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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 06-04-2012, 03:56 AM
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krapgame krapgame is offline
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Default Krapgame's place

I thought it was about time to show some pics of some of the things I've been talking about that we have going on here. Nothing special really, but it kind of is to us.

First the view of the back yard. 6 raised beds, with 7th under construction. Nearest is strawberries (10 gallons harvested this year) next is partial strawberries, partial weeds, but we'll be transplanting more berries into it shortly. 3rd from right is mostly tomatoes. Next is black raspberries, then red raspberries and finally blackberries. All the berries are new this year, so they don't look like much yet. You can also see a half dozen blueberries growing in 3 gallon buckets.

Background is the chicken house/storage building. It doesn't look like much, but I built every stick of it myself and it's withstood 80+MPH winds and 36" of snow. The outside chicken pen is behind it. You can also see the (2) 55 gallon barrel rainwater storage for the automatic watering system. Far left is one wheat field and the combine and a wagon sitting out.

2nd pic is the area I've been clearing this weekend for the chicken pen addition. You can see the existing pen in the background. Lots of briars and brambles were here a few days ago.

Here's a link to the full sized picture; More to follow.

http://www.blueriver.net/~krapgame/f...arden_full.jpg
http://www.blueriver.net/~krapgame/f...20pen_full.jpg
Attached Images
File Type: jpg garden_small.jpg (24.7 KB, 323 views)
File Type: jpg new%20chicken%20pen_small.jpg (23.8 KB, 293 views)

Last edited by krapgame; 06-04-2012 at 04:25 AM.
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  #2  
Old 06-04-2012, 04:16 AM
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krapgame krapgame is offline
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Here's some pics of the vineyard and orchard. The first is a view down the lane. For years, it was just a dead maintenance area that really didn't do anything for us, so we decided to put it to work. Down the left side is the vineyard and further down is an apricot and 3 or 4 nut trees. On the right is several apples, a couple of peaches, another apricot and more nut trees. The vineyard on the left, when fully producing will be 42 more vines. About 25 or so now are growing, 1 and 2 years old. Also down the right side, is the dog run. We've had so much problem with deer eating our apple trees, last year we set two posts and stretched ~100' of cable between them. We tie the dog to it at night and the result is that our apple trees are now growing.

Next pic is a view of the other orchard trees we planted in the corner of the front yard this year and last. Pears, apples, cherries, elderberries, and some others as well. The vineyard from pic #1 is in the background.

#3 is a pic of the vines that are producing now. These range from 6 to 10 years old. IIRC, there are 19 vines bearing fruit this year and 8 more warming up. Pic #4 is a closeup of one of the Steuben vines. We're having a great year for grapes this year and they're absolutely loaded.

Again, links to full sized pics.

http://www.blueriver.net/~krapgame/f.../lane_full.jpg
http://www.blueriver.net/~krapgame/f...chard_full.jpg
http://www.blueriver.net/~krapgame/f...eyard_full.jpg
http://www.blueriver.net/~krapgame/f...etail_full.jpg
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File Type: jpg lane_small.jpg (17.3 KB, 269 views)
File Type: jpg orchard_small.jpg (21.4 KB, 261 views)
File Type: jpg vineyard_small.jpg (19.0 KB, 257 views)
File Type: jpg grapes%20detail_small.jpg (22.6 KB, 255 views)
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  #3  
Old 06-04-2012, 04:47 AM
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Here's some pics of some of this years crops. First is the Maverick spelt. This is our first season with this variety and we're really excited about it. >13% protein, supposed to be a really good baking variety and threshes 40-50% hull free. For anyone who's raised spelt, you know what a pain it is to get it out of the hull. I'm hoping that between setting the concave close on the combine and properly screening through the clipper, we'll be able to get a good amount of clean grain for cooking purposes. Hopefully this will be the wheat replacement we've been looking for.

Next is our little corn crop. I posted a request for some Jarvis seed on here last year and BHM came through. Special thanks to DGR for the seed start last year. I made just about every mistake that I could make last year, but still managed to get a small harvest, enough to get a good seed base for this year. I'm well pleased with the stand this year, and was very impressed with the quality of the corn last year. Hopefully this year we'll get a good idea of what this variety is capable of. Supposedly it set some kind of record around 1900 at the Iowa state fair with a 135 bu/ac. I'm anxious to see what it can do with better fertilizer and closer spacings.

In the 2nd pic, you can see some of the really nice view we have here. This pic is due east, and the far hill you see is ~12-15 miles away. What isn't visible is our back field just beyond the corn patch. ~7 acres that will hopefully get new fences and become cattle pasture later this year.

http://www.blueriver.net/~krapgame/f...02012_full.jpg
http://www.blueriver.net/~krapgame/f...d2012_full.jpg
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File Type: jpg spelt%202012_small.jpg (17.5 KB, 258 views)
File Type: jpg cornfield2012_small.jpg (16.9 KB, 257 views)
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  #4  
Old 06-04-2012, 05:19 AM
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Last post for now. First is a pics of the new property we just closed on last week. 7 acres, ~3 in woods, the rest in mixed pasture. Our plans are to build up the pasture to use for hay so we can use the back field exclusively for pasture. We've tapped the maple trees in the woods in the past and will probably do that again this winter. Most importantly, now we have a firewood supply that we own ourselves. Lots of black locusts to be cut and plenty more on the way.

The next two pics are the just finished hog lot, about 1 1/2 acres. I'm making arrangements to get the hogs this week. Inside this lot is a small, ~1/3 acre, pond that needs some help. It holds about 5' of water, but needs 9-10' to be full. I'm hoping that in a year or two the hogs doing their thing in it will finally seal it. Then comes the fish! BTW, the farm in the background with the red roof is where I grew up. My farm is a portion of that farm.

That's about all I've got for now. I'll hopefully be posting more throughout the summer, lots of projects to be done. I just thought some folks here might enjoy a bit of a virtual tour of our little 20 acres of heaven. For all the work and sometimes aggravation that it can be, I wouldn't trade it for much of anything.

http://www.blueriver.net/~krapgame/f...perty_full.jpg
http://www.blueriver.net/~krapgame/f...orner_full.jpg
http://www.blueriver.net/~krapgame/f...0east_full.jpg
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File Type: jpg new%20property_small.jpg (20.0 KB, 259 views)
File Type: jpg hog%20lot%20se%20corner_small.jpg (21.0 KB, 256 views)
File Type: jpg hog%20lot%20east_small.jpg (18.4 KB, 258 views)
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  #5  
Old 06-04-2012, 03:25 PM
woodchuck acres woodchuck acres is offline
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Great photos. That is a huge amount of work with results you can be proud of.
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  #6  
Old 06-04-2012, 03:57 PM
bookwormom bookwormom is offline
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Great pictures. It shows you are not one to sit on your hands. But it is mighty flat. What state is this in?
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  #7  
Old 06-05-2012, 01:01 AM
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Thanks Woodchuck. Compared to my dad and his dad before, I'm something of a slacker. But there is a certain satisfaction in seeing your plans come together.

Bookwormom, we're in southern Indiana, about 30 mi north of Louisville. Flat is a relative term, and the pics really don't show the roll of the land here. Our county ranges from about 650 to 1050 feet above sea level and we're at about 875. Less than a mile from here in three directions it drops about 200 feet. The back field I mentioned drops about 30 feet, which is part of why we don't crop it. We just happen to be on top of a fairly large flat area. Compared to where I believe you're at, yes, our area is very flat.
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:03 AM
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I'm not very far away from him, and our lot if REALLY steep. Southern Indiana has something for everyone.

Never believe that krapgame is a slacker. He puts in longer days than anyone I know. Bear in mind that his place was all bare ground when he started....

But, then, I also know his Dad and his Grandad, and yes they were hard workers.
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  #9  
Old 06-10-2012, 08:56 PM
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Default Wow!

Great job!
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  #10  
Old 06-10-2012, 09:23 PM
bookwormom bookwormom is offline
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Well, I guess looks can be deceiving. You don't have to worry much about brakes giving out.
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  #11  
Old 06-10-2012, 10:20 PM
Rivenoak Rivenoak is offline
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Great job! You've have some great property and plans for it.
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  #12  
Old 06-14-2012, 12:15 PM
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How peaceful it looks.

And that sweat,sore back and tired body WILL
be rewarded with some strawberry jelly on the
mornings your able to stop and say WELL DONE.

Excellent!!

annie
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  #13  
Old 06-18-2012, 01:11 AM
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Thanks for the comments everybody. The strawberry jelly is tasting especially good this year and I have plans for some raspberry sherbet later this week. Now THAT's a reward.

In the past week we've hoed out about three quarters of an acre of corn, pulled the grain pan/chaffer assembly from the old combine, gotten it sandblasted, painted, repaired all the holes and replaced the gaskets and hopefully have it ready to put back together tomorrow evening. Just in time, the wheat has been ready to run for almost 2 weeks now (3 weeks early this year) and the spelt is just now ready (nearly a month early). I plan to post a pic of the combine parts before I put them back in. I wish I'd taken a before picture for comparison. Hopefully we'll get to tear the entire machine apart this winter and repair, rebuild and re-paint everything from the ground up. That should make it good for another 50 years.

BTW, special thanx to Patience for all his help this past week with the combine repair. Everyone should be so lucky to have a neighbor with his abilities and demeanor. Not many folks would pitch in like he did, specially feeling as bad as he has been. And realizing how much I depend on his abilities and equipment makes me realize how far I have to go to be self reliant in the repairs department.

Today I noticed that my vineyard has a bit of black rot. That surprised me because it has been so dry this year. Nevertheless, I did the summer pruning today to improve airflow and sunlight in hopes of controlling it at least somewhat.

Checked to oats tonight. They still have a few weeks to go, but I'm not seeing grain develop in the husks like I expected. Hopefully that will change this week; we really want to get this variety to produce for us.

Good news, I have found a few new leads for feeder pigs. Once the combining is done this week, I hope to be bringing hope about 8 to finish out and butcher this winter. Not quite ready for breeding stock yet, but have plans for what I want to do there. Hopefully next spring we'll have a couple of sows.

All in all, it feels like things are slowly coming together.
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Old 06-18-2012, 01:19 PM
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You have a beautiful place, you should be very proud. Indiana sure is a nice looking part of the country!! Thanks for sharing you little piece of heaven!
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  #15  
Old 06-19-2012, 06:34 PM
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Thanks Sunflower. We like it here pretty well.

Combine is back together and seems to be ready to run. It took three of us nearly 4 hours to stuff it all back in the box last night. I'd seriously like to find the engineer that designed this thing and give him a bit of what for.

Here is a picture of the beast. It's about 7 feet long and not quite 4 feet wide and weights something short of 100 pounds. Lots of overspray on the chaffer, but I never claimed to be a painter. Regardless, it shouldn't leak grain now, which was the main objective. We glassed the pan, then sprayed a semi-hard rubberized undercoating over the glass. Hopefully that part will last a few years now. The side gaskets are round bailer belting. As it sits in the picture, the side gaskets were completely chewed down by mice back 14" or so and there were about 5 holes in the pan the size of a half dollar and a dozen or more the size of a dime or bigger. Needless to say, it was leaving a lot of grain in the field.

http://www.blueriver.net/~krapgame/f...n_pan_full.jpg

Now to go fire it up and see what happens. My weather station says it's 93 degrees now and not much air moving. Gonna be a hot, dusty afternoon, but I guess the grain won't harvest itself.
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:21 PM
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The wheat is done. Combine performed pretty well, found a few new details that need attention, but all in all I'd say it did as well or better than last year. Slight chance of rain in the forecast so I'm gonna hold off until the weekend to run the spelt so the straw doesn't get wet before we can bale it. We need the rain worse than I need the straw, so I'm almost tempted to run it tomorrow in an effort to make it rain. Seems like that's usually how it works anyway..

Tonight, I think I'll broadcast some fertilizer on the corn and cultivate it in. Just about enough time to do that before dark and that's about the least objectionable task I can get interested in doing with the current heat. 7:15 and still 93 degrees.
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Old 06-24-2012, 03:23 AM
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'Twas a heckuva day. Decided that the combine grain leak that survived the rebuild was getting the better of me and nothing else would do but to fix it, so DW and I pulled it out, fixed it and put it back today. Out is really no big deal. Back in however... Remember that it took 3 of us to put it back in earlier in the week. However, working in daylight helped considerably. We had it out, modified and back in in less than 4 hours. My back is absolutely killing me.

So, with the machine back in service shortly after 6:00, I decided to make a test run. 2 full rounds around ~1 1/2 acres yielded better than 15 bushels in the tank. Keep in mind that on my old machine, the head only makes a 7' cut. Based on that, I'm expecting better than 75 bushels. The combine seems to have been made just for that variety of spelt because what went in the tank was extremely clean and I was never able to detect any going out the back. The really cool thing was how much of the grain had threshed free of the husk!

After supper, I put the seed cleaner back into service. I pulled (3) 3 gallon buckets nearly full from the grain tank to test. One pass through the cleaner yielded nearly a 3 gallon bucket full of grain that was more than 90% clean. One more pass poured between containers in front of the fan left it almost completely cleaned. Easily clean enough to hand pick the rest of the still husked grains from a batch before putting it in the grain mill to grind for flour. When I get done with the rest of the patch, I plan to run everything through the cleaner, then put the stuff that's still in husks back through the cylinder of the combine and see how much of it will thresh on the 2nd pass.

Hopefully I'll have a report in a day or three on how it does in the oven. I'll try to get some pictures of everything as well.
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:30 AM
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Spelt is out of the field now. Yield was about what I expected, right at 75 bu. Conditions were perfect, the combine behaved nicely, everything went very well. I'd estimate that nearly half of the grains threshed clean, which is better than I expected. Lots of clean grain to sift out for cooking this winter. I also want to use the clean grain for seed for the next few years just to see if whatever gene caused it to thresh out more easily can be concentrated to eventually get a crop that threshes closer to 80 or 90 percent clean. We'll get the straw baled tomorrow evening. We had to re-arrange some stuff to make room for it before we baled, so we spent this evening getting all the ducks aligned.

I wrote a few times here about our Burbank hulless barley experiment. We paid a premium to get something like 250 seeds to get started as I have found no source to get a larger seed start for this. This planted a patch about 2' x 3'. I started harvesting some of it this evening, as it seems to mature unevenly (about half the heads are dry and ready while others are still green) and my little patch is starting to get down. So far, I've threshed out, by hand, about half of what I harvested tonight and estimate that I have about a half cup of grain now. Based on this, I'm hoping to end up with about a cup and a half. Not sure how much that will plant, maybe 5' x 10' or so. Estimating though, the original seed start was about a tablespoon, and if my estimates are close to right, we should get a seed return of about 24:1 this time. If we can accomplish that again next season, starting with a cup and a half, that should yield about 36 cups, or 9 quarts/ 2.25 gallons. With luck, season 3 should increase that to about 50 gallons, which is roughly 6 bushels. That will be enough to plant a couple acres for season 4. So, even being more conservative with the yield assumptions, hopefully we'll increase our seed enough to plant at least an acre in 3 more years. Talk about a long way to get there...

Looks like we'll have some peaches ready to pick this week. Not many this year, a couple dozen or so, but enough to taste good anyhow. Grapes are still about 3 weeks out yet

We need rain badly. Our field corn looks good, but I noticed that it's rolling slightly today. Sweet corn looks OK, but also needs some water to develop. We'll finish straw mulching the tomatoes and other raised beds this week and try to water them when we're done, but it's going to be a disappointing season if we don't get a couple inches of water pretty soon. Weather forecast is showing close to 100 by Thursday and no real chance of rain in sight. The local weatherman just said it's the driest June since 1984.

Managing a homestead today really gives a person insight into what our ancestors who settled the wild frontiers faced. We have the luxury of being able to make up shortfalls at the local grocery store, but they literally lived or died based on the results of their efforts. We have the conveniences of modern machinery to help with our efforts; As hot as it was on the tractor today, I can't imagine having to cut that spelt crop with a scythe. Even with all of our conveniences, it's a lifestyle that still has its difficulties, and so much that is beyond our abilities to control. It really gives one a new sense of respect for those who ventured out on their own to settle new territories.
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Old 06-25-2012, 10:08 PM
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Thank God all the equiment was behaving.

You mention- our fore-fathers--and the failure
or sucess of crops was life or death.

I have read some of the books written about
the racid bacon--eatten
Mealy flour and cornmeal--and eatten.

I think the one time they were able keep
beef or pork was if they knew or could build a smoke-house.

Do you have a smokehouse yet?

They is very interesting to me---I have the foxfire book
on smokehouses--

You are an inspiration
Looking good on you

annie

annie
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Old 06-25-2012, 10:29 PM
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txanne,

Thanks for the kind words.

Actually, I'm planning to build a multi-purpose woodshed this fall that will include a sugaring room and a smokehouse of sorts. Count on seeing pictures here when it's done. We're probably more apt to can food for preservation than to smoke it, but I figure one more tool in the arsenal, so to speak. I really like the flavor of smoked meats and such, and since we're butchering more of our own animals now, a way to smoke larger quantities at a time seems to make sense.
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