Rural Lifestyle Blog

Life in Rural America

Category: Homesteading

Farming Gardening and Homesteading

Starting With Solar Power

I finally bought a solar panel. In all honesty, I do not know why I waited so long for. It is a Nekteck 20 watt solar panel and I see this as a starting point for bigger and better things. Before I bought the solar panel I asked myself, what purpose will the panel serve? I decided to go with a foldable solar panel with USB outlets for recharging flashlights, AA batteries and radios.  Something to keep flashlights, lanterns and radios charged in a power outage.  For right now, the focus is being able to have light and staying up to date on news when the power goes out. The plan is to have two foldable solar panels – one for charging USB battery packs, Continue Reading….

Farm Progress February 2017

Tractor moving debris

Time for an update from the farm.

I had some heavy equipment brought out to the farm to move brush, limbs and tree tops. Things are looking up and progress has been made. There is still so much work to do. Small trees need to be be cleared, split and stored, then old fence has to be pulled up.

Hopefully in March I can start setting the first corner post. Maybe sometime this summer start running the first strands of fence. Continue Reading….

Starting Spring 2017 Garden

The weather in early 2017 has been unseasonably warm, so I decided to go ahead and start the spring garden a few weeks early.  I usually do not plant until after the Ides of March.  With everything blooming out early and daytime highs hitting the low 80s, I decided to start planting in late February. This garden will be special, as it uses decade old seeds.  I posted a video on youtube about stockpiling seeds and then shared the video on survivalistboards, twitter and reddit.  A couple of guys on reddit said made statements that seeds can not be saved. One comment was, Continue Reading….

Wildlife Habitat At Bug Out Location

A few weeks ago I walked around the property looking for squirrels.  There were a couple of locations that had perfect squirrel habitat, but there were no signs of squirrels being in the area.  There were no pine cones that had been tore apart, no half eaten acorns nor did I see any squirrels. As I followed a creek that runs along the back of the property, the timber transitioned from pine and oak to mostly oak and iron wood.  Iron wood is a tree that grows in the shade of larger trees.  It does not produce any kind of nut for squirrels or deer.  It is mostly used for its hard wood to make walking sticks and bows. Several years ago a lot of Continue Reading….

Starting Livestock Fence Project

2017 is the year I fence in several acres for livestock.  I have been talking about this for several years, and this year is when I take action to put the project into motion.

One of my favorite books about medieval life, which is Life in a Medieval Village by Frances and Joseph Gies, talks about how people valued small livestock.  Cattle were mainly for milk production, which was used to make cheese and butter.

In medieval times there was no way to preserve meat for long periods.  If a 500 pound cow was butchered, a large amount of meat would rot and go to waste.  Based on that, I am going to focus on small livestock and just a couple of cattle.


Continue Reading….

Log Splitter For The Farm

Landed a tractor powered log splitter for the farm. This is something I have wanted and needed for a very long time. An older gentleman had a log slitter he was no longer using. It had been left uncovered for so long the hoses and seal on the ram had dry rotted.

The splitter works with a pump that slips over the spline of the tractor PTO. The hoses going to and from the pump were dry rotted through and were leaking.

Continue Reading….

Spent day cleaning out chicken house

My chicken house is a mess.  About a year and a half ago I set up a water barrel system inside the chicken house.  It is a 35 gallon drum going to a stainless steel pan with a float.  The chickens have been getting on the drum and pooping all over the top of it.  When I fill the drum up chicken poop is all over the place. Then there is the metal trash can I store feed in.  It is next to the water barrel and close to a corner of the chicken house.  The chickens get into the corner and lay eggs, right where chickens get on the feed barrel and poop. There is barely any room between the feed can and the Continue Reading….

Building a Railroad Track Anvil

Homemade railroad track anvil

Rather than buying an anvil, I decided to build one out of a piece of track and tie plate I found in my grandfathers old barn. The barn is maybe 75 – 100 years old and has various pieces of farm equipment in and around it.

There are various examples on youtube of railroad track anvils. A lot of them involve drilling or cutting holes in the base of the track and then securing it to a stand. Why not weld the track to a tie plate, and then bolt them to a stand? Seems to me having a wider base of the tie plate would distribute pressure while beating on the track.

I wanted something besides your typical piece of railroad track welded, chained, or bolted to a stand. I wanted something that when people see it they say “that is cool”. I wanted something that was semi-portable. So that when I build my pole barn I can move the anvil and stand to the barn. Continue Reading….

Mama guinea with her keets

Guineafowl are loud, not as friendly as chickens, not very smart, but for some reason they are fun to have around the farm. In late summer of 2015 I got a dozen guineas along with some chicks. Over the course of the next few months 4 of the guineas went missing or died. I found one guinea chick dead from what I suspect was heat stroke. Guineas are not supposed to be good parents, and that may be true. What I am seeing with my guineas, the chicks have to keep up with the flock, kinda like sink or swim. While at the same time the flock protects the chicks. The guinea flock will run off any chicken that dares get close to the keets. Continue Reading….

Blacksmith Essentials

A buddy of mine has been talking about getting into blacksmithing. This got me to thinking, why not get into it myself? I have a poor mans anvil that has been laying around the farm. Awhile back a large hickory tree and large pin oak fell on the back of the property. I have the anvil and I have something solid to build the anvil stand out of, sections of a tree trunk. All I need to do now is put everything together and pick a few odds and ends. While looking through youtube I came across this video that discusses in great detail what is needed to get into blacksmithing. I like that the person making the video is not recommending top of the Continue Reading….

Farm welding basics

While bush hogging through some heavy brush the front of the tractor ran into a limb and broke a weld on the radiator guard. The brush guard frame is inch and a quarter angle iron with perforated steel making the actual guard. This is probably the second or third time the weld has broke. The weld itself is fine. The issue is the leverage put on the weld with the brush guard. My welding qualifications: 2 years experience structural steel welder. 12 years experience fabrication AMSE certified pressure vessels and shell and tube heat exchanges. I have been certified on carbon steel, chrome and stainless. I have experience fitting and working with Monel, Hastelloy, Inconel,,, and a few other alloys. The vessels and heat exchangers Continue Reading….

Splitting firewood with railroad spikes

A couple of months ago a water oak (pin oak) and a live oak fell on the back of the property. This has given me the chance to stockpile some much needed firewood. While I have all this freshly cut oak firewood, I decided to play around with some ideas. One of those ideas is splitting firewood with railroad spikes. If someone does not have a splitting maul, 8 pound sledge or wedges laying around, what about railroad spikes? Railroad spikes are somewhat easy to obtain. Ebay is loaded with them, then there are the flea markets, and the vast number of them laying around old farms. In the early days of logging mills, narrow gauge tracks would be built out from the mill in Continue Reading….

Love respect and dignity for trees

A couple of months ago a couple of oak trees fell on the back of the property. At first I was going to do a video and article about stockpiling firewood. As the project progressed, I came to the realization that the trees were symbolic of what the world needed most – love, respect and dignity. If people would show everyone around them, everything, and the world itself those things things, everything would be better off. Our lives would be better, the world would be a better place, our families would be better, our children would be better,,, everything would be better. The tree I was working on in the video is a water oak (Quercus nigra), also called a pin oak. The other tree Continue Reading….

Modified railroad track anvil

Over the past month of or I have taken an interest in blacksmithing. One of my buddies has been talking about making knives and such. this got me to thinking about learning the basics of blacksmithing. Rather than spend a lot of money on an anvil I have been looking at various anvils made from railroad tracks, also known as the poor man anvil. While looking through youtube I came across this video about homemade railroad track anvils, which have had steel welded to the top and bottom. The larger anvil has a magnet on the side. One of the comments on youtube asked what kind of steel to use. The reply was AR500. One of the things I have been thinking about is how Continue Reading….

Homemade anvil with stand

Very nice video about a guy who finds a piece of steel at a local scrap yard.  The piece looks to be around 3 inches thick and the guy says it is 27 1/2 inches long. What makes the video so interesting is how he builds a wood base and frame around the piece of steel.  He starts out with some 2x6s and a rubber pad.  He builds a base made out of wood, puts the rubber pad under the piece of steel, then builds a wooden frame.  By the end of the video he has a very nice setup with slots to hold his hammers. What I would have liked to see is a frame that could be left outdoors, such as in a Continue Reading….

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