Monday, July 28, 2014

The vacation, or

Well I have to say if I could have gotten one of the cats to help out things would have gone a whole lot faster.

I have been extremely busy the last few weeks at work so I have not been on here at all and I apologize for that.

At work they informed me that I needed to figure out some dates to use up my vacation time by the end of the year so I didn't lose them.  After checking the schedule to make sure no one else asked for the week I picked this last week of July.  It worked out really well pay wise.

Last week I kinda made a small checklist of things to get done here at the homestead since we had decided that we had not saved up enough yet to take a vacation.  Well it seems that things keep slowly getting added to the list as we go along but it has been going well.

The first major thing was I went and borrowed my father-in-laws tractor and brush hog to mow the knee to waist high grass and weeds on our twelve acres that we live on.  About 4 acres is wooded so that left me a decent amount to mow.  Our ground is pretty hilly so its not so easy to mow.  It has been a while since I have ran a brush hog and I quickly found out why its so labor intensive lol.  

One of the additional things that we did was use the front end loader to help boost me up to do some tree trimming.  This is when I showed the DW how to run the tractor.  She then decided she wanted to work on the driveway filling in a few potholes that we had.  She did a very good job doing it.

Now one of the unexpected side jobs we got to do is that the DW found out where our water line was when she was scraping some rock off the hill to put on the driveway.  It seems the water line had migrated up, along with the hill being washed down some.  The plus side was since the water was off to fix the line I was able to fix a water hydrant in front of the house that had been broken for quite a while.

The other thing we used it for was to cut up and move a rather large fallen tree out of the way so we could get to the barn at the backside of the property.

Now other than normal chores such as mowing the lawn, garden etc the only other project for the week will be finishing the siding on the back of the house.  I'm hoping this project doesn't grow like the others but if it does, I will tackle it like I always do.

I will say though I hope to take an actual 'vacation' on my next one and get in some rest and relaxation.  The problem is that I don't know if it's in my nature.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Update On The Strawberry Patch

Here is a picture of the strawberry patch we had started this year.

I think its off to a pretty good start.  Most of the plants have now sent out runners out from themselves so I'm hoping most of this area will be covered by the end of the season.

I will say I can't wait for that to happen so I can see how much I can harvest off of these next year.

I know the rain we have gotten this year has helped them out very much.  Also putting down the cloth and mulch helped to keep out the grass and keep in the moisture.

The rest of the garden has been doing very good.  I think we are getting an idea of what we want to plant and how much for next season.

So how has your garden been doing this year?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Lazy Days...

These last few days have seemed to be pretty lazy here around the homestead.  When I was on my day's off we were able to get a few things done but not a whole lot.

I went back to work yesterday morning for the shift change meeting and that is all I have done work wise.  It seems we are stuck in the cycle at work with being in between rig jobs right now.  It happens every once in a while.  The thing about it is that it can be a good thing and a bad thing.  The good thing is that I can get caught up on some rest, but the bad thing is that I'm not getting near the hours either.  Gotta love those two edged sword situations lol.

One of the other problems is that I really don't want to get started on a project here at the house only to get called into work part way through it.  When I sit for a long period of time though I think how I could have used that time a little more productively.  I guess I need to figure out some short projects that can be done quickly I guess.

The boys seem to have a huge amount of energy here recently.  If I could only figure out how to harness that I'd be in business lol.  They have been driving us nuts bouncing around here.

The garden has been doing great.  We have been fortunate with a good amount of rain and cooler weather than normal.  Today for example it has been cloudy all day and has tried to rain a few times so its pretty humid out there.

Well that's all I have going on right now.  Who knows maybe the week will pick up and it will be gone before we know it.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Vintage Rival Shred-O-Mat

A little while back Jennifer's mom had found this little gem to the left at a garage sale for 3 dollars and bought it for her to have.

Well today she decided she wanted to use it so she could can some pickles.  The problem was that we couldn't get the blades to lock in.

So I took it apart and not finding anything that looked like it was out of place, put it back together and still couldn't get it to work.

I then went to my laptop and started a search for this old dinosaur.  The problem was that I could pull up all sorts of different models and types of shredders but nothing on this one.

After looking around I finally found a few pictures of one and was able to look at the gearing mechanism inside where you lock in the blades.

I saw that the one we had didn't match the way it looked in the picture.  It took me more than a few minutes after tearing it back down to realize that one piece was 'out of time'.  What I mean by that was there was more than one way this piece could go in, but only one right way.

It took me a few minutes of messing around with it to figure out how it should go in and finally put it back together.  Now we have a working shredder that Jennifer will be able to use instead of it just taking up space in the cabinet lol.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Idiot Drivers and Confusing Bosses

Boy I had a hell of a day at work today.   Come to think about it I'm still at work so the day isn't done yet lol.

At any rate I had to get up early this morning so we could take the pump truck to one of our larger yards to get some welding done.

So there I am driving along, minding my own business when I approach a spot where the road splits. I had a jacked up black Chevy right on my butt since our trucks won't run that fast. I guess the idiot was in a hurry so before I knew it he passes me on the shoulder then cuts me off getting back over. I go and twitch the steering wheel over to miss him and I'm headed right for a sign at that Y intersection.

Now keep in mind our pump trucks are very top heavy weighing over 83K so you don't want to make sudden moves. Instead of swerving back into my lane which could have caused me to damage a 2 million dollar piece of equipment I try to miss the sign but it takes out my passenger mirror and damages the exhaust stack.

I call it in and get a police report done and I expect the worst from my district manager about the damage.

We get to the yard and get everything fixed. When I go talk to him he hears my story and really doesn't say much. But when he talks to me about a few safety violations I had on the job I get my butt chewed for not wearing my ear protection all the time.

He was more irritated about that than the damage to the truck. I swear I will never understand

Now we are sitting on a rig site waiting to pump our job so I guess I get to sleep later.  I do know one thing I'm worn out today whew.

All I have to say about the idiot driver is that I hope karma catches up with them. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Cleaning up the yard....

I think this guy would have been very helpful for Jennifer when she started to mow this morning.

I went and got our trusty weed eater and started to knock down the forest I allowed to grow up here recently.

After two tank fill ups and two string refills, I got the majority of it knocked down.  It took me about as long to weed eat everything as it took Jennifer to get the yard and driveway mowed.

There was a lot more to do than what I thought and I know I missed a few spots.  But if I stay up on it I should be able to get through it a little faster next time.

Our yard has been growing like crazy down here in Eastern Texas.  So far this year the weather has been pretty cool compared to the average.  I'm pretty sure that has been affecting the garden as far as the state it is currently in.  Jennifer estimates that it is 'behind' about 2 weeks from where it traditionally has been.

Don't get me wrong, the moisture has been great for it so we haven't had to water near as much but I'm sure there will be a trade-off there somewhere.

Just as a contrast on how different areas are I know when I left Oklahoma a few weeks ago the family farm up there was dry enough that the grass never really got green.  The mower might need to be used once up there to knock down some of the more persistent weeds but that's it.  They are still in some pretty bad drought conditions up there in the NW part of the state.  That is why I am very grateful for the rain we have been getting down here.

When Jennifer looked at the garden earlier it looked like we had some more green beans that needed to be picked so I'm sure that's what we will be doing around sun down when it cools off.  It should be interesting to see how many we get this round.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

A New Blog!!!

Hey there everyone!  As I had mentioned earlier my dear wife had expressed an interest in blogging after watching me do it for a little while.

Well she has finally done it!  You can find her at Busy B Acres.  She has finally put up her first post and I'm very proud of her.  I think as she starts to do it more it will get easier to do.

I hope everyone will give her a warm welcome and let her see how fun this community can be.  She has quite a bit of knowledge over things so it should be interesting to see what she blogs about.

New Addition to the Family....

We have a new addition to the family here today.  We went and picked up a purebred Great Pyrenees puppy.  Her name is Sugar and she is 8 weeks old.

She is a huge puppy so I can only imagine how big she will get.  I know the breed will get anywhere from 80 to 160 pounds or so fully grown.

She will be a working dog here on the homestead.  From what we have read up on they are very good protectors.

We have started work on training her so this should be a fun experience for everyone I must say lol.

On another note the garden has been doing very well.  We have already picked 9 pints of green beans that have been canned.  

Also, I think the DW has decided to start up a blog on the garden and other activities that she likes to do.  When she starts it I will post the link on here and be sure to share it with others as she has a good deal of knowledge.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Garden

Here are a few shots of the garden.  After these pictures were taken we put down some fertilizer and tilled between the rows.

We are exexpecting some rain next week so thinks should really take off.

The weather has been unusually cool here in eastern Texas so we hope it doesn't affect things too much.

I have finally transferred to my new facility here and I'm loving it.  Now I should have time for the good things in life.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Computer Meltdown....

Hey there, sorry I haven't posted in a while but my last laptop had a major meltdown at the beginning of the month.

My tech to the left wasn't much help I'm afraid.

My oldest son was there to save the day though.  I was able to 'purchase' his old laptop for a song and a dance.

The fun thing was re-updating everything on it since it had a clean wipe.

On another note the garden at the homestead is looking very good!   I will have to post some pictures of it when I can get a chance to.

Also, I was able to get my transfer to go through so I will be working at one of our camps in Texas starting the 19th.  It's the same drive I basically have now, and the position is a step up for me on the career ladder too so that's a huge plus.

Til next time.....

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The roost for the new chickens

Since we have only been getting 3 eggs per day from the 7 hens that we have, we decided to do a small expansion.

We went and bought 6 new little chicks to help supplement the flock.

My better half got busy and built her a new small coop for the chicks to stay in while they grow up.  She still plans on building a small run on it so the chicks have room to move around and scratch etc.

In the picture to the left you see the three 'boys' checking out the new additions, trying to figure out what was in there lol.

We made sure we had roosters that get along with each other so we don't have to worry about any rowdiness lol.

It should be interesting to see how well they will integrate here in about 5 months or so when they are grown up.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring is here..... I hope

I apologize for not posting in a while, it has been a crazy month for me.  Between working and helping the wife get the garden in at the homestead we have been pretty busy.

The weather has been pretty nice down there so I think we got most of the cold weather crops planted at this point.  This year we are going for a pretty good sized garden.  I promise when I get a chance I'll take pictures of it and post them on here.

I was very grateful when the patriarch of the family came over with his tractor and broke open over an acre of ground with it.  I'll admit I was not looking forward to taking the tiller over that on the first pass, it might have taken a while.

Now to get the lawnmower going before we have a forest to cut down and countless other things to do.  I will be so glad when I can get transferred down by the homestead instead of being 7 hours away.  I've put in for two positions close by so I hope I hear from them soon.  It will make things so easier to get done on my days off.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A cheap drip system for the garden

I ran across a pretty interesting article over at  on setting up a Chapin Bucket irrigation system.

The link to the instructions can be found here for it.  The system is really pretty cheap to put together from what I can tell.

It is a simple gravity fed system that goes to a drip line.  From what I can tell one of the many benefits is that it would be easy to monitor how much water you are giving your plants in the garden there and its a system that does not waste any like a traditional sprinkler.  This is a system that is used all over the world in many different situations.  I can see how easy this would be to use along with a catchment system to really cut down on the watering bill for your garden.

This looks like another of the many things to try out.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Gotta love American ingenuity....

The nice thing about free enterprise is that you have a hard time slowing it down.

A little while back the wonderful state of New York passed a very atrocious 'gun control' bill that would ban any type of AR platform.

I ran across a wonderful article at where a manufacturer has already worked around the restrictions.

Yes, at one glance it doesn't look very pretty but like they state, it shoots exactly the same as any other AR platform.  Also the beauty of it is that you don't have to do a whole lot to set it up as any other AR platform.

Right now it sounds like there are some pretty hard pushes in the states that passed crazy laws like this to get them repealed.  The public as a whole does not like the fact that 'big government' is encroaching into their lives so they are pushing back so we shall see where that leads. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Round .... of snow

This was what I woke up to this morning.  We were predicted to get anywhere from 3-6 inches from one forecast to 6-9 inches from another.

The thing about this is that it sure makes for a slow work day for me.  I do work for a company that focuses on safety so when the roads look like they are even remotely starting to get 'interesting' they lock all travel down to an individual basis.  So on my first day back to work up here in NW Oklahoma I am sitting here at the farm watching it snow outside.

I swear I have lost track of how many times it has snowed this year.  Honestly we don't get a whole lot of snow, but I have a feeling that the weather patterns are switching on us again.  I can remember back in the late 70's getting these nice snow storms like we are this year.

Now my kids back at the Homestead in Eastern Texas were commenting that they wanted to see about this much snow down there.  I told them that was a bad...bad idea.  For one that would mean the possibility of  quite a bit more snow back up where I work.  More significant though is the fact that the climate down there is really not suited for that kind of freezing weather.  The wife is wanting to get geared up for the spring planting season and get the garden started here pretty quick.  A large cold snap that brought snow would really adversely affect the growing season down there which wouldn't be good.

You have to love the Farmer's Almanac though.  It did predict both the mild summer we had and this wet winter we have been getting so far.  To me that looks like another sign that the weather patterns might be switching.  It should be interesting to see what the summer holds for us this year.

So what does everyone else think of these weather patterns?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Having fun with the fence lines

This is a shot of the fence I put in at the family farm.  Now I know some people will consider a 8-9 wire overkill but when you are trying to keep in little critters like goats it works out well.

I know people ask, 'why not use woven wire'?  Well there are a few factors in determining if you want to do that.  I'll admit it does have an initial lower cost, but the maintenance and upkeep for it is quite a bit higher.  When you start getting critters stuck in it and you have to cut them out you understand why.  A high tinsel barbed wire fence has fewer maintenance requirements over the long run.

Another bonus that I noticed is the fact that other critters like dogs etc have an extremely difficult time getting through that kind of a barrier.  They have to dig pretty far under the fence if they try that tactic since your bottom wire is only a few inches off the ground if that.

This is the kind of fence I plan on putting up at the 'homestead' in Texas.  There is no permanent fence on the southern boundary of the property and I plan on fixing that.  Last weekend (for me at least on my days off lol) I had the kids working on clearing out the brush and trees along the other established fence lines.  I was rather surprised at the amount they were pulling out of the fence there.  They pulled something like 6 pickup loads of brush cut out of the fence line.  It sure made the burn pile we started rather large but it burned down nicely and left a nice bed of ashes that we can spread out in the garden plots later.

For the fence line on the southern boundary I have to cut a lane through the trees for about 100 feet so that's on my agenda when I go home this weekend.  That way I can get ready to start putting up that stretch.  It is a little over 900 feet so that's a nice little stretch.  Once I have the lane clear I can figure out how many corner posts and braces I need, t posts etc so we can get the rest of the materials and get started on it.

The other project we are working on is a new chicken coop and runs that we are building.  I will have to do another post on that one.

Til next time...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The fun in assembling a M.O.L.L.E. II pack system

Well to those of you who have had the dubious pleasure of serving in our armed forces you know how much fun assembling gear can be.  The military usually does things one of two ways.  They either give you a point by point set of instructions that can border on the insane, or you get absolutely nothing.  For some odd reason there is no in between lol.
So I had ordered the large pack system over 6 months ago.  I got one that was in excellent shape, with no previous markings on it from the 'former' owners which was nice.  I had purchased it to carry in my truck while I was driving over the road so if I needed to I would have something to be able to make it home with.  Well I decided shortly after that I was not driving over the road anymore so I never set it up.

Here it is 6 months later and I decide that maybe I should go ahead and set it up since I have it.  I pull all of the pieces out and lay it out.  At that point I realize that I have never set one of these systems up!  I always got it assembled.

So I get on my trusty laptop, type in a Google search and look at the results.  There were a bunch of  video links but I will admit it took about 3-4 different ones before I found one that actually showed how to assemble it.

It took me about 3 hours between searching the net and slowly putting it together to get it assembled.  It really wasn't all that hard which was surprising lol.  Here soon I will load it down and readjust it accordingly.

So who has had this much fun with army surplus supplies lol?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Cold in Texas!!!!

Who would have thought it gets cold in Texas, I mean its way down there in the southern part of the US, right?  Yeah I know wishful thinking lol.

When I went home last weekend it got pretty cold at the homestead.  Now keep in mind that we are located just below the 'freeze' line that stretches across the area.  Yes I know it can still get cold down there but not into the single digits normally, not including win chill ugh.

We found out we have some work to do re-insulating some water lines.  Thankfully they didn't break, but we spent the whole day with a heater trying to thaw them back out.  This happened in the newly remodeled section of the house where the new bathroom was plumbed in.  We do have a section of wall on the outside that needs some new siding put up, so I plan on pulling down the old siding so I can get to the water lines to make sure they are well insulated first.  In that spot is where the water comes into the house, and to the hot water heater.  Having a spot between one to two inches on the outside that is exposed to that wonderful wind did us in I believe.

Another thing that I needed to do was fix the security lights we have on the poles outside.  They are your normal pole lights that come on at night.  Well the first problem is that I didn't have a ladder that could quite reach all the way, unless I put it in the tail gate of the pickup.  The other is that the light in front is not right on the pole but out about 3 feet from the pole.  I started to go up, but after looking it over, thought better not to without any type of fall protection harness to protect me since I would end up like the picture above.  I'm sure our cats would make the same comment too knowing those furballs lol.

My father in law was able to bring over a bigger ladder after I had to go back to Oklahoma for work and reach a pole that was a little lower with the light right on it. (we have 3 total in the yard)  I'm glad he didn't try the other one.  I think we are going to call the electric company and see what they would charge to make a service call to put in the other one.  If the charge isn't too bad I'll gladly pay to let them do it safely.  I'll admit, I'm not relishing the idea of getting up that monster lol.

The kids are very happy to be back in their old school, and the better half is glad to be back in her house.  Now to build that list of  "honey do's" for the year so we can figure out what needs to be done.  The only other major thing I have to do is look into putting in an amplifier for our cell phones.  The service for ATT in that area sucks although they say its fine.  I can get a few bars outside but inside the house the signal drops too much.  One I located is about 220 from Wilson and it looks like the best bet so far so we'll see.