Monday, May 31, 2010


What happened to Spring? It went straight from snowing to 100 degrees. You would think that after as many Texas summers I have been through I would be accustom to such heat. Wrong!
Anyway, I pushed through it and got the mini barn all trimmed out and even finished the little hen house for all the babies.
I still have a couple of little details to do with the barn, like false windows in the front and finishing the rabbit area but that should not take to long.
I priced the rabbit wire the other day and about had a heart attack when I saw the prices. I kick myself everyday for giving all my old ones away.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day Off

We took the day off and when to the Blue River up in Oklahoma today. This was something we all have been needing for a while.
This little out of the way river is hidden at the foot hills of the Kiamichi Mountains and is full of water falls ranging from one to ten feet tall. The most relaxing part for me is to lay under one of the falls and let the always 50 degree water just take me away.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Out Early

The kids surprised me by busting me out of bed around six this morning ready to get outside and work. I did not ask what had gotten into them but I figure they are wanting something.
Last night I made a run to the box hardware store and picked up a few things to work with this weekend and I guess the girls got the hint that if we got everything done, then we would run up to the river tomorrow and lay around relaxing.
The first thing we did was paint the trim that will be put on the mini barn. I have found it easier to pre- paint the trim than try and paint it when it's already up.

Second we built a little hen house for the younger chick babies and the hens that are brooding. The small area in the barn was getting crowded with all the chicks so the wife and I decided to change up the overall design and put in this little house. I plan to paint it to match the barn.

We decided to take the after noon off and spend it with the family at a nice little cookout over at D&R's house.
I guess everything I wanted to get done is done and the kids all worked really hard, so tomorrow we are heading to the blue river.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Dont' Kill My Worms

Craig's List had an add for two eighteen gallon totes full of red wiggler worms for only $15.00 a piece. I contacted the lady right away and told her I would buy both of the totes as soon as I get off work. When I arrived at her huge city house later that day, I was meat with a screening process to be judged worthy to buy these worms from her. I should have walked away right then.
She asked me if I knew how to care for them and wanted me to tell her how I do it. Then she went to great lengths to tell me what she feeds them and how often. Then she asked me what I had planned for her worms. I told her they would be used for composting, fishing and a source of protein for the chickens.
What happened next was a classic screen shot straight out of The Exorcist with the head spinning around and the demon voice. I do not know if you have ever made a Pakistani woman mad or not, but this lady went completely ballistic on me and I really did not understand a thing she was saying. I just know she was mad due to the twenty years of experience I have making the wife mad. I came to realize, the facial expressions and tone of voice are all the same no matter where you were born .
What I got out of it was, if I thought for one second about using her worms as feed then she would not sell them to me. Then I think I heard her say something about "Worm Murder" and I know I heard "Redneck" somewhere in there. She then went on to say she has been raising those same worms for over three years and they are her babies and need a good home to go to and not some butcher farm.
This made the second time I should have walked away from this nut case but I really wanted those worms. So I assured her as soon as I got them home, I would set her worms free to roam the farm and be happy until their last days without a care in the world.
Just as fast as she was demon possessed, she settle down and then happily handed them over.
I walked away shaking my head and mumbling, "Foreign City folks"

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Free Living

The other day my buddy Dave and I were sitting around talking about the value of free living. He is just the opposite of me when it comes to this kind of thinking and tells me about it often, "Nothing is free, not even going to the bathroom is free, you are wasting your time".
Of course I mostly disagree with that statement, but on the other hand he does make a good point. It does take money to live free, lots of money. The cost of building things that takes minimal cost to operate can be more costly than a person would ever get in return by using it. Did you catch all that?
So the question is, Whats the point? If it costs me more to build it than I can ever save by using it, then why build it? My only answer I can come up with Is, because I can. I could go into the environmental, tree hugging green issues but that is not mainly why. It is because I can use own my mind, build it with my own two hands and with the money I earned myself. When I am done I can look out and say, even if it is only to myself, I did it and it's my way. Built in America by an American.

The solar clothes dryer in the photo is a good example. I already had the parts to put it up so my cost for it was nothing. Savings on using it compared to using the electric dryer is staggering.

My buddy would put it this way.
The time it took to put it up at lets say $20.00 an hour = $6.00
The air conditioning lost each time you open the door to do a load = $2.00
The time for hanging the cloths and taking them down =$7.00

Total cost of the first load using free clothes drying =$15.00

Monday, May 24, 2010

Wonders Of Life

I am sure you are tired of looking at chicken pictures and barn pictures but I had to show you this one.
Under this hens wing is a baby chick that just hatched this morning. You can hardly see it with just it's head barely sticking out. This baby is not just any normal chick. If it was I wouldn't be telling a story about it.
The baby is a miracle baby for two reasons. First, this little hen has been setting on half a dozen eggs for about 25 days and with only two left due to the snakes, Saturday we almost through them out. The wife decided to give the eggs a couple of more days before throwing in the towel. Second, last night this little chick while still in the egg, was one foot down in a snakes belly. I saw the egg come right up and out of the snakes mouth when I was dragging it out the door. The egg was all cracked and disfigured but the hen decided to go back and sit on it. I told the wife to throw the last two eggs away in the morning.
I don't know if they will make it till adulthood or not but I tell you this, they both hatched and they will stay here till they die.

More chicken pics you say........

Here are the rabbits.

I got in a fight with this one and she won.
I have all the scratches down my arm to
prove it.

This is what will be the cricket farm when it's all set up.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I Tried To Do Nothing

I had all intentions of doing nothing today when I got up. I even grabbed a cup of coffee and sat out in the morning breeze listening and thinking of nothing. Then I guess the caffeine kicked in.

I ended up building the supports and placing the 55 gallon aquarium for the cricket farm. Then cleaned up everything from last nights little get together and that was it. I went back and sat down, propped my feet up and just relaxed.
After about 5 minutes, I looked over at the mini barn and thought to myself how quick and easy it would be to go ahead and paint the front posts and supports just to give it more of a complete look from the road. The next thing I knew I was holding a gallon of white paint in one hand and a brush in the other, getting it done.
After the little bit of painting was all done, I was done. This was already more than I was wanting to do today anyway. The plan was to take a day off, relax and do nothing, but at least those couple of little chores were done.
For the next 10 minutes the wife and I sat, enjoying the peace and quiet with our feet up relaxing. Then the oldest daughter came out mouthing about how I needed to trim up the few trees we have so they would be easier to weed eat around. I told her that was a good idea and go get her gloves. The look on her face was priceless. "I didn't mean now dad" she said. For the next hour or so we all trimmed trees and hauled brush.
By this time it was getting hot and everyone was hungry. I let everyone off the hook for the rest of the day because the plan was to relax and do nothing anyway. So after lunch the girls went swimming and I decided to pick up the mowing where the middle daughter left off yesterday. Three hours later I had my feet up relaxing in the A/C because today was going to be a do nothing day full or rest and relaxing.
Then the wife came a yelling "Another Snake!!!!" This makes 4 snakes in one week. We heard if you sprinkle sulfur around your barn the snakes will stay away, so that is what we will try.

I can only imagine what I could have got done today if I decided to do something and not take the day off.

A Little Extra

What was planned for today got done with a little extra to boot.
The middle daughter decided to work on her tan sitting on the mower for a little while. That sure made tomorrows plans easier. Now I don't have to waste any time mowing.

With the help from the girls and the wife, we got the back of the barn painted in no time. It took longer to set up and clean up than to paint. They also took the bull by horns and did all the cleaning and organizing around and in the barn. That was real nice of them.

I added a little something on the front to give it a little character and personality.

This is our brand that the wife and I came up with several years ago. If you can't see it, it is the letters J, C, F all together.

We ended the evening with our friends D & R and the wife's family from Kansas that are down for the weekend, coming over for some BBQ pork chops and all the fixens.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Early Jump

The youngest daughter grabbed the camera this morning and took a great picture of Charlotte's Web at the mini barn. I think she might have the eye for this picture taken stuff.

I escaped work early today so I could get everything ready for the mini barn paint job in the morning. After stopping by my buddy Dave's house to grab the airless sprayer I looked at the clock to see it was only 5:00.
Four hours till dark, I think I can get this sucker done in that time. So here we go. One and a half hours later I ran out of paint with the whole back of the barn still needing to be done. I thought for sure two gallons of paint would cover it, but I guess with it being the first time using a sprayer I got a little carried away.
I started off trying to control the over spray but as you can see from the tin roof, I finally gave up and let the paint fly. I am sure it will wash off in the next rain, I hope.

In the morning I need to run into town and pick up another couple of gallons of paint so I can finish the backside. It that a red barn or what? Don't worry, the white trim will deaden it some, I think.

I had to grab this shot.
This is what the women folk do while work is being done.
Kicking back Redneck style.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Up In The Air

I was planning on starting the next great undertaking this weekend which is the brooder room and tool room.
With every detail planned out the total cost of the two room building is right at $2000.00 and should take about three to four months to build. When I look at it that way, that means I will be building this thing right through the very hot summer months with no shade trees around.
I have been convinced by others, to not partake in this building project yet, so with little resistance I agreed.
The focus for the next few weeks instead will be on finishing the wood rail fencing, finishing the rabbit pens, setting up the cricket farm, expanding the worm farm and building the rest of the gardens.

This weekends plans are to at least get the mini barn painted but with family coming in town it will be iffy. It might be my only escape from them tho.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

One Week Old

The babies are one week old today. The one on the left is a Pharaoh quail and the other is the Serama mini chicken. Doesn't that quail look mad about being posing for the camera?

The final total of hatched birds are 11 quail and 11 mini chickens. I set 36 eggs of both birds and used a still air incubators for both. The Serama eggs were on a automatic turner that turns the eggs four times a day and the quail eggs were turned twice a day by hand. Both were set on a average temperature of 100 degrees. According to my calculations, that is a 31% hatch rate for both kinds making no difference between the self turning or automatic.

When I was hatching out large numbers of quail in years past (500 to 1000 eggs), I used GQF forced air cabinet incubators and hatchers. I had a hatch rate of around 75% to 80% using those bad boys. I am sure other people have better luck with the still air type but I never have.

Monday, May 17, 2010

No Posts

Sorry for the no posts this weekend. It seamed every time I had a chance to think about it something else would come up or I was dragged out the door to go somewhere else.
The threat of rain kept me from planning anything anyway and even without a plan, I was still busier than a one armed paper hanger.

Friday night I had a chance to run by the hardware store to pick up some paint so I can finally finish the mini barn this coming up weekend. But before that, I took the wife to a little place I have been really wanting to go to scene I have heard about it. Redneck Heaven is a little bar and grill set up just for rednecks by rednecks, so I thought. It turned out to be a huge disappointment. All it did was try and mimic what a redneck restaurant would look like but I am sure the designer was from somewhere up North and on top of that, from the city. They dressed all the wait staff in skimpy white trash outfits and for decoration, just some NASCAR stuff on the wall with background music from P Diddy. How sad.

Saturday was spent helping my dad in the morning and then I did something I have not done in at least a year, I took a short nap.

Sunday I did some much needed organizing and shifting around some baby chicks and then we went to my brothers new house for lunch, then I spent the rest of the day mowing.

So there you go. Not much of anything.

Now I know why I am not getting as much eggs as I should. The wife called me at work and asked just one question, "Is this thing loaded?" With some simple instructions, her and the girls with picks, shovels, axes and guns in hand headed out to the barn for a good ol snake killn.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Always Something

If it's not one thing, it's another. The oldest girls cherished bronco finally went down on her today.

I had to hold off the laughter when the frantic call came to me at 4:30 PM. Through all the panic, blubbering and sniffles I finally got out of her she was ok, just broke down. So I made my way home to get the truck and give her a tow home.

I have been waiting for this day to come for a while now so I could give her the life talk about cherishing what she has now so she will appreciate what she will have in the future. It's not what she wanted to hear but she got it anyway.
The transmission finally went out along with the back u-joint and at the same time the passenger side window motor burnt out. Total cost of repairs will be around $1200 on a $400 vehicle that will still not be reliable enough to take her to college. I think its time to bite the bullet and see what I can find for her to drive and be safe in.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Little Chickens

The Serama mini chickens have started to arrive. So far only one has hatched but four more are trying to get out.
This little baby is only a few hours old standing next to a AA Battery. Now that's mini.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Who Would Have Thunk It?

Redneck momma day present.
Don't blame me, the wife asked for them.

The youngest girl wanted to go out and try to take a picture of lighting yesterday evening. I told her not to waste her time because lighting is so hard to capture with a camera. I went on to explain how you have to have one of those really high dollar expensive cameras with all the different settings sitting real still on a tripod stand with some sort of time lap special thingy and all that good stuff. She looked at me all sad and hung her head in defeated and said she understood. I felt really bad that I did not even let her try so I told her she could at lest try if she wanted to, knowing good and well there was no way she would ever get a shot of lighting.
With the first push of the button, this is the picture she took.

Who would have thunk it?
I sure am glad I let her try. She is really excited and I am eating crow.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Babies Everywhere

The quail started hatching right on time. 17 days and 12 out of 36 have hatched so far. I have the brooder up and warm tucked nicely in my bathtub. The Serama mini chicken eggs are due to start hatching tomorrow.

With Mommas day and everything I did not get much of anything done on the mini farm. The wife and I were invited by an old friend to a little cowboy church a few miles to the East of here and it turned out to be not so little. I was right there with the preacher until he started making redneck jokes. It was good to see our old friend again after almost 21 years, she has not changed a bit but is having a hard time in life.
Keep the faith Wendy.

After church I had to get some mowing done over at the momma in laws. The preacher ran long so in turn it pushed me behind. I was lucky enough that my good buddy Dave flagged me down and wanted to load up and come help. Talk about dueling banjo's, this was dueling mowers. We turned a three hour job into just one.
The day ended with Dave and his wife cooking a fantastic meal for all the mommas in the family.
I am blessed because people can search a lifetime for friends like these.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Quick Work

After a short day at work, I was able sneak home and out to the barn for a couple of quick things that still needed to be done. I hung the quail pens to have a place for the little quail chicks after they leave the brooder. The chickens have been using it for their roost so it needs a little cleaning first.

The newest addition to the mini farm is a new buck Flemish Giant. The last one committed suicide by jumping right into a cats mouth one night. Maybe this one will be a little smarter. His three girl friends are twice his size right now but I am sure he wont mind.

The outlook for work this weekend is not good. The wife said she wants to go out tonight and then tomorrow will be spent spending time with the mothers. We will see what happens.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Baby Aboard

The wife found some baby Cochin Bantams on Craigs List and just had to have them and since they were so close to where I worked (20 miles out of the way), It would be nice if I could just drop by and get them. I said no way and I dropped it at that. We have more chickens than we need anyway.

So on the way home from picking up these baby chickens I realized one thing, It really does not matter what I think as long as it makes her smile, and I'm ok with that.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Loose Ends

I spent the evening finishing the rabbit room on the back side of the mini barn. Now we can let the rabbits out of their pens so they can run around and play like they are in the wild. I decided not to go with the extravagant rabbit hutches I had planned. Instead, I am planning just a simple three pen doubled stacked wire cage system. It will take less time and money this way and still serve the same purpose.

I also wired off the loft area of the mini barn. The varmints could still climb over and into the new chicken coop with out it. Now they are safe.

The wife and kids candled the mini chicken eggs and the quail eggs that are in the incubators last night. So far so good. Only 5 chicken eggs and 6 quail eggs were not fertile. The quail eggs are set to start hatching Sunday or Monday which brings up the fact I still need to set up a brooder area. I also realized I need a brooder room or building if we continue to set eggs and have babies. My bathtub is only for this round.
The wife put 6 eggs under one of her broody Bantam hens the other day to see if she will hatch them out. I wonder what that little Bantam hen is going to think when she hatches out a couple of Rhode Island Red baby chicks. Is it what the Chinese couple named their new born white baby? Sumthing Wong!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


This is the finished product of the Alfalfa sprouts. It took about six days for them to grow to harvest size. Just add a little ranch dressing to even out the healthy and unhealthy and there you go.

I stopped by a friend of mines new house on the way home from work today and picked up a bathtub he did not need. I plan to use it for another worm bed and raise night crawlers for bait.
I thought I was just going to drive up, throw it in the truck and head for the house but instead, I got a whole lot more.
With a hard knock on the back door and a greeting as if I were his long lost brother, he and his wife showed me around their new house pointing out every nook and cranny in the place. I could see the excitement in both of their faces and hear the sound of joy in their hearts as they talked and told me of the many plans they have to make their house into a home. I even put in my two cents on the master bathroom.
This guy and his family have been through some very tough times these past couple of years. I'm not talking about just your ordinary tough times but life shattering times. Any person I know that would have gone through what these people have gone though, would have lost all faith, cursed the heavens and gave up.
My friend and his family, even through the tragedies and the sickness pushed on, keeping the faith, believing, thinking God and praising his name to anyone that will listen. In return, he has cast down blessing upon them and given them a new life. Now that's power.
As I turned the truck North and drove away, I was humbled.
Thanks Tigger for putting me back in my place.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sunday, May 2, 2010

All & All

I sure was glad to have the weekend off to get some much needed work done. Even tho I did not get the little building from my brother's house, I still made some progress.

The little building has to be moved all or nothing. Taking it apart and trying to reassemble it would destroy the most of the wood. I plan to make an attempt at it next weekend but it might just be easyer to build one myself.

The new chicken yard is done and the chickens are loving it. The fence does not have all the rail boards on it yet but at least it will hold them. We worked till we ran out of screws again. I thought I had enough but I came up a box short. I also still need 40 more 2x4s to complete it.

I had to modify the barn area where the goats were going to be at into a coop. I made a 2 1/2 door and just wired the other half. I hope this is just a temporary ordeal because if not, I am afraid I will be force into building another barn just for the mini goats.

Switching gears I worked on the rabbit pen until, yup you guessed it, I ran out of screws on that as well. At least I have to boards to finish it.

Maybe this week I will get off a little early a day or two and be able to stop by the hardware store and finish these two things out.

I was hoping to paint next weekend but I think Mothers day might mess that up for me.