Archive | June, 2012

Sinkholes

30 Jun

This is something I have to look out for besides gullies; sinkholes.

Photo074

This hole is 3 feet by 5 feet and 3 feet deep. You wouldn’t want to be cruising along through this field on your dirtbike and hit this without knowing it! It could be a really bad day for you. These holes show up near rivers especially when they are as low as they are now. As of this writing, the Mississippi River at Memphis stands at –1.9 feet. That’s right, minus 1.9 feet, and it is expected to stay there for at least the next week. When the river is that low, the water table drops and releases pressure against the soil which allows the soil to drop in places creating these sinkholes. Occasionally you will see one much, much larger but ones this size are fairly common. We just know to watch out for them. So watch out and be safe!

Rice Fields

29 Jun

This is a picture of a nice looking rice field I drove by today.

Photo084

Rice is one crop I refuse to work. They hold a flood of water on the fields all summer long. The water doesn’t hurt the rice, but it keeps weeds from growing in the field. Once they pump the water on for the permanent flood, it becomes foul and stagnant. There are always swarms of mosquitos, as well as lots of snakes! And you have to walk around in that awful water, it smells just like a teenager’s gym locker. Pee-Yew!

Construction Update 11

28 Jun

Today the crew put up the first rafters.

Photo133

They have all the floor joists up between the first and second floors. They started putting floor decking down on the joists and even started putting together some stud walls to raise tomorrow.

Photo134

Things are coming along quickly now!

Leftover Lumber

28 Jun

I stopped by the construction site just one day after the walls started and found this in the trash pile.

Photo099

All of that lumber on top of the woodpile I picked out of the trash pile. I told the contractor to put all of it to the side, I wasn’t going to let it go to waste. After all, I’m paying for this. Most of these 2×4 pieces are 12-24 inches long. There were 2 pieces of 2x12s 24 inches long and some plywood 4 feet long and 18 inches wide. I could use those for all sorts of projects from shelves, bird houses, dog feeders, or hen nests. If nothing else, I can burn those 2x4s in my woodstove to heat my workshop. Waste not want not I always say.

Construction Update 10

27 Jun

Photo125

Photo126

I went out to the homestead yesterday and saw these huge manufactured boards. They are made like plywood, but are 26 feet long, 24 inches wide and 2 inches thick. ( I don’t even want to know what that cost )

Photo128

They screwed and nailed the three of them together to form a beam to span the garage and attach the shorter floor joists.

Photo129

Photo130

They have put up a lot of floor joists, all on 12 inch centers. The great room is looking like an outdoor arbor used to block the sun.

Photo127  They also threw all of these 2X12 cut off pieces in the trash pile. No way these are going to waste, off to my shop they go. More later.

Irrigation

27 Jun

Part of my job involves irrigation scheduling. It is a lot easier now than it was say 15 years ago. Back then we had to use plastic or aluminum pipe like this pictured here.

This pipe was laid out and put together along the high side of the field (crown) by a team of 3 or 5 men. One of the big disadvantages of this method is not being able to take a tractor into the field for spraying. ( Cotton requires a lot of spraying ) When the tractor needed to spray the field, all that pipe had to be picked up by the same 5 man crew. Then when the field needed to be watered, the pipe had to be strung out and reassembled again. Very labor intensive. But now we have a method which is much easier. We use a long roll of poly-pipe, commonly called gut. The best way to describe it for someone who has never seen it is to say it is a single, super heavy-duty garbage bag, 1/2 of a mile long.

This equipment attached to the tractor will dig a shallow trench for the pipe to lay in, then roll out the pipe into the trench.

One end of the pipe is attached to the well using a zip-tie ( cable tie ). The well is powered by a diesel, propane or electric motor. When the well starts pumping, the water begins to fill the pipe. At this point someone walks along the pipe and punches a hole in the pipe using a tool which is nothing more than a wooden handle with a sharp punch attached to the end.

When the hole is punched water spurts out of the pipe and runs downhill between the rows. In a cotton field we punch every other row to avoid saturating the soil. Cotton doesn’t like wet feet.

When the well is shut off, the water drains out of the pipe and lays flat on the ground in the trench dug earlier.

The advantage to this is to allow the tractor to spray the field by simply driving across the pipe. The plastic is heavy-duty enough to allow this without tearing most of the time. If it does tear, it can be patched or repaired with duct tape.

This is Sweet Thing holding a piece of the pipe as it is just taken off the roll.

This is what it looks like split down one side. When the farmers are laying out this pipe, if they come up with a short bit left on a roll (50, 100 or even 150 feet ) it usually gets pitched in the garbage. I could have access to dozens of these bits of roll, free of charge. Now I just have to figure out what they could be used for. I am thinking of using one for a disposable creeper to work under the truck. You could also cover up any old leaky, drafty windows in the winter. I know some of you homesteaders, preppers, and survivalist could come up with some great uses for this. Any ideas?

Squash Casserole Recipe

26 Jun

Photo077

One of my readers asked for the squash casserole recipe so I had Sweet Thing write it up.                                                          

Photo131

I will try to recreate what I did,  I never use a recipe. I used  one large white squash (this is a flat saucer like shape), one large zucchini squash and two medium yellow crookneck squash. I added one Vidalia onion. I diced the squash to about three-quarter inch size squares and diced the onion very fine. I added salt, pepper to taste. I stirred in about three tablespoons butter and approximately three-fourths cup milk. I baked in a covered glass baking dish at 350 until the liquid had been absorbed. I left a little space between lid and dish so the steam would escape. I did not want too much liquid left. When the squash was tender and liquid absorbed I uncovered and topped with sliced Swiss cheese, the kind that comes individually wrapped. Melts quickly. I turned my oven down to warm and waited for Swamp Dog to get home from work. 

I found a powdered ham seasoning at the local Kroger and this is what I added to the green beans. This is the first time I have used and it was really good. Good flavor without the ham, which I did not have on hand.

Hope this turns out good,

Sweet Thing