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Archive for January, 2013

Current Orchard Layout 1-31-2013

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We found some vinyl fence rail brackets on sale at home depot for $1 / pair, down from $5.  They worked perfectly matched with some cut cedar boards for the legs. The top bars are being made from standard 2×4 from home depot. I am getting 5 per 3.5 inch width, making them 9/16 inch thick. Some will be 1.5 inches wide for honeycomb and some will be 1.375 1.25 inches wide for brood comb. I am using the method at CalKenyan website for making the top bars (minus the cheek cuts).  Last thing to do is finish the bars, fashion a roof of sorts, and give them some entrance holes.

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And yay, it’s nearly level.

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This Rubbermaid container was used previously for hydroponic and then dirt gardening. Now this 25 gal roughneck is the perfect size for housing the 2 batteries and the cinder block on which the pump is sitting.  I cut out a hole for the switch (something I had picked up a while ago at Harbor Freight).  I still need to cut the holes out for the hoses and make a roof to shed water but I’m happy with the progress.

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Orchard irrigation

With our pond available year round, irrigation from there was always on the agenda. I always have wanted to use solar to recharge the system.

This is the pump from Northern Tool

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And two 6 volt deep cycle Trojans to power

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Off the pump is a WYE split running two 75 feet lines, one of which is dedicated to the bananas, the other is running the rest of the system. Currently, it is three runs off that main line, approximately 70 feet each. There are about 20 drippers giving 1 GPH each and 5 fogger/misters rated at 6-7 GPH.  The irrigation equipment is all DIG corporation from The Home Depot.

It is about 65 feet to the pond

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The system performed well today in initial runs, except for the mesh filter screens clog up after about 45 minutes.  The pressure was admiral with no blockage.  This won’t even put a dent in the water supply from the pond (which is essentially at the water table level), even during our dry “winter” months.  Very happy this project is done and working so well.

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Chickens after week 20

Well here is another weigh in at week number 20 in our possession.  They started out so small just over a pound, and now they are all over 4 pounds with the heftiest weighing in at 5 3/4 pounds.  I figured out they’ve gained exactly 21 pounds collectively and have been given nearly 150 pounds of organic food.  That doesn’t seem like a good conversion ratio, but I know this organic feed has a lot of hulls in it which probably get wasted and thrown about the ground.

8/29/2012 12/5/2012 1/16/2013
Small PBR Lil’ Blue 17.8 51.3 15.80% 66.5 29.63%
Large PBR Big Blue 21 55.7 13.21% 67.7 21.54%
Small RIR Ginger 20.6 60.7 13.67% 76.2 25.54%
Large RIR Lucille 24 61.2 16.79% 77.8 27.12%
Buff Orp Jody 16.8 59.8 21.05% 78.8 31.77%
Buff PR Buffy 21.3 73.2 28.87% 91.3 24.73%

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The plans called for 1x10x14 but the 16 foot was cheaper per foot. This ended up being 44 inches long and I incorporated a hinged bottom so mites can be dropped out easily. More to come…

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The bees seem to be picking up steam with the unseasonably high temps, so I want to get this out in hopes of picking up a spring or earlier swarm.

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Passion fruit

Beautiful bloom

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