Thursday, October 30, 2008

Do I have Stupid written on my forehead?

I keep getting filth mail from AHSA or American hunters and shooters association.
What a load of drivel.
They are trying to tell me that Obama is better on gun rights than McCain.
First I will say I am officially voting third party.
Chuck Baldwin has my vote for president.

But I won't stand by and let some idiot spread lies about John McCain in the name of gun owners.

First accusation is that McCain appeared in a gun control ad.
If asking parents to lock up guns so children can't get them is gun control then ok he did.

Next they go to left field. (remember this is a gun "rights" organization)
My comments after the +

* McCain publicly opposed a road building ban on 50 million acres of national forest.
+ great, I grew up in the west and hated how the liberals had closed off more roads year after year.

*McCain supports Bush economic policies
+What does this have to do with gun control?

*McCain supports bad trade deals with China
+Again has to do with gun rights exactly how???

*McCain opposed billions of dollars of conservation funding in the farm bill
+ Again gun rights?

These loons have come out of left field to try and take the heat off of a candidate that is from one of the most gun hating cities in the USSR er.... I mean America.
Obama has voted for every piece of gun control legislation that he has seen.
Don't be fooled by misdirection and outright lies on the part of a liberal front for gun control.
And for the sake of your rights don't give these vermin any of your hard earned dollars.


Since last time

Not been writing much this last week as you can see.
Got a call Tuesday evening while I was eating dinner.
My second cousin who is a taxedermist hunt for deer in our woods.
His wife was on the line saying he had got a really big one and needed some help.
So I bundled up and made my way out to where he has his stand. I saw some very large tracks in the corn as I worked my way across the cornfield. I finally found him cleaning out a very large 8 point buck. This is the nicest buck I have seen on the place since I have been here. It had a beautiful bronze pelt. He thinks he might do a hlaf mount since it is such a nice looking buck.

Firewood is the theme of the season. I have cut every weekend in October and have been burning the furnace all month also. Working slowly by myself on Saturday I cut just about what I burn in a week. I need to work harder and longer to get ahead for the winter.

I am a little frustrated with writing.
I am working on an article about sun rendered fish oil and its uses.
I submitted a title to Helium "Making and Using Sun Rendered Fish Oil"
They rejected it and in the email they said "we didn't know if this has to do with cooking or sun bathing"
I think if someone is looking up sun rendered fish oil they will know generally what it's used for.
Otherwise why look it up?

My camera software still won't work but I do have a cheapy camera I might get to work so pictures may be coming back.

I picked 6 or 8 rows of my corn by hand this last week.
It takes a lot longer than I thought it would.
I had gone through it the last couple weeks and picked out a few ears to use for seed next year.
I found maybe two or three more. I do know I really need to use more fertilizer, I have too many small ears. It is interesting to see all the genetics involved. I have al kinds of different ears.
I will try to get the other 30 or so rows picked as time allows.

When I was going to help Marv with his buck I noticed lots of blown over corn in the rented field.
Hurricane Ike did a number of corn around here. I am going to have to figure out an incentive plan for the kids to ick up the ears. Maybe a penny an ear would do it for them.

I get to teach next wednesday night. We will be looking at Job 5. I know I will get as many blank stares as I got a couple weeks ago when I taught Job 4.

I will endeavor to write more often.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wheat, Weeds and Wildlife

When I approach a project here on the homestead I usually first ask myself "how did they do it back in the day?" Then I ask "can I do something similar today?"

Growing wheat is a good example. They had ground that was used in rotation . It had a cleaning crop before it, something that was weeded with horse power or by hand. The farmer who rents our land says he thinks wheat is good for the land in rotation but he can't "pencil out" how he can afford to grow it on rented land. So wheat hasn't been grown here since we bought the place. Grandpa had a different farmer renting it when we first moved in and there was wheat in one field then.

Oats is something I haven't seen grown in the area since I was a kid. Oats can be a cleaning crop too from what I have heard. I guess it has a natural weed suppressant in it. I was thinking I could follow oats with wheat. I can't keep a field cleaned of weed without chemicals since I don't work on the homestead full time. Oats , Wheat, Beans, Corn sound like a good rotation I would like to try. I was thinking of hay in there but then I will have grass growing up that needs to be weeded out. I think I will try a permanent pasture with rotating hay fields.

This is all still speculation as I am trying to rotate 4 small fields right now and have not decided on a bean that works good for us. Black eyed peas grew very well last year but Tanya and the kids didn't care for the taste. This year we didn't plant any beans and the only field I have is my corn. It has done the best since I have been planting it. (pics to come)

I mentioned weeds and wildlife in the title. I have a couple overgrown areas along old fence lines and where the old barn used to be. You would think the cover would be good for small game. When my dad was a kid they used to hunt squirrels, rabbits and pheasants like crazy. Seeing the pictures from back then they had clean fences and the woods was clear of undergrowth for the most part since they used it as pasture.

I have more cover for the small game but no animals. I think the problem is the lack of food since no one grows wheat or oats anymore. I still have squirrels in the woods and raccoons coming out of my ears but the rabbit population is very low and I have seen one pheasant since we have lived here. The only gleaning from the field for the wildlife anymore is corn or soybeans, which isn't good enough for the small game animals. Just like it isn't enough for your farm animals.

Growing your own wheat and oats will not only make for healthier soil and livestock but will help the local wildlife as well. The standard corn, soybean, corn rotation just keeps the strain on the land and will eventually wear it out.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chrstian prayer and rumination

Rumination of God's word, It's all part of being a follower of Christ. I hesitate to use the word meditation since it has so many eastern religious connotations. But Prayer and meditation on His word is how we communicate with God.

Again I thank Jerri for taking the "use it or lose it" post to a higher level with her comments.
She talked about letting your prayer life get rusty so that we miss the mark with our fellowship with the Lord.

When we fall out of the habit of praying we miss out, we short circut our line of communication. For the christian if we pray once a month or once an hour God will hear us. Where the trouble comes is, will we hear God if we are not used to being in communication with Him?

Many who do not have a good prayer life expect God to make a big noise and get their attention if he wants them to know something. They don't seek fellowship with Him, they have their "fire insurance" and that's all they care about. They tell God "I won't bug you if you don't bug me."
How do I know this? Because I used to be exactly like that. But God designed us for a relationship with Him. He doesn't want to have to wack you up side the head with a 2X4 every time He wants your attention.

Prayer is a simple thing, don't make it more complicated than it is. Some will teach that prayer is a complicated affair involving certain postures or certain words repeated over and over. Talking to God in your head is praying just as much as getting down on your knees or falling flat on your face. It is about the heart not the posture or the words. God promises us in His word that the Holy Spirit will make intercession for us when we don't know what to say. That means if we are praying the Holy Spirit is praying right along with us.

Then how do we hear back from God? I talked about rumination on His word. We need to be in communication, we also need to be in study God speaks through His word (the bible) yes He can speak so we hear it but that is rare, don't expect a big booming voice to fill the sky.

In IKings 19 Elijah had fled into the wilderness and he went up on a mountain and a great wind roared by that broke rocks but the Lord was not in the wind. Then there was a great earthquake but the Lord was not in the earthquake. Then a fire but again the lord was not in the fire. After the fire there was a "still small voice". The still small voice was the Lord.

If we are not careful we can miss the Lord when he speaks. Neglecting our prayer and study will make it all the more likely the still small voice will pass unheard.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Another word about the ads

I have seen a few ads that I really don't like show up in the ad bars.
I have finally figured out how to filter them.
It will be a slow process for me to get the ones I really disagree with removed but I will try to be vigilant in doing so. Please don't judge my beliefs by the ads you see google put up.
It will be an ongoing process.

lamb and mashed potatoes

In August we had a get together here at the homestead for folks that post on Frugals forums.(see link at right) Brother Silicon and his wife brought a Shetland ram that we butchered as a demo.

I dug out the old butchering tripod from one of the sheds and we set in to skinning. To kill the ram with we used an old Quackenbush .22 that was this farms butchering gun. I don't have any pics of the actual butchering since I was gabbing with the others while it was going on.

Swamprat is shown here cutting up some meat to stir-fry. He put it in a wok with ghee(clarified butter) and onions, then added curry spices. I ate some stuffed in a pita and I can tell you it was extremely good. He set the wok right on the charcoal grill after I had BBQ'd a nice chunk of meat.

This was the BBQ'd hunk-o-lamb a little tough but very tastey.
At the end of the day Brother Silicon and His wife told us we could keep what was left of the meat so we all divied it up.
Last week Tanya took out a piece and roasted it. She also took a bunch of our potato harvest and made dirty mashed potatoes.(mashed with the skins still on) A couple cans of store bought sweet corn rounded out the meal. I ate it for three nights in a row it was sooooo good.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Use it or lose it

A church about 2 miles from the house had a mens breakfast and trap shoot Saturday morning.
Pretty good biscuits and gravy!!
I took my Winchester 1897 12ga. pump and shot .
I was in the first round I went 1/10 I was so embarrassed. Then I watched everyone else shoot only a couple guys did much better.
Dad had brought my old Browning Citori. This is the first gun I bought with my own money when I was 12 and its a very sweet gun. I ended up trading it to dad a few years back for a couple other guns. I don't even remember which ones now. I'm sure one of my kids will end up with it someday.

Anyway I only hit 2/10 with it.....embarrassed again. When I was walking a way from the line someone I didn't even know said "what happened?" I replied "I can't shoot".
I used to be a crack shot, a couple friends from back when I was a teenager still mention it occasionally.

When I lived in Colorado I was up in the mountains all the time running around on the dirt roads exploring or just driving. I always would do some shooting of some sort. Here I sit on our 30 acres and only shoot if I see something to shoot at like a groundhog. I have missed a few of them over the seven years we have been here.

Tanya say's "Maybe you should shoot more" (Bless her heart)
It's the truth I have lost some of my shooting ability and I would love to shoot more but with the price of ammo I can't shoot as much as I would like.

My point is: Skills deteriorate, keep them honed if you think you will need them.
I have a small shooting range set up from a get together I had at the place in August.
I plan on using it on a regular basis with all different types of guns. (Rifle,Pistol, Shotgun)

A word on safety.
Teach your children well.
There was a man and his grandson at the shoot on Saturday.
The man was shooting at one station and the grandson at the one next to him.
The grandson was having trouble with his gun and the grandpa was over helping him out.
The grandpa turned to go back to his shooting station and swept us all with the muzzle of his loaded gun. After the official rounds were over they were lined up again to shoot and the grandson fired a round into the ground pointed right in our direction. It hit five feet in front of him but he should never of been facing our direction with a loaded gun. Even though the grandfather had modeled the behavior it was wrong. All ended well and no one was hurt but it could easily of been bad.

About eight years ago I was camping in Colorado with a guy and his family I had met at Frugals web site. He had two young boys and we were shooting his MAK90. He had just bought it and wasn't very familiar with it. He was done shooting and was trying to remove the magazine when BAAAM! he hit the trigger instead of the magazine release.

He had the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and the round went downrange. We were very shaky after that though. It was a teaching point for his boy's , we were able to point out "Thats why you always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction"

Shooting skill is like any other use it or it gets bad. Someone pointed out on Saturday "It's not like riding a bike" I would have to agree.

Friday, October 10, 2008

He who controls your food controls your life

We are living in interesting times to say the least.
The financial markets are going crazy.
Have you started to prepare yet?
How long are you able to eat from your stocks of food?
Are you worried?
Some will say well you're a Christian, why are you tryng to be prepared. Didn't Jesus say to take no thought for tomorrow?
That is true. It is in reference to the sermon on the mount in Matthew.
The phrase "Take thought" in the Greek means to be anxious or careful or in other words worried.
It is telling us not to worry, not that we should throw out all thought of tomorrow.
The bible says in II Timothy 3:16 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"
That said think of Joseph in Egypt God had him prepare for seven years getting ready for the famine. Read proverbs it is all about preparing and living the good and Godly life.

I mentioned the ten virgins in an earlier entry: Matt 25
We have five wise virgins and five foolish virgins. You know the story. The word for foolish in the Greek is actually the same word we get moron from.
What modern Christians fail to see in this story is why were the virgins foolish? Why were they morons? Because they didn't prepare. It will be spiritualized from the pulpit but the fact remains Jesus was speaking to people who understood hardship and could see how stupid it was to not be prepared. And did the wise virgins share their oil? Nope! This should also give modern Christians pause.

Moving on I hesitate to mention elections but I think a point or two should be adressed from a preparedness standpoint. There have been threats of violence should one of the candidates lose.
I would like to point out that we most likely could be in for some violence no matter the outcome of the election. A couple years ago Ohio Stae won the national championship in football. Columbus Ohio erupted into rioting, looting and burning as a result. Imagine this happening on a national scale. I am not saying it will hapen but it is something to be aware of if you live in or near an urban center.

My prayer is that God gives you the forsight to prepare so that He can control your life instead of some government agency or worse yet a petty warlord.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Weekend Projects Sans Photos

I worked on a couple projects this weekend but the camera software seems to have died.
I uninstalled it and am trying to reinstall as I type this but the program just locks up so I think something more is wrong.

I dug potatoes this weekend and had a real nice picture of the small little pile.
They didn't do very well for me. I was reading Sunday night and realized I confused potatoes and root crops. You don't want to fertilize root crops very much or you get forked roots. Potatoes on the other hand like a lot of manure. Well they didn't get any hence my poor production.

I grew them in a large box I made from 2X12 floor joists I got from the remodel at work. The box was about 9 feet long and I cut up the seed and put a piece about every 14". I then covered them with straw. When the plants grew up out of the straw I added more. I kept at it until a couple weeks ago. I had a small infestation of tomato worms until they found the brandywines.

When I forked them out I was surprised how hard and compacted the dirt was beneath them. It was covered all summer with straw and was not walked on at all but was still very hard. I guess I need more organic matter for this heavy soil. I put in three packed down pickup truck loads of leaves last fall and tilled them in this spring. I also added eight wheel barrow loads of poultry litter. But this was for the whole garden and obviously I needed more.

We also went to an animal trade show/flea market on Saturday. They have one every spring and fall about 10 miles from the house. We went looking for chickens since we wanted to get some again. There was not a huge selection and some of the prices I though were kinda expensive. A lot of folks wanted $10 each for birds.

We ended up getting two Americauna pullets and one Americauna rooster for $5 each and then picked up 3 Silver laced Wyandot pullets for $6 each. They should all be about ready to lay next month. Americauna's lay blue/green/pink eggs the Wyandots lay brown eggs. A friend had Silver laced Wyandots before and told me they were kind of flighty. But after having white leghorns last year I figured I could handle a couple of these. All six of them seem very docile in the coop and I even petted the rooster last night.

Our first Americauna roosters 4 years ago were very bad with children and even grown ups. The ones we sold in June were very friendly. We had raised both sets from eggs, I don't know why they were so different.

I have to give Tanya some credit here. She went and worked on the chicken coop to get it ready for the birds while I was down in the woods cutting firewood. She repaired the inside wire and shoveled out a lot of the old bedding.

We fired up the outdoor wood furnace on thursday night. So now I have wood heat and wood heated hot water. It is so much nicer than the electric on demand water heater.

Hope I can get the software figured out because I have some good pictures to share.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Writing is getting fun

I mentioned the opportunity I might get being a featured writer on RFD America.
Check this out LINK
I have written most of my adult life but it has been mostly for myself. In the 90's I wrote a couple articles for a local magazine in Colorado. I started posting on forums in 1999 and it has progressed from one sentence posts, to articles written on Helium, and this blog. Now here I am writing more than I ever thought I would. Plus it looks like there are more and more opportunities for the future than I ever thought possible.

I have a novel I am working on (Don't we all LOL). I put up the first chapter in rough draft form when I joined Helium in January. I have noticed all of a sudden in the last month or so that excerpt has been read quite a bit. I think I had better edit it and get in gear finishing the whole thing just in case some publisher stumbles across it and likes it. I have posted some chapters on Frugals and on the Gulch but am going to have to rework those since they got posted as I wrote and are going to have to be replotted to follow along the main story.

I was thinking back on writing and recalled the first story I remember writing. It was a space monster story about this alien that killed everyone on a spaceship except for the last person alive who killed it. I think it was sixth grade or so, before Alien the movie came out.

John at Frugals (Frugal himself) encouraged me in this way. He said to me "You seem like you have something to say". I would encourage anyone who has" something to say" to get writing and share with the world. The internet makes it easy.......If you want to try Helium contact me and I will send you an invitation.


Friday, October 3, 2008

3 weeks and the outhouse

Last night was three weeks of The Prepared Christian Blog.
I have not been up to par with my writing since I have been under the weather.
Everything I have written this last week sounds really weird.

I was asked to write a Bio and provide a picture for a website to be a "featured writer" so we will see what comes of that. I will put in a link if and when it gets on the site. Who knows maybe it will be my 15 minutes of fame. The website is RFD America it's a pretty cool new site dedicated to providing rural Americans news and commentary that is geared toward us, not just the population centers.

I promised some info on the outhouse I built.
I went and took a couple pictures since a picture is worth a thousand words.

Here is an outside view of the finished product.
I started with a basic pallet and put on a plywood floor. Then I built a frame of scrap 2x4's and sheathed it with the scrap sign material I have talked about in the past. This was the plastic only stuff and I just nailed it on and trimmed it to fit with my pocket knife. I put a small chunk of metal roofing I had on for the roof.

The door is a banner with metal "D" rings on the corners I got from the same sign shop that I get all the used sign board. It was for a fireman's fund raiser and when it was over they threw them away(I have one more stashed away). I have it nailed in three places and it closes up the opening really well.

Here is the inside shot of the outhouse.
Again a frame of scrap 2x4's was used with a piece of plywood with a hole cut to hold the seat.
The five gallon bucket gets an inch or two of sawdust or grass clippings in the bottom. One coffee can holds a roll of TP the other has sawdust. I wrote instructions on the wall with marker.
"when you are finished put a handful of sawdust in the bucket"
When the bucket gets close to full the contents will be buried in the woods. This has not happened yet as we use this very seldom and the contents seem to compost down well.

The outhouse is very light. I pulled it down to the woods with a tow rope and my truck. But to get it where I wanted it I just pulled it by hand with the tow rope. The sign board is translucent so a lot of light gets in and it is not dark inside.

The only thing I don't like about it is that it is white and can be seen from the road.
That about wraps up the outhouse.

I am starting a new schedule today. I got up at 4am did some exercise, showered, checked my internet stuff and then started writing. If I am going to get serious about writing I need to make more time for it and this is the only part of the day not taken up. Keep me in your prayers so I can be more consistent and helpful.