Thursday, January 31, 2013

Greenhouse & Gardens

I finally got around to getting a couple of pictures of inside the greenhouse.

Almost all the way down one wall there are about seven different kinks of tomato plants in about forty containers. I will say, even though we don't have the room for all those tomato plants it's good to be able to choose the best ones to go in the garden when that time comes.
 One side of a cut in half 55 gallon drum holds the spinach and the other half of the drum holds the lettuce. We only do the leaf type so we can go out every night and trim the tops for our dinner salads. The wife plants these in stages so we can have fresh salads all the time. This will continue until they start tasting bitter.   
All the herbs are coming up as well. Most of these will be planted in the cooks herb beds right out the back door of the kitchen. There are enough herbs planted to take up one full corner of the greenhouse. We are also doing a medical herb garden again this year so we can dry a bunch and make into salves or teas to cure any issue we are faced with, hopefully.

What is not shown here is the other side of the greenhouse that holds all the pepper plants and whatever else the wife has planted.
Right now we are having to keep a heater in the greenhouse to keep the temps at 75 degrees. I don't like it but it is a necessity right now to make sure these little things have a chance. All the greenhouse is watered by the harvested rain water and ran through the bio sand filter.

This weekend I am planting potatoes and carrots. I am trying a new way to plant the taters this year because the stacking wood towers I built did not yield as much as I needed them to do. We ended up having to purchase potatoes to put by to last all year. Even though I got them cheap, I still had to spend the money because of a failed attempt for the real thing. It was the first year I had to buy taters in a long time.
I will post on how I am planting them this time.

That's all I got for now,
Have a good day

Monday, January 28, 2013

Just Real Quick

I never would have dreamed the time this new adventure of going back to college would take. The school said I only needed to spend about 5 to 8 hours a week per class, but I am finding it takes me a lot longer. Take this last week for instance, total I had to read about 50 chapters and take notes and write two 300 word essays. In the end I had 6 pages of notes and Sunday morning when I took this weeks test, none of the questions were on the notes I took. Plus they only allow you one minute per question, so you have to know it or know right where to go to get it.
Anyway, I'm not complaining, I'm just saying it's taking a lot more time than originally thought. I am making good grades though!

I didn't have time to get any pictures, but I did want to tell you the greenhouse is alive. Everything is sprouted and the spinach bed is already being harvested. I have switched over to 100% rainwater now and that has really made a huge difference. Before it was a mixture of rain water and well water just to lessen the burden on both the well and the stored water.
It has been a week running everything like the Bathhouse, Animals and Gardens strictly on the rain water and by using this weeks calculations I need it to rain every 10 weeks. If not I will have to replenish with some well water or increase the storage capacity.
I will try and get some greenhouse pictures and post them this week.

Before I go I want to say a Welcome to a couple of new Modern Day Redneck family members.
Cheryl Collins and Jason & Michelle    
Thank y'all for coming over and hitting the follow button. I am down to posting only a couple times a week due to time restraints but hope to pick that up soon. If you need anything my email is on the right side of the blog.
Again, thank you and welcome to MDR 


Monday, January 21, 2013

Back Online

In the throws of all my piddling this weekend I took the time to rebuild the solar pump box and get it back online .

This box is the life line of the rain water harvest system. It is powered by 12 volt batteries that are recharged by the sun. Those batteries power a on demand 45 psi pump.
The rain water is pumped into the solar bath house and through the sprinkler system in the gardens. Plus it is used to water the animals.
With something so important you would think I would have taken better care of it.
First, a dog tore up the solar panel and second I did not drain the pump and it froze and busted the housing.

Being negligent in my work has cost me.  I can't point to anyone else but me on this one.

 The good thing is the pump housing only cost $17 compared to a complete new unit at $100 so I lucked out on that one.
This picture is in the side of the box that holds the pump.
In the top right corner is the busted piece I had to replace.  
   I did have to buy a new 7 watt solar panel and it works great.
While I was taking the old one to the trash I decided to try and fix it. I guess I am hard headed enough not to except that it was trash.With some good old Southern engineering I fixed the panel and hooked it back up. Now I have 13 watts total recharging the batteries.   

A quick update on the Bio Sand Filter,
I have it up and running. It produced 25 gallons yesterday for the green house. I don't want to drink it just yet,at least not until I get the water tested.

I know it ain't much but that's all I got for now.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Only 10 Minutes

I was sitting  out back this morning when the sun just started to poke it's head up and over the horizon. A light blanket of fog covered the bottom making it where I could just barely making out the lines of the barn. I sat, sipping my hot, steaming cappuccino and said a humbled thank you for my blessings. 

10 minutes is all it was going to take to pick up the barn. 10 minutes is all it would have taken to clean up the wood pile. 10 minutes was needed to organize the feed room. 10 minutes and I could have had the scrap lumber stacked. 10 minutes and I could have finished one of the raised beds. 10 minutes and...........

All it would have taken was 10 minutes to complete this or that around the Mini Farm for the last few weeks, but I was too busy to worry about such small things. I would use the excuses, it was too cold outside, too wet, the game is on and so on. All those little items added up quickly and now a full list of 10 minute things turned into a weekend of chores.

Something else that needed to be be done was getting the gardens going. I had planned to plant the onions last weekend, but the ground was frozen so that was a no go. Two bunches of Texas Whites and one bunch of Purple was planted.
I ran out of onions last year so I hope three bunches will last a little longer this time around. I think if I can stay out of them and quit picking the green onions for dinner, then I might have enough.    

The wife stayed in the greenhouse most of the day yesterday getting all the seeds planted. I would hear a sound every now and then coming from inside there signaling she was still alive and kicking so I just left her alone to do her thing. That little place is stuffed full now and I like it. There is more things planted than we have room for, but I like it like that. 

That's all I got for now. I have to get busy on the rest of my 10 minute list that will take me all day.
I hope y'all have a great day.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

College Kid

I am a college kid again. Yea, no kidding.
Yesterday was the re-start of what I started so many years ago but never finished. After reading what all I have to do I am now second guessing and wondering what in the world have got myself into.
It's not like I had nothing to do or was bored. I have plenty to keep me busy and that's if I never even left the house. This just added another eight to ten hours of work on me a week.
Never the less, if I can keep the reason why I did this in the back of my mind the whole time then this should be okay.

The rains kept me from working on the taking down the old house this weekend so that has put me another week behind. Maybe this coming weekend I will get something done down there.

I got my fan hooked up to the Solar Beer Can Heater and Sunday with full sun and 37 degrees outside, it was a nice 60 degrees in the shop. Not bad for free heat.

That "Preppers" meeting I told you about has turning into a full fledged deal now. Saturday I did two consultations with some of the group by going over to their houses and helping them set up a "Too Do" list on getting started. The one thing I have to say is that I am not an expert on anything and I told them there are hundreds of different ways to do everything I do. I share what works for me and what I have had success with in North Texas. What works for me will not work for the guy living up North. I have spent a lot of time and money doing it wrong.
This has turned into a monthly thing now. I enjoy talking with these folks and sharing what I know.

That's all I got for now

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Guess, Just Guess

The rains set in Tuesday afternoon and that meant no work for me Wednesday. Even though I needed the hours, it did give me a chance to get some little things done in the shop.

First off I got the return air box done for the little DC fan I found in the back of that guys truck I talked about last time. This will sit under the bench and a flex hose will go through the wall and into the bottom of the Solar Beer Can Heater to increase its efficiency and heat the shop quicker. Now to hook it all up.

Like I said, the rain came in and I had to drain the first flush on the rain water harvesting system. I almost forgot about it because it has been so long since it really rained back to back.
I took a quick video of the process, but decided not to put it on here because I sounded like a dork so I found this frame in the video and snapped a photo of the gunk coming out of the pipe. Technology is amazing.
The photo is right when the cap came off and you can see how nasty the water is. If I didn't have a first flush on my rain water system then all that stuff from the roof would end up in my tanks making it where I would have to take them down once a year and clean it all out. If it was a small system it wouldn't be that bad, but draining and wasting almost 4000 gallons of water and then crawling inside two twelve foot tanks with only an eighteen inch man way would be tough.
Anyway, now you can see how important a first flush is on your Rain Water Harvesting system.

Guess what me and the wife did Tuesday Night. Oh come on, guess......
I would have liked too, but nope,

We went to a prepper party. Yea no kidding!
Some folks here in town held a quarterly preppers meeting and me and the wife got invited. How exciting is that?
I told myself on the way there to just sit, listen, smile and don't say much. The reason why was because I didn't want to come off as a know-it-all because after all, I don't know it all.

They had two different speakers. The first speaker hit on food storage and bug out bags and the other speaker was on EMP attacks, gun control and how all that ties into Fema camps. Great knowledgeable speakers and it was a wonderful time. I even picked up a couple of useful tips along the way.
See there, you can teach an old dog new tricks.       

After a hour and a half I just could not stand it anymore and had to start asking questions. They were harping on the one year food storage pretty hard at the end and I had to ask, "What will you do after that?"
With blank looks from the crowd the wife and I went on the explain how you have to have a way to restock your shelves when your one year runs out. Of course that led into how to use alternative energy to cook with, which led to water storage from the rain and so on. Before I realized it, me and wife had the rooms attention and questions were getting fired at us right and left about growing your own food, water filtration and so on. 
So now we are scheduled to be the speakers at the next meeting. Look what we went off and done. I really was going to stay quiet.

Got to meet some really nice folks and I look forward to the next one.

Other than that, that's all I got for now.   

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

It's The Little Things

I was leaning on the tailgate of a guys truck at work last week and spotted a little fan laying in the bed.
First off I need to tell you I am known for looking in the back of peoples trucks and if I see something back there more than twice I ask what they intend to do with it. Most of the time they just give me whatever I am asking about because they all know I will continue to ask until I get it anyway. The way I figure is if they wanted it bad enough then they would not let it sit back there and get ruined when I can put it to better use.
 So I pick this little fan up and water poured out of it. I ask the guy what he was going to do with it while the water was running out. He said it was ruined and to take it.

I have been looking for a little battery powered fan for a while now for the Solar Beer Can Heater. The fan I have now will not push enough air though the heater to get the air flow I need to increase the efficiency.
I took the battery part off the fan and wired it direct to two 3.5watt solar panes and Wow! it works great.
The plan is to build a filtered box for the fan inside the shop, kinda like a return air for a house. That way the air in the shop will exchange and heat the space at a more rapid rate instead of constantly pulling cold air from the outside and trying to heat it.     
It sounds good in theory at least.

Oh, one last thing before I go. It is always nice to come home and find a package sitting on the counter from a fellow blogger. Kelly over at Kelly's Happy Hollow Farm is alright in my book. If you get a chance please go and check her out. It's the little things that make you say, "Well I'll be"
Thanks Kelly.

That's all I got for now.
Have a good day.

Monday, January 7, 2013


Let me just say it was a full and productive weekend.

Saturday I made it down to the farm to start the demo on the old house I build years ago. It has so much sentimental value the only way to tear it down is to put those thoughts out of my head while in the process.  If not I will spend all my time sitting and reminiscing.
It is amazing how I can hardly remember yesterday, but while walking through the old place every square inch brings back a memory. I know it's just a structure that is rotten and unlivable now, but there was a time that old house held so much love and commitment. It's where my kids were brought home from the hospital, learned to walk, talk and latter learned to run and play. It was where a young married couple started a lifetime.
If you can't understand the emotional stronghold I have on this place then I'm sorry. It breaks my heart to do what needs to be done and I am sure I will shed a tear once it's done.

Saying all that, we were able to get all the siding off, electrical out, cabinets, sinks and windows this weekend. Next weekend we will start on the roof and work our way down. It will take a while and I can't start on the girls condo until I get this all the way done.
Next week I will take some pictures of the old place.
Early Sunday morning found me over at my Dad's for a good old fashioned chicken killing. He had a bunch of birds we needed to process and the cold temperatures made it perfect weather to do it in.

 Once we got started we had a great system turning out a finished bird about every minute or so.

The guy on the left was the hatchet man, I (middle) was in charge of the chicken plucker and dad (on the right) was the cleaner. My oldest daughter was also there catching the roosters and bringing them to us.   
 The end result is was four full coolers of naked birds ready for the fryer.

These birds stayed in the salt water overnight, then washed and put in freezer bags.

It only took two hours from set up to clean up to do all those chickens. At that pace you could almost make a living at it, but who would want to.

After that, the rest of the day was getting ready for the week and the storms coming in. They say we will get 3 to 6 inches of rain and we need it. The last rain was soaked in and it did nothing for the lake levels. I hope this time it will give us some runoff. Plus my rain water tanks need to be topped off.

One more thing before I go,
I want to welcome three new readers.
amymorgan1970, doo and Garland Girl 
I can't thank y'all enough for hitting the follow button and becoming the newest family members of Modern Day Redneck. If you need anything you can leave me a comment or shoot me a email.
Thank you and again, welcome.

I got some more stuff to share but I didn't want a long brawn out post so stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Another one Bites The Dust

Another year has come and gone, bringing in a new year with new resolutions, hopes and dreams.

I have always made resolutions and felt by doing so somehow I was going to be a better me. As I get older, each year I am learning that the resolutions I have made or want to make is a reflection of how or what I should have been doing all along. I am leaning on the idea that they are just attempts to make myself feel better for a short period only to be disappointed with the end results.
So saying all that, I didn't make any promises or resolutions to myself this year.

What I did do these past couple of months is gain back a little over ten pounds of the fifty I had lost, Spent more money than I should have and worried more on the things I cannot change. I guess you could say I got caught up in it all.
It was harder to thank the Lord for last years tribulations this time, but I did it and the only thing I asked for this New Year was good health for the family. Everything else just fills in the blanks.

On another note, It had been years since the wife and I went anywhere for a New Years Party. We really enjoyed getting out and dancing in the New Year. Most of the time it is hard to stay awake till the ball drops, but this time we brought it in like rock stars.
You can tell you are getting older because the dance floor becomes the most dangerous thing in the place. The song "Twist and Shout" took out at least three people. One knee was blown out along with a few ankles. It was sad.  

I wanted to Welcome in some new family members to Modern Day Redneck.
Queenacres, Mama Llama and ScrapGirlfriend
Thank you for reading MDR and being a part of all this. If you need anything just leave me a comment or you can email me. My address is on the right side of the blog.
Thanks again.

I also wanted to say thank you to all my friends out there who have been with MDR. I am humbled that you keep coming back and are interested in what I have to say. If you need anything just let me know, we are family.

As for the Mini Farm this year, there are only a couple of projects on the books this year, but they are biggins.
First I have to take down my old house at the farm. Little by little I will be tearing it down saving the wood so I can build the Girls condos out back. This weekend we are getting the cabinets, sinks, bathtubs, windows and electrical. Next weekend we will start on the roof.
The next big project will be the closed in back porch for the wife. That's going to be a pain to build but in the end it will be nice.

So there you have it, the first post of the year. I am finally back to work after about two weeks of being off with bad weather keeping me in the house. I am so rested I am tired.
Sitting around has made me hurt all over. I was not designed to sit around but I really did not have a choice. Plus being in the house brings out my OCD and all that does is make everyone mad so being at work is good.

I wish everyone a great New Year and I will be looking forward in hearing from you.