Thursday, June 30, 2011

Well, It's Over

It should have been over a month or so ago but I just could not let those eggs go to waste. The last batches in the incubators are hatched out and they are turned off. Now we have a surplus of chicks with a small market.

People do not want to buy chickens in the heat of the summer. I don't blame them one bit. I do not want to raise chickens in the summer either but I have about 150 to 200 left. I don't even know what I got, hows that for management. The doors have been open so much and chickens run in and out, coming and going and the sure fire system we had of banding the legs in conjunction with the age and rotating the chicks from brooder #1 to brooder #2 then to yard #1 and finally ending up in yard #2, flew out the window on the second hatch.
Now I have 4 month olds running with 4 week olds, in the gardens, with the geese, with the dog, in the goat pen and even under the house. Complete disorder. And with my OCD like mind set where everything has to have a place and a order, I just put my head in my hands and go back in the house. Out of site out of mind I guess.

Just ask neighborlyplace, a blogger herself and one of the MDR blog readers that came by last night for a tour of the Mini Farm and to buy some chickens. Her first words were "Oh, Wow, there are a bunch of them".
The good thing is if I cannot sell them then in the fall I will a bunch that are laying and can sell them as layers. People want layers so I am sitting good I guess. 

It did not help that I needed to mow and clean up a few things the last storm blew around. I am not making excuses but it is hot. When I work in it all day, the last thing I want to do is come home, mow and clean the back yard. I guess that is on the books for this weekend.

Thank all yall for stopping by wishonshootingstars. It is nice to have people I never met show so much support for this young girl who is just now starting life. She will need everyone's words of wisdom and encouragement as she leaves home for the first time. Yall are real friends even thou I don't know what you look like. You can take this to the bank, if you need anything you just email or call me.
Thanks again.   

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Giddy As A School Girl

There are not many times in my life where all 6'4", 285 pounds of my, little less than solid anymore, Redneck man ways breaks down and acts like a teenage school girl getting ready for her first date, but last night was an exception.
In two weeks we will be taking the oldest girl down to Texas A&M for her student conference and we will be doing the parent tour along with it. That should be enough to send any parent into a boastful state of happiness but that is for only one day.
While the girl stays at the campus, the wife and I will have two days to just be together and do things. Yall might think that is why I got all giddy, but your wrong.
Tuesday we plan to visit Washington On The Brazos to see where Texas got it's start. I have always wanted to go there and take the tour. I love history and I love Texas so this is a double thumbs up for me. That's exciting, but not giddy exciting.

Here it is, ready? While there, they have a Amish community of sorts that lives the way they did in 1833. It was featured on Texas Country Reporter a few months back and I really wanted to go and check it out.
Ok, Here's the good part, I pay them $5 to get to dressed up and work on their farm. Oh yea, who's your daddy?
I will get to run a team of oxen, make soap, spin yarn, plant crops, haul hay, use an outhouse, help cook and do it all without AC or any type of modern technology. I become the living exhibit.  How exciting is that?

Hold on a second, after typing it out and reading it back, it does not sound so fun. I am going to pay them money, to do the stuff I already do at the Mini Farm, minus the Oxen. This is a scam! Why can't I have people pay me to do my work? That's genius.  Have city folks come down and work your fields and make your stuff for you, and get paid while watching you do it.
At any rate it is worth it to say I played Amish for a day. Oh will I have some stories to tell.
I can see it now, I bet you, in a couple of years the story will go from being Amish for a few hours to living in a community for a year of so. That's funny           

Oh, one other thing, I know everyone is busy with all that you do, but if you have a minute to spare stop by
I was going through some of my readers one day and stumbled upon this young lady's blog. I started to read it and thought to myself this young girl has her head on straight and also some amazing parents. They sounded just like me and the wife. When I saw the pic of this young lady, I realized she does have some amazing parents because they are us. Yup, it's my oldest girl and boy can write, she must have got that from her momma.  

Monday, June 27, 2011

Was That A Train Wreck?

Wow! I don't know what happen yesterday but I think a train wrecked inside my head all day. I was down and out. It hurt so bad I was almost thinking tumor or something. Needless to say not much went on except me acting like a baby. Today is a little better but I can feel it still wanting to de-rail again so I took it easy at work and tried to stay cool.
You know how us men are when it comes to being sick. We can bite the head off a rattle snake for breakfast and drink the poison for a after meal smoothie, but give us a stomach ace and we become 4 again.

The wife ran some errands for me today and one of those was picking up the water pump and thermostat for the middle girls truck. I think I might need to let this one set for a day or two because I sure don't want to that pain to come back again so soon.

Saturday we advertised one of our buck pygmy goats for free. Nobody ever wants to buy a buck goat but plenty of people want it if it's free. I had one lady want me to deliver it and I told her that I was not going to deliver a free goat. She could not understand why.
The reason I am telling yall this is because it seems that everyone wants to text instead of calling me no days. I am not a text-er and when I tried to call them back, they would not answer the phone. I was finally able to get rid of the free goat and also was able to convince the people they needed to buy one of the does to keep the buck company. All through texting.
That was the first time I have ever sold animals by only texting. When the people arrived, I didn't have anything to say to them and neither did they say much to me. They just loaded up, paid and went on their way. When they left, they started texting again on how much they appreciated everything.
I don't understand it.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Covered In It Again

For some reason I thought my days of being covered in grease were long gone. I was wrong.

Back in the day I worked on old truck by fixen them up and selling them to make an extra dime here and there. The last projects I had were some old Broncos that I knew I would never sell but in the end I had to for the down payment on the Mini Farm. Even though I never got them all the way done, they still made a small profit. I knew right then the wind was out of my sail on working on old vehicles.

I got the truck for the middle girl a couple of weeks ago and knew I was going to have to do a little work on it and I really did not know why, but I was dreading it. By now all my tools have collected some rust from lack of use and most were put away in places that were not all that accessible anymore. Plus I do not have the ideal place anymore like a concrete floor and shade to do any major work. I think that is why I was dreading it the most. I have to roll around on the ground out in the sun, in the summer.

So I bit the bullet and got started yesterday and just like I figured the further I got into it the more I found wrong.      
We started off putting some better tires on it and while the wheels were off I saw it needed new breaks so we put new breaks on it. The starter was dragging making it hard to start so we also put a new one of those on as well.

While I was under the truck I noticed water dripping. I found the source to be the water pump.
In the old days a water pump was not that hard to change out. On the newer trucks though, you almost have to loosen the back bumper to get it off. The picture above is the whole front of the motor now sitting in the back of the truck and it all had to come off just for this little thing to be removed pictured to the left. 
While I am already there, I am going to go ahead and replace the thermostat and also found some bad rub spots on the radiator hoses so those will be replaced as well. Speaking of radiators, It looks as if this one has a hole in it down on the side in a place where it can not be fixed so a new one of those is now needed.
The good news is, with a complete new Cooling System (radiator, hoses, water pump, thermostat), Starter, Battery, Battery Cables, Tires, Breaks, Belt, Exhaust System, Plugs and Plug Wires this should be a sound truck.

If I would not have gotten it at the deal I did, I think I would have towed it back to my buddy's and left it.
But on the other hand, I am having fun doing it. It is nice to bust my knuckles again and see just how far I can still throw a ratchet.    

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Living List And The Crossroad

The Bible is called the living word of God because it speaks to us in different ways at different times of our lives. No matter what we are looking for or whatever we are going through in our daily struggles, the Bible has something on it. We may have read a passage a hundred times before and then one day it will just click and mean something totally different than we have ever thought before, a deeper understanding so to speak.

I am not comparing my project list to the Bible by no means but in a scene, it does the same thing. A year and a half ago I made a list of all the projects that needed to be done to achieve my five year plan. In just a short couple of months that plan changed to a seven year plan and several more projects were added.
I re-visit my original project list on a monthly basis either adding or removing projects to soot the need of where I am going and what I am doing. I even have a sketch of what the final product or the finished outcome will look like. I have even taken the time to prioritize each item and also break down every project into a parts list with the estimated total cost for each. It is an OCD thing I think.

I don't know if it a mood thing or a maturity thing and it could even be an influenced thing but reading over my project list again this month I noticed my direction might have change some because the list is not where I really want to end up.
For instance, there is a big possibility I might not even be living where I am at in three to five years so why would I want to build structures that cannot be moved. On the other hand if I am here for another twenty years, I will be kicking myself for not building them. I have already put a lot of effort and expense into the Mini Farm and most of it cannot go with me if I need to go. Some recent events have came up to where I need to rethink all this.       
Plus, most of my thoughts and plans have turned toward survival mode and about half of the projects are for functionality and producing products to make money, not surviving. Oh I guess they could be used for living if need be but I would still have to rely on electric off the pole to survive for long periods of time to make it work.  I could focus on just the projects that have to do with being more self sufficient and then see where we go from there but a lot of those are stationary projects that would have to left.

Next on the list is the outdoor kitchen. I really want to build it but the wife says we might need to wait and see what the next few months have in store for us and focus on our food, medical and living storage instead. I don't want to wait, but on the other hand I want all that other stuff done now too. The kitchen will cost an estimated $1500 to build and it will not be able to be moved. My dream kitchen will be someones else.

With the recent storms, I can see now that we will not be able to rely solely on the gardens to produce for our needs. They will be an added supply but cannot be the primary so that means more storage space and more shelves that have to be stocked.
I need to build a underground storage room for all the food and supplies but there we go again, a structure that cannot be moved when or if we do. If we store everything in the house and the house gets blown away in a tornado then we are helpless because all the supplies will be gone as well. A shipping container gets to hot to store food in plus they are about $4000 dollars.  A cellar cost about the same and I do not want to put that much money into something and just leave it.

I am at a crossroad, standing at the intersection scratching my head wondering which way to go. Either way I go I know I will kick myself for going that way. There is never a middle ground with me, it is either all or nothing, one way or the other and most of the times I find out after it is to late I just walked around the same circle I was just on finding myself right back in the same spot making the same decisions I did before.

The Bible tells us not to store up our earthy treasures but when I starve to death I am afraid he is doing to say, "You dummy, I gave you the knowledge to survive and you didn't"

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Counting Losses

Another bad storm blew through last bring more high winds and heavy down pours.
More corn is down and this time we did have some animal losses.I have about 75 six week old chickens in yard #1 and last night when I put them up they were spread out really good. I guess the storm spooked them and they all huddled in the corner and the ones on the bottom were trampled. Counting the losses was around $80.
It really makes you sick when you open the door and see it. I don't know what I could have done any different. As soon as they get past this age they will start roosting on the perches and not the ground.

Other than that just more stuff was blown over and knocked down. Some of the house had a little siding damage but it is all fixable.
No storms tonight so we might finally get some sleep.         
No work again today has landed me right back behind this computer working on my special secret project that will be releasing in a few weeks. It should be a hit.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

To Small To Eat

Storms blew through here with a vengeance last night bring 80 mile and hour winds, hail and rain falling sideways. In town there were building ripped to shreds and trees up rooted throughout town.  
Thank goodness the Mini Farm escaped with little damage.

Here is a picture of a small amount of the corn that was uprooted. I did not want to harvest the corn this way but I went ahead and pulled off the little 3" ears. There were not enough to bring out the canning equipment and the ears were to small to really, eat so I just fed them to the chickens. I only have three corn stalks standing now and that will not be enough to last all winter, maybe just a meal or two. Store bought corn here I come.  
 All the tomato plants are laying on their sides. I have 12 plants in all and not a one is still standing. They are still rooted so I think I will leave them the way they are and not take the risk of standing them up and breaking the stalks.
Pepper plants are the same way. I can still cage these without fear of breakage and maybe they will be ok.

Even the Sweet potato plants were beat up really bad from the hail but I guess it could have all been worse.

On a positive note nothing drowned, the barns are still standing and rain barrels are full.

Tonight is round two with some really bad stuff heading this way so wish us luck.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

If I Had Better, I Can't Remember When

 Fathers day weekend is one of my most favorite weekends of the year. For one reason, the stuff that I do that I usually get yelled at for is ok during this two day weekend. Another is, I don't have to do anything I don't want too, but most of all it is where everyone is generally nice to me.

Yesterday what I thought was going to be a really messed up day yesterday turned into a pretty good one. After the middle girl was done with her test (that was later explained to me as a test she has to take so she can take dual credit courses) me, her and the youngest went to the zoo. I had a great time with them and wished to whole family could have came along.

After we got home from the zoo I had a little surprise for the middle daughter. She has been working real hard now for about two months and doing real good at her job. She got her driving permit last month and of course has been talking about how she was going to save and get a truck. A buddy of mine had this pickup and did not need it so he made me a great deal on it and I thought it would be perfect for a teenage girl. It has a couple of whiskey dents here and there and it needs a little TLC, but all in all I think it will work just fine. She spent all morning out there cleaning and adding her own little touches to it and could not stop smiling when she was driving it around. So this weekend I am the best Dad ever in her eyes.

Last nights Fathers Day and Anniversary supper we did for Mom and Dad was a big hit. Almost the whole family was there and they really appreciated it.
It is good that we all can get together like that as much as we do without to many problems. It was not always like that though. When we were all young and bringing new mates into the family it was just like throwing a new hen in the hen house. The pecking order gets all messed up and there is always fights and gossip.
We all have been together for a long time now and all that stupid stuff is pretty much gone. There are still some "Butting of Heads" every now and then, but we all now where each others buttons are and try to fall just shy of pushing them.
Take one of my sister-in-laws for instance, we are both very outspoken people and we tend to offend whoever we talk to, sometimes. If you are not offended, then you haven't talked with us long enough. The only way we show that we like each other is when we hurl insults at one another. This goes on from the moment we see each other till the time one of us leaves. Sometimes she gets the upper hand and sometimes I do. In the end everyone is happy because we take it out on each other and not anyone else. It may sound strange but we found something that works.       

My Fathers day gift to myself is, I decided not to sweat. I did some work on the new truck this morning with the girl and for the rest of the day I am not going back out in the 104 degree heat. I even put on my lounging shorts and everyone knows that means I am going to do nothing. Those shorts don't come out very often but when they do they mean it.
I will tell yall this, Redneck girls know what a Redneck Dad wants for Fathers day. I got a package of socks, a new pair of wire cutters and a brand new fiberglass handled sledge hammer. What else could a guy need.
I think this is the best one yet. Every body is full, happy, cool and smiling.

I hope all yalls Father day goes as good as mine has. Have a great day and a better week.

Here are some pictures of the storm that blew in last night and no we did not get a drop of rain from it.   


Friday, June 17, 2011

Really Busy Weekend, But......

It looks like I will not have a spare minute this weekend to do what needs to be done on the Mini Farm, but the stuff I am doing is stuff that really, really needs to be done, do you follow?

Tomorrow I will be spending five hours at a test center with my middle girl. I can not tell you what kind of test she is taking or even what it's for. I know it cost $75 dollars and it takes five hours. That is $15 an hour these people are making per child for a test that is school required for the kids to take I do not have a clue what for. That sounds kinda like a government job.
After the big test I have to rush home and get everything ready for a special Fathers day supper me and my brother are doing for our Dad. This small gathering is also for heir anniversary so it has double meaning.
I am trying to get what needs to be cooked, cooked tonight so all I have to do is heat and go.
So that's how my Saturday will be spent. It's not being productive on the farm and it's not going to make me any money but the family time I will get is priceless.

Sunday will be spent at church and with all my girls, nothing else. That's living right there.

One quick note. If you get a chance to catch up on some blog reading you ought to go over and check out the blog Standing Outside Looking In  He is a Southern veteran with a big streak of independence and the newest member of the MDR family. Stop by and give him a real Redneck welcome.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

To Hot To Do........

So far this week is has been to hot to do anything but stay cool. I have a big weekend planned and will share it with yall tomorrow.
In the mean time, stay cool.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

That Figures

I put up the link for the Modern Day Redneck T-Shirts about four months ago and was wondering why nobody has bought a single one. I know if I was not the MDR himself I would have already owned every design (I guess since I am I should anyway). So it got me to thinking that I had better check on why this is not working out like I had planned.
I finally had the chance to devote to it today and quickly noticed when you clicked on the link it took you to the site but nothing was on there to buy. After several minutes of searching for the customer service number I called and of corse it was a simple mistake that, you guessed it, I made.
I never noticed it because I was always logged in when I hit the link and it took me right to my design center.
Now the shop is up and running and you can choose from 10 different designs and can put them on anything from a coffee cup to a handbag. Please let me know if it works or not. I don't want to wait another four months to catch it. You can click on the shirt or the bold words "YES I WANT TO BE A REDNECK"
If you were wondering, all proceeds go right back into the Mini Farm and all it's many projects.

I am also working on something else I am calling my "secret project" when it's to hot to do anything outside. I will keep you updated but I can tell yall this, you will love it.     

Monday, June 13, 2011

Good News and Bad

The good news is the AC is up and running and now life can get back to normal. The bad news is, life can get back to normal.
I guess it takes doing some hard time to be thankful of what you got and also makes you think that maybe we don't need half the stuff we do have. I don't guess I would want to live in a camper and grill out every night of the week from now on or piss ant dishes and food back and forth from the house to the camper more than a couple of days at a time but I tell you this, being homeless (so to speak) every now and then makes you really wonder if you need that big TV or all those fancy kitchen gadgets.

I know what your thinking, "Dude, it was for only a weekend" and you are right, but if the repair guy would not have worked out a deal for us then it could have been a month or so. Thank goodness we had animals to sell. It took everything we made this weekend from the Mini Farm sell plus a little to get back into the house.

Is that not what  the animals are for. I look at it as they are an investment for just those hard times. You might even say they are my living savings account. Yes it is a high risk savings account but they did their job again this time. When "It" happens they are there for food, money or trade. I did have to make some deals and sell some for less than I would have any other time but in the end they did their job.

We still have about 200 chickens, 4 geese, 15 goats, 29 quail, a incubator full of eggs and a garden full of food. I could stand to sell off about 100 more chickens and a couple of goats and be just fine.

It was a tough weekend but in the end I think we came out of a little stronger and we did learn a thing or two in the process so it was a win win.

There has been a few new members to the MDR family and I wanted to give a big welcome to them. You know who you are and I sure do thank yall for becoming part of all this mess. If yall need anything just let me know. Drop me an e-mail or just leave a comment and I will always respond.
Thanks again for being a part of  Modern Day Redneck.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Nice Thoughts

I stepped out of the camper this morning right as the sun was coming up over the horizon. A since of calmness was all around and not a single sound echoed in the stillness of the new day. I yawned and stretched my arms as far out as they would go to loosen up my old bones and popping some back into place. A fresh new day awaited me and I was not about to loose a second of it.
To top off the beautiful morning, a cubby of quail flushed and flew right over where I was standing. I smiled as I watched them glide over the fence with such charm and grace. I have never seen a wild cubby of quail out this way before and I had a moment of peacefulness knowing that they might be on the rebound and growing in numbers.
As the fogginess of sleep slowly dissipated from my eyes and brain I thought, "Those quail were really small to be wild." Then It hit me, I looked over at the brooder house and the door to the quail room was standing wide open. Those graceful wild flying cubby of quail are mine!

Sleeping in a camper in the backyard while still paying a mortgage payment on the house is not all that bad. No really, this morning it was a chilly 55 degrees in the camper when the house never cooled below 85. To top it all off, I have had two nieces staying with me this weekend so seven people in a pop up camper is a little cramped but without modern conveniences you find things to do and talk about. Yesterday evening we decided to forget about our problems and spent the remainder of the day at the lake laying around and cooling in it's waters, it was nice. 

If your going to live in a box behind your house then do it right. The only thing we are using the house for is the bathroom and showers. We are eating everything right out of the gardens and cooking it all on the grill. Tonight we are having grilled squash, fresh beans, chicken and smoked salad with spinach dip for the bread (Ok, the bread was bought). Let me tell you what, it does not matter where you lay your head, that is living right there.

The weekend sell has come and gone. The AC problem made it where we sold a lot more than we wanted to so to cover the cost of the repair if it is not a major replacement. If that is the case then we may be in the camper the rest of the summer.I convinced the repairman I was his top priority and he is now planning to be here tomorrow. Cross your fingers.

Oh, I almost forgot to finish my quail story. We managed to recover 29 out of about 100 quail this morning. That is a loss of around $200. I guess with all the people that came and went this weekend, somehow the door did not get locked and blew open during the night. I could get mad and curse Murphy one more time this week but it's nobody's fault, it's just one of those things. I know now that those doors to the brooder house needs to be spring loaded. What good is it to loose my religion over a stupid bird anyway?

Yall have a good week and stay cool.                    

Saturday, June 11, 2011

I Just Knew It!!!!!

I knew it was going to happen but I did not know when.
For the past week or so little things have been going wrong and the trend is, after a while the little things turn into a big one in the end. I have tried to keep a positive attitude about the whole think but in the back of my head I knew trouble was coming.
Today my AC in the house went out. It has gone out twice before but this time it is different, it is really, really out. It is the compressor this time. Of course it always has to happen on a hot summer weekend and the repair man can't get here till Monday or Tuesday of the next week to even look at it.
Everything we sold today plus a lot more we don't have will have to go to fixing the stupid thing.

I did it to myself. The wife got a new job, we are having a good weekend selling here at the Mini Farm and for the first time I could see a little daylight in all these struggles and thought we might just get ahead. I actually even cracked a smile for the first time in a long time. I should have known better than that.

Now we are back living in the pop-up camper. The house is sitting at 97 degrees inside and there is no way that can work for sleeping. I am very thankful we have this camper because if not we would really be in bad shape.

I am sorry for the complaining but I just needed to vent there for a second because if it's not one thing it's another. .

Friday, June 10, 2011

Standards Of Living

I was reading one of the blogs I subscribe to the other day and the lady was talking about some of the hardships she was going through. One of her readers chastised her for the way she and her husband are choosing to live and told her to just stop living that way and everything will be ok.
I can relate to that instance because I have had people tell me the same thing and that my problems are because I live above my means.

Modern technology has made it where it is virtually impossible to live without it. Don't get me wrong a person can still live, but they would be completely disconnected from everything and everybody. In my work truck right now I have four cell phones (only one is mine), two GPS tracking units and a internet lap top computer. It is sad, but I could not do business without them. I am connected more than I ever wanted to be.

About being connected, I read about people living off the grid but still have the internet. I know that the term "Grid" is not talking about that but to me it is, you are still connected to the world by either a land line or satellite. When I think of "Off the grid" I think of the Ingles on Little House On The Prairie. It is sad that those days are long gone and given the chance, I don't know if we could handle that hard of a living anymore so we all buy into the notion that easy living comes with a hefty price and we gladly pay it. Some less than others but still we use some modern way to live easy all the same. Even if it is AC or just a refrigerator and why not? We work for the money to pay for it. It is there to use at our disposal and if it makes life easier than again, why not?  Where is that fine line between "old school" and "new wave" and why is there a line anyway?.I will save that one for another post.

My job requires me to talk to people all day long. I use the time more as an interview process than anything else. By asking questions I find out how people live, what they do on their off times, how they relax and from all that I gather what their standards of living are like.
One instance is, a guy I talked with refuses to pay for a TV service, so he does not have one. It's not that he can't afford it, it's just that he does not want to pay to watch comericals. Another one does not own a televison because he said it is a waste of money and kills the brain cells, but on the weekends he stays at the casinos drinking and gambling. I am not judging him, I just thought is was kinda counter productive.
I draw the line, with AC. I could care less about all the phones, computers, internet, good clothes and fancy trucks, but I have to have air conditioning. AC is by far the best invention mankind ever made.
All and all the people I talk to never really pay it much mind that they are paying other people for services to live a easier life. I usually end our conversations by asking them what could they live without. 90% of the time they respond, they would not choose to live without any of it.     

It is obvious that living above ones means is when you have more money going out than coming in, but for some it is living above what others think you are in tilted to.
I am asked all the time why I bought that Nissan truck. They go on to tell me I could have saved money and bought I cheaper one. Here is the way I look at it, if I was asking them for money to make the truck payment then I would expect them to get in my business but I don't. Never-the-less, they still feel that it is their duty to inform me of what they think I should have done. If I had an old truck that was broke down most of the time then the same people would critize me for that as well and then call my white trash.
Why do people feel the need to fix our problems? My buddy said I needed a credit card because there is no way you can live without them in today's world. I am going on 11 years now without any. Yes, I do agree that a credit card would be nice when I need something right now. The problem is, his standard of living is a little higher than mine. Where I would settle on something used, cheap and ugly, he wouldn't.

I tend to do the same thing to other people. When someone is complaining about being broke and down on their luck I tend to give them my advice when I am in no better shape then they are. My nephew was saying that his truck was broke down and he was a foot but in the same breath he showed me his new tattoos. Yup, I gave him my two cents right then and there even when I could not afford the tattoos that were on his arm.   

Ask anyone and they have the perfect system or at least they think they do. So how can one persons standard of living be the same as the next? What works for them might not work for me and vice-versa. I know several old farmers that drive around in junky old trucks but have new tractors. It's their business and their choice so why should I think all because it is not what I would do, then it is wrong. I know that tractor is making them money and if they wanted to buy a new truck they would, but the average person sees only what they want too and then jumps to conclusions.   

Right now it takes almost $4000 a month to run my household and that's without saving a dime. I do not live a lavish lifestyle or have any extras so to speak. I have gone through the budget and if I got rid of the cell phones, TV and internet I could save $500 a month. By getting rid of all those extras would my standard of living increase or decrease? My living above my means would decrease but without those conveniences of technology then the standard of living would drop you would think.
Not necessarily, If I was dependent on those things for money and they were taking away from me then yes my standardized way of life would decrease. But if I really don't need them and was able to live without all that, then living would increase with the money I am saving now. I think it's all in your perspective.       

I admire the person who lives how they want too. If they want to spend it all then let them. If they want to complain about being broke and down on their luck then let them, it is their right to do so. It is their choice to live their dream, not ours. If they ask you for money, then you can get in their business but until then, just let them live the way they want too and stop with all the "you should haves" and "I would do it different". If I want to set my AC at 72 degrees and then complain about the electric bill I will. My standard of living is just that, mine even if it is above my means.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Where did They All Come From

This weekend the Mini Farm is open for business. It sounds funny to say that because if you called or just stopped by anytime you can still buy whatever we have for sell, but this is the advertised mass selling we do every month.
Chickens, man do we have the chicks to sell this month. Where they came from who knows but we got them. The brooder house and yard #1 is overflowing with anywhere from 2 to 6 week old yard birds of several different types of breeds. The price depends on the age and the breed. Plus the Bobwhite quail are getting on up there and can be sold and finished out for half of what a full grown one would cost at 18 weeks.

I think the wife only has a couple of pygmy goats she is wanting to sell and bring the herd to what we want to start off with in the fall.
Speaking of goats, we had a three hit the ground today but I am a little leery of the momma. One was still born and another is just not acting right. I am afraid we have another Lucy on our hands and will have to bottle feed the thing. The momma is being stand offish for some reason. This is not her first kidding with us and and she did great last time.

 I also think I am going to sell some worms. The youngest says we are getting too many in our worm beds and need to thin them down a bit but I need to check before I post the add. I know how she is.

The gardens are making just enough for us right now so there will not be any fresh produce for sell this time around. I have always wanted to do a CSA garden but am afraid of a bad growing year and then have to refund all that money that is already spent. I have the room if I wanted to do it but I just don't have the nerves at this time. The CSA is all part of the master plan but I am just not ready to build that many gardens.

All this is fixen to get a little harder. The wife went out and found a job and she starts tomorrow. I support her in this but on the other hand it is nice to have her at the house. With the middle daughter needing a car and the added college costs with the oldest one, the extra money will be nice and much needed. Even if we have to stop all the animal selling for a while, it would be worth it to get caught up.

I have an idea on a post I am going to write tomorrow titled "Standards Of Living". I was inspired to write it when I was reading about the hardships of one of the bloggers I subscribe to. Come back, check it out and tell me what you think.   

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lumber Galore

My job was shut down for the day for safety reasons so first thing this morning I went over to my dad's and helped with some fencing he was doing.
He let me know the owner of one of the old barns up the road a bit that blew down during the storms was getting ready to burn all that wood that came from it. They tore it the rest of the way down and just piled the lumber up and told me to come get what I wanted. So me and the wife and her friend R hauled home three loads of 2X4s, 2X6' and 2X8s, plus we brought home one full intact wall and some hand carved cedar posts the wife wants to use for decoration.
I was running really low on wood around here and this made it where I can now build the quail room. Them thangs are so wild you can't even open the door of the brooder house without them flying out. They are needing a new home and quick.
More of the big wall panels are still over there but my help all got hurt and I could not lift it myself so maybe if they have not burned by this weekend then I will be able make another run.

I think for the time being we have the heat under control for the animals. They are still hot but not as hot as they were. What is in the incubator right now will be our last hatch till September and next summer we intend to cut it off a little earlier than we did this year. It is either to hot or to cold with little room in between and it takes to much electricity to keep them alive.  

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Shattered Dreams

The heat has already made it's way into North Texas with temps reaching triple digits this weekend. The official news may not say it hit 100 but all my thermometers here were at 103 degrees. All this does is shatter most of the project plans for the early summer.

The ever growing project list is hanging over my head like a ton of bricks tied off with 5lb fishing line and now with the added element of heat mixed in plus never having enough time and money has thrown it's knock out blow to anything that was planned not to mention any will to do it. In just the matter of days the focus has turned from the building of the outdoor kitchen and entertaining areas to trying to keep the animals alive and cool. Before church today right at sunrise I was installing a forced air system for the brooder house. We already had four fans blowing around hot air and the inside temperature was reaching up to 110 degrees. With this new system I will be able to hang wet burlap over the draw fans and maybe have a make shift water cooler effect and lower the temp some. We have already started loosing chicks due to the heat and I refuse to except that at anytime, much less in the first week of June.

On a positive note, the garden produced another great harvest this week. With the heat, the tomatoes are really putting out and by this time next week we should have enough for the first round of canning. The corn is over six foot tall and the peppers have taken off like this is the weather they have been waiting for.

Last year we planted the okra about two weeks late due to the space needs and this year is no different. We have to harvest the onions before we have the room to plant the okra so last weekend was when the seeds were planted. While everyone else has one foot tall plants ours are just sprouting.
I still have the room for three to four more raised beds in the garden area and hope they get done by next year and then we will not have any more space issues.

This weeks goal is to keep everything alive including ourselves.                

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Thoughts Of A Redneck

These are the kind of questions and thoughts you would find running through the head of your everyday normal Redneck on a daily basis. Some might disagree but others will be shaking their heads yes all the way through.

10. If I run over that skunk right there, how long would I smell bad?
9. If I put my snuff way in the back of my mouth, would she notice when I kiss her? Cause man this Copenhagen is expensive.
8. I bet that purty woman in Walmart didn't hit on me because she's gay.
7. I wonder what a swim suit model would look like with a farmers tan?
6. With bigger tires on my truck, I bet I could get further out in the mud before I got stuck.
5. I wonder what it would look like if I shot a full beer with my shot gun?
4. Why did I just shoot my last beer?
3. Why are there so many dag gum cars on the road, aren't they all suppose to be at work?
2. The bonfires a going out, go get the gas can.
And the number one thing that goes through a Rednecks head on a daily bases is:
1. Come take my guns, I dare ya.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Foiled Again

On my way home yesterday I was driving down the road and noticed some houses with foil on the their windows. There was a time when we did the same thing every summer to help with the cooling of the house. I told the wife I did not like the look of it back then and still don't to this day. I always thought it to looked kinda cheap and played to much into the stereotypical redneck thing or even going as far as some people calling it white trash air-conditioning.
I don't know how it all got started. Maybe it was from the yuppies or something but never the less, I have never liked it.
Last summer to beat the heat we bought these expensive drapes that are insulated on the outside and were advertised as a heat barrier for your windows. They did work to some degree but in the end, heat still passed through. The bubble wrap idea appealed to me but the kind you buy for the absorption of heat is cost prohibited when you have a lot of windows like we do.
Seeing windows wrapped in tin foil on the way home was no surprise. This week it has been in the upper 90's and today I think it hit over 100 where I was and after being out in it all day I really do not want to come home and sweat while I am in the house. My thought is, if I have to sweat to earn it then I am not going to sweat to enjoy it.
I drive up to my house and there it sat in all it's tin foiled glory. Every window was covered and shinning like a prized jewel. The suns reflection on it would put your eye out at 100 yards if you stood in the right spot long enough. With a cringe I walked in the house from the hot outside temp of 98 to find it a very nice 74 degrees. Best of all, the AC was not running.
So as I sat down and took a big drink of ice tea. The wife was waiting for me to say something but all I did was smile and say how nice it felt in here.
Needless to say, I was the dummy last year by paying the high electric bills and buying those stupid drapes and still sweating. Not anymore. I will take my tin foiled windows over any high dollar drapes any day.     

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Excuses, Excuses

We all use them, we all make them up for one reason or another. Some are justified and are real legitimate reasons and some are just what they are, excuses.

Some of us even go to the extreme with our excuses. Our friends D&R and my wife are the worlds worst. They have signals when they are ready to leave. They usually set them up on the ride there.  When the time comes you cannot miss the show they give me. It is like a batting coach to the batter and then I have to go to the host and come up with an excuse on why we have to leave. It could be a simple tug of the ear or a pat on the shoulder, but if I miss it the first time then all three will be throwing signs from across the room shortly after. They look like a group of monkeys. All three standing in a line staring at me tugging on and ear, scratching their right elbow, rubbing the back of the neck, all three throwing different signs but in the end I get the hint.
If I am not ready to leave at that time and ignore the signs given then the wife will turn her phone all the way up, stand by me and her friend R will text her. She will tell me in a elevated voice that one of the girls just texted her and needs a ride just like she was reading from a script.
Don't judge, we all have done it.
The chickens are usually my excuse. When I am done and wanting to leave a party I can always say "Well, I need to go and feed the chickens"

The worst is when the wife and I say an excuse at the same time but they are not the same. I will say I need to go feed the chickens and she will say we have a fence down and I always try and cover it up with a rebuttal and it comes out something like this "Well, I need to go put the chickens down the fence". Don't judge, just keep reading, we aren't the only ones.

At our party Saturday night I watched the crowd and being the expert sign receiver that I am, I could pick up on when someone was fixen to leave. Most of the time it was the subtle three pat of the shoulder then a light rub from a wife to her husband and then just like clock work, 30 seconds later I would hear and excuse and we would shake hands and part ways. The only ones I ever make feel guilty are the ones that head for the gate right after they throw their plates away. "Just eat and run".  

With the added sigh "Well, (sigh) I guess we ought to......." makes it look like you would rather stay there than what you need to or clam you need to go do. Why do we all do it? Maybe it is partly to spare the feelings of the host and partly not to wear out your welcome. Maybe it is just better to show up, eat and leave rather than not go and have to make an excuse why you did not show. Every person has their own reasons.  

The host in turn never makes it easy either so the excuses always have to sound like a life or death ordeal. With the "oh, you don't have leave do you?" or the "leaving already?" or my favorite "Just eat and run then" coming from the host, always gives that little guilt trip a kick start and you think you should stay a little longer but the excuse is already out there and there is no turning back now. I always like that last kidney shot the host gives you as you walk out the door "well at least you showed up", kick me while I'm down will ya.

Lets turn the tables around for a second. Say your hosting a party, what about the guests that do not leave and you are long past ready for them to go. It's not that you don't want them there, it's just that the party is over and you are tired. That is when the hosts themselves starts giving subtle hints and excuses. Like, "Oh man I have to get up early tomorrow" or "wow, I'm so tired" as they yawn and stretch. My favorite is, "I'm about to fall asleep in this chair".
I was at one party where the host just got up and went to bed. "Yall stay as long as you want too" he said as he walked into the house. That got us all up and out, quick.

Where is that fine line. Do I stay and risk running out my welcome or do I just eat, pat my belly and head for the door? Every party is different and you know you are leaving at just the right time when the host yells back to you, "yall come back to see us".

I did not write this for any particular reason so nobody get offended this is not about you. I was at a lot of parties this weekend including my own and just thought it was funny to watch and listen to everyone as they scrambled to find the words to make an excuse to go home. Some subtle and some not. I think my favorite one I heard this weekend was, "Well, I need to run. I have to go pick the ticks off my dog"