Hello, happily harmonious Hive humans! Today will be another recap of the things that have been keeping me too busy to produce a proper post. I'll try to add a dash or two of my inimitable wit and charm, and maybe take a dive or two into the abnormal psychology that drives me. Speaking of dives... let's dive right in!
Since I last posted anything of consequence, this pot of several clivias has shown off and dropped three stalks worth of blooms. Hedge Witch received this as a gift a few years ago, and I had no idea what it was until seeing one in a seedlings post from @goldenoakfarm. This is the first year that it has flowered for us, and it was well worth the wait!
The endless yard cleanup has been progressing nicely, and it's about time we figured out how we want things to look this year. These large pieces of glass are all things that I've found while doing excavation on job sites. There used to be several glass factories in this area, and before the EPA and DEC existed, they weren't very fussy about where they dumped their scrap. Corning, formerly known as Corning Inc., formerly known as Corning Glass Works, is still around, and one of the largest glass companies in the world. If you haven't heard of them, you've heard of their products, like Pyrex, Corelle, and Gorilla Glass. Digging on their factory sites is a chore, because there is a lot of oversight and research involved, but I find some of the most amazing things. Not shown in this picture are some large chunks of red glass with gold flake in it, and some small chunks of glass that look like fire opal. We like to find places around the yard where these pieces will catch the sun, and the eye.
The waterfall has been running so strong since last spring that it hasn't really needed any maintenance this year. Usually, the grass and weeds will start growing over the rocks as the water slows to a trickle through late summer and fall, but not last year. Last year I was more worried about the water overflowing. Fortunately, my decade old drainage system held up well, cleaned itself out properly, and prevented any water from running into the basement. We were kind of hoping it would turn into an ice slide for us this winter, as it did about 4 years ago, but the water kept running too fast to freeze.
I scored some fantastic antique woodworking tools, among other things, in a recent basement cleanout. I need to get these things cleaned up and put away, because currently they're taking up too much space in the new pop-up garage. There was also a working Victrola style phonograph, an old scroll saw, and a treadle powered sewing machine, all in working condition.
Most of my free time the last two weeks has been spent caring for this box of new chickens I picked up. Work has been coming along on the new coop and chicken tractor, which is good because these little guys and gals are already four times this big! The new spaces will be much closer to the house, and better secured against predators in the weasel family.
My work life has been pretty boring so far this year, mostly doing repairs on security fences and sidewalks. They frown on me taking pictures in the areas where I'm doing the fence work, but the Village of Dundee has no problems with me photographing the new sidewalks. These were part of a sidewalk project that we worked on for two years. The problem they are having is that they're plowing the sidewalk with a blade on a skid steer (which is quite a bit more abuse than this was designed for) and it chipped the concrete at several of the joints.
I've been patching them up so they look like new again, although they'll likely just break them all again next winter. The stuff I use to patch with only has a 15 minute set time, so I have to mix a small batch to fix each area, and there are around 30 areas to fix. This work doesn't require a lot of strength, but it does require me to crawl around on my hands and knees all day, which isn't much fun anymore at the age of 47.
I recently finished an engine rebuild on a two cylinder Briggs and Stratton Vanguard that needed a little troubleshooting after installation. It turned out to be some contaminated gasoline that was put in the tank when we first went to test it. From now on, I have to remember to bring my own gasoline for these small engine installs. I'm working on a series of posts about that rebuild that should teach people just about everything they would ever need to know about small engine repair.
I usually get rain days off from my day job, but we've had a few trucks get sent out to repair shops that came back still in need of repair, so I've been spending half of my rainy days getting things back in working order. This truck was sent out to have the tie rod ends replaced, and came back with the alignment so far out of whack that it wore a set of new front tires down to uselessness in under 200 miles. I spent a half day in the garage getting the alignment straightened out, and I've been bringing this truck home nights to troubleshoot some electrical problems that were also supposed to have been fixed.
That hasn't left a lot of time for working on the new chicken coop, but I found a few moments here and there to get the old enclosure torn down, and the back wall of the new coop built. I'm reusing the frame from the old enclosure, but it will be getting all new siding (that I cut on the new sawmill) and much smaller wire fence than I used on the previous chicken homes. Hopefully this will finally keep the predators out, and we can actually start to grow our flock, rather than just replacing it.
Indoor plants still need tending as well. It will be another month until I can take the indoor plants outside. Some of these plants may need to be sold or relocated for next winter, they're simply getting too tall to move in and out of the doorways. The long skinny cactus in the back was a touch over 6' tall when I brought it in last fall, and has since added at least another 4". The sprawling philodendron in the foreground is the little one...
...the big one you see there has been trying to push me off my couch for the last couple months. I'm pretty sure there's no way I'm getting this thing back outside without breaking off a few leaves!
April is just finishing up, and didn't want to leave without dropping a couple extra snowstorms on us. It's been warm enough that none of this snow has stayed around long enough for me to have to clear the driveway, but it has made for some beautiful morning trips over the hill into work. I almost took the studded tires off the Honda a few weeks ago, but I knew I would regret it if I didn't wait until May. Looking at the upcoming forecast, I may want to continue with the studded tires until June!
Hedge Witch didn't seem to think that we had enough things to do around here, so she went out and got herself a couple bunnies. They are absolutely adorable, and they are definitely another chore. She wants to litter train them (or at least one of them) and keep them in the house, but I'm going to add a bunny hutch to the new chicken coop, just in case.
The dog came up to give them a good sniff on their first day outside, and this white one gave him a sniff right back. I didn't catch what they talked about, but they seem to have reached some sort of agreement.
All the work is much easier to handle with some beautiful spring flowers to look at, and this year has not been disappointing. Daffodils, hyacinths, hellebore, tulips, and grape hyacinths have all come in fairly strong this year, giving us fantastic sights and smells both inside and outside the house.
Now, strawberries and fruit trees are starting to flower, and while I'm still in the midst of tilling and planting, I'm already trying to plan for this year's first harvest! I really hope the strawberries finally give us a surplus crop this year, I would like to get a couple gallons of them in the freezer this season!
Part of the reason I've been taking on so many side jobs is that I ran up a lot of credit on the trip to South Carolina last year, and I'd like to get it payed back down quickly. Brake jobs are usually nice and easy money, though I had to do some caliper bracket rebuilding on this one. I don't mind running into extra work on little projects like this as much as I used to, because now I can use that extra work to create educational posts. The work I did on these caliper brackets will be another post that will show people how they can save a LOT of money by repairing, rather than replacing.
NYSEG seems to have finished the tree removal they've been doing around the power lines, and it seems they are leaving plenty of trees for me to cut down myself. I may actually end up hiring this work out, though it pains me to do so. I just don't think I'll be able to drop these trees myself and still keep up with the gardens this year.
That covers most of what I've been up to for the last few weeks, besides the normal household cooking and cleaning stuff. I've put a hold on learning Spanish and System Verilog languages for now... until I'm caught back up on my debt. Learning takes me a lot more time than it used to, and most of my screen time these days is spent looking up parts and torque specs.
Things have been calming down a little bit... getting that rebuilt Briggs motor out the door cleared up enough time that I was able to get this post put together. Hopefully now I can stay awake long enough to work on some of the others!
Be well, be safe, and be yourselves, my friends. I will be busy, but I'm very determined not to have another 6 month span of no posts like I had last summer. I hope my production matches my determination, and I hope you're all around to see it.
As always, thanks for looking!