Friday, August 12, 2016

Saturday morning continuing on at the Fair

Now it is Saturday morning, last night ended about 1:30 PM. Having a daughter with a severe Nut allergy is also one of the reasons to cook over the campfire. Well the ice cream to end the night also put her in the emergency room. This all has ended with her home and all is well just a little sleep lost.

 Now for sharpening some old blades. Woodmizer is gracious to send some Blades for displaying their Machine but the wonderful stack of wood provided on the half also have some wire. So suspect logs use an old blade and is I cut wire a least I have also already sharpened them once or twice, save the new blades for safe wood.
 Boy Life will spin by if you don't watch it. 
It is now Aug 2016 and I apologize for not writing as I should. I have a lot to tell so good lord willing we will go for a ride. 
 We are on a new farm in Liberty Tn and that is wonderful for simply this is home. We have cleared 25 acres and have two of our out building built. All this will come later, what I need to know is where do you want the information to go. We are building Dry Kiln to hen houses. I have designed new style raised beds and even have vertical gardening  set up that is renewable. 
 Let me know. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Adventures at the fair with our Sawmill

Adventures at the fair with our Sawmill
Aug 14 2014

I thought I would chronicle the week at the fair this year.
 My wife and I decided about eighteen years ago to give back by moving the Mill to the Fair for nine days and just saw. This was started after a boy who came with his father to pick up lumber looked at his dad and stated "I thought 2X4s came from Walmart"
 We made a call and were told come on. The first years was with a non-Hydraulic LT40, Then a Super LT 40 and now a LT70 all WOODMIZER.
 The first problem we found was that since at that time I worked public work also I would leave work and go straight to the fair. We weren't flush with money "It's called raising kids" so Mom started cooking my supper right there at the fair. That grew into a full fire box and other Vendors enjoying a home cooked meal.  
 In 2002 we had established that we would be there so people that don’t live near us would bring logs to the fair so some years I did not even need to bring Logs. I started sawing on Friday at the start and noticed that the POW WOW was not a happy lot. Friends there that were wonderful artisans had not sold anything. Mom and I decided that this year we were a little better off that instead of having a little paycheck for demonstrating we would put everything back into the food and a least our friends would eat. The more I cut the more she cooked, at one evening she feed over 70 people. Oh by the way this was the year after 911 and yes people were still effected. At the end of that year we had still had and had cemented on-going friendships.
 So for a start here is what has to happen
 1 Get a fair support kit from WOODMIZER. This is a blessing because they will give you a bundle of log scales which allows you to teach people what is in a tree. I spend a lot of time just talking to people about what are their options with one to many trees on their property.
2 Understand that WOODMIZER has a program that will reward you if you talk to someone and they buy a mill. I have been talking to people in the thousands and yes they bought mills but being at the fair has never brought me a referral. I didn’t start this for that and I am OK with it.
3 One of the best things about the fair is I am there to demonstrate not run production. That is a blessing and yes I get pleasure in putting a little boy or girl on my lap and let them saw a board out. August is normally 95 degrees and when I give the child the board to go home and make a bird house for some reason the father isn’t happy hours later when the child won’t let him sit the board down and come back for it.
Moving the mill means a least six trips 38 miles to the fair. This is my give back and I am not worried about the economics of it.
a.      Move the mill out of the shed (This means that the annual of a complete clean-up will happen.
b.      Wash the mill
c.       Collect Logs
d.      Gather what you need for the mill to run for a week
e.      Gather cooking stuff (This will probably take until Sunday to get everything there)
f.        Don’t forget to bring the Mill Head yes that has happen
g.      Move your support machinery
Speaking of support machinery I have been blessed with one of the best Skid Steer operators in what started as a 10 year old daughter. She would haul the garbage out with the Bobcat. The old timers operate a circular Mill one Saturday. They would have my Daughter Wendy move logs for them. They would later have her move them back just to watch her operate the Bobcat.
Now that it is Thursday and the mill is up for Friday evening take stock and  go get what you forgot, You have to understand that the mill operation at home did not stop and customers have to be taken care of and planning for the week done.
 This year I have to add poplar in the mix for three jobs at home that did not get finished in time. That means haul poplar 38 miles to cut then haul it back home for the customer. It is just part of the experience and before you tell me that I am going to lose money no just break even and enjoy watching little one see sawdust played in.

 Now this is Thursday morning before the opening and this is what is on the agenda today. The mill got there last night last (Don’t feel bed for us that means Mom and I had Mex at one of the best Mexican restaurants around that just happens to be a mile from the fair. Today go reinstall a track on a skid steer that has pick yesterday to come off loading for the fair. Move the W4 loader, roller racks saw horses and logs to the fair. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

You Don't have to always get Mad

Needs on the Farm

In this troubled time it is so easy to get mad or scared.
 Yesterday I met with one of my neighbors and during the 10 minutes of interaction he was rude condescending just basically obnoxious. I was with my grandson and had many choices. One of them would have been to basically tell him where to go and how to get there fast.
 I wasn't prepared for the meeting but I did have an agenda. We are moving and I needed his tractor and bush hog for about two hours. I offered not to borrow (That was the norm with his father who I respect and adore (He has passed away)) but offer fence post from my sawmill. He decided that he did not need post but some Poplar lumber for the barn would be good.
 He was totally obnoxious even as I delivered him to his own vehicle. I did agree and this morning I will do some bush hogging.
 The point of this article is that it isn't what you have but how you deal with what you have when it is in your lap. This man has his own problems and does not need me to add to them. By not acerbating the situation if he is in a place where he can modify his life maybe he will use a little calmness I gave him and build on the homestead. Now before your nominate me for sainthood understand that I am one of those who will spit in your eye and dare you to jump when I am ready to rumble. (That is not good on my part).
 Now that I have built a watch I can tell you the time. You have many tools on your homestead and in this time it is needed to have them ready useful and to know where they are. Your neighbors could be the most important tool in your box. You are going to have to decide. With this person I honestly feel that this will be the last interaction and will close a book that is twenty years old. If it does close I know for myself that for all the bad choices I have made I gave him a chance to change the interaction. I am not a punching bag but also I am trying not to be a sponge. I urge you to do the same.
 On your farm you have one thing that unless you are a superhero you kick yourself daily. That is not knowing where that something that you need is. I am that way and after the years I consider it Christmas when I find a long lost now duplicate of something. What I want you to think about that in this time what are you needing but not missing.
 I know that is a different way of thinking but there are a lot of little things I do not have because I haven’t needed them yet so why have them. In many cases with shelf life’s and all I agree, but in the case of the basics that is another case in all.

 What you basics are, are simply up to you and no one else. For some it may be extra sparkplugs for equipment. For others it may be nuts bolts and drills for mending. For you it may be sewing thread. What I am getting at, is in the confrontation that I had it also would have been very easy for obnoxious neighbor to fly off the handle and escalate me into telling him where to travel fast. Whether he liked it or not he did have a need that did mollify his own lack of servility and both of us can prosper.  

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Misuse of Wood
 At 60 years old, I consider myself in about the third grade when it comes to wood. This is funny to me because I have been sawing commercially for over 20 years and have a few million feet under my belt.
Here is a little tidbit that I am working on:
 I advise people when building barns and such to not forget the less desirable wood for interior use. Doing this can usually save the customer twenty percent on the cost. This has been received as revolutionary, and although people are doing it.  They are still skeptical.
 The woods that I am recommending range from poor-grade walnut – that is walnut not usable for fine furniture and in line with Oak in price - on the bottom run in stalls. The walnut is rot resistant and horses don’t crib. Use beech, elm, hackberry, gum and others on the inside walls. These come as the off boards and commercially they are used in the pallet industry for pennies compared with other wood.
 Now that I have shared the revolutionary information, let me share what the professor has enlightened me with.  The professor is the five structures on my new farm. They range from 150 years old to about 60 years old.
The original cabin that was built in about 1900 is a pole structure with two rooms and a porch with a side shed. The walls inside the structure are beech. Beech was and still is a less desirable wood. It appears they needed a structure to stay dry and used the cheapest wood available. It still stands testimony to a good roof.
The second cabin more elaborately built next to the old cabin has beautiful wood walls that are striking. The grain pattern is 15 years per inch. The hue reflects the sun like no wood I have ever seen. Oh, by the way it is GUM.  
Here is the lesson that I am just beginning to get through my dense scull. It is good management to use the lessor grades of wood, and this means there is a higher profit margin for your homestead.
An old timer had me cut a barn pattern years ago, and a lot of this is from that start. I pulled up to his farm and set up in the shade of some of the finest timber in the country. When I started cutting that was not what he had there for me to cut.
The following is the lumber list:
Post Oak for the sills
Red Oak for the rafters and joist
White Oak for the Banding
Hackberry for the loft
Sycamore for the pearling
Poplar for the siding

Each had a strength and a use. This is what I hope your homestead can evolve to. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Chapter one How to beat the system without cheating
First of all you have to understand that everyone is not your friend and does not want the best for you.
Large Oil Etc. is not an evil entity but they are out to make money and if you are not reliant on them they will do whatever they can to assure that you are. You have to understand Walmart is here to charge you the absolute MAXIMUM that they can and not have you go somewhere else. This happens to be cheaper than most places which lessons competition. This is perfectly legal and not even immoral have items below cost. This gets you in there type of store and not at the mom and pop local. When the little ones are gone the large store and equalize their stock to a more profitable margin for them. God Bless them. They make jobs for many people but that does not mean you can’t be more independent.
 The first place you have to start is to look at where you are. If you are in an apartment that does not mean that you can’t improve your life and lessen the dependents on others.
 In the following weeks I am going to put forth a homestead. If you are in an apartment your homestead will stop at the window planters until you make changes. If that is where you decide to be that is not only OK but wonderful, most people get caught in I must be here or there or I won’t be happy. Be happy for the moment where ever you are and if you want somewhere else just consider where you are and a platform for learning and all will be good.
 I suggest you eat the elephant. Now that I have totally confused you, you eat an elephant one bite at a time so here is the first bite.
Window curtains that make you happy. 
If you YouTube soda Bottle garden it will give you an idea where the start of this came from. I don’t recommend the soda bottles except as a learning process for the final one that can accept plants from all places Walmart. The bottom pot is a catch basin without drainage this allows you to water let it drain then recoup the excess and use it. This will give you and your family salads and herbs that if used fully (Everywhere you can) it will also allow you to freeze and dry herbs for the winter.

 I recommend this as a starter so you can see that even a little change can make big dividends for you.  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

This is a Rant of sorts but I need to get this out
My rant of the day.
I read about the problems of welfare, and also the stories of people abusing the poor and taking advantage of them. I see in the news about slaves held in the US as Servants with little or no pay. 
I understand the anger about people working hard and watching others on their tax dollars play. 
Here is what I don't think people get through their reasoning. They are the same. The government wants a docile people some if they bred( YES BREED Generations) of people that have their options pointed down and accept that, that is their lot in life they the government has power. 
Some people have businesses and guess what they hire you to take advantage of your work for their gain. This is the same as the government paying a section of people welfare to stay in their place and not cause problems.
I am not knocking the guy that risk his money to pay you for your service or you becoming his employee. The difference is there are two types of employees and they are the one that has a worth the the employer and employee recognizes and knows that if he does not compensate according to his worth he will leave. This is fair and good for both. The other is an employer that reduces wages and benefits until he looses key people then raises them just enough to keep his hired slaves their making sure to illustrate that you can't go or get ahead you must stay.
In each way whether you accept welfare or a job that holds your growth it is your decision. People will not change but your knowledge and self worth can change. You have to change if you want to get ahead because human nature will not.

 If you make you and your family a working GROWING unit that is adaptable and flexible to what ever comes you will exceed. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Waking up Feb 2014

Waking up Feb 2014

1      What is ahead for the Homestead

As some know, but most don’t my wife and I bought a 1920s farm a couple of years ago. We are remodeling it by ourselves. What would you expect for a retired couple, with the kids gone to do except purchase a 4400 square foot home in dire need of remodeling.

What I want to share is that all of us have some type of elephant on our back trying to get our attention away from the prize. What is that prize well that isn’t as simple as it seems because we as a homesteader go through life blindly without purpose at time only with flashes of inspiration. Our necessary goal is to stay focused through the turmoil and set a dance that’s the care of the family and homestead.
 Now that I have built a watch for you let me tell the time. This is February and one of the most important times here in TN (Up north you can wait to see the ground) to get the garden ready. If you are like most the garden isn’t a clean board waiting the plow but a tangled mess from last fall? If you have that mess smile you were just getting organic matter for the compose pile.
Weed-eat it down and if level enough run the mower with a leaf collector and remove what is probably mostly weed stock. If you can use the vacuum adapter on your lawn blower do it every weed seed you get out of the garden the better.
Now that it is clear it is ready for the plan. If you have beds that you can use a small tiller on or if you need the big John Deere do it. This will break up the winter hardpan and let the soil breath. Also the added benefit is we are not done with winter and the frost and freeze will break up the soil wonderfully.
If you have the composed pile ready understand that two inches of good compost is what a normal plant needs to grow for the year.

If you have got this far now it is time to really relax because you are ready for a little more tilling and plants. Oh I didn’t mention your late in starting some seeds but not that late but that is the next installment.
 By the way if there is interest on learning to Lath and Plaster let me know.