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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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  #41  
Old 08-11-2013, 06:38 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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It’s been a while since I updated everyone on our progress on the Tick Farm. Last winter was fairly mild and the tick herd hatched out pretty well with a bumper crop in the spring. Perhaps because of the damp spring we developed a pretty good free range chigger population as well…
Our winter project was to prepare for a building to store materials and equipment.
Over the winter we cleared on our field until the ground froze and then moved over to the Tractor Park. Trees fell and brush was cleared to make an opening next to the driveway for the pole barn we had decided on. Stumps were pulled in the building areas and staging area in front of it during the wet part of the spring and by June a couple loads of rock was brought in to try to level the ground. That brought us back to more road work so the trucks could turn around. We were finally ready (and had saved up the money) for the pole barn materials in late June.
After contacting every contractor in 50 miles we picked one to put up the metal 3-sided post-frame building. If we did it ourselves we figured it would take 3 to 4 months to get it finished. They finished it off in one long day. Scheduling the delivery of materials and Contractor availability took a few days but it was up and ready to use in July.
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We still have a few little details to finish – more rock to level the bays, bumper boards for the inside walls, enclose a corner of one of the bays for lockable storage... But like most projects out there, soon as it gets usable it’s time to move on to the next phase.
Next up: the waterworks. First we “get” to remove several honey locust trees. Repairing tractor tires are not in our schedule! But we will have a use for the piles of poles left over from last winters clearing.
Y’all play nice and if you are in the neighborhood be sure to stop by. We usually have coffee on.
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  #42  
Old 08-12-2013, 02:13 AM
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You sound like us a couple years back, moving dirt to make flat.
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  #43  
Old 08-14-2013, 03:06 PM
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Enjoying reading about the work you are doing on your homestead and also how much you enjoy it.
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  #44  
Old 08-15-2013, 04:04 AM
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We had a poor crop of ticks, this year. I blame it on the guineas. But despite their squawking, I guess we'll keep them. We can still pick up 20 or so ticks with a walk through the woods, just in case we feel tick deprived. The wet spring did give us a good crop of chiggers, though...

Stockton Lake? You're directly South of us. I might take you up on that coffee.

Keep up the good work. S2
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  #45  
Old 08-21-2013, 06:38 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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Come on down. The Tick Farm is located down near the south end of the Lake.
Speaking of visitors, we don’t usually have very many. The under 40 crowd stops, gets out of their cars and look around like they are expecting something to charge out of the woods. Then they look back down and mumble “I don’t have a signal”, as they shake their little electronic boxes before holding them up in the air to see if height might make them work again. We almost never see them out there again.

I got sidetracked on this update. I was watching the little ad for a bread slicing guide up there at the top of the page. It kinda fascinated me. What a novel idea, except they have it all wrong. With that thing you cut the bread sideways…
Everybody knows that as soon as you get the bread out of the pan you cut both sides off, smother them with butter and jelly and eat both jumbo heels as the middle chunk of bread cools. After you finish off the good parts you slice the leftover center of the loaf right down the middle and then whack it in half. That’s the problem with home made bread – you only get 4 slices out of a loaf. Maybe that’s why all the recipes are to make 2 or 4 loaves at a time?

Now I went and made myself hungry. Fortunately, I have some left over biscuits and some peanut butter & jelly. Did I ever mention that blackberries are guarded by Chigger Suicide Squads? It’s true! Get anywhere near a ripe blackberry and they will attack…
But back to the biscuits. What I wanted to mention was that if you roll them out half as thick as normal, fold over the dough and then punch them out with the glass, there is a perfect split line in your biscuit to pull the halves apart for your butter after they are baked.
No need to thank me for the idea – my Mother got it from her Mother… but nobody seems to put it in the directions. I wonder why? You don’t think they patented the idea do you?

I can see this update is going nowhere fast. Y’all have a great week and play nice.
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  #46  
Old 08-23-2013, 03:53 PM
simplegirl simplegirl is offline
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Your update kept me laughing. I have one of those Chigger Suicide Squads in my blackberry patch too. I come in after picking and slather myself with rubbing alcohol and then shower with some good hot water. Seems like most of them don't survive the torture.
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  #47  
Old 08-23-2013, 04:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TickFarmer View Post
Come on down. The Tick Farm is located down near the south end of the Lake.
Speaking of visitors, we don’t usually have very many. The under 40 crowd stops, gets out of their cars and look around like they are expecting something to charge out of the woods. Then they look back down and mumble “I don’t have a signal”, as they shake their little electronic boxes before holding them up in the air to see if height might make them work again. We almost never see them out there again.

I got sidetracked on this update. I was watching the little ad for a bread slicing guide up there at the top of the page. It kinda fascinated me. What a novel idea, except they have it all wrong. With that thing you cut the bread sideways…
Everybody knows that as soon as you get the bread out of the pan you cut both sides off, smother them with butter and jelly and eat both jumbo heels as the middle chunk of bread cools. After you finish off the good parts you slice the leftover center of the loaf right down the middle and then whack it in half. That’s the problem with home made bread – you only get 4 slices out of a loaf. Maybe that’s why all the recipes are to make 2 or 4 loaves at a time?

Now I went and made myself hungry. Fortunately, I have some left over biscuits and some peanut butter & jelly. Did I ever mention that blackberries are guarded by Chigger Suicide Squads? It’s true! Get anywhere near a ripe blackberry and they will attack…
But back to the biscuits. What I wanted to mention was that if you roll them out half as thick as normal, fold over the dough and then punch them out with the glass, there is a perfect split line in your biscuit to pull the halves apart for your butter after they are baked.
No need to thank me for the idea – my Mother got it from her Mother… but nobody seems to put it in the directions. I wonder why? You don’t think they patented the idea do you?

I can see this update is going nowhere fast. Y’all have a great week and play nice.
I too love that bread slicer--but a bit out of my budget right now. Looks like a useable product for a change.

Fleas are our problem.
Wish I had a couple of your birds.

Thanks for the update---hows winter looking for you this year?
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  #48  
Old 08-24-2013, 02:42 AM
BIGGKIDD Male BIGGKIDD is offline
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Sounds like your having a great time. Its a lot of fun doing it all yourself, everyone should do it atleast once. Your making good progress. Sometimes I spray my boots & bottom pants legs it helps. I don't like bug spray though. So I try not to use it. With all those stumps you may try and find a three point hitch backhoe for your tractor. Mine has helped pull many a stump here. Not very strong but worries its way through the roots and around root ball. Then the tractor can pull it or pick it out with the loader.

Keep enjoying!
larry
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  #49  
Old 08-26-2013, 12:05 AM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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The Ent War continues.

In the beginning, the Ents fell left and right, vanquished by the TickFarmer and TickFarmerette wielding Biter and Nipper. We fought bitterly, driving back the crowding forest, slowly driving them back. Thrashing limbs were cloven from the trunks and consumed in funeral pyres nightly. All through the winter the Ent War progressed in our favor.
In the spring there was a lull in the battles as we built roads and a three sided pole barn to store equipment and materials. With our attention elsewhere the Ents regrouped, sprouting new limbs and hiding their hewn stumps behind the new growth. Reinforcements sprang up – great Warrior Ents, 60 feet tall and covered with thorns; great clusters on their bodies and each limb sprouting 4 inch thorns spaced all along the branches right out to the very ends. There they sat, waiting for us to venture forth in all our glory and confidence, just waiting to ambush us and cast Biter and Nipper into the soggy depths of the Mudhole Pond.
With a song on our lips and fortified by cherry cheese danishes armed with Biter the ChainSaw and Nipper the overgrown Pruners, we flanked the encroaching hoard. Two smaller Warrier Ends fell and were consumed. A larger one attacked. It flailed its arms and the TickFarmer fell back with several minor stab wounds. Nipper was called into the fray and trimmed the smaller limbs back to allow closer combat. Shortly after a smaller limb, previously cut off the attacking Ent, was grabbed by Biter, throwing a severed limb back into his knee, and then another to strike him severely about the ankle. Even grievously wounded, the TickFarmer limped along, hewing the fallen Ent into submission.
After a week of recuperation, another load of rock was delivered and spread in the pole barn to level the floor in hopes of allaying the vigilance of the remaining Ent Warriors. In the morning, as they slept, they were attacked. An Ent fell quickly. Nipper ripped branch ends from the recumbent body as Biter sliced limbs into a tangled mess of thorn clusters underfoot. As the Ent gave out his last gasp he drove a thorn into the TickFarmers kneecap. It broke off as the log fell, driven deeply into his knee.
He dropped his drawers, grasped a protruding splinter of the thorn and pulled a half inch long tip from the center of his kneecap, before retiring from the battlefield. The Ents gave a great cheer, celebrating their victory. They won that battle.

But the War is not over. After yet another puncture wound, at the local healing facility, the battles will continue.

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  #50  
Old 08-26-2013, 01:37 AM
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Time to invest in some plate mail armor.

That was great! Thanks for posting that. But, pray tell, how many flagons of ale were consumed to quell the sting of the battle wound?
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  #51  
Old 08-26-2013, 02:39 AM
BIGGKIDD Male BIGGKIDD is offline
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Wonderful story. I wonder have you heard of brush busters? Maybe a modern form of chain mail. I have several sets around I use to wear while doing battle here. Note to self find them. You might check cabellas for a pair. That or possibly invest in a set of chain saw chaps. (to rich for my blood) I've seen the tires on a tractor taken out of the battle due to the thorns here. Serious puncture power. Great reading keepem coming.
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  #52  
Old 08-26-2013, 09:08 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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You know, Annie, all you need is a 1x6 board cut into three equal lengths more or less as long as a loaf of bread. Cut slots in the two side boards down to ¾” from the lower edge and nail them to a bottom board.
Voila! A bread slicing guide. You can even make your bread slices a reasonable thickness if you make your own guides – for me that would be about as thick as 2 slices of store bought bread. Being in Texas, you might go for three... Or make a couple guides for different kinds of bread, with different thicknesses.
What are we planning on over the winter? I’m predicting a wet snowy winter, so it will be great for us. We will be starting clearing for the house, if the Good Lord is willing and the creeks don’t rise.

Thanks for the thougfhts KrapGame. There was no ale involved, but there may have been a shot of Bushmills or two...
I called my local armorer about getting a pair of greaves, but the $90 for the cheapest metal pair was a little to steep for me. He recommended some yard sale catcher’s shin guards, but I think I really need a whole suit of armor.
I know the thorns poke through leather gloves and a welders backless jacket. I’ll be keeping an eye out for something to make fish scale plate armor to put on my leather leggings if I don’t find something else first.
It just so happens that they go through the soles of work boots like they were foam flip flops. Luckily, I have the punji stick inserts from my boots (I save everything!) from when I was playing in the SouthEast Asian War Games, oh so long ago. They seem to have helped so far.

My poor old tractor won’t take a backhoe attachment without some major modifications. I checked into it a year ago, and was told they would need to modify the frame. Offered to sell me a new tractor with a backhoe attachment for close to the same price as the modifications if I traded in the one I have.
I thought about it for a while and decided against it. I’m looking around for a cheap used backhoe or mini excavator, although I really like the idea of the baby bulldozer/backhoe they came out with at Northern Tool this year.
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  #53  
Old 09-05-2013, 07:46 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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Last weekend was the hottest of the summer so far. There wasn’t much done out at the Tick Farm.
Had another 20 tons of rock delivered and spread it around the outside of the new pole barn so the fill for the floor won’t slowly slip under the walls and fade away. They dumped it in front of the barn and I used the loader on the tractor to move it “kinda” close to where it needed to be and then hand shoveled it in place. Even that was a chore – we should have pulled quite a few more stumps so the tractor could maneuver around the back and side much better. Still, it was better than trying to move a mountain with a wheelbarrow.
The fallen Warrior Ent is in a woodpile. Evidently it takes a week for them to figure out that the fight is over. Cutting the trunk and remaining large limbs into stovewood butts went smoothly. Trying to carry those chunks without poking a thorn into your stomach was trying, however.
Green wood is heavy. Big chunks of green wood, covered in thorns, held as far away from your belly as you can reach, stumbling over broken ground to stack it in a rick on the edge of the clearing in the blazing sun… It could have been a scene one of those Roman rock quarry slave labor movies, except watching each other as we gingerly staggered around kept bringing the Three Stooges movies to mind.
This weekend coming up is sposta be cooler, but still pretty warm. I think we will take the weekend off and go fishing to give it another week for the Global Warming to fade closer into Fall.

We heard on the Missouri Net News that there is a new term. You have heard of Flash Floods. Now we also have Flash Droughts. I have no idea of what a flash drought is, even though they had a long explanation. We couldn’t hear the radio for all the explosive laughter. I guess I didn’t do all that well in school, or go quite long enough, but maybe those of you that have can explain the “Flash” in an extended dry spell…
We were also told that you are really a homesteader if your neighbors have ever come over complaining that they had to spend Halloween night standing in a hole because your kids moved the outhouse back 4 feet.

I can see the wheels turning all the way over here! You better check the number of steps now, in the light, and post it on the wall next to the back door. Your neighbors have kids?
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  #54  
Old 09-06-2013, 12:25 AM
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Couple years in a row kids tipped over our outhouse. The next year dad moved the outhouse back 4' and when the kids came to tip it they went into the hole. Never had a problem after that.
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  #55  
Old 09-06-2013, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
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Couple years in a row kids tipped over our outhouse. The next year dad moved the outhouse back 4' and when the kids came to tip it they went into the hole. Never had a problem after that.
Now thats funny---I love it.
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  #56  
Old 09-08-2013, 11:26 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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It was hot. There wasn’t much of a breeze. The canoe needed to get wet. We went fishing.
About the only constructive thing we did last weekend is drag up a pile of wood and stack it in the woodshed. The leanto we call the woodshed holds about a rick of wood. It’s full and there are several piles of cut wood that still need split and moved over to stack next to the woodshed. Or moved and then split. At any rate, we have a pile of wood that is ready for cooler weather, to be replaced as it is burnt. The campfire rings have piles of firewood next to them and poles in several piles have been picked out to make various “things”. We will be building a water tower and 3 rain barrel stands using the poles that are laying around.
Right now we have the rain barrels (55 gal drums) standing on end on the ground and direct the water from the gutters into them. The plan is to build stands, connect two together laying on their sides and then fill them from the gutters using PVC piping. I’ll post a picture when we have them in place.

But let’s talk about going fishing. Every now and then I think we need to stop and actually enjoy what we have been laboring at.
Molly the yap dog went out on the water. She was pretty nervous and kept a close eye on the bank as it slid away. As long as there weren’t large wakes from the water skiers, “personal watercraft” and go faster fishermen she was fine. Bored, but okay, as she huddled under a towel stretched across the gunnels to give her some shade.
We even caught some fish. That didn’t excite her much, either.
But we enjoyed it. We needed the break.

Ya’ll have a great week and don’t forget to go out and play a little bit.
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  #57  
Old 09-17-2013, 09:27 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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Like everyone else we are trying to get things ready for the cold wet season. More seems to get done during the cooler parts of the year than the hot parts for some reason.

The past weekend we took down the last of the Warrior Ents; a 60 foot honey locust. The plan is to clear out the thorn bed so we can build our little water tower back there. Not that they were directly in the way of where the tower will go, but so we can get the tractor in and out without worrying quite as much that we will wake up one morning to find flat tires. Perhaps tire repair guys make house calls, but the expense (and down time) isn’t anything we would appreciate.
Anyone need a thorn? We have a few to spare…

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The stumps will get to stay. Any new growth will be trimmed, if it lives through the diesel floods that they have had.
We also went through the pole piles to pick out the posts that we will be using in the next month or so. The rest will become firewood.
Somewhere in the list of things to do is to split the ever growing pile that is too big for the little wood stove. That list just keeps getting longer and longer.

As we were looking at poles it was decided that we need a couple raised beds. Both to keep the beds well defined and to ease stress on aging knees. One will become a two tier strawberry bed, the other an asparagus bed.
Raised beds might keep the common turtles out of the strawberries but we have been noticing signs of the elusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; little headbands with eyeholes, throwing stars mixed in with the locust thorns… I’m not sure just how high they can jump but we are hoping a 10” log will be too much for them.
I’ve never tried to grow asparagus in a raised bed so that should involve a learning curve. Any hints or experiences would be helpful.

After looking at poles we wandered over to the Field of Stumps to see where these raised beds might go. Somehow as we were battling the Warrior Ents the place grew back up.
Make new note for list – sharpen brush hog blades and get it back in operation to cut stump field. First drive a ground rod at the new pole barn to ground the generator, find the new grinding disk for the angle grinder, drag the generator from where it’s stored in the shed by the cabin, hook it up, sharpen blades, put the brush hog back on the ground from where it was leaned up against a tree to get to the blades, check grease levels in the gearbox and make sure it works again, put the generator back in the shed. Yep, then I can mow the stump field. Really need to dig up a few of those stumps so I can pull them with the tractor (and not hit one while mowing – what put the brush hog leaning against a tree in the first place!) before I build raised beds.
Next spring! Yep, building raised beds next spring. Gives me time to locate strawberry and asparagus plants for those beds, too. Wild strawberries are sooooo much better than the tame ones. I’m pretty sure I remember where I found them when we were morel hunting last spring. Oh, well. I’m sure we will come across them next spring when we are mushroom hunting, again. As long as the raised beds are ready by next spring everything will be fine. I think…
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  #58  
Old 09-18-2013, 11:43 PM
BIGGKIDD Male BIGGKIDD is offline
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Tickfarmer

If you want to stunt the growth or kill it off DON'T sharpen your blades. A break is much harder on the plant than a clean cut. Thats why the tips of your lawn turn brown when your mower blades need sharpening. It probably wont kill it but will slow it down.

Luck
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  #59  
Old 09-23-2013, 08:52 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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Being the ner-do-well, lazy guy that I am, I thought about just leaving the brush hog blades blunt and not trying to get some kind of edge on them, BK. The problem is that I only have one and we cut stuff that we want to keep growing. But I managed to look at them a couple times without actually doing anything constructive to it. J
The fencelines, powerline, roadside and campground needs cut before it gets too late in the season, so that might happen before too long.

Last weekend was beautiful. Sunshiny, in the mid 70s during the day, low 50s at night. It was a weekend to sit back and enjoy the weather and just piddle around. We took care of a few small chores that we had been putting off and took lots of breaks.
Reset the gutters on the Cottage and cut back the overhanging limbs – especially the ones that wanted to grow towards the chimney over the summer. We even pulled some of the rotted wood off the fallen down house to go with the trimmed limbs for an evening campfire. An armload of lathing was salvaged and split so we have a couple months kindling ready for cold weather. It was a weekend for enjoying and piddling.

Bow season for deer & turkey opened up on the 15th. For some reason neither of them wandered through the yard – at least not while we were paying attention.
Looks like the hummingbirds are starting to head out, too. There are still a few coming around, but not as many as there were a couple weeks ago.
Chicken of the woods (mushrooms) are running rampant and the persimmons are dropping. We took a few of the ripe ones that squished when they fell to another patch of woods to see if we can get a new grove to start.
The mudhole pond has developed a colony of loud frogs. I’m not sure what kind they are, but they are about an inch and a half long and happy to yell all night and most of the day. Maybe they will grow up to be bullfrogs and we will have another food source?

Y’all have a good week!
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Old 09-24-2013, 11:35 AM
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Speaking of frogs--natures bug exterminators,I have one that lives on my front porch.
He is growing--the nite light keeps him fed.

If I could get him interested in fleas--wow--we have been run over by them.

I always look forward to your post.
Now with winter coming on,they(post) will be very interesting.
Winter chores present a special problem.
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