I got the last of my seeds in nearly a week ago, just before heading out on a business trip. Now all that I really need is for things to warm up a bit more before I can start planting. The most exciting thing I ordered was the Bloody Butcher variety of maize (corn) which has a very deep red color. Besides the corn, I have lettuce that should do fairly well in the Oklahoma heat, carrots, peppers, sunflowers, buckwheat and some Vitex seed. The last one is a shrub/tree that will primarily be for bee feed. The buckwheat will also be a good nectar source, but it also will provide seed that can be turned into flour. Vitex, also known as the Chaste tree, appears to have some herbal medicine properties, but I haven’t ventured down that path so far.
Before the business trip, I spent some time cleaning up one of the sheds I have on the property that is somewhat of a workshop. There was already a workbench in place and was wired for power, but after moving in, we have just been using it for storage. In the process of cleaning up the shed, I decided to put everything we were storing there in the loft area. The difficulty in this was that it was difficult to get up to the loft to pack things in tightly because there was no ladder. So I built one. I don’t think many people besides myself could use it and using it feels more like climbing a tree than a ladder, but it fits my needs right now, so it will stay until I decide otherwise.
The driving reason for the shed cleanup is to have a space to use the band saw and a table saw I got from my father-in-law. They have been sitting in his garage for several years without use and somewhat in disrepair, so he decided to let me use them. I’ve been working on repairing them as best I can. The table saw has a non-functioning motor and is rusted up badly. The band saw was in better shape and after lubricating just about every part on the machine, it was working well. Then the lower tire started coming off the wheel and now needs to be replaced. Once both the table saw and band saw are up and running well, I will be able to start making bee frames, boxes and probably much more. This makes it a lot easier than driving an hour and a half to my mothers to use the equipment at her house and so I will be able to do a lot more woodworking that I have recently.
After my computer died about two weeks ago, I read an article on Ars Technica about a very cheap computer that was less than $400 for everything including the monitor. Using this article and the computer parts that were still good in the dead computer, I put together a system for just over $200. The case is a nice 4U rack mount server case I purchased over a year ago for when I decided to build a server-class machine that I have yet to get around to. I spent yesterday evening putting the system together after getting home from Virginia. Everything went together smoothly and started up without issue. Some basic benchmarking puts it at six to seven times more powerful than the machine that died. This is not too surprising as the old machine was purchased in 2005.