Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Another Pen Finished

Below is the pen I finished tonight.  The pen is a real 30.06 shell.  The top is dear antler.

Click the picture to see a larger view
I also fed the chickens, but the pen and the chicken feed is all I did tonight after getting home from work.

Always something happening

Yesterday after taking time to reflect on the gift of freedom God has given us and the sacrifice of pioneers and soldiers to maintain that freedom we did some work around the homestead.  I put preservative on the bottom of the stringers of Jake's Fort and screwed in some footer boards around the bottom of the fort, unloaded the quad from the trailer and backed the trailer into it's normal parking space.  After that my wife and I went out to the shop and cleaned it up.  The cleaning wasn't as bad as I thought it was going t be.  I had thought it was going to take a long time because it was pretty dirty and my shop is about half the size it should be.  Cleaning did high light for me the need for at least 1 small garden shed.  I guess I need to add that to my list of projects.

We also did some burning yesterday.  We have desert broom stumps in our yard, right where I want to move the chicken coop to and where I want to set up a double composting bin.  So we built a fire over the top of one of the stumps and burned the fire on top of it.  I'm kind of leery of doing that because of how dry it is, but we were with the fire the whole time and we had a hose ready to water things down if need be.

Going back to the cleaning of the shop, here are some things I make in the shop and sell at a local farmers market.... I'm going to be expanding to other venues too.

Monday, May 30, 2011

American Memories

This is going to be my first post about American History, patriotic duty, and America's ability to just keep going.

During the beginning of the Revolutionary War on April 19, 1775 there were many feats of bravery.  I'm going to talk about one of them.  The man was a farmer, he was 80 years old, his name was Samuel Whittemore.

On this day of battle Mr. Whittemore killed 3 British Soldiers by ambush.  He killed one with his musket and the other two he killed with his dueling pistols.  With his firearms discharged he attacked the brigade with a sword.  In this hand to hand combat he was shot in the face, bayoneted thirteen time, beaten and left in the field next to the road to die.   He was later found trying to load his musket to continue to fight.  He was taken to a local doctors and nursed back to health.  He died at the age of 98 of natural causes.

This farmer who knew what it means to live free was willing to fight and die for what he believed in.  At his age he could have watched from the sidelines and no one would have thought any less of him, he was 80 years old after all.  Instead he put his life on the line to give us something for which we should be willing to fight and die. 

God has given us a great nation, He used brave men and women to show us personal responsibility, patriotic duty, and also to show us how to stand our ground when we are fighting for a just cause.

God Bless

By the way here is Samuel Whittemore's memorial marker:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Rodeo Boogers and a Good Time

For those of you who don't know at a rodeo it's really dusty.  Rodeo boogers are those boogers you get when the dust gets up in your nose and mixes with the snot.  These become rodeo boogers, you can't blow them out, if you ride motorcycles and quads you get the same thing, it's just called something different.  I tell you this to say I'm dirty, sore, tired and just plumb wore out.  You see today was the last Ranch Family Fun Day of the season for our church, Tanque Verde Cowboy Church.  We put on a mini-rodeo with rodeo type events have a church service then continue with the rodeo events after the church service and lunch.  This is our out reach to the rural/agricultural community in our area.  It's a lot of work and a really good time.

God Bless, I'm taking a shower and turning my brain off.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Fort - Completion

You want to see an 11 year who is proud of his Fort?  Just look at Jake.  We have to put some preservative on the bottom of the stringers which I will do on Sunday or Monday, and paint the steps but other than that we're done.

May Garden Tour

Blackberry flowering

Beans are growing

These are sun flowers and pumpkins.  My wife's idea and it seems to be working.

Last year the strawberries only covered a 3x6 food area.  They're growing...

Cucumbers, I'm gonna need to put supports up for them soon.

Yellow crook neck squash


The watermelon plants are taking their time.

Tomato's are growing slow, but there are fruit on those vines and a lot of flowers.

We're gonna have a lot of zucchini to pickle and dehydrate.
That's the garden as of about 6:00pm tonight.  God is really blessing us this year!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Whats Going On

Sunday after the breakfast I posted about was made we went to painting the fort.  I don't have an airless but I do have brushes, rollers, and roller handles.  We had a good time putting the first coat of primer on until we ran out of primer.  I got another gallon of primer yesterday so we can get back to painting and hopefully have done by this weekend.

The garden is doing well.  We have tomato's growing on some of the vines and most of the vines have flowers on them.  The zucchini are starting to flower and a volunteer water melon that started growing in a blackberry bed has a flower on it as well.

The chickens had left the grape vines alone for about 6 weeks and I had thought we were past the time that they would bother them, but nope they ate the leaves off of all four of the vines.  Sunday my wife and I put chicken wire around the make shift supports I made for the vines.  New leaves are growing in so the vines should be fine.  I considered not protecting the vines, because I find it very comical to watch my wife chasing the chickens away from her vines. 

We have a tree in our back yard that had a tree well that was never built right.  Sunday we rebuilt the well.  I had a couple of stacks of retaining wall bricks... the red ones that you pick up at Home Depot or Lowes.  I got them for free from my dad who had redesigned a couple of his flower beds and didn't need them any more.  So anyway we put ten of those around the tree to hold the tree well in place.  Yesterday, while I was at work, my wife and daughter moved more of the bricks over by one of the apples trees so I could put them around the apple trees as well.  I put them around one of the trees last night after work.  I'll probably do the other one tonight.

I haven't bee out in the shop much lately.  I think tonight I'm going to spend some time working out there, getting it cleaned up and ready to make several pens.  I hate working in clutter and in spite of putting tools away every night when we worked on Jake's Fort it still got cluttered up. 

Well I better run for now I have to go to work in just a bit.  God Bless!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Breakfast

This morning my wife and I made breakfast.  The menu?

Buttermilk pancakes with fresh ground whole wheat

Fruit Compote

Whipped Cream

Eggs done to order.  And this is what you get when it's all added together:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Homestead lay out

On an acre of land space for livestock is at a premium, to that end, I've been pondering where to put the rabbits and the goats.  We're also going to add another garden just for the plants like water melon, and squash so we can have even more room for those plants that take up less room.  The chicken coop is mobile and they can free range, so the coop placement isn't a big deal.

We have a cargo box placed along the north side of the house.  I'm going to drag that over about 10 feet.  The area between the house and the container is where I plan to have the rabbit hutches. This will give them shade and some protection from the winds we get.  I have a portable swamp cooler that I'm going to use also, in that I have a plan to make the hutches so that the swamp cooler will blow some cool air through the hutches on hot days.

I have some ideas on the goat enclosure too and I'm throwing some details around in my brain to work out how to position the pen, the goat barn and a milking area.

I guess the pea in my head will keep rattling for a bit...

Advice From an Old Homesteader

This is a post from 2011, of a list of homestead wisdom that I find useful and amusing.  I thought I would repost it because I like it and didn't want it to get lost in the shuffle.  I guess that's what you get when a blog author reviews old posts...

Take care,
Desert Rat
  • Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight
    and bull-strong.
  • Keep skunks and bankers at a
       (This is among my favorite pieces of wisdom.  This also relates to the judgement one later)
  • Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
  • A bumble bee is considerably faster than a
    John Deere tractor.
  • Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
  • Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
  • Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.
  • Do not corner something that you know is meaner
    than you.
  • It don't take a very big person to carry a
  • You cannot unsay a cruel word.
  • Every path has a few puddles.
  • When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
  • The best sermons are lived, not preached.
  • Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway. 
  • Don't judge folks by their relatives.
  • Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  • Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.
  • Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none. 
  • Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.  
  • If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.  
  • Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
  • The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.
  • Always drink upstream from the herd. 
  • Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
  • Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in. 
  • If you get to thinkin' you're a person of someinfluence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around. 
  • Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. 
  • Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Not Much

I haven't had a lot to say the last couple of days.  Wednesday I was going to do some maintenance on the truck.  That got put off until today.  Thursday after work I met my wife, son, parents and brother at a local lake and we had a picnic dinner and then did some fishing.  Today I did the maintenance on the truck... oil change, plugs and wires, I need to lube the chassis... next week I guess.

The last couple of days I've been watching whats going on in the nations capital.  Not too happy about what I'm seeing.  Debt and bad accounting/bookkeeping in the legislative branch, a judicial branch who think they legislate from the bench, and horrible leadership from the executive branch and then to top of the whole thing not only is the CIC acting outside his powers in regards to the War Powers Act, he also sides with our enemies and is well on the way of making an enemy out of our ally.  Traiterous actions from all three branches and in spite of the will of the people the public servants are trying to rule.  We need elected officials who will do their jobs within the Constitution. 

Ok, enough of my ranting and rambling.  I better go to bed before the gasket at the top of my head blows off and I look like a cartoon character with steam blowing out.

Night All and God Bless.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Let the Painting Begin

The roofing is done, which means the construction is complete.  The painting can begin now.  Below are some pics taken when we finished.  Jake was able to get on the roof, so I nailed the perimeter of the roofing while Jake did where I couldn't reach.  Jake had a couple of divets that we fixed with tar, but that's OK.

God Bless!!

Monday, May 16, 2011


I wasn't able to make any progress on the roofing today, the wind was blowing out here in the desert again.  There's a 30% chance of rain on Wednesday so wind or not tomorrow I will roof it.  I'm a little concerned about being on the roof.  I only used 2x4's on it thinking it's just an outside play area for a kid.  The 2x4's will handle Jake's weight no problem, but mine??? That's gonna be interesting.  I'm thinking about using some other 2x6's to brace it up if I have to get up there and I might have to get up there, because I don't want Jake 10 feet in the air with 30 miles an hour wind.  We'll see, pray for a calm day tomorrow.

Since I didn't make any progress on The Fort I thought I would show you what the place looked like in 2007 and what it looks like today.... This is the fourth year we have had the garden and the changes your going to see occurred just before we put in our first garden.

A mess, there was one trail leading through the jungle.

After, taken from the same place.
You can kind of see the trail through the grass.
Now it's clear to walk anywhere.
Today our garden is in this area.
A little better, but not done yet.
I took more loads of stuff to the dump than I care to remember.

We have continued to make progress.  Below are pics of the property today:

The little workshop to the left of the house I built from the ground up.  My wife was a great helper.

In the next year, we're gonna get a rooster to put in the chicken coop, we're going to, expand the garden for I think the fourth time, add a rabbitry and we're going to build a goat barn and add dairy goats to the homestead.  I'm excited to continue the move to being self reliant.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Stopped by the Wind

We are close to being done with the fort.  Today we had a leisurely morning, had whole wheat butter milk pancakes and sausages for breakfast.  At about 11:30 Jake and I got outside and started putting the roof on.  The day I choose to roof the fort started out with a gentle breeze and stayed that way for most of the day.  We had fun all day.  My wife, GOD BLESS HER, after putting strawberry ice cream in the ice cream maker, went out and cleaned up the scrap wood pile that I've been making during the project... I was going to do it after the project.  Anyway the wind started blowing harder and it got hot, did I mention we had fun all day?  So at the end of the day I got the OSB up but the wind got to be too much for the rolled roofing.  Below are pictures of the day.

Screwing down the first sheet
I got the job of putting the sheets on the roof.

Positioning the sheet on the roof.

My wife collected eggs.

My son wore my hat.
and ate homemade strawberry ice cream
Then helped position the last sheet in place.
  We took a break then this started happening.. I hope the pictures show what the wind is doing to the palo verde.
Blowing in the wind.
I had the rolled roofing positioned once and the wind picked up the whole sheet and blew it off the roof.  We'll try again after work tomorrow.  Otherwise below are some pictures of what it looks like now.