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 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,

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mainstream America catching on


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

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Way to go Texas!!!

Texas stands up for states rights.

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,

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

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,

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,

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,

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,