Monday, December 26, 2016

The Tools We Use On Our Homestead

 This is a short list of tools and thing we use everyday here at Two Cedars Micro Farm. 

 One of the most valued tools we have on our homestead is a post driver, I have used a sledge hammer to drive post but never what you could call successfully.

 Ropes are very useful tools also. You just never know just what for, when, or why you'll need a good rope. 

 
A cable puller ( or what we called come-a-long when I was a young pup) has gotten me out of trouble many times.

 A good Garden Tiller is indispensable on a homestead. Ours get a good work out every Spring.

 A good dependable chain saw. Emphasis on dependable !!

 I always keep two sharp axes, a double bit and a single bit on hand for small limb removal and wood splitting. (Darcy loves to split wood) 

 

And everyday yard tools.

 

 What homestead could survive without a wheelbarrow and a utility trailer?   

 This is Darcy's toy, a band saw.

 Every homestead needs a drill press.

 Any guesses as to what this is? It's a shave horse. I use it to shape handles and things like that.

A good table saw.

 This is my work bench.

 This is a small homemade forge. it is made from a brake drum and a small blower.

And what homestead would be complete with out a scrap pile. I can't count the times I have scavenged nuts and bolts from this pile of scrap. And sometimes I might need a piece of scrap metal to mend or make something.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Our 1 Acre Homestead In East Central Alabama



Alabama is probably the easiest place in the US to homestead. The climate is about as mild as it gets. Summers are very warm but not overly hot, Winters are cold but we don’t have a lot of snow to deal with. During  the Winter months we try to catch up on a lot of everyday chores that get neglected during growing season.
Homesteading is not something I ever made a conscious decision to do. My grandparents on both my fathers and my mothers side of the family were homesteaders. Both grandfathers killed hogs and processed the meat. Both hunted deer, rabbits and birds. They gardened and raised their own food. Both grandmothers caned food and kept the family fed and helped with what ever the men folk needed and raised kids. Raising kids was a full time job in it self. My grandfather on my dads side had 18 kids.  My mothers had six brothers and sisters. Truth be known the women worked harder than men. Point being they passed there skills down to their kids. We never had a lot but we had all we needed, and never even knew we were poor.  
I love our little one acre homestead. We don't have to go to the extremes that they had to go through but we try to hold true to our raising. 
Darcy didn’t grow up in Alabama and didn't go through some of the things I did growing up  but to watch her work you would never know it. Since my open heart surgery she has had to take on most of the day to day chores. But it is common to see dirt under finger nails. She loves this little acre every bit as much as me. 

 The barb wire was stretched on the south side of the property  Thursday .  




We have decided to start raising chickens again so we are having to build coops again. My friend Mandel  let us have these frames all they need really is wire.  (thanks Man) 




This frame as you can tell already had a previous life as a coop We are just adding another frame to make a small (really small) chicken run. But we only need 3 or 4 hens for eggs. We've already done the hatching thing and we are over that.





Thats about it for now.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

JUST A THOUGHT


There is nothing more relaxing than setting by a campfire or fire pit.
 I read a lot of blogs and watch a lot of YouTube channels where people are trying to start homesteads. They say they want to teach you how to become a Homesteader. As I set  here by the fire  I begin to realize that homesteading is not something that can be taught it's a state of mind. You can learn different skills and how to do different tasks but that’s not it. Homesteading is the willingness to put in the work to make a difference in your own life. You don’t have to own   a piece of land or own a single animal to be a homesteader.                         

A lot of people think that if they raise animals (chickens, goats, hogs, etc.) that makes them homesteaders. Or maybe knowing how to butcher and dress their own meat. Maybe they know how to plant a garden and grow their on vegetables. That is a great skillset  to have, but it still does not make you a homesteader. All you have to have is a determined mind set.  You have to make up your mind that what ever is put before you, that you can do it and  can do it in a way that will benefit yourself and your family.  The only way you can fail at being a homesteader is to give up on your self. When you get knocked off your horse you dust off the dirt and get back on. But  learn  why you were knocked off, don’t keep making the same mistakes. If something doesn't work one way dig in and find a new approach and try again. Like I said being a true Homesteader is a determined mind set. So don't believe it when someone writes in a blog  or you see a YouTube video on how to become a homesteader. Homesteading is already in your heart or it's not.           

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Heavens Have Opened Up


We got 2-8/10s then 1-3/10s and then 1/2 another 3/10s and today we got another 9/10s rain. We seem to be battling this drought pretty well with 5-8/10s rain so far.



Remember this pile of boxes



If any one ever tries to tell me wet boxes won't burn their wrong. We finally got to burn the huge pile of boxes that came from my brothers store. Believe me there was quite a few,

video

With all this rain there is almost nothing going on here on the homestead


Sunday, December 4, 2016

More Rain, More Chores

0n November 29 we got 2-8/10s rain, on the 30th we got another 1-3/10s and more in the forecast . In fact we were dealing with some pretty severe storms at a little before 3:00 pm on the 30th. Today is December 4th and we have another 1/2inch already. Todays rain is a slow soaking rain just what we need.






  That doesn't take us out of the drought  but it looks like we are headed in the right direction.

While the ground is good and damp I am going to try and burn all those boxes in the back yard and do some cleaning up before we start stringing barbwire on the back side of the property .


My neighbor and I went to the goat auction Saturday. But it looks like it has turned in to a pig auction, We seen more pigs than goats.







video
.(sorry I didn't get any goat photos).

But I did get a few photos of some chickens and bunny's.

We also found out that the guy that owns the auction has bought a saw mill.


We had a discussion with him  about  coming and  cutting  some of our trees. I really need these pines removed. I am really weary of them in a storm, they are to close to the house for comfort, 



And finally went and picked up the barbed wire  today, now the work begins. We can start to string wire around our property.




















Tuesday, November 29, 2016

RAIN!

Last night November 29 we  finally got rain.  Not enough to heal the drought but 2 - 8/10s is a good start. We live in a mobile home and we love hearing the rain on the roof. It usually puts me to sleep but last night I was so excited that it was raining I couldn't sleep.
We got the water drums filled back up.
 Darcy uses water from the drums for her flowers and whatever other little projects she has. It helps with the water bill.  All of these small things add up to being a huge part of a frugal  homestead. Last night with all the rain we sprang some leaks around some windows. I think it was dry so long that the chalk had maybe dried and shrank. We took the leaf blower and cleaned the little mobile home gutters out.
It is supposed to storm again tonight and tomorrow night so I don’t think I'll get it fixed before then. Hopefully ,by Friday I can get it done.

I guess my biggest worries are these two old pines.  The wind blew so hard it made the roof rumble last night. I was a little worried about them snapping off. I have seen several trees around here do that.


 They both are close enough to the house and shop area to do some real damage.  I guess I need to get serious about cutting them.

 I have a pile of old boxes I need to burn. I have not been able to  because of the drought. They have piled up out there all summer. I couldn't burn them because it kept getting dryer and dryer. Well, maybe the forestry department  will sound the all clear now that is started to rain again.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Stringing Barbed Wire


Not many photos this week. But we had a good Thanksgiving. Got to see a lot of family and too much food!
We are still in a severe drought, but we have rain in the weather forecast. Channel 3340 in Birmingham Alabama has forecast thunderstorms for Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. That should help a lot. I just hope they don’t get too bad.  That is why you have to be careful what you pray for.

Darcy and I started stringing barbed wire last Tuesday . We both got a good lesson on the sharpness of the barbs. Anyway here's a look at what we got done:




By the time we got that little bit done we were give out. After 2 strokes and open heart surgery I have to keep stopping for air, and maybe the fact  that I am getting older might not be helping . I never liked to hear someone poor mouth themselves so we will move on to something else.
  
 I can hardly wait till we get some animals to put in our little pasture, I am sure Darcy feels the same. Not to long ago we had a couple of pygmy goats and several chickens. But we really weren't set up to take care of them so we sold them. There is a goat auction close by that sells goats and chickens. It won't be hard to find more. I also have a close friend that lives close by that raises chickens and a few hogs. In fact, he has given Darcy and me a pig. I really feel bad about taking it. This has been a hard summer for us and I haven't helped with the feed the way I should have. He does a super job with his animals. They are healthy and robust looking he says I got him started with the chickens but the fact is I never took as good a care of ours the way he does his.
We have a critter problem . Darcy and I love all animals, but we have what I call devil squirrels,  these squirrels will get in the tree above and through pinecones at you. Last year they ate a hole in almost every peach on our trees and the little suckers love figs too. I wouldn't mind them getting one or two but they take a bite out of everyone on the tree, a bit much. And now it seems that we have a rabbit that likes to wonder around in the back yard and triggers the security lights. We really have no wish to kill the squirrels or the rabbit so we have set live traps. Now I can relocate them. But first I must catch them.       
 



These are some traps I got at Tractor Supply a couple years ago.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Every Day Homesteading


We have begun fencing in our property. It is pretty square so the property lines were easy to follow. I haven't strung wire yet but I have gotten  the corner post in and built the H braces.

 
 I actually started this a couple years a go. When I started putting fence post up the lady that owned the land before us and still owns the adjacent lot,  accused me of moving corner marker when they moved the mobile home in. Of course we didn't, but we had words. And that's a story for another day.
The purpose of all this is for us to start raising animals again. I think Ms Darcy misses it, and I do to. It's kind of nice to here rosters crowing and goats crying.

 I guess I missed out on catching the bees next spring. Back in the summer I spotted a bee-tree across the dirt road from the house. It was full of bees as you can see in this photo that was taken July 30th.





I first found them in early June and they were still there last week.
 But when I went to check on them today I got a big let down! This is what I found, they were gone!!


This my be the results of the severe drought we are currently in. Last count I had it's been 62 days straight with no rain. I went down to the creek this morning and took these photos. We have lived here going on 5 years and this is the first time I have seen the water not flowing in Wedowee Creek. It is just some pools of stagnant water.



 
This was Wedowee creek back in April.


The guy that owns the pasture across the dirt road  is probably getting worried about watering his cows