I don't know if it is one single thing I am doing or a combination of several things, but whatever it is it's right.
These two raised beds are full of Squash, Pumpkins, Cantaloupes and Watermelons.
Look at the size of this squash plant. It is like a Giant Elephant Ear.
And Carrots, I have never had carrots this big and bushy. I pulled one just to make sure something was growing under the top and the carrot was already eating size. Another couple of weeks and these bad boys will be pickled.
I got maters and I am happy about it. Last year the plants were big but they never produced any fruit. I have so many plants this year I think I will have more tomatoes than I will know what to do with.
If you were wondering, yes the girls did out fish me again. I sure am glad I am not making a living on what I catch. The girls on the other hand, they might could make a few dollars.
Right off the bat this morning before I even had the chance to bait my hook, the youngest "Wee" pulled in this 4 lb Alligator Gar. We don't eat Gar so I threw him back. The little devil, with all his needle teeth did get in a bite on my finger before I could get him back in the water and yes the blood was flowing.
Boppie (The middle girl) did manage to pull in some baby fish we could not keep, but at least the cork went down.
I, again did not pull one single fish out of the water, but I did get to relax, hear the girls laugh and have a little fun, priceless.
I hope y'all have a great week and thank you CFW, I am undeserving.
My weekend plans were changed around a little to where I had today free and open. Having changed plans twice now left me open just long enough for the wife to fill my Saturday up before I knew it happen.
At 7:30 we were up and out garage selling or what I like to call "Junkin". Being a cheapo means I needed to have my A game on so I can talk the talk and find as many deals as I can. We grabbed our friends D&R and headed out.
We ended up being on the go for seven hours. It was almost more than I could bear.
This picture is of some of the things that was in the back of the truck. A bunch was already put away and the back seat was still full.
$20.00 was all I spent and here's how. I do not tell this secret to just anybody so here it is.
This weekend there were many community sales going on. That is where 20 or 30 homes inside a subdivision have their garage sales all at once to draw in more buyers. First thing is to drive around and visit all the houses and if there is something you want, go ahead and get it. The next step is to wait them out until it gets hot and sure enough as soon as one does it, they mostly all follow along. They get hot and tired and close up shop setting everything else to the curb with a big "Free" sign in the front. This is where you swoop in and load up. The one problem is that others know of this as well and will team up and beat you to the good stuff if you are not careful.
It is amazing how a few minutes ago you would have not dreamed of dragging something home, even at a deal and now it looks like a must have treasure when it's free.
After it was all said and done, the wife and I spent a nice quiet evening going to dinner to a place that overlooks the lake and ate while watching the sun set.
Tomorrow is spending time with the girls. They said they want to go fishing. Oh the humanity of it all. LOL
Everyone preps for different reasons.
Your reason may be on a huge complex scale like prepping for the end of the world where you will need years of essential products stored away, or you could be prepping for something as simple as a three day power outage where a small food pantry is all you need to store the required elements to sustain life.
I for one have always said I am doing all this for "IT", with "it" being whatever "it" may be, large or small.
Last night the wife and I were talking about food consumption and how the money budgeted for food was not buying near as much as it was last year. It seams like we bring home less and less bags every trip but are still spending the same amount of money. She said with a fearful look, "This summer is going to kill us."
This it is folks, my "IT". Summer time, when all the kids will be out of school and at home. We stock up all year for those few super hot months in the summer where there is nothing else to do besides sit in the house and eat.
At the end, only dust will cover the shelves where the 50 cans of Vienna Sausages now sit. Empty wrappers of bread sticks, chips and pork rinds will litter the floor and will need to be cleaned with a street sweeper like the day after Mardi Gras. A lone cereal bag will get caught in the breeze of the fan sending it spinning across the floor like a tumble weed in a West Texas ghost town.
The fist day back to school the wife and I will survey the damage and debate calling in the Red Cross to help out in the recovery efforts. One dog will be missing, the others left in fear days before the event struck.
Wading through the aftermath I am sure it will happen. I will find what is left of my candy stash I thought I hid so well. I will grab the empty wrappers in each hand, will drop to my knees, shake my fist to the heavens and cry out "WHY, OH WHY"
Just like everyone else, it is that time of the season and it is busy. There is no difference from work to the Mini Farm, everything is in overdrive and running full throttle.
This blog was started for a way to keep a record of what I was doing and the successes and failures of the events when done. I never expected to have one reader much less as many as I do. As the reader base grew I felt a need to post more often. Like many of y'all do, I felt an obligation to do so on a daily bases and during this time of the year it is just too much. As you can tell this past couple of months I have dropped back to once or twice a week on my posts.
From the emails I have received I deemed it necessary to post about this. For the past two and half years doing this blog I have found that when you have something to say you don't have the time to say it and when you do have the time, there is nothing to say.
With the Mini Farm in full swing and some family issues just coming to light I need to focus on those issues more than this. You are very important to me and rank number five on my important scale with God, Family, Country and Work being the top four. I will continue to blog, but only when I can. I do hope you understand. If it is once a week or just once a month until things slow back down and the family matters I mentioned get back to normal.
Saying all that, here is a quick update. Like I said, the Mini Farm is in full operation. The wife gave a couple of tours this week to people wanting to see all the cool water and solar projects and the animals. The Mini Farm has been standing open now for the past few weeks and people have been coming and going everyday buying this or that.
Chicks are hatching once a month and I can say now I almost have too many chickens.
Feed has gone up and the profit margins have gone down. We have to sell more just to see a little return. Everyone is looking for a deal and want to jew us down, I don't blame them because I do the same thing. Last night I had a guy ask me for the friend price. I just laughed.
Raising my own slaughter pigs was not the way to go. I already have more in them than I will ever get back in food. Yes it is a lot more healthier this way but if I have to go through this kind of expense to just eat healthy I would rather go without pork.
This week I had to check myself because I was falling into a slump with doing the same old rut everyday. Work ten hours, come home and work another four or five. I am getting tired and the season just started. At the end of the day I am doing more harm than good until I finally just give up, put the tools down and go to the bath house for a hot shower.
I have seen a good dent in my project list so that is the good news, the bad news is I did most of the small ones to get them out of the way. A big project comes with big expenses and that's something I cannot do right now. I have been needing a shop for three years. I work out of a little yellow cart I pull around and set up tables and sawhorses for benches. It ain't right. A workshop would cost around three grand and all I can do is dream of it while I pull my little tool filled cart around. I have a guy that will help me build it and probably could get it all framed in a weekend but it's the material I do not have.
So the next low budget project is the solar laundry room. I have most of the supplies needed to get it done so I can build it for under one hundred and fifty dollars I think. I already have the floor set in place so that is a start.
I guess you could say my contribution to Earth Day this year is my new homemade Solar Dehydrator.
I made it a five tray because the trays are so big I figured I didn't need any more than that. If so I have some material left over to make more.
Nope, I never found the little solar panel I was looking for so I bought another one. $14 bucks at Harbor Freight for a 3 watt panel I guess is okay. It runs a small fan that pulls the heated air through the windows and up into the dehydrator box.
There are also heat absorbing metal plates inside the window triangle to help out.
This morning I filled it with Basil, Chives and Cilantro. The fan kicked on at 9:30 AM and should stop around 7:00 PM. There is no battery, just the power from the sun.
Total build cost, $35.00 for the solar panel, metal screen material and the 1X2 boards for the shelves. Everything else was junk I had laying around.
Unlike a direct solar dehydrator, this one will take a little longer to dry the herbs but will hold in more of the color and flavor that would have been lost through direct sun dehydration.
Real quick, I wanted to show a updated picture of one of the barrel Kitchen Herb Gardens I built for the wife a month or so ago. Cool hu?
I hate it when that happens, you know you have something, you know you put it up for safe keeping but you just can't figure out where.
The part I am looking for is the solar panel I have that will run my fan for the solar dehydrator. It is all I need to finish the project, but for the life of me I cannot figure out where I hid it. The wife and I have turned this house upside down and I know it is in here somewhere.
You know what will happen don't you? As soon as I give up and buy another one I will find it. It always happens that way.
Here is a shot inside the little garden area of the Mini Farm and of the finished greenhouse we recently assembled. It is smaller than the one I was going to build but the wife says it will do just fine.
If you were wondering, yes that is the garden solar bathhouse to the right.
The potatoes have grown and now all the levels have been placed on the bins. All together they are five 2X6's high. One problem we are having is the potato bugs now.
This big boy to the right is the new and up and coming rooster who will replace the one we have if he does not start doing his job a little better. Even though we continue to hatch every month, the fertile percentages are only at about fifty percent with the other rooster. He can only find that right spot half the time. This one here is a little younger but he has already started topping the hens like a pro.
A friend of mine stopped by last night and brought me some more windows. Even thought the greenhouse is done, I still have a use for windows.
The two tall ones here in the picture will be used for the next project I just started, the solar dehydrator. Another friend of mine gave me this 1940's commercial incubator a few months ago and I did not have a clue what I was going to do with it until now.
This old non working incubator will be stripped of all the hardware and the windows pictured above will be set off to the side longways in a triangle type fashion to collect the heat. A little solar fan will draw the heated air through the windows, up through the box and out the top at hopefully around 140 degrees .
If you can't picture it then just wait. It should be done by next weekend. If it don't work then I haven't lost nothing. I have everything to do this little project on hand.
The youngest girl "Wee" is a new momma. She is really excited about her new little bundles of joy.
They are baby rabbits if you don't know what they are.
Huge storms are moving in tonight and the wife is getting ready to bug out as we speak. The wind is blowing so hard I feel like I am in a ship at sea with all the house movement going on.
If you don't hear from us for a few days then we will be in the van down by the river.
(If any of you ever watched Saturday night live back in the day then you would have thought that was funny)
We have all done it or something similar,
Sitting in our comfy Lazy boy on a Sunday afternoon in our food stained t-shirt wearing our little manly camo sportsman shorts that has the never used hammer loop attached to one side, our snow white tube socks fitted snugly on our feet so they do not get cold, a bowl of greasy chips sits hands free and steady on our belly, a plate of our own remake of the worlds best buffalo wings sits on the coffee table and a frosty mug of our favorite beer to our side with way to much head, we watch football.
We have all done it or something similar,
From our Lazy Boy we hurtle insults at our teams quarterback saying we could a much better job than he could and then retell the same old tired stories to anyone who will listen of the times in in high school during our championship football game I did.......
Deep down we all know putting on those pads that will not fits us anymore, the same ones we still keep in a box in the attic for some reason, maybe it's to hold on to who we once were and show those youngsters how real men play the game, we would be praying for death after only ten minutes.
We might have all thought it, but we would never admit it to anyone so to show ourselves we are still that young high school stud we all thought we were and we still have what it takes, some of us get together with the old gang and meet at the park to play some real football only to call into work the next couple of days because we hurt, broke or pulled something. Oh, but the stories we can now tell at the water cooler.
But that's not me or you right? We can drive that car better than Jimmie, throw further than Romo and could even knock Tyson out in his prime, all from the comfort of our Lazy boys with pieces of potato chips stuck in our beards and dried wing sauce on our foreheads.
This post is not to degrade our manhood or even belittle our importance of what we do as men. It is simply to voice my opinion.
The arm chair quarterbacks do not just stop at sports, they are also in the Prepping/Survival/Homesteading world as well. The ones who sit behind their computers in the comfort of their recliners and purchased heat, criticizing what others are doing because they can and do it better. I call them the arm chair preppers. Yes we all know of the ones I am talking about.
We all do with what we got and if I can't do it then that means I don't got it.
The last thing I need is for someone who has never built, raised or grew a thing in his life, but has read all the books, websites and watched all the You tube videos on surviving, prepping, homesteading, animal husbandry plus what ever else they could find, to tell me I am wrong or that I shouldn't. All because they have a couple of months of store bought food stashed away and a bottle of water purifier, they think they are experts.
We all have done it or something similar right?
I invite you, the arm chair prepper, to put down the computer and the chip bowl, put on your pads and come to the Mini Farm for a weekend. You will get tired from just watching me all day.
To me it is cheating, to others it is being smart. I would hater for word to get out about me buying a prefab kit instead of doing it myself.
I have built everything here at the Mini Farm with my own designs and with my own two hands, except for now.
Last weekend I was at a new tool store they just opened up and they had a Greenhouse kit on sell for about a quarter of what it would cost me to build one. The wife and I stood in the store for several minutes debating one way then the other on if it would be feasible to do such a thing as to buy a kit.
We have been saving windows for a couple of years now and were going to have a scrap window greenhouse but now we have a prefab one in it's place.
Last night the wife and I along with some help from the girls finished the assembly of the kit.
The picture to the right is not one taken at the Mini Farm but from the Harbor Freight website of the greenhouse because it was to dark to take any pics when we were done.
Today the wife plans to get the mulch to fill in the bottom and then put all all her shelving units in place. I have to figure out how to run water in it so we don't have to drag a hose in and out everyday. I am thinking some upside down sprinklers with a valve on the outside. Kinda like a fire suppression system. Turn the valve and the whole thing gets watered. Not sure yet though.
Just in case you were wondering, the new rain water reuse system has been completed and is in use. Yesterday was the first time I switched everything over to 100% rain water that was collected in the 3000 gallon harvesting system.
All the electrical worked, the battery was charged from the solar panel and the pump came on with a flick of the switch. The system pressured up for the first time as I held my breath. I just knew a pipe would burst or a fitting would start leaking because usually that's what always happens. After a few seconds the lines reached the desired pressure and the pump shut off.
"Holy Crap! It's working." I called out to the wife.
"That's great honey" she said back in that voice every man knows that really means, "I am responding, but I am not listening."
"Go ahead, water something" I said excited to see the new system put to use.
"Yea, that's real nice" she said not turning around and still working in the garden with her cute little sun hat on.
"I'm going to run down to the bar for a while babe, see ya later" I said to see if that would get her attention.
"What, What's going on?" Now suddenly aware I was in the same yard.
"Oh, nothing, hey I got the water system running do you want to use it"
"Oh, wow, you bet, that's great" Now she was all smiles.
I still have to do some final clean up and add the other batteries but never the less, this is the finished product.
I was worried this little pump would not meet the demand but it does a great job.
The battery is plugged into the outlet to energize the switch over at the bath house. The extra plug will serve as an extra for when I need to plug in some low voltage lighting or anything else I can think of.
I can add several more little panels as the system grows and gets bigger.
I would like to welcome the two newest members to the Modern Day Redneck Family. Susie Swanson and Sheryl , Thank y'all for hitting the the follow button and becoming a part of MDR. Please feel free to comment wherever you want and if you need anything else you can email me.
Sheryl writes a real nice blog covering a large range of topics. If you like you can check her out.
I don't care if you live with a tribe of never before discovered people, there are certain sounds of the modern world that will make your brain click that you are in danger.
Take for instance the sound of a pump shotgun chambering a shell. That sound is so distinct that if you have never heard it before, it will still stop you in your tracks. It triggers that alarm in your brain that tells you danger, danger.
The first time I ever heard a tornado siren I was in my mid twenties, working a water leak late one night for the city I was currently employed at. A storm was rolling in and I was trying to work as fast as possible. That is when the sirens went off. Like I said, I have never heard them before and did not know what that loud high pitched sound was but I knew I was in danger. I remember panic set in because the sound was so deafening and I did not know what to do. All I wanted to do was get away from it. I remember trying to just run but then thinking I had my truck there so I ran back to it. I didn't know where to drive, I actually drove in circles not knowing where to go. The sound was so loud is completely screwed up all rational thought. It was only until the next day I knew what the sound meant.
Yesterday evening a lot of tornadoes touched down in the DFW area. Many homes and businesses were lost. I work right in the middle of all that mess. I was up on a new bridge we are building watching the storms roll in knowing the danger they had in store for us. I was fine until the tornado sirens went off. Instant panic shot through me. That sound, so loud, I was wanting to duck and cover just from it alone. I could have stayed up on that bridge the whole time taking pictures of the funnel clouds dancing all around but that noise made me take cover.
On my way to the nearest solid structure, I called the wife. The storms had already wrapped around the metroplex and was heading for my little town. She was bugging out as we talked on the phone. Being over an hour away, at least I knew she would be safe at the tornado bug out location we set up last year.
Our house is still standing this morning. I am thankful the storms split around and spared our little town. It is sad others did not fair so well.
I wanted to take a minute to welcome and give a Howdy to the two newest members of Modern Day Redneck. Randy Simpson and William Kopp, thank you for choosing to read MDR. Please feel free to join in and comment where ever you like, I will always respond.
You can also reach me by my email I have in the right hand sidebar of the blog.
Due to time restraints my blogging has slowed a little to about twice a week rather than once a day. As soon as it calms down I will back at it again on a more regular basis.
I don't know what happen, but I went from overdrive to first gear in one week.
This weekend I absolutely did nothing to write home about. It seemed like everything was in slow motion when I was trying to do it.
Saturday morning I did get the chance to do a little fishing. Of course I was out fished by my daughters like always but never the less I went. Boppy, my middle girl, caught the biggest and Wee, my youngest, tied with Boppy on how many. I came in last place with catching only one.
It's okay, at least I went. I could have sat out there all day and it didn't matter if I got a bite or not as long as I was with them.
The rest of the day I spent with the girls just being there.
Sunday, today, was a different story. I got up chomping at the bits to get something done.
I tried, but the harder I worked the less was getting done so I just slowed down and went at a nice slow pace.
After getting some odds and ends done I decided to turn my focus on the Rain Water Solar System. I mounted the solar panel on the housing box and plumbed in the "on demand pump". I also went ahead and wired in all the DC electrical stuff to go with it.
Everything runs off a switch. Flip that switch over at the bath house and the pump comes on to 45 psi and shuts off. Every time you turn the water on either in the bathhouse or the gardens the pump kicks back on.
The one thing I should have done was plumbed in two union fittings so when the pump has to be replaced it will not be such an ordeal to do it. I just got antsy and went with what I had.
I plan to add two more solar panels and two more batteries in the future.
This is just a quick set up to see if everything was wired right. The leads from the battery (Not shown here) plug into the outlet, energizing the switch to turn the pump on.
Very simple design I thought of here.
If you have not been reading, all this is for the rain water harvesting system. This will pump the water out of the two 1500 gallon tanks and into the gardens and bath house.
Oh, I almost forgot. The Verde River Citizens Alliance is using my Rain Water Harvesting System design for their Back Yard Garden Expo. I am pretty excited about that.
I got bored today and decided to also go ahead and start on the Solar Laundry Room.
I got the floor completed and now I am thinking on how exactly I am going to do this.
My question is, do I want to try and run everything off of DC solar power or run everything like the old days where it was all manual labor. I have not figured it out yet.