Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Garden - 2014

While the Moose and the boys were off adding the 7 little pigs to our Compound brood, I stayed back Saturday and spent the better part of the day working on our garden.  The garden has all but been ignored this past year.  Throw one project after another in it's way, and it has suffered.  It became a weed infested debacle.
So, I finished tilling up the main garden area, and where our strawberry patch used to be.  The mulch we had put down last year, has all but become soil underneath the weeds.  We dug up the big weeds, and at this point the easiest thing to do was just till the rest under.
I had some help after the tilling was done. The girls spent the better part of the day helping me straightening things out by scratching in search of bugs.  They did a really good job, with just over 30 hens, there were a lot of feet to go around!  The bugs had no chance.
We're going to try our hands at potatoes again this year, but using the tire method.  This is just the start.  No spuds planted yet, just ready to go when the eyes have sprouted.  I've seen them planted without the eyes rooting out.  What's your opinion, should I wait for them to sprout or can I just plant them as they are?

I also finished the lettuce raised bed (minus some additional soil).  I had to cut the boards to fit, screw them together and then placed weed block on the bottom to keep the dirt in the bed.  It's not pretty, but should be functional.

I have at least two more raised beds to build.  All of it has been built with scrap wood.  

Have a good week everyone, and thanks for tagging along and taking the time to send us your thoughts.

Monday, January 27, 2014

New Terminology

I was reading an article today about "re-purposing".  You know, when you use something old that's been hanging around and remake it into something new?!  Well the term they used was "resource inventory".  Yep, resource inventory.

Now instead of calling that pile of stuff you have laying behind the garage, junk you'll need to refer to is as resource inventory.

What will they think of next?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

New Recruits

Here are 7 new recruits for The Compound. 

All from one litter, Duroc and wild boar mix.  You can definitely pick out the runts, and the girl in the middle staring at me, is in charge!  Friendly, but she'll give you a tongue lashing.

They're in love with their new digs.  We sectioned off an area of the garden, so they can rut it up and fertilize it for us, etc.  They're about 16 weeks old.  Doesn't seem possible does it?  and they were not fed well in my humble opinion.  Previous owner only fed them whole corn, and had them on their momma up until a couple of days ago.  Pigs do not digest whole corn very well, and it doesn't begin to give them the amount of protein they need.

The Moose was telling me, the momma was very skinny.  How may I ask was she to keep on weight when she was only fed whole corn and still fed this brood of 7 for so long?  I'm no hog expert, but that just doesn't sound right.  They've come to the right place.  They'll be fat and sassy in no time!

Funny how they just know;  they've never been in a pasture before.  Only held on a concrete pad, so how did they know that grass and weeds are yummy!  How did they know to push their noses in the ground to root up bugs and roots?  Animals really are amazing!



Saturday, January 25, 2014

Put Another Log On the Fire

Put another log on the fire, cook me up some bacon and some beans.  I think this was part of  a Ray Stevens song, not sure it was sung by him.  But we need another log on the fire here in Central FL.  It's been cold all week, and this Saturday morning is seeing the same.

Positive things;  I get to wear some of the sweatshirts taking up space in the back of the closet, and this cold will go a long way in killing off some of the bug population.  Doesn't look like it's much friendlier anywhere else in the US either.  I'll count my blessings, I don't have to shovel snow or scrape ice off my windshield.

Stay thirsty warm my friends.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Drip, Drip, Drip...

On par with life in general, our shower at home decided to drip.  The Moose worked tirelessly to fix it, but the replacement valves didn't stop the leaking.  So, the only option was to replace the shower fixture itself.  Problem it's in the wall, and there's no shut off valve for water at the shower.  We had to turn the water off to the house.

We did fill up the tub, sinks, pots and bowls so we had water to wash up with.  Occasionally we'd turn it back on, shower, run a load of laundry and dishes but it needed to be fixed.

Now, it's not as simple as removing the old handle and replacing it with new.  The stuff that needed to be replaced was in the wall.  We could have torn out the drywall, which I've never seen replaced and it match up.

We opted to remove the tile, along all three walls and replace it with a design feature.

I firmly believe that God puts situations and people in your path when they are needed.  Just recently we were introduced to Philippe.  A handy man by trade.  We needed his help, and he could use the extra revenue.

Philippe spent the better part of a Saturday ripping out the old tile, and replacing the piping behind the wall.  Sunday he spent putting in the new tile.

The boys (BJ and Donnie) also came over and helped the Moose replace the sod in our front yard.  All things that were needed to dress up the place.  Shower looks good and functions as it should.  No more dripping!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Repurpose Stairs - Raised Garden Beds

While the Moose and boys were busy finishing the ramp to move the container into place this past Saturday, I worked near the chicken house removing nails from our old stair boards.  (The girls came over on occasion to see what I was doing and kept me company)

We did some remodeling in our home this past year, and in the process replaced the wood on the stairway.  We saved the wood and stacked it up at The Compound awaiting a project or two.

I decided to take this wood and make some raised beds.  But first I had to remove the 4" long nails.  Now, I'm a girl and this project took me waaaay longer than the Moose would have had to spend, but in the end I did get all the nails out, and the first of what will be 2-3 raised beds.

the wood on the bottom will be used to make another bed or two, but for now it'll kill the grass and weeds.
In the second picture below it shows a crate.  What do you think about me inverting it and using the bottom of it as the top, adding some sides and making a raised, raised bed?  I might give it a whirl.  I know it won't last forever, but a coat of wood sealer should help.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Welcome to Momma Bear

We've picked up another blogger, from our home state of FL!  If you get a chance, take a peek at Momma Bear's site Challenged Survival.  I look forward to reading her posts.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It's In The Hole! - Container Update

Well, our neighbor had time to help us put the container in to place.  It's officially in the hole!  Where's Bill Murray and Caddy Shack when you need it? (FYI, the scene in this link was totally ad libbed by Bill).

Whatever you call this piece of equipment, is what they used to move the container.  It took less than an hour from beginning to end.  There were three guys with the biggest grins on their faces when it was finally done! 
Yes, there's still more to do, but the sense of accomplishment is huge at The Compound this week!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Container Update - Ramp is Finished

The Moose and the boys worked to finish the ramp going into the hole where the container will come to rest.  The hole was dug, filled with crushed pavement and leveled off.  They then placed in the telephone poles (cut to fit) along the ramp and in the hole.

The container already sits on poles, so once it gets moving in the right direction, should roll in to place.  Now, we're just waiting on our neighbor to have time w/ his tractor to hook it up and pull it in.  Keep your fingers crossed!

FYI, I created a label just for the container, should you want to go back and look to see what has been accomplished.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Frogs Falling From Trees

It's so cold here in Central FL, we didn't get out of the 50's yesterday, and we hit freezing this morning.  As we were taking a break for lunch (egg salad, we have plenty of eggs!), a frog fell from an oak tree and landed in the dirt.  It was just too cold, it couldn't hang on any more.

I've never seen anything like that before, needless to say I avoided walking under any trees for the remainder of the day.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Molt is Over

I can safely say the chicken molt at The Compound is officially over!  We're back up to nearly 9 dozen eggs a week!  We got down to a low of around 3 dozen, but in the last few weeks, they've all hit high gear again!

We have between 30 and 35 hens in total.   Some of our hens are older and not laying nearly as many as before, as this is year 2 for some.  So the girls lay between 3 and 4 eggs each per week.  Not as good as some of the Red Buff breeds, but good enough for us!

Looking forward to hatching out a new generation later this spring.

FYI - Walter is doing fine.  A bit hen-pecked, but holding his own.  He was glad to see me!

Friday, January 10, 2014

They Like Their New Digs

The three little pigs like their new digs!  Not sure how well you can see it in this photo, but they are making use of their new shelter.

Looks like they hollowed out the middle and created a blanket of hay around themselves.  Needless to say, the Moose was happy they made use of it.

Also, as I was taking this picture, this little pig decided to come up behind me and see what I was all about.  She puts her nose right on my hand, but if I try to scratch her head she backs up.  She'll come around.  Once she figures out that a scratch behind the ears feels good.  Isn't she cute?!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Introducing - Walter

We ran an ad recently looking for a local chicken lover, like ourselves, that would be interested in trading an Easter Egger Rooster with one of ours.  We really want to get a different genetic line going, as the cuties we have now all came together, so who's to say how they're related.

Well, we got a response.  But in what seems like typical fashion, she just wanted to give me hers without taking one of mine.  So we are +1 rooster at The Compound.  So introducing Walter;


He’s just about 16 weeks old, and not yet crowing.  I just love his little white face and feather tufts that give the affect of chubby cheeks!  He seems like a calm guy, and he’s used to being handled.  He doesn’t say much, but can you imagine what he thought being carted off to The Compound, and then listening to the hens complaining and the out of tune choirboys crowing non-stop?!  He’s a purebred Ameracauna, Blue Wheaten.  His coloring is very unique, as are all my E.E. girls.

Why the name Walter, you ask?  I couldn't help myself.  We just watched the movie "Second Hand Lions", and the main character, played by Haley Joel Osment, was named Walter.  A boy without a home.  Our Walter was adopted by two middle aged parents, not a couple of crazy uncles, and there will be no second hand lions or a huge inheritance at The Compound, just plenty of girlfriends.  We hope his life at The Compound will be a charmed one.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

50,000 +

A great big thank you to all our followers!  We've hit 50K views of this crazy blog!  Largest comes from the US, and Russia comes in second.  It's amazing how many people from around the world read our articles. 

We love to hear from you, and thanks again!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Windy and Raking Up Leaves

The video tells it all!  Yesterday was the perfect day to rake leaves!


Monday, January 6, 2014

Blow Your House Down

We are preparing for temperatures to reach the middle 20's Tuesday morning.  Doesn't sound bad if you live in the Midwest or Northeast, but this is for central Florida!  We knew a shelter for the three little pigs was needed, but the weather forecast put this project at the top of the list.

We did some research and they were selling shelters for over $600.00.  We don't have 600 bucks at this point to spend on a hog house.  We opted to re-purpose some existing materials, and also found a stash of culled lumber that was reduced by 70%.  We spent about $40.00 on the shelter, that will one day become a farrowing pen.

Hopefully this will last longer than the "three little pigs" fable/story and a big bad wolf won't blow their house down!
blue tarp will keep the dirt off the wood, and keep it from rotting, it's also a wind block from the north

It will definitely serve it's purpose, and the three little pigs actually went inside just before we left yesterday.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunnybrook Farm - Welcome

I woke up today, and found a new follower to The Compound;  Sunnybrook Farm.  It's truly amazing to me the number of folks that drop by.  Check out their blog, and a couple of their other ones as well;

The world of natural fertilizers;


The world of spiders found on a W. VA farm;


I put a link over to the right for Sunnybrook Farm and My Brown Movement, but will pass on the spiders.  I'm still a city girl at heart!

Welcome and thank you for stopping by.

Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 To Do Lists

Well, it's that time of year again. Time to reflect and time to look forward to 2014.  As in years past, I review my "must have" and "wish lists", to see how far we've come, what we missed and what needs to be added.

We have a few hits and misses, throw in some quick changes or events and you'll always seem to come up short.  So, as you'll see below, the 2013 list remains and I've added a few more items as well.

Must Have List
Finish the pump house and reverse osmosis system
Purchase and plant additional blueberry plants
Purchase and plant additional asparagus plants
Build a couple of raised beds; garlic, peas, lettuce, etc
Install chicken wire on the chicken run wall, between the two areas.  Then we’ll be ready for chicks.
Hatch out more chicks
Finish the exterior of the outdoor pizza oven
Become efficient cooking outdoors; dutch oven, outdoor pizza oven, etc
Continue with weapons training

New Roof for Tiki Hut

Outdoor kitchen and prep area
Set Up Solar Panel Array
Finish storage shipping container
Learn more about raising pigs (ongoing)

Wish List

Purchase another shipping container
Build an enclosure for ducks, and get ducks
Learn how to capture and process wild hogs
Dock railing
Try out aquaculture using our Tilapia pond


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Moving Right Along

We showed up this past Saturday to The Compound, and when, what do my wondering eyes should appear? Patrick with paint up to his ears!

How awesome is that?!!!

The rest of the gang, the boys, Trina and Phillipe were already working on the ramp for the container, when we showed up. 

The Moose joined the party, and it's another project done!  They actually finished three projects;  the ramp, the foundation for a trailer and filling in some other holes.

R&B brought over their hot dog cart, and we had a feast fit for kings!  It was a bit cloudy and breezy, finally a Saturday where temperatures were reasonable.

It's Saturdays like this one, when you really get a feeling of accomplishment.