Saturday, December 31, 2011

Two Months and Counting, Wild Hogs

It was a sunny, slightly breezy, gorgeous, 78 degrees today at the Compound.  It was perfect!  It started out as usual, leaving the homestead around 6 a.m. and getting to the Compound right around 7 a.m.   First on the agenda is to let the Hooligan's escape their confines to freedom of the open range for the day.  It's like kids getting out of school at the end of the day!  They bring such happiness to the Moose and I.   Some  people golf, others play tennis, we have the Hooligans.

My Mom and Dad joined us later in the morning to drop off some supplies they picked up at a recent estate sale;  tool box, buckets of nails, screws, etc.  All I'm sure will come in handy for our upcoming projects.  Speaking of which, one of those on the "Wish List" moved up the priority list to "Must Have";  learn to hunt wild hogs.  The Moose and my Dad put a dog kennel together.  We purchased this a few months back for around $150.00 at one of the big hardware stores, with this project in mind.  It took them an hour or so to have it put up, and additional stakes in the ground for extra support.  Each stake was wired to the kennel, and drove into the ground.  They removed the bottom part of a small wall, and my Dad will be working out the details for a trap door.  But, we're on our way..

We had heard, and one of my readers, Spud mentioned that in Florida it is legal on private property to bait wild hogs.  We have a HUGE overpopulation problem, I'm sure they're happy to see some of them go.  We have over 1 million wild/feral hogs in central Florida alone.  If we can learn how to bait, clean, and BBQ/smoke them, we should have a good resource in the future.  Up in Wisconsin, where we originally hail from, we called a pig roast a Sparnfarkel.  Say that three times fast.

Back to Eden principals update:

Sorry the lens cap got in the way, new camera.  Here's an overall view of our garden with the mulch in place.

Finally, Miss Izzy had another lucky day!  One rather large disgusting rat, and a turtle.  The rat is dead, the turtle has been set free!

Happy 2012!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year, New Project List, and Resolutions

With age comes wisdom, we hope. I've been tossing around a list of projects we'd like to complete at the Compound in 2012.  The list doesn't seem as intensive as in the past, but maybe that's because after this last year, nothing for us is impossible.  Reflecting on all our accomplishments, and the education we've received by trial and error, reading books, or from listening to others, this years list seems a bit trivial.  Maybe it's because we've finished the hard labor, or because no task seems that daunting anymore.

Can you even imagine the settlers of old carving out their little piece in the world?  No electricity, limited resources or supply lines?  I'm afraid that our world is changing before our eyes, and those who have sat around watching reality T.V. instead of trying to figure out how to help themselves, will be too late.  I personally have very little sympathy for the adults that have ample opportunity to see what is coming and chose to get their nails done, instead of starting a food storage program.  I do worry about their children, who unfortunately will be sacrificed for their parents ineptitude.  The Moose and I have just about given up trying to warn people to try and prepare.  They laugh, and talk about how crazy we are behind our backs.  That's fine, but when SHTF, we'll be on our way to prepared.  Resolve to Prepare People! 

With a new year on hand, I resolve to try and make my blog as descriptive as possible.  What started out as a personal journal, has become a stop off point for many, to see what we're up to.  I'm going to try and put more details and videos of our projects so you can decide whether or not, you'd like to follow along with your own, and /or learn by our mistakes so you can accomplish the same task on your end easier.  In the meantime, here's our lists;

Must Have List
  • Set up bee hive, build a fence around it so Miss Izzy and the Hooligans can't get near
  • Plant spring garden, add more greens for the Hooligans
  • Learn how to process seeds from plants for next seasons garden
  • Fence off blueberries
  • Buy and plant more blueberry plants
  • Plant the avocado tree Daughter Number 2, and her boyfriend got us for Christmas
  • Place mulch around the outside of the garden
  • Power spray the shed, get rid of the dust and grime
  • Build a stone pizza/bread oven
  • Continue storing food and supplies for when SHTF
  • Finish small items still left to complete in the trailer and deck;  caulk, paint, stain
  • Read and take classes to learn "old school" crafts;  sewing, knitting, candle making, etc
  • Learn how to properly trim the fruit trees
  • Keep up with the Back to Eden gardening principles
  • Build or purchase a small chicken coop for when the hens go broody, or a sick/injured chicken needs to be separated
  • Learn more about composting, so we can do it on a larger scale.  Right now the small barrel we use, is too small for our large garden
Wish List
  • Build railing on the dock
  • Build a mini dock for the boat launch
  • Consider another container for storage of personal items should we need to evacuate our home
  • Ducks; they're just so darn cute
  • Talapia for the pond
  • Learn how to hunt/capture wild hogs
  • Mulch around the remaining trees on the property
I'm sure we'll add to the list, move items from the Wish List to the Must Have List, etc.  That goes with the territory.  The Moose and I look forward to eliminating the items on our list, as we move through 2012.  Now, what will you resolve to learn and accomplish this year?   I'd like to hear your ideas.  Thanks to all of you who have followed along in 2011.  If you would like more information or have questions, please leave me a message in the comments section.

  Happy New Year! 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Looking Back and Forward

As the end of this year approaches, I'm trying to evaluate many things in my life, but as it relates to this blog, I'll focus solely on our efforts at the Compound.  We started out in January with a "must have" and "wish" lists.  Along the way we added a few projects as well.  I think we did really well actually, considering our work was accomplished on the weekends and holidays. 

Must haves;-Paint the container, it's a lovely orange color right now. It's going to be green, so it will blend in better with it's surroundings.
-Build the chicken coop, no I haven't forgotten about MY chickens!
-Till and get ready the garden for planting
-Put up our greenhouse, it's small but should help get things started.
-Plant seedlings
-Clean out the wild blackberry area, so it's easier to pick. Right now it has grasses and weeds growing in the same area.

Wish list;
-Plant some additional fruit trees and bushes. I think we lost some of the ones we planted last year due to the freezing temperatures we had in December.
-Build a railing on the dock. I always feel like I'll fall off. I know it's an optical illusion, but I want the safety.
-Build a pizza/stone oven  (We bought some of the bricks recently, so we are working out the details)
-Expand the garden to include a separate herb garden (We did expand the garden, no herbs added at this point.
-Build a mini dock by the boat launch area, to help with loading and unloading of our boat from the trailer.

Add on Projects;
-Move the trailer
-Remodel the trailer
-Build a new covered and enclosed deck for the trailer
-Follow the Back to Eden principals, and mulch our garden.
-Get Honey Bees and the necessary supplies  (still need to order the bees)

The lists don't include the basic maintenance of a yard, garden or chickens.  But looking back, I think we should be very proud of the things we accomplished. God has truly blessed us.

Now what projects should we consider for next year? 

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Back to Eden Central Florida - part 4 FINALLY!

We are finally finished putting down the mulch in our garden.  It took 8 trailer loads to cover, and nearly two months of Sundays (actually Saturdays).  We have some left over to place around the outside of the fencing, to help keep the weeds from creeping in, but that's for another day.

We're pooped to say the least, but happy to put this behind us at this point.  Again, very few weeds, and easy to pull out.  Here's a look at the strawberry pyramid, more blossoms and berries are forming.

Other than caring for the Hooligan's, we spent most of our time shoveling mulch.  Happy to put that behind us.  We're looking forward to spending the Christmas holiday with our families.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Life is Tough...

We saw this sign in a Zaxby's restaurant in Ocala, FL the other day.  I just had to share...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Leaving Nothing Behinds

The Moose, Daughter Number 1 and I spent Friday night at The Compound.  Grilled steaks out over a hickory wood campfire.  It's worth the effort using hickory, what great flavor!  The Hooligan's were happy to be let out, and Lucy who was not feeling well earlier in the week, seems to be recovering. 

On Saturday morning, we said goodbye to Daughter Number 1, and while I cleaned up, started next seasons tomato seedlings,  and fed the Hooligan's, the Moose went off to get our next load of mulch.  To my surprise, he got a double load!  I wasn't sure if I should laugh or cry

I ended up laughing thanks to Betty.

We finished off the remainder of this section of garden, with only one area remaining.  We used 3/4 of this load to complete the area.  One thing to note;  from week to week, you never know what type of mulch product you'll actually get.  Last weeks load seemed mostly palm tree material, this week it's definitely pine.  But since it doesn't cost anything up front,  I'm not complaining.  Can you even imagine buying this amount of product from a big box store?

One other thing we noted, besides how everything is still moist underneath,  and the overwhelming lack of weeds, a lone squash plant we left as an experiment is really taking off.  It's dark green foliage is testament to the BtoE program.  We have not watered or fertilized.  The tomatoes, although further behind, finally have blossoms and are starting to fill out.  We're not sure they'll have much of a chance this far into the season, as it's likely we'll see some very cold temperatures in the near future.

Now, for the title of this article, this picture speaks a thousand words;  leaving nothing behinds;

Since only 3 of them still sleep in their actual coop, the Moose set up a roost outside, in hopes that they'd stop sleeping and you know what on the roof.  So we had to see who went where...  There are 6 of them up on this board, and 2 still sleeping on the roof.  Go Figure!

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Civic Duty

Here I sit in a large room full of smelly, or over perfumed citizens of the great State of Florida, and City of Orlando.  Numbers 1 through 766 were called in, and I was 711. Yep, 711, but no Slurpee here.

It's interesting to see how and what people are doing.  We have newspaper readers, Christmas card writers, those of us rushing through emails to try and stay caught up with work, since the paltry $15 a day will not cover the bills, or those staring off into space as they came totally unprepared.  But I'm not complaining about my civic duty.   I believe that I can review the information provided and make an informed judgement.  I'm not convinced that my "peers" can do the same.  They show up late, dressed for a night in the bar.  Shouldn't there be some kind of test?  We need to pass a test to drive on the streets, but not one to determine whether or not you can serve as a juror.

If I'm ever judged, I want to be judged by someone willing to serve, and with an intellectual level capable of the making the right judgement. Today will prove interesting. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Nobody Told Them to Slack Off!

It was another perfect day at the Compound.  In the 70's and a swift breeze.  It made working so much easier than those summer days with heat indexes in the 100's.  We took care of the Hooligans, all are doing well, and still giving us between 18 and 22 eggs every three days.  So much for lower production when there's less hours per day of sunshine.  I guess no one's come by to tell my chickens they can slack off!  They're production rate is supposed to slow down when you have less than 14 hours of sunshine per day.  We're averaging right around 12 hours this time of year.  They are also supposed to go into a molt in the fall.  They haven't gotten that message either.  Just like children, they'll do it in their own sweet time!

We spent the day doing small projects like weeding the garden, and building a new set of shelving for the container.  We've accumulated a lot of stuff over the past year and a half, and trying to keep it organized has been a hassle.  So, the new shelving should help.  We also offloaded a trailer load of mulch.

Here's one wild blackberry patch.  It's really coming into it's own. I put mulch around the base of the canes, to help control the weeds, and begin its natural composting process as in Back to Eden. I read somewhere that you need to try and keep the canes to around 2-3 feet tall only.  They'll produce more berries.  I've got my eye on this section, as it's nearing the height where it needs to be trimmed back.  And that's no easy chore.

Here is the strawberry patch.  We built a strawberry pyramid last year, and the past 6 months or so, they have sent off a lot of shoots, so the amount of berries we get this season (Jan - March) should be greater than last year.  We also had an issue with the amount of sun the plants would get.  Even though the "book" states full sun, it actually burned out my plants.  So we put up a sun/shade screen on top, and ever since then, they have really taken off.  I have blossoms already and a couple of berries starting to work their magic.

We picked a few cucumbers, from a couple of the remaining plants, and the Moose is looking forward to cutting up these little peppers for his famous homemade salsa.

We did finally get to offloading the trailer load of mulch this weekend.   The trailer load only covered about 1/3 of the area, so we'll need at least 2 if not 3 more loads of mulch to complete this section.  We have one other area besides this one to finish.  I can not begin to tell you how easy it was to pull out the few handfuls of weeds that were in the garden. 

That's all for now, have a great week everyone!  Thanks for following along!