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Author Topic: And on this farm.....I've been busy  (Read 4302 times)
Brian D. Bray
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« on: October 16, 2009, 10:35:53 PM »

To all those who might have missed my postings on the forum here's what I've been up to:

I've been extremely busy since mid-August.  Things are just starting to slow down now so maybe I can catch up with everything at Beemaster's over the next few weeks.

I was getting frustrated with the fence building (750 linear feet built this summer) and had set the goal of completely the pasture fence before I went to my brother's place which I had also commited to do during the month of August, so I just decided to ignore everything and get to work on the fence.  I had to build a concrete retaining wall to prevent the creek from doing more erosion due to excavations that were done because of the housing development that was put in on the hill behind my place.  By the time I finished building fence down one side of the creek and up the other, twice, I was feeling like a sidehill dodger, with my left leg a foot shorter than the right leg.

Got the pasture fence finished and took chickens, turkeys, and bee hives over to my older brother.  My younger brother went along to help with the driving as my Menier's causes bad vertigo when driving in mountainous terrain. I brought back 2 bred ewes ($40 each) and a couple of giunea fowl chicks.  My younger brother brought back a dozen Khaki Campbell ducks and 3 Buff Orpington Roosters.  The one good thing out of the trip is that my older brother impressed upon my younger brother just how important all the sustainable living improvements that I'm making to the family homestead is for the entire family.  My younger brother, as a result, is much more helpful.

Then had I had to buy and stock hay for the winter.  While My younger brother and I were getting hay a lead footed idiot decided he didn't like my landscaping so he drove through the yard taking out the mailbox, the east fence, 2 Sitka spruce trees (25 footers), some other shrubbery, the north fence, flipped his truck twice between the upper and lower driveways and had both the driver and passenger ejected from the truck.  Needless to say,  it was a good thing that my grandkids were away visiting their paternal grandmother or who knows what would have happened if they had been playing in the yard.  I then spent the next 2 weeks rebuilding the front yard fence, including the orchard fence along the road.  Estimated speed at mailbox impact was 65+ mph.  Thankfully only minor injuries, can you believe it? After 2 summersaults and a hand stand.

Then I've been busy harvesting the rewards of farming.  I've butchered a goat, a batch of rabbits, 14 stewing chickens, and have done 1 batch of apples through the cider press and and doing another batch tomorrow.  I made a bunch of Rabbit suasage.  When the directions say to add water to the mix to activate the spices I always use vinegar because it not only does a better job of activating the spices but helps preserve the sausage was well.  Finished the last of the butchering, cutting, wrapping, and curing yesterday.

I've been working long hours and have been too tired to spend a few minutes on the computer.  It has usually been in use anyway, my youngest son is into fantasy football and is glued to the computer every weekend.  I'll be working to catch up with all the posting now that foul weather has set in and I will have to spend longer evenings in the house with the shorter days of winter.  I won't be able to work outside as much as I have been.
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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2009, 11:15:30 PM »

we thought you were dead  evil

glad you were only busy!   grin

sounds like you accomplished quite a lot.  are you for hire???
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« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2009, 11:23:51 PM »

Brian, I've been considering rabbits. Have you got a good resource or any thoughts on the venture?
Rabbit sausage sounds like a good way to hide the fact that they are rabbits from my kids. DOn't know how well they would handle that.
Also, what is the best way to dispatch the bunnies? I've heard them scream like banshies and don't want that to traumatize the kids.
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« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2009, 11:24:28 PM »

 Oh Geez, Kathy!!
You are "Hardcore"!!
...... grin....But I was thinkin' the same thing!!
Good to see you Brian!
your friend,
john
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« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2009, 10:40:02 AM »

Brian, wonderful to hear ya, life can get so busy for surely.  Now comes the winter, the time for the inside stuff, like computers, yay!!!  Lots to catch up on the forum, you'll be reading until next spring, smiling.  Welcome back, friend.  Have the most incredible and awesome day, health and life.  Cindi
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« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2009, 12:37:43 PM »

Brian, good to hear you are just busy!  I was worried.  Sounds like things are shaping up over there, good to hear your one brother is getting the idea!  Can't wait to hear more stories of your summer adventures as you get time.  This was a great year for outside projects for sure.  Glad you are back.
Jody
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« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2009, 02:18:22 PM »

Good to see you back Brian, yep, I'd say you've been pretty dang busy there man.


..JP
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2009, 10:51:52 PM »

Thomashton, thanks for the tip on the mohair, the hair is dishwater blonde on one doe and a more golden blonde on the other, everybody likes blondes so why dye?  I'll have to look into doing that, can always use a few extra dollars.

Kathy, No I'm not dead yet, though there were a few days where my bad back was killing me.  Actually, with all the physical labor I've done over the spring, summer, and fall, so far, my physical abilities have improved but I still have a lot of health issues but I no longer have to resort to my motorized wheelchair when meeting my grandsons at the bus stop a 1/4 mile away.

I still have to rebuild 26 feet of fence on one side of the chicken house, string cables, and hang netting to keep hawks out and chickens and turkeys in.  Then I plan to add another 40 linear feet to the pasture by the barn, running further out towards the road.  When I'm done for this year I'll have built about 830 linear feet of fence.  I'll start again next spring and finish fencing in the orchard/yard, bee yard, and garden for about 400 more feet of fence.  I hope to be done with fence building then for another 30 years. 
Next will come rototilling the entire garden and planting it.  After that I will turn my attention to rebuilding the floor of the shed which will include a new foundation, excavating a root celler basement, and rewiring it to current electrical codes as the wiring that is there was put in when it was built and all the insulation as come off.  If it wasn't for the isulators the place would have burned down a long time ago.  I also have to build new rabbit pens.
Then comes the barn, building a lean to on the north side or storage and animal shelter and replacing the floor in the hayloft.
Can't forget to do the maintainence on what I've already done.  I figure 2 more years of back breaking work before I have the 1.25 acres to the point that it will sustain all of the family that lives locally with lamb, chicken, turkey, eggs, rabbit, fruit, berries, and vegitables.  Meaning we shouldn't have to buy much of anything food wise from the supermarket exce[t spme occassional beef, cows milk, and bread.  Of course I can always swap a lamb for 1/2 a beef.
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« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2009, 10:12:00 AM »

Oh Brian....you are an inspiration to me for surely, with all your aspirations.  I would long to one day be as self-sufficient as you are clearly becoming.  You are a leader within your family for sure.  You have lots of work ahead of you.  Take this winter to rejuvenate your mind, body and soul to be ready for this upcoming spring.  There will be those days of downtime, that will force you to relax, that be good ol' Mother Nature herself.  The snow will no doubt come, and we will all be forced to delve deep into our warm homes, winter is a good time for me too.  That day will come when you have completed all the necessary work.  Then that day, you will sit back on your chair on your porch, look at what you have done, and give yourself that enormous pat on the back.  That job was done.  Yay, take care, you are doing a most wonderful job on your beautiful piece of property, right smack dab in the middle of that suburbia neighbourhood  cheer Have that most wonderful and awesome day, with beautiful health.  Cindi
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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2009, 04:50:45 PM »

Thomashton, thanks for the tip on the mohair, the hair is dishwater blonde on one doe and a more golden blonde on the other, everybody likes blondes so why dye?  I'll have to look into doing that, can always use a few extra dollars.

Kathy, No I'm not dead yet, though there were a few days where my bad back was killing me.  Actually, with all the physical labor I've done over the spring, summer, and fall, so far, my physical abilities have improved but I still have a lot of health issues but I no longer have to resort to my motorized wheelchair when meeting my grandsons at the bus stop a 1/4 mile away.

I still have to rebuild 26 feet of fence on one side of the chicken house, string cables, and hang netting to keep hawks out and chickens and turkeys in.  Then I plan to add another 40 linear feet to the pasture by the barn, running further out towards the road.  When I'm done for this year I'll have built about 830 linear feet of fence.  I'll start again next spring and finish fencing in the orchard/yard, bee yard, and garden for about 400 more feet of fence.  I hope to be done with fence building then for another 30 years. 
Next will come rototilling the entire garden and planting it.  After that I will turn my attention to rebuilding the floor of the shed which will include a new foundation, excavating a root celler basement, and rewiring it to current electrical codes as the wiring that is there was put in when it was built and all the insulation as come off.  If it wasn't for the isulators the place would have burned down a long time ago.  I also have to build new rabbit pens.
Then comes the barn, building a lean to on the north side or storage and animal shelter and replacing the floor in the hayloft.
Can't forget to do the maintainence on what I've already done.  I figure 2 more years of back breaking work before I have the 1.25 acres to the point that it will sustain all of the family that lives locally with lamb, chicken, turkey, eggs, rabbit, fruit, berries, and vegitables.  Meaning we shouldn't have to buy much of anything food wise from the supermarket exce[t spme occassional beef, cows milk, and bread.  Of course I can always swap a lamb for 1/2 a beef.


Brian,

Glad you're doing alright, I think you put the energizer bunny to shame, also best wishes to your " Homestead ", sounds like a place I'd like to live in.  grin

BH
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« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2009, 10:46:17 PM »

Brian, I've been considering rabbits. Have you got a good resource or any thoughts on the venture?
Rabbit sausage sounds like a good way to hide the fact that they are rabbits from my kids. DOn't know how well they would handle that.
Also, what is the best way to dispatch the bunnies? I've heard them scream like banshies and don't want that to traumatize the kids.

I've kept rabbits off and on for quite a while, and I have these thoughts on it - You don't have to kill them in front of the kids (I don't), but don't hide what is going on - it won't hurt them. 

The kids may (or may not) actually find the dressing process somewhat interesting.  My girls can point out all of the internal organs and name them on pretty much any animal.  At first the reaction was "Ooooo! -  What's That?!!" Kids are curious and adaptable.

Grasping both back legs in one hand and putting your other thumb on the back of the neck and fingers under the chin - you can guess the rest - is how I do it.  After a few times you'll get it down, and it's as humane as any other way that you turn cute little furries into meat.

I'd also be interested in that sausage recipe though.  I have an 8 week old litter I need to deal with soon.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2009, 10:50:23 PM »

Bought a Tractor today.  Wife was a little angry when the guy called me back and said he hadn't heard back from the 1st taker and wanted to know if I still wanted it.
I'm paying $2100.00 for a tractor as old as I am, we were both built in 1948, it has a bucket and comes with a driveway blade too.  My wife thought I was paying too much for an old Ford 8N tractor, even though it is in good shape, the 2nd reason she was angry.  Personally I think any tractor with a bucket and driveway blade is worth $2100.00 any day. 

I plan on using it to redo the driveway that hasn't been touched in at least 10 years, move the 25 yards of dirt piled in my yard left over from putting in a new septic system this spring, plow the garden patch in the spring, and use as a hoist/scaffled when building the lean-to on the side of the barn.  Besides, if we have as much snow this year as we did last year I'll be using in to clear the driveway and the road in front of the house down to the main thorough-fare as well as the neighbors.  1st up is to use it to pull the old fence I left standing in front of the new fence I built across the front of the orchard that I did when I had to rebuild the yard fence along the road when some hot rodder drove thorough it and took out my 2 Sitka Spruce trees.

 What do you guys think?  Cindi
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« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2009, 10:55:51 PM »


 What do you guys think?  Cindi

I think it's already hit the bottom of it's depreciation, and it'll probably get more valuable if you take care of it.  Does that one have a hydraulic 3 point hitch?

I think everyone should have a tractor that's the same vintage they are - mine's a '61 John Deere 2010.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2009, 11:05:02 PM »

Brian, I've been considering rabbits. Have you got a good resource or any thoughts on the venture?
Rabbit sausage sounds like a good way to hide the fact that they are rabbits from my kids. DOn't know how well they would handle that.
Also, what is the best way to dispatch the bunnies? I've heard them scream like banshies and don't want that to traumatize the kids.

I've kept rabbits off and on for quite a while, and I have these thoughts on it - You don't have to kill them in front of the kids (I don't), but don't hide what is going on - it won't hurt them. 

The kids may (or may not) actually find the dressing process somewhat interesting.  My girls can point out all of the internal organs and name them on pretty much any animal.  At first the reaction was "Ooooo! -  What's That?!!" Kids are curious and adaptable.

Grasping both back legs in one hand and putting your other thumb on the back of the neck and fingers under the chin - you can guess the rest - is how I do it.  After a few times you'll get it down, and it's as humane as any other way that you turn cute little furries into meat.

I'd also be interested in that sausage recipe though.  I have an 8 week old litter I need to deal with soon.

I takem by the hind feet with the head down and then hit them right behind the ears with an old billy club left over from my law enforcement days.  It seperates the brain from the spinal cord and a few drops of blood drip out the nose but it's quick and easy and doesn't seem to bother my grandchilder.  All my grandchildern have had an opportunity to watch kittens and goats being born, and me kill and butcher various animals,  I don't get any screams of anguish like the women seem to think will happen.

I believe it's never to young to teach them those kinds of things.  In my youth it was a comman fact of life, but by the time I had children society had gotten so citified that it's a shame.  Everybody is into instant easy these days and have to be taught how to recycle.  Back in the day we saved the usable parts to fixed other things and some unique inprofisations where plentyful.
In the last few months with the addition of the compost bins and additional live stock my trash and my curbside recycling has shrunk bigtime, and I expect it to shrink even more as I get more of my living green projects on line.
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« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2009, 06:22:28 PM »

Saturday, after spending a week picking apples in the orchard, I finally got around to putting the cider press to use.  I had picked over 20 5 gallon buckets full of various types of apples but ran out of containers with the Red Delicious tree only 1/2 picked.  My son-in-law and his 4 kids helped with the processing.  We spent the entire day doing nothing but juicing apples.  I kept back 1 bucket of Kings for apples pies, and 2 buckets of Red Delicious for the grandkids school lunches.  They helped sort for the best apples and when told to discard any with imperfections they were very strict, even to the point of discarding the smaller apples without blemishes. 

When done we found we had squeezed 29 1/2 gallons of pure apple cider, filled a 20 gallon garbage can full of pulp twice, and a large pile of empty buckets.  I sent off about 5 gallons worth with visitors, giving 3 gallons to my younger brother.  My wife has been in the process of canning the remaining 20+ gallons, as we've been busy drinking fresh apple cider with our meals for the past several days.  As of today, Monday, we still have about 12 gallons yet to process.

Having a farm is a lot of work, even if you're only doing it to feed the family and reduce the grocery bill, but it sure gives one a sense of satisfaction with the completion of each portion of the harvest. 

The tomatoes I trasnplanted into the green house are now twice as big as they were when I uprooted them and are starting to burst with blooms.  Hope to have fresh tomatoes for Thanksgiving.
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« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2009, 07:38:38 PM »

Brian, that's just fantastic...way to go! I too live the homestead life as much as possible and keep chickens, pigs bees (of course) a large year-round garden and various tropical fruits...star fruit, pineapples, citrus etc.

I agree that even a little touch of self sustainability fills one's soul and you're never filled with as much pride as when giving some of your harvest to friends and family. Keep up the great work!

Scott
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« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2009, 01:39:07 PM »

Brian,

You are a man after my own heart. I try to grow most of our own food (veggies) plus eggs and chickens.

Regarding milk, I use it but for things like mashed potatoes and sauces. I used to make cheese, but am still eating my surplus. One thing I do with milk is can it. I have a source for raw milk and I buy a gallon or two and put it in 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 pint jars and pressure can it for 10 minutes at 10 pounds. It is so handy that way. Keeps a long time too.

Regarding the 8N. I think you got it for a good price with the front end loader. Also the good news is you can always get parts for an 8N. I was looking at one a few years ago and opted for a Ford 1600 instead. The two lunger diesel is very stingy on fuel, about a half gallon an hour. The reason I chose it over the 8N, was the 9 speeds forward and 3 in reverse. I was getting tired of using my Troybilt tiller on an acre and a half and the 1600 slow speeds were ideal for the 5 foot tiller I bought for it. So much easier on the ole back. Now all my neighbors bring their leaves (mostly maple) over and dump them on the garden and they get tilled in with the 1600. My soil is building up quite well with the leave addition, plus any compost and manure I put on. The biggest rub with the 1600 is Ford/New Holland have obsoleted it and any parts (which I haven't needed yet) have to be purchased on the grey market.

Take care!

Jay
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2009, 08:53:33 PM »

Well things keep chugging along.  I started using my new 8N tractor to move the pile of dirt in my yard.  Managed to make a few gouges in the driveway but was able to smooth those out with the bucket.  Problem I had was that after 2 hours my legs gave out, started getting real bad muscle cramps from maintaining a sitting position.  Now after a few days on the tractor my left knee gave out and I'm back to barely being able to walk after of over a year of almost no pain in that joint.  Called up the doctor and scheduled another round of syn-visc injections and another steroiod shot in my right hip.  The 2 seem to be connected, every time my left knee goes out the increased limp causes the burcitis in my right hip to flare up.  Looks like I'm going to have to ease my way into operating the tractor, an hour at a time until my knee and hip start holding up.

I now know I have 2 hen guineas so they are in need a male companion.  With all the rain we've had the last few weeks the creek is finally back to running 24/7.  It runs from about Nov 1st to May 1st every year and is dry the rest of the year.

Still working on fences, tore down the old chicken fence in the old yard and am replacing that, then I have to cover it with netting.

My wife is now pressuring for a milk cow, she is tired of all the practical jokes the billy keeps pulling.  Looking at it on paper, pasture and hay usage, it looks lilke I can handle 3 sheep and 1 cow.  Probably either a jersey or a mini.  Guess I owe her that after getting the tractor.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
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« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2009, 10:20:20 PM »

Oh Brian, you and your body!!!  Wish the blazes that things would keep running fine with your physical junk that plagues you.  Oh well, you are wise to as soon as you know you need medical attention, to get on it as quickly as you do, good thing.  When you are working your tractor, as you are saying, let yourself ease into that type of work slowly.  You may need to build up some extra muscles to that sort of sitting stuff, slowly, baby steps.

Rain, tell me about the rain, wonder when it is ever going to stop.  Oh brother.  Makes for some pretty mucky stuff going on, but....at least it isn't the below zero (celsius remember) weather we had last year, hope it doesn't come.

Oh now I am feeling like crying.  I yearn to one day have a milk cow, don't know if it will ever happen.  But now I know two people.  Jody has a Dexter milker and then you are going to get a Jersey or a mini, sigh.  If only I lived closer, I would take any excess milk off your hands that you would ever have.  Although, I imagine your dear Wife would find no problem with using up the product.  She will get really good at making cheese and all the wonderful byproducts of the milker cow.  Beautiful.   Get that milker for her, she deserves it, just like you deserved that tractor, smiling (get that little sticking up for your Wife on my part, hee, hee).

Did you get rid of the billy?  There is a ram in rutt at our neighbours.  I smelled it yesterday for the first time.  Seemed that it was a little late for it to be stinking like that, what a stench, I could smell it all the way from half way to the chicken yard at the back, ich!!!  It reminded me of your male dude there when we had that barbeque, where all you guys couldn't even smell that dude, and Jody, Janel and I were just about puking!!!!  The one at our neighbours is a ram though, but it still stinks as bad as your ol' billy, eeks!!!  Have that great and most beautiful day, wishes of great health.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2009, 11:51:51 AM »

Oh Cindi, and on this farm I have no cow or goat or bees!  Things have not been going well around here and my first duty (besides Chelsea) is to my animals so I had to sell Rose & Stewart.  They went back to the lady I bought her from so I know they are well taken care of.  Chev was so lonely!  My friend Sandi had her goat die of old age & wanted another so I gave Chevy to her. Things are a changin but that is a whole nother post.  I just have to simplify & have less to be worry about in case of a quick exit!  I do still have the chix as they are easier to find homes for if needed! AND I still need something that makes me laugh every day!     Brian I so envy you!  Your place is what I envisioned mine to be someday ah well, I have prayed & prayed & have faith that things will turn out how they are supposed to.  I usually land on my feet albeit a bit wobbly at times!

Jody








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