Thursday, July 31, 2008

2 years + hard work =

We have now been on our farm for 2 years. It has been a fun and eventful 2 years. We went from subdivision life to farm life, it was quite a change. A lot of things have happened the past 2 years and a lot of changes have taken place on our little piece of land. The reason this 2 year anniversary is a big deal is that my goal when we moved in was to have the farm completely set up how I wanted it within 2 years. I know I will always have upkeep and things I want to do or change on the farm for as long as we live here but my hope was to have all the main set up done. By main set up I am talking about all the fences and shelters for the animals done, land cleared, house fixed up, etc. I had a master plan when we moved in of what I wanted to do but it kind of evolved over the past 2 years and things got changed and added to the 2 year goal. I would like to say that I got it all done but I didn't. I am probably within 2-3 weeks of being done, I have a little more clearing out to do and some other minor things. I could meet that goal a lot sooner but it is really hot outside and I don't like to work outside for long periods in this kind of heat. Anyway, I thought I would go ahead and give you all a 2 year before and after overview of the farm and how it has changed. When we moved in it was a raw piece of land, mostly wooded with very little open area, a pond, the house and shop. There was a little bit of really crappy fencing, an old barn/shack thing, and an old chicken coop. It is now a working farm with new barn and chicken coop. I have cleared out quite a bit of land and fenced it completely as well as put in a garden. I have also made many improvements to the house including re staining the outside, repainting the inside and putting in fixtures, and reworking all the landscaping. Here are some pics of the changes that have taken place and I have put links throughout this post to old posts about the improvements I have mentioned.

Here is the chicken coop that was here when we moved in

Here is the new chicken coop I built

Here is the old barn/shack

Here is the new barn we built (with a little help from our friends)

This is the view up the driveway when we moved in

This was taken today, notice the fence, cleared out land, and new gravel.

This is a pic of the west side of the land when I was starting to put of fence

Same place today standing next to the fence

This is the front of the property on the road looking towards the house before clearing


Same spot looking down the road before


And here is looking at the house before

After, taken today

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The vermin are taking over

The past couple Saturdays have been pretty exciting around here. Last week was the fox killing and this week I caught another varmint. Here is the story... Margo was out stacking wood Saturday morning, and Macy got to sniffing around the woodpile at something. Well, that something stuck its head up out of the wood and snarled at Macy. Margo thought it might be a weasel (which kills chickens) and this was only about 75 feet from the chicken coop. I was cutting wood on the other side of the property and Margo came and got me. I went and got the gun and we went back to the woodpile. I started moving wood around trying to flush out this mystery varmint but we weren't seeing anything. Then all of the sudden, Margo yells, there it is on top of the woodpile. And what vicious animal did we see, this one....

A baby raccoon. He was really cute. We think that this is the baby of the raccoon our neighbors killed last week that was trying to get into their chicken coop. So, what did I do with this varmint you ask. Well, I put on some gloves and caught it. It snarled and hissed and tried to bite at me quite a bit but I just picked it up by the nape of the neck so it couldn't.

I put it in a dog carrier and gave it some water and cat food. Margo and I were not sure what we wanted to do with it. It was really young so the thought of taming it and calling it Rascal crossed my mind, but I decided against this idea. I called and told my neighbor about it to see if he had any thoughts about what I should do. He wasn't sure either but said probably shoot it instead of letting it go. I know all of you soft hearted people are screaming at the computer "How can you kill a sweet little baby raccoon". Well you see, baby raccoons grow up to be big raccoons and big raccoons kill chickens. Margo and I thought about it a little longer and finally decided that we would go ahead and kill it, but right at that time our neighbor called back and said he had a friend who raises abandoned wild animals and would like to have it. This saved us from having to kill it. Unfortunately, later that night the poor little thing died on its own. We are guessing it was just too young to make it on its own without a mother and we found it when it was on its last leg. Probably for the best. It made for an exciting day though. I can't wait to see what happens next Saturday.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Blah, Blah, Garden Update, Blah, Blah

It seems like all we have to talk about these days is the garden. I am sure some of you may be bored with garden updates but that is all I have to talk about, so too bad. This is actually going to be a pretty interesting update I think. First of all the boring update, we did 30 more ears of corn tonight and that is almost all of it thank goodness.
I am not sure if I have mentioned this before but something I planted this year just for fun was luffa gourds. This is where luffa sponges come from. We thought we would try to grow them and if it worked out give them out as presents to people (I know you are all excited about getting one). They grow as a vine so I made a hoop out of a cattle panel and put one end on one bed and the other end on another bed so it hooped over the isle between the two beds. Just let me tell you that the vines grow really fast and get really long. They are doing really well and so far we have at least 30 gourds. It's crazy. Here are some pics.

Here is the side view

Here is the view looking through the hoop, they are basically taking over

Here is a view of the inside and some of the gourds

Here is Margo holding one of the gourds so you can see how big it is (insert joke here)

We also did something really exciting today. I have been looking into ways to water the garden when it gets hot and dry like it is right now. Fayetteville got rain yesterday but we did not get a drop. Some of our plants like the cucumbers and tomatoes are starting to wilt a little with no water and 90 degrees everyday. I don't want to use water that I have to pay for because that could get expensive. Since the garden is next to the pond I thought that I might be able to pump water out of it to water the garden. I looked into buying a water pump but they are kind of expensive and require electricity or gas to run them. Well I found an article on siphoning out of a pond with a water hose so I thought I would try it out. I know what you are all thinking, how are you able to get it started siphoning, it would be impossible to suck the water all the way through the garden hose. What you do is put all the hose down under the water and get all the air out. Then cap off the end that is going to be out of the water, then take it out of the water and to the lower area where you want the water to go. Then uncap it and let the water flow. I was a little worried that it would be tough to get it going but it wasn't. I am now able to water the garden out of the pond. When I get done watering I just cap off the end until I am ready to water again. I can garden like crazy now. It is really exciting.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Not so sly

Saturday morning around 7am I was laying in bed half awake, and I heard the chickens cackling like something had startled them. This is nothing new, they do this often with lots of things: the dogs getting too close to them, a goat getting too close to them, and sometimes they just do it for no reason at all. But this time it was different than usual because they kept doing it, usually they stop after a few seconds but this was going on for a few minutes. I decided to go have a look so I went downstairs and peered out the window towards the chicken house. I saw that the goats were over in that area as well and they were huddled up with ears perked all looking in the same direction. This means there is something out there that is freaking the goats out. It also means that it is something that should not be there because the goats are used to all the other animals on the farm and they aren't freaked out by Jake and Macy (our dogs) either. So I looked in the direction that they were all looking and I spotted it......a red fox. It was coming towards the chicken coop and chickens (who weren't in the coop at this time). So, I yelled for Margo to wake up and I ran upstairs and had her grab the 12 gauge shotgun and I grabbed the 30-30 because I was not sure how close I would get to the fox and therefor what gun I would need. We snuck outside real quiet like to try and not scare off the fox. I walked over to the coop and checked there first, I hoped he would be inside so I could shoot him easily with the shotgun. He wasn't in there so I grabbed the 30-30 and walked around to the far side of the coop and saw him up in the woods. When he saw me he ran a little farther away from me and stopped and looked back at me. I pulled up the gun and put the scope on him and pulled the trigger and nothing happened, the safety was on. The fox took off running again, I re cocked the gun, he ran almost to the fence line and stopped and turned again. I put the scope on him again and fired. I then saw a brown thing running really fast away and I was really mad because I thought I had missed him, but then I realized that this thing had spots. It was a fawn that was really close to where the fox was that had jumped up and ran off when I fired. I ran up closer so I could see if I had killed the fox and there it was, dead. When I got closer I saw that I had hit it in the head. There is a lot of bone in the head so I guess when that 30-30 bullet hit all that bone it basically fragmented and blew the top part of that poor little fox's head right off. Seriously, the top of the head, gone. It was kind of awesome in a killing a fox kind of way. The sad news is that the fox had already killed three of our new little chickens before I got to it. In case any of you wanted to see a picture of the dead fox, minus the top of the head, I took some pictures. I won't post them on here in case any of you have a weak stomach or have a soft place in your heart for foxes (that kill chickens). So, click here if you want to see the picture. It was quite an event.

Monday, July 21, 2008


We harvested some of our corn yesterday. We planted a lot more this year than we have before, mainly because we wanted to make our own ethanol. Just kidding. We planted more because we want to try to have enough to last us for the whole year. So, yesterday we picked our first batch that was ready. I planted the variety Silver Queen, it is one we really like the taste of and it produces really well for us overall. I was kind of worried that our corn was not going to do so well this year because I planted it a little too close together and then waited too long and forgot to thin it out. When corn is too close together it won't make ears. But, it actually turned out pretty good after all. We spent a few hours last night shucking the corn, cleaning the ears, and then blanching the ears and freezing them. Cleaning corn was one of my top least favorite things to do as a kid (the top thing on that list was hauling hay). I still hate cleaning corn but it has to be done unless you want hairy corn. One thing I was excited about was our vacuum sealer. We bought it last year and have been using it pretty often. One of the main things we bought it for was for freezing corn because it makes it much easier to get the air out of the bags which helps it to freeze better. We harvested and cleaned a total of 90 ears of corn last night. The ugly ears we cut off the cob and froze that way, the rest we froze on the cob. We will probably have at least half that much again to do at the end of this week. And, because I was worried this corn was not going to do so well, I planted some fall corn a couple weeks ago. It will be ready in a couple months. I have never done fall corn before so we will see how it does.

Here is a pic of some ears of corn in a 5 gallon bucket, we got 3 of these buckets full yesterday.

And, here is a pic of the corn after it has be shucked and cut.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Birthday Trip

Margo requested that for her birthday we go to the Gentry Drive Through Safari. I have never been there and Margo had not been there in a long time. It is a pretty cool place for being in Gentry, better and bigger than I thought it would be, although I wish they did more educational type stuff instead of just looking at the animals and petting them. They have 180 acres with 85 different species. There is a drive through part with all the big animals in different places and then at the front area they have lots of animals that you can pet and feed and get close to.

This is in the drive through part, some big deer like things and this crazy guy in the back that you always see on the national geographic channel running around in Africa.

Camel that was basically touching our car.

Emu thing that was pecking at our window, we found out from this trip that Margo is afraid of large birds

I felt a little like we were in the drive through part of Jurassic Park, I kept waiting for T Rex come buy and eat a goat or something.

This is a baby zebra that was in the petting area, he was awesome. One picture that did not turn out was me in the lemur cage with lemurs climbing on me.

This is Margo petting a kangaroo, they are very soft.

Here is another kangaroo with a baby in its pouch.

These were one of my favorites, baby buffalo

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cool Video

I have not posted a random video from youtube on here in a while, it used to be a regular occurrence. I saw this one the other day and really liked it so I thought I would share in case any of you have not seen it. You might have to watch it several times to watch all of the different funny people (my favorite person is the guy in France in front with the beard and white shirt) and to try to see the main guy (where's waldo). I wish I could do something like this. It seems like something that Dylan or Walt might do.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Happy Birthday Margo

Monday, July 14, 2008


We have been getting tomatoes out of our garden for the past couple weeks. I planted like 25 plants this year of all different varieties. Since we are now getting tomatoes from the garden we have been canning salsa and spaghetti sauce. We also use onions, garlic, peppers, and herbs from our garden in the sauce and salsa.

Here are some tomatoes from the garden, the odd colored ones are Cherokee Purple Tomatoes.

Here is some salsa we made, this is a new recipe we have not used before, it is called fiesta salsa and uses cucumbers in the salsa. We tried some, it is good.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bomb, Bomb, Bomb

Our new firework of choice is a sparkler bomb. What is a sparkler bomb you ask? Here is what you do....Take a bunch of the small size sparklers (we use 2-3 boxes but I have seen some people use hundreds) and hold them all together in a bunch, pull a middle one up and inch or two above the rest of them, then duct tape all around them to hold them together (you need at least a couple layers of duct tape), break off the sticks and seal the bottom with tape and seal the top of the bunch of sparklers except the one that is sticking up higher, so you should see all duct tape and no sparklers except the one that is sticking up a couple inches. Next set it a safe distance from everything and light the one that is sticking out of the tape, and run. The one that you light goes down and lights all the others and the pressure of the sparklers builds up in the tape and it explodes. Just doing like a bunch of 8-10 sparklers makes a good explosion and is louder than a shotgun going off. So, back to the point of this post, my friend Adam and I have been making some of these out of the sparklers I bought this year. Today we made sparkler bombs with 24 sparklers. We set it on a big chunk of wood and lit it and put a plastic bucket over it to see what it would do. It was awesome so we shot a video of it on our digital camera, the only bad thing is we shot the video sideways and there is no way to turn it so you will just have to turn your head or your computer screen to watch it. Here it is.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Fourth Party

We had a little get together for the fourth of July on Saturday. We invited friends and family and had 27 people show up. We grilled and people brought food, we had homemade ice cream, and I bought a bunch of fireworks for everyone to shoot off. It was a lot of fun just to hang out with everyone. Everything went good overall. We always forget to take pictures when people are out here, but we happened to remember this time and got a few but not as many as I would have liked. Our friend John brought his camera and got some really good shots as well.

Here are the fireworks I bought, I absolutely love fireworks and I bought tons this year, little ones for the kids and some were the biggest ones I have ever bought that were for the big show.

People getting food and stuffing their faces

Kids are much cuter when they stuff their faces.

Hanging out on the deck.

First rule of fireworks, always watch what you are doing.

Like mother, like son

I think Emma is doing a modeling pose here.

Evan was scared of the popping fireworks, he freaked out when we shot off some that made a bang. You know it's bad when the sparkler is too loud.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Big 6

Today was our sixth anniversary, and it's on the 6th, crazy huh. It was a pretty uneventful day, we usually try to do something for our anniversary but our trip to Mexico in May was kind of our trip of the year and we counted it as our anniversary present to ourselves, and birthday presents, christmas present, valentines day, easter, 4th of July, thanksgiving, columbus day, veterans day, presidents day, memorial day, labor day and all other holidays. I guess you can say it was our gift of the year to ourselves. Anyway, I put together a little slide show in honor of our anniversary. We take lots of pictures when we take trips and when we can't find a poor fellow tourist to take our picture in front of the world's biggest ball of yarn or what have you, I use my go-go gadget arm to reach out and take a picture of us. So, I made a little slide show of those pictures, it is kind of cool looking with them all in a row. Here you go.