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.