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Death to the Car!

Last summer I had a car accident. While it didn’t kill our car, it prompted us to move on to a minivan, something we had always intended to do with #4 on the way.

We went Dave Ramsey crazy on the car, and today we paid it off only 14 months into a 72-month loan. Grand total savings on interest: $1,491.42.

So this has me thinking… When we first embarked on the Dave Ramsey path about 6.5 years ago, we went crazy on debt to the tune of roughly $12,000 a year, and we did that for about four years. Then we got tired. We burned out. We fried….

We changed our budget dramatically to focus on frugality but also living now. At the time it seemed right, and we did that for a year. We had fun with it and enjoyed ourselves. When we got the car, we almost naturally went back to killing the debt. In fact, in the last 9 months we paid down over $22,000 on the car alone. Add in the mortgage, and we’re looking at paying off over $25,000 in debt by the end of the year.

And it wasn’t that hard.

Now, granted we had a lot of one-time things that came through this year that wouldn’t happen normally, but pull those things out, and there’s no reason we still couldn’t hit $15,000 a year by simply tightening our belts and going back to the crazy side. And that’s where we start dreaming….

Our Idaho friends have paid off debt like maniacs since heading that way three years ago. They are on track to being debt free (house and all) in six or seven more years. As we look at our debts, we’re not that far behind! The funny thing is that we’ve been seven years away for the last three years!!! That’s what getting burned out does to you.

But now that the van is paid off, I’m feeling a lot of energy to go get this done. We only have student loans and the house left, and I’m already thinking of how to kill off the student loans.

What worked for us this last year was having a hard goal and then keeping it there in our minds. When we started the year, we had the goal of paying off the van. We didn’t think it’d be even close to possible, but it drove our conversations and decisions. We would talk frequently about our status and how each decision impacted that long-term goal and when we made a good choice, we took that money and threw it at the van. Little bits here and there made a real difference in the long run!

By my guess, if we maintain the energy, we can finish off the student loan by March. Maybe April.

Then we’ll see if we can make seven years actually start to count down….

I just told Jeff up in Idaho that we’re racing them. They’ve got a good head start in both amount and attitude, but we can catch them. Either way, how wonderful it would be to be in my early 40s and… debt free.

We harvested on Saturday. It was a fairly pathetic harvest this year. Out of four hives, we got a grand total of two gallons. :-(

Still, it’s nice to harvest. It’s a reminder of one of the reasons I do what I do.

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Angela was kind enough to help this time in addition to Shiloh. To say thank you, two bees decided to get very close and personal by crawling up her pants and stinging her.

I took quick looks at Hives 2 and 3 again, and the shrinking of the hives seems to have done them good. The empty spaces are filling up with honey, and I think they might pull through. I hope they do.

I did not look at the Top Bar.

Sadly, I had a video from Angela showing the harvest, but WordPress won’t accept MP4 files….

While it’s not quite time to be done for the year, it’s close. I’d guess a few more visits at most. Maybe two or three. It’s been an interesting year for beekeeping. Nice to get new people involved (Shiloh and Joseph in particular, but also Angela and others). While it was a disappointing harvest, it was nice to reclaim it for me. To do it for me and my enjoyment. And at the same time, it was still a little rough from time to time. Frustrating. I was glad to take a sting right there at the end. I was wondering if I was going to make it a year, but I don’t think I want to. I find when I go a while without a sting, I become far more worried about the stings, and then when one happens, I spend the next few visits a touch panicky and cautious. It’s better to just have it happen and be done with it.

 

Date Night

Date night is something that just doesn’t happen that often for us. It’s hard to battle down four kids, find babysitters, and even fit it into our schedules. I think we get a lot of  couch dates (sitting on the couch watching a movie or a football game), but getting out? Not that common.

So Courtney asked me out this past Thursday (the first time since high school that I’ve been asked out!!!), and we had brats and watched the BYU game. Angela and Steve even donated two of their prophet beards to the occasion.

SONY DSC

I’m sporting a classic Brigham, and Courtney has the Taylor if I remember right. I’m starting to get the attraction of the bearded lady thing…. :-)

And we even won the game!

Protected: Reclamation

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I almost made it the whole season without a sting, but I took one right on the side of my thumb just to the side of the nail. Last hive, too!

In reverse order…

Hives 2 and 3

The report is the same on both of these. One of the friends I got into beekeeping came to borrow my fume board today, and we were talking about how the hives were doing. He’s a computer guy by trade and really struggles with the “art” side of beekeeping. To give you an idea, he developed a spreadsheet where he can input the size of the frame and an approximate percentage of honey in the frame. This spreadsheet is then used to calculate the honey in the hive. He’s a nerd. :-)

I have told him for years that the best way to know if there is enough honey is to heft the hive. You grab one side and lift. If you can, you need more honey. If you can’t, you’re good. It’s not precise by any means, but it’s worked well enough for me.

So I hefted all my hives today while he was here, and I noticed that 2 and 3 were pretty light. I knew they were weaker, but not that weak, so I decided to go in and try to condense the size of the hives, consolidate the brood chamber and honey stores, and just push them towards slower brood production and more honey production this close to winter.

Both hives are now a single deep with a medium, which is smaller than I like to be going into winter, but that’s where they are at. I’m more confident that Hive 2 is going to be fine.

Oh, and it looks like we finally resolved the egg-laying worker in Hive 3. No signs of her at all!

Hive 1

Hive 1, Hive1, Hive 1…. Still massive, still strong, still good. And oh what a stinger! I can feel my thumb starting to swell up, and it’s making typing kind of interesting. The sting is right where I hit the space bar….

I didn’t get too deep before I got the sting, and once I did, I was done. I did  however notice one interesting thing: the queen somehow bypassed my queen excluder! The honey harvest is going to be mighty interesting! I think what happened is that she was on the excluder when I inspected last week. When I put the excluder back on, I must have inverted it and put what had been the bottom on the top side. Queen in the honey.

The good news is that she can’t really lay too much in the big honey stores themselves. The better news is that when I harvest next week, I have about 10 frames of 7- to 14-day-old brood that I can farm out to my weaker Hives 2 and 3. It should give them a nice population boost for the last half of September and October. There’s not as much to harvest then, but there is still some stuff out there, particularly melons and squash. I’m hoping that will be just enough of a boost to get them built up for winter. I hope.

Protected: Try Number 2

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