Hunny-Bunny Happenings as of April, 2014
March and the beginning of April are traditional times of busyness here at Hunny-Bunny Farm. I’m sure it’s the same on any homestead / small holding family operations. Traditionally, I’ve begun my garden season by planting peas on St. Patrick’s Day, but that was impossible as we had about 15” of snow on still frozen ground. Indeed the snow did not melt or the ground thaw until March 30; this, however, gave me a chance to complete the inside winter work which I had scheduled.
Over the past two winters I’ve been taking back the basement from the damp and mildew. Although we don’t have a wet basement, since the cement block walls were never paint-sealed the basement was humid for at least ¾ of the year. Only at the height of winter was the humidity level at or below 30%. The remainder of the time it reflected the outside humidity and here in the Northeast woodlands that humidity can be excessive. The winter of 2012 – 13 I preceded to scrub, paint, and moisture proof the walls; followed by a mildew proof topcoat. This was followed by replacing the batten strips that held the old paneling in place with 2 x 4 studs. This mildew and mold abasement allowed me to reclaim some use of the basement this winter. I finished the bar section first because this was the smallest wall and did not require extensive time needed to finish it. Next winter’s work will consist of insulating the remaining west, north, and east walls and sheet rocking the whole. Meantime, this winter I was able to put back in place the wall outlets and the some of the overheads outlets and lights. Below are some pictures of the now completed section of the basement man-cave affectionately designated Mack’s Brew Pub.
The more observant might note that I’ve not finished the ceiling, but this is not without purpose. Here in the People’s Republic of Connecticut a basement is not considered finished if the ceiling is not sheet-rocked. Therefore, the basement is considered storage and not subject to additional tax. That being the case, I “finished” the room by hanging my various trapping, hunting, and fishing paraphernalia from the floor joists above. It adds a rustic feel to the man-cave and gives a sense of completion while still meeting the parameters of the law. By the way, the back wall of the bar is a 125 gallon fish tank which extends into the wine cellar. This adds the necessary humidity needed for the home made wines in the racks. Since the rear wall of this is neither painted nor insulated it is relatively cool leaving the year-round temperature in the wine cellar between 50 and 60⁰ F with a year-round humidity of 50%; this provides the ideal storage for not only my home-made wines but also my home-brew beers. The racks hold 224 bottles of wine while the home-brews are stored beneath the fish tank and can potentially accommodate 12 cases, although I only have 4 cases at the moment. We are now ready for our usual summer after Sunday Mass entertaining!
Meantime, regarding the outdoor work this week I began in earnest to make a start. First, I traveled to the new Mann Lake bee supply facility in Wilkes-Barre, PA. I got an additional 3 packages of Northern California honeybees. This is the earliest I’ve ever been able to establish a newly purchased hive. The timing is a good indication that this year’s honey harvest will be successful. So now in addition to the last remaining hive that made it through this exceptional winter I now have 4 hives giving me the option of making splits to round it out to five hives by June.
I was also able to get out and apply dormant oil spray on the orchard; and this was just in time for this morning I noted some leaf and flowers breaking out of the new spring buds. Next step is to apply a Bordeaux Solution within the next week to take care of any emerging disease and fungi.
This week I will also begin breeding my rabbits and plant the cold hardy veggies in the garden. I will also start my tender crops like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant as seedlings in the greenhouse.
After the mighty unseasonably snowy and frigid winter we’ve had this year it is certainly good to get outside. I’m looking forward to the warmth and fellowship that comes with summer. However, I’m sure these sentiments are echoed by the readership.
Richard of Danbury, D.S.G.