Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chugging Right Along

Things here at the Mini Farm has been a little hectic for the past few days. The Mother-In-Law was put into ICU Sunday and is in bad condition. So if I miss a day or two please just bare with me.

This is an experiment with some Polyculture Planting. I got this idea from a book on urban homesteading and found out this kind of planting has been around since before the white man came to this continent.
Wikipedia defines it as,
is agriculture using multiple crops in the same space, in imitation of the diversity of natural ecosystems, and avoiding large stands of single crops, or monoculture. It includes crop rotation, multi-cropping, intercropping, companion planting, beneficial weeds, and alley cropping.
The technique I used is the same as the Native Americans "Three Sisters" Squash, Corn and Beans. The corn grows tall so the beans can climb. The beans put nitrogen into the soil helping the corn and the squash and the squash covers the ground suppressing the weeds and preventing the soil from drying out.
I plan to take this type of gardening to the next level in a couple of months and plant one entire raised bed with nothing but salad fixings. I will be using different types of lettuce, Swiss chard, Radishes, Kayle and a few others, maybe even some eatable flowers. Most will be broadcast seeded and then others will be started in containers then transplanted when needed at different times.
This type of gardening is a foreign thought around these parts. The conventional long rows of one type of plant is what has been passed down for the past hundred or so years. Anything different and some people think you have lost your mind.
I had one guy say, "That probably works for them there people up North, but it will never work down here."
According to several books like Square Foot Gardening it will work and it is working, even down here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Got Crack?

No, that's not the Grand Canyon or the Royal Gorge, that is a crack in the back yard. It measures three and a half inches across and I don't know how deep, I only had a five foot piece of wire to stick in it. The wife said we ought to put a piece of wood in it just in case something or someone falls in, they would be able to crawl out.

The weather shows we should get some rain tonight so everyone's fingers are crossed.

On a lighter note, the girls got themselves another snake this morning. This one measured a little over five foot long and as big around as a coke can. They got it before it could get any chickens. I couldn't be any prouder.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What A Weekend!

This weekend was just what the doctor ordered. Even with a small set back with rain yesterday morning, the rest of the time was hot, muggy and down right fun.
Robbers cave is nestled right in the San Bois Mountains, the secret heart of one of Oklahoma's last refuges for desperadoes like the James Brothers and Belle Starr. Located about 5 miles North of Wilburton Oklahoma. If you are into hiking, rock climbing or just laying around in the water, this is the place to go.

I won't bore you with to many pictures so here are just a couple few.

Geocaching at the caves.

That's me squeezing my big butt through a very small space.

Very nice view.

This place had it all. Swimming pool, paddle boats, canoe rentals, museum, wild life center, 50 miles of hiking, nature and horse trails.
I wished we could have stayed for one more day.
I was a tourist with a pop up camper and I didn't care

Now it's back to the farm and back to work. A big thanks to Mom and Dad for looking out and taking care of the animals and the mother-in-law so we could get a much needed break. We couldn't have gone without there help.

Also I want to give a howdy to Shegre for joining the Modern Day Redneck family. If you have any questions or know of any topic you need my redneck opinion on, just let me know.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Still Living

Today was a good day, everything is still living. My buddy Dave told me the reason all this is happening is because I built a Walmart for varmints. Come to think of it, he is right. His house is not more than 500 yards from mine and he has not seen one snake, any raccoons, no wild cats or no owls.
Oh, did I tell you about the owl? The other day late in the evening we were sitting out back and a great horned owl just swooped down into the chicken pen, walked right into the barn, grabbed a chicken, bit it's head off and flew away.
I kid you not!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Duck, Duck, Goose

Yesterday evening the girls put out five boxes of moth balls all over the place.
This morning a snake was curled up nice and neat in the quail pen with two in it's belly and four laying dead next to it. That leaves me with only two quail left. Instead of keeping them penned up for the taking, I let them go in the rabbit area to run free. At least this way they have a fighting chance.

So the next step is Geese. I don't want any geese but let me tell ya. The wife has spent all day looking for some and guess what, everyone is sold out due to the snake problem in the area. She did find one pair just starting to feather and the ole boy wanted $50.00 for them. My luck would be as soon as we got them home and out of the cage they would fly off. I aint paying fifty dollars for two little geese.

What gets me is that if I were to have a goose farm with a hundred or so geese, then there would be some other epidemic that kills geese that only lizards could fix and I would be stuck with all those dieing geese and someone else would be making all the money selling lizards.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Double Duty

This week is going to be tough.
Work has picked back up for the next few weeks. Normally I work anywhere from only 55 to 60 hours a week, but for the next couple of months my hours will be back up in the 70's. That makes getting any work done around the house real hard to do. Add in the wife is down and out, then the camping trip this weekend and the week just took on a whole new urgency.

The plan is to leave out Friday morning and be back Sunday afternoon. I have most of the stuff ready to go, it's just getting everything else together and loaded for six people, yes the mother-in-law is going too.
I have found it is more work to go someplace and relax than it is to stay home and work. I don't understand it.

The snakes are back. We thought we had them licked, but they just keep coming. We spread Sulfur flakes all over just like everyone said to do but we are still loosing eggs and chicks. We have moved everything small and living into small 1/2" squared wire cages but the snakes are still getting in, killing the chicks and then regurgitating them to get out. The wife was real upset when she found three of the mini chickens were killed and remember the two chicks I saved from the snake belly last month while still in the egg, they are gone now too. Today two of my quail were ate.

The count for chicks lost is up to twelve plus the two quail. The count for snakes killed is seven or eight.

That is a quail in the snake's belly.

There are two chicks in this snakes belly.

The kids took five boxes of moth balls and spread them everywhere this afternoon. Yes it does stink out here now but maybe it will help.
Even tho we are doing everything we can, it is real discouraging to loose these animals like this. It's like taking one step forward and two steps back.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Just as Planned

The weekend went just as planned. I wish I could have gotten a little more done out in the big barn but at least I got a good start.

This picture is what I had to start with yesterday. I don't understand how I accumulated it or where this all came from but it's here and it's growing. Just like toe fungus I guess. If I don't start now and get a handle on it, then in a few months I won't be able to shut the doors.

Today was spent with family and friends just cooking and conversing. The cold front I was hoping for never arrived but the 100+ degree day did so even in the shade it was to hot for a man to be out in it.
The menu ended up being hickory smoked pulled pork with a mustard bark, home made baked beans, Momma's county fair blue ribbon potato salad, Cole slaw, grilled squash and for desert we had some kind of summer berry twinkie cake thang that was so good you better not let any get on your forehead because you tongue will beat the heck out of it trying to get to it.

This weeks plan is to just survive the heat. I hope to get some more done in the big barn but it all depends on if my fat butt has anything left after work or not.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Whats The Plan?

The weekend plans are simple.
I have to clean out an area in the big barn so I can start hanging tools and stuff on the wall and organizing things a little better than they are now. With all the mother-in-laws stuff now being stored in the barn, there is not any room for anything else in there. Even the worms are fealing crowded.
I have to get the little metal tool shed cleaned out so I can put a freezer inside it till I can add on a pantry room off the back of the house.

Sunday is a wash due to Fathers day. I will be smoking some pork shoulder starting about 5:00 AM then getting everything ready for all the family to come over for a Fathers day luncheon. So if your hungry stop on by.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Redneck to Redneck

I was chatting with an ole boy at work today and some how the conversation turned to what I raised and what all I did on the mini farm.

After I finished explaining all my plans using dramatic hand movements to bring my words to life and push my ideas to the next level like creating renewable energy, solar heating and cooking, animal husbandry and polycultural planting designs, I looked up and noticed he was just staring at me with kinda a blank look. I took it as he was really into my story, so with a captive audience I proceeded on and told him why and where it was all taking me, and simply put, freedom.
After a long pause he spit and ask me with a crooked little grin, "Are you one of them there tree huggn liberal people? I guess yall all call yourselves green people, hu."
Right then I knew what I had to do. I had to go all redneck on his butt. So I cleared my throat, took a dip of snuff and said, "I don't rekon eyes ever seen none of them green people about and the only time I ever huged on an ole tree is when I'm throwing it in the smoker and to answer your last question, God bless George Bush." That got his attention so I continued, "I ain't one of those snotty look at me rich folks trying to save a tree. I ain't livn green, I'm livn cheap. Livn cheap is greener than livn green, you just got to learn how it's done."
The conversation went on for a short time and ended with him wanting to get back with me and hear of some projects on him "Going Greener".
I don't care what you say, that's funny right there.

These were sent to me in an email today and I thought they were worth sharing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Green Thumb?

Nope, it's not green.

Everyone is bragging about how many tomatoes they have, how much squash the pick, there beans are doing great, best year they ever had for this or that and oh yea, so much okra they can't pick it all.
Mine, ain't pick one thing yet. The plants are all big healthy and green, but nothing. Every night at supper time I ask the wife, "Is this from the garden?" and the same answer is always returned, "No!"
All I can say is, just like in football when the team has a losing year they use the excuse, it's a building year.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Before and After

I forgot to show the before and after pictures of the mini barn. I was told I needed to show them, so here they are.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Longer Than Expected

The chicken delivery took a little longer than expected this morning. As a matter of fact, it took all day. I took the wife and our friends D&R along so you can imagine the places we stopped at. We got back home around 4:30 PM and I decided it's not even worth trying to start anything.

Here are some pictures of some interesting things I saw while I was out.

Surely they meant to spell it like that?

Now that's funny!

The best store in the world

I hope you can read this one.

Can you imagine living on Chicken St.
I drove down it and didn't see a chicken one.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Uncertain Work Day

With the wife being gone it was really uncertain what the work plan was for the day. The possibilities were endless, or should I say I had no direction. Do I work on the rabbit pens, the fencing, the worm beds? Do I build more gardens or just do some major rearranging for better use of the limited space? Decisions, decisions.

I ended up moving my mother-in-law all day and you would not believe where she moved to. Yup you guessed it, in. In the back bedroom to be more specific. Her failing health has caused the wife to have to give her 100% care. So we did what we had to do, our job.
I am sure some of you cringed when you just read that and believe me so did I when the wife told me. Never in a million years did I expect all this to happen, but it has. Ask me twenty years ago if I thought at 40, I would be starting life all over again with my mother-in-law living with me and I would have told you, your crazy.

I look at it this way, it is what it is and this is the hand life has played. I never want to be put in a old folks home and neither will I ever put a loved one in. If I still had the big house and the large monthly expenses, then the wife would not have the privilege to care for the one who cared for her for so many years.

Is all this part of the big life plan given to each of us way before we were born , I don't know. But I can tell you this. It don't matter what happens, what choices, or what decisions are made, as long as I can stand in front of that mirror every morning when I shave and look myself eye to eye, man to man and know I am doing my best, then that is all that counts.

Plus, this opens up the opportunity for a house add on project and you know how I love projects.

Friday, June 11, 2010

My Eldest Daugher

Hello :)
I am the Rednecks oldest daughter, and he just happened to leave his blog open, big mistake. Since so many of you are following my dad's blog, I felt like you need to know a little bit more about the inside workings of his life.
He was blessed with three beautiful daughters, but cursed with the hormones that go with it. So you can see why he builds this stuff to get away for a little bit. He is beyond my inspiration. His determination and love for his family is what drives me to become successful with my life. He is one of the men who shattered the statistics. He works a tremendous amount of hours to keep up with our school lives alone, much less furnish his own hobbies. Starting over was never his plan, but he makes the best of it by teaching my sisters and I how to live on our own with the time comes. I can promise you I will probably be the only college student with a vegetable garden growing in her dorm room. He has gone through the struggles of life ten times over, but you would never tell when he finally finishes a project. He loves getting on here and seeing that people enjoy what he is trying to do, because he loves doing things like this. Born on a tractor and corn raised. True country man with the heart of a Teddy Bear. We love him :) Thanks for reading his blog. :)

Mini Space

One of the disadvantages of having a mini barn on the mini farm is the mini space that comes with it. I'm used to having enough room, where if I wanted to get 50 goats, I got 50 goats. Now, if I want 3 goats, I have to devise a plan to accommodate these 3 goats. But if there is a will, there is a way, just like this picture shows. What we thought would be enough room in these old lockers, ended up being a pain in the butt and too small. So I improvised. It may not be professional or pretty, but it'll do.

Speaking of mini spaces, I picked this cage up while I was down at the farm. I forgot I had it, and it's coming in handy with the Serama mini chickens. Believe it or not, my dad built this cage, over 25 years ago to house quail. Let me tell ya, it has seen its' fair share of animals, and it sure ain't done yet.

The weekend plans are pretty simple, the wife took a Thema and Louise trip to Stillwater, Oklahoma for the weekend, so I have to man the fort, literally. Tomorrow will be filled with cleaning and organizing the mini barn and the yard.
Sunday, I have to deliver the chickens I have sold and make a deal with a guy on two 1500 gallon water tanks that I will use for my rain water harvesting system.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Back to the Plan

I have decided not to be in the egg business any more. Let me explain......
I never wanted to sell eggs in the first place, I wanted them just for my eating purposes alone. The only reason I decided to sell eggs was because it was really hassle free with the guy that was buying them. He has now moved on to another job and now it has become a hassle. The other reason is, I do not want to summer all these chickens while their production is down. It is a loose, win deal with me being on the wrong end.
I have a buyer for the sixteen laying hens I want to sell. I plan to keep enough hens to get about three to four dozen eggs a week just for the house use and a to be a friendly neighbor every once and a while.
Now with that decision made, it opens up the original plan for the mini barn. So before long the wife should have a couple of mini goats to tend to and now we can get those Bourbon Red Heritage Turkeys we were wanting. I hope it's not to late to get one ready for Thanksgiving.

On Guard

Found some!!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New Space

With all the onions being out of the garden now, it opened up some much need space for new plants. This evening I planted some more jalapenos, sweet bell and hot salad pepper plants. Tomorrow the wife is planing okra, peas, pumpkin and cantaloupe. The okra should have already been out and up but with limited space, you do what you can.
No chicken or garden pics tonight but I do plan to upload some for tomorrow.

I took this picture last weekend while I was down at the farm.
This building was the general store in the park area I built behind the house. The goal was to build a complete old west town to have a place to house all the parties and old west reenactments.
I had the general store, blacksmith shop, saloon, two outdoor kitchens, eating pavilion, community outhouse and livery stable. If I would have continued to stay there, the church / school house was next, then the bank then possibly the hotel.

Everything is gone now except this old store and time is not on it's side. It's so rotted you can't even walk in it without falling though the floor and it's starting to lean a little. I give it at max another year.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Puttin Onions By

We pulled what was left of the onions out of the ground today and put them by. We have been eating off them for the past couple of months right out of the garden and this was all we had left. It sure is a good thing onions grow all year long at Walmart.

The wife and I figured out one thing yesterday. We need a lot more garden space if we are to achieve the food production we want. The problem is everything has to be in raised beds because this old black, nasty, gumbo dirt won't grow anything worth havn.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Funny Thing!!!

So my youngest daughter is normally the one who collects the eggs in the evenings after the chickens had laid throughout the day. Last night, she was not available so my middle daughter went to collect them. Being one that is not as experienced with the mini farm workings as my youngest, she had no idea I had two hens sitting. Just so happens that one of the hens was off the nest, and she collected all the eggs that the hen was sitting on for the past two weeks. Realizing this a day later, after the eggs had already been placed in the ice box, I had no idea where the eggs had been placed amongst the other fifteen dozen. So the wife and went on a egg candling spree to find the few missing eggs.
I sure hope we found them all. If not, someone will have a surprise for breakfast.

Treasure Hunting......

I don't know really how to explain it.
I guess the only way is in so many words, I had an epiphany. Wikipedia defines it as, the sudden realization or comprehension of the essence or meaning of something.
As a teenager I never had one of these. In my mid to late 20's they came about once a week or so and now that I am right at forty, they do not happen as often anymore.
I do not know if it is because with age comes wisdom or is it, with age comes forgetfulness, I can't remember.
I was down at the farm today for about the seventh time since I moved away five years ago. Each time I would go I would come back with a load of junk I thought I needed. Over time the loads kept getting smaller and smaller until not much of anything was gotten. This time tho, I loaded up the truck and trailer both and still found enough stuff to go back for one or two more times.
That is when it hit me. When I left the farm, I was moving to the city and into a new house on a whopping 1/2 acre. I did not need anything and I sure did not want to take a bunch of junk to fill up the yard. Now that I am back out in the country, that so called junk that I left behind and forgot about all the sudden became little treasures.
Today the search for things that were needed took on a whole new meaning. Instead of just scanning over a pile of junk looking for whatever it was I thought I could not live without, I was now picking through the smallest piles for the things I new, I could not live without. So in essence, it's junk only if you don't need or want it.

On the way home I stopped by a gas station to get the girls something to drink and a man walked over and asked if that was all my stuff and if we had come from the flee market just down the road. Now that's what I'm talking about. A year or so ago I would have gotten offended by that comment but now I know he was just jealous he didn't have all those treasures for himself. That's some mighty fine living right there I don't care who you are.

Friday, June 4, 2010

This Weekend

I do not know how, but I don't have to go into work tomorrow so that leaves the weekend open for some real work.

The plan is first, do not die from a heat stroke. It will be over 100 degrees this weekend so I may end up just doing in house work.

Tomorrow morning tho, I have to run down to the farm and get another trailer load of junk. My friend moved out from my old house so I need to make sure everything I want, need or left behind is gotten. There is no telling what I will come home with this time.

As far as building something this weekend, I am flirting with the idea of starting the solar oven, but have not made up my mind yet.

Hang with me this weekend, it's going to be a hot one.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bonafied Cricket Farmer

They are in there, I promise. The wife bought me 75 crickets today and when she put them in the 55 gallon aquarium , they disappeared.

Just in case you are wondering, I used pete moss in the bottom because the crickets need a soft base to dig into so they can lay their eggs. I put hay in the corner for the babies to have shelter from the adults so they will not be eaten. For food, I ground up chicken laying mash and for the water I am using water gel. The sticks in the middle are nothing more than just for climbing around on. To top it off I used an old sheet.
The one problem is the heat. I hope they don't get to hot or they will all die and I will have to wait till fall to try it again because they are not going in the house.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


The flowers out back have been destroyed by grasshoppers. I was summoned by the wife to catch them and feed them to the chickens last night. It has been a long time sense I have tried to catch a grasshopper and let me tell you, either they are getting faster or I am getting slower. After a twenty minute battle, I managed to catch only about eight or nine and headed to the chicken pen.
We let them suckers go and in less than a second the chickens were looking at us wanting more.
So I headed to the barn and scooped out at least fifty worms to see how long it took them to get them down. It took less than a minute.

I got the cricket farm all set up and ready tonight. The wife is picking them up tomorrow while she is in town. It will take a month or so to get them up and going but when they do, I will be able to feed the chickens about 100 crickets at a time once a week.