Prepper Diary: A Chilly and Somber Memorial Day

blackberry blossoms and buds.
blackberry blossoms and buds.

Depending on which digital thermometer you believe, it is either 68 degrees or 65.7 in my basement.

So much for the accuracy of digital thermometers.

The old-fashioned analog thermometer agrees with the lower temperature, and my toes are inclined to believe it. As temperatures have plummeted this weekend, with highs in the low 50s and night time temps back into the 30s, I have had to decide it I want to start a fire in the wood stove or just put on another fleece.

I am opting for the latter, but only because sun and warmer temperatures are supposed to lie in our immediate future. We also added another blanket to the bed, and our Memorial Day picnic at the neighbor’s has moved indoors.

Memorial Day

I’d like to remind our readers of the following:

  • Armed Forces Day is when you honor those in uniform.
  • Veterans Day is to honor those who served.
  • Memorial Day is to honor and remember those who gave their life for their country, often on distant shores.

My uncle, grandfather, and great-grandfather all made it home from their wars. My three-or-four times great grandfather who fought in the Civil War got wounded but survived to come home and have six children. Maybe tht makes our family line of the family is lucky. I tend to think those cousins and great uncles who died in battle had no direct descendants and became lost in the stream of history.

The Appalachians have contributed many young men when called upon to protect our country, so it is a solemn holiday here. More so than in parts of the country where I have lived before. There remains a strong a tradition of service here. God bless them and their families.

Building More Bee Equipment

By this time next week, I will have three or four bee hives, which is more than the two I was planning. (How can I not know how many hives I am getting? To make a long story short, I bought one additional nuc, but the local beekeeper had two for sale and I think she may think I want both. I’m prepared to take both if necessary as I want to stay on her good side!)

I have enough equipment for three hives: Two I am buying plus one spare in case my swarm trap catches a swarm. To get ready for the possible fourth hive, I built a new bottom board and another hive cover yesterday. If some nucs do well and need more space than a single ten-frame deep box provides, I have three spares, assuming I cannibalize the swarm trap. If all four have a strong season, I will have to buy, beg or build another deep hive body. I have friends who said they will bring me one, but I don’t think we will see them until September, which may be too late.

I can’t wait to get the bees. We have many flowers blooming, our neighbors have clover, and the blackberries are going from buds to blooms, as seen in the main photo. I expect they will explode into bloom once the weather warms up, which will mean a good nectar flow. This should help the bees draw out plenty of comb.

Chicken Coop Improvements

I was doing the woodworking because the weather was conducive to working in the shop rather than outside. After building the hive parts, I started working on the gate to the chicken run. That required installing the dado on my table saw, which I had never done before. It took a couple tries to get everything just right and to ensure the dado would not hit the throat plate, but it all worked fine in the end. I have all the pieces cut for the gate; now I just need to assemble it. It consumed four pieces of treated 2×4. Given the cost of lumber, it will be an expensive gate!

Earlier in the week, I installed quarter-inch hardware cloth over the windows of the chicken coop and then stapled traditional window screen on the inside. This should keep out critters as well as bugs. After attaching the screen, I covered it with trim to hide the ugly edges. Then I primed the trim. Unfortunately, it got too cold before I could paint it. Also, I am not the neatest of painters. I guess I should have used blue painter’s tape. Now I have to do some red touch up. Sigh.

I also am scheduled to have another load of firewood delivered. It’s going to be a busy week.