Pulling your weight

I was showing Triple T my spiders knees arm muscles yesterday while we were waiting for another flurry of bales to be thrown, by John down below, onto the clatter box and up into the loft of the barn where we stood ready to stack. Triple T tried to look impressed but he suffers from the condition of having to say exactly what he is thinking.sunday-019

He did say an interesting observation though.  He said that you don’t need big muscles, you just have to have enough muscle to carry what you need to carry well. For me that means a 50 pound bale of hay or a bag of feed or a big baby animal. For him, in the army, this means to be strong enough to carry an injured buddy, his pack and your pack, while running out of the fire zone at a crouch.sunday-026

He has no patience for lifting weights for the sake of it. sunday-043

(Look at that little black chicken, he has furry legs, once again he is a gift from the chicken people and I have no idea what kind of chick he or she is but is bound for the layers flock).

Anyway, it is all about pulling your weight. Literally. He is very into lean muscle – whatever that is. But evidently I have them/it. Lean muscles that is.sunday-021

I am certainly getting lean this summer.  We stacked bales all morning yesterday like they were chairs in a hall. I am definitely up to speed. I can surely pull my own weight.  And being fit and fast is a great feeling.


Did I tell you that I put a honey super on top of the bee hive. This super is special, it will help the bees create old fashioned round honey comb. The Old Codger put me onto it.  I cannot wait.  This hive is Louder and Busier than any hive I have had.  And with the low stock numbers this year there are fields of good sweet clover flowers. An interesting thing is that I can work these bees without smoke. They are very gentle these Russians. They buzz about but don’t seem unduly panicked. They are no problem in the garden, preferring to keep their own counsel.

I would rather not have to smoke a hive before I work in it. It makes the whole process so much longer plus the smoke makes the bees panic and rush for the queen, and her brood, to protect them from the threat of fire. They get quite loud and frantic. Much better to just talk to the bees and work methodically and quickly. Have everything ready before you proceed. There is a lot you can learn about a hive from observation and calm work.


Another interesting fact about these army boys. Their pay is not much to write home about, but they are still docked $300 a month for their meals, whether they eat them or not.  And they have to keep the grounds tidy around their barracks which is fine but there are no brooms or rakes or garden implements so they pick up the leaves with their hands. As well as the meals they have to go out and buy for their own toilet paper,  of course they are not supplied with towels or blankets but the toilet paper bothers me the most.  In fact they use toilet paper for barter. I can see the logic but it just seems sad to me?

I hope you have a lovely day.

Your friend on the farmy






53 Comments on “Pulling your weight

  1. I bet you are much tougher than most people who go to gyms – and with more stamina too 😉

  2. Could your little black feather-foot chick be a Black Cochin? If so, she won’t be a good layer but an excellent brooder and very calm. If he, then he’ll be a big friendly boy with lots of meat on him…

    • We wound up with a Black Cochin rooster as our “extra” chick. He is just big, beautiful and so gentle! There are a few other varieties of feather footed chickens….it will be interesting to figure out what it is when it grows up. Hatcheries mostly send left over males as their extras.

      • It sure will be interesting, I need a new rooster.. the hardest bit is getting it accepted by a flock of birds who have already bonded.. but we will do it slowly.. c

  3. I would have been kicked out of the army – I am sure of it. I don’t take kindly to being told what to do with somebody screaming in my face and don’t believe in this break you down to build you up nonsense either. I believe you attract more bees with honey as it were.
    Have a super happy farmy day C.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  4. Interesting about the bees… I have a friend that never smokes the bees and doesn’t even wear protective clothing… says the bees know him and all he has to do is talk to them…. crazy if you ask me… if I went near they’d certainly sting the hell out of me….

  5. What a great philosophy about working with your bees. I think there is a life lesson there for all of us. Thanks for the wisdom, as always.

  6. The state of being able to pull your weight is devoutely to be desired. It’s not a state that I can lay claim to! Love the furry-legged black chick.
    Calm Celie means calm bees means good honey.

  7. I had never heard that army personnel have to supply their own toilet paper. Seems odd. And they used to get blankets issued to them.

    • They get the gear they will need in the field issued to them, but in their barracks they have to supply their own bedding, this is fair as they are working men and women and we all buy our own bedding from our wages. I suppose it cuts down on waste. Also there is a very strict dress code, they are issued with a certain number so if hey stain a pair of trousers, or if his jacket has faded, he had to replace them out of his own pocket, same with boots etc, if the issued ones do not fit and are making your feet bleed you have to buy another pair yourself, which again i can see as fair when you think about it, but it is not the general assumption. And don’t even get me started on the food, with powdered eggs and powdered potatoes and noodles with fake butter. c

      • Oh fretting. With so much wastefulness elsewhere – toilet paper should be supplied…stores and schools furnish it.
        There are benefits ( as you mention below…but still some of it’s just annoying)

  8. The comments about the army are all disturbing to me. The toilet paper part is ridiculous. And picking up leaves by hand??? Whatever happened to, “If you want to see a job well done, find the right tool.” No? I love the little black chicken just because he/she’s different. As for you pulling your own weight: Brava!!!!!! It is fantastic how fit you and your skinny arms are! I love it.

  9. We talk about respecting our men and women that risk their lives for us, but we don’t even feed them correctly. Shame on us. Don’t get me started……

  10. My son is a combat medic who is already making plans to attend college once he gets out. The ridiculousness he deals with on the daily is sad and absurd. But the lessons he’s learned are profound and will carry him far. He. too, has learned to stay calm when the rest of the hive is buzzing.

    • The one thing I have noticed about our young man is that he is standing straighter and has noticeably more confidence. The army has instilled a pride in him that was not there before.. He has travelled, and is much more open to new experiences, and like your son, he has begun to make plans for college. Toilet Paper aside it has been a game changer for this boy. When does you son come out?.. c

      • He has 2 years to go. He’s only completing a 4 year enlistment. I’m incredibly proud of him and his desire to live an authentic life according to his dreams. He’s planning on becoming a high school teacher. Smarting off to a 6′ 5″ former Army soldier won’t be a wise choice for any of his students!

        • How fantastic that he has decided to become a teacher! Yes, teachers can make huge, positive impacts on others and our world. So excited for him!!! xo

  11. Your Russian bees sound like Vladamir Putin….cool and calm in any situation but has a sting in the tail… don, t go upsetting them or else they, ll be requesting asylum because you don, t treat them right ( I can just imagine that, can, t you ?).
    Are you talking sbout regular army soldiers? I realised that prisioners have to provide their own loo paper but soldiers!!!!!! Whatever are things coming to when you join the forces to defend your country and thrn havr to buy thd loo papers. The only wa

      • No I have a friend on death row in Florida and they have to buy everything. Soap, toilet paper , shoes everything.they get bedding and clothes

          • Thank you Linda, I was beginning to doubt my own knowledge then

          • I can understand how this is relevant in the general prison population, but I wonder how that’s a benefit on death row? Deterrence? Commit murder and you’ll have to buy your own toilet paper for the rest of your life? Sometimes things are so weird, it’s like Dr. Seuss is writing our script.

        • Thank you gerlinde for bringing that up though,it is an even more interesting question now.. c

  12. The honeybees that visit my garden are always calm and polite. I am calm and polite around them, too. They seem to sense if you like them by not swatting at them or acting otherwise with fear. I think bees are fascinating and love to watch them gather nectar from the flowers. Calm and gentle beekeeper makes for calm and gentle bees. I am not going to comment about the soldiers having to buy toilet paper……my blood pressure is already up just reading about it. Make the elected officials buy their own, too. Bah!

  13. Why was I still horrified at the way we treat our soldiers. Meals, oh my gosh. The ads that glorify the service and the paltry way they treat these men and women – horrors. In prison, they buy everything. I just finished a book about a woman wrongly accused; and i write to a battered woman, not under battered status, who has been in for 20 years. Shoddy trial work; some areas in CA are very corrupt like Sacramento Valley; horror stories. Still these women have made something of their lives. Of course there are always hideous crimes, but not everyone is guilty. It’s a rant. Sorry

  14. Celi, your muscles sound like mine. Jack, my late husband, used to call them ‘sparrow’s kneecaps’! Glad you had help with the hay.

  15. I agree about inspecting without smoke. As I’ve got more experienced with my bees I’ve been using smoke less and less. It can’t be nice for their sensitive eyes and antennae.

  16. How fabulous your Russian bees are gentle Celi! I’ve read that they are more aggressive. We did get a Russian gueen for our hive that failed last year and so far (fingers crossed) all seems to be well. Our other hive is Italian bees, who are supposed to be more gentle, and have been wonderful with us. Oh, just wondering it your chickens dig dust holes in your grass and such. That has been a problem on our farmy! xo

    • Isn’t that funny! Our Italians were very aggressive and our Russians very laid back and gentle. They did not like the foundation, however, and did a lot of free-form comb building.

  17. Being an army brat myself the first thing I’ll ask Mr Google is what the conditions in the Australian Army are! I am shocked about the food and the lack of tools and that ridiculous toilet paper issue. I honestly thought it was ‘all found’ with probably not very good pay!! Disgusting to my way of thinking – these are the young guys and gals asked to lay their lives on the line wherever in the world they are sent!!!!! . . . . . on a far ‘lesser’ note am amused at how Ton is keeping an eye on Tima : ‘Don’t you go anywhere, young lady’ 🙂 !!

    • Celi – The Oz Army info being hundreds of pages long, just got a few facts. During basic training TTT would have been paid $34, 360 pa, to go up immediately after unless he was doing a subsidized degree course at a uni or similar during his stint [awfully popular in Oz for those who do not have some kind of a scholarship!], when the pay is less. Much to my surprise there is a mess fee for food as so many live either in army or private accommodation on or off base: at the moment full food is $148.90 per fortnight [every two weeks] which is more than fair if the quality is good? Oh, the two ‘dollars’ are almost at parity. Don’t know about toilet paper: toothpaste, after shave etc are mentioned as having to be bought privately. Uniforms are not paid for unless cadet wants extra numbers of everything – these are replaced for free if stained, old or torn. If one wears glasses and these are damaged during work hours both an immediate free eye exam + new glasses to the same value are free . . . about all I had time to see 🙂 ! Oh, off base family accommodation is heavily subsidized: the more kids you have the less you are charged!!!!!

  18. The low wages our military are paid is absolutely a crime! In my opinion, the Congress should make what these brave men and women make, & the military should get what Congress does. Glad to hear your young man has new confidence. Thank him for all of us who enjoy the freedom he helps provide. Enjoy your blog so much!!!

  19. I’ve always found it rather alarming (and Canada is no different) that we revere and require these young generous men and women to give their lives for our freedoms, but our government treats them so poorly. It’s awful. In the last few years we’ve discharged loyal military personnel just prior to their retirement so we needn’t pay the retirement pension! It’s shameful.

  20. I’m with everyone on the Cochins – we had some black and white ones. They’re a bit delicate (bantam sized too) but excellent broody hens and really fun to have around. I agree with you about the loo roll – that’s awful, they give so much and don’t seem to be getting even the basic respect we all deserve.

  21. Celi, what a team we would make! This is the year I am in the best shape of my life! We finally got tough about clean meats, no preservatives or additives, making our own sauces, dressings, and everything from either store bought organic or farmer’s market, and from our own garden. That paired with my hard work ethic, I’m ripped like I’ve never been. Best of all, I’m happy doing what I love and feeling healthy!

  22. Love the idea of not using the smoke – we have hives but they are owned by someone else. I’m too much of a wimp to work them. Sure to get stung. Gosh, I think that is awful about the toilet paper – seems strange to charge for food but not supply something as necessary as the other!

  23. Better the farmy than the army, that’s what I say. Smoke-free bees sounds pretty good too. My dad had the ‘skinny gene’ as we called it, and has passed it on to me and now my son. We are strong muscled though, and like you can lift heavy things.

  24. Thank Triple T for me, his service is appreciated. Though our young men and women are willing to die for their country, they should certainly be taken better care of when it comes to pay and sustenance.

  25. Pingback: Doing my bit | talltalesfromchiconia

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