Yard Cleanup Almost Complete and More Bees!

Spring is approaching rapidly, and with it a whole host of projects! We engaged in some yard cleanup to get ready. There are so many projects do around our homestead this spring. Most of them involve sections of yard that were trashed this winter by me cutting firewood, the power company trimming trees, and loggers. With the part of the yard looking better we also attempted to build some bee frames….

Building Bee Frames

Bee catching season start in April around here. So we are running out of time to build our swarm traps with Adam from Piney Creek Farm. Building bee frames is not hard, but it is time consuming. We had to cut 2×4’s to length then rip them into 3/8″ strips to form the sides walls. Then we cut 1×2’s for the top and bottom boards and ripped them in half for the bottom boards. All in all we cut out enough pieces for 60 frames. Finish though, we were not.

Yoda approves.

We still needed to put grooves in the top boards and thin the side boards to bees can crawl between the frames. To get both done, we decided to divide the work. Adam would cut the grooves in the top boards while I worked on the side walls. The instructions said to use a routing table too thin the side walls. Thankfully I have one and tried to do just that. After several failures, we decided we had the wrong router bit. So I ran to town to get a new one. Then this adventure (so many deer) happened and we did not get to finish working on the bee frames. We will finish them some day….

Chicken Compost Pile Turning

Thankfully, the yard cleanup went according to plan. It started in the chicken coop where the new compost system needed turning. First we had to move the existing pile over to make room for the new one. We busted through the half inch of ice that covered it and gradually moved the behemoth a yard further from the coop.

With that out of the way the new pile was easy to build. We scooped out the poop from the chicken coop, the duck house, and the guinea house and built a pile. Right in the middle of the pile we mixed in 2 weeks worth of kitchen scraps for extra nitrogen and additional nutrients. The chickens started in on the new pile even before I could finish building it. So far the system seems to be working great.

Feeding the Mulch Pile, a.k.a, Yard Cleanup

Even after all the wood chipping we did the previous week we still had several piles of branches around and a whole bunch more just hanging out around the yard. For our spring projects they all needed to be run through the chipper. In the end we ended up almost doubling the size of our mulch pile! With the mulch pile this full we should have an ample supply to use around our bare root trees and bushes that will arrive this spring!

The yard after cleanup is finished.
The area right in front of our house after our cleanup efforts were finished.

We found more firewood hidden beneath the branches as well. So we carried it over to a new wood pile to let it season and get it out of the way. With all the cleanup done this portion of the yard is starting to look much better!

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