Getting Beds Ready in Fall

Once again I felt a little funny getting ready to plant going into winter. Our winters aren’t normal very cold with the exception of a few days, I did spend some time getting the ground turned Sunday.

Of course with that came raking out the weeds.

Monday it rained almost all day, tried raking again but it was too muddy and decided to wait.

Did plant some Spinach America in the hoop house and ordered plastic for low tunnels for outside.

One thing I tried with the tiller was setting it to till about an inch down and took it over area that had not been tilled and was covered with weeds, it seemed to work well for removing the top growth, whether that helps or not remains to be seen.

Splitting Wood

Most homesteads that want to be more self sufficient will at least to some degree burn wood. Not everywhere needs to heat with it, I heat with it most of the winter but it really needs below 40 F.

Today I started on a pile that should have been done a year ago.

I should fix my log splitter but I hate the noise and don’t want to burn the gas. 

A maul is my preferred tool.

However a wedge and sledgehammer are necessary for the tougher pieces.

Even though it happened by coincidence, one thing I like about the cart I use for hauling split wood automatically measures the wood insuring the wood is short enough to get in my stove.

My stove will fit 24” pieces of wood but slightly shorter are nicer. If I stack my wood in the cart perpendicular to the long side of the cart and it fits in the cart, it fits in the wood burning stove.

Knowing the value in knowing the wood in the cart will fit in the stove, if I buy another I will make sure the same idea applies, it really stinks to have a piece 1” too long because I end up trying to get it in the stove it gets partially burnt and I have to take it out bringing a lot of smoke into the room.

On a side note for those that haven’t split wood much, sometimes if the log doesn’t split right away in one direction go a different direction.

It seems the more cracks you have the weaker the log gets including the original place you started to split.

Taking a Break

There are problems with having a homestead, mostly it’s just hard to get away, having the animals makes it difficult to leave without a good neighbor. We did just get back from a good trip to the Gulf.

Along the way I re-realized how much I want a successful homestead, that is one that produces food for home and can bring in additional income.

This year was my worst growing year by far, some of it was the boy coming and some was trying to plant without a tiller, I changed that today.

Hopefully new crops will go in with in the week, this ground needs at least one more tilling but I’m hoping to keep tilling to a minimum.

More Hive Storage

Put quite a few hive boxes away earlier in the week but I forgot I had a few under the house in the crawl space. One brood Box was in a freezer along with the frames of a super, having freezer space is really good for putting the frames in for sanatizing, freezing won’t remove chemicals but will kill most organics. 

Unfortunately I also had a brood Box and a super next to the freezer and hadn’t worried about them but unfortunately moths got in them under the house. 

The frozen boxes went into storage and the moth infested frames went in the freezer. Hopefully in a week or so I’ll put them in storage as well.

Unfortunately the deep freezer will need a good cleaning from all the moth larva and hive beetles that froze and fell out of the frames. I really hope storing the hives in the rafters will work.

As much as trying to grow your own food and raise bees can be a pain I wouldn’t trade the possibilities for any apartment or house in the suburbs.

I have so much work to do and much of my land needs clearing for pasture but the mornings are beautiful, and being able to hike and explore your own place is priceless.

Bee Hive Storage

If you decide to get beehives one of the things you have to have is storage for the hives. You will have unused hive components at some point even if it’s only during winter. With the disaster of a year I had I was more neglectful than I should have been when it comes to storage. Almost all the hives are put up but because of the moth damage most of the foundations will have to be replaced.

My best option here, there are also hives in the garbage bags, wax moths don’t like drafts so if the hives are being stored in the open they need to be drafty, I hope this is drafty enough. I have hung unused supers vertically from rafters and didn’t have a moth problem, unfortunately they were in the way and a few fell causing damage, hopefully this storage will be sufficient and nothing will fall on the truck!

Replanting the Greenhouse 

Here’s what it looks like after my last weeding.

Not to bad for several weeks, it was time to start getting things back in it though. Actually only planted part of it today partially because of time and the other reason was for timing, I have to have space for continuous planting and harvesting.

First group of radishes went in, now I have to do the math on how much space I need throughout the winter.