Friday, April 30, 2010


Two times this week a couple friends came to me and voiced their concerned about me putting to much pressure on myself by needing to get the mini farm completed. They both said they feel I am going to give myself a heart attack with my "Got to get it done now" attitude. So if you don't mind I need to vent for just a sec and then I will get on with the weekend plans.
One friend said I am to high strung and need to relax and watch more sun sets. I said the only pressure I fell is when I look out the door and the daylight is gone and I know that I did not get what needs to be done, done. The other friend said I need to stop and smell the roses every once and while. My response to that was, You may go to your neighbors and smell their roses but I will build my own flower bed, work my own soil, plant my own flowers and then, I will smell my own damn roses.
This is my dream and I am living it. Work gets in the way of that dream from time to time, but it is a must. I am right at forty years old and sense I made it that far, I think I have learned what I like, what I can and can't do, when I need rest and when I need to sit back, watch the sun set and smell the roses, that I have grown myself.

The weekend plans have changed just a little. I made the trip to the box lumber store after work today and got a pickup load of 4x4s, 2x4s, fence pickets, and wire. The checkout lady even gave me 6 bags of concrete (holes in the bags, could not sell) just for making her laugh, now that's customer service.
Tomorrow I need to run down to the farm and evaluate this little building my brother gave me. I plan on taking some of it apart and seeing what it will take to get it to the house. Then another trip to the box lumber store for more concrete and then the farm store for some antibiotics for the chickens. The evening will be spent relaxing with a cook out and some good friends.
Sunday I am going to get the fence done for the other chicken yard so they will be happy and make more eggs. I just hope that is not to much pressure on me.

It was to dark to take any pictures tonight but I promise many tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

To Much To Do

This weekend is already filled up without a minute to spare.
Even tho it is going to rain Friday and Saturday, I still have to make plans as if it wont.
Like I mentioned before, my brother gave me a play house he built for his kids. It is a 8x8 building with a wrap around front porch with a old timey store front. It will fit in good here. The plans are to use it for all the power and hand tools used on a daily basis. It will also house the soon to be cricket farm. The little metal shed I put together a few months ago has already been moved to its new location and will house all the yard stuff like the weed eaters and mowers. The plan is to take the building apart in sections, load it on the trailer and reassemble it here. We will see if it's that easy.

Other plans include drilling and setting the posts for the new chicken yard on Saturday, then on Sunday finishing the fence by placing the wire and the rails.

If it rains, then plan B. Take a road trip to scout out a good camp site for the August camping trip.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Every night at supper we try and have a salad with our meal. One of the things I love to put on my salad is Alfalfa Sprouts. The grocery stores charge $5 for a small box of the tasty little things and that is the reason why I have not had any in a long time.

I decided to heck with them and just grow my own. Here's how to do it.

Buy a pound of Alfalfa seeds at a health food store for $15 dollars. Then soak 2 tablespoons of seeds in a qt mason jar half full of water for about eight hours. Then cover it with cheese cloth and rinsed the seeds a couple of times. Drain as much water as you can out of the jar leaving the cheese cloth on, then lay it on its side and roll it. The seeds will stick to the side of the jar. Try not to let the seeds ball up. Then place the jar away from the sunlight in a cool place. You should see them start to sprout in a day or so. You will need to rinse the seeds/sprouts twice a day to keep them moist and to keep any fungus from growing. When the jar gets full, just take the sprouts out, rinse well, let dry, then place them in a container in the icebox. They should last for a couple of weeks. In that time a new batch will be ready.
The pic is of sprouts only 3 days old.

The yield of one pound of seeds = 80 +/- tablespoons
Total cost of sprouts if bought from a store = $200.00
Total cost of home grown = $15.00

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Weekend Review

It almost feels like I am just a weekend warrior. Well, in a way I guess I am. I suppose if anyone trying to do what I am doing either has to be independently wealthy and do what they want all the time or they have to work for a living and do their passion on the weekends.
While at work I often find myself thinking that this job is keeping me from being at home doing what I really love. But then I think if I was at home I wouldn't have the money to do anything anyway. Eventually, one day, I will decide I have had enough and just stay home.

Even with a one day weekend we all pitched in and made some headway and got a lot of things done.
I laid out for the next phase of the fencing that was going to be the mini goat yard but has now changed into the egg producing chicken yard for the time being. I am starting to get over crowded in the other pen and need to expand. With this change of plans, it will also include more doors on the open goat barn area to house the chickens at night. I have come to the idea that I built the mini barn to mini. My dad told me it didn't matter if that barn was a 50x50, I would have it full with crap in no time.
The kids all pitched in and got the fence stained and weather treated. Now it matches the outhouse and the dog pen.

Dad brought over the skid loader with the backhoe attachment and dug the sprinkler line for me. We got the heads moved further out so now I can cross that off the list and stop complaining about it. The oldest girl had her boyfriend over to help them yesterday and being from the city, he has never done anything but sit in the house. He told my daughter that he had so much fun being outside and working over here, because his family never does anything. I still don't like him but he is growing on me.
I was talking with a neighbor the other day because he was looking for his known chicken killing cat that suddenly went missing ( I wonder where it went). He was being a smart ass and saying how nice it must be to have all this equipment to use. Well, it is nice and it is a blessing. If it was not for my dads help and the equipment he brings over then doing all this would not near as much fun.

With the wife's help I also was able to finish framing in the rabbit room. The girls jumped in before church and helped with putting on the tin. I placed the rabbits is a temporary hutch I got from a neighbor last week so I could get them out of quail pins and out of the mini chicken room so I can start work on it. All I need now is the fence planks for the two sides and then we can paint the barn. This 6'x12' rabbit room was built mainly out of scavenged material. It is behind the mini barn so it did not have to be as pretty. Total cost so far, $25.00

On one of our trips down to the farm we were able to talk my brother into giving us a nice set of lockers he had stored out in the barn. After moving the rabbits out to their temp housing unit the wife and I took the lockers and turned them sideways, mounting them on the wall. This will be the cages for the mini chickens. Instant mini coop. The mini chickens will spend the day out of the lockers on the ground and kicking it with the rabbits, then be placed in the lockers at night for protection. Total cost $0.00

Oh, one other thing. Just when you think honesty is a thing of the past and you have lost all faith in humanity, A neighbor a few houses down stopped and talked to me one day last week. He told me when the last people who lived here moved out, a guy stole the gate from the front fence. He said it did not seem right and bought the gate from him to give back to the next people who buys this place. So that's what he did. He wouldn't let me give him any money for it and he did not want any favors in return.
I could look at it as his conscious got the better of him and he thought he shouldn't have stole it in the first place, but then I like his story better.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Weekend Plans

I am trying to figure out how I am going to get three days of work stuffed into just one day.
I have to do the job thing tomorrow for a while but should be able to get off around 4 of 5.
The plan is to get the trench dug and the pipe plumbed in for the septic sprinklers to be move away from the house tomorrow evening. Then if there is enough daylight left, then work on the rabbit pin.
Sunday will be full of finishing that stupid rabbit pin and a few other much needed things.

The wife has really took up some slack this week for me and got the new tire for the camper, picked up the free rabbit hutch and the 12 new Cornish rocks from the neighbor. That's three less things that had to be done.
The kids also seen I was stretched for time this weekend and decided to mow the yard. That gained me about three extra hours. That's what I call family team work.

I have some more news but I want to wait till I take some pics of it before I tell you about it, so check back tomorrow for the story.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

They are in....

All the eggs are in. 36 Serama (Mini Chicken) eggs and 36 Coturnix Qual eggs. In 17 days the quail eggs should be hatching and in 21 to 28 days the Serama.

The two incubators are sitting on my coffee table in the front room. The wife tells me sense we do not have a brooder room set up yet, the chicks will be going into the master bath tub till they can be put outside. In a box of course.

If that ain't redneck, then what is?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Being right at 40 now, I have learned there are things in life you just can not control. Theses particular things make you scratch your head and ask yourself why, but you never are able to come up with a good answer. Things like Death, Taxes, Who you daughter dates when she is eighteen, The Weather, The mood of the wife and most of all, The time of the month when all three girls turn evil.
I have found a new one to add to that list, Catching a Coon. It seems that the harder you try, the harder it is to catch one. I have devoted countless hours and enough cans of tuna to feed a small village this week just to see the masked varmint looking at me through the bars of one of the traps I have set. Instead, every morning I find the traps sprung and empty.
Maybe tonight I wont try so hard.

Oh! I almost forgot, I wanted to give a shout out to a new reader who just started this last weekend and to answer her question, Yes it was a real working outhouse.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nothing Much

It is still a muddy mess outside and the bad part is, for the past two days I have been getting home at 6:00. With two hours of daylight left and not able to do anything is making me antsy.

I tried trapping again last night but came up empty handed. We even added a large animal trap for extra measure. The good news is, with putting the chickens up at 7:30 or so we have not had any more losses.

A neighbor came by last night and offered to give me a large rabbit hutch and 12 Cornish Rock chickens for my ever growing collection of yard birds. I really do not need them or do I have the room for them but the price of free is right up my alley. I plan to pick them and the rabbit hutch up this weekend if it is dry enough.

I was trying for a farm of all heritage animals but it seems that plan is fading fast. You can find the list of animals on the ALBC (American Livestock Breeds Conservancy Conservation) web site at
Look at the priority list of each animal and see if you find a breed in the critical list you like and help them out.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cutting Loses

This week has been about loses. We lost the buck rabbit due to cage malfunction (he jumped and a cat caught him), we lost two laying hens due to varmints out smarting us and we lost a weekend of work due to the rain.

The coon or cat, what ever it is, comes right at dusk before we close the door to the coop and grabs a chicken and feasts on it right in the pin. Tonight I am using a bait chicken in a wire cage and setting up with a small cal rifle right inside the door of the house. What could go wrong? On top of that I have reset the trap next to the coop door baited with tuna in hope of a catch just in case I fall asleep.

With the loss of the egg producing hens, the wife and I scrambled all day to replace them. We started at the Third Weekend Trades Day (Flee Market) and even with the rain found one vendor selling chickens. He wanted $20.00 a piece for them hens and I told the guy, "I'll let them city folks buy em at that price cause I ain't".
Then we took the drive to Durant, OK. There we found what we were looking for. 5 Rhode Island Reds and 2 Barred Rocks already laying and at a good price. Also the wife committed to buying a Mini Donkey and I had to be the bad guy and say no.

It rained all day so all I was able to do was splash around in the water a little. The good thing is I was able to get caught up on some paper work in the house.

Rain Day

It rained almost all day today so little work was able to be done.

I did manage to go to town and get everything I needed for the completion of the rabbit area and to move the septic sprinklers.

The Sac was open today so I was able to build the last door for the mini barn and oh yea, I installed the receiver hitch on the pickup.

I does not look like I am going to get much done tomorrow either. It is still raining.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Long Week

My real job just about took me out this week, 75 hours is way to many. At least I have the weekend off.

The wife did not take kindly to her rabbit being killed the other night so she set a trap the next night and sure enough caught the cat that killed her rabbit. Good for her!

We are planning a camping trip at the end of June and if I do not get started now with all the prep work, I will be scrambling on the last day. So I had to buy a receiver hitch for my truck this week so I could pull the camper. The Titan 4x4 sits so high that the trailer drags the ground when hooked up. I plan to install it tomorrow but first, I have to run into town for some supplies.

This weekend plans, if the rain holds off are.
  • Finish the rabbit pen behind the mini barn.
  • Build the last door on the mini barn to keep out varmints. I know it's a little late now.
  • Install receiver hitch on truck.
  • Move septic sprinklers far away from the house.
Didn't get home till late so no pics till tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


As soon as I pushed the "Publish Post" button on yesterdays entry, my youngest daughter came running in the house saying Bat Man was missing. Bat Man is our new flemish giant buck rabbit the wife got about a week or so ago. Slipping on some shoes and grabbing the flash light I was on the search. The good news is, we found him. The bad news is, so did a dog. It seams he found a hole in the quail pin, made it bigger and jumped for freedom. Now we are on the search for another buck.
So there you go, that's karma. Live and learn.
Needless to say, I am taking the time and working on a better rabbit housing system.

The wife ran and picked up 10 more hens today. They are 20 week old Rhode Island Reds and they should be laying any day now. My egg guy wanted more eggs than I can produce and I really didn't want to buy and feed any more hens so he bought the chickens and gave them to me. All I have to do is make sure he gets the eggs.
I thought is was a good deal.
He has a demand of 20 dozen a week, that is 240 eggs. The way I figure it is, the average hen will lay about 6 eggs a week. So to meet the demand I need 40 hens. With today's added chickens I currently I have 20 hens laying and can produce around 10 to 11 dozen eggs a week.
That is really all the room I have for chickens and don't want any more.
I wonder where he plans on getting the other 10 dozen.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mid Week

OK, funny story.
I have some neighbors right to the South of me. They moved in, I guess about three months ago. Last month while my Chicken Taj mahal was being built, they decided they also wanted to built a chicken coop. So in one weekend they had a nice little coop and bought a few chickens to house in it.
Over the past weeks I have noticed their chicken count getting fewer and fewer every day. I thought maybe they couldn't wait till they were big and already starting to eat them. But what has been happening is, some cats have been getting into the coop and killing the chickens at night.
I figured it out when I found a bunch of feathers down in my barn. So I put two and two together and that is why I got rid of the two barn cats I had last weekend. No blood on my hands, right?
Just so happens, the neighbors are fed up with all the death and loss of most of their chickens and just gave up and gave me what they had left, 5 chickens, 2 waters, 2 feeders and 50 lbs of feed.
In a round about way I kinda feel like it's my fault, but then I think what the hell, it took me almost three months to build protection for my chickens. Them City folks should have took a little more time and made their coop varmint proof. Am I right?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Finally Made It

After a month of trying, we finally made it back to the farm to get the outhouse and some other junk.
The outhouse building is a 5'x5' and about eight feet tall. It could have been a two holer but I decided against it. I cleaned it out and hung all the garden tools on the walls. I left the toilet seat in it just as a reminder of a time once past. Putting all the garden tools in it sure made room in the little metal shed for more junk.
The thing sitting next to the outhouse is a redneck china hutch. The wife was saying one day years ago she wanted a china hutch just like those rich folks have in their houses. So I went out to the wood pile and found some old fence pickets and made her one. She saw it sitting out behind our old house today and made me load it up and bring it here so she could put all her garden pots on. Well, at least it's getting used now, that thing took me two days to build.

The other items of junk that filled the truck and trailer were some school lockers (for the wife's fan tailed pigeons), a old water heater (for my solar shower), some 10' tin (for the rabbit pen), a 55 gallon fish tank (for the crickets), and some lumber (for whatever).
My dad also found one of his old hammer mills way back in the woods he forgotten about so we loaded it up too. I see pain and despair in the near future with grinding and mixing our own feed again. Good times!

Before we could even get to anything, my buddy that is renting my old house had to get some of his junk out of the way and what better way to do it than redneck style.

The kids even got into the action by tearing down an old goat barn I built years ago so we could get the tin off of it to use for the rabbit pen.

Another activity today was getting the peppers and tomatoes planted. I don't think we have to worry about another freeze for a few months.

Yesterday's Pictures:

The broomboo shade. These 9 week old rabbits are now as large as regular rabbits.

Looking Good

I spent most of the day doing just yard work.
I was able to clean and organize the yard and some of the big barn. I also had the chance to get the mowing done again this week and my dad brought over the tractor and did some much needed leveling and spreading of the sand.
The oldest girl finished up the broomboo chicken shade and the youngest spent most of the time making excuses to why she couldn't help.
I had a buddy of mine from work stop by and visit today and he left with the two barn cats I adopted against my will a couple of weeks ago. Two down, two to go.

Still planning on the run to the farm tomorrow. Leaving at 7:30AM. I hope to get back by 1:00 or so to finish up a few things before another long week at work.

Will post many pics tomorrow because it's 1:00AM and I need to sleep.

Friday, April 9, 2010


They have arrived. I am a worm farmer now.

This weekend will be full of the little things that have been put off for the last few weeks do to the rain like cleaning, planting, organizing and a little auto maintenance.

Also, third time is a charm on making the run to the farm for the out house on Sunday. While I am there I might as well load up the truck with another pile of junk.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I have not had the chance to post yet this week do to the heavy work load at my hourly job, but progress has been being made.
After just one week of the chickens being home, the are at least paying for their own food. A guy at work heard I had chickens and wanted to buy as many eggs as I could bring him every week. What he does with them I don't care. My chickens can only produce about seven dozen a week but adding my dad's in with them brings the total to around sixteen dozen. I really did not want to get into the egg selling business, but if it is that easy then what's it going to hurt. If the hobby is going to pay for it's self then that makes it even more fun.

The worms arrive tomorrow so this evening I spent some time getting the beds ready. I added three trash bags of damp shredded news paper then covered it with about four inches of good composted dirt. The worms will serve two purposes. The worm dirt will be used for potted and starter plants and the worms themselves will be harvested and fed to the chickens and eventually the fish. In a round about way, the worms will be paying for themselves through the eggs, chickens and the produce. If I find someone wanting to buy worms, then that will be an extra bonus.
I also found out this week that rabbit manure is one of the best things to feed worms after it has cooked down a bit. So in turn, the rabbits will pay for themselves with the harvesting of the manure for the garden veggies and now to the worms which in turn goes to the chickens and the fish.
Next, crickets. A guy at work raises crickets and has explained to me the easy and low cost process of raising them and he says his chickens love the extra food source. He also explained how his chicken feed bill has dropped to almost nothing with the added treats.
Then he tried to explain his lady bug business he is doing and that lost me. Crickets are a stretch for me as it is, so I cannot see myself raising lady bugs. But he did say during harvest season he makes about $500 to $600 extra a month. I did raise an eyebrow to that one.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter, Redneck Style

I was up at 5:00 AM ready to make the run to the farm. The wife on the other hand said not no, but hell no and made me wait till 7:30 to go. So I spent the pre-daylight morning doing the weekly burning that has not been done in three weeks.
While at the old farm I picked up the rest of the 2x4's that my brother had scored for me and made a quick run through the barns looking for anything I might need.
I found a old metal shop fan I had plans for when I raised bobwhite quail long ago. It should make a great wind turbine in the future. I also found a bunch of little odds and ends that can be used somewhere and a small garden dump trailer that can be pulled behind the mower. Every time I go down there I come back with a truck load of junk. I am glad I have a place to put it all now.

Youth - VS - Wisdom

The family then spent most of the remainder of the day over at our good friend's house (D&R) for a little Easter BBQ. As always, they really out did themselves on the food and the hospitality.
Keep in mind, a redneck Easter is a little different than a normal persons gathering. As you can see, there were guns and beer involved. The kids are to young to drink so they had the guns.

Oh calm down, before you call CPS they are only BB guns and I am drinking light beer.

The day off ended with me finally getting a chance to mow my yard for the first time, or should I say harvest my yard. Holy crap I have a lot of holes to fill!

Wisdom Won

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Ready For Paint

Here she is in all her glory. All it needs now is a coat of barn red with white trim. Up in the front eve I was planning to trim out a fake window but the wife had a grate idea. She wants to put our brand up there for all to see.

One change to the design. The left side of the barn was going to house the rabbits but with the mini chicken idea we had to alter it just a little. I cut a door in the back wall and will be adding one more room. This will be the rabbit area while the more fragile mini chickens get to stay inside. The room is 12' x 6' with two solid sides a roof and a wire front that faces East . The rabbit hutches will be mounted on the West and South walls. Each pen will be about 3' x 3'. Remember, these rabbits get big.

My dad and nephew came by to check in on the progress and lend a hand spreading sand and setting posts. It sure makes things go a lot easier when you have an extra pair of hands.

We are experimenting building shade areas with the bamboo. I was told recently this was really not bamboo but was broom stalk. Anyway, this broomboo is some really neat stuff to work with. I hope it gives us the look we are wanting and the shade the chickens are needing. If not, then no money wasted. The wife summoned help from my dad and his tractor and dug up a bunch of the broomboo roots. She planted them in the other corner of the chicken pen to see if it will grown and make a more natural shade and a hawk defense area for the chickens as well.

I did get some gardening and weed eating done late in the evening but decided to call it a day when our good friends came by for supper and our normal Saturday night card night. Tomorrow I am still planning on making a run down to the farm to get the last of the 2x4's, but with the recent rain on Friday, it is unlikely I will get the out house. Maybe next weekend.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Work Weekend

I was able to get about 1 1/2 hours of work done on the mini barn before dark today. I put up the eve on the front side so to makes it look better from the road and it gives me a sense of accomplishment and the appearance of a close to finished product when I look at it.
Tomorrow the plan is to finish the eve in the back, set the posts for the mini chicken coop, make a shade for the big chickens and mow.
Sunday I plan to make that trip to the farm like I have been planning on doing for the past three weeks to get the outhouse and the rest of the 2x4's.

With me standing next to the barn, it really does look mini.

The wife picked up the rabbits today and she set up a temporary cage for them, my quail pens. They are 8 week old Flemish Giants and she got three does and a buck. The rabbits will be used mainly for their poop. If she wants to breed them and try and sell the babies to recoup some of the cost, then I say go for it.
The cage system will consist of three doe pens, a buck pen, two birthing pens and a poop reclamation system.
Reading about the Flimish Giants, they can get upwards to 20lbs. Now that's a lot of poo.
I guess to hold true to the mini theme we should have gotten mini rabbits. The way I figured it, with mini rabbits comes mini poo and that's not going to work in the grand scheme of things . I need a lot of rabbit poo.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Chicken Farmer

After countless hours of blood, sweat, tears, scrounging, cussing, fighting and about $2000.00 of hard earned cash, the flock is home, all 15 of them.

The Mini Barn is not done yet but at least it will hold chickens now. During the build, my dad would often ask me "How many eggs do you think you will have to eat to recoup the cost?" He has also on many occasions called it the Taj ma hal of chicken coops.
To answer his question, as of right now I need to eat 120,000 eggs.

I have all the materiel to finish the mini barn except the paint, the trim and some more tin for the mini chicken coop and oh yea some more 2x4's and I guess that's it. No wait, more wire and I can't forget those high dollar screws and then I need the stuff for the rabbit cages then there is the goat fence I need to get done and..................

Did I mention the wife is picking up the rabbits in the morning? But she got a deal on them.