toilet paper is not the only thing in short supply.  Discovered this morning, so are chest freezers.

To be continued…

 

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