Crazy winters seem to be the new normal. We had the temperature in single digits and this week we got a warm chinook wind that hurdled in and pounded us. The wind gusts got over 50 mph and ended up blowing branches out of trees, blowing the she shed over and the bee hive got blown over! The stuff on the front porch also piled up in front of the door and I could not get out one morning.

Annmarie went out to see if the bees survived. They were all still alive but very mad. She had to put the two halves on separate boards and let them sit for 24 hours then went back out to put the hive back together. The sugar water we had given them had crystallized so she diluted it out a bit and put the feeder back on top. I strapped them all together and added a second strap. So now the hive is attached to the fence at three spots and should not blow over again. I think I can fix this in the spring by pounding in three pecker poles around the hive so it cannot blow over. I need to leave about two inches clearance on each side and make space for a second hive to be installed. She ended up getting stung three times over the course of 24 hours getting them upright and fed even with bee suit on.

The she shed will need to be moved and attached to the old clothesline pole. I need to bring over some more gravel and then attach it to the crossbar.

We have been getting virtually no eggs, I collect one egg a day if we are lucky. There are no more raccoons but there is a possum wandering around. The light keeps going out in their coop and that will make a difference. I have fixed the light twice this winter already and on Friday I spotted what I think is the main culprit for stealing the eggs. One of our outside cats was coming out of the nest box when I went in to put away the new feed bags. I think she is the egg thief! So I will go back to collecting eggs every day and I will get rid of the old rooster and let the young one take over. This will hopefully bring the two different groups together.

Friday I managed to get out to the new office and got Mr Professional came out. We crawled up into the attic and started to install insulation. We used all that I had and we still need a single bat to finish it up. It’s about 3/4 complete now. He worked on finishing the wall while I worked on getting the door secured some more and getting the door handle and deadbolt installed. Once I had the handle on the door I moved on to wiring in the overhead lights. I am still on the first light and have never installed trac lighting before. I recognize the need for the trac to be parallel to the wall. We will see how it turns out but some light would be nice.

Office continues

I finally managed to get back out to the office today. My plans last weekend were thwarted by the flu! I had flu starting on Sunday and was out all week from work. Which meant I actually worked at the paying job on Friday to try and catch up. The heating guy called on Friday and wanted to know if we were ready for the heat pump to be installed. Now I don’t have power yet but we did get the wall finished last week so Annmarie told them yes. The inside unit was able to be installed in a couple of hours. This has prompted me to make the big push to get power up and going in the new box. Today I went out and wired all the rest of the switches and outlets on the finished walls. This only leaves me four outlets on the unfinished wall to complete. I got the workroom light installed and hooked up to the switch. I even managed to tear open one of the track lights for the main area and get it all set up and ready to install. The plan for tomorrow is to get the three lights installed and the three terminal boxes in the attic installed. As soon as I cut the power to the current box I can pull the three wires into the attic, wire them into the boxes and move the power supply to the new box. Viola! New box will be installed and then I can get the last wall covered.

We did get some snow, then a chinook wind and now a lot of mud. It’s supposed to get down to the low teens next week and snow some more. This time of year we bounce all over the place.

Cleanup day

Well, I really wanted to just make more progress and keep working on the new office. The real problem with this is we had a hard time finishing the ceiling because there was so much stuff in the way. It was fairly untenable if we wanted to keep working on the walls and windows. So Friday was clean up day, these feel like you are going no where when you do them. No actual progress occurs on the room but without the cleanup day then no other work can progress either. So most of the room got swept up and about 60% of the stuff/trash got moved out of the room.

There was still all the wires hanging out in the room so I decided to put in pass throughs into the new electrical box and fed all of the wires into the box. I cut two boards that would let me sit in the stairway and start to tighten all of the wires and actually start wiring the box. I expect it to take me about another three hours to get the box wired. I had to run to town because there was no grounding bar with the new box. This seems crazy to me that it is not included since you have to have one! Once I had that installed I started to wire up the new breakers. I got three done before I dropped my flat headed screwdriver for a second time. Next time I start to wire I am going to take a couple of flat head screwdrivers so I can drop one and not get off of my perch.

No wall progress was made. But we are going to get our windows by Tuesday. I keep calling the place we ordered our windows from and their voicemail was full. Annmarie emailed the website and email address and had a response in a couple of hours. We are scheduled to pick up the windows on Tuesday after work. This is the last big holdup to getting the room completed.

I would love to be cutting hay but it is raining again. It is supposed to rain all weekend and we are predicted to get more flood warnings.

Cows sorted and back to office

Sunday was the most productive day of the weekend! It is always good to have one day where you feel like a lot was accomplished. Mr Flow came out and worked on the lavender garden and the berry patch. He got he grass cleaned out around all of the berries and all of the lavender. I was pretty surprised when I went over to check on him and could smell the lavender plants! There are not any blooms on the plants but the plants have a definite odor. We are super stoked about the lavender and the clover we have coming in on the front hillside. We are going to get a bee hive this year. We have been talking about it for years and have finally decided to do it. The hive components are here, I just need to assemble them now. Annmarie and I watched a video this weekend so I think I can do it now. We are hoping to get 40-50# of honey this year. If we can figure out how to get the honey out of the combs, one thing at a time.

Mr Tex and I worked the cows this morning. We needed to sort off the 6 month old calves and also sort off the bull. This means we have to use three pastures and the bull needs to be two fences away from any female cow. The cows came through the gate down at the lower end and went right up to the top of the hill but as we started to push them back toward the house they started running down the hill. I ran 1/4 mile in my rubber boots to keep them from turning downhill, by the time we got done sorting cows I needed some better fitting boots. Sorting the cows went pretty smoothly. We have seven cows to sell. Our old bull 13 years old, a young bull about 8 months old, 2 heifers and 3 steers. We are going to buy a new polled Dexter bull that is 2.5 years old. We need the genetic infusion and we found two cows today out of nine that appeared to not be pregnant. So I will be advertising him and the little bull soon. Due to the price of hay skyrocketing we will have to increase our beef price accordingly.

The weather app on our phone said it was going to storm but the weather was pretty good today until about 1630 and then it was horrible. 1/4” of rain in about 25 minutes with pea sized hail intermixed in it. I had gone out to the old house and just waited out there for the hail to pass. The new office area was fairly quite but the new freezer room was incredibly loud. I am hoping we have enough insulation to get all of the walls sealed up. My mother thinks she may have some insulation in the garage so I will need to take a look as we will still need to insulate the attic. We need to install a new roof top vent and I want to install an attic fan that automatically turns on when it gets above 105 degrees F in the attic, that temperature may even be lowered to 95 degrees. Since we have the vent we might as well use it. In the last two days we have had one inch of rain and the total for the month of May is 2.6” of rain to date.

Mr Professional got up on the roof and spent about three hours sealing the roof and putting in new screws that had pulled out or were missing their gaskets. The roof was installed over 30 years ago. We need to pull up the entire ridge cap and reinstall the vent foam to keep the insects out of the attic. Mr Tex vacuumed the ceiling floor and attic walls. I sealed up the attic cracks from inside the attic, it did not take long for the attic to heat way up. Once we finished in the attic Mr Tex and myself insulated two walls in the office and installed three California corners so we could install the wall boards. We also ran the wire for the heat pump. Now, all of the wire is run and I could even start to wire the electrical box and get the breakers in place. I am going to add that to my after work job opportunities. I will need a large flashlight and a board so I can sit in front of the panel and wire everything in place. Once the new breaker box is wired then I can decide when to move the power into the box. I am going to have to wait until the new freezer room is completed. Right before we left for the day we installed a handle on the pocket door! I dug around in the shop until I found an old handle from something that will work.

Office project discovered Pocket Window!

Well no one came out this morning. I keep forgetting it’s Mother’s day, but really does that mean the spouse doesn’t have to do any work? This again shot down my plan to finish running all of the wire for power. I need to get this done so I can insulate and close up the walls but it is not really feasible to do alone, someone needs to be in the attic and someone on the ground floor to get the wire where it needs to go.

Instead I went out and started in on the freezer room. Since I had cleared out the leftover wood pieces yesterday I started by installing extra wood in the corners to nail the wall boards up on. this turns out to be three 2×4 for every corner to get the wood out far enough to be able to really use it. After I did the corners I really took a look at the window. I wanted to cover up the window but the longer I played with it and looked at it, I suddenly realized that it was a pocket window! It was designed to be pushed back into the wall to create an opening. It was just missing a couple of stabilizer points. I went and ripped up a 2×4 to get a 1” wide piece and used that to set the track. I predrilled everything so the narrow pieces would not split. I think I need to hit the window area with some clear caulk but I am going to have to be careful to not just splooge it everywhere. The window worked great after I was done and it can still be removed if needed for repairs and touch up paint.

I kept installing more wall dividers and supports and it really firmed up the outer wall. I didn’t realize how flimsy it felt until I was about halfway done and noticed that the outside wall would no longer move. This took a lot more 2x4s than I had counted on, by the time I was done I only had 8 left out of 30 and I still need to reframe the front door (approx 8 boards) and do three more corners, I will need to get at least 12 more 2×4 to get the job done. Once I had all the new wood in place I marked off the outlet spots and installed the boxes. I got all of the holes drilled for the wires to be inserted through. Mr Professional came out for two hours this afternoon and we got all of the wires installed! The only thing left is the 240V service for the heat pump but I need the California corners installed on one corner so I can drill through it to run the wire. While he was up in the attic waiting for me to label and run the wire into boxes he plugged up two more bird size holes in the attic. We are looking to stop the birds and bugs from getting into the attic this year. We pulled all of the extra insulation we had left over from our main house attic. Looking at it spread all around the room I don’t believe we have enough to do all of the walls. I was hoping I would not have to buy any insulation. Time will tell after we start putting it in the walls.

We have gotten 1.36” of rain this month, so for the first week of May. It is a crazy amount for us locally to see in such a short time frame.