Friday, July 30, 2010

Let's Make Some Headway

The wife did me a huge favor today and picked up the needed concrete for the fence posts at the hardware store and my other buddy Dave, yes I have two of them, gave me two rolls of slick wire he didn't need. That completes my need to buy list for the fence. Now it's time to do my part, the work.
T Posts = Free, were here in a pile when I got here.
6X6 Wood H Braces = Free, from my old patio.
Goat wire = Free, from my brothers dog pen.
Slick wire = Free, from my buddy Dave.
Concrete = Only had to buy two bags, The lady at the big box store gave me a buch of broken bags the last time I was in there.
Total Project cost for a 100 foot fence. $7.35

I didn't tell you that to brag. I told you that to show you how the poor boys do it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Plans For The Weekend

It does not matter if the temperature reaches 120 degrees, things have to get done this weekend. I have come to the conclusion the weather is never going to be just right to work so I am going to have to just bite the bullet and get some stuff done. The list is not getting any shorter.
By the way, the youngest daughter took this pic of a sunflower with a bee on it in the back yard and I just had to show it off.

By the end of the weekend this pile of scrap lumber and used wire will be a big beautiful rabbit hutch. Well maybe not beautiful but it will be a rabbit hutch. I don't think they will mind what it looks like. The Flemish Giants are becoming "Giant" and are starting to get crowded for room. When completed, this will be the doe pen.

I have been working on this fence for the past week and when it got hot, I wimped out and went in the house. The plan is to at least finish this 100 foot section so we can get the Pygmy Goats on the Mini Farm if not for anything but to do the mowing for me.
Notice the red hue over spray still on the barns tin roof. That's funny right there. I don't paint nothing with a roller and brush.

Last but not least, this is a small 110 gallon rain water harvesting system I built last year as an experiment to see if I could and to see what happens with it. I still have it and plan to install it behind the mini barn this weekend. This system will supply the chickens and the rabbits with gravity feed water from the roof of the barn.

I hate these bees so bad.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Chicken Chatter

We ended up with two hens and five roosters after the snakes had their way with the Serama Mini Chickens. I don't know why they could not have eaten more of the roosters so now we are upside down on them. The bad part is now we have to order more eggs and go through the whole hatching process again.
While we are at it, we might as well go ahead and get some day old layer chicks. I know I sold off all the layers a couple of months ago so I did not have to summer them, but now is the time to be buying day old chicks. By March they will be laying and everyone wants a couple of laying hens for their backyard in the spring. The only way to loose money on them is if they die.

After work today I propped up the rain water tanks so I could get to the hatch and wash them out. I was a little worried about this one getting clean. The last thing I need is some chemical either sterilizing the soil or burning my skin off. The ole boy who gave them to me told me today that his buddy sells a lot of these same tanks to people for the use as I am going to do with them. He said the stuff that was in it is a water base and power washes out easy. He was right. After I washed it out, the smell was gone and the drain water was running clear. I put some of the water on my arms and nothing no burning. Now I have to wait and see if the grass dies where it drained out.

This little monster is something else. I almost feel like I am right in the middle of my own seven plaques. First it flooded, then the summer drought came, then the snakes and now the grass hoppers.
These suckers are not small either. I was walking to the barn to get the drill and with every step, hundreds flew up in front of me. I had one hit right between the eyes and it almost took me out. I'm not lying when I tell you I let the chickens out in the yard tonight to try and thin the population down a little and those grasshoppers kicked those chickens butt and ran those hens right back into their pen.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Holy Moly!

I know it's hot during the week but for some reason it sure seems hotter on the weekends. To be honest I really don't know how I do it during the week. I think it's all a mental thing. At work I know I have to, but on the Mini Farm I just want to. I can tell you this, I ain't getting nothing done sitting around complaining about not getting nothing done, that's for sure.

This morning I did get two months of burning done. Things were piling up some and either the wind or rain was keeping me from doing it, but this morning at dawn it was nice and calm so it got done.

The weekly update on the "Three Sisters" is positive. The corn has really taken off and the beans are finding there way around the corn stalks. The squash has not grown enough to cover much of the ground but it'd getting there.
I am catching some flack on the spacing and timing of the planting and how it was way to late to plant the three crops, more especially the corn. I know that. This was just an experiment to see if they would coexist with each other like the books say they would and to see if it was worth planning a bigger scale version for next year. I do not really expect for the corn or any of it to produce this year but as it stands right now, it is worth the time and effort to do this again next year.

Here is an accidental multi-planting with cantaloupe and peppers. The mother-in-law threw some seeds in the garden one day and this is the result. I wounder if there is a chance the cantaloupe will be hot?

I am going to have to do some figuring on these rain water tanks. They cannot be laid down because the little manhole at the top would leak and blow out under the weight of the water so the only solution is to stand them up. The gutter is going to run the whole length of the house with a 4" drop making the water input just below the top ring. There will be a first flush system on the gutter before it empties into the tanks so in the worst case it won't be 3000 gallons but 2800. Now I just have to figure out how to clean them.

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Beef, It's Whats For Dinner

I finally made the trip to my buddy's house and picked up the rain water harvest tanks that I have been needing to pick up for over a month now. I don't know how he did it but he got these for free from one of his buddies then gave them to me.
Tomorrow I plan to start the washing out and figuring out how I want to situate them.

Other than getting the tanks home, it was to hot to get much done so we ended up taking some grass fed beef down to our friends D&R's house and letting Dave cook it up in his own special way. Some other good friends (D&A) came by and we all sat around out in the moon light just having a good ole redneck time.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Two Step

How does it go, Two steps forward and one step back, or is it one step forward and two steps back?
Either way that seems to be the progress here at the mini farm.

I was sitting at work today thinking about the projects that still need to be done so I can get to where I want to be. In just a short time I found myself overwhelmed and noticed I was not going forward at all, but going backwards.

When we moved out here eight months ago I made a very detailed plan on each project that was prioritized from what was needed the most to least and a time line for completion on each one. The goal was five years to be completely self sufficient to where all I had to do was get a part time job to pay for my hobbies.
The list started out with five phases and twenty seven main projects and of course each one of those had sub projects under them totaling seventy one things to do before I could say I was done. It sure looked good on paper.
With a slight learning curve on prioritizing and only three main projects marked off the list today I decided to jot down a revision to that project list. Guess what, I don't know how but the list grew. I now have thirty six main projects all with at least two sub projects totaling a whopping eighty five things I have to do before the five year mark. With money and time not on my side the outcome of making that time line looks grim.
So now it is a seven year plan, but I can already see it will never end. As soon as one project is completed two more takes it's place. And even if there was an end then what, sit on the porch?
I think the never ending cycle is the beauty in it all.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Worms Dirt

Just three and half short months ago I began my adventure as a worm farmer.
I started with a bath tube, a bunch of shredded paper, some kitchen scraps, a little mulch and a bag full of worms. Now look at what these little garbage eating machines have turned all that into.
I plan to start harvesting the dirt a little at a time this weekend to get enough ready for the multicultural salad garden experiment at the end of next month.

Speaking of experiments, the "Three Sisters" are growing like mad. The corn has now shot up past the beans and the squash is starting to fill out the center covering the ground. In the picture it looks like a nasty mess, but looking at it in real life, it's kinda starting to work itself out.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Doing The Do, Do

After work today I was treated to a nice little pump failure on the septic system. I thought things were not right with it this weekend when I saw just a trickle of water coming from the sprinkler heads. So with the thought process of "If I don't find a problem, then there's not one" I forgot all about it till today when I noticed the tank almost runneth over.

Thinking the worst, the new pump we installed just a few months ago had already burnt up, I cut the pipe and pulled it out and guess what I found? Hair, miles and miles of hair. It was so much hair I thought maybe a possum crawled in there and died.

Then it hit me. The other night the girls took Drift, our long haired cat, in the bathroom and shaved it. They said her hair was knotted up and they couldn't brush the knots out so the next best thing was to shave it. They also justified it by saying "It will keep her cooler this summer"
Two hours later the bathroom door opened, the cat ran out and guess where they put all that hair.

It took twenty minutes to clean the pump out and I don't know what it is about wet hair in the sewer but it's nasty.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

E Manuel

Good ole fashioned Manuel labor really makes you appreciate modern technology when you can get it.

I started the day with a 5:30AM run down to the old farm to get one last load before I wiped my hands clean of the whole thing. I guess the old saying is true, at least on my part, that you can never go back home.

I made some much needed time to do some major maintenance on the mower after I got back from the farm. My blades were paper thin and the deck was so stopped up it would not discharge any grass.
It mows like new now!

My two 1500 gallon rain water tanks never showed up today so I guess next weekend I will be making a trip to pick them up. I should have already had this done anyway.

The girls and I made some progress on the cross fence today. We got one H brace set and built and drove all the T posts in the ground. All we need now is to build one more brace and hang the wire then we can check another project off the list.

The day ended with a nice little thunder storm rolling in. It made for some real nice cloud pictures and who doesn't love the smell of rain on a hot summer evening.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Weekend Work

It is going to be really hot this weekend but work still has to be done. It has been a couple of weeks since anything measurable has been done here at the mini farm but hopefully this weekend all that will change.
So far the plan is to finish the mowing over at the city houses and then start on the middle cross fence by setting the gate and support posts. Then on Sunday trying to get the fence up and in place.
Somewhere along the way I planned on working on the new rabbit pens. Those big rabbits have just about outgrown their pens. I found some rabbit wire down at the farm on one of the seek and recover trips so I plan to use as much as possible for that.
Also the rain water harvest tanks are to be here sometime Sunday if everything goes right.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rains Are Gone, The Heat Is Back

Even tho it is still hard to walk through the yard due to the left over mud puddles from all the rains this past week, the gardens are bone dry. With five plus inches of rain it only took one day to dry them out. So tonight I will be standing in a mud hole watering a bone dry garden. The irony?

This is today's shot of the "Three Sisters" The corn has come on really good this week but the beans are still shooting taller than the corn and from up under the squash.
I will keep you posted on this experiment.

Look at the size of these Okra plant leaves. I don't think I have ever seen them this big before.

It has been a while since I posted a picture of the Serama mini chickens so here you go. I put a regular light bulb in with them to give you a size reference. They are just over two months old now and should not get much bigger than what they are now.

This picture is of the two month old Bantam Cochins and they are twice the size of the Serama chickens.

I got another hen a brooding. Those Heavy Cochins are some real good setters. This hen has been a surrogate mother on three different occasions now and seems to love every minute of it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

More rain fell yesterday and last night making a already wet situation even wetter. All together over the past few days the total rain fall was five inches.
Now with the sun out today and 98 degrees, the humidity is hoovering around 99%.
With all that, not much can be done today except think about what could have been done.

Regular work starts back up tomorrow and being off for nine days and nothing to show for it makes the ole blood pressure boil. The only thing that even got a good start is the big barn. I was able to sneak away and do a little organizing.

Being surrounded by people for the past week, we decided to just get away for a day. We decided why not go Geocaching. It has been a while and new ones have popped up around here. If you don't know what it is then go to We get laughed at from our circle of friends for doing it but I can tell you this, geocaching has taken us to some remarkable places everyday people do not see.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Back in the Saddle

With all the family and friends either back home or on their way back home it is time to get Back in the Saddle. Only one problem, it has rained here for the past three days and you can not even walk outside due to the standing water and knee deep mud. Now I am not complaining about the rain because we sure have needed it, but why right now.

With all the rain the gardens are looking better than ever and most of the plants except the tomatoes are producing. That leads me to believe the well water I have been watering with has to much iron in it to do the plants any good. That gives me even more incentive to get the rain water harvest system up and running.
I have the two 1500 gallon tanks over at a friends house but with all the recent events, have not had the chance to get them home. That should happen this week.

One more thing I learned this week. A couple of weeks ago I started experimenting with the polyculture garden design by using the "Three Sisters" Corn, Beans and Squash. What I did not take into consideration is the need to plant them in different stages. The corn should have been planted a month before the beans and then wait a couple of weeks after that to plant the squash. That would have given the corn a chance to get above the beans so they could climb up the stalks and be established so the squash would not choke them out.
I am still going to let this little trial run it's course just to see what happens. Then next year I will plant on a larger scale in stages.
Next month I plan to experiment with a broadcast seed salad garden.

Welcome reader Wretha to the Modern Day Redneck family. If you have any topics or questions you want me to cover or if you just want a redneck opinion, just leave me a comment or you can e-mail me at

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Friends and Family

It is sad the only time you get to see the people that means the most is when someone dies. With life pushing and pulling us all in different directions makes it real hard to sit and just be. We had the mother-in-law's funeral today and it was really good to see everyone. It was real nice to have so many people around and catch up on lost times and just visit. We even set the camper up in the back yard for some of the family a couple of days ago and they really enjoyed the camping like experience. I was asked why the heck does that rooster crow all night long and I just laughed and said welcome to the country.

Today wasn't a funeral, it was a celebration of a life well spent. There was crying, laughing and even a joke or two but the best part was going through the picture albums and listing to all the stories family and friends were telling about such a great lady.

And let me tell you about this church we go to. Even after the wife and I had dropped our attendance down to just a couple of times every few months, my girls and the mother-in-law continued to go almost every Sunday and were heavily involved in the different ministries. These people are some of the best people we have ever had the privilege to meet and to be around. They have helped this family out so much, not just in this past few days but every sense we met them a few years back. What really means the most to the wife and I is they gave Momma Donna a church home and led her back to the faith in Jesus and that my friends, is priceless and can never be repaid.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

In Loving Memory

Sorry I have not posted in a few days but like I said, life around here has been turned upside down for the past couple of weeks.
As you know the Mother-In-Law was put in ICU last weekend and Sunday the 4th she went home to be with the Lord.
So if you want to hang around and keep reading, I will tell you a little bit about her.

I was asked by the family to write a eulogy to read at the funeral Thursday, I told them I couldn't. I wrote one for the Father-In-Law a few years back and they wanted the same kind words to flow out and give a representation of the life and love she had, I still said I couldn't. How could I?
Anything I wrote down or any words I might managed to say would only downgrade what she meant to us all. I wrote the obituary yesterday and was at a loss for words. What can you say about someone who you called mom for almost as many years as you called your own that? How do you sum up a lifetime of kindness and giving in only three short sentences or even a short paragraph?
So I decided to give it a try and sum up forty plus years of being a mom. I am not a poet but this is the only way it is coming to me. Lets see how it comes out.

She went through life's torments and pain,
Never expecting any riches or fame.
A mother of twins she carried and bore,
One was a girl who I love and adore.
A Grandmother to be with excitement and pride,
No matter what her love never died.
She put on a badge to protect us all,
I remember her how she stood proud and tall.
Through all her sicknesses she managed to wade,
Keeping her love so strong and never to fade.
The decision was made to let her go home,
No doubt in mind her spirit wouldn't roam.
With the whole family by her side,
I kissed the hand of an Angel before she died.

Friday, July 2, 2010

"First Fruits Of The Year"

It may be later than usual and smaller than I would like, but I finally have my first fruits of the year.

What I do not understand is, why did it grow on this little stunted plant?

And not this big beautiful plant that still has not produced one thing yet.