Category Archives: DIY

Crazy Days

The last couple days have been crazy.  If you haven’t seen the video of me using a headlamp to get all of the purlins installed on the new animal shelter you can watch that below.

After getting the purlins installed my dad was able to get the steel roof installed the next evening.  You can see that my dad was working after dark as well.  He was racking to beat a severe thunderstorm that was coming through the area.  In the second and third picture you can see the supports that I installed on Thursday night.

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Meanwhile, Friday morning I went over to my friend’s house, along with our five turkeys, to help her butcher her turkeys as well as get mine done.  Early in the process I ran into a problem.  The cut that had been made to kill and bleed out the turkey wasn’t made deep enough so I was going to deepen the cut.  As I was going to do this, the turkey bucked and the knife I was holding in one hand bumped the other.  As they had been freshly sharpened for the days’ task, it put a nice little slice right across my thumb knuckle.  Having many more turkeys to butcher I rinsed it out, slapped a band aid on it, covered it with duct tape, and got back to work.

When the day was done we had butchered almost forty turkeys.  A couple of ours were monster birds, topping the scales at over thirty pounds.  The turkeys will be distributed to the people who bought ours tomorrow.

Today found me taking my son and I to a Lego First competition.  This is our first year in the lego programming competition.  We both enjoyed it immensely.

In the coming days I need to get at least one side, and maybe two and a half done on the new shelter so that I have a relatively comfortable space to milk Prudence.  I haven’t decided yet what I am going to use to side it.  On the chicken coop I used the weather proof siding from Menards, but I am also considering using steel panels.  Let me know what you use and why?

Until next time.

That Could Have Gone Better

This morning was the day that Oreo was leaving.  I had caught her and put her in a smaller pen last night.  The smaller pen was made out of cattle panels and T posts.  She apparently didn’t like her accommodations and left them early this morning.  Rather than catch her right away again, I just left the gate to it open so she could go back in there.

When the gentleman who was buying Oreo arrived we backed his trailer up and got to the business of trying to get Oreo loaded.  Some of you may recall how much Oreo liked being trailered when we first bought her.  The answer is not much.  She came right over to the trailer, but as soon as it came time to get in she took off.  I had lost my first, and best chance to get her in.

Over the course of what seemed like hours, it was really only 15 minutes, I repeated the process of luring Oreo with a feed bucket, getting her closer to the trailer, only for her to escape.  One time she pushed her way through, another she jumped the fence(AGAIN), etc.  Finally I slipped a rope over her neck while she was eating some feed and we were able to get her pointed in the right direction and then kind of push her into the trailer with the trailer door and the fence gate.  It could have gone better, but it also could have gone worse.  I think it is a testament to how good a cow she is by the fact that she kept on coming back to me for grain instead of heading for the farthest corner of the pasture.

She was a great first cow.  While she wasn’t quite pet-friendly, she was a great cow who let the kids pet her and despite her first day at the farm, was not a trouble at all.  She will be missed, but with another cow coming we didn’t need two.

Now I need to get a bigger shed built for our new bigger cow so that I have a place to milk her.

The Cow Goes Moo, and Disappearing Eggs

This evening I caught Oreo and put her in our pen where the livestock trailer will come.  I wanted to get that done tonight so that I didn’t have to worry about doing it in the morning when he comes to pick her up.  As such, she is separated from Bullseye for the first time.  Let me tell you, cows can be loud when they want to.  Oreo isn’t making so much noise, I don’t think she minds not having Bullseye bother her to nurse, but Bullseye is letting the world know.  I am hoping I get some sleep tonight.

After Oreo leaves tomorrow, I need to get a shelter/milking area built off the chicken coop so that I can go pick up our new cow, Prudence.  I have procured some of the items I will need for milking, but I will do another post on that soon.

In other news, egg production has dropped.  Part of that can probably be attributed to the fact that the days are getting shorter.  But, I have a feeling some of the chickens are hiding their eggs among the trees, hay bales, etc.  So this evening I finished the chicken run, cut a small door in the coop, and we will plan on leaving the chickens in their coop and run for the next few days to see how many eggs we get.

I’m off to bed, I need to start getting on an early morning schedule so I can get ready for milking.  Wish me luck!

New YouTube Trailer

I don’t know how many of you watch YouTube videos on a regular basis, but that is kind of my television.  One of the channels I really like is Justin Rhodes.  He and his family live in North Carolina and they are currently planning a cross country trip, in a bus that they are converting(I’m so jealous) and they need places to stop.  I applied to be one of them.  One of the things they wanted in the application is one minute video about the applicant’s location.

I needed to add a trailer to my YouTube channel so I killed two birds with one stone and created this.  Let me know what you think.  And if you do watch YouTube, please consider subscribing.  Thanks.

Putting the Pieces Back Together

I think I mentioned a couple weeks ago that it seemed like everything around here was breaking.  First the golf cart, then the lawn tractor, it was getting bad.  On the way back from our vacation I ordered a rebuild kit for the golf cart engine.  That means there is a plan to get that back in action.

Once we got back I had grass to cut and I needed a quick way to make some headway.  I put the finish mower on our big tractor and got to work.  When I was done with what I needed to get done, I got to work trying to fix the lawn tractor.  After taking the deck off and surveying the situation, it became apparent that the problem might not be as bad as I first thought.  The spindle seemed like it was still ok, but the bolts attaching the spindle assembly to the deck seemed to have backed out.  I was able to find some acceptable hardware, I would have preferred better but it was what I had, so I got everything put back together and the Cub Cadet is back in action.  This is actually quite big, as it allows the boys to help me get grass cut.  I realized when I was on the big tractor, I hadn’t really cut much grass this year, and that was just fine by me.

I made a video for the YouTube channel on the mower fix.  If you are interested, you can find it here.

Until next time.

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Back From Vacation

We were blessed enough to spend the last week in Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach actually, with our family and my in laws.  It was great, and I will have a post on the week in more detail shortly, but I just wanted to let you all know I’m still here.

Now that we’re back, it is back to the chores of daily life.  While I was cutting some grass for the animals I started wondering if there was a way to save some of this myself for the animals to eat when the grass wasn’t growing.  I am currently looking into ideas of do it yourself, small scale haylage and silage.  I’ll be sure to let you know what I decide, but if you have done either, please let me know.

I also have ordered the rebuild kit for the golf cart engine, so that will probably be a post or two, and a video as well.  I’m also tossing around the idea of rebuilding my hay wagon, if I can find time, as well as building a post frame shed/building for the pasture animals.  Lots to do before the snow flies.

What is on your to do list before winter?

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No matter how far I go, I always find my way home to this sunset

 

The Homestead is Falling Apart, and it’s all My Fault

It seems like every time I touch something on the Homestead lately, it breaks.  If you watched my golf cart video on YouTube, that was one of the things to which I am referring.  In that case, my not checking on the oil on a regular basis is going to cost me several hundred dollars in order to rebuild the golf cart engine.  Check out the video where I explain the situation more fully.  The one silver lining to that situation is that I will get to learn how to rebuild an engine with my father so I will gain that knowledge, so there’s that.

The latest event happened a couple days ago.  Homestead Boy #2 was out mowing the grass when I hear a sound coming from his direction.  It sounded like he ran over something with the mower and that said item was stuck in the blades.  He did the right thing and shut off the blades and then the mower, and waited for help.  When I got over there I didn’t find anything in the blades or anywhere else that made it evident what the problem was.  It drove fine without the blades on so we took it to the barn and put it up on ramps so I could get a better look underneath.  After careful perusal I believe I have found the problem.  The center spindle on the mowing deck went bad.  In other words, I believe the bearings have failed, meaning I will have to remove that spindle and replace it.  This could have been caused by a multitude of things. Lack of grease or the blades being out of balance are the leaders in the clubhouse.  Since I was able to find a silver lining to the golf cart fiasco, let’s see if I can find one for the mower…..  Let’s go with me being able to show the boys how to replace a mower spindle and making sure they know where all the grease zerks are on the mower.

They say that “unlucky” events come in three and while I am not a superstitious person at all, I am at the current moment hiding under a chair waiting for number three.

Until next time.

When Internet, or the Lack Thereof, Gets in the Way

Since moving out to the Homestead, I have not had any regrets, not one.  This week tested that sentiment.  I have mentioned before that we have had to use satellite internet.  No other service will provide for us.  All of our neighbors can get internet, literally ALL of our neighbors can get at least DSL.  Apparently we are literally feet too far to push their signal.  I have been calling and emailing any nearby service to see if there is some way to get better and more reliable internet all to no avail.  I will keep trying, but at this point I feel defeated on this front.  First world problem, I know and am aware, doesn’t make it any less frustrating for me.

The reason this came to a head this week was I have been unable to upload several YouTube videos.  I have even tried going to two family members’ homes and tried uploading videos, but I would have to leave my laptop there for hours to upload and if something were to go wrong I wouldn’t be there to fix it.  For my blog, I have always saved on our data usage by using the WordPress App and uploading pictures from my phone using that instead of uploading them from my desktop.

Early on in the YouTube channel, I was making one take videos on my iPhone so I could also upload the videos using the YouTube app on my cellular data plan, no problem.  Since I have been trying to make more professional, and longer, videos I have needed to use editing software.  It has made the videos better, but uploading a 4GB video eats into our data allowance in a huge way.  I actually think part of the problem with uploading was the fact that I wasn’t pre-rendering the videos.  I use Corel VideoStudio X9, and when I was trying to upload a video it would render the video and upload it at the same time.  I think something about that timed out the connection.  Last night I figured out a way to render the videos to a file, and then upload that file.  It seemed to work even on our slow connection because I was able to upload three videos.  Here is one that has spent a week in the can, waiting to be shared with the public.

One of the three videos I uploaded was my son’s first video.  He has seen me taping for videos and wanted to start his own channel so I opened a Homestead Kids channel.  His first video was just scenery on the way home from a friend’s house.  He time lapsed the video, added music, and at title shot at the beginning and end, and he did it all himself.  If you have a couple minutes, take a look, and if you really want to give him a thrill subscribe.  While you’re at it, consider subscribing to my channel as well.

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Star Photography, First Attempt

I have always been fascinated by stars.  Before we even moved out to our Homestead for years I loved being out here early in the morning or late at night after hunting and just looking at the clear night sky and all the stars.

A couple times I have tried to take pictures of stars, but I always tried to let the auto features on the camera make it work, and it never did.  As I have been doing more videos with my YouTube channel I am learning my camera better so I decided to give star photography another go.

These are the pictures I came up with, they aren’t great, but it leaves plenty of room for improvement.  I  had my ISO at either 3200 or 6400, I believe the f-stop was around 3.5(which was as low as my camera would allow), and the shutter time was 15-20 seconds.   One of the most unique pictures is the picture that has a streak of light through the bottom, it was a car driving buy during the exposure.  Let me know what you think, and give me some tips if you have experience with night photography.

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That bright streak across the bottom is a car passing by during the exposure.

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