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Category: Homesteading

Farming Gardening and Homesteading

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….

Developing self-sustainable farm more difficult than expected

When I moved to the farm almost 3 years ago I thought this was going to be easy.  Build a nice chicken yard, build a chicken house, plant some fruit trees, and things will be off and running.  Then I can work on the pole barn, barn, and fence in a few acres for goats and cattle. Lets just say things have not been going as planned. Fruit trees have been a failure Either from disease, drought, drowned from too much rain,,,, whatever the reason, my fruit tree project has not gone anywhere near as expected. A plum tree my kids and I planted several years ago died.  A second plum tree is not doing anything.  It is not even hardly growing. Peach trees are Continue Reading….

Best friend after SHTF

Awhile back someone posted a comment on one my youtube videos saying the hoe will be your best friend after SHTF. This got me to thinking about how important certain types of survival gear were over other types. Can you use an AR-15 or AK-47 to till a garden? Plow a field? Bushhog? Operate an auger to set fence post? Clear brush? Weed a garden? Pick the crops? Can the harvest? Who is your very best friend? The hoe and the rake. They have proven then test of time. Our ancestors used garden tools thousands of years before firearms were ever thought of. Garden tools have no moving parts – no locking lugs, no bolt carrier, no firing pin, no ammunition, nothing to run out Continue Reading….

How many seeds should you stockpile

When it comes to stockpiling seeds we have discussed the topic in depth. Something that has been overlooked is how many seeds should you stockpile? I have come up with a simple formula and would like to know what yall think. How many seeds do you normally plant to obtain X amount of harvest? Lets say you plant 1 pound of snap beans or purple hull peas. With that one pound and a certain amount of fertilizer you have an idea of how much of a harvest you will get. How many people are planning on using your place as a long term bug out location? Or, are you planning to going to a rural farm? In other words are you bugging in or bugging Continue Reading….

Chickens are their own worst enemy

Chickens would be great farm animals for SHTF if they were not so stupid.  The honest truth is they will find a way to get themselves killed. Build them a nice cage and they will find a way to get out. They will wander away from the flock and get killed. They will stay out to dusk, right when coyotes start looking for an easy meal. They will spill their water. They will crap in their food and water. They will crap in laying boxes. They will roost in high places so if they fall at night they will be hurt. They will eat stuff that makes them sick – free ranging eating weeds, rocks, pieces of glass, etc. They will free range out in Continue Reading….

Starting with guineas

Buying guineas was a little more difficult than I had expected. With chickens you just down to the local feed and fertilizer in the early spring and buy the chicks you want, or place an order with various websites that sell chicks online. With guineas you get on a waiting list at the local feed store, or get on a waiting list with a company that sells guineas online. My wife and I were on a waiting list at Ideal Poultry for between 2 – 3 months before we received our order of a dozen pearl guineas. Continue Reading….

Farm update June 9 2015

Things are moving along nicely, but rather slow.  The new chicken yard is working out well, the new chicken house is nearing completion, a large pen oak fell on the property so I need to cut that up, still need to clear fence rows for the cattle field, have not started on the pole barn, one of my newly planted fig trees may have died, the new pear tree might have drowned from all the rain,,,, just all kinds of stuff going on. Lets talk about target goals for surviving a post-SHTF world. Egg production My target goal for egg production that I think my family would need in a post-SHTF world is at least 2 dozen eggs a day. For my parents, my wife, Continue Reading….

Tis the season to plant fruit trees

Tis the season to plant.

So far this spring:
5 peach trees
1 pear tree
2 blueberry bushes

This makes a total of:
8 peach trees. Three of the older trees are rather small and not doing well. I might have to replant next spring if they do not make it. In all I am rather disappointed in how my peach trees are doing. Some of them have been in the ground for several years and do not seem to be growing.

3 pear trees. My third son and I planted a couple of pear trees several years ago and they are loaded with pears every year. In March of 2015 I planted another pear tree in the large chicken yard. Continue Reading….

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 and 200 feet long.

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

Continue Reading….

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. Continue Reading….

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. Continue Reading….

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