Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Barbecue Cook Out For a Family Reunion

Smoked barbecue chicken on a pit

For a Saturday the day started off early. Rather than sleeping late, I had to get the pit fired up and ready for the cook out. My family was having a family reunion which honored my aunt, uncle and my dad.

My contribution to the family reunion was 20 pounds of chicken and 7 pounds of sausage. However, to have everything ready on schedule I had to start the pit around 8 am Saturday morning.

The fire box on the smoker is 2 feet and 6 inches long. To start the fire I typically use a small bag of self-lighting charcoal, with wood stacked on top of the charcoal. The wood is stacked with two pieces long ways, and two pieces cross ways.

It is as simple as lighting the bag and letting the wood born down to coals. When the first pieces of wood have turned into coals, additional pieces of wood are added. Usually, two pieces of oak wood are added, each piece laying at 90 degrees to the other.

Enough about the wood, let’s talk about the chicken.

Ending the Chicken Manure as Fertilizer Experiment

Tomatoes grown with chicken manure experiment

One gardening experiment for 2018 was to take a field that had not been used for a couple of years, till in chicken manure using a garden tiller, then plant the crops.

How well would the crops grow? Would some types of crops do better than others?

After watching the experiment for close to two months, I think I have my answers. The experiment for this year has drawn to a close and 13-13-13 fertilizer was spread along the garden rows.

However, I feel part of the experiment should be repeated in the spring of 2019. The weather here in Southeast Texas was very wet between March – April, then very dry from April – May.

When the rain stopped in April, it stopped. It was like GOD turned off the water valve. We have not gotten a drop of rain in close to a month.

Starting the Chicken Manure Fertilizer Experiment

Transplanted Tomatoes and Planted Okra

Tomato and pepper plants in a home garden

The tomatoes that were planted a couple of months ago were root bound and had to be transplanted. While the tomatoes were being transplanted, I went ahead and planted the okra seeds we had germinated

Related article – How to germinate okra.

For those of you who do not know what root bound means; simply put, the pot is too small for the plant. The roots need more room than what the pot provides. The solution is to either transplant the plant into a larger pot, or plant the plant in the ground.

There were other issues:

  • The roots were getting too hot.
  • The pot was not holding enough moisture for the plants to grow.

Transplanting Tomatoes

Tips on Getting Okra Seeds to Germinate

Okra seeds

Okra is one of those wonderful and well rounded crops. It can be canned, boiled, fried, or used in recipes such as gumbo. As wonderful as okra is, it needs certain conditions for the seeds to sprout (aka germinate).

To help understand okra we need to look at where the crop originated from, and that is Africa. What would we expect a crop from Africa to need? If the reader guessed hot weather they are correct. Some theories suggest okra was brought to the United States during the slave trade, which would be feasible. On thing is for sure, okra is a mainstay in Louisiana cuisine, including gumbo recipes. If gumbo does not have okra in it, it is not real gumbo.

The old timers use to say, “Plant okra when all you need is a sheet to sleep with.” This was before modern air conditioning and people slept with their windows open. So when the weather warms up enough that all someone needs to cover up with is a sheet, it is time to plant okra.

Here in Southeast Texas, most people plant okra in early May.

After heat, the next thing okra needs is water. A lot of people I know soak their okra seeds in water before planting. Some people even add a couple drops of bleach to the water. I have never tried the bleach.

Soaking Okra Seeds

Been Working on the Boat for Summer Fishing

Boating on the Angelina River near Jasper, Texas

Something I dearly love about spring, but was skipped this year, and that is going out on the boat. In March and April we had something like six weeks straight where it rained every weekend. It seemed like as soon as the rain stopped, the heat started.

Here it is mid-May, and it seems summer has arrived with a vengeance. Here we are in mid-May and daytime temps are in the low 90s. Where did spring go? I thought we were suppose to ease into the summer heat. It seems like only a few days ago daytime temps were in the 70s. Then again, this is Texas.

For one reason or another I have been putting off working on the boat. Last time it was in the water was two years ago, which is a shame. In all honesty, I love being out on the water. It seems like in only 20 – 30 minutes someone can go back 10,000 years in time.

I usually put the boat in at the Bevil Port boat launch of hwy 63 just north of Jasper, Texas. Once the boat is in the water, I head south on the Angelina River to Bee Tree Slough. Bee Tree Slough seems like time rolls back to the stone age.

Summer Fishing

Leaving a Rat Snake in the Chicken House

Texas Rat Snake

This may seem counter-productive, but two rat snakes have been allowed to stay in the chicken house. Usually, if a rat snake (aka chicken snake) is caught in the chicken house, it is dealt with with extreme prejudice.

However, awhile back a good size rat was spotted in the chicken house. For those of you who do not know, one of the worst creatures that can be in the chicken house is a rat. Not only will they eat the chicken feed, but the will kill chickens. Yes, a rat will kill and eat part of a chicken.

When it comes to pullets, which are chickens less than one year old, a rat can easily kill and eat one. Then there is the egg issue. Rats will eat whatever eggs they can.

Simply put, a rat in the chicken house can wreck havoc.

A live trap was put in the chicken house to catch the rat, but it kept getting out of the trap. Poison is out of the question. Old style spring loaded rat traps are also out of the question. What’s the next best thing to do? Let nature take its course.

In other words, let rat snakes do what rat snakes do.

Rat Snake in the Chicken House

Trying Something New With The Fig Trees

Fig tree

Around 2014 several fig trees were planted in the chicken yard. Some of the fig trees died and had to be replanted. The original ones, and the new ones have barely grown.

One of the original trees has barely put on any growth in four years.

In the past I had tried stuff like Miracle Grow plant spikes, and some Miracle Grow plant food. All that stuff is is a low grade fertilizer. Nothing I tried with Miracle Grow spikes or plant food helped the fig trees.

For 2018 I decided to try something different. I picked up some 6-7-7 fertilizer and put a cup around the base of each tree. This was done right before a rain. To benefit the plants the fertilizer has to be worked, or washed, into the soil.

Fig Tree Fertilizer

There Is No War On The Poor

Kevin Felts on a hiking trip

One of the common fear mongering tactics Democrats love to use, is to tell low income people Republicans hate them. This creates a us versus them tactic that allows democrats to thrive.

Socialist Democrats go on to tell low income people how Republicans want to see poor people starve and have their benefits taken away. Again, all lies.

The only “war” going in is a war on laziness. Welfare should not be a career path. Nor should generations of families be raised on welfare. To get people off welfare, welfare should be as uncomfortable as possible. This means just the very bare basics.

Chances are, if someone qualifies for welfare, they qualify for free college through the local community college. If someone is in public housing, why aren’t they attending community college? The answer suggest they are to lazy to better themselves.

Democrats Are The Party Of Hate

Collecting Survival Books for a Well Rounded Survivalist Library

Survival books

There is a question in the forum asking about survival books. Since the question is posted in the wilderness survival section of the forum, I guess the question was about wilderness survival books.

Rather than addressing just wilderness survival books, let’s talk about survival books in general and developing a well rounded survivalist library.

My favorite books are non-fiction history books. Also, I have a collection of modern survival / prepping books from various authors.

I usually pick a topic, such as the black death, or medieval history, buy several books from Amazon, read them, then pick another topic.

Last Three Books I Read

  • Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell.
  • The Neanderthals Rediscovered by Dimitra Papgianni and Michael Morse.
  • Technology in the Ancient World by Henry Hodges.

Getting the Barbecue Pit Ready for a Cookout

Barbecue pit on a trailer with a smoker

The other day a buddy called and asked if I wanted to bring my barbecue pit to a get-together he was planning. The event will span two days and have around 100 people in attendance.

It had been awhile since I had got to use the barbecue pit to cook for a bunch of people, so of course I said yes.

Decades ago my parents had a camp house that used butane. They eventually swapped the stove and hot water heat out for propane, so the 250 gallon butane tank was pulled out to a field. In the late 2000s I asked dad whatever happened to that butane tank. He told me it had been sitting in a field for the past 25 years. I went out to the field, waded through the chest high grass, found the tank, and brought it home.

Over the course of several months my son and I, and sometimes one of my nephews put the pit together. The flat bar and expanded metal were bought from a steel supply in Beaumont, Texas. The fire box and smoker were made from a 250 gallon air tank.

When my buddy needed someone with a barbecue pit, who do you think he called?

However, there are a few things I want to do to the pit before the cookout.

Cleaning the Cooking Grills

What to Expect in the 2018 Midterm Elections

Kevin Felts political commentator

What can we expect to see in the 2018 midterm elections? Chances are democrats will be handed a stunning defeat in the 2018 midterm elections. Why? Because democrats have no platform.

Rather than addressing the economy and healthcare reform, democrats are focused solely on assassinating Trumps character.

Democrats have a chance to work with a president who wants to do what is best for the United States. He wants to address real health care reform. What are democrats doing? They are fighting him tooth and nail.

If a democrat president wanted to change the Affordable Health Care Act, democrats would be all for it. However, when a Republican wants to address healthcare, Democrats fight with everything they have.

President Trump has tried to work with democrats on various issues, and the democrats have refused. Bring the nation to a grinding halt is not going to help them in the 2018 midterm elections.

States Going Broke

Washed Out Roads In Rural Areas

Washed out roads in rural areas

Washed out roads in rural areas have the possibility of disrupting daily life for weeks, and sometimes for months.

One of the problems facing rural counties is the amount of tax money allocated to them for road maintenance and upgrades. Believe it or not, there are thousands of miles of dirt roads all over the United States. Rather than putting in bridges over creeks, culverts are used.

Well, culverts only allow X amount of water to pass through them. When the flow of water exceeds X, the water starts to back up. Eventually, the water will find a way around the culvert. This typically means the water goes over the road, which causes erosion.

With enough time, the flowing water erodes the road away.

Washed Out Roads

Wild Plum Crop Looking Good For 2018

Wild plums, the American Plum

The wild plum, also known as the American Plum, is a plum native to the Americas. It grows wild in sandy soil and is drought tolerant.

Here on the farm there is a batch of wild plums in a pasture and have been growing there for years. This year looks like they are going to produce a good crop.

I do not know if it was the harsh winter of 2017 – 2018, or the very sweet spring, but whatever happened, the wild plums here on the farm are doing pretty good.

Some of the trees have 5 or 6 plums on one branch.

There is a spot on the farm I want to cultivate more of these trees at. So when the plums ripen I am going to harvest the seeds and plant them where I want the other orchard at.

The only bad thing about wild plums is they need full sun. If they get shaded, chances are they will die back. Some pine trees grew up in the north side of the wild plum patch, and the plum trees around the pine trees have died.

2018 Spring Garden Has Been a Bust

Cajun Spicy Bell Peppers

The spring garden for 2018 has fallen flat on its face, and it is my fault. To fully understand what happened we need to back up a few years.

Several years ago I held a New Years bonfire. The bonfire was made from pieces of timber left over from cutting trees from the property. There was a large section of Sweet Gum, pine tree limbs… etc. piled up maybe eight feet tall. After the bonfire was lit, it burned for several days.

Once the New Years bonfire had finally died out, there was a pile of ash almost three feet tall and eight – ten feet across. The pile was so tall a tractor was used to level the pile out. Once the pile was leveled out, a tractor disk was used to mix the ash into the soil.

Fast forward a few years. I figured the ash had time to dissolve into the soil, but I may have been wrong.

What Does Potash Do?

Democrats Continue With The Russian Narrative

Kevin Felts political commentator

Democrats continue to play the Russian narrative. Meaning, they refuse to accept voters rejected the progressive ideas of the Democrat party.

Some recent events:

Rudy Giuliani may be joining the Trump team.

Democratic National Committee (DNC) sued President Trump and Wikileaks.

The DNC is claiming President Trump colluded with the Russians so Trump would win the 2016 presidential elections. However, President Trump has been investigated for almost two years, and so far no evidence has been found.

Some people may say, “No evidence “yet” has been found.” Consider this – After the Vegas shooting by Stephen Paddock, just hours after the shooting the FBI said there was no connection with the Islamic State.

It took the FBI just hours to clear Stephen Paddock of any connection to the Islamic State, yet President Trump has been under investigation for almost two years. So either the FBI was lying about Stephen Paddock and any ties to the Islamic State, or there the investigation in Trump and Russia is nothing more than a witch hunt.

Let’s take a few minutes and talk about why Democrats lost over 1,000 state seats between 2008 – 2016, and why they lost the 2016 Presidential Election.

Democrats Continue Blatant Racism

Page 1 of 10512345...102030...Last »
Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018 Frontier Theme