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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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  #61  
Old 09-24-2013, 12:08 PM
BIGGKIDD Male BIGGKIDD is offline
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Its always good to stop and smell the roses once in a while. ENJOY

If you look around at some of the auctions you might find a second bush hog cheep then you could keep one sharp and one not.
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  #62  
Old 09-25-2013, 01:43 AM
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We've noticed the loss of hummingbirds too, after a few 50* nights.

I'll have to check my persimmons. Thanks for the reminder.
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  #63  
Old 09-25-2013, 03:17 PM
simplegirl simplegirl is offline
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Wow, that picture of the honey locust tree looks very familar. We are battling them at our place too. We have one huge one that is about twice that size that should have been dealt with years ago. Right now it isn't in our way but we need to get rid of it. They sprout babies ALL over the place. We are fighting the babies too. Some day we will get ahead of them.
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  #64  
Old 10-07-2013, 09:59 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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Not much going on at the Tick Farm the past couple weekends. There was a “brush drop off” in the City, so we hauled 3 trailer loads of accumulated brush & limbs to the city chipper. It was kinda like being at the Tick Farm, except we would have just burnt it there. The advantages of living in the big city…
Last weekend we returned to wait out the rain. Most of Friday night and Saturday morning was spent watching it rain. For something productive to do we drug another barrel over next to the one the gutter drains into and transferred water. The main barrel was overflowing. Using a 25 cent (on spring clearance sale) siphon pump water was taken from the main barrel and moved to the empty one. It wasn’t much work – the pump moved water at pretty close to the same rate as the runoff from the roof filled the rain barrel. The rain lasted just long enough to fill the extra barrel. I was wondering if I should get a third barrel when it quit raining.
After being cooped up all morning (The Farmerette read her book and took a nap while the TickFarmer worked yet another Suduko puzzle and took a nap – yep, that’s our story and we are sticking to it!) we needed to get a fire started so we could cook supper.
Out to the Field of Stumps we went. The taller weeds were weed whipped down and a fire laid. Armed with Nipper the Farmerette de-suckered all the sprouting stumps to help feed the fire. Several of the dead stumps were pushed over and ripped from the ground to help the fire along.
Out came Biter the chainsaw and Molly the Wonder Dog ran back to the Cottage. Over the afternoon 5 Ents fell and were consumed. These were the regular Ents; oak, hickory and an elm, not the fierce Warrior Ents that we had been battling.
As the fire turned into cooking coals fallen persimmons were gathered up and squished into the soft ground over by the new pole barn. Maybe we can get a grove started between the mudhole pond and the pole barn?
In case anyone was wondering the persimmon seeds claim it will be a snowy winter in the Stockton Lake part of Missouri.
A couple crab apples we also stomped into the ground over in the old (failed) potato patch, next to the wild plum thicket.
No, it’s not the proper homesteader methods of planting trees – and just who would start a tree from a seed, anyway? But it is cheap and if it works, great. If not, there is always Walton’s Market.
It must be fall. The humming birds seem to be gone, geese have been flying by and we built the first fire of the season in the heating stove. It looks like we will have to wait until next summer to put a floor in the Cottage. Our plan was to empty the place while it was warm and dry in July or August and cover the plywood subfloor. Oh well – it worked fine last winter. I expect it will serve this winter, too. That task is expected to take longer than a day to complete; empty the Cottage, put in the flooring & then replace everything. There are only 2 rooms, but there are only the two of us to do the work, as well. We will need a three day weekend to get the job completed to the point we can leave it.
Scheduling work with the time we have is sometimes a good trick. Preplanning is required on all jobs, but it becomes critical when you have a week break between work days.

Y’all have a good week and stay warm & dry!
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  #65  
Old 10-13-2013, 10:06 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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I expect most of the locals on the board know that Stockton Lake is a Corps lake. For the ones that don’t understand the ramifications of that statement; a dam was built by the Army Corps of Engineers and they maintain/regulate the flood pool – the lake - from flood level (water goes over the dam) to the water level, whatever it might be at the time. They control the boat launches and recreation sites on the lake; there are no private facilities or ownership actually on the lake.
We took a side trip to check out the status. The lake is closed. Although there are barricades on all access roads, complete with closed signs, people are just driving around them to get to the fishing docks and boat launches. The camp sites are closed, however, with gates closed and locked. Even the campground hosts are gone. The shower we use is locked up and the water shut off at the RV dump station that we have used to fill drums for wash and irrigation water.

The good news is that I think we have a winter and a half worth of firewood cut, with about half split and stacked. The woodshed is full and a stack set along side that should last most of the winter with 5 stacks that need brought up to the shed and piled to be split on the warmer Winter days. We only cut about half of the poles that we have stacked from last fall & this summers clearing.
From those piles we came up with 3 of the supports for the water tower. They are trimmed and staged for when we get serious about that. The forth support is waiting to be dragged up from down by the pole barn and bracing poles are set aside from the piles, but not trimmed, shaped or in the growing laydown yard.
We even identified the poles for the raised strawberry bed planned for next spring.

Other good news was a roll of linoleum that should fit in the main room of the Cottage was spotted resting on the side of the road near several piles of trash that had been dumped on a side road in the Big City. It was still rolled up, taped and waiting to be rescued. I couldn’t just let it sit and slowly deteriorate, or roll into the roadway to become a road hazard, so I did my civic duty and loaded it into the truck. It hasn’t been unrolled to see just how long a roll it is, but if it’s too short for the main room it will go in the bedroom.

The bad news is that the Farmerette twisted her knee. She hobbled around for the tail end of Saturday, trying to help, but not moving well at all. It is better after a nights rest, but it does bring to the forefront how much we take our health and mobility for granted. You never miss it until it’s gone…

Y’all have a great week!
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  #66  
Old 10-15-2013, 01:58 AM
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Bummer on the loss of your water source and the twisted knee. I had a little knee trouble last weekend; I made little grunting sounds about every other step, and I know it can be a pain (no pun intended).

That's good news on the firewood, poles and flooring.
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  #67  
Old 10-16-2013, 08:48 PM
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I can understand closing the camp grounds because they require staffing, but to block off access to the lake is beyond stupid. In Des Moines the Corp closed the road over the Saylorville Dam. No reason that I can determine other than making a point. What point I'm not sure. I think Obama likes making life difficult for the rest of us so he can blame the evil Tea Party Republicans.

I'm sure its a good feeling knowing you have a winter's heat all nicely prepared and stacked. Also, prepping and planning for your next projects now will surely make the actual doing much easier when the time comes.
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  #68  
Old 10-21-2013, 08:50 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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No problem with the water, S2man. We take drinking water with us when we go down there so we don’t need very much. We have a rain barrel system with a couple hundred gallons on hand for washing and irrigation, and an untested well, complete with a homemade 2-1/2 gallon well bucket to pull it out with. I like having redundant sources for the things you really need. J
The only thing I can think of would be for liability issues, Anna. I believe I saw a report where Obama stated that he wanted to make the shutdown difficult to make a point. I’m not sure what the point was, but knowing about Federal Budget and Continuing Resolutions, it must have been a political point, not a functional one.

This past weekend we pulled 5 stumps on the Farmerette’s birthday (that’s what she wanted to do, I swear!), and then made 11 more on Saturday. Sunday we cleaned up and wandered around a little. We needed to make a fast get-away. But we looked (again) at places we are considering for the house site. I think we have finally picked one and as the undergrowth dies down this winter will be flagging and staking so we can find it again after the spring growth comes back.
We have gotten pretty good at making road and clearing overgrown tangle, cutting trees and pulling stumps. I expect I we will have it roughed out and be getting desperate to find a backhoe to dig footings, waterlines and septic lines that we can afford by this time next year. Hint to you kids – don’t wait to get a long term equipment loan until after you have “retired”.
Next weekend will include tractor repairs. It decided to spring a fuel leak in one of the factory clamps on the line from the filter to the injector pump. It’s simply a couple steel tubes bolted to the fuel filter and pump, with a braided hose connecting the two. If a replacement can’t be picked up locally it will suddenly become a rubber hose with hose clamps instead of a factory fuel line “assembly”.

Y’all have a great week!
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  #69  
Old 10-22-2013, 12:12 AM
BIGGKIDD Male BIGGKIDD is offline
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Tick,

Its a good thing its one of the transfer lines and not one of the high pressure lines. Watch out for those high pressure lines if one of those gets a leak at 2000 psi with diesel fuel it can cost you an arm or leg. I don;t mean $$$ either I mean an actual arm. A friend was trying to see where he had a leak and ran his hand behind his injector pump to feel for it next thing he knew he was missing most of his hand after a life saving operation.
Sounds like ya'll are plenty busy.

Keep up the good work.
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  #70  
Old 10-28-2013, 10:41 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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The continuing saga of developing a homestead from a patch of woods, working one day a week, with very little money…

It frosted during the night, but the days were nice. The morning was spent making yet more firewood with the manual log splitter. That thing was a good investment and I can recommend it for those that like things that can be expected to work without a steadily reoccurring cost.
After it warmed up the leaking fuel line on the tractor was replaced. I can report that the little copper washer/gaskets can hide in the dirt very well. After looking all over for where it could have run off the Farmerette came over to see why the task was taking so long, bent over and picked it up.
After checking the new fuel line for leaks it was time to start a fire. We cleaned out a tangle of tops between where the water tower and the outdoor shower will go. We will be running a line between the two next spring and that patch of woods needed cleared up.
Over the next couple weekends we will pick a day to cut the 3 dead trees that the tops had fallen out of. They will become even more firewood.
As we worked we discussed building a new woodshed. That may happen near the spring, after the wood in the leanto is used up. The present shed is just a scrap 2x4 frame with a couple pieces of plywood; one for a roof and the other for the back wall. Tar paper serves as the roofing and 2 pallets keep the stacked firewood off the ground. It works to keep the wood dry, so it serves.
I was asked when I expected to get “done”. The short answer is “Never”. He was talking about the development phase of the Tick Farm, but it applies to everything. Nothing ever gets completely finished, it just gets to the useable stage and then we are off to work on the next project. The finish work can be done later, as time allows.

As we were leaving we saw a neighbor working on the side of the road. We stopped to see what he was doing and to let the locals know that we weren’t just snooty City People. Turns out he was digging a hole to put in a mail box post. Seems there was a coupon in the junk mail that was a pretty good deal. He asked the mailman for a handful of the junkmail with the coupons and was told “One per mailbox!” Simple solution – put up another mailbox.
As we were leaving I asked if he got many bills in the box that he has. He replied that he did. There was no answer when I asked if he had thought that he might get two bills now that he has two mailboxes. He was still leaning on his rock bar pondering the possibilities as we turned the corner onto the paved road.

We will be checking to make sure the outhouse hadn’t been moved when we get back out there next weekend. It is that time of the year…
Maybe I need to teach the neighbors sheep to sound like guard dogs and offer to let him pasture them at our place next year?

Y’all have a good week!
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  #71  
Old 11-03-2013, 08:31 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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Another weekend, another day of improvements at the Tick Farm.
But first, remember the neighbor that was putting up a mailbox when we left last week? I see he got his post set but must have decided not to take a chance on getting more bills – there is no mailbox on his new post.
The outhouse hadn’t been moved or tipped over either. I’m thinking that those are activities from a different time. Now-a-days it would be more likely to be a photoshopped picture posted on a social media site. It helps that most kids aren’t quite sure what an outhouse actually is…

There was a light frost Sunday morning. This weekend was the Missouri Youth Deer Hunting weekend. We saw deer and we saw deer hunters, but we didn’t see any deer hunters with deer.
Back during last years drought we had a couple fawns that came into the Cottage grounds to drink from the plastic pond. I believe we saw them again this weekend. We were sitting watching the fire burn when I noticed a deer wandering around in the woods on the other side of the fire. We watched as the deer fed a little and ambled around until she noticed us. Stomp, stomp… bound, bound… pause. Turn around and look at us some more. Sneak up on us, with a second doe holding back in the deep brush. She finally stopped 30 feet away, staring at us as we talked to her for a couple minutes. Finally she turned and went back into the woods. We left her a few apples to discover when we headed back for town.
We have a resident deer herd on the Tick Farm. Hardly a weekend goes by that we don’t have a few wander down the road past the Cottage. Sometimes they freeze and then sneak off, sometimes they snort “Hello!” and run away, and sometimes they just ignore us.

So… What improvements did we make over the weekend? Pretty much the same as most weekends; gather, haul, break and burn rotted treetops. But the chainsaw was not used so nothing was cut down. We just broke the smaller branches off three piles of tops. The larger branches will be cut and burned next weekend.
So… Where did you do this? In the Field of Stumps? No, we went across the driveway and started the actual homestead.
We have been doing prep work. No, nothing is completed except most of the main driveway, but last weekend was the first work on the actual finished product; what we started out to do. We started clearing for the house and outbuildings – woodshed, carport, barn, chicken coop… The layout is drawn on the back of an envelope – in pencil. I’m sure there will be minor changes but the grand plan is set and finally underway.

Y’all have a great week and stop on by. If the gate is open we are there somewhere. Just honk and we will be up to greet you right directly.
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  #72  
Old 11-10-2013, 09:34 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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This week at the Tick Farm:

But first let me take a little side trip.
I want to compliment the food packaging industry. Back when I was a kid coffee came in a 3 pound can. Young and strong, it was no problem carrying a full sack with a can of coffee from the car to the house when I got back from the grocery store. Later, I noticed that the can only held 2 pounds 7 ounces, but I was well into the back side of middle age. They figure you get weaker with age and have different standards for those over 45. Then, a couple years ago, about the time I retired, I noticed the 3 pound coffee can was only 2 pounds 1.9 ounces. Wow! It must have been a milestone that I hadn’t noticed.
But what’s worrying me is that last week the famous 3 pounds had become 1 pound 11-1/2 ounces.
I think it’s nice that they lightened the load as I age so I can hold my head up with pride that I can still carry that full sack of groceries, complete with my 3 pounds of coffee, and a 10-1/2 ounce pound of bacon. But I think I know why I have to go to the store so often and what do they know that I don’t?

Back to the slow development of the Tick Farm.
The weather was great, but the wind was blowing a little too hard for the usual bonfire. As you remember we are starting the clearing for the homestead. We burned the smaller limbs and down wood from three piles of treetops left from when the place was logged several years ago last weekend. This time we cut the larger limbs into four foot pieces and burned those. The big tangle of tops is gone along with most of another pile. The change in appearance of that chunk of woods without the tangles was dramatic.
The fire started out pretty small due to the wind, but it didn’t take long to build back up to normal size.
The limbs we were burning were 6 – 12 inches in diameter and had been laying on the ground for around 8 years. We used the “log cabin” firewood arrangement; 4 or 5 logs laid next to each other with another layer set at 90 degrees to the first and then a layer duplicating the first one. As it burnt down another layer or two was stacked into the fire. Wood that old and groundwater soaked needs time to cook before it can burn. We kept the pile about 5 layers deep and spent a lot of time watching it burn, waiting to toss in the next layer.
While we waited for the fire to burn without lighting off the overhanging limbs the pet deer came by and the Farmerette saw a buck that had been in an industrial accident. She could tell because he only had half a rack – the horns on one side were dangling down.
Gun season opens next week.
Ent Attack!
There is a lone honey locust tree in the midst of the tangles of tops that we are clearing out. He/She/It (I can’t tell what it is) waited patiently. The Farmerette was gathering small limb ends while waiting for the fire to burn down. The Ent waited, trying to be unnoticed. She got closer. The Ent sprang, whacking her right on top of the head as she passed under a waiting limb.
The Farmerette has plans for that Ent when we start cutting down trees. I think she may have given the plan away. At least it is a lone Ent and it will be harder for it to pass the plans along to the others.

They predicted snow on the radio for next Tuesday, with lows in the mid to low 20s on Wednesday night. I pulled about 15 gallons out of each rain barrel and need to come up with a diverter system for the downspout. Right now it either goes into the rain barrels or onto the ground. On the ground it runs down the path to the front yard from the Cottage. Gotta do something about that. I think the rain catching season is coming to an end for this year.

Y’all have a good week.
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  #73  
Old 11-18-2013, 01:44 AM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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They predicted warm and windy with a chance of rain for the weekend. It was, and it did.
20 to 30 mph winds with 40 mph gusts. Not a weekend for burning. Much different from when we started.
The first year of work out at the Tick Farm was much different. We had cut a goat trail back to where we built the outhouse and pitched the tent. Inside the thicket there was no breezes; it was hot, sultry and wind still. The tent was pitched in the middle of what would become the driveway near where the Cottage stands. As we cleared trees for the driveway slight breezes slipped in, most appreciated during the nights, as we slowly melted in the heat of the summer. The more we cleared the more we felt the breezes, until finally we could feel them during the day.
But the wind was more than a breeze and it is considerably more open than back then during the past weekend. There are gable vents in the Cottage. The wind blew against one face of the Cottage and blew out through the vents on the other end. We had put 2-1/2” foam board between the rafter ties for ceiling insulation by nailing 1x3 furring strips to the bottom of the ties and fitting the insulboard between the ties, resting on the furring. The ceiling was attached to the furring as well, hiding the insulation. All weekend we heard creaks and squeals. Finally on Sunday morning we found the insulation had been lifted out of place and had to be reinstalled.
We have a new task. Figure out how to put furring strips on top of the rafter ties to trap the insulation boards in place…

No burning meant no clearing. Instead we built a compost bin and filled it with fallen leaves. All our leaves don’t fit in it. Either we should have built it bigger or the leaves should have stayed on the trees a little longer. The leaves on the driveway were all that would fit in our new compost bin.
After playing in the wet leaves (I did mention a little rain, right?), we managed to get the blades off the brush hog. That was quite the chore, involving 2 pipe wrenches, a crowbar and a sledge hammer. But they are in town and will be shaped and ground to something resembling sharpened. The rocks and stumps have not been kind to them.
The Farmerette used the manual log splitter to bust up some of the stack of walnut that has been cut into stove lengths. There is a pile left to split and we will be cutting 3 or 4 more trees down. Kinda sad to burn walnut for firewood, but they are not veneer grade and we haven’t found anyone that is willing to come get them that has a home mill.

All in all, a productive weekend at the Tick Farm. We have a few other chores that need to be done but ran out of time. Everything seems to take longer than you have time for. But like eating an elephant, one bite at a time.

Y’all have a great week!
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  #74  
Old 11-19-2013, 02:42 PM
BIGGKIDD Male BIGGKIDD is offline
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Sounds like you are making progress. Everything takes longer, I often wonder if its not just that I am older and slower! Amazing how a bit of brush can block the wind right out. Its a tad windy here to.

Have a good week.
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  #75  
Old 11-25-2013, 09:57 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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I expect I’d have more to say if we worked at the Tick Farm more than one day a week. Each project takes over a month to get a weeks work completed. But this thread is the development of a patch of woods into a homestead so I will keep plugging along. Perhaps someone will find the slow going informative?

We are still clearing. I expect we will be for most of the winter.
It turned cold and the bon fire was nice to stand beside to warm up. Sunday morning dawned with almost half an inch of ice in the buckets we have set around the campfire. They were emptied, along with the rain barrels. Last winter we left them full and lost almost half of them when the water froze solid and they split. The bottom was pushed out of the metal bucket and a couple inches of the seam holding the bottom to the side of the tub was unfolded. Both have round bottoms now. The bucket was repaired to the point that it can be used as a “basket” and the tub messed with until it holds water again but the plastic ones were unsalvageable. We need to figure out a replacement for those plastic 5 gallon buckets, Not only do they degrade in the sunlight, they melt if they are too close to the fire. Mostly, we have found the plastic gets brittle and the handle tears off after about 2 years.
Water to put out the bon fires will come from the mudhole pond unless there is a midwinter warmup that nobody really expects.

The last field was done with a “Scorched Earth” method. As we moved along we cleared the down wood, brush and trees so when we moved on to the next area the only thing remaining were the stumps that we will need to dig to remove.
This time we are doing it in stages. First we cut and burned the down wood within a hundred feet of the fire. The past weekend was removing all the 2 inch or smaller diameter saplings. Right now we have a hundred foot of park like field, opening up with the undergrowth gone and small trees with the lower branches removed as far as we can reach. The larger trees are remaining untouched until the field is cleared and the buildings (plot plan) are identified and staked. Some will be removed but many will remain to shade the house and work buildings.

Between the leaf fall and the branch trimming the view through the woods is remarkable. As we waited for the fire to eat through yet another the pile of limbs we watched a truck drive by on the County Road fronting the property. Quite the surprise for the Farmerette – she thought the road was “way over there”, and they were driving through the potato patch...
But it is all invisible work. The removed tops have faded away. The saplings stumps are covered with a bed of fallen leaves and the trimmed trees are just like you expect to see “in town”. Like most of our work, you had to see it before to be able to tell much has been done. All I know is the place just keeps getting better and better, changing from a patch of woods into home.

Y’all have a great week, celebrating the Holiday with friends and family. Stay warm and remember – you are what you eat. J
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  #76  
Old 12-03-2013, 01:16 AM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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We are really good at making lists. Over the weekend, as we burned dead & down wood, we made a list of things we would like to make/construct over the winter. Yep, we make lists, but hardly ever do anything on them.
Unfortunately we didn’t write or ideas down. A few that I can remember::
A treadle powered grindstone
Shaving horse
Bean machine: a stationary, person powered, combination thresher/winnower/seed cleaner (with various sized screens so we can do various sized legumes and grains)
A concrete work pad
A dozen bluebird houses
A non-freezing storage building for water drums and canned goods
A better saw buck – preferably one that lifts the logs by itself
A Pecan Picker-Upper like a lawn sweeper that winnows the debris and just keeps the pecans
Followed by a pecan cracker

And then there are the questions to figure out the answers to… Like:
Would acorn meal make a viable chicken food? Got lots of oaks and acorns can be made into meal that people (including myself) have eaten. Would it work for chickens? At least as a partial replacement feed?
If we can find some really high strength cable would a set of double blocks hung from a bipod acting like a gin pole develop enough pull using the tractor to rip stumps from the ground without digging first?
And why do windshield wipers go back and forth when the motor that drives them only turns one way?

But the weather was great and we got a lot of debris wood to evaporate. My brother even came to visit and see the changes we have made since he was last there. We got the brush hog blades back on the brush hog.
Winter is coming. Predictions are that we will get our first snow Thursday as the temperatures plummet. Sure am glad we have the woodshed full and several stacks ready to move up to the cabin for splitting.

Y’all have a good week and stay warm!
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  #77  
Old 12-09-2013, 10:43 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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We took one of our rare weekends off and stayed home. We blamed it on the slick roads we kept hearing about. Good a reason as any, I expect.
That didn’t keep us from thinking about the work at the Tick Farm, however.
Warning: developing a patch of woods is addictive. Withdrawal symptoms attack constantly.
Instead we planned to do all the things we generally miss by being gone on the weekends.
We talked about going Christmas shopping. Didn’t go.
We talked about cleaning house. Didn’t happen.
Talked about getting new tires on the truck. That may happen sometime this week.
Talked about trading in the tractor on a new one with a backhoe attachment. Went out to Golden Valley Tractors, kicked tires and got that started.
Talked about needing a set of large (1-1/2 through 2-1/2”) box end combination wrenches to work on tractor attachments. Went to the Trade Fair (used junk store) and searched in vain.
Watched a Mel Brooks movie (Robin Hood, Men in Tights).
Complained that the wood stove is at the Tick Farm and it was cold. Natural gas doesn’t have the same bone warming heat a wood burning stove puts out.
Picked up a jug of gear oil in case the brush hog gear box is low when we fire it back up.
And, while we were at the grocery store picking up the “on sale” stuff we found little tins of Danish Christmas cookies. We both said “Look at that. Handy mouse proof storage tins!” before we discovered they were both on sale and the extras would make good gifts for the little old ladies at my late Mothers old Fogie Complex. Even though she is no longer there we keep an eye on her friends. We got 10 tins at 99 cents apiece.
Of course we drew little sketches, diagrams and plot plans on scratch paper for things we would like to do. Plans and ideas were worked out, methods of accomplishment developed and even a list of plants for the garden made. Nothing was actually done except realizing we should have gone to our little cottage in the woods, anyway.

Y’all have a good week and stay warm. Even if it is a natural gas central heat furnace.
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  #78  
Old 12-17-2013, 09:36 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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Location: Near Stockton Lake in MO
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It was a dark and stormy night….
Well, not really. Friday was cold, with rain that was to turn to freezing rain/sleet mix and later turn into snow. They were predicting up to inch of ice covered with 4 inches of snow by morning. We hurried down the roads to get to the Tick Farm before ice made it more dangerous than we cared to chance.
The rain turned to sleet just before we got there. Ten minutes later it stopped. Shortly after that we turned off the wet pavement onto the snow and ice covered gravel County road. No problems from there to the gate. The lock on the chain closing the gate was stiff, but not frozen solid. We crunched our way up to the Cottage.
It snowed a little during the weekend without much accumulation. Of course it will be in the 50s and might even hit the low 60s during this week. Next Friday they expect the bottom to drop back out with rain, sleet and maybe snow, again.

We had a couple lessons this past weekend.
The past week had been cold – in the single digits. A water jug left by one of the summer campers had frozen and split open on the front porch. The refillable water jugs in the cottage were frozen solid, but survived the ordeal. The 5 gallon “Water Cooler” bottle that lives on the porch was also solid.
Our standard was to keep several containers of water on hand and to just refill/replace the ones that we used during each visit.
Our first lesson – wait till summer to leave water for the next trip.
A fire was built in the stove and it took forever to heat the place up. First it had to defrost the walls… But, after a couple hours we opened the windows and settled in. J

Our second lesson came as we burnt trash wood. The usual weekend bonfire was started, down tops were broken into 4 foot lengths and drug over to the fire. Because we had been clearing out the smaller stuff, this week we were burning the medium sized logs; 4 to 8 inch diameter stuff. Before it would burn it had to be cooked. And there is where the dilemma comes in. Burning that sized wood shows that it will become much worse when we start burning the logs that are next in line to evaporate.
We are coming up against a time problem. We aren’t there long enough to let the fire cook and then burn full sized logs. Either we quarter the 12-16” diameter logs or we will have to stay longer to give the logs time to smolder into ashes.
Just in case anyone doesn’t know, a 6” log can be broken easily (?) by dropping it where you want it to break between two closely growing trees and then pulling on the protruding end of the log. Much easier and faster than digging out a long limb and then firing up the chainsaw to make 2 cuts.

We put out sunflower seeds and tossed around some mixed bird food and soon had every bird in the neighborhood (and for several neighborhoods around) fighting over the birdfeeder. Seems if you put out food all they want to do is eat it…
We have several jars of really old peanut butter that we toweled on a couple trees for the suet eaters last year, but it didn’t draw much attention until spring when the ants came to get it.

That was our weekend at the Tick Farm.
New tractor (with backhoe attachment) is on order for an early January delivery. New tires for the winter roads are on the truck. Pole barn pole spacing was measured for internal bumper boards, to be hauled down on the next dry weekend.
More down wood got burnt up. We are making progress. Like a thundering herd of turtles, we work on.

Y’all have a good (warm) week!
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  #79  
Old 12-19-2013, 12:34 AM
BIGGKIDD Male BIGGKIDD is offline
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We are making progress. Like a thundering herd of turtles, we work on.

Sounds familiar.
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Larry
A world away!!!
2 miles from the grid and neighbors.
South Central VA Since 2008
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  #80  
Old 12-30-2013, 10:29 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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If it hasn’t been completed it won’t get done this year out at the Tick Farm…

Welcome back to the newest installment of the action packed adventure in the oozing development of the Buzzard’s Roost Tick Farm. In this segment we plan on having actual true-to-life colored pictures! (Not moving pictures, although those that are faint of heart may be moved.)

As you remember last month we started clearing for the homestead. When we started it looked a lot like this:
https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.p hp?fbid=619262141465641&set=a.619261164799072.1073 741825.100001455836521&type=1&theater
https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=619262151465640&set=a.6192611647990 72.1073741825.100001455836521&type=1&theater

We opened up a spot for a fire and started clearing brush so we could get the down wood off the ground and over to the fire. It was a pretty small fire to keep it under control and keep from letting it spread throughout the woods. Although that would have cut down on the amount of work to complete the project we didn’t much care to have the neighbors throwing rocks at us for burning up the whole county.
https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=619262491465606&set=a.6192611647990 72.1073741825.100001455836521&type=1&theater

After a couple weekends it cleaned up pretty well and we moved on down the driveway to open up the rest of the front of the patch of woods.
https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=619262154798973&set=a.6192611647990 72.1073741825.100001455836521&type=1&theater

This past weekend we didn’t clear very many square feet, but we removed quite a bit of wood. 8 – 10 logs were cut short enough to fit into the splitter and the two piles of tops were burnt. The cut up logs were hauled down and dumped into a pile at the campground. Maybe they will dry out enough to burn sitting in a pile? At least they are off the ground and if the hordes of campers yet to visit develop enough ambition they can spit the butts and maybe even get them to burn. If not, we have a head high pile of that special camper firewood (wet, punky & inflammable).
https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=619262494798939&set=a.6192611647990 72.1073741825.100001455836521&type=1&theater

A little while back we set some t-posts and made a compost pile contained with a bit of rusty chicken wire. We collect our used coffee grounds and take them down to toss in the pile of leaves each weekend. That happens on Saturday morning because it is already dark by the time we get there on Friday evening. We learned not to leave the grounds in the truck bed overnight – it took half a day to thaw them out enough to get them out of the storage can…
Our weather has been varied. If you don’t care for what it is, just wait a day or so. The temperatures bounce between single digits up to the high 40s and it seems to be an even bet on if it will be dry, rain, sleet or snow on any given day. There hasn’t been any appreciable buildup yet, though. The ground may be frozen, but the top layer is either crunchy or muddy…

Y’all stay warm and have a happy and content New Year!
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