Lining up the help

Since I’m partially incapacitated, thanks to whatever the hell I did to my back, I had to turn on the bat signal to get some labor for the ranch. My sister is coming over Friday to haul dirt around to the places I need it to fill in the frames I reconfigured so I can then curse my way through getting the driplines rerun for watering. My brother is coming up for the weekend, so he gets the job of reworking the stone ring around the pine tree in the driveway, which then will need to be filled with soil, which then will need to be seeded with some drought-tolerant flowers.

Speaking of flowers, I’ve decided we’ll have two hives out in the orchard, and one up at the front of the property where we have more fruit trees and of course the front garden. I’m hoping for some good pollination on both gardens, but really need to get out and put down flower seed in various places so it will be up and going by the time the bees arrive in mid-May.

Speaking of bees, I read a lot of news about bees, and there are always a couple of stories (at least) per week about a city/township working up ordinances about keeping bees. What’s amusing – and sad – about this from time to time are the people opposed to any beekeeping in their neighborhoods, citing the possibility of someone who is allergic to bees getting stung. It really makes me wonder just how much these people have thought things through (answer: not much). Hived bees are concerned about gathering what they need to live and protecting their hive. As long as you’re not pounding on the hive with a hammer, they’re very unlikely to do anything to you, preferring to be industrious and go about their business, which does not involve us all that much. I know this probably deals a blow to the human ego, but it’s quite true. Second, how exactly would you know you were stung by a bee from a particular hive and not a feral bee who may be protecting a home you’ve just stumbled into? Time after time in these articles, the point is made that in places where beekeeping is not expressly forbidden (and thus people are already doing it) there are really no complaints related to the safety of having the bees. Complaints raised by jackhole neighbors, however, who simply latch on to this as something to complain about, are a different story, and one article had an officer say the complaint they received was a “neighbor issue” not a “bee issue”.

Fortunately for us, these issues won’t be issues here. There are ordinances in place here, and based on those, we could theoretically have a ton of hives on the property. We also are unlikely to have any “neighbor issues” since the hives will be well away from the property lines, the neighbors to our immediate east are never home, and the rednecks have already been told we’re getting them – and of course, there are those sections of 6′ fence now between us and them, with more to come.

Can’t wait. Can’t wait. We’ll be filming the hiving of the bees when they get here, of course, if I can convince someone to put on a bee suit and do it.

Changing of the guard

Not the guard dog(s), no, even though they’re not much in the way of guarding anything. It’s typical for me to hear something outside before they do – but then again, it’s typical for me to hear something before anyone, so that isn’t terribly surprising.

The temp is changing. Fast. It was 80 here today, and with the possible exception of the horseshit aroma wafting in from the south since one of the redneck neighbors got a horse after a blissful year or so of not having one, an absolutely beautiful day. It would be perfect for weeding out the remnants of crap from some beds and starting the coolish weather seeds (peas, spinach) if it were not for my back still giving me fits. And here is my rant about my (GP) doctor’s office: I had blood work done and some xrays done, and I have no idea what any of them say. They haven’t called, and trying to call them results in a busy signal or the leaving of a message that is not returned. I’d like to think that means there’s nothing earth-shattering in the results, but I’d still like to know. It won’t change my less than patient attitude about my own health, but it would remove something form the todo list. Anyone who has seen my todo lists knows just how important that is.

In other news, I watched the latest Doomsday Preppers, and two of the three people they profiled just seem insane. One guy keeping his kids out of school to teach them how to interpret bird calls and drink from moss (his disappointment about one of his sons not sharing his enthusiasm for the end of the world is palpable) and one woman who has no life (she even admitted this) because she’s convinced the government is going to declare martial law any day now. Obviously, I didn’t expect the people they were likely to showcase to be too many steps about the conspiracy theory level, but living in constant dread of martial law, here? Please.

It was a dark and stormy night

And a grey, chilly, rainy day. A break in our streak of springlike weather around here, but this too shall pass. In a few days we’ll have 80 degree temps with showers here and there – perfect time to go start seeding the areas I’ve set aside as forage areas for the bees. By the time they arrive and are ready to get to work, those areas should be in full bloom. I also need to continue my quest to get all the frames ready to go, so we (I) can start planting in a couple of weeks. I may need some farm labor help for that, since my back is still(!) twinging me. Guess it really was pretty bad, whatever I did, although all I was doing at the time was shoveling, something I’ve done a ton of around here. Funny the way things work.

Cute overload

The bulk of my day has been spent sitting with my laptop, working away, watching various shows on Animal Planet involving cute baby animals. Not a terrible way to spend the day, even with the occasional interruption from someone who wants to know why a brand spanking new domain isn’t visible everywhere on the web, or someone who wants to know why we’re still charging her for a hosting account (that’s still active on the servers) instead of magically knowing that she allowed her domain to lapse so it’s no longer visible. Yes, lady, we always know which of the bazillion domains in the network are active or not at any given moment.

More enforced idleness

This weekend’s plan: nothing out in the garden that involves lifting, pulling, or otherwise working the muscles in my back. That essentially means wandering around making mental notes of all the things that still need to be done and what will be going where. And lots and lots of work on the “real” business.

The flats are going strong, except one group of tomatoes that look a little scraggly. I’m not sure if they’re just ugly duckling tomatoes or if there’s something wrong with them, but either way it won’t be a big deal: there are others to replace them.

Now if my back would just finish doing whatever it needs to do for me to get going on the todo list, which grows by the day…

How was your day, dear?

To sum it all up: crappy.

This morning I headed to the doctor for an appointment scheduled to talk about the near-constant fatigue I’ve been feeling lately. I’m sleeping a lot more than I usually do, too – usually, it’s 4-5 hours, but lately it’s been 8-9. Those who know me know these things are highly abnormal.

It turned into a discussion of that and discussion about my back, which is not getting better as quickly as I want it to.

And all of that discussion turned into multiple blood workups (five vials worth), a trip to have a couple of xrays (which involved a rather excruciating flat xray plus two painful positioned xrays), and a trip to pick up the prescriptions he’d called in for me (one of which, being an opiate derivative, is making me sick as a dog).

To top all of that off, we had an issue with one of the servers today, but got it back on track and things were fine. Until someone at the NOC decided to run a particular operation on a mounted (active) filesystem, completely ignoring the giant warning that tells you running this on a mounted ¬†filesystem can cause irreparable damage. Sure enough, that’s exactly what it did, hosing the server and requiring a trip to the NOC to grab the backups so we could restore those sites to another server and start rebuilding the now dead, unbootable server.

As long as I was there, I was going to set up a new server for someone, rebuild the torpedoed server, and set up one for someone else who wants a larger server. Oh, and add another KVM unit so we can connect via console to even more servers remotely. None of that happened, as my stomach had emptied by then and the drugs were making me ill. Fortunately, one of my peeps was able to finish the restores I had started so I could pack up and get out of there.

And now, here I am, having some milk to get something in my stomach while checking on things so I can grab some sleep.

Hope your days were better than this.

Houston, we have fencing

OK, we’re not in Houston, and it isn’t the full 400′ of fencing along the common boundary between our property and redneck neighbor’s, but the fence is up in the two most vital areas right now: at the far southern back end of the property where he removed his fence, and a section nearer to the cultivated area where his kids and our other neighbor’s kids have tromped down the wire fencing. We’ll work on clearing out the remaining 200′ between the two sections, which includes taking down a massive pine tree that looks to be about 75′ tall (hello, tree service!), as we go along so we can get the guys back and have them construct the remainder of the fence. I walked around quite a bit through the wild part of the property – where most of the fence was being built – with my nephew and did a lot of squatting to talk to him and point things out in the process, and this has turned into a huge mistake on my part: my back is seizing up in an even more painful way than it did the first morning after the original strain, and it’s making for a very uncomfortable evening here, even sitting in my recliner. But, dinner is good – almond crusted, lightly fried chicken tenders, and loaded potato au gratin. Plus a pain pill and a muscle relaxer to try to help my back, neither of which seems to be doing any good but which will hopefully kick in at some point for a little relief.