Honey ahoy!

This week was amazing! Some things got done that really needed it and it was a banner week. I was able to arrange for the septic tank to be pumped at the same time as the safe cracker came out to break into our old Victor safe. We wanted to use the safe but needed the combination to do it. The septic tank truck arrived first and after I briefed him on the plan to go into the barn lot and across the spring the safecracker showed up. I had him go in and start in on the safe. He had to wade through the alpaca mob to get to the gate. They were in rare form and all bum rushed him as he got out of the car. I got the septic truck into the barn lot and once he saw the spring crossing he said nope, he thought he had enough hose to pump it from the front gate. So we went back out and he he backed up to the gate and started hauling hose. It took four sections of hose to reach the septic tank and you could see the outline of the tank in the dead grass. He started digging and was right over the lid, as soon as he pulled the lid I realized we were lucky! We most likely could not have made it to the end of the year without having problems or destroying our drainage field. When the main drain pipe was replaced, just before we arrived the plumber took it all the way to the septic tank! This was very nice. It is a 1000 gallon concrete tank and he got it all pumped out and then I sent him down to my mother-in-law’s to pump her tank, we think it had never been pumped but were not sure. It was worse than ours but again, it had not caused problems or ran out into the drainage field.

I had to go in the house for the big reveal after the safecracker got the safe open. It was empty except for a 1974 penny. So obviously the safe had been open until then. The safe guy not only opened the safe but he serviced the lock and ended up sanding a couple of edges of the door to get it work correctly. The door had sagged a little. The tolerances are so close that he did not have to remove much. I then had to prove that I could open the safe. This turned out to be a little more complicated than I thought. The safe has four numbers and the route to get there is very specific and cannot be deviated and is not intuitive. As far as we are concerned this is just one more barrier to getting into the thing. We have been practicing ever since then to get used to opening the thing. That evening I took the little lock box and cleaned off all the rust and spray painted the outside. I reassembled the shelves and put it back in its spot, you don’t see any of th new paint job but it was pretty rusty on the outside before I did all of that. We are going to get a new rug for the bottom then I will move all of our paperwork over into the old safe. I think I need to get about 4-5 folders to sort the paperwork better. Currently it is just thrown into a pile that attacks you whenever the safe is opened. This way legal documents can stay in one place. No one will get my social security paper card, they will just steal it off the internet.

I had to work late and Annmarie woke me up via phone to say there was a coyote out on the hillside and to bring a long gun. I thought about just going out in my slippers and underwear but it has been getting cool at night and I wasn’t sure how far up the creek she was, so I got dressed first. As I was slogging my way up to field #3 I spotted the coyote up on the bluff but then I spotted an elk butt. By the time I got up to where I could shoot the coyote had vanished but I got to see a three point bull elk with four cows and four calves going up the hillside and over the hill. It is way too early for them to be down this low. I suspect this is where the calf came from last weekend. The farm always surprises us.

We have been working on feeding our bees and figuring out how to get them through the winter and what we need to do to get more flowers next spring for them to eat on. Both of our supers are full, the top one with honey and the bottom with bees. Annmarie checks every few weeks and she finds the queen bee every time. I avoid the bees but did go out and feed them a pollen pack a couple of weeks ago, they were very calm and happy to see more food. So while talking to Annmarie yesterday I convinced her that we should try out our honey this year. Since we’re going to feed them through the winter we can take out one frame of honey was my premise. After a little bit of discussion she agreed, the only problem was she had just gone into the hive 30 minutes prior to our discussion and installed mite treatment. So she ran out and pulled one super and just hung it on the side of the hive, we have little metal poles for this. We decided that we would wait till night time for it to cool off before retrieving the frame.

I went out and spent a few hours on the tractor digging a diversion ditch for the next flood and then we went to town for dinner. We got back after dark and she went out and retrieved the frame. At the back door she hollered for me to come remove the bees. I grabbed a paint brush and brushed off about eight bees, we both got inside and shut the back door. I spotted two bees in the laundry room. Annmarie went to the kitchen and then started hollering for me as I had missed some bees. On the way to the kitchen I got stung on the right thigh! I never saw the bugger coming, never knew it was there. It hurts, it had been a while since I was stung by a honey bee. I now changed tactics, the first shot had been fired and my leg hurt! I grabbed the fly swatter and popped three bees in the kitchen and two more in the laundry room then suddenly it felt like I had multiple bees inside the leg of my pants. I dropped my drawers in the kitchen to my ankles hollering about more bees when the puppy rang the bell to go outside. So I shuffled over to the door with my pants around my ankles to let the puppy out. I managed to find the actually stinger in my leg and remove it and my leg started to instantly feel better. It still hurt. I grabbed the large sheet cake pan and put the frame in it and then covered it with Saran Wrap. I killed four more bees under the plastic. So the bees had to sacrifice nine workers for us to have one frame of honey. Annmarie also said that the frame had a lot more honey in it when she pulled it out. The bees had stolen a bunch of honey from the frame. We watched more videos last night and saw that we need a storage container to prevent that and that we should always collect on a warm sunny day. I had to kill one more honeybee this morning in the kitchen! The goal this year was to learn. I almost never touch the hive, I have been stung. Annmarie futzes with the hive all the time and has never been stung. I am unsure what I am learning.

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