Wasp Smackdown 2010 – I WIN!

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OK not that dramatic, but having to go back and face the buggers that stung me was tough..lol  This time though I was prepared.  I had on a big hoodie sweater, my full welding gear and a mosquito mask.  Wasn't getting stung this time... mind you my neighbours were out to watch the fun.  I think I even smelled popcorn for the show.  My son even put on an over sized mosquito jacket to watch.

Not only did I not kill the yellow jacket wasp nest in the potting shed last time, it actually grew!  I had to tear down the underside of the overhang to get in and tear it out.  Sprayed it down first and pulled it down with a garden hoe. 

It also looks like my last attempt worked somewhat as they built a new nest in my tool shed off of a hockey stick.  I finally got rid of both nests and sprayed around the location they built.  So far so good and hope this is the last of them.  I will be building a few wasp traps though... more on that later ;o)

Fixing Broken Water Barrel

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Last fall I forgot to empty and flip one of our water barrels over for the winter.  Once the freezing weather came along, the water froze, expanded and busted a hole in the bottom of the barrel.  Since the hole was at the bottom of the barrel, I didn't notice until the first rain.  I thought it was taking a long time to fill the watering can ;o) 

This was the first water catcher we bought about 4 years ago or maybe more so I didn't want to just throw it out.  I bought some 2 part epoxy, cleaned it up and sealed it back up.  I wasn't sure it was going to hold, but we got a good rain that week and the barrel was full within 15mins and still holding ;o)

This time I won't forget to empty and flip it upside down in the fall during winter preparations.  We don't have a place to store them, so storing them this way outside keeps them safe from freezing.  We throw a couple firewood logs and/or rocks on top to keep them from blowing around.

After a few weeks, the epoxy seems to be holding and all looks good.  No leaking at all!  Now to repair the screen for the lid of the barrel that the dogs took for a Frisbee and chewed up ;o(

Yellow Jacket Wasp Adventure

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I had me a not so happy surprise on Saturday morning...  After working in the garden, I went out to the garden shed to put some stuff away.  As soon as I walked in I saw a wasp flying around inside.  Now I'm not usually afraid of them and figure if you leave them alone, they will do the same.  This one must have flown into the shed and couldn't get out, right?  Well it didn't fly out while I was in there and it started acting aggressive.  Now what happened next should have been taped and submitted to America's Funniest Home Video!  That little wasp first stung me right in the forehead and got me dancing and swatting my way out of there so quick I knocked my glasses off and couldn't see where I was going.  I got stung another time under the arm as well.  My wife was laughing so hard I thought she was going to have the baby right there in the backyard.  I don't think I've moved my 240lbs so fast in my life, well not since University Football anyways.

After the adrenalin wore off, I went back to the scene of the crime to see what happened and where the buggers were coming from.  It seems like they just started building a nest in the upper corner eves of the "potting shed".  Since I use this area daily, have 2 dogs that play in that area as well my my son, I opted for the quick method of spray to remove them.  I know it's not the natural way to dispose of them, but I needed a quick solution.  After a quick foam coating both inside and under the eve, it looks like they are gone and we can use that area again.

One thing I did learn is that wasps should be thought of as beneficial insects.  They prey on other non beneficial insects and usually leave us alone, unless provoked or their nest is disturbed like I did.  This is unfortunate, cause they sometimes nest where we do business and then become a nuisance and hazard.  I found Earth Easy had a pretty good article covering this topic so if anyone else is having this issue, check out their article Natural Wasp Control.  Now that I know better, I'll be keeping an eye out to discourage wasps rather then having to distroy them in the future.  A couple of other good articles I read: How to get rid of Yellow Jackets and How to get rid of Wasps.

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I'm a fan of Earth2Tech.com and have been a subscriber for a long time now.  While goign through my reader Friday night I was struck by the post "Graphic: The Environmental Impact of Computing".  Being in the IT industry for almost 10yrs, this graphic really took me by surprise. 

It's funny, I work in the IT world by day and homesteading/renewable energy by night/weekend.. ok every free chance I can away from work.  So I have some mixed feelings about technology and computing.  I feel although the article and following graphic is interestingly gloom, computing and technology has many upsides and has helped the environment in many ways.  I for one used to commute daily and now work from home, used to get the paper daily and now read online (same for books, sales flyers etc...), used to get all my statements by mail which means paper, manufacturing, transportation etc.. now all done online.  I could go into more examples but you get the point.  I would love to see the source data behind the graph and also have the same company (InfoGraphicWorld.com) create the same type of graph with the benefits of computing/computers.  Wonder how they would compare?  What do you think... good or bad?  Check it out yourself:

Book Review – Possum Living

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While browsing though my local bookstore, I stumbled on yet another book I wanted to read, ya go figure.  The book was Possum Living: How to Live Well Without a Job and with (Almost) No Money.  I added it to my Amazon wish list when I got home and was surprised when I got it as a Fathers Day present ;o)

I had heard about the book online a few times and knew a bit about the story.  After reading it, I don't believe the intention of the book was/is to convert people into living an uber frugal lifestyle, but was more a personal story to show that you have choices, and with those choices comes a lifestyle.  You can be dependent on the "money system" or not, that it your choice... there are other options.

Now I won't pretend to think I would go to those extremes, but in today's world my family and I are looking to live a more simple life and get away from societies "keeping up with the Jones" mentality.  We won't grow rabbits and chickens in our basement.. well I would have chickens in the backyard, but that will still take some convincing for my wife.  However will do try and grow as much food as we can, learning to preserve, being more eco conscious and shopping more frugally.  These are also lessons we teach our son and will continue with our new baby girl on the way.  The one thing we strive to do, and what I think is the main point of this book, is to make the money work for you, not you work for the money.  My favorite quote of the book and a great way of looking at things: "It's easier to learn to do without some of the things money can buy than to earn the money to buy them"

It's a good read and has some pretty interesting recipies that most likely won't make it on our table any time soon, but it's interesting.  The book was originally published in 1978 and mostly still holds true.  The Afterword really caps it off...

If the book leaves you wanting more check out their website http://www.possumliving.net/

"Ask yourself what you aim to be and what you should be doing.  Are you living the life you ought to be living?  If yes, then good luck to you.  If not, then start taking control of your life."

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