Welcome to Cranky Puppy Farm!

This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

Hey, Bees..Bad Timing!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

There's a well-known beekeeper poem that comes to mind today:
A swarm in May — is worth a load of hay.
A swarm in June — is worth a silver spoon.
A swarm in July — isn't worth a fly.

 With all these back issues in the past year, I've been a terrible beekeeper.  So I was so excited to see that my first hive survived their first year.  In fact, they seemed to be flourishing.   But here we are at the arrival of Spring and the weather has been awesome and I still haven't been able to get out to check on the hive. 
 
So you can imagine how mortified I was when J. showed me this picture that he had captured while checking on the chickens tonight.
 
Yep, the bees have swarmed up into the new sugar maple that we planted last year.  I'd say they are in a mass about the size of a bowling ball and J. says they're about 10 feet up.
 
I'd love to catch them and put them into a second hive that I had prepared for the day I could split the hive.  Question is...it's dark outside now.  Will they stay there overnight or will they be gone in the morning?  And can I even move them with this bad back of mine?   Surgery is in 36 hours!
 
I guess I can't be too sad if they are gone when the sun comes up.  Swarming is a natural lifecycle of bees and it just shows that the hive was really strong and outgrew their home.  Hopefully, the old hive should still be viable and working on getting a new queen up and running.  J. certainly isn't going to check given his bee-phobia and there's no way I can do it until I've recuperated. 

This swarm may have to be the one that got away.
 

Finally, A Bill I Want to Open

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Who wouldn't want to see a bill like this one every month?  I wish I could say that the massive credit was due to the solar panels, but it isn't.  We held our own there and only used 4 kW the entire month of March.  The credit is from the energy audit changes that we made late last year (new windows, more insulation in the attic,etc.).  For all that work, the utility companies paid for the $400 energy audit and gave us almost $450 toward the work that we did. 
 
Of course, that only pays for 1/4 of the new gas tankless hot water heater that we put in. But, heck, anything helps!
 
4 more days until back surgery.  The oral steroids are working their magic, but I am down to one every 12 hours and they run out on Tuesday night.  So that leaves me with a day and a half of no protection.  I may try to "cheat" the remaining pills out just a bit each time to try to cover more of Wednesday.  Thursday is coming...slowly but surely. 

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