Category Archives: NATURE

Think About It!

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Long term power outage, I know I’ve posted about the things that we do to prepare for such a thing during storms,summer and winter.  I got to thinking about this in regards to our current situation with the coronavirus.  Of course the power grid can’t get the virus but those brave men and women that work for the power companies can get it!  Our local power company, Craig Botetourt Electric Cooperative, is awesome!  There is rarely a time when the power at the farm is off more than 30 minutes unless there’s a storm that has taken down poles, transformers and lines.  Our guys are constantly working to make sure we have power!!  This family appreciates everything they do!

BUT, what if something unforeseen happened and we were without power for hours, days, even weeks???  It happens in other areas of the United States all the time.  There’s always a “what if” situation and please don’t be naive enough to think it will never happen.

Miss Positive Britches here isn’t trying to be negative, I’m trying to be prepared for the “what if’s”!  Here’s a list of a few things that I think we ALL need to have on hand in the event of a “normal” off grid situation:

Flashlights w/matching batteries (update those ever so often), candles, oil lamps with lamp oil and wicks, radio or jam box with batteries (update those ever so often), stickup emergency lights, camp lantern and stoves with fuel, heavy duty garbage bags, duct tape, generator & gas (small ones aren’t that expensive and worth the cost if you have freezers), at least two heavy duty extension cords to use with the generator, filled propane tanks or charcoal for the grills (you will still have to fix food), full & complete first aid kits, cash on hand that’s only used for emergencies (doesn’t have to be much), emergency stash of socks and underwear, kitchen matches, lighters, hand sanitizer, canned goods, water (buckets of, bottled or your owned canned water).  This is just a short list and there’s so much more you can think of if you’ll take the time and ponder on it!

I know the last time that part of our county that’s not on Craig Botetourt was out for a couple days.  Panic and unkind words were the norm!  Power companies don’t just shut down to aggravate you, it’s an EMERGENCY.  They work as hard and fast as they can.  

Now some of the reasoning behind this list would be if that power goes out early in the evening you will need the flashlights and candles to find your emergency supplies.  If it happens before dinner is prepared or in the middle of that preparation, you’ll need another source of heating that food and that’s when the camp stoves, grills, etc. come into play.  The buckets of water are a necessity at my house for flushing the camode (no power, no way the pump can pump the water to flush).  Oil lamps and candles aren’t a necessity but a comfort if you want to do something like read or write letters, play board games, just look at whoever is with you and you can see who you are talking to!  REMEMBER, television isn’t the end all of our life!  I have friends that don’t even watch TV! Duct tape and garbage bags are a necessity WITHOUT an emergency, don’t you think?  That generator can be used to keep your refrigerated appliances from spoiling, it can run that water pump when you run out of water for cooking, drinking and bathrooms.  Radios and jam boxes are for entertaining but more importantly for keeping in touch with the outside world and the reasons for the emergency situations.

There are a few other items you may want to consider investing in for such emergencies and they are solar battery chargers (for cell phones, tablets) or a crank flashlight, radio and phone charger, butane stoves with extra tanks, a Mr. Heater with extra tanks. I hate to mention guns in this article but it really wouldn’t hurt to have some protection on hand for those bad guys that like to take advantage of situations like these.  Here’s a couple links to some of these items:  https://www.amazon.com/Emergency-Flashlight-Survival-Magnesium-Compass/dp/B01MU55O1B    https://www.amazon.com/Solar-Power-Charger-Flashlight-Splashproof/dp/B07FDXDB3W/ref=sr_1_4?  https://www.amazon.com/Coleman-Portable-Butane-Stove-Carrying/dp/B00FGPXVSM/ref=sr_1_1?crid=21UAMG6WQS6W2&dchild=1&keywords=butane+stove&qid=1588699342&s=electronics&sprefix=butane+sto%2Celectronics%2C224&sr=1-1                                https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Heater-Corporation-MH18B-Portable/dp/B07Q82MG8S/ref=sr_1_2?crid=15EEPAJYIGC40&dchild=1&keywords=mr+heater&qid=1588699405&sprefix=mr+heater%2Celectronics%2C317&sr=8-2

There’s an article in a magazine called Acreage Life, February issue 2020, pages 17-19 that is really worth your time to read and be prepared.  We really enjoy this magazine and have learned a lot from the subscription.

Think about it, be prepared, make the most of every situation.  God is watching over all of us but we need to learn to take care of ourselves too.  A POSITIVE attitude goes a long way and makes bad situations a little bit more bearable!!

Last Day of January 2018

Can you believe it’s the last day of January?? I spent the morning do normal indoor chores like, sweeping and mopping the floors, making the bed, two loads of laundry and other minor jobs after having breakfast with the Mister!  I got pork tenderloin out of the freezer for dinner and then saw that the temperature had risen to 40* and no wind.  OUTSIDE I GO!!!

We’re still in for some cold weather and hopefully some snow because our pastures, yard, hayfields, just the earth in general needs a good soak before spring really appears!  I knew I had some pruning to do on some fruit trees but the grapes needed it worst than the others.

A tangled mess of four vines that have been planted two years and I’m expecting big things from this year.

In order to get those beautiful grapes they need to be pruned each year.  Grapes grown on new stems each year!

This end of the arbor holds grapes that we started from an old vine on the farm. They are blue, not real big but so sweet. The vines usually provide a lot of grapes!

I use some wonderful little hand pruners on all of the small vines, trees and my rose bushes.  It’s very important to sterilize them and I use just plain old rubbing alcohol.  It took about an hour but they’re all trimmed and now we wait!  While waiting we pray for no late frosts to kill them.

Hubby thinks I scalped them but from past experience I know I’ll have more grapes and if Mother Nature cooperates they’ll be bigger grapes.

They’re thinned of their old bearing branches and the only thing left to do is tighten the arbor lines that we made from plastic covered clothes line. It tends to stretch each year but is easy to tighten.

After I finished pruning the grapes I went around the garden and trimmed suckers and water sprouts off the green gage, peach, pear and blue plums.  The big job will be trimming the apple trees which seem to get less attention each year but I’m going to get what I can from the ground and hope for some help with the higher branches.

I am so ready to start growing something!!!

 

The Beauty of Butterflies

My butterfly bush was an especially beautiful treat today! Very few blooms at the moment but the butterflies stayed on it all day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sedum was found with sweet nectar as well!

 

 

 

Everything blooming was covered with a honeybee preparing for winter!

Hornets_The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Cooler weather is good and upon us and we’ve actually had a fire in the woodstove several nights to take out the chill and dampness.  Fall has crept in on us with the trees changing color and the shadows falling on the ground remind me of Halloween.  Pumpkins everywhere we go and bales of straw.  Scarecrows sitting in every nook and cranny!

With fall come the acts of nature that we overlook until you almost walk into it!  By this I mean, bee nests and I walked right under this one several times before actually seeing it!

I walk along this path several times a week as do the heifers when going to water.

Can you see anything hanging from the tree?  My first encounter was in July and I walked through that path about six times one looking for little chicks in distress because they couldn’t find their mom.  I never saw a thing while walking but that afternoon I was in the laundry room folding clothes and looked out the window and there hung a hornet’s nest the size of a volleyball!

It’s now about 18 to 20 inches long and about 15 inches thick!!!

We didn’t want to destroy them because as long as you leave them alone hornets are good!  They catch thousands of houseflies!!  That’s the GOOD!

The BAD is if I had walked into their nest and made them mad!!  I would have been stung several times before realizing what was happening!  The UGLY is those insects are black, big and build onto that nest all summer.  It’s huge now!

During the day the hornets are flying in and out of it and there are guard hornets marching all over it to protect the hive.

When I walked under it in July it was about seven feet off the ground. Now it’s so heavy and hangs about three feet off the ground.

I’ve found a new path around it so I don’t disturb them!

Along with the hornets we’re seeing lots of bumblebee’s which have a nest in the ground in my rose garden.  The rose garden is a mess now because I can’t get in it to weed.  The yellow jackets and sand hornets are all over the apples in the orchards but we haven’t found their nests yet.  All of the bees make great pollinators but  they do have an ugly and  mean side!!!