Sunday, December 18, 2016
Of course since my last post I haven't made much progress at all on anything. The holiday season means everyone and their mother wants vacation or days off and I been filling in left and right at work. Then my supervisor decides he has had it and resigns which now opens up the question what my job will look like come the new year. Truth is I may not even have one depending on how the new manager views things. The old one tended to over staff and it's entirely possible the new one could decide having an extra fill in/floater like me is overkill.
This weekend of course it was time to dust off the old Alberta Clipper gear. It's been almost two years since this stuff has been needed. Last Winter was mild enough I never put on my Carhart overalls that I can remember, never needed the remote thermometers operating and barely required water tank heaters. I also did not hear Mrs. PP whining about being cold much but this weekend our old friend came a calling like 90% of American's know and brought with it ice and snow as well.
It got cold enough last night and this morning that even the sheep were not too happy about it. When the sheep get a little on the uncomfortably cool side you know it is cold. Each group, of which I have three now, one for each ram being bred and the invalid/slaughter lamb/bachelor-ette group pretty much huddled in their enclosures out of the wind and would only come out for grain.
I did manage to keep the wood furnace blower going even with the cutting North wind but it was all I could do to keep the house temps in the 60's range. Usually when these clippers arrive the wind causes the internal furnace thermometer to stop kicking the blower on but this time that hasn't been the problem it's solidly a lack of sub-zero rated insulation in this old house now. On the plus side the room closest to the furnace is staying relatively warm however so I can banish the wife into that room when her complaining gets to be too much.
As I said other than dealing with extra hours at work and preparing for this latest frigid blast nothign else has been accomplished around here. All the tractors got put away but I never did get the final barn scrapping and manure spreading done nor have a touched the old rotting fence line that remains inside the control paddock.
The control paddock, even still totally uncleared as it is, continues to be to date the most useful bit of new fencing I have done. My mother uses it to feed the useless old nags their geriatric feed mixture of beet pulp and grain because you have to separate the grumpy nags from each other when feeding them. She used to have to catch two of them and lead em into the barn to keep them apart but now she only has to open two gates and they have already learned which one goes where.
With luck I can finish up the last two major fence runs by Spring and be ready to get back to gardening and bee keeping this coming Summer. The last two runs are pretty straight forward affairs that require no gate hanging or any real brush clearing so all it really requires in warm enough temps and unfrozen ground.
Got to get through the coldest part of Winter though yet.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!
Sunday, December 4, 2016
I think the time has come. We got our first measurable snow of the new Winter this morning which has actually made the day a little less hectic than I had planned it to be. Doesn't mean I don't still have plenty to do around here, just means I don't want to do it in the snow. Especially as it is falling.
When I started this blog, some 8 or 9 years ago I think, it was just my son, a stray cat named Sasha and I moving onto an old property that had been badly neglected for probably 20 years or more. Barely a fence line was serviceable. The barn and out buildings had no paint even clinging to their wooden sides anymore. Brush grew rampantly everywhere and the house was barely livable and only if you had very low standards to begin with.
No heat, barely had running water and a very sub par septic system. Junk piles scattered through out the place made up of broken tractor parts like baler or rake teeth, belts, one door that had once been on the barn, a hay wagon frame that had trees growing through it.
You get the idea....
We brought with us an old 8N tractor with it's only implement a simple grading blade, some hand tools and a couple of sheep. Along with a determination to make this place our own and actually know we could produce for ourselves when the need arose.
The Adventure is by no means complete although we have made so much progress most people would not know the place if they were just revisiting it for the first time in 10 years.
The flock of sheep has grown from 6 ewes and a ram to 30 ewes and 2 rams. In Spring and Summer we end up having 60+ running around with all the lambs born. The old 8N and blade have been joined by and 861 Diesel, baler, rake, tiller, scoops, wagons, post Hole digger, boom lift etc. etc. etc.
We also added a wife in the process too. The Small - Hold started off as a complete bachelor pad project. I kinda think that's why the stray cat was so attracted to the place as we were pretty much estrogen free at the time and that cat prefers men over women hands down. She won't hardly let a Woman pet her either but grudgingly accepted the new Mrs. PP.
Our one stray cat who wouldn't take no for an answer and demanded to be allowed to move in has now become 6 or 8 depending on who decides to stay over. Thanks to heartless idiots who like to drop off unwanted cats into the country we seem to have a never ending supply of them and have raised at least three unwanted litters.
We have managed to find homes for all of them too I think. I must say though there is nothing more amusing than a litter of happy kittens that know they are safe and have a mom that is well fed and able to spend plenty of time with them and who are also comfortable around humans. They just seem to develop much more outgoing personalities and are a constant source of entertainment.
Along with the stray cats came a dog or two. Once one figured out we weren't going to shoot him on site he begged to join the pack. A year later he brought home a friend. I can't complain about them though they are good watch dogs and earn their keep sort of. Only one of the two will come in during bad weather though as the other would rather sleep in the barn.
We added Bees and had many good harvest of not only honey but fruits and vegetables we planted as well....
We added chickens to the growing project and that brought on a whole new level of fun. Chicken drama is a world in and of itself as many of you know first hand. They don't cost much to feed and keep but when circumstances take a turn for the worst they can become very time consuming.
They also like to dig holes. I just spent the last four nights hunting an unwanted visitor to the barn and coop. A possum who took up residence in the hay bales and began eating the eggs and finally moved up to a midnight chicken snack. A couple of the birds refuse to go into the coop/stall at night and try and roost in the barn rafters and he got one. Finally I managed to catch the possum in the act just as he was moving in on one of the roosting hens and dispatched him quickly but it took a lot of time being there for the right opportunity.
So as I said the journey is nowhere near complete but the circumstances have changed. Slowly, like a frog in a pot of heating water this Homestead has went from 90% labor on projects with about 10% maintenance and chores to the other way around. I now spend most of my time completing mundane tasks that while enjoyable in their own way and necessary also add nothing to the world of blogging or any interesting tidbits to the genre of homesteading and prepping either to be honest.
We may not be done yet. In fact we will never be done but we have come far enough down the road that I believe we can call this experiment a success. We have gotten completely out of debt. The land is now entirely our own as long as we pay the yearly government rent anyway. We will be starting on our new house come Spring and nearly all my time is now devoted to maintaining what we have built.
I am not planning on taking the blog down. I may in fact make a post here and there from time to time yet but as for daily posts and such I think it is time to officially stop.
Currently we are looking at a time when we may be able to pull ourselves back from the abyss we were staring at. I think things will still get much rougher than anyone can imagine but as a whole we now stand a better chance than we did under the Femocrat/Liberal Progressive rule with a much higher likelihood of keeping many necessary rights along the way. Perhaps on a wide scale things will change and I may come back to blogging but politically I feel my message has gotten out as successfully as the homestead project has as well. There is still a need to prep but we now have some breathing room.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!
Sunday, November 27, 2016
I know I have been really behind on getting things squared away for Winter and getting the fence done. Frazier, our terminal ram has about worn out his welcome spot on the Small-Hold the last week and is within one more broken thing of being taken to market when this breeding season is over.
He has busted his fence down twice now and the last time I had to drop all Winter prep work and spend an entire day reworking one entire section of fence that required putting in two new wooden posts and weaving a couple of cattle panels around them while doubling up the steel t-posts and then putting the wire fence back. Basically I now have a double row of fencing with posts set four feet apart instead of the standard eight.
What he is doing is chewing on the wire believe it or not. He gets a hold of the wire and works it back and forth until he finally breaks a strand then begins working on the next strand.
You can see him in these two pics working on a section now. Eventually he manages to bust the wire ties that hold a strand to the t-posts and then either pushes the section out or chews/wiggles another wire tie off.
By using the double panel/fence wire section I managed to get him to pretty much stop chewing one part because when he begins to work a strand free I wire wrap it to the panel and he can't get his nose in far enough to get a hold of the panel and break the weld. Breaking the welds on cattle panels was a trick he learned years ago he is just adapting to the new thinner wire now.
After I fixed the one section that borders on the "single ewe's" pen (which is the barn lot really) he got so upset he destroyed the wooden hay manger I built for him last year.
literally broke it into pieces and then looked at me like "What ya gonna do about it?"
When I went in to get the pieces and broken parts he actually mock charged me although he did stop short of actually connecting and then just sidled up to me and wanted me to scratch his back. He will stand there for hours wagging his stub of a tail if you scratch his back along the spine or his neck but he is getting much more demanding and grouchy in his old age......
And destructive too apparently.
So for the time being I have him sort of contained and I have been forced to keep the ewe's separated from him by leaving them in the West pasture. The temptation of the other ewes being in season and right up against his fence is just too much for him.
The other problem I been having all week is some how Google had me signed in on the wrong account using the one that goes with my phone and wouldn't allow me to sign out. All week I been unable to post on this blog because I couldn't sign out and then into the proper account that owns the blog. I couldn't even comment on other blogs as PioneerPreppy either.
The plus side is I have all the hay and tractor implements put away for Winter along with the riding mowers and the hay that was occupying their storage space moved into the loft.
I got all the fencing materials stacked out of the way in one place except for the big corner posts as well.
The only thing left to do now is put the blade on the 8N for Winter and use it to clean out the barn one last time then haul the sheep manure and old hay into the pasture one last time. Then I can put the manure spreader up as well. After equipment is stored I need to go wrap the hives in insulation and bring in the deadout hives that are still in the yards. Cleaning all the yucky waxworm goo out of them can wait until the dead of Winter I guess.
This year's Winter project is cleaning out the dilapidated old remains of the wooden fence that once ran alongside the barn but is now in the middle of the control paddock.
You can see what someone once did was pour a concrete slab and set the wooden posts into it which worked great for probably 50 years or so until the posts rotted at ground level and broke off. As the thing started to fail it was ethnically engineered up with old cattle panels and wire until we got the mess you see here.
I need to pull all that old wood and mixed mash of wire and stuff out of there and get rid of it and then decide what is to be done with the long thin concrete pad. Once that is done I can finish up the last touch to the control paddock which will consist of a 16 foot gate hung from the corner of the barn that will allow me to divide the paddock into two sections or make a very small section for sorting sheep more easily. When not in use the gate will swing against the barn up out of the way. Once the entire thing is finished I will take more pics of it in operation. I already used the control paddock as it was designed but with moveable gate/panels instead of the permanent swinging gate. The installation of the swinging gate will eliminate the need for the moveable panels and even allow me to make one section smaller as sheep are moved from it.
My hope is to have this fence project finished by mid-Spring and perhaps actually get back to bee keeping and small scale organic farming next year. The bees especially have suffered a major set back due to so much of my time being devoted to this fence project. It's been a HUGE job let me tell you but I can finally see light at the end of the tunnel.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!!
Sunday, November 20, 2016
I am happy to report the hay elevator is mounted and works beautifully. We put about a third of the 300+ bales up into the loft today and would have done more except my slave labor, otherwise known as my son, rebelled against my tyrannical rule and basically left me in the loft alone with an empty elevator spinning away.
I did miss-judge the play on the elevator chain and the teeth sometimes hit the support chain I put on to hold it in place. So a minor adjustment is needed there.
While loading the bales that where stacked on the ground floor of the barn I uncovered a large number of egg shells that had holes in them with the insides gone. After a couple of bales I found the culprit in the form of a medium sized Possum.... It's day's are numbered now. I took the .22 pistol down hoping to get another glimpse of it but never did. Might be time for a live trap I guess.
Judging by the egg shells I saw it has been living quite comfortably for a week or more at least. I did notice a big drop in egg production about 2 weeks ago but thought maybe it was just the less daylight and dropping temps effecting the hens.
To add to my Fall-Time troubles deer season is in full swing and of course that means the stray dog that moved in and never left is managing to find deer remains from the Lord only knows where and bringing them home. However this year the chickens have been running the dog off from his grisly snack and attack these remains like a pack of scavenging dinosaurs. Quite effectively picking them clean before I even notice them. I guess it's free food and won't hurt em.
So many deer hunters around here simply gut and partially slaughter their kill in the field then simply toss the remains along the side of the road we always end up disposing of more than one deer worth of legs each Fall. One year that damned dog drug an entire severed head up from somewhere too.
So at least I can scratch one more "Need" off the old list while getting rid of deer remains and playing great white Possum hunter. We now have a working hay elevator!!!!
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!
Thursday, November 17, 2016
I been slowly getting the hay equipment and other implements put away for Winter. The baler is up, I did the last turn with the brush hog and took down the remains of the Buckwheat patch. I also managed to over heat the 850 tractor when the radiator filled up with dead plant debris. The over heating thing is a common problem with these early Ford tractors unless you put a screen behind the grill bars. They took care of it with the 01 series and it's small holed grill plate.
I have now turned my attention to the hay elevator. I needed to get a motor for it and a belt and get it adjusted to work properly.
After three trips to the auto parts store and two into the hardware store the motor was finally installed with the proper length belt. Then I had to wire the thing. I did not know these motors come with loose wires you have to configure for the use you are putting the motor too. The directions appear to be in some sort of code but after one very impressive fireworks show and a blown fuse in the barn I got it figured out.
Who knew L1 stands for ground and L2 for hot? Certainly not me :)
Today then I had to take another trip back to the hardware store and get the stuff I need to mount this elevator in the barn full time. I think I have a satisfactory plan in the works that will allow me to hang the thing up when not in use but I won't know for sure until tomorrow because it was feeding time by the time I got back.
We are suppose to get our first real taste of Winter this weekend and I am hoping to get all the baled hay up into the loft and start getting the smaller equipment into the barn.
After everything else is put away the final job of Fall will be to blade out the barn and use the manure spreader to fertilize the hay field.
I usually aim for the horses when pulling the spreader around as I think it's funny to watch them run away.....
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Yes Mr. Grumpy-pants, fence destructo Ram Himself now walks around his new paddock with a swagger. That is when he bothers to walk around at all. After the first night he spent a lot of time hanging out in the new shelter resting. He doesn't even come running to the fence to have his neck and back scratched now that he has overstaying lady friends.
Cocomo, our primary Blue Faced Ram is more of a gentleman. He is more discreet, less demanding, takes no for answer a bit longer and generally likes to hang out with the ladies all the time. Frazier on the other hand prefers to just go off by himself and sleep when he isn't bothering the ewes.
I finally broke down and put Seven in with Frazier too. She wouldn't leave him alone and seemed generally distressed that she wasn't in there with him. For some reason she really favors Frazier which is odd since every other ewe seems to prefer Cocomo.
Here's an older pic of Cocomo after shearing day this Spring. He is a much finer boned ram than the stocky brute Frazier. True to his Blue Faced breed. He produces some awesome Blue Faced lambs with the Blue faced ewes though.
So it's the end of day two of breeding season and things are settling down somewhat. Less bellowing and crying about being separated. The retired ewes however are still complaining about being limited to the small west pasture and having to resort to munching hay. They don't understand why I won't let them out in the big field anymore.
So far I have managed to get the baler cleaned and put away for Winter and got the hay elevator almost up and running. Had a hell of a time figuring out the wiring for the new motor I bought for it and then had to make two trips to the local auto supply to get a properly sized belt. Did a bit of ethnic engineering on it and still need to pick up another base mount bolt but I think the thing will work.
The weather has been absolutely beautiful beyond belief. I am going as fast as can in hopes of making up all the lost time to rain and mowing from this Summer. Things are suppose to change by this weekend so I need to have everything put away and ready for the cold by then.
I figure instead of being a month or more behind like I was 2 weeks ago I am now only about 2 weeks behind.
I am catching up.
And the rams being happy has saved me some time in the constant fence repair area too.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!
Sunday, November 13, 2016
The absolute worst thing about raising sheep is sorting day. Oh sure things like worming, especially with those hell-spawn babrberpole worms we been getting and shearing day are bad too but sorting them has become a day I dread about four times or so a year.
Now it helps to get them all into a very confined space with at least two gates to move whichever sheep into whichever group. The control paddock has worked amazingly great for that since i got it done but I already have plans to add another inside swinging gate so making a containment field is even easier.
Sorting for breeding day however is a chore among chores. Mostly because it requires sorting the ewes and whethers, yearlings and lambs into three groups but also because we have to consult the records to know which group many of them are suppose to go into. Mistakes will be made of course, like this year I somehow managed to get a tagless whether into Frazier's paddock. Not good I am trying now to get him out but so far Frazier has not attacked him too hard. The whether though is NOT being cooperative about this either.
Then there is Seven my favorite ewe who I decided wasn't going to get bred this year but has other ideas of her own that include enticing the rams to come to her. If she keeps it up I might just put her into one of their pens.
So anyway sorting is almost complete. Just need to get that wayward whether back out of Frazier's paddock somehow. The control paddock proved to be worth every dime I spent on it so far and will be wonderful with the addition of another swinging gate.
Now I can focus more on getting everything put away for Winter.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!
Saturday, November 12, 2016
So here we go again another election is behind us and this time the outcome went totally against what was expected. I must admit I didn't really deep down think Trump was going to win. Why? Because honestly the enthusiasm for Trump around here didn't seem to be all that much greater in numbers than the support for Romney did back in 2012. Oh sure a lot more people liked Trump and were more excited about him than they were for Romney but all those that were excited about Trump still voted for Romney in 2012 even if they were less excited about it. As I have said many times I really thought the Femocrats had long ago figured out just how many immigrant voters they needed and where to place them to cinch every election and couldn't lose.
I was pleasantly surprised.
My deep down gut feeling is more that the voters the Femocrats were counting on just didn't show up as much as or more than the"deplorables" that did and they didn't think would. If that sentence makes sense to you.
To date I have read many reasons why various types think the upset of the century happened. Some few almost seem to have a good handle on things and are actually blaming the left's own tyrannical ideology as the main culprit. I think deep down they maybe closer to the truth than they even know themselves.
However all that aside for now let's evaluate how things are likely to play out in the next four years and how this political change effects us as preppers and sustainers.
First off we are in a much better position to thrive until we are forced to survive now. By that I mean many of our basic rights needed for easier survival are now much safer than they would have been under a Hitlary Presidency. Gun rights being the top of that list but I think we are also relatively safe from government "hording" rules and hopefully ever increasing property taxes, among other taxes. This win will also lessen the avenging spirit of many "minority" groups. I have already noticed many who thought the long hoped for day of their majority had arrived with Obummer now looking over their shoulder in confusion and fear. They now realize they are not the majority they thought they were and maybe it ain't time for the payback they had been thinking. Not to mention they seeing "Whitey" band together in common cause in numbers they never expected to see. It is giving them pause let me tell you and many who now see how outnumbered they truly were are singing a different tune as well.
What hasn't changed and in fact may come about to wound us quicker now is the economic problems the last 50+ years of rampant feminist/multi-cult/liberalism as brought us. There simply is no coming out of that without a full scale collapse.
Trump has two choices really going forward. He can either continue the deficit spending spree, or even double down on it and hope it continues to keep going during his Presidency or he can try and fix a problem so big and so broken as to make the economic collapse happen almost immediately. My best bet is he will go with option 1 and I don't blame him at all for that. If he tries to fix the fiscal issues of this country he will cause the biggest economic collapse ever seen and if he doesn't already know that he soon will. The best he can hope for is to start the ball rolling in the right direction and it will happen so slowly as to appear to be doing nothing at all for those of us on the outside anyway.
What do I mean by that? Well it's simple really. For 50+ years the femocrat/Multi-Cultist have been attempting to use the government as a social uplifting tool. At this point in time our entire economy is 100% dependent on government spending and the only way to stop the deficits is to stop that spending. When/if that happens everything falls apart. It really is that simple. Not one person in this country today is totally removed from government spending. Not the welfare queens of course but also the pensioners and even the day laborer construction workers. We are all on government welfare in one way or another to one degree or another if we track our wages from beginning to end.
Even if I did not have a job in the auto industry taking care of mostly government employee's private cars paid for from their salaries. Even if I just sold honey off the back of my pickup truck for cash I would still be getting a large chunk of my income from selling to a government employee or cash recipient of some type or other. From the direct employee to the welfare type to the pensioners who's funds can only pay out due to constant money pumping. We are all dependent and to stop it means we have to fend for ourselves and 99% of us out there can't.
Now all that being said we are still in a much better position today than we were last week. We have breathing space AND more importantly a large hindrance removed from our heads going forward. The economy could come crashing down at any time but we no longer will have a government ready to imprison, loot and attack us when it does and no longer have minority groups ready for some hyped mythical payback either.
It really comes down to how well Trump can keep the plates afloat while we prepare. What this election means is we now have a chance to not fall as far when it does happen.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!