Wordless Weekend…..Almost!

Next Batch Of Freezer Chickens at 16 weeks

Birds-Eye View

Tomatos and Squash Filling out

Entire Garden -First Year, Central Wild Blueberry Bush.

Posted in Wordless Weekend | Leave a comment

Active Weather Weekend!

It’s been an active weather weekend. During these times, we tend to stay in and catch up on the housework. It always seems to get neglected during the excitement of spring. The dog enjoys the break. It allows him to catch up on his rest.

Its a tough life!

Wake me when its time to eat!

Posted in Pets | Leave a comment

“The Good Sense God Gave a Goat”

When I as a kid, I spent  lot of time living with my grandparents. My great grand mother was also part of this extended family and she was quite the character.

All of her male siblings were New Orleans jazz musicians during the early 1900’s. As a teenager she spent a lot of time in the Storyville area of the French Quarter going to the dances and speakeasy’s where her brothers were preforming. Growing up in this environment, she picked up quite a few colorful sayings. Many of which I still remember.

“The good sense God gave a goat” is one of them. Every time I did some bone-headed thing,  she would say “You don’t have the good sense God gave a goat!” It was usually preceeded with “Whats wrong with you!” and followed by “Stop That or I’ll shove this cane up your…!” Well, never mind. You get the idea.  I don’t think she would have, but I usually stopped without testing her further.

Why do I bring this up? I just did something dumb.

See, there was this tree.

The Tree

That’s the tree. Right, smack, dab in front of the side door to the barn and it has to come down!!

During construction, I was hesitant to cut larger trees. Now almost a year later, there’s a building in the direction of the tree’s lean, bee hives to the right, a wall a of trees to the left and a young garden in front. Quite the conundrum.

So here’s where my lack of sense comes in. It involves the tree, a chainsaw and a 25′ extension ladder on the barn roof.


Fishing with No Pond

So, I started by tying a few weights on a fishing pole (thanks P). I then cast the line through the tree top and use this to pull a larger rope into the tree top. I made a loop on one end of the rope and pulled the other end through. The rope then allows me to pull the tree in the direction I want.

Looping the Rope

My plan was to cut the tree as high as possible on the side opposite of the direction I intend to pull the rope. I only cut into the tree about half way. This way the tree still stands, but is weakened enough that pulling opposite the cut causes  the tree to lean. Gravity does the rest.  I assumed that the falling canopy would not free fall because of the remaining wood in the cut. The remaining wood resists as the fibers split, Thus, slowing it down.

The Cut and the Pull

After making the initial cut, I pulled on the rope to test the depth of cut. If the resistance was to great, I’d cut a little deeper. It took two attempts before I felt the cut was just right.

I have intentionally not included any pictures of me cutting on the Ladder. Its stupid and I do not want any photographic record of me having done this. I will say, I did strap the ladder to the tree before I ever climbed it with the chain saw.

…………..And with one good tug it was done!

You can see from the photograph that I should have cut the tree 2 feet higher. The canopy was taller than I assumed and the base of it just hit the overhang of the barn. However, the resistance created by the splitting wood slowed the fall just enough. The massive top barely dented the fascia. Once the canopy was removed we dropped the lower 40′ in the traditional manner

Almost Gone!


I am thankful it went off without a hitch,but there was nothing smart or safe about this. I WILL NEVER DO THIS AGAIN!! Having said that, perhaps My great grandmother was only half right. Maybe, I do have the sense of a goat.

Posted in Things Not To Do Again | Leave a comment

The Barn Project Part 12

Rafter Installation

Last post, I built the ridge beam and lock it into position with eight rafters. This time I’ll fill in the rafters and strip the roof for the metal roof.

Starting Point

Center support

Above, you can see I installed a center support to keep the ridge from sagging. I believe that once all the rafters are installed, the load will transfer to the walls. If I am correct the roof should be self supporting and this post will no longer be necessary.

Filling In....

The Last One!

Once the angles are figured, its all pretty cookie cutter and proceeds quickly.

Houston, We have a Recognizable Form!

Alas, It looks like a barn! O.K., maybe a church. This is due to the pitch of the roof and the differences of angle from the lower section to the upper portion. I knew this during the design phase, but wanted some visual interest and overall I’m fairly happy.

Posted in Barn | Leave a comment

The Barn Project Part 11

The upper section framing continues.

Once the walls were complete, I turned my attention to making the 40′ ridge board. This ridge is comprised of  two 2″x8″x24′ s.y.p. and two 2″x8″x16′ s.y.p. laminated together with resorcinol glue. This creates a 3″x8″x40′ ridge board. All of the joints were staggered and the lamination was quite simple. Hoisting it into position was another matter!!

Ridge Moving into Position

The wife keeps the beam from twisting while I position the other end. We used the rope and pulley system mounted to the header in the above picture for lifting into position.

Using the Ladder for a Rest Position

If you look atop the header, you can see I nailed some scrap to the frame to locate the ridge beam. I copied this setup on the opposite end. My plan was to slide the ridge to one side in order to clear the jig, slide it back to rest on top of the jig, then creep left or right until the proper over hang is achieved.

Sliding the Beam into Position.

It wasn’t easy, but we were able to get the ridge in to its final position. I cut eight rafters and installed them at 1/4 intervals to lock the beam in position. Next week end, I’ll fill in the missing rafters  and start contemplating the roof install.

Posted in Barn | Leave a comment

The Bee’s Knees!!

I started with four nuc’s about one year ago. These were my first hives and despite taking two short courses with the local cooperative extension, I lost two.  I decided to keep four hives on hand until I’m certain I can accurately diagnose and correct any issues that may arise. I originally wanted two strong hives, but thought I should hedge my bets.

I ordered and received my two packages of bees a few days ago! Two 3lb Packages picked up from USPS early Monday morning. Just for giggles, I order one package of Russian and one Package of Italian bees. We’ll see how they build in population and who preforms better.

Below are a few pictures of me installing the packages.

The Packages Stapled Together

Bees Hanging on the Feeding can

Top panel removed showing feeding can. Notice the queen cage to the left of the package.

Bees clustering after shaking out the package and inserting all of the frames.

I inserted both packages without gloves or a veil.  Here is the math:

Three pounds of bees equals approximately 15,000 bees. 15,000 x 2 = 30,000 bees. 2 stings / 30,000 bees = .000066.

What does this mean? It means there’s nothing to be afraid of. Get a hive or two and watch how amazing these insects are.

Posted in Apiary | Leave a comment

Barn Project Part 10

Now that the decking is complete, I’m going to concentrate on framing the walls. I chose to purchase 2×6 studs for this phase. My reasoning for this was three fold. 1) I only have five large pine logs from my initial haul and I want to use these as lap siding. 2) I have cleaned all of the pine trees in our wood lot (There weren’t many to begin with!).  3)  I wasn’t really interested in using the oaks leaning from the storm for framing. So I bought the material.

Starting South Wall

While 2×4 framing would have been adequate,  I chose 2×6’s to framing the remaining of the 6″ diameter poles. This will allow me to through bolt the framing to the poles.

North and South Walls

The finished walls will be 6′ tall. Given the pitch of he roof the ridge board will be aprox. 8’5″. A nice amount of head room while keeping the overall elevation to a reasonable height.

Walls Complete with Door Header

I made sure my doors finished at least 6′ in height. I wanted to make sure I had lots of room in both width and height. This made it necessary to use a different roof pitch from the lower section. I also had to make sure that the door with was small enough to swing outwards and clear the roof line.

A Shot From the Ground.

Its actually starting to come together. Next, We’ll frame the roof! Its time to start pricing metal R-Panel.

Posted in Barn | Leave a comment

Barn Project Part 9 -Decking Complete!!

Finally!! The upper deck is complete!

I have included a few pictures of of the process from tree to lumber.

Transport to the Mill

These are the tops of the trees I used over the past few weeks. Generally, the material at the upper portion of the trunk is not as nice as you move higher up the tree and get into the branches. Every knot in a piece of lumber is the remains of a branch. The lumber from these logs will have a greater number of knots than the previous boards, but the knots are sound and will work fine for the flooring.

Creating the Cant

Ready to be Cut into Boards

Decking -West

Decking -West

Well, just in case your curious, it took 468 board foot of lumber to deck the second floor. A board foot is actually a measure of volume. The formula is length x width x thickness divided by 12 if your units are in feet or 144 if you use inches. The good news is at $1.50 per board foot aprox. cost to purchase, I saved $702.00. The bad news is if I factor in my labor it cost me $2000.00. Go figure!

Posted in Barn | Leave a comment

The Chicks After Two Weeks.

Its amazing how quickly chicks grow. Then again, If you think how your morning egg can in 28 days transform into a fully formed chick, I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised.

Cute at One Week

Aren’t they cute! If you look real close, you can see that there wings are starting to feather out. I can not wait until they fully feather. It will be interesting to see their patterns.

Two Weeks Old

At Approximately two weeks old, you can see they have just about doubled in size. We had 35 hatch and lost three in the first week. The remaining 32 are destined for the freezer at about 20 weeks. Roasted chicken anyone?

Posted in Chickens | Leave a comment

Spring Is Coming!!

Here’s a short video of the chicks we incubated. They hatched on February 23, two days early! I need a better thermometer.

The chickens are a cross of White Rock, Buff Orpington, Dark Cornish and possibly a little Black Giant- We have one female left over from our flock two years ago. It will be interesting to see how they turn out.

I only have female White Rocks. This in conjunction with the Dark Cornish males may create a nice yard version of a Cornish X. You never know.


Posted in Chickens, Livestock | Tagged | Leave a comment