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How many batteries do I need for my solar panels?

Electric Club Car trouble

How to help chicks during hatching

How to map property boundaries from a deed

Automatic chicken door

Aug 2015

A year ago this week:

Choosing a homestead broiler

Varroa mite count 2015

Filled up on hay

Roofing tin shortage?

Aug 2014

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Chicks in a bucket

At one month old, our Red Rangers are really ranging. They've wandered all the way around the trailer to check out the garden, porch, and dogfood on the other side and are leaving little presents Catching chickswhere I don't particularly want to step in them. Time to move the flock into a fenced-in pasture!

When Mark revamped our brooder this summer, he did so with the inevitable moving day in mind. The new big door on one end makes it easy to reach all the way inside to snag skittish chicks while the smaller door on the other end lets Mark play goalie, herding the cockerels in my direction. Dropping them four at a time into a six-gallon bucket makes it easy to carry the flighty critters to the home where they'll live for two more months until freezer day. Nice work on easing what can sometimes be a difficult task, Mark!

Posted Tue Aug 30 06:50:22 2016 Tags:
field corn harvesting

The field corn did pretty good this year.

Nearly a bushel basket full.

Once it's dried we'll store it for Winter goat treats.

Posted Mon Aug 29 16:07:42 2016 Tags:
Kitchen then and now

Early September 2016 will mark our ten-year anniversary of time spent on the farm. To celebrate, I plan to make a few posts off and on in which I try to recreate the same photo from the past as accurately as possible. For example, the shots above show the south wall of our kitchen then and now.

Through the front window

And here's the view out the front windows before there were windows and after we completed our passive-solar wall.


Finally, the last duo includes the very first fruits of the farm compared to last week's tomato harvest. Yes, we've come a long way in a decade!

Posted Mon Aug 29 07:11:36 2016 Tags:
Anna throwing rocks from the truck to the Kubota.

A nice action shot of Anna helping throw rocks and enjoying every minute of it.

Posted Sun Aug 28 14:41:35 2016 Tags:

Nancy and MacIn November of 2014, I began a journey with essential oils when a friend invited me to a short class. I knew virtually nothing about essential oils, but I succumbed the minute the woman teaching the class mentioned one drop of Valor will quieten or stop snoring. What a statement!  My husband the snorer! I obtained a bottle of Valor that very night and we actually went from a loud roar to a dull hum.

Our next success was Mac's chronic bronchitis, which usually requires treatment all winter long. We began preemptively using Eucalyptus globulus instead and my husband escaped without a single bout.

Essential oilsSo what are essential oils? Simply put, essential oils are the life blood of plants. When you pinch a leaf from a plant and it oozes some "juice," that is the oil. These juices contain molecules so tiny they can get into the entire body within twenty minutes when placed anywhere on your skin. That is why when you put a drop of Peppermint on your temples, you can say bye bye to pain.

So how do you use them? The first choice for beginners is often to begin "low and slow" by applying oils topically onto the skin in an area where you are looking for support. The soles of your feet are a good choice for this type of application.

Joy oilAlternatively, you can inhale the essential oils. Perhaps you merely place a drop in your hand then inhale with your palm cupped over your nose. Or you may diffuse the scent through the air using a cold-air diffuser.

Finally, essential oils can be taken internally. For example, place a drop of Lemon in your glass of ice water to cleanse toxins and boost energy.

No matter how you get the oils into your system, they're a great option for those needing emotional support and support for their nervous system. More personally, they've changed both my and my husband's lives for the better. Perhaps you'd like to give them a try as well?

Nancy McKinney is an independent distributor of Young Living Essential Oils. For more information, you can find her on facebook, on her blog, or by emailing

Posted Sun Aug 28 07:05:57 2016 Tags:
Cutting geotextile fabric
Cutting geotextile fabric was pretty easy with ordinary scissors.
Posted Sat Aug 27 15:48:30 2016 Tags:
Basket of onions

After putting a massive number of onions onto the curing racks a month ago, I mostly forgot about them. Well, I did bring in dozens of the largest specimens for soup-making during that time period, packing away perhaps as much as a quarter of the harvest into frozen winter dinners.

Big onionSoon, though, the curing racks will need to be emptied out for the sake of butternut squash and sweet potatoes. So I took an hour to cut off dried roots and leaves, shucking outer skins and sorting the onion bulbs.

The weather was crazy wet during harvest and early curing season, so I wasn't surprise to have quite a bit of rot to deal with. On the other hand, I was surprised to realize I had so many onions available that I could simply give the worst half bushel away.

All told, post-souping and rehoming, we ended up with about 63 pounds of onions, or around a bushel and a half. This is definitely the most we've ever managed to sock away. Perhaps this will be the second year that we won't buy any onions (our former Achilles heel) in the store?

Posted Sat Aug 27 07:07:59 2016 Tags:
geotextile fabric

I've got a good feeling about our new geotextile fabric experiment.

Anna estimates it will take about 100 of the above lengths to fill our problem ruts.

Two down and only ninety eight to go.

Posted Fri Aug 26 15:41:30 2016 Tags:

Green grapesMy best guess was that the found grapevine near the site of the old homeplace on our farm was a Concord. So when Mom's Concord started churning out so many ripe fruits she had to embark on a daily juicing session, I braved the thorns and weeds and went to take a second look at my mystery vine.

To my surprise, the grapes are still green and very much unripe. Let's see if I can remember to check on the vine again in a couple of weeks to discover what color they become as they soften up.

Posted Fri Aug 26 06:40:28 2016 Tags:
Ninja blade on a Stihl string trimmer.

I used the Ninja blade attachment today to cut down mature Rag Weeds.

Some of the stems are tough enough to take several passes to cut through.

Posted Thu Aug 25 15:55:44 2016 Tags:

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