Kicked to Grass

We interrupt this beekeeping/crafting/traveling/whateverthedailyproject blog to bring you:

Life: Back on the Ranch!

As the last of the calves are being born, it’s time to kick some of the older ones, and their mothers, out on green grass.  The few nice days we’ve had, have started the grass growing… and in this pasture, there’s also plenty of leftover feed from last year.

First, we sort out the pairs…

sorting pairs

The back up crew keeps a close eye on activities.

back up crewThe crew.

crewJob complete!

Daniel and Boomerand for my friend, J., I couldn’t resist! ;-)

white calf****

Somehow, it is already the 15th… and I haven’t even asked for questions for a Q&A!  I have a couple of questions I can answer here… one on bees, one on the current controversy about Cliven Bundy in Nevada.  If you have any more, post ‘em in the comment section, and I’ll answer them soon!

Pop Can Heater

I don’t know how I stumble across these things… but I’ve found a couple of great ideas that I thought I’d try on my Bee Barn.  It seems to be cool in there, with no direct sun, the bees aren’t as active as they were in my open shed I had them in, so I was looking for a way to heat the Bee Barn.

Enter Pop Can Heater.  Google it, and you’ll find quite a few videos explaining how to make them.  I was going to use it in my chicken coop, but there’s electricity there, and it was just easier to give them a heat lamp!  The Bee Barn has no electricity.

Here’s the process.

pop can heaterI kept it as simple as possible.  I figured if it worked, I could improve upon it later, but I just wanted to see if it worked first!  I used some leftover rigid insulation I had, pop (and possibly even beer!) cans were spray painted black.  I simply used duct tape to hold it together.

pop can heaterAt the bottom for a cold intake, I used a mandarin orange can with both ends open.  I cut a hole in the insulation, so the cooler air could come into the pop can area and be heated.

pop can heaterI simply left a gap at the top for the hot air to escape through.  I was going to eat more mandarin oranges, but since I measured wrong created this gap, I left it as it was!  Old window glass fit pretty good.  The top piece I tried to cut, but I REALLY STINK at cutting glass… so the nice curve on top was just a mistake pretty design.  I taped the glass in place as well.

Now to the Bee Barn!

pop can heaterOh, cool!  or HOT…

BUT!  That angle isn’t on purpose.  Installing it at an angle would improve on its efficiency, but, no… Carol Measured Wrong.  Good grief.  It didn’t really fit side to side either as I didn’t take into account that the door couldn’t swing entirely open.  Poop.

I debated.  I agonized.  I was going to install my water bottle light… and then, I just cancelled that idea as well.  What I need is windows.  Windows to let in light and heat, and if I want to, I’ll put in some cans of rocks to absorb the daytime heat and release it during the night.

Though it was easy to build and it did work (I could feel the heat escaping through the top gap), it just isn’t going to work in this situation.  I would have been tempted to get a little solar fan to blow the hot air out in the future… and though it would add to its weight, I wondered about having sand or gravel to prolong the heat exchange… oh, well.

I’d encourage YOU to investigate this Pop Can Heater and the Water Bottle Light too… They’re good ideas, and they just might work for you!


Just Waitin’

spring stormSpring storms… gotta love ‘em… when this leaves, the grass will shoot up!

Before this hit, I spent some time with my bees, removing more of the cross combing.  While some beekeepers have suggested I continue into the depths of the hive to see if my queen is laying… I still haven’t made it that far.

cross combI simply removed three bars of empty comb.  No honey.  No brood. Lots of activity.  The next bar in was covered in bees.  It was a warm day and they were loving it!

combI have two more modifications to make to the Bee Barn.

My pop can heater is finished. The pop bottle light will take little time to install.  The best news is that the New Bees will be arriving on Good Friday… and I will be the proud owner of TWO hives!  Lots of things to talk about in the coming days… and, oh, a new home for the baby chicks when it warms back up!

Just waitin’ for the spring to warm up again…

Easy Enough

I helped Brandon move his cows this afternoon.  It wasn’t much of a move, so we did it with a pickup (loaded with their breakfast), my mini truck, and by foot!

The calves were ZIPPY… enjoying the open space and new country!

calvesBrandon and his brother-in-law, B., walk behind the cows down the highway.

moving cowsAnd, boom.  There we were.  Megan drives the pickup through the gate, and they’re ready to eat their breakfast in a new spot!

moving cowsEasy enough!