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Homestead Update

11 Apr

We had another warm week here with several days of rain showers. We still haven’t had the damaging winds and hail like others have experienced near us, and I hope we don’t.

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I did manage to get my bath room in my shop insulated, walled up, electrical installed, and painted. Fancy colors, Huh? I got some of the trenches dug for the water lines but I didn’t have time to actually lay the lines. Hopefully I can get that done this week, but the weatherman is calling for 50% chances or more for rain all week so I may just have to straighten up and organize inside my shop. That will be a major task in itself! I also got the push mower running after sitting up all winter. I had to clean the water, rust and varnish out of the carburetor but it runs fine now. I put a new mower deck belt on the ZTR then I mowed for 30 minutes until I got it stuck. I told Sweet Thing it was too wet to mow! There will be plenty of time to mow all Summer! Keep prepping everyone!

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Homestead Update

4 Apr

The weather has really warmed up this past week. We had several really nice days and unfortunately I had to work so I didn’t get as much done around here as I would have liked.

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I put two coats of grey paint on the new addition to my shop and I think it looks good now. I also added 10 shelves on the back wall of the open bays. The shelves are each 2 feet wide by 10 feet long so I should be able to store lots of junk excess material on them.

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I was passing through town and watched a crew tearing down an old motel. The doors to the motel opened to the outside and I noticed they had removed the big plate-glass from each room. I don’t know if they hauled it away to melt and recycle or to sell as used sheet glass. If you will look closely at the picture, you can see doors leaning against the walls inside the rooms so I guess they are not going to salvage those since they were tearing it down as I watched. Seems like a real waste, that would be close to 100 metal doors that could be resold and reused. I could use a couple of those myself! I realize when you are figuring salvaging something for resale on a commercial scale, you have to figure in the cost of the labor involved. That probably makes it more profitable to just tear it down and load it on the truck and bury it somewhere. It still pains me to see that though. I am just too much of a prepper, scrounger, and pack rat to throw all that stuff away.

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I also had to was privileged to attend a wedding last weekend. The theme colors were black and white, and I didn’t know they used black at weddings. I thought they reserved black for funerals, but as I think of it, black is entirely appropriate for many marriages I see!

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The grooms cake was decorated to resemble a corn field at harvest with toy tractors on it for decoration. It was quite tasty as well. Maybe I can get some more projects done in the coming week, I’ll keep you posted. Until then, keep prepping everyone!

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!

Homestead Update

6 Dec

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The crew finished my barn addition this week! I am looking forward to pulling some of my junk important accessories out of my main workshop and storing them in the new addition so I will have some room to work on some projects this winter.

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This is the additional 10 feet of concrete floor I had installed. I will put up an outer wall and insulate it so the wash room will be warm and toasty in the winter. I might put in another door closer to the side wall to make the washroom smaller so it will be easier to heat, I’ll have to do some figuring on that before I get to work.

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I did get around to trying the Augasons Farm long-term survival food. We tried the instant potato soup mix and it was about as expected but it had a strong onion flavor. Now, I like onion so it was not a problem, but it was just unexpected. We did decide it was too thick when prepared according to the directions, so we doubled the water and it was just right. We added some leftover English peas and it made a fine soup. You could mix this up and add all sorts of other ingredients and make different types of soups to have some variety with it. You could also pour it over rice, or pour it over chicken and bake it in a casserole dish for a hearty main course. We are not going to open any of the other packages, we are going to save them for when SHTF, but when it happens we will be prepared. Will you? Keep prepping everyone!

Roadside Treasures

30 Nov

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Last week I saw this plastic barrel on the side of the road, down in the ditch. I could tell it probably blew out of a truck or off of a trailer so I stopped and picked it up. It is a really nice barrel with a full, screw off top.

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This label said the barrel contained green pitted olives. 55 gallons of olives. WOW!

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That would make a lot of martinis wouldn’t it? The label also indicated this was barrel number 40 of 84. Now that would be a LOT of olives! I don’t know what I will use the barrel for since I am not absolutely sure what has been in it, but when I opened it up there was a good layer of cedar shavings so I imagine someone was using this for a portable dog house. I found it the day before gun deer season opened up so I am guessing someone was heading to their deer camp and the barrel blew off of a trailer full of camp supplies. I think I might use it for a compost bin after I make a stand for it.

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This is the Harbor Freight portable garage that I use to park my mower and keep some other junk in the dry. I had to move it so the crew could work on my new barn section. I was worried about moving the structure, but one of my employees and I just pulled up the tie down pegs and tipped it over and rolled it down the hill. It stayed together and we just reinserted the tie down pegs and it is just as good as before. I was shocked it didn’t just come all to pieces when we flipped it over. I sure was lucky on that one. The metal frame is still in good shape, but the plastic tarp is starting to fray at the contact points. If I keep using it for dry storage, I will have to get another tarp to put across it, but that wouldn’t be a big problem.

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Sweet Thing bought this firewood stand from Big Lots and she put it together herself, I didn’t have to do anything except stack some firewood in it. There is enough wood in the rack for us to have a nice, long, toasty weekend so I am prepared for the next cold snap. Keep prepping everyone!

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.

Keter Portable Work Table

17 Jan

During the Holidays I was shopping in Sam’s and I came across this item and I decided it was something I needed to have.

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This portable table is manufactured by a company called Keter, and they sell lots of storage items. This table is heavy-duty but at the same time lightweight and portable.

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It is also very easy to set-up, you literally just hold it up, push the latches on each side, then it unfolds and drops down.

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You reach inside and snap two locks in place, raise up a center support, then the table is ready to use. The instructions say it takes 30 seconds to set up and I will agree it is that easy.

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The company claims this table will hold 1000 pounds, but I think that would be pushing it. I am going to mount some small bench top tools such as a drill press on a piece of plywood then I can clamp the tool to the bench and that will make it portable and storable. The only thing that concerns me at this point is the durability of the clamps that come with it. I am not so sure they will hold up and it looks like you will have to use that specific clamp to fit into the table. I might just go ahead and order two more clamps and put them back so if I need to replace them in a few years I won’t find out they are no longer available. I’ll let you know how this works out. Keep prepping everyone!