Thursday, September 30, 2010

One At A Time

It takes longer to get all the tools out and set up than it takes to build one of these little walls but that is just about all the time I have in the evenings. The days are starting to get shorter now so evening work time is getting less and less.
I did manage to get one more wall done tonight on the "Tween" pen. That makes two down and two to go. With no rain in the forecast for this weekend, I should be able to get this little thing done.

The wife is stacking up the "Honey do" list on me though. She has new spirits about the direction we are going and made up a new plan on the breeder and grow out pens. Her plans even call for field rotation. I am excited she is excited.

We got our first Serama mini chicken egg today. This pic is the egg next to a bantam egg. Now that is small.

Also Mom and Dad gave the wife a couple of dozen Araucana eggs to set in the incubator tonight. So in a few weeks we should have even more baby chicks running around.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Not Young Anymore

I tell you what, I am not in my twenty's anymore that is for sure. I just came off of a 26 hour shift and man am I dead tired. Back in my younger days I pulled several 36 hour shifts and still had the energy to go on and do what ever I wanted to. So I thought maybe I still had that energy of my youth and when I got home this morning I had all intentions of making a huge dint in the "Tween Pen", boy was I wrong.
I caught myself just staring at the wood for long periods of time. I don't know what I was thinking about or even planning to do with it, just staring at it.
After trying to shake the cobwebs from my head a few times I took the hint while I still had all my digits and went in the house to get some much need sleep. Before the evening ended though, I did get the floor finished and sealed and built the back wall and got it painted.
So the day was not a total loss after all.

Speaking of getting older I just want to say one thing. Not very often anymore does something happen where I sit back and say "Well I'll be darn". I won't go into detail what happen but I will say this. God listens to your prayers and if you wait on him, he will pour out his blessings. It does not matter how big or how small the blessing is, it's priceless when he moves. He is good.

I want to say howdy to Jonathan Bennett, the newest member of the Modern Day Redneck family. Welcome to the family Jonathan. Give me a shout if you need anything.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Got It Started

A couple of days ago after the rain, I noticed the little mini horses were limping a little. We cleaned their feet and found they were getting soft and were very sensitive. We came to the conclusion it's the dirt.
This dirt out here does not drain at all and will stay muddy for days after a good rain. Without building a huge concrete pad for them to get on, the horses have no escape from it. The youngest kid has been cleaning their hoofs two times a day to keep the mud from packing in so bad and letting them dry out some. If this keeps up they will get hoof rot. The bad thing is, it is not even rainy season yet.
Yesterday the wife made a decision, we need to get ride of them and so she put them on Craig's list. For the mini horses sake, they needed to go to a place where they have more cover, more room to run and a place that can keep them out of the mud. It's the right thing to do. This place out here is no place for horses.
She cried when they left today and I was sad for her. She really did love them.

So we took the money and bought some lumber to build the "Tween" house. I got a good start on the floor tonight and plan to finish as much as I can throughout the week after work.
It is a 16X6 little building that will be split into two rooms for the chicks to grow before they are put out with the bigger ones.

If you are wondering about the court date I had today well, I took the day off work and went all the up there just for the JP and his office staff to be out for the day at a training class. The temp lady in the front said they would grant me an extension to come back another day. Amazing right?
Man I was mad, so I went to the County and showed them I have met their requirements and will not be coming back again at their convenience and they dismissed my case and sent me along my way.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Wet And Muddy

I do not feel so bad about wasting a day and sitting though class on Saturday because is was a rain day anyway. And even though it was a class on how to handle and treat your own poo, it was very informative.
I spent most of the morning today wiring in a new control box for my aerobic septic system. I have to have all the bells and whistles in place so when I go to court tomorrow I can say everything is compliant. There are about 30 homes out here where I live and all have the same system. I am the only one being made to jump though hoops to be compliant.
The new chicks had to have a bigger tub so we stuck the big watering tank in the bath tub instead of the smaller one. This will give them plenty of room to grow before they head outside.

All the other chicks are doing great. I think we only lost one so far.
The mother hen hatched out three of the six eggs she was sitting on. One decided to commit suicide and jump from the nest and the bigger chickens got to it before we did.
Even with that one, I feel good about the survival percentage this time compared to last time.

Friday, September 24, 2010

New Chicks

Sorry I have not posted in the last couple of days. I have been getting home from work later than usual.
The bad luck few weeks are behind us now. Even with the new set back of a nice little letter from the IRS saying we own them a gob of money from 2008, I refuse to be put in a bad mind frame anymore. If the house burns tomorrow, then we will have a winner roast.

This weekend the weather is going to be fantastic with highs being in the mid 70's. It is a shame that I will be spending half of it sitting a class room learning how to treat my own poo. Sunday looks like a good work day and believe me, I need it as bad as it needs it. I need to work off some of this spent up aggression.

The wife got in another shipment of chicks today. I have not had a chance to find out how many or what kinds they are. All I know is, we have a lot of baby chicks running around. Every tub I look in there is a light bulb and chicks. It is really funny.
The main problem is, we do not have a in between pen for them yet. That is the time when they are old enough to start getting out but still to young to run with the big hens.
I have a little 16'X6' double "tween" pen planned out and ready to build when the funds come available.
Sorry no pics tonight but it was already dark when I got home. Plenty of pics tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Back From Camping

Camping in your own back yard just does not have the same fill as when your at the lake or way back in the woods at a State park. I am thankful we had the camper though, it made a great refuge from the sweltering heat from the no AC in the house. It took all the money and then some we had set aside for the Fredericksburg Green Living Roundup this weekend but I guess I could always go next year.

Now on to bigger things. I am being charged with a class A misdemeanor over a misunderstanding. I have to go before a Judge on Monday to be charged. Here's the story.

When we moved into this place I had a plumber come by and check out our Aerobic sewer system. He replaced the burnt out pump and then told me the system was not properly installed. I called the installer to come out and take a look and found that it was actually installed right. The plumber did not believe me and called to complain to the state. The state called the county and the county man came out to find everything was fine. While he was here the neighbors septic system to the South of me turned on and the smell was horrific. The county man ended up writing them up and that was that. About a week later I received a letter in the mail that I was not compliant and had 30 days to get that way or else. I called the county man and he said it was a big mistake and he would take care of it. Three weeks later another letter came in the mail with a summons to court with these charges pending and if I did not show a warrant would be issued for my arrest. Dowg Gone man!
So calling the county man again and him giving the same story of not to worry about it. A day later he called me back and said with all this added attention to me, he decided to pull my file and found I did not have a maintenance contract with a licensed plumber and the charges would stand.
So this weekend I have to go to a training class to get certified to handle my own poo because I refuse to pay a plumber $200 to show up twice a year. So this little misunderstanding will cost me a day of work and another $150.00 and that's if the courts do not fine me for something else.
I tell you what, it's a dag gum racket if you ask me.
Monday this all should be cleared up, I hope.
I just want to be left alone. I am having more problems way out here in the country than I ever did while living in the city.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hunkering Down

We got the camper all set up right out the back door of the house and are settling in for the long haul. Talk about redneck!
The temperature in the house right now is 98 degrees, in the camper it's 75.
Depending on how much it will cost to fix the house AC will depend on how long we live in the camper. It may take a month or so for me to save up enough money and to sell enough stuff to get a new unit if it needs replacing. The AC guy will be out sometime this week to let us know.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Another Blow

I try and keep a positive attitude about pretty much everything. Even when the cards are stacked against me I still try and see some good in the situation. It may not sound like it at times but it's the truth. No matter what the circumstance is, it could always be worse.

But I tell ya, man I just can't catch a break. We had it all planned out to go to Fredericksburg next weekend for their Green living conference. I was able to set a little money aside to drive the five hours down there. We planned to eat sandwiches and sleep in a tent just to be able to afford to go.
Now I have to cancel because my AC went out in the house last night and this is not going to be a quick fix like the well was. The temperatures are still in the upper 90's during the day and low 80's at night.
All I was wanting to do was to get away for one day.
I don't mind sleeping with the windows open and the fans going. As a matter of fact, I prefer it that way. Tonight though, a skunk sprayed the house right outside the window and the smell is so strong it is burning my eyes even as I write this.
Go ahead and laugh, someone has to.

Needless to say, the money for the next chick order is also going to fix the AC. The part inside the house is what went out and even if we could suffer through this last month or so of hot weather, that same part is also used by the furnace so it won't work either to help keep us warm this winter.
I just want a little luck, that's all.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Here Chick Chick Chick

The wife has had the home made brooder warmed up for two days now and finally the baby chicks arrived this morning.
I made this out of a wooden shipping box a buddy of mine gave me and a screen from a window for the top to keep the snakes out. Not bad for a free brooder box.

We ended up getting some Mille Fleur's that we separated and are keeping in a tub in the bathroom because they are so small I did not want the bigger chicks to kill them. We also got some Speckled Sussex that we put in the big box brooder pictured above.
I think our next order will be getting more Speckled Sussex so we can have enough breeding stock to set our own eggs instead of buying chicks at $2.65 a piece. But then again, if you add all the time, feed and other stuff to keep your own breeders you really do not come out any better, but where is the fun in that, right?

About the pygmy goat.........
That is why I did not become vet. I'm telling you. All the signs are there. Why she has not dropped a couple of kids is beyond my understanding. For her sake, I should hope they come in the next few days.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Labor Pains

I did not think this pygmy goat was due for another month or so, I was wrong. We should have some babies by morning or a little after. The wife has been checking on her all day and she is ready. Now it's up her.

The chicks did not arrive this morning like we were planning. They said either Thursday or Friday morning so tomorrow is the day.

We sure needed the rain but I tell you this, if you stand outside and look at the grass, you can see it grow. Sunday is going to be a all mowing day it looks like.

Pictures tomorrow of the baby chicks and maybe the baby goats.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

The wife and I have been going over the Mini Farm and the future plans for the past couple of days. It has been raining every evening so there was not much to do outside anyway.

The main topic is where are we going with all this and how are we going to get there. Even though I have a step by step schedule and a over all five year plan on where I want this to be, that dose not mean it is going that way. The main question was, are we doing this just for survival or are we doing this to build a business. We both came up with the same answer, let's do both. Building a business will ensure our survival.

Saying all that, this summer was brutal on us and the animals with all the snakes, owls and the blistering heat and not to mention the non producing gardens. So we had to step back and take another look at how we can do this in a more efficient way. What she come up with was, go big or stay in the house.

Last night was spent on figuring out the expansion of the chicken side of it. What looks good on paper does not mean it will work but it's a starting place. We have a shipment of chickens coming in tomorrow. They should be laying by the end of March. I really do not want to keep ordering expensive day old chicks so we are going to take this first order and use them for our breeders. They are the breed of chickens we like so why not? I need to build three more little hen houses so we can control who is bred with who and then build one larger grow out pen.

The way it plays out is there will be a constant rotation from the incubator to the brooder to the grow out pen then to the yard. The number of birds in that rotation will very.
So that means I have a little work to do before the end of April.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

This And That

I asked my mother how she made the Mesquite bean jelly and she referred me to this link. She said it was the closest to how she has always done it.
One point I want to make, You have to cook the beans outside. If you cook them in the house the smell is so bad you will not be able to sleep there that night. It will get into your clothes and it does not want to come out. It is hard to believe something so good comes from something that stinks so bad.

Other than that, the family spent the evening out Geocaching and having fun. You know what they say, all work and no play.......

The wife is looking forward in the new arrivals this week. The brooder is set up and ready for the baby chicks. She is already picking out the types of chickens for the next order. This next one will be the big one though. If we can get them in by the end of next month then they should be laying by end of March or mid April. These will be the laying hens we sell and hopefully make a little profit on.

Did I mention the Cowboys are playing the Redskins tonight?

New Growth & New Arrivals

I'm telling you it's in the water. About three weeks ago I planted the multi cultural salad bed and ended up not having one seed sprout. Last weekend I replanted the same bed the same way and this time the only difference was I have been watering with rain water. In less than a week the whole bed is full of sprouts. That affirms the reason my summer garden did not produce. It's in the water. This is what I think, this ground gets so dry and the cracks are so wide and deep, the rain water does not have enough time for the ground to do it's natural filtering process before it gets to the shallow aquifer we pump out of. In turn that brings in small amounts of herbicides and pesticides from the neighboring fields to stunt the sprouting and producing processes of the plants, and we have been drinking this stuff. I want to get it tested but I am afraid of the out come. The state might shut all the wells out here down and not let us use them.
Just one more reason the big water storage project has to put to the top of the list. Now I can really justify it.

A short update for all you cricket farmers out there, or am I the only one?
I started out with 60 crickets a few months ago and quickly lost about half of them. I come to realize human interaction was more harmful than helpful to these fragile little things. They are easier than worms as far as maintenance but more prone to die offs by just the slightest disturbance of their habitat. At least for me that is.
Now I have hundreds and hundreds in the 55 gallon aquarium. I'll get one more round of breeding before the winter gets here and I will start harvesting them for the protein.

Some friends of ours came by last night for the first time to tour the mini farm and to bring us our new pygmy buck. He is only 10 weeks old but I needed him for the colors and the new blood line. He will not be ready to breed till after winter but that is what we had in mind anyway. That will give the other nannies a little break after they kid this winter.
We did this deal on a trade. They gave me this little buck and when my now pregnant nannies drop, they will get a little buck back to have a new blood line of their own.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Change of Attitude

One thing that can change your attitude is a small crisis. the well was fixed late this afternoon but two days without the security of turning on the faucet and water coming out was an eye opener.
As caveman like as it might have been, I could have held out for about three more days without any outside help giving it a total of five to six days of self sustainability.
That is what bothered me. If the tornado that tore through Dallas yesterday came this way and took out the power lines, it might be two to three weeks before the power company could hook us back up. Then I would be having a problem.
I was struggling with what project to do next and this little two day episode has made my mind up.
I plan to focus on the big water system and the outdoor bathroom. Even though I have a outdoor shower now, it is one of those little solar tent camping rigs and it would work for a while but the ware and tare of five people would tare it up in no time.

The two 1500 gallon tanks are in and all I need to do is run the gutter and plumb them together.
I plan to use a 12 volt positive pressure pump so it will have pressure any time you need it. It will run through a filtration system so the water could be used for bathing but not good enough to drink yet. That will come later.

Our well is shared with others out here and the shear panic I saw in their eyes yesterday was amazing. One lady has six kids without no water reserve in the house. What if this was a real problem and we were out of water for a month or two. These people do not have a clue on what to do. One of them asked me last night what I was going to do. I told them I was going to draw up about 20 gallons of water for the toilets and then make a glass of tea and relax.

The one thing I hate the most is being vulnerable. I get lazy and think the necessities are the things other than survival. Yes I might be making a mountain out of a mole hill on this but I can't get over the what if's.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


The tropical storm sat over this part of Texas for the past two days leaving eight to ten inches of rain behind. My satellite internet has been down so I could not post any up dates. Once it clears up I will get yall updated on what all has happened.

On top of all the weather, the well went down and I do not know when or how it is going to be fixed. It is a good thing I at least had one of the rain water harvesting systems in use. The kids spent some time bringing water to the house to use to fill the toilets and to have some on hand through the night when nature calls. I just wish the 3000 gallon one was up and running and then I would have no problems at all.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Not So Labor Day

The kids asked me yesterday what our plans were for labor day and I told them we were going to labor. I don't think that was the answer they were looking for. As it turned out, not much labor got done today.
Yesterday right after noon we went down to our friends D&R's house for a Labor Day BBQ. As always they outdid themselves on the food and I went home miserable.

The kids enjoyed themselves by have a mesquite bean fight (It was a first for me) .
The only thing I have ever seen worth using mesquite beans for is jelly. You have to cook them outside due to the smell but it makes the best jelly I have ever had.

It is my turn to make dinner tonight and I had planned on cooking some beans on the solar cooker today, but of all things it's cloudy so scratch that.

I think I have the wife talked into letting my work shop be my next project. Right now it is a toss up of finishing the fencing or starting on the workshop. I need one as bad as the other. The horses need to get out where there is grass but on the other hand, I need a place where I can properly store my tools and have a work area for this winter. As far as cost, it is about the same.
I don't know yet, I have to do some thinking on it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Little Helpers

I woke this morning to a very nice 58 degrees. With weather like that, how could I pass up on a great opportunity to get some neglected things done.

To start with I put the mirrored wings on the solar cooker. This thing keeps growing larger and larger by the day. The wife says it has gotten so big it blocks her view. This is it though, the last addition.
The final temperature turned out to be 260 degrees. That is forty less than I was shooting for and the only thing I can think of is the angle of the glass. I put it on a 45 and I have read some people angle the glass and mirrors a little steeper than that so not to deflect the sun rays. They maybe on to something. The only other thing would be to add a fourth mirror on the top. Hmmmmm!

Other than that, just some good ole cleaning and redistributing of junk to different locations was all that took place today.
I had four helpers so all the barn was cleaned and re bedded plus the whole yard had a mini makeover. We did get the new brooder in it's place so tomorrow the wife plans to get it ready for the chick arrival on the 15th.
Also tomorrow I need to replant the salad garden. It has been three weeks now and out of all the different seeds I planted not one thing sprouted. I don't know if replanting will do any good or not but I have to give it a try.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Three Day Weekend

With the nice cool weather and a three day weekend, there is no telling what can get done around the mini farm.

After work today I finished the mirrored wings for the solar cooker and plan to install them in the morning so I can run test #2 and see if that is all it will take to get it to 300 degrees. Earlier this week I redid the back door and put on some heat resistant insulation. If this does not do it, then I guess I am stuck with whatever temperature it runs.

I also plan to finish the trampoline frame horse shelter. I still need to tack weld the joints and figure out how the tarp can be attached so the wind will not blow it around. Keep in mind this is only temporary till one day I can finish the fencing and build a nice little mini horse barn.

Other than that it will be a weekend of cleaning and organizing. The wife ordered more chicks yesterday and they will be here on the 15th of this month. I have a new brooder system I plan to set up Sunday to see if it will work. It should be snake proof this time.

It feels good to have the AC off and the windows open. I bet I sleep like a baby tonight.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Good Rain

It has been storming here for the last couple of days and more is on the way. A cool front is right behind it bringing some really nice weather. One problem with rain days are, being on satellite internet I do not have service when it's cloudy.
With a break in the rain right now I have a small window to post so I hope I can get it in.

We have another new member to the Modern Day Redneck family. Mr. Place sent me a web site with some very detailed plans on making a five try incubator. If you are interested, the web site is Before you just hit print I should warn you it is 62 pages long. Welcome to the family Mr. Place.

September 24th and 25th, Fredericksburg TX is having it's 11th annual Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair. If everything goes right the Rednecks are going to Fredericksburg. More information is at

Looks like it is clouding up again so I have to get this published.