I notice too that the cows get hungrier right before a storm. They all come back down from the pasture and hang out waiting for their treat. The guineas make a lot more noise. I always wonder how they know. I bet if we lived outside we might be more in tune with the weather too.
Hi Bonnie, please forgive me of my misspellings. I am an engineer by trade and spelling and writing are my two worst subjects. I am trying to learn to communicate my ideas better by writing here on permies.
The cabbage upside down sheds the water and a layer of leaves or straw keep them cool.
Wrapping the ham is done to keep the salt on them so it doesn’t drip off. We use old fashioned grocery heavy paper bags. We wrap them then use twin to hold it on and hang it. The key to preserving meat is to dehydrate it rapidly so botulism cannot grow.
I hope to get better at writing and make a small book of the way we do things to give out to people like you how thirst for the knowledge.
Hi Patricia. I live over by Dalton. I use Maysville elevator for BT testing. They only sell non gmo corn and have invested in the equipment to test. It is expensive though. This year the ground temperature at our farm didn't get warm enough to sprout until the last few days of May. I have noticed that our timing is messed up too. We grow an old line of dent corn that accidently gets pollinated with our sweet corn and flint corn sometimes. The only thing we have that doesn't seem to cross is our strawberry popcorn. This year the wind has seldom come from the west like other years. It definitely looks like it was crossed with a dent corn.
Well, I feel for you here. I put my poor momma through the ringer on this one. I was 4 and said" mamma birds have wings and fly right?, airplanes have wings and fly right? Rain deer don't have wings". I'll never forget the look on her face. She was almost devastated. She said the next thing I said was " that means there is no such thing as the Easter bunny either?" I never told my little brother and he didn't find out till he was about 10. It really cool, because by little brother is way more artistic than I am. We are totally different and we are ok with that. I think when the child has the logical ability to separate imagination from reality its ok for them to know. Raising my own child on a farm has given me the same challenges that mom had. A child that does their own chores at a young age teaches physics quickly. My son figured it out at 6 years old and I would watch him smile and play along when one of his older cousins would mention Santa or the Easter bunny. I wish you luck.
Our cherry trees loose most of their leaves in august here. It takes a couple years for ours to really get rooted. Last year a new one looked like it was completely dead by September. It totally filled out this spring.
Hi James. We unfortunately had a turkey go down last week. It was walking around the yard and just fell flat on it chest. My wife yelled out from the kitchen and my son grabbed it, hung it in a tree and slit it. It bled out well so we butchered it. We found a blood clot in the chest cavity. We put one of the breasts in the crock pot the next morning and had it for supper. It was tender and tasty. If you check out the bones when cooking never frozen poultry , they are not black.
Hi Tereza. I just got made fun of today by an old man that has to go to work everyday. As I walked by he said " how do you get to work when ever you want? Aren't you special?". I understand he doesn't mean any harm, he is jealous. I am 45 and work for a company about 3 days a week. I don't need the money without debt. I keep up on my engineering skills and am able to foot the medical by working a little bit. I am spoiled by my wife's teaching job in that I don't even need medical if I choose. The main things I think that hold people back are debt and medical. I spend the rest of my time working on the homestead. My wife and I figured I work about 24 hours a week at engineering and around 60 hours a week homesteading. I like to work so it's ok with me. Most people I know from church watch about 4 hours of tv a day. I watch no tv and this gives me 28 extra hours to learn. For the most part people around me don't understand me. Some say I am lazy, some say I am crazy, and some say I am not fulfilling my corporate duty. I get told I need to do things a certain way or I am not a good husband and father. It would be easy for me to ask them when was the last week they worked over 80 hours and rebuke them, but I have learned to walk away. I am so lucky to have a wife that understands and participates with me. Many nights we will eat only what we grew. My son at the age of 16 has made a good living at selling lots of homestead staples and niches. I keep teaching him he doesn't need to be rich and no debt keeps you free. In the cool of evening when I am done I get to look out across the farm and a great thankfulness often overtakes me. I often think, how does a little person like me get to do such great things like this!
I would try Anne's way first and if that don't work I would use lye. The stubborn bacon grease clogs our family tends to get this time of years is because of to many BLT juices end up down the drain. Lye is potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide. It is what we use on our farm to make soap and biodiesel. It is extremely aggressive and caution needs to be taken when using. It will only work if the drain slowly goes down. We put it into the sink next to the toilet drain or the toilet. Use only cold water and add about two table spoons full to the sink drain or bowl. Be carful not to get it on any metal or your skin. Run the water for about 15 seconds after adding it and let it settle in the pipes below or flush the toilet. When it gets to the clog it will eat it away. Usually only takes 15 minutes. Hair and greases are no obstacle for it. If its still clogged try it a second time. When the clog is clear run the sink or flush the toilet for a couple minutes to flush the system clean. Please do not use worm or hot water with lye. The high ph becomes exceedingly more aggressive with temperature. If you do happen to get some on your hands wash with cold water for about 10 minutes.
This year I experimented with our potatoes. We don't use NPK only compost. We just laid them on the ground in a row and covered them in soil. Then I put 1 year old chicken compost on top of that about an inch thick. I then made a 6" hill. They grew quickly and then got froze off. They started growing again and I hilled them when they were about 6" tall. 2 weeks later they were about a foot tall and I hilled them the best I could. They died off completely with the rain ending in early July. It was a bunch of work, but I have the best yield I have ever. Some of them are softball size. The row I did not use chicken poo on only made about as many potatoes as what I put in for seed.
When rebuilding if you need to clean aluminum off of iron I use muriatic acid. I strongly suggest cleaning the carburetor jets to make sure you have the proper fuel mix. The fuel filter may look clean, but could be plugged with slime. I blow through them backwards to make sure before reusing it. The fuel lines sometimes get so soft they collapse while running and cause the engine to run lean and get hot. I run into plugged exhaust quite often too. One of the most beneficial things I have found is I never run our equipment over 85 degrees outside temperature. I have found most small engine will not keep cool enough.
Like John, I have ran ethanol and methanol for a long time without issues. My ethanol converted 1974 Briggs 3 hp mower loves hot weather. The evaporation of ethanol pulls a bunch of heat away from the intake and the engine runs much cooler. I experimented with it one day when it was around 80 degrees and ran it for 1/2 an hour trimming. When I went to change the oil right after that it was only luke warm. I use 2 fuel caps for the ethanol mower. One is glued shut so when it is in storage water doesn't get into the fuel tank. Water plus ethanol or methanol become acidic. Acid plus 3 types of metals in a carburetor becomes a little battery and corrodes all up.
The best setup I have done is a 55 gallon drum cut down to about 25 gallons. I use one creek minnow in it to grow duckweed and keep the mosquito larva out. If you keep it in %50 shade it will grow double the duck weed everyday above 78 degrees. The duckweed likes still water. I have been wondering about the tilapia setups where they use a drum with fish habitat to feed the plants. There is a thread here somewhere I seen a guy with a portable tilapia setup.
We like 12v dc because it will not shock you. You can put positive and negative in a chicken waterer and nothing will happen. It is safe around the kids as long as it is fused properly. It will weld if it is direct shorted and enough amps are available. We use 12v to run corn shellers and grinders, coolers, heaters, fans, fence chargers, and a fridge. The reason for upping the voltage is to use smaller wire for the same given power. Amps x volts + watts. Amps make for bigger wire. 12v x 1a=12w, 24v x .5a=12w. 36 volts starts to shock you on hot sweaty days and 48v will bite you harder. You can think of it as volts = how hard it pushes and amps = is how much it is flowing.
We plant our garlic in the fall usually the 3rd week in September. We plant in full sun where we grew the beans and beets through the summer. The beans leave nitrogen in the ground. Garlic is a high N feeder. We prep the row with a light till, bean stocks and extra beans mix in well. We use the manure/wood chips from the meat chicken/turkeys starter pens about a 1/2" thick over the whole area. We plant them 1" deep and 5" apart with a row width of 14". After they are planted we put about 1" of rabbit poop right down the row and put wood chips between the rows. There is little weeding needed in the spring because of the wood chips and tall garlic. We get asked by many people in the spring how we got our corn in so early. We pick the scamps and eat them when they are bout 6" long. We pick the garlic when the stalks are 2/3rds browned off. We cut the stems off and dry them on a wire mesh rack for about a week, This depends on the humidity, but they will get hard for storage. We hang them in potato sack in the cellar and store a couple hundred in milk crates for our sale barn. As long as they don't get wet or to much sunlight they will last until the next harvest. We plan on harvesting this Thursday! We sell allot of garlic to the locals for 1$ bulb.
To grow new types of garlic we let a couple scamps grow out and make seed. We plant the seeds in the spring in small containers and let them grow until fall. We dig the new cloves out and plant them in the rows for the next year. We are trying to do this with 1 row a year to keep fresh genes in the pool and not have to rely on just clones. We only grow 2 types, 1 giant soft neck and one small hot hard neck. We have been doing this for a long time so they are not really a brand/type any more. They are on the left behind the pea fence in the picture.
We are lucky I guess. My family has always taught us from a young age. We started persevering food from the time we could walk. We all have cellars that stay about 60 deg. f all year round. We store potatoes, garlic, onions, wine, hams, eggs,, and canned goods there. The potatoes bin is on the ground where it is coolest. Hams, onions, and garlic are hung from the ceiling. Eggs are stored point down and will last 6 months like that. We pickle beets, cabbage, and cucumbers. My father always would repeat to us how he learned it when he was a child. 1 fist of salt and 2 fists of cabbage then tamp, makes good kraut. The left over cabbage we store upside down in the shade covered in leaves and straw. This will keep well into December for us. Dad would always make sure when curing hams to remind everybody to brine the bone after packing the salt then rap. Hang it for as many days as it is pounds then smoke it. Jill Winger and Melissa K. Norris are two good recourses on the web to listen to. They both have blogs that are more hands on.
I just sprinkle them with a home made dry sprinkler. A large mouth jar with five 1/4" holes drilled in the lid works good. I only target the beetles, because there are lady bugs and lighting bugs all over the place that do no harm. I saw a hand sprinkler at tsc. It was like $17, to much for me.
My son raises quail. He likes the ability to quickly change genetics with them. He sells eggs and meat from them. The eggs pickle fast and make a good treat. They are easy to clean/butcher. They also eat little. He is experimenting with a chicken tractor style meat pen at the moment. He plans on running them about a week after the turkeys or rabbit to clean up the insects.
We had about 50 lbs of potatoes given to us this year and we planted them. We usually get potato beetles here so I was reading all over here about different techniques to keep their numbers down. Joseph had mentioned he won't grow any types that the beetles eat. I noticed that they most certainly like some types over others. I have been killing them with de. Here is a couple pictures of shriveled up potato beetles. This only took 2 days.
We have found that the crosses are always much stronger than purebred. The jersey stock around here takes about 2 years to grow out. We can get them for free sometimes here.
Keeping them a full day with their mother is the best thing that can happen. They must get the colostrum or they usually suffer chronic problems. There are some pretty good colostrum kits out there, but they cost more than most calves.
The jersey crosses have real nice carcasses of good quality tasty meat. The professor at Ohio state university told me the best looking and tasting carcasses he knows of are dexter jersey crosses.
We started raising dexters. They are smaller and the mothers take full care of the calves. We have had them born in the snow and heavy rain and not lost one yet. This picture was 2 months ago. We got 5 inches of rain, 50 mile an hour wind and then it froze. He is doing well.
If it has alfalfa in it already the new seed will not germinate well. We usually will grow corn, then sorghum and then back to alfalfa. I would check the ph and adjust if needed. Alfalfa seems to like a higher ph. After mowing hay 2 weeks ago the dry ground only let the alfalfa come back with its deep roots. We do get some winters here that it will pull the alfalfa out of the ground with freeze and thaw and kill it, so we leave it long in the fall.
I would mix a little rabbit poo in with your mix and then top it with some good compost. The compost could be as simple as leaf compost. Then I would cover the compost with wood chips. The compost will give it good bacteria and the wood chips will slowly release nitrogen. I do this with my stevia every year. Stevia has to winter in the house here and seems to not get growing good till I do the above to it in the spring. Worm casting do work for nitrogen to. There are some real good homemade recipes on here to make compost tea. Most of the compost teas are strong and I use sparingly diluted with water. I don't use any store bought nitrogen on our food crops, so not much help there. Good luck.
I like to use the 12" automotive 12v brushless fans. I have found them for about 30 bucks at our local automotive stores. Sometimes you can get them real cheap in junkyards. I got one last year for 5 bucks at the flee market. Most will have an amp reading on them. A 10 amp will need a 120 watt solar panel. I hook them directly together with a switch to turn it off when not needed. My rabbits don't ever like being in the sun and need to be well ventilated. The ammonia smell will get extremely strong in a barn. All of my rabbits are out side on the east side of the barn. They get just a little sun in the morning right now and by 8 am they are in the shade. Raccoons and skunks don't mess with them, but the neighborhood dogs have. I made extra strong bottoms for the pens and keep them 30-36 inches off of the ground so the dogs can't get leverage on the pens. I just had a litter of 12 this past weekend and all are doing good.
Driving through the area you are talking about I have notice old tractors and farm equipment sitting all over the place. I would think that some of the stuff could be torn apart and sold on ebay. Old engines such as briggs and maytags bring huge amounts of cash. I've seen carburetors go for $400. Scraping is another thing that is a money making hobby. In our area we have an old farmer that collects all sorts of farm equipment and the largest white tailed deer I've ever seen was harvested in the middle of the rows of stuff. This is a picture of an old briggs I fixed up from a barn sale. They tell me it is worth $1200.
We start with a small hill and hill them twice after that. This seems to give us the most potatoes here. Hilling them will help keep them cooler as summer arrives. If we put them below ground level they will mold. We planted ours 2 weeks ago and last Saturday it got down to 26 deg and they all turned black. This happens here quite often and they usually grow back for us. I hope they do well for you.
We raise sweet sorghum here. We use it for silage, grain, and molasses. It grows well here once the ground gets warm enough to sprout. We usually plant it the last week of may. We rotate it in with corn and hay. It is a heavy n feeder so, the fields need lots of organics to keep the worms working. We have spread our seed around as far as W.V. The seed heads are good for boosting egg production and we have to be carful to not give the chickens to much.
Rachel, we only use 12v because, the kids can’t get shocked and I started there 25 years ago when solar panels were $20 a watt. We make most of our things we need from older equipment. Things like the corn sheller were made from an old 1820’s corn sheller and retrofitting a 1/3 hp, 12vdc motor to it. We shell about 50 bushels of corn a year with it. The issues using 12v for something like that is the startup current. That is why we use the supper capacitors. We use nos dc motors from the trucking industry for different speed options for thing like the grain grinder. If we are chipping corn we use high speed if we are making flour we use low speed. For example the old Mack truck windshield wiper motor was 3 speed, ¼ hp and 12v.
Water heaters and little water pumps to keep the water from freezing is another thing I make a bunch of. I am using a thermoelectric cooler unit (60w) for the chickens. One side gets hot the other gets cold. We just flip it over depending if you want it cool or hot. We also have a small fridge that was broken that I put a tec in and it will stay about 40 deg in the summer for about 80w. The fence charger is 12v with a little sealed battery and a 50w panel. It has been running for 8 years now. We use ryobi 1 plus with a 12v battery charger for most of our tools. We get them cheap or free at yard sales. We have found the quality to be ok, but not perfect. Things like cooler fans we use brushless 12v fans hooked to a snap disk that are directly ran off of a solar panel sized for the load.
We use wood heat from a miniature stove that we store the heat in a mass. I am slowly converting it to run all on its own using thermoelectric generators and Stirling engine technology.
Our 2 biggest energy savers have been good insulation and drying the clothes outside.
If you have other questions please ask. I strive to make things as simple as possible. I have found cost effective components to make some systems less techy.
From what I understand is if the eggs are below 95deg they will not grow normal. If the eggs gets below 80 deg they quit growing altogether. I think that 50 deg for a few hours probably has damaged the hatch rate. When we use incubators and loose power for more than a hour our hatch rates are drastically reduced. Only one time none of them hatched though. That all being said, they probably will not hatch out.
That all depends on how cool they get. Here in Ohio they would not hatch. It was 26 degrees f this morning. We take the eggs away from them till mid May so they will hatch when it stays above freezing. The eggs actually taste good, but are hard to crack open. Our turkeys take between 27 and 32 days to hatch.
Hi Rachel. I use 12v for our main power supply here on our little farm. We just went through the darkest spring in 14 years here. We have 5 different setups with a total of 2000 watts available. We already have 12v lights, pumps, heaters, coolers, grinders, shellers, and so on. Have you ever tried using a supper capacitor to help with the high current start up of things like motors or inverters? I started buying caps and build them for our own use. They make a huge difference running things. I have a couple 58 farad at 16.2v and a few 350 farad at 16.2v. I would like to buy a couple 20amp hour batteries and controllers.
I do the same thing as John with brushless 12v dc fans I scavenged out of large tec units. I use snap discs N.O., 90 deg close, to turn them on. You can buy them for a buck or to on computer stores. We also use this to turn on solar air heaters to pump worm air into the barn when the sun is shinning.