Thursday, December 31, 2009

Broken Record

It rained most of the night and drizzled most of the day. I attempted to install the solar cloths dryer today, but by the time I put on all the cold weather gear and the rain boots I was out of breath and said to heck with it. I am done fighting it. Who cares if rains? I will be wishing for it this summer anyway.

One good thing about living 30 miles away from the big city is, it decreases the trips to Walmart. I hate that store with a passion but with the crunch on money I can't help but support it on a bi-monthly basis. They can sell items cheaper than most mom and pop stores can buy them. I do believe Walmart is the main down fall of our society. Back in the day the customers were not always right. When they threw the little "I'm not happy" fits in home town hardware stores or the local meat market, they were told to leave and not come back. Even at gun point if need be.
The WM Super Centers has made it where a person can holler and scream about anything and get whatever they want, even get it for free if they are loud enough. That type of mentality has spilled over into our society and made us numb to the fact of the hard working American trying to do their job. In turn, it has affected the good customer service representatives in not wanting to give just that, good customer service. What a shame.

Getting off my soap box, I did have to go into town twice today to get more food that was not put on the list for the big dinner tomorrow. The mom and pop food store here in this picture is only 5 miles from the house. If I could afford it, I would give all my business to the local retail stores. That's what built America, not the Waltons.

While I was headed home from the store (the first time), you would not believe the wildlife photo opportunities I came across. They would have made the front page of National Geographic. One problem, the camera was at home. When the wife said I forgot the little smokies, I jumped at the chance to go again. That and cabin fever has set in at the house and with a wife and three girls I am out gunned. So off I went camera in hand. Of course the photo opportunities were long gone, but I still stopped for a couple of shots.

This was taken down by the creek next to the fishing hole. Now I am not to big on grammar myself, but if you are going to make a statement, you need to learn how to spell it first.

This car has been right here a very long time. It looks like a early 30's sedan but I do not know for sure what the make it. I think it's a Ford. It is a true shame this car was left to die right here. I bet over the years when this old classic was first parked, many people tried to buy it from the owner. I also bet the same answer I always hear when trying to buy a old car was given to them. "Ohhh, I couldn't. That was my daddy's last car (or first) he ever bought. No way can I sell it, I just couldn't. He would turn over in his grave."
What a shame.

Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Not My kind Of Work?

It snowed here most of the evening. It was so thick it knocked out the TV and the internet. I was expecting a very thick blanket of sparkling snow this morning and all I got was mud. The temp was 39 at 6:30. All the snow had melted overnight and left the already wet ground even wetter. I sure can't do anything outside today. The wife took the kids and left for Walmart this morning to do the shopping for our New Years Day Dinner. That left me home all by myself with nothing to do except clean and do laundry. That is not my kind of work.

I go back to the job on Monday. I sure was hoping for good weather during my vacation so I could have got a little more stuff done. Last year we spent Christmas in Florida. We spent a week touring the beaches and then a few days at Disney World. We never visited Florida before and the only beach we ever saw was in Galveston. All the beaches we went to, Gulf Shores Alabama, I thought, was the best one we visited. Going in December was the best part. The beaches are out of season and nobody was around. The temp was 65 to 70 and the we owned the beach. I loved the white sand and the peacefulness of it all. If I ever hit it rich, I will own a house on stilts down there.

You could say we poor boyed the trip. While we were driving down the coast line the kids were getting hungry. My wife thought it would be "so neat" to have a picnic by the water. So here we go tracing through the sand. We lay out a blanket and started making sandwiches. The kids were running and playing, splashing and laughing. I can say it was really fun. While we were eating, my youngest saw a little white bird really close by and thought it looked hungry. So with kindness in her heart, she threw it a peace of her sandwich. Let me just say this, I wished all my years of dove hunting could have been like this. Before the bread hit the ground, thousands of seagulls were on us and them little things are not friendly. They were dive bombing us, crapping on us and chased us to the car. I guess we made some friends that day because as we were backing out, the people left on the beach were waving at us with closed fists and with middle fingers.

Just to let you know, Disney World is not off season on New Years Eve. The park was at full capacity by 10:00 A.M. They even shut the gates. Never again.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More Rain

Even tho it was 29 degrees, I was outside enjoying the peace and quiet when I heard what sounded like a ocean wave come across the sky. Millions of black birds. I thought is was pretty cool. I hope they don't stay to long.

When we first moved to this place in November, I told my wife no outside dogs until we get the fences up. I did not want our dogs to run the neighborhood and kill other people's chickens or goats. Worst yet, I did not want my dogs getting shot, she agreed. The very same day these two dogs showed up on the back porch. I begged my kids not to feed them or they will never go away. Now a month later, the big one is named Fredo and the small one is named Homo. They have found a home and their is nothing I can do about it. They even sleep on my outdoor furniture.

Another storm is headed this way and they say this one will have more snow and ice mixed with it. The only work I was able to do today was build the little walkway from the back porch to the patio. Then I spent the rest of the morning preparing for the storm. More wood in the house, more kindling made. I stepped back and looked at my wood supply and noticed it was running dangerously low. With all the moving, rain and holidays, I have not been able to keep my stock up. I hope I have enough to last through this cold spell until I can make a run back to the old farm place. I would hate to turn the electric heater on. I guess if wood heat was all I had like the old days, I would have probably kept a better eye on it.

I can almost bet there will be no work tomorrow. I need to run to town and get the stuff for New Years Dinner anyway.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Back to Work, Kinda

Today was a sloppy, muddy nasty day. This black dirt is the worst to work in with just a sprinkle of rain much less four inches of melted snow on top of it. You walk ten feet and your six inches taller.

I got tired of looking out the window so I decided to do something about it. I was able to install the rest of the patio bricks and situate the outdoor furniture on the brand new patio. Tomorrow I plan on paving the path from the porch to the patio to keep our feet from getting so muddy.
The iron furniture in the picture was the first brand new furniture my wife and ever bought. All the couches and chairs we have gone through over the years were all from garage sells or given to us. We were at Sam's one day and decided a set of outdoor furniture was the best thing for our house, and it was. The kids couldn't break metal and when the cushions would get dirty or stained all we would do was wash them with the garden hose and let them dry. If you had people over and it was nice outside, just carry the set to the front yard. If you have small kids, outdoor furniture for the house is the way to go.
I plan on covering the patio for shade this summer.

Since I have been playing and not able to work for the last couple of days, I had to burn today. I do not have a burn pit yet (number ten on the list) and for the past month been using the little patio fire thing. I was able to deconstruct my composting barrel and use it this time. It made all the difference. I could burn a whole box instead of cutting it up in little pieces. The barrel worked great and the door on the side made a great air baffle. Cold night, cold beer and a warm fire. Now that's living.

High Tech Redneck

With all the snow and Christmas stuff, I haven't been able to get out and do much work so we went places and did things to keep from getting cabin fever.
The day after Christmas we had to go to our good friends family Christmas get together in Durant Oklahoma. I dreaded going because it was a family thing and we were not family. It was there, that I had an epiphany. I realized the less redneck you are, the less friendly you are.
Earlier this month we went to a Christmas party some of our upper class friends were having and we were shunned and made fun of, but It was a classy party. The food looked as if it was out of a magazine. We ate off real plates and drank out of real cups. I never felt more out of place and uncomfortable.
In Oklahoma, this was a family Christmas get together mind you and again, we were not family. The difference was, we were accepted as if we were blood. The food was served in tin baking pans right out of oven. We ate off of paper and drank out of plastic. We were even made to be included in the Chinese gift swap. I don't know where your from, but the way I was raised, that means I'm family.
We went with the expectations of being outcasts and shunned again, but left with full stomachs, arms full of gifts and a warm heart.

While the weather is bad and no work can be done, we fall back on doing some good family fun, it is called Geocaching. You can read all about it at
If you haven't heard of it, an easy explanation of it is using million dollar satellites to find Tupperware in the woods. They are everywhere and to date we have found 95 of them. I placed my first cache close to where I live near the creek just the other day. I described it as "Popular spot for Duck hunters". The funny thing is, it is also a popular party spot at night. Keep in mind this is way out in the country and can't be seen from the road. Of course the first people to find it, found it at night and yes they are city people and yes, a redneck party was in full swing. I think they were scared. They Logged their find with "I did not think redneck duck hunters hunted at night". Now that's funny

While in Oklahoma Saturday, we decided to take the hand held GPS and hunt for Caches. We also thought while in the hunting mind set, we would spend all day Sunday just having fun.

The cool things about Geochaching is, it takes you places around your hometown you might have never knew was there. It gets you out of the house and gets you moving. The kids love the treasure hunting and I love the fact I'm doing something fun and being with them.

Old Alton Bridge, Denton County Texas

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Inside Projects

It is colder than a well digger's butt out there! The rain turned into snow which in turned, turned into a blizzard. I can't believe we will be having a white Christmas in Texas. I was just a kid when I saw it last.

Home Made Fire Starters
The bad weather gave me the time to do a inside project I have been needing to do. Home made fire starter logs.
In the past, once, I bought and used the ones they sell at the stores and they do work really good. Broke down, they cost about fifty cents a piece. Most people double them up or do not know you need to break them apart making each fire you start cost around one to two dollars. The exceptions are the people who collect kindling and save news papers to start fires the old fashioned way. I have been guilty of this for many years due to the fact I never had the money to waste on buying fire starter logs. Now I make my own.

These are very simple to make. I take any type of cardboard boxes from food, soda cans and shipping. I cut them into strips three to four inches wide and six to eight inches long. I didn't do it on the ones pictured, but I usually place a string along the bottom sticking past the edges about two inches. This is the string I light.
Then as tightly as I can, I roll the cardboard strips up and tie another piece of string around them to hold it together and also to be used for something to hold on to when I dip it in the wax. I then melt some wax in a double boiler. This can be wax bought by the pound or old candles you have laying around. If you choose to buy the wax, then the estimated cost of each starter log is around twenty to thirty cents each.
After the wax is melted, you can either add some smell good stuff or just leave it plain. Dip each log into the wax holding the string in the middle and using a fork to submerge the log all the way in. Pull it out and let it drip dry. If you are making a lot of these, then you would want to make some kind of rack you can hang them on to let dry. After about five minutes, they are ready to use. Place them under kindling and light the end.
There you have it. A twenty cent fire started log you can take anywhere and use anytime. Made in America by an American.

Ok, Lets Work

I was all ready for a wet and nasty morning when I awoke. Instead, I was greeted with sunshine. Change of plans. I had some indoor chores I was going to work on but not now. This time of year you have to take advantage of the good weather when you can get it. I made a quick hearty bacon, eggs and biscuits breakfast for the family and headed out.

First things first. The burnables needed to get burned. My can is running over with all the paper and cardboard from the everyday normal house trash. I don't know if its "green" to burn your trash. The way I see it, I am doing my part in lowering the amount of trash going into our landfills. They say paper decomposes so it is ok to throw it away. My question is, how can it decompose inside a plastic bag? We also recycle all the cans, metal, plastic and so on. We are a family of five and I am proud to say, when we take the trash out to the road once a week we only take one can.

My list of projects is up to number forty seven. Being in this new house and on raw land, some new ideas come up after other ones get completed. It is like taking one step forward and two steps back. My next project and most important one is the chicken pen. I have the little barn all staked out and the string lines ran for the fence. All I need is the money to buy the materials.

A good friend of mine had me come over and get some wood he was not going to use. He gave me fifteen 4x4's for the fence and twenty landscape timbers for the raised bed gardens I so desperately need to get in for onions in January. So today is fence building day.

As luck would have it, Just as soon as I get set up for fencing, my dad calls me. He bought me a load of sand. He wanted me to come over and pay him for the load and start hauling it over to my house ASAP for my patio. I told him the patio project is number forty three on the list and is not a priority at this moment and why is it at his house anyway? Come to find out, he needed a couple of bucket fulls for his garden and the rest was mine and he wanted it out of his way. I told him thanks for the heads up and great planning, but I just did not have the time to mess with it and was not going to do it today.

Seven loads later, hand shoveled out of the back of the truck, I finally got the sand home and in place. It is funny being forty years old when it comes to my parents, it feels like I'm twelve.

All in all, dad was right. The rain did come in and I am glad I got what I could get done, done. I still have a lot of brick to lay and the shade top to build, but hey, I got a good start. Thanks dad.

I couldn't help but to take a couple of redneck pictures today.

This is a gray water line on blocks running from a house. The funny part is, they painted it green so it blends in.

While burning this morning, one of the girls decided to do some target practicing. She's so cute.

A buddy of mine dropped by to show me his new stress relief squeeze balls.
They work

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Then What Am I?

I got off work early today and that is a good thing. I needed to get home and get everything ready for the storms and cold weather rolling in tomorrow. I ran out of kindling for the fire place so I had to make some by splitting wood over and over and over again. I really miss the old farm when it comes to things like this. It was so easy to walk out the back door and be surrounded with enough wood to last a lifetime. Now the only tree in my yard is a old mesquite. I have to really watch it now and that is why I need to get my solar oven built.

I was talking with a guy I work with today about my new adventure with this blog.
Hold on, let me back up. One of the reasons I started this blog is because I have had so many people tell me I need to write a book about my life as a redneck. I would tell them stories and situations I have been in and when they finally stop laughing and wipe the tears from their eyes, that's when they tell me to put it on paper. I have thought about writing for some time now, but the one thing that always comes up is, I'm not done living yet. I figure this blog is a way to tell my stories and at the same time, write down the new adventures that come up.

So anyway, I mentioned the Modern Day Redneck blog to this guy at work right after I told him one of my stories and him telling me I needed to write a book. He looked at me kinda funny with his head cocked to one side and said, "But your not a redneck". I was stunned. This was one of the first times in my life I did not have anything to say. Finally, after some time and some very deep thought I asked, "Then what do you think am I"

I think I'll invite him over this spring during the chicken harvest and then we can fire up the pit, pop open a cold one and have us a good old chicken fry.
Not a redneck, now that's funny, whats he thinking?

Monday, December 21, 2009

First of Many

The new compost bin is the first of many projects I have on the list. I found this simple design off the web years ago and seen many people use it. All it takes is seven wood pallets and some screws. I added some scrap boards at the bottom so the compost will not fall through when I mix it. I have seen other designs using tin or plastic on the bottom and even putting on a removable front to keep the dogs out.
If you do not know, here's how it works:
The first bin is where you put the fresh scraps from the kitchen, chicken coop or where ever. Keep it mixed once a week or so to keep it aerated. You might need to sprinkle it with a little water to keep the moisture inside. After a while when the pile gets big enough, shovel it into the second bin to finish it off. Then you can start a new fresh pile in the first bin. When the second bin has composted all its going to, then scoop it into the third bin. This should be close to your final product. By now it will probably be time to move your new scrap pile from the first bin to the now empty second bin. Do you see the cycle?
I leave it in the third bin until most of the heat is gone or until the pile gets to high an spills over. I then spread it on the flower beds or the gardens and till it in.
If you are worried about the smell coming from the first bin, all you have to do is add fresh green grass or leaves and that should bring it down.
I have tried those barrel composts with little success. It seamed I could never get the dirt just right. I don't feel so bad due to everyone I know who uses them are not real happy either.
7 Pallets - $3.o0 each from the feed store.
Screws- Maybe $1.00
Scrap wood - $0.00
Total cost of a three bin compost unit = $22.00
I plan on getting the worm beds up and going this spring. The worm dirt is by far the best dirt in the world. If you never used worm compost on your plants, your missing out.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Starting Over

Visualize this. The game is baseball. The batter is warmed up and ready. He steps into the batter box, first the left foot and then the right, grinding the toe of his shoe into the dirt to get the right grip. The pitcher is waiting, leaned slightly forward one hand tightly gripping the ball behind his back and staring straight ahead with extreme focus. The batter takes a couple of practice swings to find his grove then sets back ready for the pitch. He has studied this pitcher for many years and knows without a doubt, this pitch is going to be a fast ball. Here's the wind up, swing and a miss. It was a curve ball. This is the best way to describe what life just did to me a couple of months ago.

At age eighteen, I promised my new wife a life of ease. Fifteen years later she finally called my bluff. We started out in a two room shack I built pay check by pay check on the family farm. This place was temporary, just for a year. I will describe the farm and many adventures in later posts. Unfortunately, I do not have any photos. Our temporary old farm house turned into fifteen years. I added on to it at least four times. The house covered the whole hill side when we were done. It was so loose you could have thrown a full grown mountain lion through the walls and never hit a stud.

We were so broke we could not afford propane or electricity. We cooked outside in the pits for most of the year and when it was to cold or the rain kept us from starting a fire, we would cook off the pot belly stove in the living room. For power, we tapped into my dad's shop over 1000 feet away. All we could run was the small ice box (refrigerator) and a couple of lights. Anything else would pop a breaker and I would have to make the long hike down the hill the turn it back on. So we ran oil lamps at night. When the kids started getting older and asking questions, we would just say we are play camping. I ran a water line from the nearest barn after figuring out hauling water was really not my thing. The girls refused to use the out house after a small insident with my mother and a raccoon. I swear, I did't think anyone could run that fast with their pants around their ankles. We still laugh about it today. So for the sewer, I dug a hole and put some concrete culverts as my tanks and ran the lateral line on top of the ground back in the woods. Out of sight, out of mind. I never did tell my wife where all those tomatoes came from.

Even with all the fun, all I could think about was getting off the farm. I wanted to buy a real home giving my family something better and to be proud of. It broke my heart to see my little girl cry when one of her friend's mom would not let her daughter get out of the car for fear of the rednecks. I was embarrassed. We as a family were embarrassed. This happened all the time. Every where we went, we were looked down upon, outcasts. I tried my best to keep up with the Jones. My wife kept our house clean. The front yard looked good. The house was painted. What else could I do to gain the favor of those people. I even started collage to learn how to talk and act like them. After awhile we started becoming people we weren't.We were becoming them. I just wanted to fit in. So at age thirty five, I moved for my very first time. We bought a brick home in town and moved off the farm. The house in the picture is the house we bought and we were going to retire there.

Now the important thing here is to know this was the first time I ever had neighbors. The very first weekend in the new house we threw a house warming party. All my redneck family and friends came up and we had a great time just like on the farm. You can tell from the picture the parking is limited to about six cars. Before long, we had our front yard full of cars and then both neighbors yards full of cars. I did not really see a problem in this due to the fact I had invited them over for BBQ and beer. They did not see it my way. Needless to say made a great first impression. I told them I would fix all the ruts in the yards and pick up all the beer cans. We never did find the missing dog though.

It only took about three months before the newness of the house wore off and I started thinking this might be a bad deal. Now all the sudden, I had a 1500 a month house payment with all the bills to go with it. The good news was I had a good paying job and worked seventy hours a week. Thirty hours a week of overtime made for easy living. I told my wife one day while sitting on the back patio, I think we have arrived. Little did I know.
In later posts, I will tell some of the stories that happend while we were there.
Like I said, little did I know just four years later my overtime would be cut off and my wife would not be able to work. Life lesson, never budget for overtime. We could not keep the house. The choice at work was for me to go to another job location with no overtime or go home. I did the budget and made the decision. We needed to get out before the sheriff threw us out.

We found this little place out in the country and moved in over Thanksgiving break. Yes it is a mobile home. It has two acres and a 30 x 50 barn on it. It's by far not the farm, but I can make it work. I will be posting my new adventures as I go along. So far all I have done is build the dog pen and put up one of those little metal buildings for a tool shed near the house. I could have build a heck of a barn with the time it took me to put that stupid little thing together. Never again!
Looking back now, life on the farm was great. It is hard to think I wanted to get out so bad. I was free. I was off the grid. It was paid for. I can look back and see now in the past four years I have been trying to recreate my life on the farm. Even while I was in the city. I had a rain water harvesting system, chickens, green house, gardens, cooking pit. I heated the house with the fire place and not Central heat most of the winters because you can't back up to a vent blowing hot air out of the ceiling. I ran oil lamps some of the times because I love the light it gives off. Now, I can have it all back. It will take a while to get everything the way I want it, but the key thing is, who cares what those city folks think. I am home and I am a redneck.

Getting Started

I took the wife and kids to a Christmas party last night a good friend of mine was having. The girls really did not want to go and the wife really does not like meeting new people. I asked her why and she said "Because I hate being judged". I told her these people are not like that. They are good church going people and everything will be fine. We were met at the door with smiles, welcoming hugs and pats on the back with the normal "How's it going" and the "so good to see you" comments. With the weather and my work schedule, we have been stuck at home for the past month. This was a outing our family needed.

We all had our Sunday best cloths on, smelled good, felt good and I even thought I looked good. We walked in our friend's very nice city home with two Chess pies my wife had made earlier and was greeted with "Hey look, the rednecks are here". My first thought was, "And I shaved for this?" So with the glare from my wife burning a hole through me, I smiled and walked in.

We are a family of five. I am the only male in the house. I wanted boys but God thought it would be funny and gave me all girls. I grew up on a farm in North Texas and married young to my life long sweetheart. Like all newly weds, I promised her the moon and stars. We built a little temporary 400 square foot shack back in the woods on my family's farm and started making our plans for a life of travel and fun.
This blog will share the insight on the memories and adventures of the past, plus give an up to date look on me and my family's life.
Thank you for stopping by.