It has been hectic around here lately but I did manage to get out to the place a week or so ago and do a little work. We had a hard time deciding what to do to enclose the underneath of the executive deer stand. We looked at steel underpinning, rock, brick and T1-11. After looking at the prices, we decided to just use treated 2x8s!
Treated plywood is pretty expensive, especially in a thickness that seemed worthwhile. T1-11 is not cheap and once you add primer, paint, and pain in the butt, it isn’t cheap either. I did some ciphering on the price per square foot and treated 2x8s worked out to being only slightly more expensive and well within the “close enough” factor.
I like working with individual boards because they are manageable for me to handle alone. I can hold a board and nail it all by myself. I think that the bigger draw for me is that the finished product looks log-cabin-ish. Much like a log cabin, I will let the boards shrink to their dried out size and then use caulking as a sort of chinking in the spaces between the boards. I am not sure whether we will do anything else with the wood at all. We may stain it or we may leave it alone. Either way, I like the look, it will be nice and sturdy and it will not rot or get termites!
Closing in the bottom space makes it finally feel as if we are closing in on the completion of the outside work!
Winter is not my friend. I generally do not like a single thing about it. This week, we are supposed to get colder than average temperatures with the lowest on Tuesday…single digit stuff. We have a little tradition in our house that started by accident…whenever it’s cold outside, we sing (repeatedly) that Christmas-ish song, Baby it’s cold outside. The kids sing it. We sing it. It’s usually loud and bad and we rarely get past the first verse. And it’s bad. We love it though!
Anyhow, my blogging and real-life friend Granny Sue put up a great poem she wrote about the cold…check it out. My poems on cold would be a study in four letter words so I will spare you that.
So, instead, I thought I would post a few pics I have taken as I stand with Isaac at the bus stop…in the cold…and dark.
I do like one thing about winter and cold I guess. I like turning the heat up, piling on a big stack of blankets (which in my case, means one blanket on especially cold days), drinking hot tea non-stop and laughing at the wind with my sweetie. I know we need the cold to reset Mother Nature and all so I guess I will make the most of the crisp cool mornings at sunrise when I get to see the beauty around me and take a few special minutes to talk to Isaac in the dark. His guard is down in the dark (or maybe it’s the onset of hypothermia?) and we get to talk about a little bit of everything.
Bring on the Arctic blast…I am ready and so is my hot tea!
It was pretty nice this weekend so I decided I needed to go up to the place and do something involving concrete and me in the sunshine. It has been wet and all that and there is plenty of exposed mud so I knew it might be interesting up there. Still, I was so excited to be getting some time outside that I poorly planned my todo list. I hustled out to the lumber store and bought 15 bags of concrete. I was all prepared to pour the remaining piers we need to have in place before we build the decks. I crashed through mud puddles and pulled into the hay field. It was then that it occurred to me that I had not brought rebar, the generator, the angle grinder or sonotubes to form up the piers. I did however, have 15 bags of mud-puddle-soaked concrete that would not make the trip back home. I guess I was excited and not fully thinking things through…
Plans changed but I was still in the sun so it was all good. I did pour the 15 bags into an area near the foundation that needed concrete anyhow. I also finished the wall framing under the house and was able to shovel a lot of the dirt back up against the concrete blocks of the foundation.
Progress seems slow lately but this add-on foundation may finally be coming to a close (thank the manufacturer!) so we can build the decks, get electric connected and finally hook up the porcelain alter so Abigail will stop complaining about her time with Mother Nature! I may not always think straight, but Abigail makes it very clear to me her position…and her thoughts on that subject are very concrete!
Friday was the end of the semester for the kids and they finished with pretty good grades. We usually do something sorta special when the semester ends so we decided to go get some hibachi/sushi. We all get pretty much the same thing every time we go. The other three in my family always get the cook-in-front-of-you-shrimp and I get sushi. Abigail and I always share an order of edamame and Isaac snarls at his salad. We slurp our soup and laugh when only Isaac (and his big mouth) can catch the shrimp the chef tosses at us. It’s great fun!
A new hibachi place opened up in town so the one we usually go to remodeled a little and printed a new menu with higher prices to cover the new paint job. I don’t usually look at menu covers much but for some reason, I decided to read clear to the end. It was there that I found a little gem. Take a quick read and you will see what I mean.
I was delighted to find that the age-old challenge of men (and women) was so easily solved with a simple trip to the local hibachi restaurant. Now that I know the secret, I figure we will eat hibachi a little more often…
Did you ever wonder what bees do in Winter? No? Rats. Well, it’s pretty interesting actually (says the beekeeper). I was up at the apiary last weekend and wanted to check in on things. When we used to actually have cold winters, beekeepers had to make sure their bees were fed well in the fall and hope the bees had enough honey to survive the winter.
Bees huddle into a cluster when it is cold and they rub together to make heat through friction. The cluster of bees moves slowly through the hive during slightly warmer days to get to new food. When we have a normal winter, the bees slow somewhat and don’t go through lots of honey (i.e. they don’t starve to death). When it gets warm like it has been, the bees are more active than normal and tend to run through their stores of honey faster than they should. I took some sugar-water up to leave out for the bees since it is supposed to be pretty nice all week so hopefully I can balance out the increased honey consumption.
The good thing about this warmer weather is that the bees get to take a poop break. They don’t poop in their hive so they “hold it” all winter. It’s better for them if they get a break as you might imagine. Now I know you may be confused right now. I know, girls don’t poop and all of the bees in the winter hive are girls. Friends, I cannot explain it. Without any males in the hive (they are only there in the warm-weather hive), all I can figure is that some of the females turn into…well, you get it.
Anyhow, I checked out the hives and things looked good. A few bees came out in the cold to greet me and I listened to the other hives to make sure that each hive had bees. There is still a lot of winter left so who knows how things will end up, but I am hopeful for another strong start this spring!
Click here for more info on our bees
I have been pretty behind on saying much, but we have been busy! We have been on holiday vacation! We stayed at home for Christmas as we always do. I don’t like to rush around and do much of anything on Christmas day…it impedes my playing with my new toys/eating cookies/napping. This year, a few days after Christmas, we went to visit my brother and sister-in-law in Maryland (my parents met us there too). I mentioned in my last post about the snow storm…let me complain again…it sucked. A normally 6 hour drive took us 11 hours. Here is why:
Anyhow, once we got there, we had a great time. The boys stayed at home and ran the tractor, cleaned the chicken coop, drank…mountain dew. I had another run-in with an immovable object and my head…namely the chicken coop. Once again, I lost though it was slightly less gross/severe this time.
The ladies went on in to Washington DC to check out the art museums and enjoy the humanity around them on the metro.
We had a really great time and didn’t drink too much…mountain dew. Everyone made it home safe (in a second fairly bad snow storm) so I call it a success!