Saturday, November 14, 2009

How to use drags on your traps

Sometimes it may not be possible to stake a trap or tie it off solid.

These are the times that drags cans save your bacon.

If you set your trap in the open a drag will allow your critter to get out of sight from someone who may take it.

If you set your trap in a rocky area you may not be able to stake or have anything to tie it to. A drag will allow you to set your trap in these places.

When I was a youngster, a person could still trap in Colorado. The Colorado trappers association put on a rendezvous every year. They would always have workshops so everyone could learn new things. I went to every one I could.

At one of these an old trapper (I forget his name) gave a demo on drags.

Up to this point I hadn’t used a drag, but after I went I started using them often and have continued to do so for over 20 years.

The premise of a drag is to allow the animal to move and usually they will head for cover and get tangled up.

It will also allow you to hold a much larger critter than if the trap is staked solid since there is some give when the chain is pulled.





The tools of the trade.

Two logs. The one on the left is 6 ½’ for larger animals, and the one on the right is about 4' for smaller animals.

Two traps. Both are #3 coyote traps but really you can catch about anything in them.

Plain old hardware store wire and a pair of side cutters or lineman’s pliers.

Two snares, a rock and two horseshoes






Two types of snare swivels.

The one on the left is a McGregor (my favorite type of snare).

I think they are no longer in business; they were out of Roundup, MT.

The one on the right is a 72 Thompson coyote snare.
Since I don’t use store bought drags I came up with this reasonable facsimile.







It is two old horseshoes. One still had nails and I put them thru two holes on the other and bent them over.









Wired together well with a single wire.

Then a double strand wrapped around and thru the chain loop.

The loop is passing thru four strands of wire.
When using a drag like this be sure to use a longer than normal trap chain.

This is a newhouse trap with a three foot chain. I would consider that a minimum length for good performance. You want the drag to lag behind when the critter turns so it has a better chance of hanging up and the longer the chain the better. In the first photo you see the trap on the left has a five foot chain and was set up for a store bought hook drag.








I hope you don’t plan on getting your trap back wired like this!!









Double wire thru the chain loop.

This is a very common way to wire your trap to a drag.

It will work but in my opinion is not the best way.








Same double wire around the log.

But now I have added another double wire from the chain loop to the log wire.

This gives you a very good pivot point and allows the log more movement while being drug around.








Here is another very good set up.

If there is a chance your wire could slip off the end of the log, this is the way to go.

A long length of double wire is wrapped around the log, twisted tight, then laid down the log a few inches and wrapped around again.

Then it is tied off.

Then take the short double wire and put it thru the horizontal wire and tie it off.

The next picture shows this hooked to a snare.

Please note that in most if not all places, it is illegal to use a drag with a snare. I include this so you can see how to hold big animals in a survival situation.








This set up with a 72 Thompson snare tied to a 6' pole about 3 dia. held a mountain lion thru 3 hangups.

In each of the hangups the lion cleared a 10-15 foot circle in sage brush.The cable finally gave way.

It was set for coyotes on a trail beside some beaver ponds where we had some sets.

At that time there wasn’t a mandatory check time using killer type traps (connibares, snares and drowning setups) so we checked them once a week. From the tracks it looked like it held for quite a while. I’m more responsible today and in a TSHTF situation checking sets will be a daily exercise.







I used romex to mark the best place to tie off.

Usually you will want to tie off between 1/4 and 1/3 down the length of the drag . This way the drag runs semi- parallel to the direction of travel and when it catches it will absorb some of the shock as the log springs out sideways.




To use a rock....

I picked a round rock to show a worse case. Try to pick one with flatter sides if possible.

First make a cradle by taking a long single strand of wire and placing the rock in the middle of it then wrap the wire around to meet on the other side and twist the two together one or two times.

Then go back around in two different places and twist the wire where it meets on the original side then again back around again in a third place and tie off.

It should look something like the picture....
Then take a double wire and tie your chain be sure and go under all 3 wires.



Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Article on how to butcher a deer

I wrote an article for Helium on how to butcher a deer.
I think it is a good companion piece to the deer butchering how to's I put up here last year.

How to butcher a deer -Article

How to butcher a deer Pictoral-

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

I have gotten more comments about these than anything else I have written.
I hope you enjoy.

Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Saturday, November 7, 2009

"We are not at war with Islam"

PSSST
Someone forgot to tell them.

Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Thursday, October 29, 2009

So you're a Christian and a survivalist? Really?!

This is a guest post I put on Scoutinlife's blog...Since he deleted his blog I will put it up here.

So you’re a Christian and a survivalist? Really?!

When I speak of my preparedness beliefs to other Christians this is the typical reaction. The inevitable next question is “survive what?” My typical answer is “what can kill you?” Then the conversation usually degrades into mumbling about me not having faith.

I have found two common arguments that many Christians use as an excuse to not prepare.

They are:

- I am going to be raptured so I don’t have to prepare.

- God said don’t worry about tomorrow.

Lets look at them separately.

- I am going to be raptured so I don’t have to prepare.Obviously they are talking about surviving the great tribulation. Regardless of whether you believe in pre-trib, mid- trib, post-trib or no trib the great tribulation is not something you will want to live through. In Rev.9:6 the bible says men will seek death and not find it. Over half the earths population will be killed and the rest tormented.

If I’m not preparing for the tribulation then what? Look at Luke 21:9-12 (there are parallel passages in Matt. 24 And Mark 13) Some of the highlights: Wars, great earthquakes, famines, pestilences, fearful sights and great signs in heaven.This is a pretty good list of things that can kill you.

- God said don’t worry about tomorrow
“Ok maybe there is stuff to prepare for but didn’t God say not to worry? ”Who’s worried? A person that sees possible threats and prepares for them is one of the least worried kind of people I know of. Proverbs 27:12 “A prudent man foreseeth the evil and hideth himself..

”When Christ talked about giving no care for tomorrow it was all about worry not preparation. Look at the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 You have five wise virgins and five foolish virgins. What made the wise virgins wise? They were prepared. What made the foolish virgins foolish? They failed to think ahead and prepare.

I think one of the greatest Christian teachings on how we should approach our preparedness is I Thessalonians 4:11-12“ And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.” I will leave the application of these verses to your own study.

Still clinging to my God and my guns,Randy

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Being prepared is a way of life

It's not just a thing you do.
Part of that is making choices.
Chuck Colson has a great commentary on making financial and personal choices that I wanted to share. LINK
Everything about our faith needs to be implemented in our daily lives.
Too many leave God at church on Sunday, or they fail to allow Him to take charge.
The famous bumper sticker "God is my co-pilot" is so wrong... If God is your co-pilot you need to switch seats.
Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Monday, October 12, 2009

Avoiding Genetically Modified Food

Tanya wrote a pretty good article on the subject and posted it on Helium.
You can view it here: LINK
Had a gathering of like minds at the farm Saturday.
A good time was had by all.
Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Modern farming and me

Had a long day at work on Thursday.
When I got home I was tired and grumpy.
Tanya met me as I got out of the car and told me the guy who farms our 17 1/2 tillable acres needed a couple trees cut down since they were combining soybeans and couldn't fit the combine in the other field.

We have a 2 1/2 acre field that is separated from the rest by an old fence row.
Usually it is farmed by the farmer on that side of our property who is the father of the guy who farms the other 15. But this year the father couldn't find any government program to help him on a 2 1/2 acre plot so the son added it to the other 15.
(Rolls eyes)
I guess you can't farm unless you are part of a government program of some sort. (rolls eyes even more)
Don't get me wrong, these guys are great people. I just don't hold with the agribusiness mindset.

Anyway I had to grab the Stihl and go make a 40' hole. Yes you read that right a 40' hole. They got the planter through the existing hole in the fence row but the super duper John Deere mega combine wouldn't fit.

Now I hate dropping trees, I much prefer to cut up stuff already down. Since if you are stupid or unlucky a tree can kill you.(see my last post to see I am stupid sometimes) I really hate cutting in an old fence row since the chance of hitting wire with the saw is almost certain.

Something real handy to have is a small set of bolt cutters. Mine cost $16 and they are much better at fence cutting than the old fence pliers I have in the workshop.

I was able to get the wire off the trees I needed to cut without any problems. I was really surprised that it wasn't grown in at all. Only problem turned out to be missing a couple pieces laying in the grass that I hit when I was cutting the stump lower.

The tractor flooded when I tried to start it(more roll eyes) so I had to use the truck to drag the two trees up to the house. This was all going on as it was getting dark and the combine was running and getting closer all the time. I finally got it cleaned up and he was able to get through just at dark. So the beans are off. Lots of stress after a long day.

Newer equipment needs lots of space. I like closed in places that offer cover for small game. Some day we will be able to afford to do our own farming with smaller equipment. Right now the rent we get pays the taxes and insurance on the farm. So we will keep it up for the time being since I have almost no equipment. Although I did see this morning an older small AC combine on craigslist for $800. Anyone want to buy it for me?

Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Monday, September 28, 2009

I admit that sometimes I'm not the brightest person...

But this was almost plain stupid.
(note: I share some of my stupid mistakes so others can learn from them)
I was down in the woods on Saturday scoping out what logs to cut.
We have (had) a large 4 foot diameter hollow red oak standing right by the trail I drive in on.
I thought I would burn some leaves in it and see if I could smoke a coon out.
After a bit nothing showed so I stomped out the leaves.
Later Saturday I was down there again and noticed it was smoldering so I stomped it some more and buried the coals.
Sunday afternoon a friend calls and says "Where are you?" I said "at home" and he said "well your fence row in on fire."
OOPPS!!!
I took the truck and some shovels plus some jugs of watter and we got it out for good this time.
And where the mighty 40 foot tall by 4 feet around oak once stood is only a pile of ash.
I guess they teach you all that stuff about putting out your fire when you are a kid for a reason.
My kids got to learn that dad makes mistakes sometimes too.

Oh did I mention the fence row was bordering acres and acres of dry unharvested soybeans.
Thank You God for watching over fools.
Randy

Saturday, September 12, 2009

They don't make 'em like they used to

Digging through the old workshop here on the homestead I came across a couple hatchet heads.
I showed you a while back the handles I made from some firewood.


If you are like me you have seen endless amounts of the head on the left at garage sales and auctions.
I have come to think of it a the top of the line hatchet just because it is so common.

100 years ago Horace Kephart wrote "The Book of Camping and Woodcraft".
In the "personal kit" section he has this to say about hatchets.

"A woodsman should carry a hatchet, and he should be as critical in selecting it as in buying a gun. The notion that a heavy hunting knife can do the work of a hatchet is a delusion. When it comes to cleaving carcasses, chopping kindling, blazing thick-barked trees, driving tent pegs or trap stakes, and keeping up a bivouac fire, the knife never was made that will compare with a good tomahawk. The common hatchets of the hardware store are unfit for a woodsmans use. They have broad, thin blades with a beveled edge, and they are generally made of poor, brittle stuff."



Seems my great grandpa didn't read Kephart. I found these broken heads in the shop also. They still had handles and my grandpa was still using them for light hammers. If you are planning on using a hatchet as a tool it would be good to avoid the example above since it appears that Kephart was right when he said they were made of poor brittle stuff.

The one on the right (in the first picture) is also brittle but of a thick design so it will be harder to break the steel.
A tomahawk is better for woods running than either of these but beggars can't be choosers.
At least now you and I know the limitations of this type of hatchet.

Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Swine Flu and you ? Are you prepared for a quarantine?

The .Gov says we will be facing a serious return of the swine flu this fall.
If you have been reading the news you have seen that some people have been quarantined already.
So what will you do if someone in your family (or even kids school) gets sick and the health department parks a police car in front of your house and says "don't go out for two weeks"?
If you are quarantined by the .Gov most likely they will have food on hand to give you if you don't have enough of your own. But why take that chance?

I put together a list of last minute preps you can make in case this fall is your time behind closed doors.

Simple basic foods for when you are sick.

- Ramen- so easy just put some water in your coffee pot and throw the seasoning and noodles in the pot and a few minute later you have hot soup.

- Lemon Jello- A guy I work with swears by hot liquid lemon jello when he is sick. It will keep you hydrated.

-Hot Toddie- If you drink alcohol hot cinnamon tea with honey and a shot of whiskey can make you feel lots better.

-Pedialite- Whoever is sick this stuff will hydrate you when you can't keep anything down. Similar to Gatorade or Powerade.

-Chicken noodle soup- Classic sicky meal

Quick storage foods for non-sick people.

-Peanut butter and crackers - will fill you up and goes a long ways

- MRE's - .Gov may be giving these to you to eat. Designed for soldiers in the field a person under quarantine could stretch one meal for the whole day ( I have done it camping) Coffee and dessert for breakfast/cracker and spread for lunch and entree for supper.

-energy bars - like power bar / clif bar etc. can replace meals

-Sardines and a chocolate bar- old in the field hunters meal.

- canned tuna and veggies- easy and can be eaten without cooking.

-pop tarts- easy meal or snack

These are some ideas that you can pick up at the store tonight.
Just use your imagination and pick up about two weeks worth of simple to prepare food.

One more thing,
Don't forget recreation.
Cards/ books/ videos and games, Being cooped up in your house for two weeks without anything to do can drive you crazy especially if you are not sick.

Most importantly realize it CAN happen to you and think your way through a what if situation.

Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Friday, August 28, 2009

Pine Marten trapping basics
Trapping Pine Marten in the high Rockies is one of the most challenging and rewarding trapping experiences. Pine Marten have beautiful fur that is always in demand and they are easy to catch if you follow a few simple principals.
-Location
As in business the three most important aspects of Marten trapping are location, location and location. Pine Marten like high conifer forests, and rarely will you find them elsewhere. Although they will eat any small prey species the marten's main food source is the pine squirrel. So when scouting possible trapping areas look for pine squirrels. You will want to look for areas deep with shredded pine cones; these areas will have cone refuse several inches deep where squirrels are abundant.

Another way to locate Pine Marten is to look for tracks in the winter. This is the technique I personally use most. I have found that Marten tend to use roughly the same routes when traveling their hunting area. When you come across a set of tracks that look like someone set two fifty cent pieces side by side in the snow you know there are Marten about. What I do then is go up trail and make a set and then go down trail and make a set maybe 50 yards apart.
If all else fails, look for steep cuts or ravines going into the north slope of a hill. I know a trapper that catches a lot of Marten who only sets these areas.
-Sets
Pine Marten are far from trap shy, this is why they are so easily caught by those who are in their range.
The cubby set on the ground seems to be real popular with writers, and I have seen others use them. But they have a couple of disadvantages you should know about. First if it is set on the ground it is easily covered with snow and put out of commission. This is a real concern in Marten country as most of it gets very much snow. Second is if the Marten is on the ground when caught it is vulnerable to other animals like foxes who will kill it or even voles who will chew the fur if it is dead.
The best set for Marten is some form of the leaning pole set. This puts the Marten up off of the ground above the snow and keeps the fur safe from destruction. To make a leaning pole set all you need is find an old tree branch to lean against an evergreen tree. This makes a ramp for the Marten to run up. (This set is also called the running pole set) Put the bait on the tree just above where the pole touches it, and then add your trap. You can put many kinds of traps on this pole. I just drive a finish nail into the pole and hang the trap on that using the little hole in the trap frame. You can also wire a wooden cubby onto the pole with a 110 or 120 conibear in it, or just set a conibear at the top of the pole with some bait on the trigger. All of these will catch plenty of Marten.
-Bait and Lure
After finding and then setting a trap for them you need to get the Marten to step in it. This is where your choice of bait is important. Beaver meat has been the absolute hands down winner for me. I have tried others but nothing works near as well. Beaver meat has a lot fat in it, so it resists freezing. (Very important in Marten country) It also has a musky smell to it that adds to its mouth watering appeal. A chunk the size of your fist is about right. (A leg, tail, head or just a chunk of meat scraps) When it comes to lure something skunky is the best. Marten can smell it from a long ways off and they will drop by your set to investigate.
Trapping Pine Marten in the high country is trapping at its finest.

Or Read it here:
http://www.helium.com/items/1568068-trapping-pine-marten

Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Stihl MS 310 Product review

Stihl MS 310 Chainsaw




The Stihl MS 310 is a Mid-range chainsaw combining power, quality and state of the art design features that make it a truly powerful firewood saw.
The MS 310 sports a powerful 59cc (3.6 cu. In) engine that puts out a respectable 4.0 BHP. With the power head weighing in at 13.0 lbs. it has a good power to weight ratio. The manufacturer recommends a bar length of 16" to 20" but many people have put on larger bars with some success.
I have the 20" bar on the saw I purchased and can attest to the power it possesses. This past winter I had three 20' lengths of dried Ash logs. I used my Poulan Pro 20" saw to try to cut these. I was able to make three and one half cuts on a tank of gas. (These were very hard logs) I purchased the Stihl MS 310 and the first thing I did was cut up the remaining logs with less than half a tank of gas. This is a very powerful saw. Logs in the picture were the next load pulled up. The ash logs were much bigger.



Stihl is an industry leader in quality. They are ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified. "This means they meet rigid international manufacturing, environmental and quality standards". Stihl has been the number one selling brand of chainsaw for many years, and quality is the reason. The quality of service is also outstanding. Stihl sells its chainsaws through independent dealers, not big box retailers. This means you can rest assured you are buying a chainsaw from the people who will actually be servicing it. They also have hands on experience with their product and can guide you in deciding which chainsaw is right for you.


The Stihl Ms 310 has state of the art features that will increase your firewood cutting efficiency.
First are the toolless fuel and oil caps. They have a flip-up top that makes them easy to grasp to open and close. The caps are also bayonet type without having to screw then on and off, just a push and twist and you are done. The flip tops felt a little flimsy to me and I can envision myself breaking one off. It took me a few times of filling the saw to get used to the bayonet caps. Twice I thought I had the oil cap secured but it popped off dumping the oil.




The next feature is the side-adjust chain tensioner. This is a screw slot between the two chain nuts that gives a quick, easy way to adjust the chain. Some of the other models have a Quick chain adjuster that is even easier to use, but it is not offered on the MS310. (yes I lost one of the bar nuts right away LOL but they gave me a new one free)




The last feature is the Intellicarb compensating carburetor." Measures air on clean side of air filter and adjusts metering diaphragm in carburetor". What this does is changes your air mixture as your air filter begins to plug up and allows the saw to continue to run on the same air fuel mixture for even power output. The air intake also has a setting for warm and cold weather to keep it running in top shape no matter your conditions.
The power, quality and features available on the Stihl MS 310 make it a top choice for the firewood cutter who wants to get the most for his money.
All quotes are from Stihl power tools and accessories booklet.
Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy
http://www.helium.com/items/1565588-stihl-chainsaw

Saturday, August 15, 2009

An easy quick target stand

I bought a new varmit rifle (more on that in the future) and needed to sight it in.
I have a great pistol range here at the homestead, but am lacking for a long range place to shoot.
I can use my pistol range once the soybeans are harvested, but for now I had to improvise.
I have a large patch of weeds 95 yards downrange from my car in the driveway.

So I took two scrap 2x6's and two nails and made a passable target stand.


One nail goes in the middle of the back.
It holds the prop in place.
The other nail goes near the top on the front and holds the target.
If you look real hard you can see the nails in the left board, one just above the paper on the left side and one at the bottom of the paper on the right.





Next stand the nailed board up and lay the prop on top of the back nail like the picture, and there you have it.
It takes 3 seconds to set it up.






Now just poke the nail through the target and fire away.
One drawback is the target tends to tear but it is still functional and you can't beat the price or convenience.
It's also not too good in the wind but hey what do you expect for free.
It got the job done and is still waiting for the next time.

Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Yes I haven't died

Been away from the blog world for too long I see.

The raspberries I tried to root all died but I did dig some up from the woods and started a patch at the house and it is doing well. Hopefully they will make through this coming winter.



Last year we bought about $250 worth of trees and fruits to plant.

Out of all that we have 2-dwarf apples, one dwarf pear, one blueberry, 3-Nanking cherries, one pine tree, and 3 black berries. Everything else died.



I built a top-bar bee hive last month and have it set up out by an old apple tree, we will see if a swarm finds it or I will buy some bees one of these years when we have enough money.



Speaking of money we just spent $1100 on our septic system. Wonderful things these 100+ year old homes.

Was out walking last night and picked some cherries and some mulberries...very yummy. We will have to get them picked for freezing.

We got our Cornish cross chickens last week. We have had one or two die every day, they sure are a fragile breed. We are down to 43 from 52 that were shipped. Our Delawares will ship next week. We plan on breeding and improving this heritage breed for broilers as was done 50 years ago.

I planted several rows of oilseed sunflowers, will see how they do for deer forage and chicken feed.

That's about it for not, I promise to keep up on this for a while.

Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Trimming and experimenting along with chicken plans


I got out the trimmers on Thursday and did some trimming around the place.
I have been wanting to propagate some wild Black Raspberries so I went to a plant I needed to cut down growing wild by the garage and cut it into sections about 10" long. The ones in the left jar are dipped in rooting hormone and placed in the sunny window the ones on the right are in the jar with three weeping willow sprouts I cut off the tree.
I have read somewhere that willows excrete a hormone that makes them root easily and that if you put them in a jar like this with other things it will cause them to root also. So here is my experiment.

After I had done that I went for a little walk down to our fire ring where we build little fires to relax by. It is in a rough overgrown area that I was able to mow a grassy spot into a couple years ago. Anyway three years ago there was a wild apple tree that started putting out apples. They were amazingly good for a tree that received no care whatsoever. That fall while it still had apples a storm blew it over so we only ever got a couple apples from it. So I walked by where it was and low and behold there was a whole bunch of apple trees growing from the root system of this wild tree. I went back to the house and got the pruning shears and went to work cutting it into a nice apple bush. We will see what becomes of it now that the good tree has come back to life.

This would not work with an old orchard tree because they are all grafted onto different rootstock. But this was a wild tree growing in an old fence row. So the root is the same as what was growing before. Maybe I will get a new standard apple out of the deal.
I also read somewhere that the red delicious was originally found on a burnt up tree with only one live branch that someone took and grafted to orchard stock, so all red delicious apples are from this one branch.

Tanya and I are kicking around the idea of making a business plan and turning the homestead into a sustainable agriculture pick your own homestead. We feel we could make a pretty decent living with me here full time, but jumping in with both feet is kind of scary with three kids to feed. (If you feel like investing drop me a line at longhunter64@yahoo.com) and it would be three years before the berry plantings start paying a decent return.

We are getting Delaware chickens this year. They were that standard broilers before the ConishX became the standard. They are fast growing dual purpose heritage breads that are fairly rare. This fits our criteria exactly for what we want in a chicken. We are planning on getting 100 striaght run and putting them in a couple chicken tractors and then 25 hens to keep for eggs and breeding stock . We will pull one or two of the biggest straight run roosters to go with them. We have a friend who will share expenses with us and then we will split the meat bird so that we each get 50 or 1 chicken per week for a year.

I get real busy this time of year with all the little projects I've thought up over the winter.


Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mainstream America catching on

LINK

Although not from a Christian stewardship slant.
Things like this are happening more and more.
Looks like I picked a good time to start this blog.
Hopefully I can get more homesteading info posted and make this a good resource.

Still clinging to my God and my guns
Randy

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Way to go Texas!!!

Texas stands up for states rights.
Link

text of the tenth amendment to the constitution.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Many wonder when and where "someone" will stand up to this thing that has taken over our lives in Washington.
Maybe this is when and where.

Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Monday, April 13, 2009

Omnivores Dilemma

Tanya did a review of this book on her blog and I think it is worth your time to read it.
you can find a link in the right hand column or use THIS ONE.

Hope you all had a blessed Easter.
Still clinging to my God and my guns
Randy

Friday, April 10, 2009

Big government can't keep your food safe

The media has finally discovered this fact.
Here's the story from Fox news

I can't figure out why anyone would want the government to be in charge of their food safety.
It only makes sense to buy local if at all possible and to eat seasonally. Eating seasonally is eating what is growing at the current time in your area. If it's winter you eat your stored apple's and dried fruit for example.

When you buy locally grown food you can get to know the producer and in some cases even help out in the production of your foodstuffs. It also keeps your money local and builds community.

We do buy packaged goods here on the homestead but we do try to incorporate as much of the above as possible. Plus every year we try to provide more of our own food.

All this is a good goal and the less we depend on our government in our everyday lives the better off we are.

Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ruminations on the Homestead

I wrote this last winter for Helium and I thought I would share it for the benefit of folks who are just finding their way here. I have been writing a lot of firearm and shooting related posts lately but that is really a very small part of the Frugal prepared Christian's lifestyle.

"Reflections of living everyday with a passion"


I watched a wintry sun rise on a clear, crisp morning. As I drank a cup of coffee, I looked back on the circle I have traveled. Having been born seven miles from where I sit. To enjoying all the Rockies have to offer in the west for 25 years.

Now I have returned to my passion, my homestead. This plot of ground has been in the family since 1866. My great-great grandfather built the house I live in. The wood furnace will need to be stoked, the chickens fed and watered. Fresh eggs, white or maybe brown or even green, with bright yellow yokes that really stand up in the pan will be for breakfast, along with homemade bread for toast with butter and homemade jam to top it off. This is real food. They say a city egg is no different from a country egg. I beg to differ, and invite anyone who believes it to come over for breakfast sometime.

The garden is organic and no chemicals have touched it since we returned five years ago. Tomatoes and salsa are canned. Jam is put up if we can keep ourselves from eating all the blackberries and raspberries. We will dry some apples this year from our 100-year-old Grimes Golden apple tree. Put up some pears from an equally old pear tree that no one seems to know the variety of. Maybe we can save enough Green Gage plums from the trees my great grandpa planted to can some this year or maybe make some of my mothers famous plum jam.

We will plant rows of Roma tomatoes for canning. Lots of bell and banana peppers for eating, and put in a large plot of Indian corn for ourselves and the chickens. Rhubarb and elderberries will go in the freezer for cobblers, and just maybe we will find time to put in the large patch of potatoes this year that we always seem to talk about. Cucumbers, peppers and zucchini will go in the little vegetable stand at the end of our lane.
We don't have prices just a donation can. The herb garden will supply our chives, garlic and dill for the pickles. Lemon Balm and Peppermint iced tea will cool us off this summer.

Cutting wood and mowing will keep me in shape. Grass clippings from two acres will go on the garden for mulch, as will the litter from the chicken house. Fall will bring the Hickory nuts from the woods and leaves for the garden. The wood chipper will shred the branches into mulch or litter for the chicken coop. Seeing the fruits of our own hands brings a pleasure that goes beyond mere words.

Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Some Mosin Nagant Humor

In preparation for my homestead rifles post coming up, I ran across a very humorous link to another site and just had to share.
I like my Nagants very much and this link is only a slight exaggeration.
I hope you enjoy.

Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Friday, April 3, 2009

homestead working guns Part 2 Shotguns

For most of his life my Grandpa used one gun on this homestead for everything. It was a single shot 12 Ga. shotgun. He was not a hunter but used it for groundhogs. It sat in the garage on a shelf with a box of shells.
He killed untold numbers of groundhogs with it. I still have his shotgun on the farm. It no longer sits in a garage but in the house. I would shoot it but it shoots high and left for me so I use some of my other shotguns.

A shotgun is probably the most versatile working gun you can have. If you have been on forums where they talk about guns I'm sure you have seen the famous "if you can only have one gun" thread. Asking what gun to get if you could only have one. There are many arguments back and forth but in reality there is no one gun that is best for every thing but a shotgun will do just about everything you need a firearm for.

The only thing I can think of that it would not work well for is a slaughter gun. This is a gun used to put down an animal for slaughter. Usually a .22 pistol or short rifle (see part 3 when I write it).

There are three main types of shotguns you will use for your homestead. These are break action, pump or semi-auto. Here I think personally I would not get a semi-auto just for homestead work. They tend to be more expensive and dirt sensitive. (you need to keep them clean) I have nothing against them and I used to own one I competed with it years ago when I shot IPSC all the time. For the homestead I would recommend a break action or a pump.


The bottom gun is my granpa's old single shot break action gun. The top one is my old Winchester 97 pump.
Both are 12 Ga. and will get the job done be it killing groundhogs or hunting turkey,deer or rabbits. I recommend a 12 gauge since it is very common and ammo is still somewhat cheap. Also you can get a wide variety loads for a 12 Ga. from slugs to birdshot and everything in between. If you are going to use your shotgun for strictly pest control I would suggest #4 shot sometimes called pheasant loads. This is a good size shot and a powerful groundhog killer. Normally I would say get a good variety of loads in all shapes and sizes.
#6 is used for the widest range of small game hunting but it tends small for pheasants and large for doves but is usable for both. Slugs for big game and buckshot for defense or deer if your area allows it.

A quick story as to why to use #4 instead of buckshot for varmint control. As I said my grandpa used his 12Ga. for groundhogs and being a thoughtful son my dad got him some 00 buckshot so he could be sure and get good kills. One day my grandpa saw a groundhog out by the barn and he snuck out with the shotgun and the new ammo. He snuck out through the barn and lined up a good shot and killed the groundhog. A few days later my grandma was cleaning the house and she noticed some plaster on the floor by and outside wall. There were 3 holes in the wall from where the buckhot had traveled 100 yards hit the house and gone through the outside wall and lath plaster inside wall hit a chair and ended up on the floor. Normally with a shotgun your backstop isn't as important as with a rifle or pistol but in the case of larger projectiles like Buckshot or slugs you need to be safe.




Here is a 12 ga. between two extremes a 10ga. turkey load on the left and a .410 bird load on the right. A .410 is a very handy gun to have on your homestead and if you have kids it is a great way to get them shooting. My kids started on it when they were 5 and could handle the recoil fine, even though I have to hold the barrel up for them. I used it for a while for groundhogs but it just doesn't have the punch to put them down at any kind of range. Plus .410 ammo is very expensive compared to what you can get for your 12 Ga.
If you feel like feeding you own try this.








Reload your own. Top is my .410 reloader and bottom is a Lee Loader for my 10 Ga. this way you can formulate whatever type of load you want for your guns. I will write a post about playing with .410 loads one of these days.

In the first picture you will see a bandoleer between the guns. I have loaded in this in order slugs, birdshot, #4, #4 buck and 00 buck top to bottom. This is my grab and go ammo I keep on hand if I hear something getting into the chickens I grab it and throw it over my shoulder and start loading buckshot as I go out the door in case it is something big. Then I have the option of putting in something else if I need another type of load. This is not to be confused with a survivalists grab and go kit. This is merely a way I can have all types of ammo available for pest control when I am in a hurry as when something is in the chickens.

A shotgun is so versatile I can't say it enough how it should be included in your homestead plans.

Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bee Hive and a hatchet

Like I said yesterday was going to round up some wood for a top bar bee hive.
I found some 1"X12" in my scrap pile and got two sides 45" long and a bottom 50" long.
I cut some 1"X4" trim 45" long to go around and gathered up some more one inch boards to make the bars.
I hit a snag as one of my sides had a piece splitting out of it so I pried it open and put in some glue and clamped it tight. So that's as far as I got on that project yesterday.

As I was working on the bee hive I saw a hatchet head hanging on a nail by the door in my shop. It's been hanging there my whole life as far as I know and I notice it almost every time I'm in my shop. ( In case you don't know my shop was built by my great great grandpa around 1890) So I decided it finally needed a handle. I should of gone in the house and got the camera so I could of shown you the steps I took to create it but you'll just have to suffer through my description instead.

I went out to my wood pile and dug through my pile of slabwood. I bought a dumptruck load a couple weeks ago to burn in the furnace. I got a nice piece of white oak that was slightly larger and longer than I needed.
It was only about 1/4" thicker than it needed to be and about 1/2" wider. First and most important in my opinion I took a pencil and marked the center line on the narrow side of the wood. This is where the narrow side of the hole will go. Then I held the head up to the blank and marked how deep the head would sit on the handle.

When I did this I saw I could cut about 3/8" off the back of the blank so I ripped it down with the hand saw.(that was some work) Then I put the blank in the vise and starting with a rasp I worked the head into a rough shape to approximate the shape it needed to be. Then I put the head up to the blank and looked into the top of the hole and could see when I was getting close in size. After a little bit of work I could slip the head on the tip of the blank. After a tap I could see the marks where the wood was too tight and rasp that part off. soon I had it fairly close and I used a wooden block and a hammer and was able to drive the head the rest of the way on.

I then smoothed out the rest of the handle with the rasp and made a slightly smaller grip area near the bottom, rasping it down until it felt good in my hand. Next I drilled a hole near the bottom for a leather thong if I feel like putting one in. I then took it out and split a small pile of kindling with it. You will notice I didn't put a wedge in, and I think I really don't need one since the inside of the head was pitted with rust and when I drove it on it compressed the wood somewhat and it expanded into these pits inside the head. I made one like this years ago and it lasted a long time. If it loosens up I can drive a finish nail into the head to expand it.

I am quite please with what I ended up with.





Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Saturday, March 28, 2009

This week on the homestead

Worked on a couple projects this last week.

Last Saturday dad brought two tons of stone over in his trailer and we filled holes in the driveway.
Our driveway if you don't remember is 1/3 of a mile long. If I order enough stone to cover it and spread by the quarry it costs almost $800. This way it was just a few dollars and then walking along behind the trailer with a shovel filling in holes. I have a grader blade for the old ford 9n and have kept the lane in fairly good repair since the last time we had stone delivered about 5 years ago. the important thing to remember with a gravel lane is to make sure and keep a crown on it. You should grade it so the center is higher than the sides that way the water runs off instead of puddling. No matter what I do, I eventually need stone. This driveway has been eating stone for 150 years and I don't think it will ever stop. There are a couple soft spots that just seem to sink and make big puddles. When I use the grader I bring all the loose material to these places and leave it there. But I had about run out of loose material so we got the two tons of new stone.

After we were done with the driveway I started tinkering with the rototiller. I got it running for the first time this year and made a pass through the garden. It turned out the garden was too wet to till on Saturday, But I ended up being able to do it on Tuesday after it had dried just a bit and before we got our rain on Wednesday.

Since the garden was too wet I went over to a patch of ground where the old bank barn had stood. About 5 years ago we had it torn down. They dug a big pit and burned it and then covered it back up. So now I have a big patch of subsoil. Anyway I mowed it last year and tilled up about a 15X40 patch Saturday. I hauled three wheel barrows of wood ashes and spread them on the east half of the patch. I only did half the patch because I'm not sure how wheat will react to wood ashes. (I killed all our squash a couple years ago by putting wood ashes on them to see if it would kill squash bugs... Well it killed the squash. I shouldn't of tried it on all of them at once) Then I raked everything semi smooth and let the wood ashes mellow until Monday night then I went out and scattered wheat all over the patch and raked it in. I know wheat will grow if planted in the spring it will just be ready a little later and won't have the jump start on weeds. It then rained off and on the rest of the week.

I have been having a reaction to my BP meds. I am extremely drowsy off and on. Thursday was awful. I also did something to my hand at work last night while we were moveing equipment. It feels like I have really bad arthritis ,we'll just have to see if that gets better as the day goes on.

The kids have wanted a fort for a couple years and my sister came over this morning to build it finally. She came in just a bit ago with a flat finger form hitting it whit a hammer. She smashed it real good.

Plans for today include running the grader up and down the lane to even it out just a bit and then I will try to disk the old orchard field. I am planning on putting in sunflowers, beans,corn and annual rye(for weeds).

Added:
I graded the lane but the field was way to wet to disk. I watched my sister work on the kids fort and I will try to get some wood together to make a top bar bee hive this afternoon.

Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Monday, March 23, 2009

Militia member/domestic terrorist, is this you? Probably

A report links anti abortionists and third party supporters to being militia members and domestic terrorists. LINK
This is the information law enforcement is going to be using when they decide who is worth watching for whatever reason.
If you are reading this site you are probably already on a list somewhere. It looks like the conspiracy theorists are finally right.
Big brother is watching you.

Still clinging to my God and my guns
Randy

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Working Guns Part 1 Handguns

Working on the homestead I am rarely unarmed.
Any sort of situation could come up that a firearm may be required.

For an example read this post.
Another example was a couple years ago my sister and I were cutting wood in my woods when her cell phone rang and it was my dad asking where she was. Seems the police had a running gun fight for about 30 miles down the interstate that ended in our town where my sister usually buys gas. My woods is 100 yards from a main road with an exit on that interstate. The bad guy could easily of ditched his car there and headed into our woods. When dad was a cop many years ago he drove the 4x4 blazer when they pulled an escaped convict out of a woods that he had fled into. Also believe it or not there was a bear killed in my woods in the 1960's here in NW Ohio. Really I have pictures!! (ok it was an escaped pet but it was a bear none the less)

Quit a few times I have dispatched a 4 legged varmint with my handgun when otherwise I would of had to return to the house for a long gun and probably given it time to escape.

I have three main uses for handguns on my homestead, hunting, varmints and self defense . Some of the guns fall into more than just one category.


At the top is a center fire magnum I use for big game hunting. This one happens to be a .44magnum but you should use what you can shoot well. I have been shooting magnums since I was about 10 years old so recoil up to a .44 mag. doesn't bother me. (I've never shot anything bigger) Stainless makes this gun a great durable weapon on the homestead. It can also double as a personal protection gun. I had a 4" .44 mag. that I carried a whole lot, but here in Ohio you need a 5" barrel to be legal for hunting so I sold it and bought this one.

Right below that is my .22 rimfire. This little Ruger has ridden on my hip more that any other gun I own. (I've had it nearly 30 years) It is my trapping pistol and has killed more fur and put more food on my table that any other gun also. (well my elk rifle has put more pounds) When I was a teen hunting rabbits in Colorado, I started out using a 12ga. shotgun just like we used here in Ohio when I was a kid. When that was too easy I went to a .22 rifle, that was also too easy so I got this handgun and have used it for small game ever since. It is still the first gun I think of strapping on to work.

Below that is my Colt 1911 .45 ACP. This is mainly a self defense handgun but I have hunted small game and dispatched varmints with it. This was my competition gun when I competed in IPSC, I have well over 30,000 rounds through this gun and it's a toss up between it and the .22 on which I can shoot most accurately. (It's cool being able to shoot the head off rabbits and squirrels.) The one problem I have had with this gun is once while cutting wood I somehow hit the magazine release and walked around with an unloaded gun until I saw the magazine laying in the trail. (OOOPS!)

On the bottom are three concealed carry handguns that can be hidden on your person or even put into your pocket when you don't want to show that you are carrying a weapon. I tried shooting a grouse with the auto one time many years ago. After two magazines of misses I figure this category doesn't translate into hunting or varmint guns very well.

Top right is my old .44 cap and ball revolver. I included this one because it is the only one I have with a flap holster. A flap holster will keep your gun a whole lot cleaner than any other kind. Sure it is slower to draw from but in real life we aren't in quickdraw gunfights. A flap holster would of kept me from dumping the magazine out of my .45 and it sure would keep out the sawdust that gets in the nooks and crannies of whatever gun I am wearing while cutting wood.

Speaking of holsters the holster lying between the .44 and the .22 works for both. I have one for each but the other one is a different brand and I use this one because it keeps the gun out of the way better. I just switch out guns when I feel like carrying the other one.

On to feeding the working handgun:



Here are the main types of ammo I use from the left:

- .357 magnum hydroshok - self defense

- .357 magnum 158 grn softpoint - Hunting (hollow points tend to explode near the surface of big game since they are designed for self defense)

- .38 special hydroshok reduced recoil - self defense

- .32 ACP hydroshock - self defense

- .45 ACP Aguila IQ 117 grn alloy - 1500 fps - self defense- I have used this to dispatch a groundhog that had been hit by a car and was crawling across the road. I shot it in the head and the round penetrated and bounced off the pavement and I could hear it ricocheting off into my woods. This is some zippy ammo.

- .45 ACP 230 grain fmj - self defense /varmints good even for defense against large critters as it penetrates well to reach vitals.

- .45 ACP CCI Lawman 230 grn. hollow point (flying ashtrays) - self defense

- .45 ACP 200 grn lead semi wadcutter - varmints/small game

For my .22 I use whatever is cheapest. I have CCI stingers for varmints if I have time to load them, but don't carry them too much since they shred meat if you hit a rabbit or squirrel wrong with them.

That about wraps up the different kinds of handguns and what they are used for on the homestead.
Stay tuned for part two shotguns and part three rifles, coming soon to a blog near me. (LOL)

Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Friday, March 20, 2009

Even healthy shopping can be bad for you

LINK

Picked this story up this morning.
Worlds deadliest spider was in some banana's at a health food grocery.
As my wife would say "EEEEEKKK!"

Randy

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tanya's New Blog

Check out My wife Tanya's new blog.
Living Healthy in the Modern World
Our homesteading life from her point of view.
It will be on the bottom right of my blog under "My favorite blogs"


Still clinging to my God and my guns
Randy

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A saner view of HR 875 ? plus burning the fields

Here is a more optimistic view of HR875. LINK
I think the best part is hardly anyone thinks it will actually pass, which is good news.

I spent the last two evenings burning my plots in preparation of spring tilling.
I know everyone says don't burn because it kills soil life,worms etc.
The soil right now is cold and wet, nothing was harmed by me burning my weeds and crop residue. I do make sure and walk through the area first and pick out all the praying mantis egg sacs. Then I keep an eye out while I am watching the fire because I seem to miss 75% of them the first time. I picked up about 20 of them this time. I usually take them and spread them out evenly around where my new crop will go in .

Last year I had the bright idea of selling them on ebay.(they bring a pretty good price) so I gathered up about 30 of them, put them on my enclosed porch and promptly forgot about the whole thing until I got an email at work from Tanya one day telling me we had a million tiny mantis's crawling around our porch eating each other. I made sure and left them outside this year.

Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Friday, March 13, 2009

A simple wire snare support

I originally posted this on Frugals.

This is an easy way to hang a snare almost anywhere.


Simple tools Gregerson coyote snare.
Needle nose pliers
and a piece of wire.



Use the pliers to bend the end of the wire as shown.



Insert the snare cable in the notch and use the pliers to squeeze it tight.
Don't squeeze tight enough to crush the cable, you just want a good friction fit. When caught the animal will pull it out easily while struggling.




Here is the finished product hung on my garage door. The full weight of the snare is held by the notch.
You can wire this snare anywhere now.
If you use stiff enough wire you can even poke it in the ground and hold a snare where there is nothing to hang it from.

Still clinging to my God and my guns
Randy

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Guest posting...

Wanted everyone to know I am open to a guest post now and again.
I don't know everything, as you no doubt have discovered by now so others information would be helpful to all the readers. I am willing to trade posts also on your blog. The only rule I have is it can't go against the Christian faith. Feel free to email me longhunter64@yahoo.com and put blog somewhere in the subject line.

Still clinging to my God and my guns
Randy

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Get your torch and pitchfork!!! HR 875

Link

This link is to another blog that describes very well what HR 875 is all about.
This bill would seriously impact any of us who grow gardens and put our produce out for sale.
Our current regime is trying to stifle every last bit of freedom that is left in this once great country.
This is the change so many voted for. Monsanto is sure happy about it.

Still clinging to my God and my guns
Randy

Sunday, March 8, 2009

David Wilkerson has something to say

David Wilkerson of “The Cross and the Switchblade” fame has made a dire prediction, and I felt it worth sharing.

Read it HERE

Are you prepared?

I do not get caught up in predictions of doom and gloom but I feel a wake up call to some believers might be needed. We get carried away with the status quo and don’t live with a sense of urgency the we as believers in a risen Savior should feel.

If this comes to pass is not the issue. The issue is what will you do to warn your neighbor that someday he or she will kneel before Christ.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Found this while reading...

Supreme court justice William O. Douglas said...

"We need exercise as individuals. We need to keep physically fit and alert as a people. ... History is the sound of heavy boots going upstairs and the rustle of satin slippers coming down. Nations that are soft and slack--people who get all their exercise and athletics vicariously--will not survive when the competition is severe and adversity is at hand. It is imperative that America stay fit. For today we face great danger, as fearsome a risk, as any people in History."

Hard to believe those words were written four decades ago.
History truly repeats itself over and over. Lets learn from it one of these times.

Still clinging to my God and my guns
Randy

Saturday, February 28, 2009

They just needed encouragment

After telling you yesterday about the chickens who have yet to lay, here's what we got.





I wrote my post while I was at work and soon after it was up, Tanya emailed this picture to me.
Who knew I had wireless in the chicken house?
It came from the silver laced wyandotte sine the other two hens will lay green eggs.

Randy

Friday, February 27, 2009

This winter on the homestead

It sure has been slow here as far as homesteading projects go.
Wood, wood and wood have been the projects.

We have 4 chickens left of the six we bought in October. We have yet to get an egg and they were supposedly ready to lay. We got spoiled with our first chickens. They were red sex links and you could count on an average of 20 eggs every day from 24 chickens day in and day out all through the winter.

We tried black sex links and did not like them near as much since they were much more flighty and didn't lay as well for us. The Red's were the only chickens who ever paid for themselves by selling of the eggs. One of these days I will sit down and post a detailed rundown of our chicken experience with our 4 or 5 different batches.

Spring is in the air.
Tanya found some radischio that wintered over and is growing. She is going to put in spinach lettuce and maybe peas soon, into the herb garden.

Working on a new/old ministry .
I have felt lead for years to do a pastors retreat. I figured I might start a new blog dedicated to looking for the right person to finance the whole thing. Tanya and I are kicking around calling it "A Quite Place Pastoral Ministry".
We would have a homestead with cabins and small lodge where pastor could come and recharge in a Pastoral setting. We would focus on Stewardship and natural living with what God provides us.

Randy

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Article on probiotics and catch up

Yes it's been a tough winter.
I have finally started writing again.
Here is my latest, an article on probiotics.

The human body is full of countless bacteria, some harmful and many beneficial. Probiotics are microorganisms (mainly bacteria) that are the same or very similar to the good bacteria that lives in the human digestive tract or gut. They are available as supplements or can be found in foods you eat or can add to your diet.
Probiotics work in your gut to break down various substances in your food so that your body can absorb them better. They also compete with harmful bacteria and are especially useful during and following a round of antibiotics, because antibiotics tend to kill both good and bad bacteria. In many cases probiotics work like a mulch in your garden by preventing the weeds (bad bacteria) from growing while your vegetables (good bacteria) get a head start....

You can read more HERE

I went and spent some of our tax return and bought a Stihl ms 310 chainsaw.
There is a review coming.
I have to teach at church tonight, then preach Sunday night and then teach again next Wed.

I had a trip to the ER last week.
I was having chest, shoulder and arm pain. Turns out it was just a perfect storm of the little things that are wrong with me. My acid reflux, ulnar nerve problems and pulled muscle in my back from cutting wood. So things are ok health wise.
Tanya on the other hand is not getting any better with her allergies. It might be this old farm house with its damp basement and probable mold.
Dad said if it turns out to be the house to not feel like we have to keep the farm. I told him if we sell the farm we are going back to Colorado, and he said he knew that.
So if that happens we will work on homesteading and survival there, which was my original plan before my grandparents farm became available.
Tanya has started seeing an alternative treatment doctor that people on the allergy forum she is on have had good luck with. The really good thing is he's only 10 miles away and there are people driving 6 hours just to see him. So we will see what happens with that.

We are out of wood.
I had a delivery of 2 1/2 cords of sawmill slab-wood scheduled for Feb. 2nd but we got snowed in that week. I could get the 4x4 truck out but Tanya was stuck at the house all week and the dumptruck wouldn't come down our lane to deliver. We are burning propane now and had to have the service guy come to fix it before it would work right. ( I guess thats what we get for not using it for 3 years) I have another load of wood coming March 3rd so hopefully we will be back on the wood furnace then. The fields and woods are too muddy to cut in right now, maybe if we stay cold I can cut this weekend.

I think that about catches up.
Sorry I was so remiss in my posting.
I see we past 5000 visitors while I was gone, and lots of cool flags in the flag counter.

Randy

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Still kicking

Sorry It has been so long since my last post.
Been fighting health and weather here on the home place.

Firewood is my life in the winter this year. Any chance I get when it's daylight I go cut wood (if I'm not sick)
Everyone needs to remember that your best laid plans usually don't take into consideration being down sick, and once that happens the plan goes out the window. Even just a sinus infection like I had/have where my endurance dropped to almost nothing will mess things up. I wasn't what I would call sick since I still could function pretty good, but I sure couldn't do any physical labor for very long.

I am going to buy a Stihl 310 with our tax money.
The Poulan is an ok saw but it just can't handle the workload I need it to. I have a couple large logs I drug up to the house with the tractor. I tried to cut them up with my poulan and it used one tank of gas for every 5 cuts. The saw will cut it in an emergency but not something I want to do every day. So I shopped around online and I'm pretty sure the Stihl 310 is what I want. Echo doesn't make one the size I want and husky is slightly smaller and only $40 less so I decided why not get the best.

We got the van stuck in the driveway Sunday after church. Our 1/3 mile long lane was drifted shut so I walked up the the house in my cowboy boots and light coat and got the truck. I busted through the drifts and run up and down the lane twice. Then my sister went up and down it twice with her little 4x4 nissan. By then I figured the van would make it through if I went fast enough. LOL Well I didn't go fast enough I guess. I had to drive the truck to work on Monday because the van was plugging the lane.

We have great neighbors that come and use their behemoth tractors with snowblowers on them and clean out the lane. One of them came Monday and cleaned out up to the van on both sides. Tanya and my sister got it out before I got home from work.

It was below zero here for about 3 days with heavy winds. I decided if we were going to have Gunnison weather I at least wanted to live there. In case you didn't know we are from Gunnison Colorado and moved onto this farm when my grandparents went into the nursing home. And we are very homesick this winter.
We were planning on building a homestead in the mountains and we still may do just that someday when we can afford to live there again.

That about catches up for now.
Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Little bit of excitement

We are on lockdown right now at the homestead.
Armed robber bailed out of his car 1 mile from the farm.
Cops have dogs out but we still haven't heard the all clear yet.
The neighborhood was great...
Lots of cross calling of neighbors to get the word out.
I'll let you know how things turn out.
Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy

Still sick

I've been struggling to get wood.
I got an antibiotic from the doctor for a sinus infection Monday.
Monday night and Tuesday were horrible I was in so much pain.
Kinda weird headache and joint and muscle pain.
So I have been neglecting the blogs until I am healthier.
I have no stamina to cut wood.
In November I could cut three loads a day by myself and still felt like I could do more.
You know the old saying about a team of horses "leave one good pull in them" so I did three and called it good.
New Years eve I was able to cut about 2/3 of a load, New Years day almost a full load.
Since then I have pulled up three logs with the tractor and that wore me out.
I have to go out here in a couple minutes and cut enough off of them to last until I get home tonight and repeat the process for overnight. Using a chainsaw in the dark is an accident waiting to happen especially while I am sick but no one else will do it.
I have a dumptruck load off slab wood being delivered Feb. 3rd so I just have to hold on till then.
I ordered three all together spaced a month apart.

I really hate writing this because it seems like I'm doing a lot of whining, but if someone learns something from it.(like whatever you do keep a winters supply of wood on hand) I guess it's worth some thinking less of me.

Still clinging to my God and my guns
Randy

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New year!!!

No I didn't stay up and watch the ball drop.
Things were kind of hectic here yesterday.
We had 5 Adults 1 teen and 3 munchkins in the house trying to work on the bathroom.
I got off work at noon came home and was going to help but it was a real circus.
So I ended up going to the woods and cutting some firewood.
Dad had been here a day or so ago and cut up the big stuff we had hauled up to the house.
My poulan is just not powerful enough to cut the bigger stuff, it takes way too much energy on my part to try to cut it, then I am totally wasted to do anything else.

My BP was 136/70 when I stopped by the doctor on Tues, so that's better.
I am looking into a more natural method of controlling it. I don't want to be dependent on drugs.
I know it's my own fault from my diet and lack of systematic exercise... although cutting firewood for three or four hours a weekend meets the requirements the doctor gave me for exercise, it hasn't been enough.
As I said in an earlier post middle age has snuck up on me and I now have to take my lifestyle seriously.

I have a co-worker who lost his job yesterday so please keep him in your prayers. He is taking it very hard.
Felt really strange wishing him a happy new year when we both new he was unemployed.

I hope you and yours will take today and reflect on where you have come from up to this point and where you are headed in the new year.

Still clinging to my God and my guns,
Randy