Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Can YA Believe I Got Back to the Fencing?

I didn't take any pics so I re-used one from this last Winter BUT I am back to work on the fencing project!!!

Currently I am working on the Northern half of the control paddock which some of you may remember is a little paddock off the side of the barn that will have gates into the barn lot, Ram Paddock number 2, the Horse pasture, the East Sheep pasture and the South Sheep pasture as well as a gate out into the front of the barn and access to a storage shed. So seven gates in total. Five of the gates are already hung and in use but I need to move the ram into the paddock for holding while I finish off the North side and then the North and West side of his new paddock.

Another words it's one of those do a little taking two step forwards then arrange stuff taking a step back. It's really very annoying to be honest but I am back to making headway and should with luck be able to move the ram into his temporary digs this week.

This part will also require me to make a shelter for the ram as the end result will cut him off from access to the barn. When it is all finished however I will be able to allow both rams access to whichever pasture the ewes and lambs are not using. Give them a chance to stretch their legs a bit more and act more Ram-like and pretend they are not shut up in a small paddock all the time and eat some real grass.

Of course the ewes, yearlings and lambs all had to come see what I was doing and sniff all my tools to see if they were edible. They even tasted a few things.

I also put up the 12 or so bales of hay that got wet before I could put them in the barn. Maybe 7 of them were getting some mold but I used them to finish up around the basement, fed the good stuff to the sheep and saved 2 bales back to scatter around the chicken coop area. Even when the hay gets ruined around here it is still usable for something worthwhile.

All I can say is I am celebrating the fact that this heat, rain and humidity has finally broke. Once again I feel like I am getting stuff done besides mowing every day. Speaking of which the grass hasn't stopped growing so I am going to have to start the mowing rotation again soon but at least I am getting some breathing room now.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Reading - Is The Prepping Movement Dying?

Eight or Nine years ago I noticed a huge uptick in the numbers of rural folks around here. Seemed like everyone was attempting to move into the country on a few acres of land, start a garden and raise a couple of goats. There was a new house, trailer or something being put in every quarter mile it seemed and many of the old land owners around here were parceling out all the property they had that faced the roads.

These days a few of these little pre-fab type houses are sitting empty. The trailers have been moved somewhere and the gardens are now overgrown mini-fields.

Perhaps this is just localized to my general area or something. It may even have something to do with the wet, humid terrible conditions we have had this Summer. Lord knows I have thought about throwing in the towel on many things this year it has been so tough and many things I kept up in previous years I have let go but I never thought about selling out and moving.

Prepping, or more to the point homesteading and sustaining is not a cheap endeavor especially in the short to mid term. Many fail to understand that what you are really doing is creating a savings account in many ways. These days sustainers are tasked with living in one world and preparing for another which has some real advantages but some pretty big disadvantages as well.

The main disadvantage that I think many people fail to consider is that we are often using non-sustainable resources and technology to create a homestead that can continue on it's own more or less once those resources are removed. As an example my use of older yet long term unsustainable tractors and implements. While in an extended grid down situation they would more than likely end up rusting away due to a parts or fuel shortage until such time arrives they are invaluable as tools to build and form things that will last long after inputs and resources are so easily obtained.

Bottom line maintenance costs seem to disillusion a number of small scale preppers and homesteaders I see around here. They focus so much on the upcoming long term they fail to account for the short and midterm emergencies that arrive and end up placing themselves in a financial bind before they can accomplish their goals.

Another disadvantage I have seen is an over reliance on current resource inputs that are not under the prepper's actual control. Most often this one, and I have witnessed it happening more than a few times over the recent years, boils down to one family member (usually the Husband) having a well paying job that he loses in this ever shrinking economy. This initially causes the first mentioned failure and then the entire house of cards falls apart.

As I have stated over and over. The largest single factor working against Sustainers and homesteaders today is the fact that we must live in two worlds until one (the current world) releases it's grip far enough that we are forced to move totally into the other.

It's a problem I see playing out around me lately. Perhaps others have noticed this as well in their areas?

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

First Day of Fall

The last few days have been hot but more importantly DRY!!!! I have managed to actually get ALL THE MOWING DONE and still have a day to get some other things done tomorrow believe it or not. Along with the mowing (including mowing around the bee hives!!!) I got the poor Walnut tree that was about to collapse under the weight of it's nuts pruned back. I took off a lot of limbs so I hope I didn't kill it but at least it can now stand upright and I can actually mow under it.

The experts are saying this should be a year for the record books as far as the harvest goes but it will be another few days or so before they can really get started because the moisture levels are still way too high. I know it finally dried out enough that I could get the mowing done around the hives and that grass was so high any wetness would have stopped the mower up.

There are still some areas that will just have to wait until next Spring though. Mostly edges and weed choked spots that have become so thick it would take the brush hog to cut through them. I will let Winter do it's thing on those spaces.

The Golden Rod is in full bloom and it looks like it is going to be a wonderful flow this year. I atill have at least two dead out hives to take apart and I haven't checked the hives down at the orchard in months either. If they did die out I am sure the wax worms have ruined the comb by now.

So that's why posting has been light and replies thin. I been pushing it as hard as I could to get things caught up. If the rains stay away it looks like it might be a glorious Fall.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Another Day Another High Profile Police Shooting

Watching the drama between the Black lives matter yahoos and the police thugs has been mildly entertaining since the entire Ferguson thing last year. As I have repeatedly said I don't have a dog in that fight which makes for a unique kinda experience for once in this crazy White Male hating world.

My guess is that most of those on the side of the BLM crew look at this as another step in White Male bashing and standing up against "oppression and Waaaycism" which ought to make me be sympathetic to the police thugs but truth be told I kinda think the White guy haters have a point this time.

Oh wait NOT in the waaaycism charge but in the fact that by and large cops are completely out of control these days.

Now I am no expert but I seem to remember when I was a kid that cops had to have legitimate and open cases of the suspect being armed and preferably being shot at themselves before shooting otherwise the entire incident was highly suspect and likely would end a career. Perhaps I am simply mis-remembering though.

These days it's Bang Bang --- Freeze and then the wagons circle and the politician/judges start getting behind the scenes calls.

I can say that my local county deputies seem to be all up right types. Never had a bad encounter with them except one time several years ago when some woman I was dating attacked me in my own home. The local small town rent a cops however are a different matter. Best to just stay clear of them but that is almost impossible since they will find the slimmest of excuses to pull you over for no reason and ask "Papers Please".

I had that happen the other night in a church parking lot of all places. Wasn't even 9:30 PM and they claim they pulled me over because the license plate light on the back of my truck was out. Really? Hmmmm that's odd since I have farm plates and don't even have to mount a plate back there to begin with. Then the little thug has the nerve to ask me if I am armed. My answer was there was nothing illegal in my truck and then I let him chew on that one a while.

We won't even get into the abuses I would see with the networked, super secret LEO computer system the state runs. I used to work on it and I will only say when I brought the system back up I saw more plates being run with names like Jennifer and Amanda as owners than Lavitius or Levi.

One thing is becoming clear though. While the BLM creeps think they are attacking waaaycism and White Men they are not stopping to look that it is Blacks and Women cops who are doing just as much of the shooting like this latest incident down in Oklahoma.

Like I said. I don't have a dog in this fight. Maybe the two will just cancel each other out.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Reading - Catch Up Week Maybe?

Over night the forecast for this coming week changed from chances of thunderstorms to partly cloudy and dry conditions but the heat is suppose to come back. Well if the humidity stays away I can mostly handle the heat just fine but more importantly as it stands now I may be looking at five full days of no rain.

Man have I forgotten what that is like.

I may even be able to get ahead on this constant mowing although as it stands now I am counting my chicks before they hatch.

Things are even beginning to slow down at work believe it or not and I have only had to go over my scheduled hours twice this last week.

SO much potential and so much to do if it wasn't for the obvious explosive grass growth that I have little time to think about just mow I might be so overwhelmed I wouldn't know where to start.

Top on the list behind mowing catch up is dead out hive cleaning and storage followed by the fence project getting kick started once again. I have two gates that are ready to hang and I am sure I have totally misplaced the hanging hardware for them as well. Then of course there is the 8N points thing I have to finish up and I need to start thinking about the final round of hay baling which is coming up quick.

The Walnut trees also need a huge trimming. All this rain has snapped many branches from the abundant weight of Walnuts over burdening them.

Looks like naps may not be on the agenda this week!!!!

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Rainy Day Update

Yep we are still getting about four times the amount of rain we are suppose to this time of year. The temps have dropped a little though so the high humidity is not as unbearable as it was. The truth is pretty much every day I am still forced to either mow or take care of some job directly related to mowing. Yesterday before the rains hit I managed to pick up one of the gas powered weed eaters from the shop and finish up my Dad's yard before having to stop. I had hoped to get back and finish the entire round of mowing but once it started coming down I was locked out so now I am way behind and looking at about the last 25% of the entire mowing job unfinished and as usual the first parts need to be started again.

Just means more work when I can finally get out there and get it done.

I also started cleaning up the remains of the dead out hives I have this season. Looks as if I lost three hives somehow and I am sure the wax moths have destroyed the comb inside since they have set unoccupied so long. This is a common problem when you lose a hive during the warm months but I have been so pressed for time I couldn't get them taken apart and stored properly.

One reason I use plastic frames though as the equipment will still be usable once it is cleaned up. I also discovered the chickens LOVE the wax worms when I scrape em off onto the ground. My guess is these deadoust either had a failed queen or over swarmed since I had no time to properly inspect or manage them this year.

Oh well as I said this year has been a net loss almost across the board due to the time restraints and constant rains. I have lost about half the hay crop, about 20% of my hives and spent more on constant equipment repairs than any other year so far.

Short term extremely wet years are more costly than droughts actually. Long term not so much I bet.

The Peacock managed to survive five days living wild down in the back pasture before something got him. I am not sure what did him in nor do I have any idea where his two Guinea hens got off too but the dogs drug the remains of the Peacock carcass up to the yard yesterday. I know he wasn't killed anywhere in or around the yard or barn lot because 90% of his feathers are missing and not scattered about to see so where ever he was done in at was back in the brush. If I had to guess I would say he got into it with something and escaped but was mortally wounded and the dogs found his remains. I don't think he was hit by a car because there are no feathers along the road that I could see either.

It will always be a bit of a mystery but that's why we lock our chickens up at night because the coyote, raccoon and fox populations are so bad around here. No large bird will survive the night very long without being inside a guarded structure and the owls will get them in the trees. I knew when I saw the trio heading into the brush at night they wouldn't be around long.

I will always wonder what prompted the bird to turn vagabond and end up roaming around the Small-Hold though.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

More on the Peacock and Friends Mystery

It rained again today but luckily I was able to get another round of mowing done on our in town property before it started. I had to delay getting my dad's lawn done now until tomorrow however. My hope had been to get both places knocked out right after work and then get started on the fence project once again but of course the rain, as usual, put a stop to such notions.

I did manage to get a new set of points put into the little 8N tractor we picked up a few weeks ago. It's got an intermittent problem and just stops running on it's own sometimes. I tried a new coil and that didn't fix it so I am trying points now. If I can get it figured out my hope is to unload it before Winter gets here to help finance the next step in the fence project.

While working on the little tractor the Peacock and his two Guinea hen followers showed back up. We actually saw the two hens down by the loafing shed late yesterday evening but no Peacock so I had assumed the Peacock had either went off to die because it is obviously really old or got eaten but today it came back and hung out on the old John Deere manure spreader I have parked on the side of the barn. The trio left off and on all day. They would hang out for a while and then take off down the road or across the pasture to wherever but kept coming back. Not sure what is up with this little migrating group but they seem to think our barn is a good place to chill during the day.

I did find out the birds actually belong to my neighbor. I had to laugh since we often get many of his animals up here and ended up permanently adopting one of his stray dogs he brought back from Iowa a couple years ago. The little dog just kinda moved up here and made friends with our dog (who showed up himself a few years ago too) and never left. We briefly talked about catching them but since I don't care if they run around and keeping them penned up at his place isn't an option we decided to just let em do what they want.

I did tell him if one of his cows wanders up here though not to bother looking for it because I would make sure it was well process.... errr I mean taken care of :)

As night fell and we locked the chickens up there was no sign of the bird trio about so where they are roosting is anyone's guess right now. I suspect they have taken over the loafing shed but how long they will last down there is a big question. Not sure what made this peacock decide to set out for new territory. He is obviously molting right now and my neighbor claims the bird is at least 15 years old so who knows. He has another normal colored Blue Peacock and he suspects they may have been fighting so perhaps this older bird has been forced to leave?

Always something odd going on around here it seems.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Well YA Don't See That Everyday

So yesterday late afternoon my mother calls me and asks if I brought home a big white turkey. I'm like what?

She tells me there is a big white turkey running around outside the barn.

Honestly my first thought was that she had offered the place up as a home for someone's unwanted turkey and was trying to play the whole thing off like it had just showed up. Believe me it wouldn't be the first time she has done something like that.

This time though I think she is innocent.

So I went outside and found this old mostly white peacock with two white headed Guinea hens following it and running all around the place.

The trio damned near started a major episode with the chickens and put Cogburn the Rooster into a hissy fit and a half.

I didn't get an actual picture of the trio and stole the one on top from the internet. The peacock and his guinea hen followers explored the barn, the hay loft and yard and then headed out into the pasture for the loafing shed. They were too far away to take a picture when I finally thought about it. They then headed off to the back of the pasture through the head high tangle of weed growth and have not been seen since. I lost track of them somewhere near the old farm pond I have back there.

Not 100% sure where they came from nor where they were heading but thankfully they didn't try and set up residence here.

Ya know it was one thing when I got routine visits from all the local dogs but having strange birds wander through the place is just a little odd.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!