BHM's Homesteading & Self-Reliance Forum

Posting requires Registration and the use of Cookies-enabled browser


Go Back   BHM Forum > Homesteading > Homesteading > Your Homestead

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.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #61  
Old 07-30-2012, 07:36 PM
S2man's Avatar
S2man S2man is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Central Missouri
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,126
Default

Oh yeah, that IS a shame.

Good move on the diesel edjumication.
Reply With Quote
  #62  
Old 07-31-2012, 12:45 AM
krapgame's Avatar
krapgame krapgame is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Right here
Posts: 1,075
Default

First sweet corn of the season today! I grabbed a half dozen ears on the way in from feeding the pigs. Looks to be a dozen or so more ready and maybe a bushel by the end of the week. Lots of deer damage though and I see lots of evidence that the raccoons are watching it as closely as I am. Think I'll set the traps this evening.

Recycled my parents old chest deep freeze into a reasonably weather-tight feed bin for the pigs tonight. I put about 5 bushels in it so far, looks like it'll hold at least 30 more, plus a couple bags of bean meal. That will be nice, not having to carry the feed out each feeding now.

Played around with cleaning some more spelt last night. Figured out a few things with it and my cleaner. I can get a reasonably clean sample (10% contamination or so) with a single pass now and an extremely clean sample (~2%) with 2 passes. The single pass will be good enough for seed and the 2 pass method is almost good enough for food grade. Truth is, it is probably less contaminated than what gets ground for flour commercially. For anyone who has ever used an old style seed cleaner, the key points are correct screen sizes and feed rates. Since I don't have a great selection of screens, I have to do most of the work with the feed rates. Most contaminants (husks, stems, weed seeds, etc.) are lighter than this particular grain, so what I do is feed fast enough that the heavier grain displaces the lighter debris on the top screen and the shaker vibrates it off the end. This allows the grain to fall through to the second screen with less debris. For the second pass, we increase the feed rate even more so that the second screen effectively does the same thing, and carries the debris off and the clean grain drops through. It may not be the "correct" way to do it, but it's the best I've come up with and the results are satisfactory for my objectives.

As I've mentioned before, I want to clean about 20 bushels for seed, half for this year and half to hold in reserve for next year in case of a crop failure, and about 2 bushels extra clean for baking and cooking purposes. After that, I'll just run everything back through the combine and see how well it will clean for livestock feed. My hope is that by selecting seed that threshed cleanly on the first pass, whatever gene caused the husks on those seeds to be looser than the rest will eventually be concentrated so that after several successive crops chosen in this manner we may be able to develop a strain that will thresh cleaner than this currently does. I expect 5-10 generations before any significant improvements emerge, if they ever do at all.
Reply With Quote
  #63  
Old 07-31-2012, 04:24 AM
KarenBC's Avatar
KarenBC Female KarenBC is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Prince George, B.C., Canada
Posts: 1,393
Default

Is your feed freezer outside? I had that for awhile, and had to put a hasp on it, with a metal carbiner through the hasp to keep the lid of the freezer down really snug. Moisture got in and molded the grain one time...that was nasty to deal with.

I have a couple of freezers that I use for feed storage, one in the chicken barn, and one in the garage for overflow...it really ought to be somewhere else. It becomes a convenient spot to leave things.
Reply With Quote
  #64  
Old 07-31-2012, 04:44 AM
krapgame's Avatar
krapgame krapgame is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Right here
Posts: 1,075
Default Cleaning grain - details

To follow up on my previous post, I thought I'd show some pictures of what I tried to explain.

First, the grain cleaner;

http://www.blueriver.net/~krapgame/f...eft%20side.jpg
http://www.blueriver.net/~krapgame/f...ght%20side.jpg

The right side picture shows the discharge where the large stuff, straw, husks, etc. comes off first on the left side of the picture. Also worth pointing out is my drive belt, which is nothing but a piece of nylon cord. It's what I had available when I got the machine and just never got around to getting a vee belt. The left side picture shows the air discharge and the discharge at the bottom where the smallest stuff comes out, undersized grain, dust, etc. This particular model cleaner works off of vacuum rather than blowing air. Frankly, that works about as well as it sounds like it would. In the background of the same picture, you can see my Clipper 2B special that I got this spring. Still in the process of restoring that, didn't have any screens or belts, but the box was nearly perfect and it was only 20 miles from home and cheap. I hope to have it going before I have to do this again next year.

Now for the grain. First, a picture of the it as it came out of the combine.

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

You can see a lot of naked grains. About 30% by volume, nearly 50% by grain count. BTW, I apologize for the quality of the pictures. My android tablet camera apparently doesn't do particularly well under fluorescent lights.

OK, so the grain in that picture is in the hopper on top. Open the hopper and it drops onto the top screen;

http://www.blueriver.net/~krapgame/f...p%20screen.jpg

The machine is in motion and the grain is dancing pretty good, hence the blurriness. The smaller grains drop through the holes in the screen onto the lower screen and the bigger stuff dances off the front of the top screen into the trough at the bottom of the pic and walks off into the bucket underneath. Here is what comes off the top screen;

http://www.blueriver.net/~krapgame/f...cs/scalped.jpg

Not as good quality as I'd hoped, but you can see that there is very few naked grains in this bin. So, that's the objective, to get the stuff still in the husk mostly separated from the stuff that's not in a husk. The stuff that dropped through the top screen dances down the lower screen, which is a finer mesh than the top screen, and the process is repeated. Here's what comes off the lower screen;

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

Terrible picture, and I apologize. However, if you look really close, you can sort of see the blur of grains dropping out of the right side into the "clean" grain pan, while the left side is stuff that's a little larger, in this case, mostly stuff that's still in the husk but happened to to drop through the top screen. On this particular model, the lower screen is a double screen, with the top mesh a little more coarse than the lower mesh. This grades the grains into two sizes, if you have the correct size screen for the grain you're running. What drops out the bottom mesh comes out the undersize discharge I mentioned earlier.

That's the mechanics of the machine. Here is the results. First, the cleaned grain after one pass;

http://www.blueriver.net/~krapgame/f...ss%20clean.jpg

You can see that this is almost all naked grains with only a few husked grains mixed in. This is adequately cleaned for planting purposes. However, if we run this back through a second time we get this;

http://www.blueriver.net/~krapgame/f...%20cleaned.jpg

This is nearly cleaned enough to eat, and that's the purpose of the second cleaning. I'll winnow this further later, but as it is, I believe it's probably about 2% undesirable material. IMO you could grind this at this point and probably not notice anything undesirable.

So, that's what I've had going on the last few days. Hopefully the pictures help it make more sense.

Last edited by krapgame; 07-31-2012 at 05:13 AM. Reason: added title
Reply With Quote
  #65  
Old 07-31-2012, 04:53 AM
krapgame's Avatar
krapgame krapgame is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Right here
Posts: 1,075
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenBC View Post
Is your feed freezer outside? I had that for awhile, and had to put a hasp on it, with a metal carbiner through the hasp to keep the lid of the freezer down really snug. Moisture got in and molded the grain one time...that was nasty to deal with.

I have a couple of freezers that I use for feed storage, one in the chicken barn, and one in the garage for overflow...it really ought to be somewhere else. It becomes a convenient spot to leave things.
Yes it is. I have concerns about grain molding, but since this is only seasonal, we'll likely just put enough grain in for a week or so at a time and hopefully use it before it has problems. The other option is to prop the lid open slightly so that it gets some air. Our humidity is so high here that condensation will be a problem if we don't leave it open a little for air circulation.

I've been using another old deep freeze in our chicken barn for a couple years now as well. Mainly we just store bagged stuff in it to keep the varmints from tearing it up. And I also agree, any flat spot is way too convenient for clutter to accumulate.
Reply With Quote
  #66  
Old 08-01-2012, 12:34 AM
krapgame's Avatar
krapgame krapgame is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Right here
Posts: 1,075
Default

Just finished picking the first of the grapes. Nearly two 5 gallon buckets full and really can't tell that there is any gone yet. I think we got about half of what is ready now (guess what we'll be doing again tomorrow evening) and there'll be a lot more over the next 10 days or so. That's just the Steubens. The Concords are still a couple weeks out. There won't be quite as many of them, but I'm betting they'll have better than half as many. Regardless, we won't be having to buy any grape juice this year!

Now, to spend the rest of the evening stemming, washing and pressing.
Reply With Quote
  #67  
Old 08-01-2012, 05:49 AM
KarenBC's Avatar
KarenBC Female KarenBC is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Prince George, B.C., Canada
Posts: 1,393
Default

I'm having visions Lucy in the grape pressing episode! That's just so great that you'll be able to make your own juice.

Last year I put in 4 or 5 grape vines, and 3 made it through the winter. My friend who lives down by the river (where it's milder) has them growing up the side of her house. She gets a lot of purple Concord type grapes every year.
Reply With Quote
  #68  
Old 08-01-2012, 02:10 PM
S2man's Avatar
S2man S2man is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Central Missouri
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,126
Default

Awesome, kg. Very interesting stuff.

And thanks for all the pic's. That helps a lot.
Reply With Quote
  #69  
Old 08-02-2012, 08:12 PM
krapgame's Avatar
krapgame krapgame is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Right here
Posts: 1,075
Default

Thanks S2. I hope documenting some of these processes helps someone out someday.

Bought our beef today at the 4-H auction. Learned a lot about local politics. Namely, how the animals that belong to the kids of "important people" in the community somehow almost always sell for double or more what the animals of regular people do. Frankly I saw so much of that I left kind of disgusted. When the Grand Champion animals sell for less than the animals of families higher up the food chain, it's got to be disheartening to the kids. One of life's lessons I guess.

The bad news is that they had locked down the hog barn last night due to several pigs having elevated temperatures. Blood samples were drawn and sent to Purdue University as well as the CDC and are awaiting results. I heard later that there have been a few pigs at other county fairs in the area that have had to be put down due to an outbreak of some swine flu variant in the area. I can't confirm any of this, other than the shutdown of our fair, but thought it worth mentioning to be alert for. I wish I had known before I went. I'll be really PO'd if something contagious follows me home and infects my family or pigs. Taking all the appropriate precautions.

Processed 25# of grapes last night. The juice is settling out now and should be ready for final filtering and canning tomorrow evening. This batch tastes really good; sweet and not the least bit tart even with no extra sugar added. More grapes to pick tonight and many more that should be ready early next week.

Tomatoes and sweet corn are also ready for attention. We'll try to pick and cut a bushel or so of corn tonight, tomatoes will get run through tomorrow. Life just got real busy here, better get started this evening.

Got the bad news that a friend of mine who bought into a restaurant business about the same time that I started my business is closing his doors tomorrow. I suspected that times were rough for him, but didn't know the extent of it. We talked a bit today, he's hoping to sell all the assets as a package to someone wanting to start a restaurant, but I told him that if it didn't work out there were a few specific items that I'd be interested in buying from him. We've had aspirations for some time of building a "summer kitchen" where we could do our canning and food processing to keep the heat and mess out of the house, as well as something that we could have certified so that DW could start ramping up her baked goods business. Guess we'll see what develops with that in the coming weeks.
Reply With Quote
  #70  
Old 08-03-2012, 10:38 AM
Ciderman's Avatar
Ciderman Male Ciderman is offline
Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Central Indiana
Posts: 578
Default

[QUOTE=krapgame;319426]Bought our beef today at the 4-H auction. Learned a lot about local politics. Namely, how the animals that belong to the kids of "important people" in the community somehow almost always sell for double or more what the animals of regular people do. Frankly I saw so much of that I left kind of disgusted. When the Grand Champion animals sell for less than the animals of families higher up the food chain, it's got to be disheartening to the kids. One of life's lessons I guess.
QUOTE]

krapgame in our county the 4-H'ers find donors to buy their animals and foods. These donors pool their money and the money goes to the kids. Most use them for college funds. I can not remember the exact amount but a steer a few years ago brought 6-7,000 for one kid. I suggest that next time you find a poor kid and try to find some donors to help him or her. In the foods I saw a cake go for 7-800 dollars. I have just never been able to particapate in such activities. Just a thought. Just glad our fair is over without any swine flu problems like Johnson County had.
Reply With Quote
  #71  
Old 08-04-2012, 06:55 PM
krapgame's Avatar
krapgame krapgame is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Right here
Posts: 1,075
Default

Good idea Ciderman. Next year I may see what can be done along those lines.

Spending the day inside processing produce. First batch of grape juice has settled for 2 days and we just finished filtering it again. I think we're going to sweeten it just a little and maybe add some citric acid for flavor and it'll be ready to can this evening. 25# made 7 quarts of juice and left about a quart and a half for jelly. DW and DD are squeezing the next batch of grapes now, so we'll be repeating the process again about Monday. Still about 150# of Steubens to be picked and >100# of Concords later this week. After trying to filter juice through cloth and coffee filters, I've decided that next year we'll have to come up with a centrifuge.

DW made a canner of chili sauce yesterday. That really makes the house smell good. We've got a couple more buckets of tomatoes to work on today, not sure what they'll get turned into yet. I saw she picked a variety of peppers yesterday and onions, so there may be some salsa in the plans. We'd hoped to cut a bushel of corn today also, not sure if we'll get that far or not.

The pigs are really enjoying the canning season, as they get most of the leftovers. They like most things, especially tomatoes, but surprisingly won't eat cucumbers at all so the chickens get those.

Break time's over, better get back to work.
Reply With Quote
  #72  
Old 08-07-2012, 08:18 PM
krapgame's Avatar
krapgame krapgame is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Right here
Posts: 1,075
Default

Tough day today. My grandmother (Dad's mother) passed away this morning. She was 88. She'd been dealing with Alzheimer's for a couple of years and had just been put in nursing home care about 4 months ago. Given her condition, I think she's better off that she's been set free, but I still feel guilty for feeling that way.

I've been lucky in that I knew all four of my grandparents and was well into my 20's before losing any of them. 2 of the 4 are still living. This grandmother was the epitome of a farm wife, always had meals ready, kept the house running, kept the vegetable garden, good enough to be on the cover of any magazine and helped with the farm chores. While raising her own three kids, she also took in and cared for at least two other boys that I knew of. Beyond all that, she still found time to take me to my music lessons when I was a young teenager and did similar things for all the grandkids. She and my grand dad are legitimately two of the hardest working people I've known. Definitely people of a different era.

I can't say that we didn't have our differences on a few things, but on the balance, I think the world was made a little better place by her having been in it. That's probably the best memorial that anyone can have.
Reply With Quote
  #73  
Old 08-07-2012, 08:32 PM
KarenBC's Avatar
KarenBC Female KarenBC is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Prince George, B.C., Canada
Posts: 1,393
Default

Oh dear, so sorry to hear of your loss. She sounds like she was a terrific lady. We should all be so lucky to have someone like that in our lives. Condolences.
Reply With Quote
  #74  
Old 08-08-2012, 01:14 AM
patience patience is offline
Passed On
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Southern Indiana
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,739
Default

My condolences. Peace be with you and all the family.
Reply With Quote
  #75  
Old 08-08-2012, 01:10 PM
S2man's Avatar
S2man S2man is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Central Missouri
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,126
Default

My condolences, also.

Don't beat yourself up feeling she is better off. We felt the same way with my grandmother and her terrible Alzheimer's. Its sad for us and our loss, but good for them, in my opinion.
Reply With Quote
  #76  
Old 08-08-2012, 03:13 PM
krapgame's Avatar
krapgame krapgame is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Right here
Posts: 1,075
Default

Thanks folks, the kind words are much appreciated. Possibly the only good thing that comes from a long term illness is that it keeps death from being as much of a surprise when it finally happens. The empty space it leaves still takes some adjustment though.

Back on topic, homestead wise, not much going on. Watching the heat and dry weather bake the life out of the crops. Saw some really poor looking corn yesterday just north of here. I'm concerned that the corn corp is going to be worse than the current estimates, at least in this area.

Our pigs are really starting to fill out and grow now. We bumped the soybean meal ration a bit 10 days or so ago and they're really responding to it.

Ordered LP gas yesterday. I had called to check price on Monday and it went up 20 cents. Fortunately they gave me the price they quoted the day before so that saved $80. For heating water and cooking, that tank will last us ~5 years. I'm so glad we made the switch to wood heat 4 years ago. The lumber list that I made out for the chicken coop addition is up nearly $100 in the last week, so I'll probably wait a bit in hopes that will cycle back down again.

With the ground so hard right now, we're kind of in limbo on several projects. Can't really dig post holes for fence, plowing down weeds isn't a real good idea, so about all we're doing now is maintenance items and canning.
Reply With Quote
  #77  
Old 08-12-2012, 04:07 AM
krapgame's Avatar
krapgame krapgame is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Right here
Posts: 1,075
Default

Fantastic weather today, high temp of <80. Almost felt like autumn. Still had family in this afternoon from the funeral, so spent a little while visiting with them before they left. Said they definitely wanted a hog this winter, so that's one more spoken for. I think that was the last one.

Managed to pick another 50 pounds of grapes today. Got them stemmed and ready to squeeze tomorrow. Looks like another 100# or so of Steubens to pick, and the Concords are just now getting ready also. Still looks like there will be >100# of those as well. So far, we've canned 14 quarts of grape juice concentrate, a dozen pints of grape jelly and we've been using the filtered pulp to dry into fruit leather thingies. The chickens get the skins and seeds (pigs didn't really care for them), so not much wasted. For every 25# of grapes, we're getting 7 quarts of juice, 4-5 pints of jelly and a pound of pulp to dry. Finally figured out the best way to filter the juice and getting a pretty good product, even if it is time consuming. Still want to build a centrifuge.

Dad has been helping his dad mow pastures for the past few weeks, so since all of his mowing equipment is over there I mowed a couple acres for him today that was pretty infested with Johnson grass. Time permitting, I may go mow some more for him tomorrow.

Sweet corn has to be picked tomorrow, fortunately there won't be a whole lot in this batch, ~2 bushels. We did get 3/4" of rain Thursday so it looks like the best patch of sweet corn will make a crop, probably about next weekend. Expecting 10-12 bushels from that. Also looked like a bushel or two of tomatoes ready to pick tomorrow as well. Amongst all of that, I'd like to get an hour or so to clean out the chicken coop while the weather is cooler. Stacking up to be another busy day.

Caught the LP guy leaving the other day, Thursday I think. Said the gauge on our tank isn't reading right and he only put 360 gallons in instead of 400, to be safe. So, either we had way more than I thought we did when I ordered, or we have less than he thinks we do. Either way, we should be set for at least 4 years. Actually, I think he's closer to right, because we've been using about 5% a year for the first 2 years after we got the wood stove. In the past year the gauge showed we used about 20%. I thought that was a little bit high.
Reply With Quote
  #78  
Old 08-12-2012, 10:53 PM
anna anna is offline
Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Iowa
Posts: 750
Default

My s-i-l swears by a steam juicer for grapes. She said it was fast, easy and produced a great product. I haven't priced one lately but they were expensive ($150 for stainless unit) but I think it would be worth it for the amount of grapes you have alone. They it could also be used for other fruits.
Reply With Quote
  #79  
Old 08-13-2012, 12:15 AM
krapgame's Avatar
krapgame krapgame is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Right here
Posts: 1,075
Default

Thanks anna. I've wondered about steam juicers, but never had the chance to be around one. I'll take a closer look into them though.

Grapes pressed and simmered, getting ready to put them back through the strainer to remove skins and seeds then settle for a couple of days. Right now we're limited by available refrigerator space, so it will probably be a couple days before we do the next batch. Found out yesterday that my grand dad has a bumper crop of grapes as well that will all go to waste, probably as many or more than we have. I wish we had time and space to speak up for them.

Managed to pick and cut a bushel of corn today also. Not the best quality, but good enough given the year we've had. Also picked well over a bushel of tomatoes, but we usually let them set for a day or so before processing them.

Beef goes to the locker plant in the morning. Looking forward to getting that back sometime soon.

Time to get busy on getting the chicken pen addition and the woodshed built, so I think I'll get a little more serious about working on those this week. Lumber prices are up a bit right now, and I'm not thrilled about that, but I want to get them squared away before cold weather. That means less than 3 months and there will be plenty of other distractions along the way. We've currently got about enough firewood cut to get through to mid December so at least that won't be a concern for a little while. Still, we'll have the fall plowing, winter spelt to plant and corn harvest. That will account for a week or so of evenings. No doubt life will throw other curves at us along the way as well, so best get on with it.
Reply With Quote
  #80  
Old 08-15-2012, 11:04 PM
krapgame's Avatar
krapgame krapgame is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Right here
Posts: 1,075
Default

Grapes; uggghhhh... Just came in from picking another 50# tonight, picked >50# last night, 200# total so far. The Steubens are on the downhill side, maybe 75# left to go on them, the concords are a little less than half. We've gotten 50# off them so far, I'm guessing about 75 left there also. Our bottleneck is in processing them, mainly refrigerator space to let the juice settle. Somehow we'll manage, even if we have to freeze some for a few days and work it later. Very happy with the end product. Even my finicky kids like it.

Looking over the field corn patch, it looks like the few little rains we've had lately are going to make the difference. We'll not have the yield I was hoping for, but we'll have enough to feed th animals for one more year. Talked to a large farmer north of here today, said he'd just been surveying his fields. Was hoping for 100 bushel average. Said there was a lot of it that didn't even make an ear this year.

The pigs are doing well, almost looks like they're growing each day. Probably just optimism on my part. Got one little pig that's kind of a knothead. He likes to bite the ears of the others when they crowd him while he's eating. I've been trying to teach him that's not acceptable behavior. He's a hard study though.

Tomatoes are starting to get ahead of us as well. We've got >100# to squeeze tonight and at least that many more ready to pick. Oh yeah, then there's sweet corn. Gonna be a busy weekend.

Locker plant said we'd get the beef back next Saturday. Hoof weight was 1400, hanging weight was about 850 and they said it looked like it would be a really good quality. This one was a purebred Hereford. We're anxious to get it. We figured between processing and everything, we'd have a little less than $3/lb in all of it. I always thought that made the hamburger a little high, but based on the article linked on Drudge this morning, maybe not. IIRC, they were saying national average for ground beef, reasonably lean, was over $3.50. Maybe buying on the hoof is the best way to go for price as well as quality.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -2. The time now is 05:00 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 1996 to Present. Backwoods Home Magazine, Inc.