Olivia’s Paddle Board

When the granddaughters are 14 they make a project with me. Lauren made a wood strip canoe in 2018 – see my Great Summer post. Olivia opted for a paddle board. This was interesting because we didn’t have book to follow like we did for the canoe. There was a lot of design we had to do: length, width, internal structure, shape, rocker, fin design, basically the entire board. Olivia did every function: table saw, planer, router, band saw, drilling, glueing strips, assembling the interior, sanding, fiberglass and varnish. I probably missed a couple. Every part of the project: interior exterior and paddle was a tree in our woods at one time. The board interior ribs are Basswood. The exterior is Wild Cherry, Ash and Butternut. The paddle is Basswood and Butternut. Ther a couple of pictures of the build and then the finished product. I got to spend a bunch of time with Olivia, it was great!

Oriole

Last summer I got glimpses of an Oriole. I looked for the nest but never found it. This spring we have been seeing and hearing an Oriole. What a fantastic song! Today we spotted the nest and I got a picture of it and the Oriole. What a neat and unusual nest and what a magnificent bird.

Great Bow Season

Saturday morning Dec 29, 2019 I harvested a buck with my bow. As I look back on Bow Hunting this year there are a lot of things that made it special besides getting a deer. I saw a bunch of beautiful sunrises and sunsets. I have one stand that is in a grove of Hard Maples. With Hard Maples silver bark there, sometimes, is about 3 minutes at sunset where the trees appear pink. I saw that once this year. Besides deer, I saw a mink, turkeys, bunches of squirrels, an amazing number of different birds and watched raccoons. For the second time in 35+ years of hunting I had a Red Tailed Hawk swoop down and try to take a squirrel that had been chattering at me. The first time, years ago, the hawk got the squirrel. This time it missed, knocking the squirrel out of the tree. The squirrel screamed all the way to the ground and then took off. I saw my first pair of Pileated Woodpeckers. Three other times I have seen a single bird. They came through and one landed in the tree I was in, right above my head. For several minutes I had a bunch of big wood chips going past. The stand I was in is just over 100 yards. from the house. I shot the buck at 8:02 hitting him in the backbone. A quick second shot finished him. I was down out of the tree admiring by 8:06. Deer registered and back from the processor by 11:00. It costs $0.70 per take home pound so venison is a real bargain and hormone free. I so enjoy the wonder of God’s nature and am so blessed to get to enjoy it.

Things are buzzing

On Sept 11, 2019 I extracted 92 lbs. of honey from our hives. (See my Things are buzzing post from 2017) Here are pictures of me pouring into jars and the final inventory. In the background you can see the extractor. I was made between 1908 and 1915. Still works great. The honey you buy in a store has been pasteurized and filtered. That kills all the enzymes and takes out the bee pollen. This is straight from the hive – only strained to get the big stuff out.

Monarch Caterpillars

Around 8 years ago I planted milkweed – see the Olivia’s Fence post. It was probably 4 years before we saw the first Monarch. Today we were on a walk and saw these caterpillars. Once we started looking we saw over 10 more. These are probably the 2nd or 3rd generation of the summer. The 4th generation is the one that returns to Mexico. This is the first time we have seen caterpillars. I am pumped!

Tough Chickens and an Attack Rooster

We got baby chicks May 1st.  Got our first egg Christmas morning.  Here are pictures of the rooster and a hen this morning and their coop.  I was concerned about how they would handle cold.  It was 2 degrees this morning when I let them out.  There were 3 eggs in the nesting boxes and they were ready to roam.

The mailman told me he delivered a package the other day when we were not home.  He pulled around back and when he got out of his car the rooster attacked.  He tried using the package as a shield but the rooster kept coming over or around to get at him.  He ended up getting back in the car, getting his Halt and pepper-spraying the rooster.  Said he had never seen or heard of anything like it.  We don’t need a dog – we have an Attack Rooster!

 

Wood for the winter

Here is our wood for the winter.  The stack is 2 logs wide, 64 feet long and over 4 feet tall.  I figure 8+ cords.  That will give us heat and hot water all winter, get me started at maple syruping and have just a bit left over.  We do have a propane backup furnace but we only used 25 gallons of propane last year, so we heat almost entirely with wood.  How do you cut that much wood? – one load at a time.  We switched homeowners insurance a couple of years ago and when I told them we heated with wood they sent a guy out for an inspection.  I told him to let me show him the system and give him an explanation of the theory and application behind our system.  When we were done he told me he was the expert on heating systems at his firm.  He said he had learned more in the last 15 minutes than he ever knew, he had never seen anything like our system and I should teach a class.  As an example last night the temperature got down to 23 degrees.  When I added wood at 9:30 PM the thermostat is the dining room said it was 73 degrees in the house.  When I added wood at 7:30 AM the thermostat in the dining room still said it was 73 degrees in the house and our showers with water heated by the furnace were scorching hot.                 An update – 1-14-2019  When I added wood last night at 9:30 the house was 73 degrees.  It was 9 degrees outside this morning at 7:30 when I added wood again.  The house was 73 degrees.  That is 10 hours and an 64 degree differential.

Too close for comfort

I went to cut a cedar tree this morning to make a wreath and found this right on the other side of the pond.  Within 200 feet of the house.  I figure coyotes.  The hide was still supple.  I probably spooked whatever was feeding.  This is why we don’t camp out in the back yard anymore.

English Walnut Harvest

I have had people ask me why I plant trees as often as I do.  Over twenty years ago I planted two English Walnut trees (one of them is the tree the playhouse is under in my Bucket List post).  The trees were loaded this year and we got a full 33 gallon garbage can full of walnuts.  Here is a picture of that and the first bowl of nuts – something to do while watching TV.

Great Summer!!

The granddaughters each do a project when they visit in the summer.  The post Olivia’s fence was one of them.  This summer Olivia made a chair.  She hammered 90% of the nails while I helped and held.  It is probably the best looking chair to ever come off the farm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you look at my Bucket List Post you’ll see my Cherry Wood Strip Canoe.  I have given the granddaughters rides in it for years and they were told – The summer you turn 14, you’re coming for 2 weeks and we are making a canoe.  Lauren made her canoe this summer.  She did every function: table sawing boards into strips, planing to thickness, cove and bead w a router, glue and clamp, sand, fiberglass and epoxy, finish work and varnish.  She even caned the seat.  She stuck with it.  I got to spend 100 hours with my granddaughter.  It is 3/16 in thick Wild Cherry and weighs 33 lbs.  Every piece of wood came from our woods.

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