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Your Homestead Tell and show others with words and pictures how you built or are building your homestead and how you keep things going day-to-day. One thread per member, please.

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  #1  
Old 07-12-2011, 12:48 AM
macgeoghagen macgeoghagen is offline
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I have recently moved from military district 2 to military district 3 and have secured a small piece of land in the former state of Georgia. It is 1.3 acres on a sort of geological border, where a desert once gave way to forest. The dirt is sandy on top and has clay underneath. The topsoil is almost a foot deep where grass and privet have taken over, and nonexistent in the sun blasted portions of the front yard. Trees are mostly hardwood, in particular black walnut and pecan.

The groundwater is undrinkable. A local chemical company 10 miles away poisoned the ground water.

Since Oliver has provided this space for homestead logging, i'll update as events warrant.

I started some chickens 3 weeks ago. I got them when they were about 3 weeks old. They are black copper marans with lightly feathered legs. I got 9 of them, straight run. I'm no good at sexing chicks, so it will be a surprise when I figure out who will lay eggs and who will be soup. I will keep the best cockerel. They will all be observed for how well they protect the hens, find food for them, crow, and whether or not they attack me.

I found a grapevine while cutting brush in one of my back corners. I have not found its root. When I do, i'll clear around it and train it onto a fence. The brush cutting is a big deal. Privet, grapevine, bamboo briar, honeysuckle, and a few other plants have combined forces to put about 1/4 acre under dense jungle. The privet protects the thorns from my swisher monster string trimmer. The thorns protect the privet from my machete and saw. The only way to clean it is to slash a hole through a weak place and cut down the privet from inside where the vines all make a roof woven through the bushes.
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Old 07-12-2011, 02:44 PM
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offgridbob Male offgridbob is offline
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I'm assuming your across the big water from us because I'm not familiar with what a privit is. It sounds like your in for some hard rock farming. How are you handling your water situation. Or by your discription I guess it could be the state Georgia just didn't know they grew bamboo.
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Old 07-12-2011, 03:30 PM
grumble Male grumble is offline
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Georgia, as in south of Russia? If so, your command of English is commendable!

It sounds like you have your work cut out for yourself. Since not many of us here know what you have to work with, you'll have to keep us informed. For example, on your clearing problem, I'd suggest just getting a chainsaw, but I have no idea if that's even an option for you.

Good luck on the homestead!
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:05 PM
macgeoghagen macgeoghagen is offline
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Its Georgia, as in the US state. for military districts, look up the reconstruction.

By privet, I mean the plant "common privet" that is often used for growing hedges with. it grows fast. It is evergreen in the south. The leaves are small and oval. The bark is light colored. In the late summer and fall it grows round berries that are about the size of a BB.

Bamboo briar is the local name for an aggressive thorned plant that grows up into the trees. there is a main stalk that is jointed like bamboo that reaches up for tree branches. The ones I cut are about an inch and a half in diameter. They are lightweight like bamboo, but they are not hollow. I kept several 5 foot lengths. They may come in useful for something.

I want a chainsaw. i also want one of those chainsaws on a pole that i can put on my weedeater. That would be useful for reaching into the mess and cutting a few key branches.

I gave the chickens a cantaloupe rind today that still had a good bit of fruit in it. They examined it closely for a few minutes before pecking it clean.

Last edited by macgeoghagen; 07-12-2011 at 09:11 PM.
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  #5  
Old 07-13-2011, 12:40 PM
christina1471 Female christina1471 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macgeoghagen View Post
Its Georgia, as in the US state. for military districts, look up the reconstruction.
LOL, you would get along well with my SO. He's a major Civil War buff and he talks like this as well. Never heard of the military districts, though, have to tell him about that. He probably knows about it though, he's been reading southern history for a couple of years now.

I've seen the bamboo growing in Georgia, there were tons of it along side one road and people were out cutting it down and putting it on a truck. Not sure what they're going to do with it, though.

Good luck on your homestead, sounds like you're off to a great start.

Christina in E AL, formerly W GA
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  #6  
Old 07-14-2011, 10:54 PM
macgeoghagen macgeoghagen is offline
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Yesterday I bathed the chickens. They were a bit dirty on the undersides and feet from pooping their bed. They don't roost yet, so they bed down in whichever corner of the chicken hutch that suits them. They poop in their sleep, so they soil themselves and their bedfellows. I have a process for washing the chickens. I set up a small fenced area in a sunny spot in the yard. The I get a bucket that is twice as tall as the chicken and narrow enough so that there is room for chicken and my forearms, but no room to flap. I fill the bucket enough so that the chicken can touch the bottom if standing up. I add a few drops of baby shampoo or baby wash to the water. I wash them one at a time. I catch a chicken from the hutch, hold it gently in both hands so that its wings are pinned closed and its feet are tucked. If it protests, I turn it head down. I put the chicken in the bucket and agitate the water with my hands so that the moving water washes the chicken. Then I transfer it to the sunny fenced area. When all chickens are drying in the sun, I clean out their hutch. I use a sheet of cardboard and dried grass clippings as bedding.

The chicken hutch is a simple affair that I made to protect these young chickens until they are ready to be yard birds. The area the chickens live in measures 4'x2'x16". The bottom is 1/4" plywood, the sides and top are metal hardware cloth with 1/4" holes. Framing is made of 2x2 boards. The door is 20" wide and is positioned in the middle of one of the long sides. This way I can reach everything inside the hutch. The legs are long enough that the floor of the hutch is 3' off the floor. This apparatus is on my screened in porch, against the southwest screen. They get sun in the morning, shade from a tree in the afternoon, protection from rain and predators, and human contact.
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Old 07-16-2011, 12:34 AM
macgeoghagen macgeoghagen is offline
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Today it rained for most of the day. It let up in the late afternoon. I went to the lowes and picked up supplies to make a chicken run:

2"x2"x8' untreated boards qty 6
1/2"dia. x 10' pvc pipe qty 3
plastic poultry netting 4'x50' roll qty 1.
pack of 200 zip ties.
It cost me about 35.00 for those supplies.

I made a wood frame for the bottom measuring 6'x8' using 4 of the 2x2s. I made a door in one end that measures 3' tall and 2' wide, with a frame around it. I think I may have a scrap thats about 2' long left over. I bored holes in the top side of the wood frame that are 7/8" in diameter and 1 inch deep. There are three on each side. One at each end and one in the middle. I bent over the pvc pipe lengths and stuck the ends in the holes, covered wagon style. The distance between each PVC pipe rib is 4 feet, which corresponds to the width of my poultry netting. Two 10' lengths cover the top and sides of the chcken run. They are zip tied to the pvc ribs at the ends, and they are both zip tied to the pvc rib in the middle. These are also zip tied to the wooden frame at the bottom. I ran out of light, so tomorrow I will figure out how to do the ends.
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:49 PM
macgeoghagen macgeoghagen is offline
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Today I cleared more brush and finished up the chicken run. I put them in it one by one. I can't let them stay outside overnight because they will get eaten.

1. This simple chicken run keeps the young chickens from wandering off. This fall I will fence my back yard and let them be yard birds.

2. The chickens are in their awkward adolescent stage. They resent me for not letting them drive my truck or let them get comb piercings. I can't understand the strange music they listen to.

3. Left: before I cleared brush. Right: after I cleared brush

4. This half acre field will get cleared of brush and planted with peach trees in the fall. The edges are overgrown and there is a rubbish pile on the left side of the picture
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  #9  
Old 07-19-2011, 09:06 PM
macgeoghagen macgeoghagen is offline
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2 chickens have died in the past 2 days. The first was a young cockerel who got killed by the neighbor's dog. I wasn't home at the time so I didn't see it. The second was a chick who has been rather sickly since day one. It has not grown at all. Today whatever kept it small and weak finally killed it.
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  #10  
Old 07-26-2011, 11:31 PM
macgeoghagen macgeoghagen is offline
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The chickens are mostly feathered out in their adult feathers. Of the surviving 7, 2 are definitely cockerels. They attempt to crow, but it sounds like a child trying to play trumpet on a funnel. Most are black, but one pullet has gray wing shoulders and one other pullet's feathers are barred with brown. Most have feathers on the font of their legs
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  #11  
Old 07-26-2011, 11:44 PM
GentleLady Female GentleLady is offline
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Nice looking place you have there! Congrats and good luck with the chicks!
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  #12  
Old 07-27-2011, 09:35 PM
rwwoodcock Male rwwoodcock is offline
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I like your little chicken run very much and after the brush cutting looks so much better. Good luck and keep us updated I am just learning how to look at this stuff on here and it so pleases me to see what others have done
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  #13  
Old 07-30-2011, 12:42 AM
macgeoghagen macgeoghagen is offline
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Thanks for the kind words.
The chicken run will be upgraded soon. I will replace the bottom frame with treated 2x4s and try to find some brackets that will hold the ends of the PVC pipe in place better than a simple hole. The tension on the pipe is splitting the wood around the holes. it is a matter of time before one side breaks.
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Old 07-30-2011, 11:46 PM
macgeoghagen macgeoghagen is offline
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Today I cleared more brush and grilled burgers. here are some pictures
1. Deathtrap 1, a shed with a rotten frame
2. the chickens mostly in their adult feathers.
3. there is a chain link fence inside that overgrown mess. fore: stuff that was cut off the fence. back center: overgrown fence row that I haven't got to yet.
Attached Images
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  #15  
Old 07-31-2011, 11:42 PM
macgeoghagen macgeoghagen is offline
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The chickens are outgrowing their hutch. It is the right dimensions for 7 chickens to sleep in, but unsuitable for containing them all the time. I began solving that problem today, with a semi-portable chicken house. It has 8 sq. ft. of floor space, which is a good size for 6 chickens. The cockerels have not grown enough for me to figure out whether I have a good rooster yet. If they are both poor husbands, they will both go in a stew. If one is good and one bad, the bad one will be stew. If both are good, the better will stay with the black copper maran hens and the lesser good one will be given a different harem. Sometimes it seems like people should do something similar, but the people deciding are always the ones that should have been culled the soonest.

1. The chicken hutch. It was too hot for them outside today. They stayed on the porch and drank ice water.

2. The frame for the chicken house. It will have a door at one corner, a hinged roof for egg gathering, and a removable panel somewhere for cleaning.
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  #16  
Old 08-06-2011, 09:06 PM
macgeoghagen macgeoghagen is offline
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Today I got the chicken house built and mostly painted.
1. The door is also the ramp.
2. The roof hinges up for egg collection. A stick hinges on a screw and catches in a notch to hold the door open. The back panel is shown removed. It is held in place by eye bolts that can be pulled out when the house needs cleaning.
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  #17  
Old 08-08-2011, 03:37 AM
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Very nice. It meets all the requirements. Functional, Basic, Ease of use.
Nice job
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:31 AM
macgeoghagen macgeoghagen is offline
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I ignored the authorities. They want you to go over to the county courthouse or some other den of thieves and ask if you can buy a little paper that says its OK for you to have a fire. Well I didn't. I have an IQ greater than 50, so i figured out soon enough that the paper you buy is unnecessary. You don't need it. Neither match nor wood will refuse to burn in absence of said paper. So I had a bureaucracy free campfire. It felt good.

"The effort I make to keep the ordinance is directly proportional to their ability to enforce it."
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:34 PM
macgeoghagen macgeoghagen is offline
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The chickens are growing. They still chirp and peep rather than cluck, but they are getting to be a good size and are growing their copper feathers. I think i know which cockerel to keep. it is the smaller one, but it is more mature. It has a good crow, holds its tail feathers up, and has grown a lot of its copper feathers on its head and neck. The other is just fat and dumpy with a crow like a frog blowing a damp cardboard kazoo. If he grows some roosterish characteristics to go with his bulk he might survive. Do you think he would develop better if I separated him from his more handsome brother?
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  #20  
Old 09-07-2011, 07:09 PM
Kelly Kelly is offline
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nice location

keep the commentary and pictures coming!
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