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Ah Freebies!

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I really like the people my girls go to church with because they can be so helpful.  We were asked to drive over on Saturday, to pick up a few things.

We got two of these tractor tires, Silver cut the side walls out and we’re going to put acorn squash in one (for now) and carrots int he other.  Our regular soil here isn’t good enough for carrots but having something that big will give me the chance to fill with enough soil to do carrots.

Then these two barrels, there are at least 6 more waiting for us when we can get them.

See how it’s sitting?  These are  going to be a bake oven for my outdoor kitchen.  We just need one more barrel but it has to be a food grade one.  The bottom one will have a rocket like fire chamber but permit larger wood pieces.  That top one will be split in half to be used as the way to let the heat travel around the baking chamber.  We’re going to use parts from a barrel stove kit to make this.

This wonderful person who gave us these items also has more regular tires, manure and garden soil they’re giving to us for free!  We picked up[ a load of the garden soil yesterday.. three “bucket” loads which only gave that poor 1/2 ton pickup 6 inch clearance on the road on the way home.  Silver said that it wasn’t “bottomed out” yet though.  However I don’t think i want that much in there again.  It looked like we had half a low rider when we got home and we scraped on our dirt road coming in because of it.

Oh as to the garden…  This is a sun choke sprout:

Eh ok a couple of sprouts, as when I tried for one it was too blurry to be seen.  However the sun chokes do have a war going on with a native plant that I’m not sure I want to kill as I’m like to harvest some when they are ripe.

Those are Mayapples… not a good idea to eat unless you pick when ripe and only eat the fruit.   Around here it’s common to make jam with them.  I’ve been wanting to make some for years, but they don’t like direct sun so I’m not sure why they haven’t died yet.  They are trying to give my sun chokes a run for their money however.

I have elected as it’s been so nice that I’m going to “test” plant a few things that have to wait till after last frost.  As technically normal last frost is about April 15th, however last year we had frosts till mid May.  So I am going to take a partial chance at some plantings and wait on the rest till after mid May to plant.  I am hoping for no more frosts.

Hope your garden is going well!

Be Well, BE Safe, and Blessed Be…

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Wood Fired Waterheater

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This was written by Silver and I, Riven have posted it for Him.


A couple years ago
we were given a gas fired water heater. Upon inspection it was
apparent that the entire burner assembly was useless. So a week or
so later I removed all of the burner and the insulation from the
bottom foot or so, at first thinking the tank might be useful. About
that time I watched a couple videos on using wood fired water heaters
and decided to see what I could do with it.
Other than keeping
the heat shield used to hold the burner assembly, I found a old
unused steel tire rim that the shield fit into snuggly. The lower
half I filled with dirt and gravel to help keep it in place. The
opening in the shield where the gas burner had entered I opened a bit
and used for the wood feed.
Given the fear of
over pressure and possible explosion fed by all the warnings we had
seen on the net, I only filled the tank with water and left the lines
unattached. After filling the “fire box” and lighting it using
small branches and kindling, we found that to heat the initial forty
gallons took approximately a hour. After, it took less time,
refilling the used water, keeping the fire running with only small
pieces of fire wood.
At the time we did
not have a water heater so it was a godsend for us. Much easer than
heating the water on the stove or a fire a gallon at the time. Some
time later we were given an electric water heater that with some
parts worked and so we stopped using the wood fired one. Given the
setting up of our outdoor kitchen I moved it to that location and am
setting it up once again for use there. This time I will not have any
fear of running it under pressure as it is fairly easy to tell when
it is getting hot enough and the pressure relief valve is attached.
Given the fire box is less than a cubic foot does not hold enough for
a long burn time.
One last thing the
warnings online also mentioned the chimney being too small to work
accurately. We had no trouble with it on ours nor do we expect to. My
guess on others experiences is they were trying to have to big a fire
going in it. As we were not in a hurry to have the water heat up we
did not over feed it.
 I hope this helps
any that are interested to try there hand at it though only if you
feel comfortable with attempting it.
Silver has said if anyone has questions feel free to post them and He’ll do His best to answer them.

Fire Starters

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My partner suggested I write  a post about his fire starters as anyone we tell about them seem to not believe us on how simple they are.  All you need to make them is some old candles (thrift stores,yard sales,etc) wood pellets (like for pellet stoves) and cardboard egg cartons.

This is our bucket of wood pellets,  we go through about 1 bag of them every 2 years.  Which we have noticed is pushing it a bit as they start crumbling after a year.

When my chickens aren’t producing sometimes in the winter I buy eggs in the larger flats.  This gives me many fire starters once the process is done.  I wind up storing these up in the winter time.

You fill each “cup” in the egg cartons till they are level with the line of the carton.  We had tried pine shavings, but learned they do not burn as long as they do with pellets.  You could also use dryer lint.  Or even hair from your hair brush.

You melt the wax down in a sauce pan on the stove. (we have a dedicated pot for this as we come across cheap and inexpensive cook ware all the time)  Then you slowly pour the wax into the “cup” part coating the pellets.  Sometimes after they dry you have to go back over them again.

This is what they look like when dried.  You then cut each “cup” out and when lit they -can- burn for 5 mins, sometimes less if your pellets are starting to crumble.  These cost us about $0.25 USD per starter to make.  We tend to have a good many by winter start, which have taken us into spring camp fire-y usage.  These really do work, they are simple to make and don’t cost much over all.

Another post coming today!

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

Farm of the Future

Now the following “short” story I wrote and posted on a Ning website about green living a few years back and this article   http://www.anh-usa.org/genetically-engineered-food-alters-our-digestive-systems/#.VNtBImUMUlw.google_plusone_share   Made me decide to repost it on my blog.  So here it is:

Farm of the Future

The farmer walked out to his field shaking his head, looking at the corn crops all dead; and not knowing why. This has been the first time this has ever happened as far as the farmer knew. He had been growing corn for about five years after his father stopped and gave him the farm. As he looked around even across the street he could see those corn fields dead as well, and those weren’t his fields.

As far as he knows all the corn fields are dead, the only place he had heard of any growing still was on a tiny farm about five miles away. He knew though that he couldn’t grow that corn, it would kill him. About a year ago someone had gotten into the county grain silo some of that corn, and it had mixed into the rest of the good corn. It was a disaster, all the livestock fed that corn died and so did the people whose food was tainted by it.

The farmer shakes his head thinking about what else that farm was growing. What was a tomato anyway? He had never heard of such a thing as a tomato, and what were beans? The only food that existed (at least as he grew up knowing) was corn made or processed meat. Everyone who grew food grew either corn, chickens, or cows. So what weird kind of food were those people growing?

He could not believe it, as he was offered food from those people the one time he went over to there. He was sick for a week after and the doctors gave him five bottles of pills to get rid of what ever was in that food. He was told by the doctor later that whatever that farm grew it did not have the one thing that all life. It was a a non-modified food, the farmer had never heard of such a thing before. His father when he had asked him told him that when he was a kid they had such foods. Also that people had only started eating the modified foods.

So he guessed someone must have hid those seeds when they were destroying all the non-modified seeds. It didn’t matter now if there were as now people could only eat the modified crops now, same with the live stock. The farmer shakes his head again, his dad’s childhood days were over 50 years ago, it must have been an odd time.

While yes, this is not going on now; we do not know the future affects of GM products. What if… one of the future side affects is that anything fed with them can then only eat them? What will happen if humanity becomes dependent on those alterations in the food to survive? It would change our genetic code, and then people who stayed away from them would be a different species from the “normal” humans. While this might not happen, we just don’t know. We need more study of these products before humans should ingest them in any form. Even 2nd hand form.

Open Letter to the Human ‘Race’

Human ‘Race’

It’s funny to see how all of you sit there and think everyone is separate from each other. The phrase “human race” refers to a single ‘race’ of one human kind. Most Native peoples name for their people just refer in translation as “the people”. I think that says a lot, the term of different ‘races’ is outdated as it was a term used to make ‘other’ people seem less important. If everyone truly thinks they should be equal then they need to stop separating themselves from everyone else. Everyone is the same ‘race’ we are all one “People” We all have to live on this glowing blue green ball floating in space.

Racism shouldn’t exist in this day and age unless the people protesting it want it to exist. Do I think there should be protests against wrongs, yes. Should it be an excuse to make everyone different from another? No, we are all one people. We all have different viewpoints, that’s it.

Also as to protest, causing violence and destruction does not make your point good. All it does is hurt the people you protest near or with. Protesting inequality and causing distruction doesn’t help your case.

We are one People, and we need to act like it.

Sincerely,

A Member of the Human Race

Silly Things in Life.

There are some really silly words/phrases in the English language and sometimes other ideas are strange as well. Example… “They shot him dead.” So can someone shoot someone alive? Really, come on folks think about it. The phrase is just downright silly.

We even have silly things in gardening, Everytime I look up how to grow something different, everything says “sandy loam” is the perfect soil to grow “X” item. So what doesn’t like sandy loam if you are going to grow it? Think on it how many things tell you that what you want to grow wants hard pan, or heavy clay soil?

On the concept of silly things in existence, P.E. class at my kids’ school. Now, this school always has the money at the end of the school year to buy all the seniors a gift because they are graduating. However, they don’t wish to keep up the gym floor constantly so all of the children are required to have brand new gym shoes that have never been worn outside for the kids to wear for gym class. Otherwise they are required to do P.E. in just socks, which personally I have an issue with.

Now anyone who regularly reads my blog knows that I am a Pagan, and I let the kids go to a local baptist church as it’s what they want. I discovered something that is done there that I have an issue with. They bribe the kids with candy to learn their bible verses, and to get them to keep coming back. That isn’t right because it shows kids that you only want what someone is willing to pay you to do something. Also I find it wrong that kids are gaining belief in something because someone is paying them to believe in it. What happened to following with your heart?

As for a homestead update, tomorrow barring rain we pick up rabbits and we just got the rabbittry built yesterday. It has temporary sides on it at the moment (tarps) but it is weather proof, as Harriet and Snowball have shown us as they did not get wet with all the rain we had last night and this morning. We have constructed a new sawdust toilet for the building my and Silver are in for this winter, it still needs a seat on it, but shrugs we’ll get there. Granted it would have been great to have had it done this morning with the downpour and all the lightning we had. The garden is still producing tomatoes, cucumbers,peppers, and squashes. Seems we did have one pumpkin on the vine, however once it started turning orange it started rotting away. The chickens loved it.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

My plans, Future and close future

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The other evening I watched some video’s on Turtle Island Preserve. I think that place is amazing, personally I would love to live like that with 99% of “modern amenities” gone from my life. I sit and think on it a bit and you know what aside from needing a well here most of my power usage is the kids watching tv or our fridge/freezer running. We also have electric stoves and water heater. Now when we first got here we heated our water on a simple wood cook stove and only had power in a little box of 4 outlets. (granted this was 4 months after we got here)

I would not mind going back to not using power for the most part and being outside in the shade when working on things that do not require me out in the sunlight. Part of this will be getting my outdoor kitchen built… -soon-. This will be a big plus for us as I could get most of our meals cooked there instead of in the house and heating the house up. Not to mention outside I wouldn’t really need to much in the way of artificial light. What little we might need we have discovered solar garden lights work nice. This would mean more wood chopping, but to me that isn’t a real big deal really. I can easily cut enough wood in a day for just cooking. It’s doing the wood chopping for our winter heat that is a bit tedious.

Our new building that me and Silver are living out of is getting a sawdust toilet, so I will be back to having to take it out and finding a good place to compost it. I cannot use it like the humanure book suggests in my veggie beds as Silver is on a good deal of medications (blood sugar and thyroid), however I could use it to mulch my non-edible flower beds.

When we get around to building other home structures on the property they will be tucked into the woods (in the hopes of something like an eco village small scaled), however I am thinking of making them all sawdust toilets, so I need to plan a good composting spot for all of that.

Starting tomorrow I am going to be starting the work on expanding my vegetable garden. Hopefully I will get some actual help on the project verses someone who just sits there and stares blankly at me while I am just trying to get the work done all the while asking ever minute what they should be doing. I swear some younger people don’t know how to take ques on how to do things by just watching others.

Silver made a chicken feeder the other day. He took a plastic pan about the size of one of those large rubber feed bowls and attached it to a 5 gallon bucket he drilled holes in for the feed to flow out of. It works well and I have been able to gauge better how much they are eating now. This batch of chickens just got their first straw bale to tear apart. Now they got it 3 days ago and they are still tearing it up.

We have a minor hangup on building the rabbittry, Silver’s toe has opened back up again and the podiatrist has him on a major antibiotic and has his foot in a “boot” to prevent pressure on his toe. Good for the toe but bad for projects that need to be done by this time next week. Especially since the meds sometimes knock him out if he’s really not feeling well. Hopefully in the next few days we can get to work on it. This weekend we won’t be able to do any building as we’re due some rain then (YEAH RAIN!), think it falls under the heading of -FINALLY- we get some rain here that might last more than an hour (yesterday). The dogwood trees here are dieing due to heat and lack of rain. I hope they produce next year.

Unfortunately due to that bad rain deficit, my elderberry trees gave up. I hope they make it to next year. We’ll see though, they were going to be major covered with berries too!

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

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