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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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  #81  
Old 09-11-2012, 02:22 AM
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Default Fruit Leather Math

Was doing some "figuring" tonight.

My 8.5 cup Tupperware bowls hold 5 lbs. of applesauce.
That makes 5 sheets of fruit leather (or 1 lb. per tray).

25 sheets of finished fruit leather fit in the Tupperware pie tote, and weighs 4 lbs.

That's amazing, 25 lbs. of applesauce dries down to 4 lbs.

Now I'm going to have to figure out how many pounds of apples are needed to cook down to 5 lbs. of applesauce.

During apple season I try to cook enough applesauce on my days off to keep the dehydrator going during my work week, so all I have to do is pull the finished sheets off the trays and refill 'em.

The more juicy apples make a thinner fruit leather than the drier, more tart type.
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  #82  
Old 09-14-2012, 01:25 AM
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Default Song for the Day: Mississippi Squirrel Revival

I've been humming that Ray Stevens ditty all day. A squirrel got in the workshop ...and so did the dogs trying to get'im. I was on the other side of the yard and heard the kafuffle so went over to see what was up. Dogs were going nuts, squirrel was running over top of shelves, dogs were trying to jump up, barking wildly. it was quite the scene.

Did a lot of moving of birds today and cleaning pens. The guinea keets my pal & I brought in from Murray McMurray came home today. She brooded them and brought them up when they feathered out more. Mine are white, pearl dots and really dark purple...or will be when they get bigger. Looking forward to seeing that purple colour.

The Toulouse goslings that hatched out earlier this summer are sure growing nicely:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9...eGoslings1.jpg
I've listed them for sale for $25 each or all 5 for $100. I think there are 4 males. If I don't get my price, we'll butcher them once the cold weather is here and they've developed a good layer of down.

Picked the hops flowers today and put them in the dehydrator:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9...PSFlowers1.jpg
Once the outdoors chores slow down I want to play around with making bread yeast from the hops.
Man those things are nasty to pick. They don't have thorns at all, but vines are rough and they sort of cling. They are not rough enough to break the skin, but they definitely leave annoying ouches. The flowers are really interesting, they don't really have a scent at all, and the texture is like dry paper. They come off the vine easily, just had to run my hand down the cluster and they'd come off.

Dug up 6 tomato plants and planted them in long planters and brought them in the house. I've got grow lights for starting plants so have the tomatoes under those. If it doesn't freeze tonight I hope to get more brought in and the peppers. Have been able to keep peppers over the winter before.
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  #83  
Old 09-14-2012, 02:10 AM
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I wish you were closer, I'd really like to have the geese. We wanted to try raising some this year, just didn't get it done.

You probably already know, but guineas have a really bad habit of not staying at their new home. Make sure that you keep them penned or keep their feathers clipped for a few weeks until they learn where home is or they'll likely run off. More of a problem with adults, but young birds sometimes run off too.

Congrats again on all you're getting done!
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  #84  
Old 09-17-2012, 12:07 AM
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Default Dried Hops


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9..._GallonJar.jpg

The Hops flowers filled a gallon glass jar - had to really push them down to get them to fit in. Will put them in the cold room downstairs until I have time later this winter to play with making bread yeast.

You are right Krapgame - guineas will disappear if they are loose about in the yard. We are right on the edge of the bush, so the coyotes, foxes & wolves can come right up to the yard. The dogs do a good job of keeping the wild things pushed back...but the dogs are not out at night. So I don't have the guineas loose, they are in 10' high flight cages, they have huge pens.
Hoping maybe next year to build a roof extension to the back of the building they live in, maybe with treated poles, and then heavy gauge wire. So the birds can have access to the outdoors, but be protected too.
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  #85  
Old 09-17-2012, 12:16 AM
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Default Gettin' ready for winter


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9...ys_Sept16e.jpg

Cleaning the chimneys was on the list of chores for the day. My son is definitely not comfortable climbing...but it used to be that he couldn't get 2 rungs off the ground. Now he can get on the roof. He was in bare feet on the roof - so he could "grip", I wonder if he left toenail marks in the steel?


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9...nBC/Ladder.jpg

This picture of putting away the ladder & chimney brush, really shows the different levels of the land. The horizon in front of my son, is considerably higher than the yard area. You can also see where the llamas have trimmed the bottom of the trees on the ridge. That whole hill is sand.
It's really easy to see where the glaciers went through the land and left sand/silt here. Down the road 4 miles or so, it's gravel, and then old lake bottom.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9...ush_HungUp.jpg
Earlier this summer we added on to the back of the barn. Today we moved the extension ladders and the chimney brush, so that they hang on the back of the barn. The big spruce tree keeps the snow from building up to much, so we should be able to pull the ladders out if we need them during the winter.
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  #86  
Old 09-30-2012, 12:35 AM
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Default Hawthorne Berries

Today I picked Hawthorne berries for the first time. Man - that is one nasty tree, very well named. The "thorns" are an inch long and sharp. My friend warned me to wear long sleeves and to be careful that the branches didn't snap back at either one of us.

The tree is growing along the Nechako River, very pretty spot. It had dropped it's leaves and the berries were starting to dry out on the tree. Didn't mind the berries being on the dry side, as I'm making a tincture from them.

Really easy to do, just put the picked over berries in a jar and then cover with vodka. Leave for at least 3 months, shaking the jar now & then. Pour off the liquid into eye dropper bottles.

I've been using the tincture for a couple of months now that my friend made up, an eye dropper full in a glass of water, twice a day. It's good for a lot of different things, it's known primarily as being good for the heart. It's also good for anxiety and the like.

This is a black coloured Hawthorne berry. Apparently there is a red hawthorne that grows here as well. I've got a line on where there is a red tree, so going to check on that and see what the difference is.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9...horneTree1.jpg
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  #87  
Old 09-30-2012, 04:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenBC View Post
Today I picked Hawthorne berries for the first time. Man - that is one nasty tree, very well named. The "thorns" are an inch long and sharp. My friend warned me to wear long sleeves and to be careful that the branches didn't snap back at either one of us.

The tree is growing along the Nechako River, very pretty spot. It had dropped it's leaves and the berries were starting to dry out on the tree. Didn't mind the berries being on the dry side, as I'm making a tincture from them.

Really easy to do, just put the picked over berries in a jar and then cover with vodka. Leave for at least 3 months, shaking the jar now & then. Pour off the liquid into eye dropper bottles.

I've been using the tincture for a couple of months now that my friend made up, an eye dropper full in a glass of water, twice a day. It's good for a lot of different things, it's known primarily as being good for the heart. It's also good for anxiety and the like.

This is a black coloured Hawthorne berry. Apparently there is a red hawthorne that grows here as well. I've got a line on where there is a red tree, so going to check on that and see what the difference is.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9...horneTree1.jpg
I need some of that tincture---where/how do I make it?
Thanks
Txanne
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  #88  
Old 09-30-2012, 05:55 AM
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Hawthorne grows wild up here Anne. There is a variety that grows wild in the US. This website says it may be found: "in coastal plains and Piedmont regions from Virginia south into Florida and west to Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas. Some species also grow in the Mississippi River valley."
http://www.sfrc.ufl.edu/4h/Hawthorn/hawthorn.htm

Looks like it goes by slightly different names, Indian Hawthorn, May Hawthorn.
I don't know if all the different varieities have the same medicinal qualities.

http://www.healthy.net/scr/article.aspx?Id=898
This website has a good description of what the herb is traditionally used for.

If you can find the berries Anne - it's really simple to make the tincture. Put the raw berries in a glass jar, cover them with vodka. Leave it sit in a dark cool place for at least 3 months. Shake the jar whenever you think about it. After 3 months, strain off the liquid, and discard the berries.

The eyedropper bottle of tincture that I have tends to separate a bit, so I give the bottle a shake before using.
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  #89  
Old 10-20-2012, 12:10 AM
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Had my mom up for a whole week - amazing how much we got done, lots of projects that will give the animals a better winter.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9.../BarnDoor1.jpg
I had to go to work a couple of the days she was here - when I came home - this terrific new door was on the barn. Last winter we made due with a gate, it didn't stop the cold from coming in and it was short enough a coyote, fox or wolf could have gone over it.
The new door has a sliding "peek hole", so if there is a kafuffle happening inside, I can take a peek to see what's going on before opening the door. Painting will have to wait til spring now.

The view from inside the barn looking out the new door.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9.../BarnDoor2.jpg

Got the 2nd layer of plywood flooring down in the barn too.

Mom built a second door, for the loading chute end of the barn...she REALLY built a door. It has 5 house door hinges to support the weight. She wanted it strong enough so that if a large animal was acting up, the door can stand up to it. Last winter I just had a piece of plywood tacked over the loading chute opening, the heavy door is way better.

We also built 2 gates for inside the barn, they'll allow us to use the wide hallways as emergency pens if need be, or if I'm loading an animal, it can come in the front of the barn from the corral, go through the barn and with the gates be herded up the chute and onto a truck or trailer.

Not the greatest pictures of the inner gates. Most of the time they will be in this position - up against the back wall.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9...C/IMGP5948.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9...C/IMGP5947.jpg
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  #90  
Old 10-20-2012, 10:59 AM
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We all good use a Mom like yours.
Great job.

Txanne
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  #91  
Old 10-20-2012, 12:21 PM
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We all good use a Mom like yours.
Great job.

Txanne
Ain't that the truth! I am jealous.

Everything looks great, Karen!
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  #92  
Old 10-27-2012, 10:24 PM
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Default Rabbit Butchering Day

Had 16 rabbits that really needed to be butchered, with winter literally breathing down our necks, so today was D-day. Got them all done, with a few warmup breaks in the house. Man that wood cookstove feels good when a person is chilled from working outside.

Tomorrow the plan is to make jerky from most of the rabbit, and bunny burger from any of the bits.

Started cleaning out the 2 pens, 6 wheelbarrow loads of the used shavings out of one and wheeled out to the front potato patch. But with the snow coming down I wimped out on finishing the job. Will have to "get'r'dun" tomorrow - as the ducks & geese need to move indoors. We have an inch of snow on the ground and more coming down as I write.
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  #93  
Old 10-28-2012, 12:13 PM
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Tomorrow the plan is to make jerky from most of the rabbit, and bunny burger from any of the bits.
Do you have a recipe for rabbit jerky?
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  #94  
Old 10-28-2012, 12:18 PM
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Do you have a recipe for rabbit jerky?
Nope. Have several different flavours of the prepackaged jerky kits on hand that I want to use up, and have a dehydrator with a jerky setting. Just going to wing it!
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  #95  
Old 10-28-2012, 01:49 PM
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Reckon I might impose on you to post some details and pix of your rabbit operation someday, Karen? I've toyed with the idea of rabbits for a few years, but have never been around them to amount to anything and really don't know enough to know where to start. I think the biggest thing that has kept me from jumping in is concerns over heat. From what I've read, they're really vulnerable to overheating in the summer and I'm not really sure how to deal with that here in our 100 degree, high humidity days.
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  #96  
Old 10-28-2012, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by krapgame View Post
Reckon I might impose on you to post some details and pix of your rabbit operation someday, Karen? I've toyed with the idea of rabbits for a few years, but have never been around them to amount to anything and really don't know enough to know where to start. I think the biggest thing that has kept me from jumping in is concerns over heat. From what I've read, they're really vulnerable to overheating in the summer and I'm not really sure how to deal with that here in our 100 degree, high humidity days.
I don't have any pics of mine, but here is a description:

I highly recommend buying a small inexpensive booklet, even if you only want to have a few for yourself: "How To Start A Commercial Rabbitry" by Paul Mannell http://www.amazon.com/Start-Commerci.../dp/B000XDEOG0 . It is packed with a lot of really good information.

I had rabbits in 4-H and then raised them myself for a few years and plan to start up again shortly. My system (after the 4-H learning experiences about how not to do it) worked very well, if I do say so: I just had two does and a buck, but you could expand the number of does if you have an outlet for all the meat if you wanted and still use a similar system.

I built a 2x4 frame that hung off a wall in my pole barn and suspended all-wire cages below it. A galvanized pipe was behind the cages, drilled and tapped with watering nipples and with a heater cable run inside (it freezes here in Ohio). The pipe was U-shaped (more of a |___| shape), down about 3' on one end of the cages to an elbow, then horizontal across the backs of the cages to another elbow and upwards to the bottom of a bucket. Heat cable went into the bucket to make a few loops too. Watering consisted of just filling the bucket every few days and keeping an eye to make sure everyone's water was working properly (most common issue is a nipple that starts to leak). Heat tape prevents freezing issue. External through-the-cagewall feeders. At the bottom of the cages, I ran two 2x4s the length of the cages with a 2x4 at each end to keep them spaced and supported. Then got some heavy plastic sheeting and draped it between the two long 2x4s like a droopy stretcher, with one end lower than the other so the gutter formed had slope. I then placed a 5 gal bucket at the end of the gutter. Also made a rake consisting of a long handle with a rounded triangle of plywood on the end so I could scrape manure out of the gutter into the bucket. The flexible plastic made it harder for frozen pee to build up. System was very easy to maintain and very clean: every few days I would take a few seconds and clean out the gutter with the scraper and when the bucket filled, I'd take it out and dump it. Now that I'm gardening, it will go to my compost pile. Food Pellets stored in galvanized trash can on cinder blocks in front of the cages.

No mess on the ground under the cages, clean operation, very easy to maintain.

Even if you didn't want to do the manure trough, suspending the cages allows for much easier cleanup and you could build a back wall of landscaping timbers to make it easier to shovel out the manure.

I most definitely plan to do it this way again.

After I get it set back up again I'll see if I can get some pics of it.
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  #97  
Old 10-28-2012, 10:03 PM
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rabbits.

If you can watch videos, here is a very good series about rabbits:

Part one here. This guy uses a similar watering system to what I describe above except that he uses plastic tubing instead of pipe, making a pretty slick system.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1sEpGxeTsg
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  #98  
Old 10-29-2012, 12:33 PM
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Default Rabbits, rabbits, rabbits

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9...es_GirlPen.jpg

This year I tried something different with the "feeder" rabbits, the ones that I'm growing for butcher. The trick with this method is making sure the males are separated from the females - not always easy to tell for sure when they are young.

My barn was only being used in the winter, for the geese, that seemed a waste to have it sitting empty in the summer. We lined the floors of the 2 big pens with flat metal, and then put plywood over top (knowing I'll be replacing it in 5 years or so). Lined the walls with roofing tin (to prevent chewing).

A really deep layer of shavings, and tubes for the buns to run through (old ride on lawn mower grass catcher pieces make for great rabbit hidey holes).

Did 2 batches with this open pen system and it was very successful. Easy to look after 14 rabbits in one pen too. For water I used metal chicken waterers, set up on a cement block.

I tried hanging cages for the breeding stock a few years back and didn't like it - if the rabbits startled they would start to run in their cages and the movement in one cage would panic all.

Right now I'm using the typical 36x36 inch wire cages, set on 2x4 framing. The buck has a double height cage, we took the roof out of his cage, and the floor out of a 2nd cage and set it on top and clipped them together. His ears were rubbing on the top of his cage before we did this. He can sit up on his hind legs too.

Having said all that, I'm so happy with the open pen system, I'm going to change over my main breeding barn next year and give them way bigger cages. They'll be long & more narrow than what's in the feeder barn, and will have a wire lids. Thinking of doing a wire floor on half the cage and solid floor on the other.

I way over feed hay and let the bedding build up in the winter months to help with the cold.

Summer time to help with the heat I have big plastic bottles of water frozen, couple of sets and switch them out. Also have a floor fan that we turn on (it does tend to get full of fur and needs to be blow out with the compressor now & then.)

For 1 buck & 4 does, I don't bother with a watering system. Instead I have a row of plastic barrels along the drip line of the roof on their building. We use bottles in the summer. Winter time we carry a pail of hot water and thaw the dishes. When it gets really bitter cold we'll use several sets of water bowls and bring them in the house to thaw.

I use the same type of feeders that Tod mentioned, in both the metal cages for the breeding stock and for the open big feeder pens. In the feeder pens we screwed the feeders to a board and attached that to the gate. I reach over the gate to fill them.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9...ubeBunnies.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v9...ensPainted.jpg

From 15 rabbits we harvested 30 lbs. of boneless meat, 15 for burger and 15 for jerky. That left a lot of meaty bits on the bones. The bones are frozen in 3 big packages, later in the winter that will be canned up for soup.
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  #99  
Old 10-29-2012, 01:19 PM
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Hummmmmmmmm have never thought of using rabbit bones as stock started for soups/stews.

Tks as usual--genious.

Annie
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  #100  
Old 10-29-2012, 01:50 PM
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Thanks Karen, and Tod! It's going to take me some time to digest all of this, but what you've posted is most helpful.

I don't want to hijack your thread, but I do have some questions. Do you care if I ask them here or would you rather we move the discussion to an animal specific area?
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