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Monday, August 18, 2014

What is it with Young People? (A Rant)

I again am curious as to where the work ethic of the younger generations went. The young man who is one of our intern's over the last few days either would say there was no work he was suppose to do, or that he only wanted to do something relaxing. So to be perfectly frank I ripped him up and down verbally while chopping the wood he was suppose to be chopping that he said was not there. So at Silver's suggestion I am having the young man follow me around all day today to see the work I do all day. So I got him up at 5 am to start on the animal feedings.

Well I did all the work myself with him just standing there arms crossed over his chest the whole time I am going around feeding and watering everyone. I mean geez at least offer to hold the 5 gallons of water for me if nothing else yeah? All that I can say in this case is that thankfully he's not a WOOFER as if he were I'd never use the program again. Maybe when we have more housing I can look into that program and have better luck with help around here.

Next on the list of morning chores after I wake the kids for school will be to go and check the garden and due to timing, I can probably even weed the paths. I have to get some forage for our penned up goats (my dears learned how to unpicket themselves), some forage for the rabbits as well. Oh I also have to go out and use the weedeater to clear some areas for Silver to work on his project for out storm shelter/new well house/cold storage room. I might get to moving some dirt by the bucket right now as our wheel barrow needs a brand new tire the old one is destroyed.

This doesn't even count all the cooking I have to do throughout the day and the dish washing, and house cleaning. Then the constant check on the animals all day. Funny thing is all the intern needed to do daily was take care of my chickens (which includes random checks for eggs) chop fire wood and move dirt to the various spots around the property as well as get us some downed wood that we can use as kindling for the winter. Oh and also bring up the log segments that need chopping to the wood chopping area.

My complaint about the younger generation includes the discussion on what is a proper wake up time. I wake up at 5am every morning the kids go to school so I have an hour of work before they get up to do all the animal feedings then I can do everything that -needs- full light after they get up. This young man has issues waking up in the morning and for the whole time he has been here it has been a trial to get him out of bed in the early morning to work before the heat is too bad. Now there are two.. count them two stupid comments that go with this. First is “I'm tired”, duh you went to bed around midnight of course you are tired. The second is “I lived in Texas I know heat and humidity”. Uh huh, so why do you have an issue then with working in the day time after 10 am? The young man has a answer to that too it is “well I burn easy so I don't like to be out during the day”.

That just falls under the heading of really? We live on a homestead a small farm where there is never ending work. Generally the only breaks we get is in the night and sometimes when it rains (and only for any major project as long as the rain isn't days long). I swear do the younger generation just not think that people work hard all day ever? (btw what I mean by younger generation are teens through to 30 years as from my current experience they do the least work. I am sure there are exceptions to that rule.) I grew up in a middle class family where my dad was a welder and my mom was the daughter of a carpenter. My parents believed if we wanted something we had to work for it. I try to instill that in my kids but they also expect to just do fun things and work isn't important. Granted since going to boot camp as soon as I ask my son something he has jumped up to do it.

We have had 2 young men of the same age here within the last year to assist us and they both pretty much think that the highlight of the day is when they get to go play their games. Now both of these people wanted to come here and explore the woods surrounding our home. Neither have done so (hell the 30yr old hasn't either but shrugs), do the younger generation also have an issue with following through on something they say they will do too?

Well I better end my rant here as I have in a few minutes to go back to working, which maybe the issue is the younger ones think that word is a swear word?


Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

New Birds!

So last evening me Silver one of our interns and two of the kids went over to my rabbit person to catch as many of her chickens as we could get our hands on. We did this around sunset in the hopes of catching them roosting. From the looks it seems most are crosses of some kind. We now have a good number of roosters (I am going to be culling there and I am trying to decide which roosters to keep), there is a few young birds; who keep close together thankfully. One of the youngsters is a guinea fowl, she (I think) has a lame leg; seems to be twisted backwards. I am hoping as she grows she'll be able to walk ok so I can let her loose come next spring to eat bugs for us. We did get some turken's otherwise known as the “naked-necked chicken”. The two adults are roosters and seems we have two young ones of indeterminate sex. I am hoping for at least one hen in there as I want the size of those birds added to my flock. So if we don't have a hen I might be keeping one of those roosters as they seem very vigorous in mating with hens from watching them for a few minutes this morning.

I was also offered to take the one homing pigeon she has. Seems at one point she had more and the rest flew off and left this one female by herself. We are thinking of taking her, we just need to make her a house. I was thinking of buying a couple more to raise as squab maybe, though the birds seem very pricey to buy. Lowest I saw was $50 a bird and that did not count shipping. I'll have to see what I can about getting a few more somewhere down the line.

The guinea isn't the only one with a foot issue it seems either. There is a hen who is missing at least her claws, and a white rooster who walks decidedly oddly like one of his feet don't work right. The woman said the guinea is due to her incubator, that is possible I imagine; I will have to see when we use it. Granted Silver is thinking of rebuilding it so it might not be an issue at all for us. I plan on checking on everybody a few times today to see how they interact to help me decide which roosters to keep around for my ladies. I also have a few that I am still trying to see if they are hens or roosters, as I learned when I had just the Rhode Island Reds and Jersey Giants that the hens sometimes get big combs. So that's it for now, I wish I had a -working- camera so I could snap some pics but that is one expense I can't afford right now.


BE Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"Green" Ideals

Now recently I was asked what my stance on being 'green' was as I do -want- to have a green homestead.  I thought about what this person had asked me and I gave them a simple answer.  I believe in the ideals of a 'green' lifestyle and keeping the world 'green', however I live in the real world.  The full explanation there is semi involved.

Garbage.. the Big "G" word.  Garbage is an issue no matter where you live, a homestead is no different.  No matter how you live you have to deal with some garbage and trash on a daily basis.  I -unfortunately- have a trash pile, which I do plan of "taking care of" eventually.  I have burned trash, it tends to lower the amount of solid trash you need to do 'something' with down to an easier level.  Modern day gives us so many things that require disposal of some point/kind.  Not every place has recycling either and if there is a place that offers it you have to look at the cost to you in gas/petrol to get to and from the facility.  I firmly believe people should have to personally find ways to deal with their own trash issues as, until you have to for a period of time; you have no idea how much of it you generate.

Building, ... hmmm there are many 'green' building methods out there but let us analyse a couple of them for a minute.  Cordwood is a wonderful building method and is purported as a 'green' building method.  Well, -if- you have softwoods growing on your property and don't mind doing some clear cutting for the most part it can be.  Otherwise you need to figure out the carbon footprint of getting the wood for the construction of that home/shed/whatever.  Then you have what you need yo seal the log ends so they won't rot over time.  Oh yes, then the roofing materials and all those windows you want on your house.  After a while the carbon cost is up there (not to mention the cost in money to you).  Strawbale houses, again a 'green' method, but unless you have acres of straw growing on your property and you are baling it by hand after cutting and drying it; figure the fuel cost there.  You also have to cover the straw bales as well after the fact to keep them from rotting away.  Then if you aren't growing the straw yourself you have to have it trucked in.  So the cost in carbon is still kinda high.  If you want a low carbon cost house build one out of cob, cob you have made totally on your own property.  I am personally going to be building concrete dome houses here as we live in a tornado zone and near the New Madrid fault line, so I need to think about both of those factors in a permanent building.

Free Ranging Chickens..., ok I can see why this is such a 'green' method.  However, for me it has issues big time.  The one time I tried free ranging chickens they ate my garden to the ground and what they did not eat they trampled.  I have less damage from deer grazing through my garden and I don't wish to box my garden in when it's easier for me and my disabled partner to get in and out of the garden without a boxed fence around it ('boxed' as chickens can/do fly).  So I give my chickens a large yard and all the food either in grain ration or cut greens/bugs/table scraps they can eat and  I get eggs from very happy birds.


Now for me 'green' principles are extremely hard to do when you are low income and pretty much have a small amount in that income to purchase they things you need to take care of your day to day life.  We are low income and my partner is disabled ( former military and federal) we get money once a month to cover all bills and what we do need to buy and what we can buy extra for around here.  (btw for the one person who once said I needed to get a 'real' job and stop  playing.  I spend my day caring for my disabled partner and taking care of our homestead doing 90% of the work here)  We have learned a while ago that while we like the "idea" of living green we have to determine which is more necessary.  Sometimes not being 'green' wins out due to the cost in it verses what we need to have for us or the kids here.

Maybe one of these days I will be able to be as 'green' as I'd like to be, but till then I look for the balance I can work with.  We eat as much food we grow ourselves as we can.  I compost or feed to the chickens as much of our 'leftovers'.. or paper too; that we can do.  The rest is tossed onto the pile.  We reduce the amount of lighting we use to a lot of the cheapy solar garden lights except where we need "full light" for a job.  We cut all our own firewood, and eventually we are converting to rocket mass heaters.

So for now that is it, I hope this helps people understand me a bit more.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Long Over Due Update!

I know I have not written anything in some time on here, partly due to money issues and partly due to just being busy. At this time we have 2 interns staying with us, both are here either because they want to learn about how we live or because they want to live like this and wanted an easy way to get a start. One of them is our current mode of transportation as our van is officially dead. We are planning on turning it into storage and using the oh so comfy seats in the house (honestly they are -very- comfortable). The same one who has the vehicle is also working at a town job 4 days a week to help out a bit and to assist in getting them out of the debt issues they have.

As for what is directly going on here, well first our money situation is starting to turn itself around (btw my dear friend whom we got the water tanks from payback is coming to you in a couple weeks fingers crossed). We acquired some more goats, an adult and 4 babies.. 3 of them however did not make it. It's a learning experience as one died due tot he fact that it seemed to have been sick when we picked it up. The other 2 shrugs I am not sure what got them though I suspect bloat got one of them. However we have our started herd of milk/meat goats.

We also got a new -small- flock of just hens, they aren't producing the amount of eggs I wish they were but again, it's building and the point is to make it till spring when we buy a new flock. I have 2 rabbits at the moment for our meat production. (Oh for those of you who whine about “don't hurt the cute bunny!” Let me tell you that -cute- bunny has teeth and claws and can hurt you and have you ever seen a cow that is raised on a farm and has good feed, plenty of land to graze one? They are adorable, so if you think the cute bunny shouldn't be hurt .. don't eat the cute cow). I have contact with someone local who is going to sell me a good breeding stock on bunnies so that for us is a big plus.

Our garden this year has been doing 100X's better than we have had before due to my new garden beds. I even pickled some cucumbers the other day. I am still trying to get enough tomatoes to can so I can do sauces and have chili fixings for all winter. I managed to pull 1 melon so far out of my garden, I think I still need to tinker a bit to get good big melons from my beds.

Our second intern is a young man, who has spent most of his life living in the city playing video games and living the life of the average city kid these days. He's been chopping and hauling wood for about 3 weeks now interspersed with some dirt hauling. He is -just- starting to gain some muscle on his arms. Yes, we are still working on our winter wood. We got a chain saw this spring that after 2 days of work died, and when we took it back we needed the refund for bills so the new chainsaw got put on the back burner till we could afford it. We just got a new one and we are trying to get enough wood put up for this winter. We have 2 buildings to heat this year, so we have 2 wood burners to feed all winter.

The kids head back to school tomorrow morning, so they are excited; as are we as we get quiet then. We'll even get more work done as we won't be chasing them around to get the jobs they need done completed. Oh for those of you who know me on FB, I really don't go in there anymore unless there is something I feel is important enough to get out to -everybody-, I am not even sending links to this blog there anymore. For me FB has become a bit of a joke and I just don't see the point in it anymore.

I cannot guarantee I will keep things major-ly up to date as we have tons of things going on around here and I had a free moment and someone locally asked I update the blog as they feel what we are doing would interest a good deal of people out there. I am honestly not sure how true that is as from the bit of lurking I do have time for online I don't see much activity of this kind out there anymore. It is like homesteading in the woods -was- a fad that is now over with. I might be wrong, but I don't see much in the way of people being interested in it at this point.

Example, we had another person here for about 3 months. Boy, was it a failure; this young man thought that life here would be a breeze. As whenever he was online we tended to be as well to chat with him. What you don't wind up seeing is this young man stays up till 3 am and doesn't wake up till about noon. By noon we have our morning chores done and in the spring we don't work 100% of the day any more than the rest of the year. However there are times we come very close to it. He moved down here supposedly to assist us and as he needed a place to live. He after a couple of times flatly refused to do any work as quote”my back hurts too much for that”. Now anyone who reads this blog knows that my partner Silver is disabled, he has a bad knee and suffers from RA horribly. Some days he can't even get out of bed it can be so bad. So we have a 19 yr old young man who can barely lift a shovel to move some dirt because his back hurts. However when we suggested he see a doctor he refused to do that. So after a while of that and him wasting our food we sent him away.

I had at one time a person who looked at my blog and told me that what we do there had to be a lie because no one could live like that or do that much “stuff” in one day. It bothers me that (this person was under 30 btw) people younger than me think life is just about sitting in their chairs infront of a screen all day and walking to the car to go to work is hard exercise. Where has the work ethic of people gone?

Well that is about ti from here right now, hope everyone is well and healthy.


Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Snow Days ...Gods When Will it End...?

Firstly.. Sorry to not have written anything in a while. Life in general has been hectic here.

Now about Snow days... the first year we were hear we had sooo much fun with them. Seemed like every other week the school would cancel days on end. Well in the last 2 months aside from the normal time off they have had an additional 2 and a half weeks off. ...and last week it got ridiculous. The last couple days they had off there was no snow on the ground and one of them was a day it rained all day. I jokingly said on Facebook that it wasn't a snow day it was a “rain day”.

It was so bad that back on Monday I joked about the fact they'll call school off on account of heat... as it was in the 50's in January. The intense cold did give us a minor problem. Our pipes froze, just one segment and it was the important one. The outside pipe leading to the house from the well. So instead of waiting for thaw we just went out and bought some PEX pipe and re ran it.

On the pigs we were going to get... Seems they died in the cold we had along with the goats these people owned. Now my only problem with this is that we own 1 goat. She lives in a shelter made of tarps, concrete board and some rolled roofing. Theirs had a post beam structure and 3 goats in total. I'd think the three goats would be able to keep each other warm. While the only help my goat had was hock deep straw and my daughter's blanket. Shrugs

We got our van which was out of commission working again. Spent over $300 on the repairs till we replaced the right thing. Funny thing is everything we replaced needed it, but wasn't the problem till we got to the final one. It was the MAP sensor something that costs $40. Well at least we now have a new...

Fuel pump

Fuel filter

Distributor cap

ECM

Spark Plugs

Spark Plug Cables

..so we know if something else happens they won't be those.

My son gets to go on his first maneuvers with the National Guard next weekend, hope he enjoys it. Right now all we are currently doing is making plans for the building we are going to do. The house is low on the list, have so many other things we need doing first. Well house, outdoor kitchen, layer house/yard, goat house/yard, pig pen (as we are planning on trying for some other pot bellied s).

Well That's it for Now.


Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pot Bellied Pig info

Well since Sunday I've been searching online for info on raising pot bellied pigs for meat. Well, oddly... there isn't much info on it. The most of the info online about pot bellied pigs is on the “pet” trade for them. The only places where they even mention it tend to be online forums. So I went around and posted pretty much the same question to all of them.

“I'm getting 5 pot bellied pigs, once I can buy and set up the fencing for it. However I'm not finding much about how to care for them. I'd like to know some basic info about care.”

Well, I've had a few responses. A lot say DON'T it's too fatty that it's only good for lard. Also that you don't get much from them. I expected with a small pig you wouldn't get much, small pig; small meat. Now the ones saying it's only got for lard have from the responses only butchered one pig and it was one they bought at what they considered proper weight.

Now aside from the ones who wanted to know more as well there were a few that raise pot bellied pigs normally who have ALL said... “..if you are getting a large amount of lard then the hog is OVERWEIGHT.” Seems that a pot bellied pig NEEDS to be a bit on the “trim” side. Also every one of these regular raisers of them have said they prefer to butcher them a bit on the old side. As in older than most would butcher a typical hog.

They have all said you will get mostly sausage out of them. Though you will get some small hams. That is fine by me, though I am thinking of trying to get some chops out of them. I am not expecting to get roasts out of them at all.

That's what I have learned at the moment. If/when I learn more I'll pass it on!


Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Monday, November 18, 2013

Free is Always Good

Well yesterday was an interesting day for us here. A year ago, I believe we cleared (not completely left some nice oak trees) for a pig enclosure. Then me and Silver were discussing it and decided we didn't want the hassle of a full sized pig, as they can be dangerous and require really good fencing here. As if they get “away” from you you WILL be fined. Wild hog (read a feral) is a problem in this state.

Well yesterday our neighbors from down the road came over and asked us if we might be interested in some Pot bellied pigs. 5 of them for free. Well, pot bellied pigs don't get very big and while they still need sturdy fencing.. and “rooting under” fencing their requirements are about what a goat needs aside from height. While the goat may jump a 3 foot fence the little piggy won't. So we are going to go out and buy some fencing and set up a pig enclosure in about 2 weeks then we will be the proud owner of a small herd of pot bellied pigs. 2 adult sows.. 2 young-uns.. and one boar.

Also these same neighbors were looking at Momma and said, “you know, We have a horny goat at home how about you bring her by and we'll see if we can't get her pregnant.” Yeah on 2 counts! So Momma is over visiting a right handsome fella right now and hopefully we'll get something out of that.

I've been up before the sun this morning making bread and feeding everybody else. I even have some laundry going.. and we'll see what today might bring us.


Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...