Recent Survivalist Forum Threads
Recent PerfectUnion Forum Threads

Farm update beans figs and potatoes

The season of plenty is upon us. On Saturday June 14, 2014 the grandkids, my wife and I dug 4 1/2 bushels of potatoes, beans are doing good, fig trees have figs on them.

Here in southeast Texas we had an unusually cold and wet winter. We got snow 4 times this year. One of the storms blanketed the farm with 3 inches of snow.

Around 1964 there was a storm that dumped 2 feet of snow in southeast Texas. My dad remembered having to get the chickens out of the snow and put them in the chicken house for the night.  Nobody I talked to remembers a winter like what we experienced here in Southeast Texas in 2013 – 2014.

Because of the cold wet weather I postponed planting potatoes for a couple of weeks. Instead of planting in mid-February we planted in early March. This meant the potatoes would be ready to dig later. Instead of mid-late May, the potatoes were ready in early-mid June.

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Storing potatoes

How do you store potatoes?  So far this year the potato harvest has gone well.   I have probably gotten close to 3 bushels, and that has not even made a big dent in the garden.

If you had a shed or a barn, you could put down a layer of hay, layer of potatoes, layer of hay, layer of potatoes,,,, until all the potatoes are covered with hay.

Space the potatoes so that they are not stacked on top of each other.  The spacing allows airflow and will help prevent potato rot.

The layers of hay add a cushion between the potatoes and will help prevent rot.

  • Keep the potatoes out of direct sunlight.  It is ok to put them in the sun for a little while.  But do not leave potatoes in direct sunlight all day.  Sunlight releases a toxin in the potato, which will turn the potato green.
  • Be careful when harvesting potatoes as to not bruise them.
  • Do not wash the potatoes, just wipe the heavy dirt off.

Besides a shed or barn potatoes can also be stored in a bushel basket.

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Drying green beans

My first attempt at drying green beans. My wife and I planted 2 rows of beans, 1 row Roma II snap beans and 1 row contender snap beans. On Sunday June 1st I picked exactly 5 pounds of beans. I know it was 5 pounds because I used a scale.

My wife has been putting a bunch of the beans in the freezer, and we are going to can a bunch of them. To go along with the canning and frozen beans, I want to dry some using an old method of using a string.

Using sewing string for quilts I did one string of Roma II and one string of Contender bush bean.

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Digging potatoes

Nothing brings mankind closer to the earth than digging potatoes. There is a certain joy in working the soil, planting seeds, watching the plants grow, taking care of the plants, then harvesting the fruits of your labor. This is especially true with potatoes.

Digging potatoes like opening a present, you do not know what it is until you open the box. The same is true with potatoes. You do not know what is in the ground until you start digging.

There are other options besides digging potatoes by hand.

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Planning a new chicken yard

Before my wife and I moved to the farm, with the help of friends and family I we got a 75 feet long by 35 feet wide chicken yard.  With 2,625 square feet 100 chickens could fit in the yard and each chicken would have 26 square feet.  It is recommended that each chicken have at least 10 square feet in the yard.  That is double the minimum needed square feet, but there is little to no room for fig trees, blueberry trees,,,, or anything else.

It is time to build a new chicken yard.

The old yard is 75 feet X 25 feet.

The new yard will be 200 feet long, 100 feet wide on the back end and around 175 feet wide on the end where the chicken house is going to be.

The original chicken house is 6 feet wide X 8 feet long.

The new chicken house is going to be 18 feet wide and 20 feet long.

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Godzilla Review

A new Godzilla movie is out.  Having grown up in the 1970s and 1980s, and having seen more than my fair share of Godzilla movies, I had to go see this one.

When Godzilla came out in 1998 I took my two oldest sons to see it.  My second son wanted to go see this new one, so we went to 11:30 am showing at Tinsel town in Beaumont Texas.  It just so happened this showing was in 3d.

I usually give my movies a beer or whiskey rating.

If the movie is absolutely unbearable, I suggest you start drinking whiskey 30 – 45 minutes before the movie starts.

If the movie is great, I suggest beer or some other light drink so you can enjoy the movie.

While this new Godzilla is a LOT better than the 1998 version, it is not a great movie.  It is a good movie, well worth seeing, but it is not a great movie.

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Update on the chicken flock

When my wife and I moved to the farm in august 2013, we arrived with 13 hens.  The hens were a little over a year and a half old.  Those 13 hens were laying around 9 – 10 eggs a day.

With that 9 – 10 eggs a day I tried to estimate how many chickens and eggs my family would need during a long term SHTF situation.  In a previous article we got an estimated number of around 75 chickens or so to satisfy our egg and chicken meat production needs.

In the past 3 months something happened that has thrown a serious kink into my chicken flock plans.

Out of the original 13 hens, only 8 remain.

Out of the 24 chicks my wife and I bought in February 2014, only about 12 remain.

In other words, we have lost about 1/2 of our flock in the past few months.

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Toyota Tacoma Project

I have a new project to work on, and that project is a 1999 Toyota Tacoma 4-wheel drive.

A few weeks ago a buddy of mine and his wife invited my wife and I over to their house for a shrimp boil. While we enjoying good company and good food my buddy pointed out a Toyota Tacoma his daughters boyfriend had parked in the yard several months ago.

The Tacoma is in bad shape. A limb had fallen through the windshield, the rear end gears are stripped, the back brakes do not work and one of the front hubs is stripped.

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Disrespect for nature

Friday April 25, 2014 my daughter and I went fishing on the Angelina River here in Jasper Texas.  We left the house around 7:30am, went to the  Exxon gas station at the intersection of HWY 96 and HWY 190 for a bag of ice, went to the donut shop on HWY 190 then headed to Bevil Port.

For breakfast my daughter got a large kolache while I got a ham, egg and cheese croissant.  While at the donut shop I asked my daughter if she wanted a chocolate milk to drink.  She promptly replied she was not three years old anymore.  I smiled, gave her a hug, and told her something like “nope, you are not three years old anymore.”  Kids grow up so fast it seems time flies by.

The launch at Bevil Port was typical.  Pull the boat around, unstrap, make sure the plug is in, load tackle box, life jackets, 5 gallon bucket of noodles, then pull around and back the boat down.  The starter switch on the motor is going out, so I had to use the pull rope to crank the motor.

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Lost a Rhode Island Red

Monday April 21 one of my best Rhode Island Red hens got out of the chicken yard and the puppies tried playing with her. Lets just say things did not turn out too well.

A couple of weeks ago the puppies tried playing with the same hen. A lot of the feathers on her neck were pulled out. Besides a couple of small bite marks she was otherwise ok. It looked like she was going to make a full recovery. Then Monday came along.

After my wife and I got home from work I opened the chicken yard for the chickens to free range until dark. The puppies were roaming free while the chickens were in their yard.

Maybe around 6:30 or so I opened the chicken house and that is when I saw her. She was in the nest with a broody Australorp. I knew right then something was wrong. She was missing feathers around her vent and she acted scared.

I picked her up out of the box and that was when reality set in. She was more than just scared, she was missing chunks of flesh under one of her wings and around her vent. I am going to guess she jumped over the fence of the chicken yard. The puppies saw her and and tried to play. Chickens just are not as durable as puppies.

The only reason why the hen was not pout down right then was because she had certain traits that I wanted to breed her for. Anytime the flock was out foraging she was leading the pack. She was not a follower, she was a leader. She was also my largest Rhode Island Red. I wanted those traits passed down to the next generation.

After dark I got some neosporin out of the first aid kit, got the hen off the perch, spread the neosporin all over her wounds, put her back on the perch and prayed for the best.

Tuesday April 22 my wife and I got home from work, went into the house, my wife looked out a back window and saw the Rhode Island red in the backyard just behind the chicken house. I walked out the backdoor, touched the chicken with my boot to confirm she was dead. Yep, she had been dead for awhile.

I went back inside the house, ate dinner, then buried her next to a newly planted grapefruit tree.

To make sure no varmints will dig her up I put several 3 inch thick cement pads over her grave. Hopefully she will rest in peace.

So long nugget, you will be missed.

Rhode Island Red

We need socialized higher education

What is the prohibitive factor slowing down progress? Besides greed.

Why do so few US citizens own their homes?

Why do we have widespread income inequality?

It all boils down to ease of access to higher education. Whether it is a skill trade such as welding and heavy equipment operation, or a professional such as being a doctor or lawyer, people need access to higher education.

A simple fix would be to socialize higher education. What the student pays would be based on their income and their parents income. For schools like Yale, Harvard, Brown, A&M,,, they would do a lottery system for applicants.

If a homeless person applies to Harvard and is drawn through the lottery, that person would attend school for free. That homeless person would be attending for free because the government would set the rates of the school.

No more profit drive higher education schools.

The patents registered to those schools would be licensed to students for free. This would ensure start-up companies have equal access to technology as already established companies.

Make professors and college workers federal employees. Their salary would be figured from the average income of their students. Professors would have a vested interested in how well the students are doing after they leave the school. If the students are not prepared for the real world, the professors pay will reflect that.

There would be no grants, no loans, no AA, no quotas,,, nothing but a balanced education for everyone.

No more rich parents buying their kids into the best colleges. Everyone will have a fair and equal access to higher education.

Without access to higher education the United States will continue to fall behind other first world nations.

For example, did you know more people in Romania, India, Russia and Poland own their homes than in the United States?

Romania leads the world in home ownership with 96.6%.

United States ranks 34th with only 65.2% owning their home.

SourceWikipedia List of countries by home ownership

Take a look at that list. More people in Bulgaria own their homes than in the United States. Somehow we are supposed to be a world leader? If we do not get more people into higher education, we are going to have the highest rate of homeless of any first world nation.

Our education system sucks.

A lot of it boils down to greed.

Lost spirit of freedom

During the battle of San Jacinto April 21, 1836 9 Texans died, compared to the 1,360 Mexicans who lost their lives. The fighting quickly went from rifles to hand-to-hand. As the Texans overwhelmed the Mexicans, the Mexicans fled into the swamps and marshes.

In the book The Raven: A Biography of Sam Houston, it is noted some of the Mexicans were screaming “Me no Alamo !” as Texans gave the Mexicans the same quarter that was shown at the Alamo and Goliad.

The battle only lasted about 18 minutes. But the slaughter continued for an hour or so after the main battle ended.

After Santa Anna was captured he was treated with the upmost respect by Sam Houston.

Sam was wounded during the battle and almost died from infection.

I feel that this kind of spirit is mostly dead. As Bain said in Dark Knight Rises, “victory has defeated you.” We have allowed ourselves to become weak and complacent.

Chances are the founding father would have revolted over an income tax, must less the federal reserve, gun control and various excessive taxation.

Americans have grown fat and lazy. We no longer care about freedom, but instead are content in our subjugation.

Remember the Boston Tea Party we learned about in school? How would the founding father have felt about all the taxes we have to pay now?

Property tax
School tax
Income tax
Fuel tax
Sales tax
Inheritance tax
And now we have to buy health insurance or pay a fine.

We need to pause for a minute and ask ourselves what this nation is coming to.

I George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Sam Houston were alive today, would they be happy with the way the nation turned out?

I suspect that yes, they would be happy about a lot of stuff. Jefferson was a proponent of education. Having a free public school system would probably make him very proud.

On the other hand, the amount of taxation we live under would have pissed the founding fathers off.

How is our current state any different than the serfdom in medieval Europe?

You either pay a fee to the lord (in this case the government) or you are kicked off the property. The concept of true property ownership is a thing of the past. The government has told us what we must pay every year to keep our property and to stay out of prison. We are supposed to call that freedom?

Where are the leaders like Sam Houston? Not as in armed revolt, but as in standing up to the government?

I think a lot of it boils down to the voters.

After the bank bailout my local federal representative was only opposed by a libertarian. Did the people of southeast Texas vote Kevin Brady out of office? Nope. Even though he voted for the bank bailout the people returned him to office.

I feel the people have been in a vicious cycle for the past 100+ years of returning people to office over and over.

We say we want change in Washington, but the same people are voted back in year after year. When someone steps forward and says they will bring about real change, such as the Libertarian Party, the people turn their back.

How are the people supposed to change the course of government when the same elected officials are returned to office decade after decade?

One of my Silver Laced Wyandottes died

The day start out as any other.  I woke up, threw some clothes on and went out to the chicken house to let the chickens out.  This has been my daily routine for 2 years.

Today was different.  When I opened the door, one of my Silver Laced Wyandottes was laying on the floor dead.  I opened the door to let the chickens out, then grabbed the Silver Laced Wyandotte to get it out of the chicken house.  The body was cold and rigor mortis had set in.

A couple of days ago something killed one of my Black Jersey Giants.  That is two of my full grown hens who were 2 years old have either died or been killed. That sucks.  It really sucks.  These hens were in their prime years, spring is here, egg production is picking back up and bam out of nowhere this Silver Laced Wyandotte dies out of nowhere.

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My chickens are being killed

Something is killing my chickens. In the past 2 weeks my wife and I have lost 3 chickens. Overall we have lost something like 5 or 6 chickens.

1 Speckled Sussex about a year and a half old
1 Rhode Island Red about a year and a half old
1 Barred rock pullet about 6 – 7 weeks old
1 Australorp pullet about 6 – 7 weeks old
1 Black Jersey Giant about a year and a half old

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Walls fall out

Have you ever seen something that is so gross, but yet so stimulating that you can not turn away?

That is what walls fall out is like. Walls fallout has been called a prolapse awareness video, but it is so much more than that.

Its like a parasite that eats into your brain and you can not get it out.

After you finish watching it, you will feel like ripping your eyeballs out in a fit of rage. Then feel like shoving your eyes back in you you can watch the video again.

You will be screaming at the monitor, “what the hell am I watching, but why can’t I turn it off!!!!!!!”

Be afraid, be very afraid.