Homestead Update

21 Feb

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Well, we have been iced in all week. I know that picture looks like snow, but it is 3 inches of sleet. I walked across the road and took this picture back towards our house.

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These are our neighbors farm shops across the road, as you can see it is still sleeting as this picture is taken.

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This is the road in front of our house, I don’t want to get out on that!

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But as you can see, some knuckle-head in a 4X4 just had to get out and drive, just to see if he could.

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Here is Wilma sitting and waiting for her food.

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Here is Jethro chowing down on his feed. the cold doesn’t seem to bother them much. Sometimes I look out towards the pen and they will be laying on the snow and ice just napping. I guess when they get cold enough they decide to get back inside their houses.

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Last Saturday was Valentine’s Day and I wanted my Sweetie to have a special day so I took her out to the Flea Market and Antique Malls. And we stayed out ALL day! We went from one place to the other, did I mention we stayed ALL day? Anyway, we started out the day at our favorite little hole-in-the-wall restaurant for breakfast. They don’t have a kitchen, they cook everything on a big grill right there behind the counter where you can watch it being done, and as always it was delicious.

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Since we spent so much time in the Antique Malls, I managed to find a few goodies for myself like this old bamboo flyrod. It was manufactured and imported from Japan in the 1950’s, and looking at the cork handle, I can tell it has never been used.

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It fits inside this nice wooden carrying box, it looks nice on display in my office.

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I also picked up this red leather chair where visitors can sit in my office. And it only cost $10, what a deal!

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I also picked up this one-man cross-cut saw. I have a good two-man saw hanging on the wall in my shop so this one-man version will look good hanging right below it. I hope I never have to resort to actually using them, but it is nice to know I have them just in case. If things get that hard I will just find some strong young studs and lend them my saws then lend them my knowledge and expertise. If times get that hard, I can just hear it now, “let’s go see old Swamp Dog, he really knows some stuff!”

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When we got home from ALL day shopping at the Antique Malls, we got ready and went to dinner with a couple of our friends. As Sweet Thing was getting ready, she called me to her dressing table and asked if her hair was level across the back. I said it was not so she had me cut her hair! I guess I will have to add hair stylist to my resume!

This frozen spell has lasted all week, but last night the temperatures finally rose above freezing for the first time in 6 days.

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So this morning we awoke to this sight, water all in the kitchen floor! We already knew we had a leak either in the front windows or where the porch joins the wall. The water is not leaking from the ceiling, it is running down inside the front wall. After we had a small 12 inch spot of water in the floor a few weeks ago the contractor came out and said he would fix it when the weather warmed up.

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All that sleet was dammed up in the valleys and as the rain melted the ice, it started running inside. Our contractor said he would have to pull those vinyl shake shingles off of the front wall and put more flashing around the windows and in the valleys. He said if he tried to remove the vinyl in these cold temperatures, the shingles would break and we have no extras and they were special ordered when we built originally.  I think I am going to just go order enough shingles to redo the entire area and tell him to go ahead and fix it, I can’t have water running down inside the walls, that could cause all sorts of rot and mold problems. After Sweet Thing mopped up our water, I suggested she call her Mom and check her basement. Sure enough, she had 2 inches of water standing in her basement so I met our young Nephew over there and we wet vacuumed all of the water out. Our Niece had a leaky roof at her house and the sheetrock ceiling collapsed in her pantry! Sweet Things sister had water flooding her lower level garage due to the ice buildup on the concrete. This frozen stuff is for the birds, I am ready for it to be all gone. Oh well, Spring will be here before you know it. Keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update

15 Feb

I’ve been busy with job related tasks the last few weeks so I haven’t done much in the way of prepping.

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I have attended two meetings in Nashville and three meetings in Memphis in the past few weeks. While I was on the road, I stopped in a convenience store and I saw this firewood stacked by the door. It is for sale for $5.99 per bundle, and it looks like it would take two bundles to fill a 5-gallon bucket. Man, at that rate I bet I have $3000 worth of firewood just laying on the ground behind my barn. I better get out there and cover it up with a tarp, I didn’t realize it was so valuable!

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I also noticed the gas prices are going back up quickly. I think they got as low as $1.82 around here, now they are up to $2.09 at most stations. Oh well, I knew it was too good to last. I planned on getting my new diesel tank set up and filled while the prices were down, I think I better get on that next week before the prices go up any further. The weatherman is prediction snow and single digit temps for tonight, I hope he is wrong this time. P.S. As an update to this post, they are predicting 6-9 inches of snow and sleet, then freezing temps all week with one night possibly below 0! I can’t take that! I grew up in SE Arkansas about 30 miles from the Louisiana border, I am practically a Cajun!

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I refilled the firewood rack on the back porch. I hope we burn a fire because we want to and not because we HAVE to. Those cold winter days with no electricity really suck, but we are prepared as well as we can be I guess.

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I looked over towards the barn last night and noticed the security light was out. RATS! It burned about 2 years before the bulb burned out, but I have it replaced now.

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I ordered another beekeeping book. I have three electronic beekeeping books on my ipad, but it might be handy to have a hard copy of one just-in-case.

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I also just received an email from Sam’s Club about a fire extinguisher I purchased a few months ago. These units have been recalled by the manufacturer and I have to contact them to get a replacement. I hope we don’t have a fire in the meantime. I’ll probably go to Lowe’s tomorrow and get a couple to have on hand while I wait on my replacements to come in. Keep prepping everyone!

Preparedness

14 Feb

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I wanted to make a few more comments about my recent trip to Jamaica. I took this picture from the bus as we were speeding down the highway. These two young men were herding their goats down the side of the road, taking them to a fresh feeding spot. One of the goats was on a leash, the others were just following along. I really like this picture, I wish the picture wasn’t so blurry, otherwise I might print it out and hang it in my office.

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There was some construction going on around the resort, and the workers used these scaffolds made of wooden poles lashed together with hemp ropes. Definitely not OSHA approved I would guess.

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I noticed the workers were building some new structures in this area, and although they had some electric saws, I watched them use non-electric tools like hammers, axes, handsaws, and bracing bits. I have all those tools myself, and they do the job just fine, but the electric versions sure speed up the process.

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Whenever I go somewhere, I am always poking my nose into places where it is not expected. I climbed up and looked over the back wall at the resort and took this picture. It is not a place where many people look, you can see some power lines, sewer lines and the barbed wire topped security fence to keep the riff-raff out. It is hard to see in this picture, but that blue tarp is a poor-mans tent situated in a clearing in the underbrush. Underneath it I saw blankets, lanterns, cookware, food supplies and water. Apparently some of the construction workers were living there while they worked at the resort. It just goes to show how lucky most of us are here in our cozy homes, and should serve as a reminder for us to be thankful for what we have.

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I took this picture out of my window of the plane. That land mass you see below is Cuba. I bet Castro really doesn’t like the US flying directly over his island. I’m glad he didn’t decide to shoot off one of his missiles at us to make a last grand gesture before he passes away!

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Sweet Thing took this picture of me as I was lounging in the pool. I have never seen myself from this angle, not even when I look in the mirror. So, looking at this I think WTH! What is that big, bare, shiny spot on the top of my head? I bet it is caused by rubbing against those chemical company hats I wear all the time. I wonder if I stopped wearing those hats, would my hair grow back? What do you think? Keep prepping everyone!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

13 Feb

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Well guys, it’s here once again, Valentine’s Day. One of those special days you have to remember unless you like sleeping here,

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As you can see, I have already presented my Sweet Thing a bouquet of roses so I am in the clear. I hope you remembered to get something for your sweetie. Don’t be that poor sap forgetting until the last-minute and having to rush down to the local Pakistani Quick Mart and buy a silk rose and a Buddha incense burner with a fake diamond in his belly. If you do that I guarantee you will be sleeping with ole Fido tomorrow night. Get prepared guys!

Punxsutawney Phil

2 Feb

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Well, today is groundhog day and according to ole Phil, we are due for 6 more weeks of winter but I might have to disagree with him because we are seeing definite signs of Spring around here. Even though it has been raw and cold today, the forecast is calling for temperatures in the upper 50s in a few days, and it was actually in the low 60s last week.

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As I was out walking today I saw some early signs of Daffodils starting to emerge.

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And the new seed catalogs are coming in, a sure sign that Spring is near.  I am looking through them to try to find something new and unusual to plant this year. What unique plants are you wanting to try this year? Keep prepping everyone, Spring is near!

Tips For Preppers

31 Jan

Back in December, I attended one of the many educational and informational meetings held each winter, and this meeting just happened to be in Jamaica.

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We stayed at Sandals Resort, and don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you with a lot of vacation pictures. Although I do have a lot of nice pictures because Jamaica is a tropical paradise if you can overlook the fact it is a third-world country. We stayed in a little bungalow nestled in the garden, surrounded by tropical foliage, and we awoke to the sound of parrots squawking outside our window each morning.

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We had our own private pool behind our  room where we could relax in peace and quiet.

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We even had some kitties to keep us company. The maid said they keep the cats around to help hold down the mice and lizard population. But I want to point out a couple of things I noticed with an eye toward prepping. After we arrived at the airport, we took an hour and a half bus ride to get to the resort. Some people complained about the ride but I really enjoyed seeing the country from the comfort of an air-conditioned bus. As you ride along the coast, you realize that even though Jamaica was a British Colony until 1962, Jamaica is a very poor country.

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All along the way, you see homes like this one.

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You see entire communities like in this picture I lifted from the internet. I was keeping a sharp eye out as we traveled along our route, and I did not see a single chicken the entire time, which I thought was strange.

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What I did see a lot of was goats. Everywhere you looked you would see goats just like these, and they were mostly nice, healthy looking goats. People would bring them down to the shoulders of the highway and tie the goats and let them graze on the lush vegetation. I guess if times get hard, goats would be something fairly simple to raise and would provide you with milk and meat. I did see a couple of places where people had hacked an opening in the jungle brush and had some cattle, and they were really small, scraggly looking beasts. I don’t think they were a miniature breed, I think they were just interbred and malnourished.

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I also noticed a lot of houses like this. Houses either under construction or with one story finished and rebar sticking up through the roof. Our bus driver, Charles, explained it to us. He said people in Jamaica are poor and they don’t have mortgages on their houses. They save enough money to buy the land and start building the first floor, then they wait and save enough to complete the first floor and move in. Then while they are living there, they save enough money to expand and build the second story. That is why there are so many homes with rebar sticking out of the roof. That might be a lesson we might learn from here in America would it not? When the house is finished they are living in a home that is paid for, mortgage free. He also said most of the homes are constructed with concrete for several reasons. One, if they try to build with wood, the termites eat them up faster than they can build them. Two, the concrete holds up to the hurricanes better. Third, concrete is cheaper because the entire island of Jamaica is one gigantic mountain of limestone rising up out of the sea and ground up limestone is the primary ingredient in concrete. I think I will have more to say about Jamaica in the future, but for now, keep prepping everyone!

Ford Model 309 Planter

25 Jan

I haven’t posted anything lately, I have been busy with work and other things so much I haven’t done much in the way of homestead activities.

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I was out working last week and I found this full size crow bar on the shoulder of the road. Hey, I can always use another prybar. I have been thinking about getting a planter for my tractor to plant food plots and garden plots. I looked at new Covington brand one row planters and they are in the $2000 range. No way! I was thinking about buying an old 4 row planter and taking two units off to make a planter. As I have been checking Craig’s list and the shoppers guide I noticed an ad for this little jewel.

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This is a Ford 309 planter and it was for sale for $600. I looked on-line and this unit usually sells for $1500 or more on Ebay or Tractor House so I decided to check it out. After looking it over and dickering the price down to $400 it is now mine. It has all the parts, but some of the metal works inside the fertilizer hopper may need to be replaced, especially the bearings. Otherwise, I think with a good lube job and some adjustments it might be ready to go to the field. It is hard to believe but farmers actually used equipment this size to make a living with. This was a sweet, top-of-the-line planter at one time. I can just imagine some farmer standing on a dealers lot wishing he had this planter but thinking he just couldn’t afford to buy something that extravagant. I went online and bought a copy of the owner’s manual so I will be ready to roll! I don’t plan on using it this year so I will have time to recondition it. I need to disc my garden area to work in the tire ruts the dump truck created last fall. Once I get that area smoothed out, I think I can use this planter and just no-till my food plots from now on. And I found a good source for small equipment as you can see from the other stuff in the picture.

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We were supposed to get a good snow recently, but this little light dusting is all we received. That was plenty for me! I walked in the woods recently and I noticed the Honey Suckle and briars starting to put out new growth so I think the False Spring is coming early this year. But it won’t be long until Spring is truly here, so keep prepping everyone!

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