No Blizzard for us! More Time for Chores

Bees bringing in pollen
Two honeybees are bringing pale yellow pollen into the upper entrance of their hive. They are using this entrance because the cluster is in the top hive body and its faster.

The blizzard and winter weather that is hitting much of the West and Northern sections of the country was kind enough to miss us. That meant more time for doing some shooting, which I wrote about a couple days ago, splitting firewood, and feeding the bees.

I had been planning to do a deep hive inspection, but it was cloudy and the weather was cooler than I would like.  I decided not to open the hive and disturb the cluster of bees, so I settled for feeding them again. All the hives had consumed their feed from a week prior, which means I may want to consider more frequent feedings. Happily, I saw several bees carrying light yellow pollen into the hive. I do not know where it was coming from. Must be something in bloom nearby. In any case, from my cursory inspection, I believe all is well in bee land.

Some Lingering Aftereffects

Although I have largely recovered from the brief illness I experienced two weeks ago, I am still congested and I find myself sleeping more than usual. I think my body continues to fight off the lingering effects of whatever that was (maybe RSV?), so I am continuing to take Vitamin C.

My wife caught the same bug right about the time I was feeling better. She’s beyond the worst of it, but it has been no fun for either of us and she had to cancel a few activities. This weekend should allow us both to rest up.

Flat Tires

A seriously flat tire
Ah, the joys of leaving equipment unattended for more than six months.

Our most recent firewood delivery had so many large logs I decided to put away the axe and roll out the gasoline powered 27-ton splitter my neighbor seems satisfied with leaving with me on an extended loan. Only problem was, it wouldn’t roll. One tire was so flat it had come away from the rim.

The tire uses an inner tube, so I pumped it up, but before I could roll three feet, the tire was flat again. I could hear the air leaking out, so that inner tube must have had a serious hole in it. After removing the tire, I headed to the workshop to make some repairs.

I was able to get the old tube out and the new tube in, but putting the tire back on the rim was a royal hassle. It was made tougher by the cool temperatures, so I left the wheel inside next to the wood stove to warm up. By the next morning, the heat not only got rid of the flat spot, but made the tire more pliable. Those 8-inch ties are tough! I remember it being much easier to reseat a bicycle tire when I had to change inner tubes on a bicycle in my teen years.

Hey, are you stockpiling inner tubes and spare tires for yrou equipment?

Splitting Firewood

Finally, I hitched the splitter to my truck and backed it into position up the driveway. Doing so proved the value of the truck’s backup camera. That was the first thing I had towed that was so small I could not see it in my rearview or side mirrors.

Some logs were so large I split them into three or four chunks for the upstairs fireplace. Besides making them more easy for my wife to handle, smaller pieces dry faster. I also separated out a dozen pieces of seasoned locust and brought them indoors for the wood stove. Everything else got stacked on the woodpile.

Wood Splitter
In the end, Pete got the machine up and running.

We had a couple days where we didn’t use either wood burner. One night, I burned six logs and then let it go out. That was enough to raise the temperature in the basement seven degrees.

Firewood and Nuclear Winter

I still have a desire to keep buying firewood, stacking it higher and deeper than last year. This is wood I will be burning next year, so there is no difference if I buy more wood in February or March, but some instinct is pushing me to stock up now, much like a squirrel before a long winter. I can’t help but think it is the threat of nuclear war or global collapse. Every cord I have delivered now while we are all systems go is one I don’t have to cut and haul myself.

As I’ve said before, having firewood is like having money in the bank. Only my firewood won’t be affected by a bank run.