The Class E Network

    • Official Post

    That's what the tractor and pallet forks are for. The tractor does the heavy lifting. With the ballast box on the back end of tractor, it has lifted entire trees.
    (13" or so diameter at the base - it can be tricky finding the balance point.)

    But, you're right. It's not without a good bit of work.

    • Official Post

    what's the end game for the wood, fuel?

    I'm planning to mill logs for building shed type structures mostly. Lean-to's off of the two sides of a small barn, a couple car ports (one for a tractor), something to house chickens and something else for a couple goats. I have hardwood available as well, maple, black locust, hickory, etc.

    Without a doubt there will be a lot trash wood, split boards, banana boards, etc. I have a catalytic wood stove so burning pine trash wood, that's reasonably seasoned (at least 1 year), is not a problem.

  • Here's what I've been up too lately

    I'm building a pole barn. The following was the start, a couple months ago.

    Since we're pretty remote, I have to do what one person can do alone. That means making little jigs to hold lumber in place on one end, while I carry the other end up a ladder to fasten it in place. You can see the jigs at the top of the closest poles. They were used to position the horizontal 2x8's and for other lumber.

    The following pic is the frame for the first two thirds of the barn. At the center, it's about 13' tall. It's a modification of post and beam construction, using posts and dimensional lumber. (Again, this was the way I came up with for one guy to handle.)

    Since there's a down slop on the right front, using a tape measure on unlevel ground would introduce a significant error. To keep things square and even, a template was necessary for the final third. (The change of grade is pretty obvious.)

    That was done for this:


    So I could drill the right spots with this 12" auger.

    That results in holes that are very close to where they need to be. There's still an error because the land here has numerous 6" and larger diameter stones that push the auger around. Some hand reshaping and cleaning out the holes is needed, after drilling them.


    Here's a few pic's of an emergency project I built from reclaimed fence scrapes. It's a 4x8' chicken cope. We already have a mobile 4x4 coop, for the 4 grown hens we have. But,,, the wife and I bought baby 15 chicks from a local farmer. I set up two quick brooders but realized that it would a matter of weeks before they would out grow them. That made this coop an almost crisis project. Following is part of the construction.

    These are partially built pic's. 4 nest boxes, a door for access, and slide out trays on the bottom for cleaning. I added more roosting bars that are not pictured here.


    I used an old sliding window (vertically) as an entrance door. Since the windows has locking positions, open and closed, it worked out nicely. Mating the coop to a dog kennel give them a "secure courtyard". That was fortunate. A coyote attempted to get through the wire. It distorted the outer layer of chicken wire (around the bottom) but failed on the chain link.

    The chick's grew fast but the younger ducks outgrew them in no time - in a matter of a couple weeks. Pekins ducks are marvels of modern selective breeding. As they grow, they eat like crazy because they're putting on mass. Had we chosen to do so, they could have been processed at 8 weeks. Again, they have a simply stunning growth rate.

    The next mod will be a portable electric fence that will let the chickens free range and give the ducks access to a little pond.


    With building a new coop, tending to the garden, working on the barn, clearing the north properly line for fencing, shelling last year's corn (and other processing) this has been a relatively busy spring / summer. Once I have a sheet metal roof on the barn, I'll breath a little easier.


  • Well, I took a brave step and now we have a bee colony. I say "brave" because I didn't get the colony in the normal manner. A friend of a friend of mine cut down a locust tree that happened to be hollow inside with a colony of honey bees in it. That guy said a cloud of bees came out of it, when he was dragging the log into his field. While there was no way he could have known about the hive, the colony was doomed when the tree hit the ground. (Bear, skunks, etc., would have found it and, with a bit of time, cleaned it out. Skunks will eat both bees and their honey.)

    Since I failed to bait a feral colony into some hives I have on my own property, I though that it might be possible to save the tree colony. So, I cut

    the end of the log open, placed a hive box there, baited it with honey comb and waited for a couple weeks. When I went back (a couple days ago) I found that they decided to remain in the undefendable log and completely cleaned the honey out of my hive. It was astonishing - the comb they left behind was like brittle paper. Nothing was left.

    Suspecting this might happen, I went there prepared to take things to another level. I tried what they call a "cut out". I weakened the log length wise, along the natural cracks in log, with a chain saw. With wedges and a sledge, I split the log in half. While the log was hollow, it was surprisingly easy to split.

    Cutting it to roughly fit, I suspended brood comb in standard hive frames with rubber bands. With a dust pan and a light bee brush, I got as many bees as I could and dumped them in the first hive.

    In the second hive box, I put in nearly all the remaining honey comb (much of loosely) and all the remaining bees I could gather. I closed the entrances with cardboard that had small holes punched in it and took the hive boxes home.

    The following is the result:

    This evening, I took a peek in the boxes to see how things were going:

    So far so good. It looks like they're tending to the brood well and I suspect, inside that big ball between the frames, they're tending to the Queen. Now, since it's fall, we'll give them a steady supply of sugar water and fondant so they can quickly create more of a honey supply for the winter.

    Since I'm new to bees, this was something of an adventure.

  • Man to have land like that.... My yard is about 14x14 meters.

    Dell 3050 Micro, i5-6500T, 8GB Ram

    Plugins - compose, cputemp, omv-extras, sharerootfs.

    Drives - 512gb SSD Boot, 1tb nvme Data, 16TB (8tbx 2 merg) Media,

    Docker - dozzle, netdata, nginx-proxy-manager, plex, prowlarr, qbittorrentvpn, radarr, sonarr, watchtower.

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    • Official Post

    Man to have land like that.... My yard is about 14x14 meters.

    By the meter, the property is about 264 X 167 meters. It's around 12 acres, with a clean stream running through. Roughly 6 acres is open fields. The rest is wooded with a nice selection of pines and hard woods. When I say we're out there, we are really "out there". We're just inside "the electrical grid". While we're at the hairy edge of DSL service (10mb down is about the best we can get), unbelievably, they brought a fiber optic cable us. (Frankly, that's shocking but it's a government sponsored program. We wouldn't have asked for it but we'll take it.)

    I lost the colony, in the previous post, to really cold weather early last fall. They didn't have a chance to spin up honey production before winter. In any case, I did what I could to give them a chance.

    Moving on, I now have three colonies. Two are Carniolans and one, in photos below, is an Italian colony.

    Following is how they "package bees". A package has a bit over 3 pounds of bees which is somewhere between 10,500 to 12,000 bees. They send them through the postal mail. When I went to be post office to pick them up, I noticed that the postal lady was nervous. She handed me the package in one of their (Government Only) plastic sorting boxes, "for safety". :) I think it was so she wouldn't have to touch the package.

    First, there's a piece of luan (really thin plywood) tacked over the feeder can hole. That's the first thing to remove.


    Next is getting the feeder can loose so it can be pulled out. Bees can gum things up with waxy build up. (The feeder can is filled with sugar water. With 2 tiny perforations in the bottom of the can, the bees feed on sugar water and feed/tend to the Queen in route.)

    Note the black strap. That's attached to the Queen cage.
    The trick is to slide the can out while covering the opening with the luan plywood lid or bees will take to wing.


    In the following:
    The box is upright, the queen cage has been removed and the top opening is recovered.
    Here's the queen cage. It has cork plugs in both ends. One end has a candy plug under the cork. The cork end, with the candy, is the one that's removed. With the cork removed, workers and the queen will eat through the candy to release her. If they don't (the candy is too hard) she's manually released by removing the cork at the other end.


    I attached the queen cage to one of the hive frames with rubber bands. With that frame in the hive and some of the other frames removed to make room, this is how it's done: With a sharp rap to loosen the cluster and a lot of shaking and rolling the box around, bees are literally dumped into the hive. They immediately began to cover the closest frames.

    The removed frames are carefully reinstalled to avoid crushing bees and the hive is closed. There were some bees that wouldn't leave the box, so the box was placed on a bucket at hive entrance. With some time, the Queen's pheromones lured them in. (About an hour or two.)

    This colony is truly promising. With no resources other than a limited supply of sugar water, and with less than 3 full days in the mail, they created two pieces of comb about this size in the package box. Amazing. So far, of the the three hives, the Italians appear to be the most active. It will be interesting to see how they do.

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