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Prepping plans for 2015

At the start of each new year I like to look back, see what worked and what did not work.  Then take this knowledge and apply it to my plans for the next year.

Twenty fourteen was a heck of a year.  It was the first full year my wife and I spent on the farm.  A lot of what I learned was about fence building, chickens and chicken predators.  A lot of that information has been covered in previous articles and youtube videos.  So I am not going into a lot of depth on those repeated issues.

What worked

While building the new chicken yard I used culled telephone post for corner post.  This worked out very well, especially if you have access to an auger.  Digging a 10 – 11 inch hold through clay with posthole diggers is not my idea of fun, but it worked.

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Installing Tech-Sight TSR200 on a Ruger 10/22

The Ruger 10/22 is an amazing rifle. However, if there is one part on the Ruger 10/22 that needs improving, it is the sights. If you want to be kind, we can say the factory sights are of a poor design. If we want to be honest, the factory sights are terrible.

The rear sight has these little bitty small screws that the head will break in half. Shortly after I bought my Ruger 10/22 in 1986 I tried to adjust the rear sight for elevation. The head on the screw broke in half. This also happened to a buddy of mine. He bought his Ruger 10/22 shortly after I did, tried to adjust for elevation, screw head broke.

I do not know when it happened, but the other sight screw fell out. Good luck finding a replacement.

Even though the Ruger 10/22 is a great rifle, the factory sights leave a lot to be desired. To fix this problem I bought the TSR-200 Tech-sight for my rifle.

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Starting a new phase in life

I feel like I am starting a new phase in life. Here I am at 46 years old (almost 47), finished paying my child support almost a year ago and starting a new career. Is this how life is supposed to work?

When I finished high school in 1986 my fiance’s grandfather helped me get a job at a welding shop in southeast Texas.  The pay was pretty bad, but at least I was learning something.  From 1986 – 1999 I bounced around various welding shops hoping the pay and benefits would get better, but they never did.

1995 I went to Lamar College in Port Arthur for a degree in computer information systems.  Working a full time job, being a parent, being a husband and going to college takes dedication.

1999 – 2000 my life fell apart.  I lost my job due to the company making poor decisions.  It sure is funny how the CEO make make terrible decisions and everyone else has to pay the price.  Then in 2000 my wife of 14 years filed for divorce.  In all honesty I was tired of her screaming, fit-throwing and refusing to control her spending.  In the long run divorcing her was probably the best thing that happened to me.  But it would take years to make progress in my life.

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Starting a new career

A few months ago a buddy of mine and I were talking about life, jobs, careers when I mentioned I was tired of the 8 – 5 grind. I expressed how tired I was of doing the same thing day after day. My buddy suggested a look into getting a job in the tugboat industry. You live on the boat, have chances for upward mobility, experience opens some rewarding career paths.

I got my TWIC card and physical then sent off for my Merchant Mariner Credential.

Then came the bad news, jobs in the tugboat industry are highly sought after. Being entry level makes things that much worse. Like all other industries tug companies want to high people with experience.

After 6 months of looking I was lucky to find an outfit willing to give me a chance.

I am 46 years old. I have at least another 20 years before I retire. This gives me enough time for another career and enough time to make some money before retirement.

This is a random video of a tugboat.  What tands out is at around 3 minutes into the video the sun goes down, then you see the lights of the tug against the city lights, with the American flag flying high.

Chicken flock update November 24 2014

Since we got the new chicken yard built losses have greatly reduced. In the original yard the chickens were either bored, cramped, or just wanted to forage. They would jump over the fence, get out of the yard and either the dogs or some other predator would get them.

The original chicken yard is 35 feet wide X 75 feet long.

The new chicken yard is 100 feet wide X 200 feet long.

The original chicken house is 6 feet X 8 feet.

The new chicken house is 16 feet X 16 feet.

Part of my chicken flock on Chicken flock November 23, 2014.

In the picture left to right:

  • Golden Laced Wyandotte rooster
  • Barred Rock
  • Jersey Giant
  • Rhode Island Red
  • Barred Rock
  • Rhode Island Red
  • Barred Rock

Chicken flock November 23 2014

Planting Loblolly and Longleaf seeds

When settlers moved into the southern portion of the United States they were greeted by vast forest of Longleaf and Loblolly pine trees.  These were majestic trees reaching heights of over 100 feet tall.

Human greed knows no ends.  Vast tracts of virgin timber were cut down with no regard to conservation or the effects upon wildlife.  By the time the 1930s arrived the Southeast Texas wild Turkey and Whitetail Deer were pretty much extinct.  Because their populations had been decimated, turkey and deer had to be reintroduced to regions of Southeast Texas.

The Red-cockaded woodpecker which nest exclusively in Longleaf pine trees was almost made extinct by deforestation.  The woodpecker covers less than 1% of its original territory.

What lessons did we learn from deforestation and habitat destruction?  Not much.  Timber companies still cut down old growth oak trees to make way for pine plantations.  Thousands of acres are clear cut and replanted in fast growing hybrid pine trees.  Old growth forest are gone forever, or are they?

One of my projects here on the farm is to restore a few acres for old growth oak and pine trees.

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2014 midterm elections

It is all over but the crying.  Democrats lost, Republicans won.

What amazes me is the total deflection by the Democrats.  As far as some of the Democrats are concerned, they lost because of some made up reason.  According to an article on HotAir, Obama blames his own party for their losses.  According to the article Democrats were fighting an uphill battle to start with.

Yes democrats were fighting an uphill battle, because of all the lying obama has done.  Where the help for college students?  Where is our health care that cost as much as a cell phone bill?  Where are the jobs?  Where is all the stuff we were promised?  They were lies, all lies.

The leader of the Democratic party is not even willing to take partial responsibility for the election results.  Maybe, just maybe, people walking out on obama should have tipped him off on how the election was going to end up.

Your own party members and your voters do not want to associate with you.  Then you blame your own party for losing the election?  Wow, just wow.

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Little past middle age

At 46 years old I consider myself a little past middle age.  That is unless I live to be at least 92 years old.  So who knows, I might not even be at middle age yet.

Even at such a young age I look back and realize how much water has gone under the bridge.  I wonder how I will feel when I am in my 60s or even 70s, that is if I live that long.

I often wonder how my mom and dad feel about how much things have changed in their lifetime?  My dad did not get electricity and running water until he was somewhere around 6 years old.  What is it like going from kerosene lamps and an outhouse to computers and the internet?

The past 19 years, from 1995 – 2014, humanity has made leaps and bounds with technology.  We went from dial-up internet to smart phones in less than a generation.  I look forward to what scientist will develop in the next 20 years.

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Support for gun control fading

Good news ladies and gentlemen.  The Independent Journal Review posted an article detailing how Americans are Getting Tired of Gun Control Pushes.

Support for more gun control is waning across all political parties, including liberals and democrats.  This should be common sense, gun control does not reduce violent crime. Criminals do not care about laws. Society should take the people who mental problems and ensure they receive help.

Democrats (from 79% to 71%)
Liberals (from 75% to 67%)
Women (from 69% 55%)
Republicans (from 39% to 29%)

If democrats and liberals want to reduce violent crime:

1. Open community colleges in low income housing areas. Make attendance mandatory for anyone living in public housing. Provide people on welfare with a clear path out of poverty.  Democrats however would rather keep people in poverty than provide them with a path out of poverty.  As long as people are poor and dependent on the government, they will continue to vote democrat.

When people lose hope of bettering themselves, they figure they have nothing to lose.  So what if they go out in a rain of gunfire, at least they get their name in the news.

We have to break the cycle of families spending generations in the welfare line.

2. Make mental health services free to the public, regardless of income levels. We as a society need to remove the stigma from mental health. If someone has a problem, society as a whole needs to address said problem.

In a capitalist society we are taught we either sink or swim.  You either work and provide for yourself, or you sink into poverty.

Mental illness and poverty are like oil and water, they do not go well with each other.  Those who need the help the most are unable to afford it.

3. End school bullying. Establish a national awareness program to end bullying.

The path is clear, we either address mental health and poverty, or we continue to deal with shootings like Sandy hook and Aurora Colorado.

The war on guns is pretty much over, except the crying that is.

Start of the Toyota Tacoma project

I have always wanted a truck project.  Something that I could rebuild, add some custom features, fix up and call my own.  When friends and family members come over I would tell them all about the truck, what I did to it, the attention to detail, and just brag on my accomplishment.

There is just something about working with my hands, getting sweating, dirty, greasy, and even bleed a little that makes me feel more like a man.

A few years ago I bought a 1981 Jeep CJ-5 that was supposed to be my project.  The Jeep was parked near a creek, there were some strong rains, the creek rose and water got into the motor and transmission.  Realizing that the jeep was going to need a complete new power train kinda bummed me out.

I pulled the jeep into a field and parked it there.  The plan is to build a pole barn over the Jeep and my wifes 1981 Toyota truck.  Then when the pole barn is built, maybe then continue working on it.

In April 2014 I ran across a great deal on a 1999 Toyota Tacoma 4×4.  The truck had been abused like a redheaded step child.  A tree limb had gone through the front windshield, a front tire was off the rim, gears stripped in the rear end and a front end hub was stripped.  In short, the truck was going to take a “lot” of time and effort.  It just so happened time was something the previous owner was short on.

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Took a look in the mirror

I took a long look in the mirror and did not like what I saw. What bothers me the most is how I have let myself go physically. Being overweight was never in my life plan. I never thought I would be out of shape and sitting at a desk job.

The sedentary lifestyle is one of the main reasons why I am looking for a new job. I am tired of sitting here.

In a way I am disgusted with myself. I put on so much weight and I feel like a pig.

Another reason I put on so much weight is I have a couple of beers before bedtime. The empty calories goes to the waistline.

Drinking was never in my life plan. I never drank when I was a teenager. I did not even drink in my early-20s. I did not start drinking until I was in my mid-20s. Why did I start drinking? I honestly do not know. What I do know is I regret the decision to start.

Drinking and weight gain was never in my life plans. When I was in my teenage years I wanted to live a clean lifestyle. My goal was to be smoking, tobacco, drinking and drug free. The only thing I stumbled on was the drinking. For about 2 weeks in high school I dipped, but I stopped when I realized I was getting addicted. I never smoked, not even once.

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Good guy with a gun

Remember when The NRA said ‘Only Thing That Stops A Bad Guy With A Gun Is A Good Guy With A Gun’ and the left we bat crap crazy?

The shooting in Canada proves just that. A good guy with a gun stopped a bad guy with minimal loss of life.

What is the left doing? They pretty much ignored how to stop mass shootings. Some terrorist starts shooting, have a few armed good guys around to put a swift end to the rampage.

Which would you rather have:

7 – 9 minute response time.

7 – 9 second response time

It is evident the leftist news sites are not interested in reporting the news. All they wish to do is push an agenda.

Mr Man has passed away

Kristy and I knew it was just a matter of time, but we held out hope.  We hoped that somehow Mr Man, Kristys Buff Orpington rooster would recover from his stroke.  We held out hope that one day he would be back on his feet protecting his girls.

That day will never come.

It started the morning of Sunday, July 27th.  Kristy and I walked out to the chicken yard to check on the flock.  We found Mr. Man laying on his side unable to walk.  We thought that he was suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke.  He was brought inside to cool off.  By Monday morning he had not improved.

He was not eating or drinking on his own.  So Kristy and I started giving him pedialyte, gerber baby food and water with a syringe, but with no needle.

After a few days of force feeding Mr Man seemed to regain some of his strength.   He was kept in the bathtub so his poop was easy to clean up.  By the end of the first week he started growing, however so weak he was.

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Farm update October 19 2014

Things are moving along nicely, but there is always some kind of setback.

When my wife and I moved to the farm I seriously underestimated the time and effort needed to get things up and running. When we moved here in August of 2013 my main goal was to get the small chicken yard built, get the septic system put down, get the water working, then get ready for winter. Winter of 2013 – 2014 here in southeast Texas was rather harsh, by our standards anyway.

Spring 2014 started out with around 18 – 20 new chicks. Things were looking up, then then it went to hell. My wife and I moved to the farm with 13 hens. We lost all of the new chicks to various predators. When the new chickens were moved to the new chicken yard, a couple of Rhode Island Reds kept jumping the fence. My dogs ended up killing those two Rhode Island Reds.

The good news, things are on the upswing.

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Thoughts on ebola

As Bane said in Dark Knight Rises, “Now is not the time for fear, that comes later.”

There have been two cases in Texas and as of this posting there have been reports of possible cases at LAX and Boston. Unless you have face-to-face contact with someone with ebola, chances are you have nothing to worry about.

The problem is we as a nation have forgot what it is like to have an infectious agent in our mist. Small pox, measles, mumps and polio are a thing of the past. For the most part diseases like ebola a problem for the rest of the world, but not anymore. Ebola is here and now, and we have to deal with it.

Time will tell if ebola can get a foothold in the United States. Due to our healthcare protocols the cards are stacked against ebola. The United States with localized health departments and the CDC are an uphill battle for the disease. South and central America is another story. Worse case situation, ebola gets a foothold in Central America, mutates, becomes airborne and moves across the border into one of the border states.

We need to pay attention to the current situation, but let’s not panic. I see no reason to buy 10,000 n-95 facemask or 1,000 gallons of bleach.

If ebola does get a foothold there will be plenty of time to panic, but now is not the time.

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