State of the Homestead? : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread

So what's going on in your little piece of heaven?

This past week I installed a pvc greenhouse inside of my screenhouse, and this weekend I will get all of the interior things situated in it. I think it will work out all right, but it was rough getting the plastic on in the wind. I found that using leftover fence poles to hold the plastic down isn't a good idea. They just roll away with the wind! So I am blessed with a load of limestone th neighbor dump[ed on my property (thank you!) and I will be lugging those to the garden area this weekend as well. I also found that if you use 3/4 inch pipe you don't need to buy any fittings, just use vaseline on 1/2 pipe and run them that way. Otherwise the construction aspects were pretty easy and I can break this down and store it as I cut it all to 8' lenghths. Of course the plastic will need to be replaced each year as I used the cheapo stuff...just don't have the dinero for the good stuff and this is meant to be taken down anyway.

Also I was very pleased to find these really cool nest boxes at a flea market. My hens had taken to sleeping in the nest boxes and way I constructed them was less than optimum so I was always cleaning out the boxes and resetting the walls....irritating. These boxes are two tiers made out of galvanized with 5 nests up and five down. They have roosts that flip up in front so you can keep the girls out at night...(:smiles:). It just hangs on the wall and will make cleaning the coop soooo much easier! I now have a nice roost for them that also flips up to get out droppings. It gives them more floor space and a cleaner coop while making it easier for me to clean out anytime! I love it!!!

In the luffa saga, I found the best way to dry them for me was to put them in baskets vertically and packed loosely. I now have lots of seed! Anyone want to buy some luffa seed??? $1 and an sase gets you 30 seeds. I am doing the germination test now, so it might be a bit premature. I'll keep you updated on it.

Bunnies are starting to produce again after I got them too fat. They just look too cute eating, so I think I overfed them.-sigh-. My does (goats now, I just dropped a tranny somewhere!) are all starting to show their pregnancies, and all the animals seem to be happy and healthy! Me too, after just a small fight with a cold.

What's up where you are????

-- Doreen (, January 16, 2002


Hi Doreen,Well this week finished the first star plate green house made out of 8 foot 2 by 2's and 6 mil visceen (sp),looks like a space ship. It is serving two purposes- covering the pressure tank for the well and of course more room to grow more plants. Lost 3 litters of baby rabbits,cold rain and high winds blew the tin roof off of the rabbit hutches and filled the nest boxes with water,bummer. Put a lite and timer on the hens last week and they've started laying again. Starting on my pig tractor tomorrow and hoping spring comes early this year. Daryll

-- Daryll in NW FLA (, January 16, 2002.

Sorry I am just a homesteader in spirit, moved to the city decades ago but I did visit the old farm a couple of weeks ago. My cousin is restoring a 'Coopers' portable petrol engine shearing plant from about 1922, this has important family significance as my Dad used it for many years and possibly shore something like 500,000 sheep with it.

'Pig tractor' Daryll? I bet with just a little bot of lateral thinking you could train the pigs to move it themselves and save you all that back breaking heaving and dragging. :)

-- John Hill (, January 16, 2002.

Have completed the biggest part of the initial streamlining to "one man operations". Moved my office ito the vacent bedroom to double the size of my sunhouse. Reduced the garden by 1/3 and completed the walkway installation in the SFG. Installed a second dog run off the sunhouse. Salvaged a Blazer S10 body and transmission, only have to find an engine for it. Got 75% of my spring starts going. It has been a fast paced six weeks, but spring is sure looking good.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, January 17, 2002.

Layers are growing. I canned chicken broth from the ones we butchered, and canned some dry beans.

We're having a mild winter. Wish we'd get some deep snow.

The kitchen is partially painted, most of the drywall is up, otherwise not much getting done now. Gary's does heating/ac so he's busier with work.

The puppy's growing quite well-Mavis, we got her from Jack Bunyard on these forums.

-- Cindy (SE. IN) (, January 17, 2002.

The barn got built this summer 28' by 32' and later on in the fall I added 16' by 32' greenhouse with a wood stove for its source of heat . Half of the barn is going to be my wood workshop still working on the interior of it. Plan on buying two riding horses soon so I will have to get busy and add on to back of the barn for two stalls. One of my goats must of got bred early as I have already got twins boy and girl.My rabbits have young ones 32 in all I dont have much feed in them raise my own. Found a fur buyer who will pay me $1 each for the raw pelts so I quess rabbit meat will be free with a little extra cash to feed the family. Cutting fire wood and cutting logs to be cut for more lumber for more building projects and making lawn furiture . I am glad Indiana has had a mild winter this year it has gave me more time to get stuff done outside . GOD Bless Indiana Country Friend Jack Bunyard

-- Jack Bunyard (, January 17, 2002.

Well, it's been abnormally warm here in NE Texas too. I'm pleased (ahem) to report that the grasshoppers were out sunning themselves this week. I stomped several, but we really need some colder weather now to help thin them out. Saw a lady bug on the turnip greens, and something is eating holes in the leaves. The donkey that showed up here last October, chasing my horses to the four winds, is still here. I cannot run him off, although the horses have gotten used to him and chase him when he gets in the pasture with them now. The donkey eats constantly. I thought they were supposed to be really thrifty animals to keep. NOT!!! Anybody got any good donkey recipes? We've been threatening him, but he doesn't pay an attention. Isn't afraid of firecrackers either. Soon it will be time to plant potatoes. It's already time to plant onions. Spring is just around the corner and we haven't really had much winter. Only been down to 18 a couple of nights. It's been nice, but still it isn't really quite natural.

-- Green (, January 17, 2002.

In case anyone cares: I've had to do some honest work outside the home this week. Some friends' series of raised beds, on a very steep hillside, began creeping down the hill near the end of our two months of rainstorms.

I, with a small crew, dug enough footings for 35.000 pounds of concrete footings, and sank six inch steel I beams into the ground, with the concrete supporting them at waist level. After the concrete sets for a couple of days, my crew will install horizantal pieces of railroad ties between the poles on each level, so the bottom poles (the steel i beams) will end up supporting all the upper level posts as well. I can't help now, as I'm gonna visit my grandbabies in Floriduh.

We poured the concrete yesterday, and it was a huge success. I was really putting the pressure on my guys to get this done asap, since 1) I had to leave today, and 2) more rain would have destroyed the raised beds totally, and possibly undermined the house. Whew!

Otherwise, my homestead is doing very well, but i'm not pleased that cost per kwh from the power co. has gone up almost 50%. Ouch. Solar is looking better and better.

Speaking of which, a guy has approached me about my solar water heater plans. He wants to build a factory, and start mass producing them. ] I'm holding off for a while, though, while i try to find time to evaluate a new plan for solar water heat which will work in freezing weather; my current desing is excellent for not freezing weather only. It's hard to evaluate the panels this time of year, because i have to drain the whole system every night, so it won't freeze! If I can determine that the system is worth building, with the limited amount of sunshine we get here in rusty Orygun, I'll redesign everything to work all year. We'll see.

Meanwhile, I have sent out, gratis, several dozen sets of plans, asking only for a voluntary donation, to help with my R&D costs. Not a single person has even sent an email of thanks, much less a voluntary donation, so that's over.

From now on, it's cash up front, or no plans. I'm tired of ingrates.

-- joj (jump@off.c), January 18, 2002.

Well JOJ, I asked for a set of plans and your address to send the donation and have reciever neither. That was quite a while ago. Maybe something is wrong with your e-mail? I know mine is working because I get e-mail from Doreen. Daryll

-- Daryll in NW FLA (, January 18, 2002.

Well, Darryl, thanks for restoring my faith in humanity!

I have no problem with my email; however, I don't post my "real" email on greenspun servers anymore, as I was getting too much weird spam when I did. I'll send you my "real" address to your hotmail address. Thanks so much!

-- joj (jump@off.c), January 18, 2002.

Hog Butchering time! Several families of friends got together today and we started butchering 6 hogs. Hanging real pretty in my buddies barn. Made head cheese and blood pudding. Lots of work for those & I'm not real fond of either. The Grandparents of the families (All related) love it tho and their real neat folks.

We'll start cutting and wrapping and making sausage tomorrow. I got a real nice cut on my hand first thing this morning. Probably should of had some stitches...........oh well. I scrubbed the crap out of it (Literally) when I got home a little while ago. Fun day all in all.

Gonna kill chickens next Monday.

Cindy, We're supposed to get 2-3" of snow tonight.

-- John in S. IN (, January 18, 2002.

Well, since John brought up the subject of hogs, I can report to you all that I have finally achieved the impossible goal of flying pigs. I have been running ads for the latest batch of Virgil and Emma's offspring in our local free shopper. The dingbats who take down the called in ads apparently never heard the term "weaned", so when I tried to let buyers know my piglets were ready to eat on their own, this weeks' ad came out "Winged Yorkshire piglets. $25 firm. Call xxx- xxxx"

-- Rags in Alabama (, January 19, 2002.

Look. Up in the sky. It's a bird. it's a plane. No, IT'S A FLYING PIG!!!!!!!! Oh, that's just to cool. You sure that wasn't a government publication?

-- John in S. IN (, January 20, 2002.

I have 5 acres of boot sucking mud. 2 goats and 2 horses under treatment for foot rot.

My Dear Darling Daughter is considering buying more rabbits, I don't know why, we don't eat them.

I have 18 extra roosters to be butchered, but nobody wants to do this in the rain. These guys will be tough old senior citizens by time it quits raining!

I have enough eggs to start selling if my Dear Spouse will quit giving them away. My Americaunas are actually laying pink and purple eggs! I never saw these colors before on eggs and they are large!

I have collected enough lumber this winter to build a real chicken coop. I am still looking for large treated posts to add the other half of my barn. Salvaging has been good this winter thanks to the windstorms!

Rags, I would think you would get a much better price than $25 for winged yorkie pigs. You have a very rare species!

-- Laura (, January 21, 2002.

Well, I am actually replacing fencing this year. I have been in funk for the last two years, just maintaining the status quo - not really doing anything to improve the farm. We did have a nice garden last year and we did put up electric fence (7 feet tall) around it. But no big improvements were made. I just didn't have the energy to take on a new project. So, after wandering around in this depressed state of mind - you guys who have been homesteading for awhile know that sometimes you reach a point when you just can't focus or take on anything new. A kind of "what's the point" attitude. Well I've had that for two years now, and think I am just about over it. (maybe I needed a rest from all the previous building? So I went and bought fence posts and cattle panels and am starting to replace all the old rotten field fencing. It will take me a long time to finish this project as cattle panels cost a bunch, but I want my fencing to be goat proof as well as horse and donkey proof. Hopefully as I tear down the old and replace with new, I can also get started on my new goat house. I've wanted to build a barn which the goats can use one side and the donkey can use the other side and still have room at one end for feed, hay, and a milk room. So I am in the planning stages of that. So, guess I will be in full swing this spring - but both of these projects will take me a full year or two to complete. We have lots of field fence and I don't have lots of money right now. But the garden prospects look good as we built most of our raised beds last year (backbreaking work there!) so this year will be fertilizing and planting and keeping the weeds knocked back. Hope all of you have a good spring...

-- Cindy (, January 27, 2002.

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