Archive | September, 2014

Tuesday Tunes:George Strait;If You Ain’t Lovin’

30 Sep

Ah, how about a classic from George Strait? Enjoy!

Lowe’s Storage Cabinets and Shelves.

29 Sep

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I have been using several of these cheap inexpensive storage shelves from Lowe’s. They are made from 50% recycled plastic (Saving the planet!). I have a 6 foot tall version that I use to store my chemicals, oils, solvents, etc., anything that might be a little toxic that I want to keep away from children and pets. But I wanted to put this unit underneath my workbench and I wanted to put some really heavy items inside. I was afraid the plastic shelves wouldn’t hold up so I devised a way to reinforce the shelves.

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The shelves originally sat on some plastic clips inserted into the sides. I cut some wooden 1X2 Slats to fit underneath the shelves. I screwed several 1/2 inch flat-head screws in from the outside through the plastic into the wood slats. I did this on all 3 sides for extra support and I have another slat to form a sort of leg to hold up the front of the shelf. I think it should be sturdy enough now, but I will let you know how it works out.

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Of course, anytime I do any work out in the shop, Oreo and Kensey think they need to help!

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As you can see, that bad spot on Kensey’s nose finally healed up just fine. It took several weeks for the hair to regrow on the spot where the Vet scraped off that scab, but he is as handsome as ever!

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I took this picture as I was working last week. You can’t see them very well, but that is a flock of native Canadian Geese in the pond. When I drove up, they were grazing in that freshly harvested corn field in the foreground. When I stopped to take a picture, they went scurrying back to the pond. I think I might know where my Christmas Goose is coming from. Keep prepping everyone!

Bees and Honey

28 Sep

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As I was out working last week I noticed a stand in front of a house where someone was selling Honey. I stopped to take a look and there were pint jars for $5 and Quart jars for $10 which I thought was a good deal. I bought a pint to try out and I am going to go back next week and buy some for my MIL. The stand works on the honor system, you put your money in the toy mailbox you can see sitting on the end of the shelf. The lady of the house just happened to be in the yard watering her flowers and we had a nice chat. I asked if she ever had anything stolen and she said in the 5 years the stand had been out front, she only had 1 jar disappear that she couldn’t account for.

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I have been seeing many more bee hives sitting around this year. It might be that I am just taking more interest since I am reading up on bee keeping and planning on getting hives of my own someday, but I really think there are many more around. I don’t know if people are doing it as a source of income or if more people are just seeing the need to become more self-sufficient. Either way, I am sure there are more hives showing up in my area. These hives have been varnished instead of painted, I don’t know why.

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I saw this trailer full of hives by one of my fields, and I saw some hives turned over. I wondered if it was a result of vandals or animals.

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Then I saw this at the next location and I think maybe the owner did it for some reason.

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I noticed the hive on the left had no bee activity at all, and one other hive had very few bees coming and going. Maybe there were some of the hives dead? Would the owner open the hives if they had collapsed and let the bees scavenge the remaining honey? Would that possibly spread whatever had caused the initial collapse? I don’t know enough about it to even guess, Maybe Pioneer Preppy can lend his expertise.  I did ask the farmer about the arrangement he had with the bee keeper and no money changes hands. The only thing that transpires is the farmer receives 4 quarts of honey from the bee keeper each year. The hives have been on this farm for over 10 years and the owner has never complained or commented about the farmer spraying and killing the bees. The only time the farmer ever considers the bees is when the wind is blowing directly towards the hives. He then will skip spraying right up to the hives and will come back late in the day to spray. Hopefully someday I will get some hives here on the homestead. Keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update

27 Sep

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The winter greens are really growing well, and the worms finally went away. Sweet Thing and her sister have been picking several Wal-Mart bags full every day.

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One bag full of picked greens cook down into this one dish of cooked greens. We eat some for dinner, then freeze the rest for later.

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This is my healthy dinner with okra and tomatoes, mustard greens, and great northern beans. All together that is only 2 WW Points Plus and I ate 2 servings for 4 total points and I was full and satisfied!

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This is one of my next projects to finish, clearing out some of those trees and brush near the road. You can also see that pile of mulch waiting to be spread. I moved a few scoops of it last week, and when I scooped it with the front-end loader, you could see the steam rising from the pile. It has been there long enough to start composting! I am still waiting on the dump truck to bring some more dirt to add on top of my culvert, then I will cross over and start clearing a path through the woods. Always something to do on the homestead, keep prepping everyone!

Healthy Eating

26 Sep

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I have been trying to eat healthier, so the last time we went to Applebee’s for lunch instead of my usual cowboy burger and fries, I ordered the cedar grilled salmon with summer veggies. It was delicious! We have started making sautéed spinach here at the homestead and it has become one of my favorite dishes. I even eat it with my omelets for breakfast. Like most kids, I wouldn’t touch the stuff, but now I think it is delicious. The only time I remember trying it as a kid was the canned stuff, and if I had to eat that now, I probably still wouldn’t like it.

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Speaking of omelets, here is my healthy version. I use one ounce of lean, sliced sandwich ham, diced. I add two tablespoons of Pico DE Gallo (tomatoes, onions, peppers), one spoonful of sliced olives, and one spoonful of diced mushrooms. I put the ingredients in a non-stick skillet with a splash of Olive Oil and sauté until the onions become translucent. Then I pour in 3 Eggbeater egg whites and just let it cook for 3 minutes. At that point, add a sprinkle of fat free cheese to one side of the omelet and flip it closed. Let the cheese melt for 30 seconds and voilà, you have a healthy omelet with approximately 4 WW Points Plus. Add 2 slices of Healthy Lite toast for 2 more Points and add one tablespoon of strawberry jam for 1 more point and you have a good, healthy breakfast with 7 WW Points Plus. I’ve always made a mean omelet, and this one is just as good but in a healthier version. As long as you use the Eggbeaters, you can change the other ingredients and make several different versions and still be healthy. Try it sometime, I think you will enjoy it.

Tuesday Tunes:Willie Nelson;Still Crazy After all these Years

23 Sep

How about one from Willie this evening? But I would not be convicted by a jury of my peers, Still crazy after all these years. Enjoy!

Tootsie Roll Truck!

21 Sep

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I stopped to gas up one day and I saw this semi-trailer painted to look like a giant Tootsie Roll. If it was indeed full of just Tootsie Rolls, that would be a lot of Tootsies!

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It rained one afternoon and I snapped this picture of a rainbow over the homestead.

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The day it rained we also had a nasty surprise in the house, we had a leak. I don’t know where it came from exactly, but water came in from around that window which is high up in the front foyer. I called the contractor, and he sent some men to check it out. They put silicone caulk around the window, along the J-channel at the bottom of the wall, and around all the exposed nail heads they could see. Let’s hope that solves the problem. More to come.

Homestead Update

20 Sep

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I finally have a little time to start doing some chores around the Homestead as my workload begins to slow down somewhat. I had two loads of gravel brought in and I starting spreading some in the low spots in the driveways and putting the rest in some new places to make a new path towards the back of my shop.

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I also began installing the new culvert to gain access to the back of the homestead. I picked it up with the frontend loader on my Kubota and dropped it into the gully I need to cross. The place I dropped it was actually 5 feet downstream from where I really wanted it. The slope was too steep for me to be able to use my tractor to move it so I had to use the ole’ noggin and devise a plan. Now sometimes when I devise a plan it can be quite an adventure, but this time it went smooth as silk.

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I could not get into the gully with my tractor or even my ATV so I had to use manual force. The man I bought the culvert from said it weighed 800 pounds so it was not going to be an easy task. I was worried it would be too heavy to move, especially since it had come a rain after I placed the culvert in the gully and washed some dirt in around it. I used my handy-man jack to lift both ends and break the tension with the ground, and while I had the end up I wrapped a chain around the pipe. I used two more chains to reach a good sturdy tree and attached my manual come-along to try to drag it forward. I was anticipating having to use two come-alongs, one on each side of the ditch since the culvert was so heavy. But when I started cranking up that first come-along the pipe slid right along like it was on a greased skid! I never even had to strain to move it the necessary 5 feet.

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I then had a dump truck bring two loads of dirt which I spread over the culvert. I think I am going to use two more loads and hopefully that will do the job.

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I also had a truck load of rip-rap rocks brought in so I can seal the sides of the crossing around the ends of the culvert to help prevent erosion. I will have a lot of rock left over, but I have several plans to put it to use later. More to come.

Shipping Pallet Construction

19 Sep

There is a roadside produce stand that I travel past every week as I am working. Last Summer, the produce stand was a open-air canopy with the produce sitting on tables underneath the canopy. This year, the stand is a more permanent structure.

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The owner poured a concrete slab, put up some posts, then added a metal roof. Then he made the walls out of old shipping pallets!

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He said the walls allowed the breeze to flow through and help keep it cool inside, but at the same time, he could lock the door in the evening and not have to take in his produce every day. It makes an interesting structure. I could see making something like this on the Homestead someday. Keep prepping everyone!

Roundup Ready Extend Technology

18 Sep

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Last week I took a trip to Arkansas to look at some new cotton that will be on the market next year. There was 2500 acres of this cotton being grown in this location, and there is one more location in Arizona growing this cotton for the seed to sell next year. This cotton has not been approved for sale, so we had “minders” following us around as we walked through the field to watch us and make sure we didn’t pick any cotton seeds and put them in our pocket! We actually had to go through a security screening and get government approval before we were allowed to enter the fields. This new variety of cotton is resistant to being sprayed with glyphosate, gluphosinate, and dicamba. No other cotton has ever been tolerant of those three chemicals. This became necessary after the pigweeds became resistant to glyphosate. Without the other chemicals, it would be impossible to grow cotton without a chemical way to control the pigweeds. In the coming year, if you pay any attention to this kind of information, you will see lots of news articles and blog posts with different groups bashing the “Great Satan, Monsanto”! But trust me on this, if we don’t get approval for this new technology, there will be no more cotton grown in the South in the very near future. There is also a new technology coming forward in 2016 that will allow cotton to be sprayed with 2-4D, and you will hear another hue and cry when that occurs!

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While we were in the field, we looked over our shoulders and saw a storm front coming so we had to high-tail it out of there! Watch out for those storms everyone!