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.
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.
We had our own private pool behind our room where we could relax in peace and quiet.
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.
All along the way, you see homes like this one.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!