Pumpkins, Pumpkins and More Pumpkins

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
My road side farmers market has shut down for the Winter. I stopped by and got there old fruits and veggies. They loved for me to come by so they did not have to deal with sending their old produce out and I loved to get free pig food, my pig loves the produce. They asked me to come by on there closing day and gave me a lot of pumpkins.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
My pig has a date with the butcher the day after Thanksgiving. I have enough produce and spent grain to continue feeding the pig for free until then. I usually do my own butchering but thought I would go the butcher route this time.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
I have not confirmed this but I have heard tale that there is a certain breed of pig from Spain that is fed in a certain area is Spain that has a certain Oak tree. The pigs eat the acorns, the meat is suppose to be fabulous. Again I have not confirmed this but a ham from one of these pigs I have heard sell of $80,000 or some ridiculous amount.
This got me wondering what a ham from a half large black and half berkshire pig fed pumpkins might be like. I will let you know soon.

My Magic (Cover) Hat

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This is my hat there are many like it but this one is mine. It is a simple looking hat, but if you earn the right to wear it-it really is a complex portal to other Worlds. I paid maybe $15 dollars for this hat, it has returned this literally a thousand fold.
While wearing this hat I have been asked, “Oh, are you a military vet? You get a military discount.” To name a few I get 10% off at Lowes/Homedepot which I use a lot, 15% off a Boscov’s, 15% off at Chik-Fil-a and many more. I love a discounts. It has gotten me an education, and a profession. School administrator to me as I wore this hat, “Oh you are a military vet, let me hook you up with the VA rep.” Degree out of pocket expense $0.
Hello roadside farmers market guys I was wondering what you did with your old veggies? I have a pig and she would love them.
Hello, I see your hat are you a vet?
Yes.
We normally haul them to another site for a pig farmer there but you can have them, thank you for your service.
Did I say I love a discount? I do. However, The greatest magic of this hat is the heroes it draws to me. I can not count them through the years but, today Michelle and I went to Boscov’s. As I went to customer service to get my 15% off coupon, I made eye contact with a man who came to speak to me, LRRP Vietnam. After a very pleasant conversation we thanked each other for our service and I went to looking for Michelle.
In route I made eye contact with an old guy, tank commander Korea. After a very pleasant conversation where he informed me he tried to go back in for Desert Storm and Afghanistan and was turned down because he was then 65, we thanked each other for our service and I went about the task of finding Michelle.
Along the way I saw two more vets with magic hats, we shook hands and thanked each other for our service without the in-depth conversation, but a comradery just the same.
There is magic in that old green hat I found.

Fuel Storage

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
In a TEOTWAWKI situation you will need some kind of energy for transportation, keeping warm etc.. This article is not really about that it is more of a storing fuel for a smaller bump in the road emergency.
In a lights out for a couple days or weeks you will probably need some fuel for vehicles. Maybe you are in a job that keeps going even in a bad situation, the wife is a nurse and I am a respiratory therapist. In a lights out situation I may still want to get to work, bad enough I may decide to abandon work and tend to the family. It would be nice if I could make that decision and not have lack of fuel make the decision for me.
There is also the get out of Dodge bug out to your BOL or relatives. If that is the plan but you have no fuel to make it happen then what?
Part of my preps is fuel storage. I have a large propane tank that I will be hooking a generator to. I will write about that when I do it and also write about generator strategies. I used to store some diesel for the Jetta, got rid of it so now I just store gasoline.
The very first part of my strategy is to never let either of our two vehicle get below half a tank of fuel before filling up. It means a little more frequent stops at a gas station. However, the knowledge that if I have to take a sick/injuried child to the emergency room at zero dark thirty I can go straight there anytime necessary without thinking “Oh shit, I need gas”. This makes the little hassle well worth it to me.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
I started storing gasoline in 55 gallon barrels. Fifty five gallons can get me to and from work about 150 give or take times depending on which vehicle I drive. It also lets me go shopping if something is open without trying to get fuel from closed gas stations or huge lines. But, 55 gallons of gas is a headache in a few ways. One, It is heavy and hard to load in a SHTF scenario when it is time to bug out. Two, it is a pain to get if from barrel to fuel tank if you have it stored in a barn or someplace out of the way. You need a pump or syphon or stand to get it into a can then to the car. Third, because it isn’t so handy you are storing this fuel for a long time and need to maintain it with stabilizers it is hard to rotate your stock. You can fill your tank bring home some fuel to replace it and always have old gas you are adding to, or use the entire barrel then fill it but hope the time WROL doesn’t happen just as you empty the barrel.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
My way now is to store 6 gallon gas cans. They are easier to load if I need to bug out. They are easier to handle as far as pouring them into the vehicle. The number one reason I now use this method is I do not need stabilizer and can easily rotate stock.
I rotate stock by labeling the cans Jan, Feb, Mar, etc.. one 5 or 6 gallon can per month. I use a 6 gallon can times 12 for one year I have 72 gallons of fuel, note in pictures I have more than twelve because I am working to 24-6 gallon cans which will give me 144 gallons of easily moveable fuel.
So to get started buy and fill one can per month, mark one Jan, one Feb etc.., in my case I have two marked Jan, two Feb etc..At some point you will have twelve gas cans each marked with a different month stored for use when you need it. Now to rotate. Your gas is never more than one year old, I have used the gas at one year with no problems. In January you get your Jan marked can or cans and put it in your vehicle, then go to the gas station fill the Jan marked can/s back up and store again, do not put it off or come a real need for gas you will have 12 empty cans you meant to fill but forgot. In February do the same with the Feb marked cans. I do this toward the end of said month and use the gas during the month in lawn mowers, chainsaws and the likes then empty into vehicle and refill before the next month starts. If I need more I can use more cans even if it isn’t the correct month as long as I fill them back up.
A couple things I suggest are make sure your cans are tightly sealed, you do not want to lose the high ends of your gas. Do not open the cans unless you are going to use them. Depending on temperature the cans may swell like a balloon or suck in and look half full, fill to the safe fill line and let them expand and contract as they want. Get a syphon, I got a packaged syphon hose and little hand pump to syphon from can to tank it is a whole lot easier than trying to pour the gas in the vehicle with the little short spring closing safety spouts they sell with the cans.
I have found this method of storage, convenient enough that I use it monthly with no problems or procrastination of using it like I found myself doing with the 55 gallon barrel method. Whatever method you decide to use get some fuel stored and keep your fuel tank at least half full at all times you may need it one day when you least expect it.

Blacksmithing

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThis forge was on the property when we moved here. We have used it as a planter. My son Nick and I have always wanted to do some blacksmithing and had planned on making a brake drum forge. Then decided that we might as well use the forge that was here and is actual forge. The anvil is a large piece of square stock that we beat lumber into to give it a little more weight and to hopefully deaden some ringing.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES The light color on the left side is mortar. There was a large crack so we supported the side with mortar.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES There was a forge with a fire pot but it needed some duct work. Here is a picture of our duct work.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES We fired the forge up and used a shop Vac as the blower. We found the shop vac say too powerful and tried a hair dryer, that worked well.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES This is a piece of square stock from a gate reshaping project.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES Nick and my first blacksmithing project. Nothing fancy a coal rake with a twist. We look forward to other project and learning.

Flatware rings

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I got a chance to make some more rings out of flatware. This is a batch of cheap stainless and some kind of pot metal that is really hard to bend. I had fun making these and playing with this little project, problem is I have tons of other things to do to prepare for Winter.

Anyway here are some I have formed but still need to polish.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Fixing Jean Zippers

The pump has been out on my pool. The new one I ordered arrived and I put it in yesterday. I planned to finally clean up the black water that is the pool. After getting the pump in I found out the skimmer pipes are clogged. This morning in the rain I got one cleared and open. As mentioned it’s been raining, and raining and raining. I am filtering the pool water but am not doing much else with it today.

So it’s time for a rainy day project. This project has been on the back burner since the warm weather arrived and I have been doing a lot of outdoors projects, just not the pool.  Does this look familiar?

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Neither zipper will stay up, one I pin with a safety pin, the other has a key ring that I hook over the top button to keep the zipper up. A royal pain in the butt.

I took an old pair of jeans and cut out some rectangle pieces of fabric. I did not really measure anything, I was just flying by the seat of my pants. I just had to say that. I folded the rectangle pieces and ironed them flat. Made marks on the pieces of fabric where I wanted button holes.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESDon’t you just love the tiny iron? It’s handy for pressing out little seams and folds. Travel Smart by Conair Mini Travel Iron

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Your ads will be inserted here by

Easy Plugin for AdSense.

Please go to the plugin admin page to
Paste your ad code OR
Suppress this ad slot.

I then changed to a button hole foot on my sewing machine sewed some button holes on the folded flap pieces I had cut. I had black thread on the machine and used that. Color doesn’t really matter here it will be covered. I changed thread to a gold color to sew it all together to try and match the jeans stitching.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I cut the button holes with a seam ripper then removed the broken zipper. I removed one side with the seam ripper the other I just cut off so I would not have to sew the seam the zipper tape was in. You could open the seam and take it out right but for me cutting it off was good enough.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I opened the seam a little at the bottom of the zipper so my flap would fit in. Think long and hard before you do that, there was so much denim material I got stuck and bent a needle trying to sew it all back together. I aligned my flap on the inside of the outside crouch flap and sewed it in place. I sewed a keeper stitch in the middle of the two button holes. I think the color matches well, then I am color blind (seriously) so I ran it by the wife who said it was the closest we had. Then I sewed on some buttons and poof broken zipper jeans become button up jeans.

The jeans on the right in the last picture were the first I did a while back. They were a little easier due to the front flap was two denim pieces folded completely over. Meaning the outside flap of the jean’s crotch was actually 4 fabrics thick. I was able to split the seam and have a ready made flap for the button holes. The two jeans I did today had to have the extra flap sewn in, they were only two fabrics thick. Just matters how the jeans are put together. The first pair of jeans are mainly for working around the homestead so I just used black thread and did not try to match the gold.

I like buttons jeans better anyway. When I get rained out on outside projects it is good to have some indoors projects on standby.

Tube Garden Update

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI wrote an article a while back showing my “Tube Garden”. I have put plastic culvert pieces in my raised beds. These are around 18 inches tall and placed vertically in the beds every few feet. I   put animal shelter cleanings (poop/straw), any weeds I pull that I don’t throw to the animals and any other compostable material in them. Then I water into these tubes. This for a couple reasons, one as the material composts the water soaks the nutrients into the soil for the plants. Also I have 900 gallons of rain barrels that I water the garden from, these barrels have no pressure except for gravity. Watering the garden takes forever with just a hose going for plant to plant. Having no pressure I can not run a sprinkler, soaker hose did not seem to work well so I just run garden hoses into the tubes and fill with water. This soaks the soil at the plants roots.

This is working very well so I thought I would put some update pictures of how the garden is doing.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESEverything is growing like crazy. I have been harvesting broccoli, kale, salad greens by the bucket full.

Here are a few more pictures.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES       I am very happy with how well this system is working. Now instead of trying to water each plant individually due to the very slow trickle of water coming out of the two totes and the cylindrical tank I run a hose off of all three containers and just place the hoses in different tubes, let it run for a couple minutes then move the hoses to another tube.

All in all it seems we are set up for a good gardening season. I will keep you updated as the garden harvest continues and new plants are planted.

 

 

Video of The Sheep

I thought I would share my sheep running up to me when I call out to them. This is my tiny herd of sheep or wait what’s that? One of these things isn’t like the other…This little scene makes me laugh every time they do this, so I thought I would share.

I hope you find it as funny as I do:

The Garden Cart

I found a wheel chair in someone’s trash a couple weeks back. I saw potential in this little discarded diamond in the rough.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Then as I said in the last post, I deconstructed an awning. This gave me a lot of scrap lumber.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I took the wheel chair apart.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Then pulled all the nails out of a piece of plywood and a couple ceiling joists from the awning.

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

That done I built a garden cart. The floor of the cart is 3 foot by 4 feet. The sides are 18 inches tall. I just need to get a piece of pipe to put in for the handle and the back is temporarily attached permanently. I just had to say that. I attached it with four screws, I will get some angle iron and make it side in and out. This will make dumping easier and allow me to carry long objects. I slathered it in Thompson’s Water seal.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

My cart is complete with wheel locks also. How cool is that? The best part is I had the screws, fasteners and bolts on hand in my collection of stuff I have saved from other projects and deconstructions. So minus my time, some of it I got to spend with my kids the cart cost nothing.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Besides the pipe for the handle I do want to add some cross braces to shore up the front legs. All in all I am happy with how it turned out. Now I will have to haul something somewhere sometime soon.

 

 

A Bit of Destruction

Homesteading is not always about building. Sometimes you have to do a bit of deconstruction. Out with the old and in with the new. The out with the old part, well here that is:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Nick had already taken the sofitt  liner off on the underside before I got a picture. This awning is on the back side of our house and it was in bad shape. As you can see here:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

You can also see that whoever built it used a load bearing board that was too short and nailed together one that failed. Due to the sag water eventually got in and rotted the lower part of the structure. Not only did they use a too short load bearing board but all the joints were 2×6’s except one, rather than get one more 2×6 they just threw up a 2×4, causing more sagging and leaking.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

So Nick and I took the whole thing down. It was in a corner of the wall around the pool and patio and a wall of the house. Sunlight never got under there and it was always moldy and the house wall, solid roof of the awning and the patio wall blocked any chance of a breeze. It was not a good place to sit. If we had folks over no one sat under it, I had my BBQ and ugly drum smoker under it to cook out of the sun but other than that it was useless. I did once frame it in with 2×2’s and cover it in plastic to make a greenhouse for Winter growing but it did not work well. So down she came.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It’s always a good idea to have the old fat guy with the cat like reflexes on top of the roof, or then again maybe not:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Anyway we made a huge mess that will take a while to clean up.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We did salvage a lot of lumber and we love salvaged lumber. We have already started on a project that may be done by the end of this long weekend. I am taking pictures of that project so you can see what you can make with and old awning, hopefully will post and write about it soon.

It feels lighter and airer with that down and the window you see behind Nick in the last picture is our guess room. That is the only window in the room. With the awning no light got in and with the dank area under the awning was not a good window to open to air out the room.

One deconstruction project down, hope to put up a pergola in a different spot that will be better for sitting under on a nice evening.