I’ve never liked the “am I right” thing tagged on to stuff people say. It’s annoying and I think it should be retired along with “that’s what she said”, “I know, right?”, and the one I find the most annoying of all, “because (something).” We have the gift of words people. Surely you can come up with a “because” that illustrates what it is exactly, you’re trying to say.
Now, on to other business, and when I say slow up there in the title of this post, I mean the type of slow that happens when you’re waiting for time to pass in anticipation of an event. Like eating.
According to researchers, there are various benefits to fasting, and the latest one is that fasting – even for 24 hours – can help your body regenerate intestinal stem cells more quickly than it would otherwise.
Normally – and those of you who took anatomy and physiology may remember this – the cells in your intestines, just like in other parts of your body, but apparently fasting creates some kind of signal to hurry along the process.
So what’s the slow part of all this? Watching that clock, I bet, for most people, to see when that 24 hours of fasting is up so they can go right back to whatever it is they eat.
For me, I’m not going to be fasting any time soon. Not by choice, anyhow. My body gives me enough grief and times when I can’t eat as it is. I don’t need to help it along.
Here’s the first day of my “holiday weekend”. For those of you outside the US, today is Memorial Day here. Some years ago, it would signal the official beginning of summer for us here, and we’d have a giant party and feed a bunch of people. The kids (and some of the adults) would go swimming and everyone else would just be visiting with one another. That hasn’t happened in years now because we had a falling out with one group of relatives, and of course I’ve been sick on and off for over two years.
But here’s my day.
0730 Up, take care of the dogs, check their food and water, check the weather
0800 Breakfast and work
0915 Out to gather grass clippings from the beeyard and septic mound to add to my new compost pile
0945 Break for hydration and “work” work
1015 Out to sow the second round of green bean seed
1040 Break for hydration and work
1310 Break for lunch and work
1520 Wake up from falling asleep in my chair
1540 Feed bees and do inspections
1800 Bring in empty bottles and pulled hive bodies, put away tractor, detach wagon, close up shed, make shake with skyr added, meds
1815 Sit down at desk for feeding and work, empty camera memory card to computer
1825 Actually start feeding after playing with the dogs
1838 ACTUALLY start feeding after taking pictures and video of the dogs
1840 Realize just how much my back hurts now that I’m sitting down
1930 Back outside to bag weeds I turned up earlier today, before Alberto pays us a visit
2100 Back inside, treats for the dogs, refill their food and water
2110 Back to the beeyard to close the hive where I left the top propped open a bit, so there’s no chance of getting rain in there
2120 Make a shake, mix my meds, and taking care of business
2221 Power goes out, right when I’m making a response to a ticket, and Alberto hasn’t even arrived yet. Read on my amazon fire to wait it out
2249 Power comes back. Start the tedious task of booting up my system and then getting all my apps started once more, my screen layout in place, and get back to work
At some point doze off in my chair again
2340 Wake up, get some formula and some kefir, set up for another feed, do some more work
Doze off here and there
0130 Have an itching episode on the left side of my neck. Desperately try to scratch an itch that can’t be scratched; down a slug of benadryl before I wind up drawing blood.
In other news, Alberto may be paying us a visit. Not in person, but from some of his hangers-on, the outer bands and what moisture he draws up from south of his center.
We’re going to get some of it tomorrow, and possibly Monday, as well.
This is why I needed to take care of things I took care of today. Wandering around not doing anything in particular is a recipe for disaster here: you have to focus on what needs to be done (a TON of stuff) and how to prioritize it (take care of the bees before anything). And that’s how it went. It was a VERY productive day at the ranch. Tiring, but worth it.
I have a mound of horse poop (courtesy of a neighbor) in the southeastern area of the property that is heating and composting itself, but I wanted something nearer to the front (north) area gardens, so I started a compost pile there as well. It started off with kitchen scraps, paper, some leaves, downed branches I broke down. But now, it also has the grass clipping I mentioned up above, to get a better mix of green/brown material. This is how it looked after that work yesterday.
How the weeded row where the shelling peas and lettuces were, after getting through another weeding session – I literally worked until dark today, which was almost 9 PM.
How it looked in the dark after I had to stop because it was getting too hard to see, so I had to head in.
Another long, busy day in the books. Until next time, peeps: be well.
Tomatoes. The star of the garden. They can be rather diva-like – the heirloom varieties especially. For four years straight, for instance, I tried to grow Cherokee Purples. I think we got half a dozen fruits off them. While they were tasty, they were too much of a pain, so I set them aside.
This year, I tried to limit the number of varieties. Ha! Just kidding! No, really, I did, picking the ones I thought would be best for eating, canning, making sauces, and so on, a mix of determinate and indeterminate varieties, and a mix of things that would mature from early to late season.
This year’s varieties: paisano, skyway,valley girl, early girl, mortgage lifter, 4th of July, sungold, indigo cherry drop, gladiator, oh happy day, big beef, sweet million, park’s whopper, season starter, legacy, corleone, dixie red.
I transplanted the majority of these in April, and they are doing very well.
I even found the first fruit out there.
And some art, courtesy of Mother Nature.
With the appearance of the first fruit, it is now a race between me and the pests: who will overcome the odds against them and be crowed master gardener? I’m afraid we will have to wait and see how the season progresses.
Still working on editing some videos. it would be nice to be able to devote some serious time to learning the software – I picked up Vegas Pro (thanks to Stacy for that recommendation, via her kids) and we’ll see if that’s a tad more friendly to people who just don’t have the time to get really into the guts of Premiere.
Today: a respite from the rain. It wound up being hot and humid and miserable anyway, because it’s just that time of year for us.
While watching another storm blow up the other day, though, and waiting to see if I could capture some lightning on my camera (alas, no), I met this guy, looking fabulous.
Just one of the may critters that hang out at the ranch now, thanks to years of patient (and not so patient, sometimes) rehabilitation of the property.
The break in the rains allowed me to get a lot of mowing done – a good thing, as some areas were getting pretty hairy. One last section to go: in the beeyard, right up to the hive stands. I got most of yard mowed late, without having to climb into the beesuit to do it, luckily. The last bit will probably take all of ten minutes to complete, but since the vibrations from the tractor will disturb them, better to suit up and be safe.
Tomorrow is also supposed to be clear for much of the day. That will allow me to get more cuke seed in and – as ever – do more weeding. I really need to find a way to mulch or weedblock for things like carrots and lettuce to cut down even further on the overall amount of weeding that has to be done. I’m sure it will come to me when I least expect it.
So there’s this weed called chamberbitter. It’s also known as mimosa weed, and if you’ve ever had to deal with a mimosa tree spinning off its seeds and creating clones of itself everywhere, invading the land, you’ll know why.
This particular weed is extremely hard to control, and has a multitude of seeds under each leaf. This weed, like many in the gardens here, arrived courtesy of manure: cows eat them as they’re grazing, poop the seeds out, and then that manure gets hauled off somewhere. And they are legion.
All that stuff down the middle is mimosa weed. Its seeds germinate when the soil temp hits 70F, and for us that came pretty quickly this season. Since I was sick for most of the first part of the month, they gained a foothold here where the shelling peas were down the lines marked with the posts.
That rain also means the soil is wet and heavy. Between that and the weed’s solid rooting, it’s a tedious and sweaty task to get them out.
This is the result of two 25-minute sessions.
It’s humid and hot here, and some things, like ridding this bed of mimosa weed, seem to take forever. I was going to put the cukes here now that I pulled the spent shelling peas, but I realized there was simply too much work to be done through this row before I could put anything else in it. The first of the cuke seed – 30 seeds each of two varieties – went into another row before the rains came. I still have four more varieties to get sown, and if I can get work stuff done at the NOC in a reasonable time, I might be able to get them in tomorrow before the rains come again.
Apropos of nothing, there’s this show on TLC called “Our Wild Life” about a woman and her family in North Carolina who apparently adopt animals. Not just pets, but farm animals like sheep and llamas, birds, lemurs, baby kangaroos, miniature donkeys, tiny pigs, and so on. There are a lot of animals wandering around inside the house, and my first thought when seeing that was about just how much poop is scattered about the place. For some reason, they’re showing some extended clip of their bible study with all the animals wandering around, and that’s the end of the line for me. Not terribly interested in that
The early season harvests are all about green stuff, with a splash of yellow: lettuce, kale, asparagus, chard, peas, zucchini, squash…..and green beans.
Like squashes, green beans are amazingly prolific. Unlike squashes, they’re much easier to store. We generally just wash and dry them, then throw them as is into the freezer. I have a commercial style freezer, so it doesn’t take long for small things like beans to freeze decently, and practically takes no time at all for even smaller things like peas.
This means when the green beans start coming in, we don’t have to gorge ourselves – well, fam and friends don’t. We can preserve the harvest in this case via simple freezing. We could pressure can them, but we have a simpler route in this case, saving space in the cold room, but more importantly, saving time.
I had predicted early last week that we’d start getting the initial beans to sample this past weekend. I was right about that.
This variety is called Provider. it’s fast, extremely productive, sturdy, and produces beans on two nodes. It also has some of the prettiest flowers.
Now that this planting is beginning to produce beans, I’ll be setting out another round. Succession planting will allow us to continuously have fresh beans from now until the end of the year, as well as allow us to put a ton of them in the freezer (and possibly sell the excess). After the first two full picks, I’ll pull the plants and throw them on the compost pile, as generally at that point the bugs have figured out the plants are there. By that time, the new round of beans I’ve sown in another area will be producing. At that time, I may put in another round – it depends on how much we can sell and can/want to freeze.
So, I am steeling myself for the harvest. As you can see behind this mature bean, there are tons of young ones getting into gear.
Not enough to create any major issues or flood any part of the property. Enough to give all the plants what they need. And just enough to make it a pain in the ass to do anything in the gardens. There are many things that need to be done – as there always are – but Mother Nature was apparently sending me a message. Got it.
Since the outside world could wait until tomorrow – where would it go, really? – I spent the day doing work work and reading. I read two today: another in the Cork O’Connor series by William Kent Krueger, and the first of another series by Inger Wolf, a Danish author.
Those of you who read the olde blogge know that I had also been reading the Alex McKnight books by Steve Hamilton as well, switching between those and the Cork O’Connor books. I finished the last (for right now) of the McKnight series last night. He has another coming out in a few months. Overall, I’d say the books are worth reading, although there are some uneven notes in the series – that is, some strain credulity a bit too far. One of the books was just silly and not very good, but I did finish it, as I finished all the rest. On average, on a scale of five, I’d rate the series at about a 3.5. The McKnight character is just sometimes a little too stupid for someone who was previously a cop (in Detroit) for eight years. The supporting characters and the setting are all well drawn, and except for the really unbelievable plot in one of the books, are generally grounded and not complete idiots.
The Cork O’Connor books are good, with several I’d give a five star rating. There are a few instances where the stories get iffy, but on the whole, Cork isn’t an idiot blundering his way through whatever circumstances the stories contain. The next one on my Fire is number eleven, Northwest Angle, and based on the description hearkens back to events in a previous book. As I’ve not yet started it, I don’t know that for certain, but if it is, it should be interesting.
The other book I read today is Dark September by Inger Wolf. The start is good: a dead woman, in the woods, naked and spreadeagled, with a bouquet of hemlock on her chest. The main character is Daniel Trokic(s) (TRO-kitch), a Croatian-Danish homicide investigator. The description on Amazon gives an s to his last name, but in the book, there isn’t one. The formatting for the ebook is good except for transitions. There are many where the first sentence of a new paragraph is jammed up against the last line of the previous one, and there is no indentation. This made some sections of the book confusing. None of the characters are really fully formed, in my opinion, and the Lisa character – joining homicide after working in cybercrime (pedophiles, child sexual abuse) – seems a tad hysterical toward the end. There is also a good dose of saidisms at the end, with “shouted”, “spat”, etc. Tip for authors: if you put an exclamation point at the end of something, that’s a pretty good indicator that the character is shouting. You don’t have to tell us, and you especially don’t need to have them say something else and tag that with another saidism (like spat).
The story itself is not very engaging. It read like someone was talking it out – that is, reading it was like listening to someone saying, “This happened, then this happened, then that…” and so on. The author also tosses music group names into the mix, but does not describe some of them, so it is not apparent what kind of music Trokic actually likes unless you know those groups or feel like looking them up. The ending was rather abrupt, and (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) there is no way the main character would be out, working, with what would probably be a grade four concussion, after getting banged in the head badly enough to need stitches. He also tends to be the cliched one man show kind of guy, going off to do things without informing his team about what he’s doing or where he’s going. He also tends to turn off his cell phone, which is just not believable for someone in charge of a team investigating not one, not two, but three murders. Although the series is tagged with Trokic’s name, I’d say only about half of the chapters are following him around. The others have Lisa as the main viewpoint character.
On a scale of five, I’d give this one a two. My default rating when I’m doing reviews is a one, just for writing the thing. If the writing isn’t truly atrocious, I’ll give another. If the story holds together enough, that garners a higher rating. This one book, I’ll rate at a 2.5. The story is there, and it does pin together somewhat even when people are doing stupid things. The next book in the series (for English markets, I believe) is Frost and Ashes. I say this because the description of the book says it’s book three, but the title and tag say two. Whatever the case, the three books that are available in the series from Amazon are on Kindle Unlimited, so the only investment I’ll be making is the time to read them. We shall see if book two holds together enough to go to book three.
For now, though, it’s back to Cork. Until next time, peeps: be well.
My apologies, dear readers, for the unplanned hiatus. Those of you who are aware of my chronic aspiration-induced pneumonia issues will be happy to know that the latest round of grue was not pneumonia. It was, however, a gigantic sinus infection so bad that it made me want to chop my head off. I wound up in the ER last week for fluids, since I spent one day with everything coming out one end and the next with dry heaves virtually all day (that was the day of the ER visit). Why sinus? Probably coughed something up in there that didn’t come out. Thankfully, that’s over, my head is intact, and I’m back to the things I need to do. Well, almost there. The strength is coming back slowly. I also lost four pounds over the course of two days, so I’m working on that, too, although the food intake is just making me nauseated all the time – an incredibly unpleasant sensation. Pain you can usually work through or around. Nausea is just different. For me, anyhow.
On to better things!
I got my new packages of bees Friday a week ago. Unfortunately, my camera battery croaked after my sister and I were already out there, and since I was in the end throes of the crap I had, there was no way I was going to go get the other one. So, no video of the installs this year. I did take video of several days after that, though, and I’ll be editing those – time to really learn Adobe Premiere instead of screwing around, I guess – to put up on the Lazy Dogs Ranch channel on YouTube.
We had some challenges with the package installs. The shipper is no longer putting a feed can in the package, but just throwing some marshmallows in. The bees don’t seem to really care one way or the other about sugar products, so I understand this is an effective, cheap method of dealing with the feed can issues. However, when pouring the bees into the hives, the marshmallows also go in, which means reaching in and fishing them all out (ditto for pine needles, etc., that win up in them). That was annoying.
We also had big issues with drifting. For those of you unfamiliar with this, it means when bees drift from their own hive to another one that is close to it. Usually, this sort of thing happens if you’re making splits and don’t move the split hive a bit away from the original. For the package installs, since the bees weren’t really imprinted on their caged queens yet, it meant some hives wound up with a ton of bees in them, while some wound up with half or less of their package. I worked on this the Saturday after the install, moving frames and just taking handfuls of bees from one hive to another. It seems to have worked out all right.
One package obviously had a queen in it, though: the bees killed the caged queen and swarmed away before I even got into the yard on Saturday. So I had an empty box and a dead queen.
They were insured, so the shipper is going to send me a replacement. I’ve also asked for a package without a queen, to bulk up the hive that suffered the most drift.
Meanwhile in the beeyard, the monster hive #8 is still performing well. After the last split I did, it had three deeps and one super on.
I peeked in, and they were ready for another super.
I grabbed another super and popped it on to give them some room. I’m going to have to do a deep inspection at some point.
For now, though, I’m letting them do their thing.
That’s all for now, as I need to deal with the nausea here. Until next time, peeps: be well.
There are times when I go out to the beeyard just to watch the activity at the hives. The girls zipping in and out, guards on the landing boards (along with drones, hanging out, drinking honey and talking up the girls), the occasional midair collision that harms no one, the (at times) clumsy landings and then crawling over other bees….it’s all a day in the life in the yard. The bees I see foraging today will be dead by next month, having worked themselves to death, and will be replaced by newly graduated foragers, heading out into the world to find its bounty and return it to the hive for the benefit of all. Have I mentioned I’m a writer?
I captured this with the new camera (a Canon Powershot SX730 HS as my pocket camera to replace my Fuji FinePix, which is good, but very old). I stuck it on a tripod in front of the mega hive (#8) while I went and had a look at the second split from that hive (#11). It’s very relaxing – so much so that the other night I almost fell asleep watching it. I should keep that in mind the next time the insomnia is really bad. (Of course, it could also be because I was sick, on meds, and had been doing some things outside that absolutely had to be done when I should have been resting. Who knows?)