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questions on raising pigs

posted by: amandasmith911 on 07.16.2005 at 12:13 am in Farm Life Forum

i would love to raise my own pig for meat but i do not know if i will be able to. i have lots of general questions and i don't want to have to buy a book unless i am going to do it.

can you raise just one or is two better?

how much space do i need to raise 1 or two pigs, this in my main concern.

aprox how many weeks till they are big enough for slaughter?

what is average cost of a baby pig?

what else do i need to know?

thanks , amanda

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clipped on: 07.20.2011 at 03:03 pm    last updated on: 07.20.2011 at 03:03 pm

Its not a cottage garden without....

posted by: sanitycheck on 06.25.2011 at 09:56 pm in Cottage Garden Forum

I seen this idea from a 2005 posting. Its time to run it again.

In my case it must have columbine, morning glorys... heavenly blue, foxglove and cleome. I could go on and on but wont, anyone else?

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clipped on: 07.19.2011 at 02:58 pm    last updated on: 07.19.2011 at 02:58 pm

RE: Goats - how much work are they? (Follow-Up #14)

posted by: doninalaska on 02.19.2008 at 04:02 pm in Farm Life Forum

I would pasture goats with any equine or ruminant livestock, but not with hogs. A man in the Northwest developed a land clearing method using goats and hogs in moveable pens. He put the goats on the land first. When all the vegetation was stripped above ground, he moved the goats to a new plot, and moved hogs into the area vacated by the goats. The hogs then rooted out the roots of the trees and nuisance vegetation. When everything was cleared, he sent both the goats and hogs to slaughter. I don't remember the guy's name, but he made a substantial fortune by using his method to clear previously unusable land, especially waterfront property. The owner of a fence place up here told me he uses hogs to clear stumps by stomping corn and other grains into the ground all around the stumps he wants removed. The hogs find the grain and dig it out. Apparently, once they find the grain, they keep digging thinking there must be more down there somewhere until all the dirt is removed from around the stumps. I think he then easily pulls them away with the tractor. I have no idea whether Mimosa/Memosa is toxic, but I am betting local goat owners will know in your area.


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clipped on: 07.12.2011 at 06:33 pm    last updated on: 07.12.2011 at 06:33 pm

barn construction

posted by: cheryl_p on 09.20.2009 at 08:01 pm in Farm Life Forum

I am wondering if someone can set me straight here. I will be putting up a small barn next year in prep for my retirement and plan to eventually get some goats and chickens. I have heard that when one does stable animals that it is not the best to have them standing on concrete. I've seen them, but how do dirt floor barns/stables work? How are they built? Will builders willing do them? How is maintenance? Thanks for any help!

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clipped on: 07.12.2011 at 06:25 pm    last updated on: 07.12.2011 at 06:25 pm

RE: Let's talk Unusual storage places ~~ (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: grainlady on 08.18.2007 at 08:23 am in Smaller Homes Forum

Take a round trash/storage container to use as a side table. Store "stuff" inside, top with a plywood circle (you can often find them pre-cut at lumber yards and home centers), cover with a round tablecloth. You can also get round plexiglass or glass circles to go over the cloth to keep the cloth clean. Great for bedside tables.

Walls that flank a window (especially those short walls that go from the corner to the window) - that's a good place to put shallow 3- or 4-inch shelves. Build a ladder-like shelf unit that fits into the space and secure with L-brackets. If you're into food storage (some of us keep a years worth of food on hand), this is an excellent place to put canned goods, grains/seeds/beans vacuum-sealed in quart canning jars, and other small pantry foods. Just cover the shelves with floor-to-ceiling drapes to match the window treatment.

If your sofa is backed by a wall, behind and under the sofa is excellent storage area. Off-season clothes and bedding in the reusable vacuum-packed plastic bags works very well behind and under a couch.

Pull-out drawers or plastic storage bins under beds. If you raise your bed, you'll have even more storage area.

Any space you can put a window seat can be both storage and additional seating.

Shelves can be placed just below the ceiling in nearly any room to hold collections, books, china/serving pieces, etc.

Platforms can run the perimeter of the garage, about 2-foot deep - about 3-foot from the ceiling. There are brackets designed for this available from home centers. Just lay plywood on the brackets. Deep enough to be useful, especially if you store things in plastic tubs with lids, but not so deep the items get lost in the back.

-Grainlady


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clipped on: 07.08.2011 at 06:20 pm    last updated on: 07.08.2011 at 06:20 pm

Where does the cat box go?

posted by: carolbarrel07 on 12.31.2007 at 12:00 am in Smaller Homes Forum

I'm serious...this is a 3 br (third br will be office and small) with 1.5 baths that are very small. What are some creative places folks have tucked away cat litter boxes in the small aka "cozy" home? TIA for the poop on this all-important question!

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clipped on: 07.08.2011 at 05:48 pm    last updated on: 07.08.2011 at 05:48 pm

New farm plans for this year

posted by: runningtrails on 02.22.2009 at 08:57 am in Farm Life Forum

What new farm plans and changes in your garden are you going to make this year?

I have so many new things planned to grow, I don't know where I will put it all!

1) I am going to grow potatoes in trenches on cardboard, covered with straw. They should be easy to pick up without digging and fairly clean. That's the plan, anyway. Read about it here (also Google "growing potatoes in straw")
http://www.homesteadgarden.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-852.html

2) I am going to use a cold frame for the veggies I start indoors early.

3) I am going to plant some things in rows far enough apart to drive the tiller between. Otherwise I will use cardboard between plants. I WILL conquer this run-away weedy garden problem.

4) I am going to plant the luffahs and some small winter squashs by the deck, on the south side, and grow them on the railing. This is a snowy pic but I think it'll look great covered with thick vines and hanging veggies in the summer. (We never use this deck. Too hot!)

5) I am going to grow some of my own chicken feed. I intend to use sunflowers, millet, flax, poppies, curly dock, sorghum, amaranth and QAL. In this mix I will put ground egg shells too, for calcium and maybe a little protein. I am drying egg shells and saving them for this now. I'm not growing the QAL in the garden, ditto for the curly dock. I already have a field full. Can chickens eat goldenrod seeds?

6) I going to grow goji berries, also called wolf berries or marraige vine. I got a few seed from trading on the internet. I am going to plant them early indoors. I hope they do well. I don't yet know where I'm going to put them.

7) This year I will thin the carrots!!

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clipped on: 07.08.2011 at 01:43 pm    last updated on: 07.08.2011 at 01:43 pm

Message/appointments/to-do list/mail center

posted by: melle_sacto on 10.19.2010 at 02:44 pm in Smaller Homes Forum

Hello!

I haven't been here in a while -- hi all!

My question is WHERE in your small house do you have room for a calendar/message/appointment/to-do list/mail center?

If you want to know more about why I'm asking, please read on. Or skip it and please divulge :-) Thanks!
___________________________________________________________

Currently ours is spread around:
* calendar inside a cabinet in the kitchen
* appointments either on the calendar, in a cell phone, or stuck to the fridge (I don't like this)
* to-do list on misc. scraps of paper floating everywhere (more on this in a bit)
* mail center: more often than not DH brings in the mail and dumps it on the dining table (NOOOOOOO!) and I go through it really quick before I set the table for dinner (FYI we only have one dining/kitchen table, which is probably the same for most in a small house)

I was trying to decide what I wanted to get accomplished today b/c I've been having a lot of no-accomplishment days lately. I have about 1 1/2 free hours midday when my kindergartener is in school and my toddler is napping (now, yay) and I often waste my time trying to decide what to start on first. If I make lists on notes they get lost.

So -- today I made a quick list on the chalkboard, and I LOVED it b/c we have colored chalk :-) Now I want my own chalkboard (my kindergartener saw I used HIS chalkboard and he was not too happy about it).

I was seriously thinking about putting my task-chalkboard in the hallway...our hallway is small but I walk through it a few times/day and it's too small to decorate. It's relatively private, which I like, b/c I don't want it on display.

I've also been thinking to get a small chalkboard to write up meal plans for 2-3 days in advance and keep it in the kitchen...it would probably help me if I planned out dinner ahead of time :-)

Melanie

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clipped on: 07.07.2011 at 07:36 pm    last updated on: 07.07.2011 at 07:36 pm

RE: Anyone here who has significantly downsized? (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: columbiasc on 12.08.2010 at 07:57 pm in Smaller Homes Forum

Welcome 52 and Professor! Take a look back at some older posts and you will get a lot of ideas and perspectives. I would also recommend some additional resources such as looking for episodes of HGTV's no longer airing Small Space Big Style on YouTube. You can find many episodes there. If you have a decent public library, find the homes and architecture section and look for books on living in smaller spaces. Pay particular attention to the titles focusing on Japanese design. On one of my older posts I listed several small house books from my public library. I have also found some nifty storage ideas in RV magazine, also at my public library. You might also look at some yachting magazines as boaters often have to maximize storage as well. Just a few thoughts.

My divorce shack is 1000sf. That's about a 50% reduction from my marital home but 100sf larger than the 3 bedroom one bath home I grew up in and shared with my parents and three siblings. My 16 year old son and I live quite comfortably in our 1000sf of 1950's amatuer ranch design. Editing is the key. You know you have reached perfection when there is nothing left to remove. I think Frank Lloyd Wright said that.

Again, welcome aboard.

Scott


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clipped on: 07.07.2011 at 07:21 pm    last updated on: 07.07.2011 at 07:21 pm

RE: If You Attended Sept 9 Swap at Wind Creek (Follow-Up #15)

posted by: tsmith2579 on 11.11.2010 at 03:56 pm in Alabama Gardening Forum

Thanks for everyone's kind wishes and concerns. Alice, I have no idea what caused the growth. It blocked the common bile duct which backed up the liver, gall bladder and pancreas. While in Vietnam I was located in one of the areas most saturated with the defoliant Agent Orange. I have figured for the last 40 years that I am a walking toxic time bomb, ready to explode and kill weeds with my body fluids. Two good friends, both Vietnam veterans, died of liver cancer related to Agent Orange.


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clipped on: 01.26.2011 at 02:02 pm    last updated on: 01.26.2011 at 02:02 pm

Some Greenhouse Photos

posted by: wyndyacre on 10.31.2007 at 10:42 pm in Greenhouses & Garden Structures Forum

We built my 10x16 greenhouse 5 years ago. After taking a propagation course at the local college and being able to use their GH for several months, I decided I couldn't live without one. :)

We used salvaged windows for the glass, salvaged doors, an old deck for 1/2 the floor and the other half is discounted paving stone. The walls that aren't glass are insulated and the north side of the roof is insulated and asphalt shingles. Several back and side windows open, I tie the doors open and there is an automatic venting window in the roof near the ridgeline.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
I have electricity, a telephone and fill a 50 g. barrel from a hose for water. I recently added a 3 tiered light stand, I found used and will use my heat mats on it this winter. We built benches from folding table legs and 1x1 deck ballisters spaced out on a wood frame. My potting table is a recycled kitchen counter with new paint and hardware. We built a sliding bin under the sink to store ProMix.

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

A pool cover goes over it for winter and it's heated to 45-50* at night and attains 80-85* during a sunny day. It's heated with a oil filled electric space heater. In the summer, I lower bamboo shades on the south front windows.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I built it so I could grow perennials from seeds and divisions and start shrubs from cuttings to increase my acre garden (which I do) but it has become a source of income in that I started having a huge plant sale yearly. Starting in Feb. for seeds and March for divisions, I start churning out perennials thru the GH, then coldframe and onto a outdoor holding area until the plant sale. I sold 2,000+ plants in about 6 hours this year!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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clipped on: 09.08.2010 at 04:54 pm    last updated on: 09.08.2010 at 04:54 pm

More delusional thinking?

posted by: organic_flutterby on 09.22.2008 at 03:51 pm in Farm Life Forum

A few threads back mylonite posted a question about whether or not she was delusional for wanting to buy land. I have the same question and read the great advice given to her, but I have another question along the same line. I want to know how feasible is it for a single woman to work and manage a small farm? Will I constantly be needing another person for help? And if so, for what kind of things? Should I have the thinking that I can do it all, but instead of a huge garden I just have to deal with a smaller one? Instead of more of whatever, deal with fewer? Or should I say I can't possibly do it all. TIA

Here is a link that might be useful: my new blog

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clipped on: 09.01.2010 at 04:45 pm    last updated on: 09.01.2010 at 04:46 pm

Sustainability-your best tips!

posted by: brendasue on 03.08.2009 at 10:26 am in Farm Life Forum

I'm wondering what your best tips are for sustainability!

Is it saving seed from heritage variety plants, saving rainwater in large quantities, culling heavily for hardiness, diversified outputs (i.e. 2 diff breeds, 2 diff variety of the same crop), apply high compost content to the soil?

Are you working towards sustainability and what is your main output & plan? Is it crops, livestock, fowl, fish, or other? Maybe a combination?
Brendasue

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clipped on: 09.01.2010 at 04:21 pm    last updated on: 09.01.2010 at 04:22 pm

Tell me about your square foot garden!

posted by: Polly_IL on 10.15.2002 at 09:40 pm in Square Foot Gardening Forum

I love to talk about my garden, but even more; I love to read about other folk's gardens! So, tell me about your garden, and I'll tell you about mine!

I have a series of raised bed garden sections that are worked in the square foot method. I amend my soil with compost, manures and other organic matter each year; sometmes using lasagne layering in specific beds. Some beds, I turn with a spading fork - usually the ones that I'm planning to plant seeds in; other beds I just plant as is, without turning the soil.

I live on a small farm in a decidedly rural area; at the end of a dead end road. My Pop, who lives with us, didn't quite understand raised bed gardening - "You got 30 bleep-blap acres out there! Why you think you got to grow grub in little bitty boxes?" was one of his more memorable statements! He's starting to come around a bit now, though; since he's seen the results. In fact, he's coming around a bit TOO much; as he's starting to take over my garden - telling me what I need to plant, and where and when and how. Can't complain too much, though; as he is a great one for pulling weeds!

My garden is in three 27'x27' sections; beginning at the south end of the side yard, near the road; and running north. All beds have wooden sides to them; made from rough cut 2x8's. Each section of garden is separated from the other sections by a 6' wide pathway of wood chips over cardboard. I love the woodchips for rainy season accessability! The all season, wide pathways allow me to bring in a small tractor and cart of amendments; and also makes my garden more handicapped accessible. The gardens are also surrounded with a 3' wide path of wood chips over cardboard. I am considering planting daylillies or some other perennial flowers on the outer edges of this path in the future.

The first section has a 3x3 bed in the center; surrounded by 2 sets of 4, boomerang shaped beds. Then center bed has 9 sqft of planting area; the 1st set of surrounding beds have 27 sqft of planting area each; and the 2ns set of surrounding beds have 63 sqft of planting area each. My beds in this area are each 3' wide; as are the pathways between the beds. I chose the 3' width because I am somewhat short and a bit more than somewhat plump - I hoped that I would be able to reach to plant and care for them comfortably. I discovered that I could have gone 4' without difficulty. This area has been planted to all vegetables in the past, but I am moving more to perennial plantings - such as rhubarb, and asparagus; and Pop would be delighted if we made it in to an ornamental grass, flower and herb garden. He just might get his wish!

Section 2 of the garden has an 8'x8' tea house/grape arbor sitting in a diamond shape in the center; surrounded by a 3' wide wood chipped pathway, and then 4 pentagonal beds. The beds are 12' on each outer side, with 4 1/2' legs and an 11 1/2' front; encompassing about 115 sqft of planting area each. In each of these beds is a dwarf peach tree, underplanted with nasturtiums (to help protect against borers) and June-bearing strawberries. Rhubarb and bee-balm also share these beds. There are 2 - 12" square stepping stones in each bed to allow for weeding.

Section 3 of the garden is still under construction. In the center is a large box (8x8) made of landscape timbers. This box will have a bench seat put around the perimeter; and will contain a small pond - this will hopefully be completed next year. This box is surrounded by - you guessed it! - a wood chip path. Then there are 10 raised beds, each 4x4 arranged in a square around the center box. The beds were used this past season for growing larger amounts of certain vegetables for preserving; but will be planted next year for fresh use crops, to make up for the loss of the 1st section to perennials.

I cannot expand my garden any farther to the north, as I have a clothesline at that edge. However, I DO have room to expand to the east, and will probably do so - just as soon as I can figure out a design that will complement the rest of the garden. I need more room for multiple tomato plants; pole beans and larger crops such as zucchini and cucumber. I would also like to figure out a way to put my chicken house in that area, so the birds could forage the garden in the off season (they're heck on those wood chips paths, tho!) Sweet corn, melons and pumkins are grown in an area about 1 acre in size, to the east of the garden; and will remain there, as we grow large amounts of these crops. I hope to plant about 16 more dwarf fruit trees next year, as well as raspberries and blackberries.

I use Mel's spacing in my garden beds; tho sometimes with a twist. For example - in a 3x9 bed I planted: a double row of snap peas down the center of the bed, 7 broccoli to each side of the peas, and radishes to the outside of the beds. Red cabbage this year went in a 3x3 bed - 8 heads on 12" spacing, with a salvia in the center square; green cabbage ditto. I planted okra on 12" centers down the center of a 3x9 bed; planting peppers on offset 12" centers in front of the okra; and taking advantage of the shade provided by the okra to plant late season squares of spinach and lettuce behind the okra. I do follow his recommedation to plant crops that grow on different levels together to take better advantage of your soil.

For spacing, all of the boards around my beds are marked at 1' intervals - this makes it quite easy to plop a yardstick across the bed for proper spacings. One trick that a friend taught me, that I have used with great success, is to pre-plant my garden squares. I use mostly brown kraft tri-fold paper towels for this - they are 8"x8" and I can fit 16 of them in my 3' wide beds per 3' length. They are also very inexpensive and break down well in the soil. I have also used regular paper towels (11"x11") and toilet paper (for rows) as the base in this method. Using Mel's recommended spacings; I made templates of poster board, and use them to mark the towels. I put dots of Elmer's washable glue on the towels at the appropriate spacings; then drop a seed into the glue and set them aside to allow them to dry. By working out my garden plan in the early to mid winter; I can spend those "late winter/early spring I'd kill to get out in the garden and it's still too early to even start seeds indoors" days engaged in a form of gardening by preparing my pre-planted seed squares. This saves me a lot of time in the main spring planting season; as I can prep and plant a 3x3 bed in ten minutes or so: I take a barrow about half full of compost to the bed to be planted. I turn the soil in the bed with a spading fork, tossing some of the larger clods and a shovel or two of soil onto my compost grater ( 1/2" hardware cloth on a 2x2 frame) that is sitting over the barrow. I sift the soil into the barrow and mix it in with the compost; then rake the bed smooth, lay down my squares and cover them to the appropriate depth with the sifted soil from the barrow. I tack a pre-cut section of chicken wire over the beds to keep the cats from digging up the squares, give it a bit of a drink, and - TA-DAH! - it's done! The towels seem to help prevent any weed seeds that are below them from germinating or pushing through, but do not provide any resistance to the roots growing down through them from the planted seeds. This makes it soooo easy to plant beds of mixed greens for salads; or to companion or succession plant in small areas.

Wow! This has turned from a note about my garden into a dissertation! Hope you all don't mind! I'd sure like to hear about your gardens as well - current or planned!

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clipped on: 08.09.2010 at 05:48 pm    last updated on: 08.09.2010 at 05:50 pm

Frugal raised beds!

posted by: ellie_may12 on 01.05.2009 at 02:10 pm in Frugal Gardening Forum

I finally found the answer!!! Our church had slate tiles put in the foyer. The tiles came in large wooden crates. I was able to salvage 4 of them. I was planning on building a chicken coop out of them, but then decided to put them out as raised beds....I spent a couple of nights laying awake wondering what to use on the sides to keep the dirt in the crates...landscape cloth, plywood, hmmmm....

Well my 2 year old and I went outside to play in the garden, and I decided to set out the crates and start filling them with compost. As I'm shoveling compost, DD finds an old political sign that I had saved in the shed and BINGO! I knew what to use for the sides!!! I slipped the sign on the inside of the wooden crate. Pressure from the compost will keep it standing up or I can nail it into the wood. The plastic sign won't rot and will protect the wood some! I just need to find a bunch more signs for the sides! Good thing I live in Louisiana...we have more elections around here than any other place I have ever lived!

Now I just need to collect some composted manure and start my seeds!

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clipped on: 08.09.2010 at 05:35 pm    last updated on: 08.09.2010 at 05:35 pm

Cinderblock raised beds - let's talk about this

posted by: dancinglemons on 04.29.2010 at 04:48 pm in Vegetable Gardening Forum

Hello all,

Reading another thread I came upon the most fantastic photos of cinderblock raised beds posted by GW member jonhughes.

I will attempt to recreate beds like this in my yard this year. How much soil/growing medium do you need for one bed and what are the dimensions folks find most user friendly?? I want beds that are minimum 3 blocks high to permit root crops.

Please post photos and comments especially how much soil is needed for those who already have beds built.

Thanks!
DL

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clipped on: 08.09.2010 at 04:01 pm    last updated on: 08.09.2010 at 04:01 pm

Finished Potting Shed

posted by: sandykk on 09.12.2006 at 09:52 pm in Hosta Forum

Finally I have some pictures of my potting shed DH built for me. (Curtis asked to see when done.) I had so much fun planting and moving my hostas around, especially those who needed more room. They all seem to like their new home. So far I only filled in the raised bed out front and a little bed on the one side. Next summer I will have the whole area behind it to plant till my heart is content. There is plenty of high shade back there, so they should do well. Still have to paint the PT wood out front and build the outside potting bench under the shed roof, but that can wait till Spring.
Thanks for looking,
Sandy

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

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clipped on: 07.21.2010 at 01:02 pm    last updated on: 07.21.2010 at 01:03 pm

My circular potager - new this year **10 photos **

posted by: gottagarden on 01.01.2008 at 08:27 pm in Potager Gardens Forum

This year I created a new "potager" - veggies and flowers. I decided I wanted something a little different than tidy little rows, so I created a circular garden with a spiral path. The kids love running along the spiral paths. In the Fall of 2006 I spread 5 truckloads of horse manure, and in the spring I laid out the paths using hose. This is my first year, it will be better next year.

I also posted on the cottage garden forum, but thought it was probably better posted here, for those who never get over to that forum.


Laying out the paths in a spiral pattern


By the fall it had really filled in!


Here you can see some of my delicious vegetables - pumpkins, onions, lettuce, beans, cabbage, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, gourds, and dahlias for cutting flowers. And the hose has been replaced with stone paths.


Old ladders make strong, colorful, free plant supports - here for various small gourds.


Got carried away with the old ladders ;-)


Every veggie garden needs a scarecrow - this one wears my daughters old overalls and hides behind the pumpkin patch


Here you can see the squash trying to escape its boundaries


I'm a tomatoholic - I love all things saucy and we did a lot of canning in the fall.


My dahlias were busting out all over. I had several "mystery dahlias" that had lost their tags. Very late, on 4th of July weekend I planted them, and I was amazed how quickly they bloomed and had cutting flowers all through the fall.


Here's me and my kids enjoying the harvest. They just LOVED picking gourds and loading them into the wagon. We had several hundred and gave them away at school and anywhere we could find people to take them.

This year I will be experimenting with asparagus and new veggies. Your input would be appreciated if there are any special veggies I simply must try.

Hope you enjoyed it the show :-)

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clipped on: 07.20.2010 at 01:28 pm    last updated on: 07.20.2010 at 01:28 pm

RE: Is there anything a chicken shouldn't eat? (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: Velvet_Sparrow on 10.05.2005 at 02:32 pm in Farm Life Forum

*LOL* Our local crows love to sit up on the power lines above the yard in Spring and eat baby sparrows...they drop the heads and feet into our yard where the chickens find them. *shudder* Once our chickens found the head and front end (minus legs) of an Alligator Lizard that the crows must have dropped in the yard.

Here's what my husband, who was up on the roof working on the air conditioner, saw: The chickens chasing the one hen that had Horrid Tasty Thing, and ME chasing all of them trying to get it away, yelling "DROP IT!" at the top of my lungs! During the chase I had one heck of a time figuring out what it was...at first it looked like a human finger (!), then a fish (where in the heck did they get a FISH?!). Finally I was able to grab that hen and wrestle it away from her, but it sure maybe for a weird-looking, high-speed parade for my husband....*L*

The problem with spaghetti is, once a chicken got a strand half-way swallowed, then changed her mind. But she can't spit it out, and now the OTHER END is flapping around, beating her on the head while she runs around in terror...AAGGGHHHH! The only choice was to grimly keeping on swallowing...I was laughing so hard I was no help at all.

Now we cut spaghetti up. :)

Velvet ~:>


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clipped on: 07.02.2010 at 06:22 pm    last updated on: 07.02.2010 at 06:23 pm

RE: Would love to raise chickens but... (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: JoyBugaloo on 12.29.2002 at 04:39 pm in Homesteading Forum

Hi. I live in northern New York state, six miles from the southern border of Quebec (about an hour south of Montreal). I have been keeping chickens for two years now, and like you, at first, I didn't know where to begin! Here's what I do, though there are endless methods, I think. First of all, instead of making a coop, as I have no building skills, I bought a kind of large, raised hutch from a neighbor down the road. It's a little over five feet tall (it's on stilts) and about eight feet long with two wooden "rooms" in the back and a large wire area in front. There are hinged doors on both sides of the back nesting areas which can be opened to gather eggs, and these areas are filled with lots of pine shavings for them to nest in. Their feeders and water are in the outer, open area. I always keep the wire top covered with a few layers of tarp to protect from weather, but in the warmer months, the rest of the outer wire area is open for ventilation. And I also cover the grate floor with a tarp and then a thick layer of pine shavings over that. The most important thing to keep things clean and not stinky is to keep the droppings DRY. The thick litter helps with that. I rake up the excess droppings every week and completely change the litter about once a month, adding the used material to the compost pile. (A big bag of pine shavings costs $3 at Agway and usually provides two changes.)

I feed them layer pellets (also very cheap at the Agway....seven dollars for a huge bag, and with five chickens, lasts me a couple months or more?). I prefer pellets because if they spill out of the feeders, they can still pick them up off the floor and none is wasted. By the way, I bought one hanging plastic feeder for a few dollars at Agway, and I have another metal one that hooks to the side of their coop and holds more that I got cheap at an auction. I also give them scratch grains once in awhile as a treat. And if I scatter it over the pine bedding, they can be tricked into fluffing up the litter and keeping the droppings dry as they dig for their scratch. And every so often, I'll add some grit to their feed for good measure, especially in the summer when I'm feeding them lots of tidbits from the garden, to help them digest.

There is a larger hinged door in the front of the coop which I usually lock up at night (it's true about chickens always returning to roost--they do it on their own at sunset). During the day, I have a big plank of wood out of the front door so they can come out. The whole coop structure is enclosed by, I'd say, an 8 x 16 ft. run made with 4 ft. chicken wire and 5 ft. metal stakes. We fashioned a hinged gate for the run large enough to allow me to get the wheelbarrow in and out when I clean. It's completely open at the top, but they don't try to fly away for some reason, even though I haven't clipped their wings. I don't worry too much about critters getting at them, as I have three dogs that alert us to any intruders. We live in front of a dairy farm with lots of barn cats roaming around (and we have cats, too). I was worried about them attacking the chickens, but they don't bother them. I think the chickens could hold their own in a fight anyway!

Last winter, I actually moved the whole coop into the garage, because I was afraid they'd get too cold. But that proved to be far too laborious, plus, I had to park outside and scrape snow off my car all winter! This year, we just covered the whole coop in a double layer of thick, plastic sheeting, and then added weather stripping around the doors. Stays amazingly cozy in there! When it's somewhat nice out, I open the front door and let them come out for some fresh air and sun. They have an electric water de-icing pan under their large metal waterer (both purchased at Agway, of course). And I keep a 40 watt bulb on in the outer portion of the coop, for a little added warmth and to entice them to lay throughout the winter. But when it's cold, they tend to all huddle in the back, more protected area where it is pretty dark. I'm thinking of adding another light back there.

Let's see. What else? Oh, the chickens themseves. Well, I wanted to order my chickens from a hatchery, like Murray McMurray. But you have to order a minimum of 25 (WAY too many for my needs!), and I was not confident in my ability to raise chicks, anyway. So I got three pullets from a county fair two summers ago, two Americaunas (blue-laying!) and one Buff Orpington (brown-laying). I'm not sure why, but one of the Americaunas died about a month later. She was very thin and sickly overall. So for the first year, I just had two chickens (didn't even need a run for them then). This past summer, I got three more hens--one from the fair and two from a local man who raises chickens. The one from the fair was a Black Australorp (brown-laying), and the other two were more Americaunas (love those blue eggs!). Next year, I'd love to get some Marrons that lay the very dark brown eggs, but I doubt I'll be able to find just a hen or two, which is all I would want. Anyway, they are all doing very well, even in this cold climate, and after some initial squabbling, are getting along fine. But most people around here that have chickens have Barred Rocks or Rhode Island/New Hampshire Reds. They are extremely cold-hardy.

That's all I can think of right now to share with you. Feel free to e-mail me if you want to ask any specific questions (JoyBugaloo@aol.com). I would also recommend reading the following books that helped me: Chickens in Your Backyard and Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens, both available at www.amazon.com. Good luck up there in Quebec. I hope you try it! It's really not hard, and is a lot a fun! --Gina near Plattsburgh, NY

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clipped on: 07.20.2006 at 11:15 am    last updated on: 07.20.2006 at 11:15 am

RE: Would love to raise chickens but... (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: westbrook on 09.22.2002 at 11:59 pm in Homesteading Forum

Chickens are not hard to raise at all. When you get little balls of fuzz (peeping all night long), they will need to be kept warm until they get their feathers..about 2-3 months old and depending on your temps. and when you get them depends on how long they need a 60 watt light bulb to be left on...I prefer using an infra red lamp.

This brings me to your winters...you may need to keep a light bulb on to help keep them warm. What happens is their combs and wattles get frost bite and the chickens don't feel so good for awhile. Look at chickens that have small, close to the head combs. A chicken puts out roughly 8 BTU's an hour each so depending on the size of their coop and how many you have and the temps outside will depend on how well they handle the cold. (In days gone by, the chickens were brought into the cabin and they lived right next to the wood burning stove. There was a hole cut out so they could come and go in at night and outside during the day.)

There are some things you can do to help maintain temps in the coop...compost inside the coop will help keep them warm, putting them inside a greenhouse over the compost will help keep the greenhouse warm and them too!

It takes about 6 months for them to start laying and they lay when the temps get warm and when there is about 14 hours of light a day (you can trick them in the winter by maintaining warmth and light).

Feeding is a snap...all the left overs and let them free range on bugs...but they will mess up your vegetable garden! be prepared!
There is any number of grains sold for chickens at your local feed stores. They need water and wella!

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clipped on: 07.20.2006 at 11:14 am    last updated on: 07.20.2006 at 11:14 am

RE: Would love to raise chickens but... (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: Kathy547 on 09.17.2002 at 02:36 pm in Homesteading Forum

When we got chickens we used the old smokehouse building that was already on the property. It already had a hole at the ground (small enough for a rabbit to get in). We took a hammer & broke off enough that chickens could get in & out. My husband & I are bread distributors so we bring home lots of old/stale bread & feed the chickens, dogs, & cats that. Started out just feeding it to the chickens but the other animals are scared they're getting a special treat so they gobble it up! Bread vendors usually pick up the stale or damaged bread from their stores & restaurants & take them to thrift stores, where it's sold at much cheaper prices. They sort what comes in (i.e. some is still good enough for humans, some goes in large stacks as hog feed). Check around & see. My husband use to sell large stacks - about 150 loaves of bread - for something like $10 as hog feed. He doesn't do it anymore because he turns it back into the company. Ask the guys that bring in the bread at the local grocery stores. Occasionally we buy chicken feed but that can get expensive when you have other animals that you buy feed for. I buy the cheap dog food & our chickens will come after the dogs have gone & eat that. When we first got our chickens we kept them in the chicken coop for a couple of weeks & then let them out. They now run loose but will go back into the coop close to dark if there's no where else - we have an old well shed that they will roost in if we forget & leave the door open. You will find that when they have chicks, for every 1 hen you will get 3 roosters! I'm not sure what kind we have but have been told they are a bantam/game mix. We bought them off a woman that had too many. Another good place to buy them is at local fairs or call the schools & talk to whoever's in charge of 4-H or the FFA clubs. Some people will clip one wing on each chicken to keep them from being able to fly. We don't because this leaves them with the disadvantage of trying to get away from predators. A large dog with a loud bark would be a good idea to have around to keep things away - skunks, possums, fox, coyotes, etc. An advantage to having loose chickens is all the bugs they eat.
A disadvantage is that they will poop (can you tell I have kids!?) everywhere you don't want them too. Good luck!
BTW, our chicken coop is enclosed - rereading this post, it didn't sound like it was, but it is. We used regular chicken wire & put some on top. We've got pieces of tin on half of it so they can be out of the sun & rain.

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clipped on: 07.20.2006 at 11:13 am    last updated on: 07.20.2006 at 11:14 am

RE: Would love to raise chickens but... (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: Steve_NV on 09.17.2002 at 03:05 am in Homesteading Forum

Complicated? Not really, depends on your personality. I made it far more complicated than it needed to be. Expensive? Again depends on you! We are now in our third year. I have found that they are much more resourceful than I would ever have given them credit. Also tolerate a wide variety of living conditions. I think if you get started one year and like it enough to do it again the next year, you will probably find yourself testing their wintering abilities by keeping a few extra just to see how it works. In which case I suggest you start with some of the shorter combed varieties.

We have concentrated on dual purpose full size varieties as well as the white leghorn for their white egg production rate. So far we have had White Leghorn, Rhode Island Red,
Barred Rock, Buff Orphington, Red Sex Link, and Turken. We are trying a few other breeds this year but don't have enough experience to speak on their personalities.

White Leghorn: GREAT egg production in numbers and size (white). Hens are friendly enough with humans however they tend to fly pretty well when they want to. Which if it means getting out of a cage or run count on them getting out at every chance offered. Medium size birds. Males seem to be aggressive. Not afraid to challenge the hand that feeds them. Note, Males are not required for egg laying, only if you want to have little ones. If you do chickens more than 2-3 years you will likely find yourself keeping an extra rooster around through the winter just to get little ones.
So much to say and so little time.

Any way for us the friendliest and most reliable layers, also considering attitude of roosters, have been Barred Rock. Others lay more or larger but the roo has an attitude. Some will sit on and hatch their own or anothers eggs while others have it bred out of them. Some stand cold better than others, some stand the heat better.
Spend some time checking out various internet chat sites dealing with poultry. One I frequent is listed below.
Have fun!

Here is a link that might be useful: The Poultry Information Exchange

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clipped on: 07.20.2006 at 11:12 am    last updated on: 07.20.2006 at 11:12 am

RE: Planning a kitchen.... (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: lowspark on 05.25.2006 at 04:34 pm in Kitchens Forum

I think the very best place to start (if you haven't already been doing this) is to get kitchen magazines, books, etc. and start keeping pictures of kitchens or particular features of kitchens you like. For cheap sources of pictures and ideas, I got books from the library and bought used kitchen magazines from garage sales, used book sales and the like. I'd been wishing for a new kitchen for a while so I'd had a chance to build up a collection, but the library is definitely a good source. In addition to kitchen magazines, lots of ideas are available in women's magazines such as better homes & gardens or woman's day. They run kitchen idea articles at least a few times a year. HD and Lowes both print free monthly ideas "magazines" which always feature at least one kitchen so check those out too.

My kitchen design was most influenced by the shape of my kitchen space (no walls were going to move) and my dissatisfaction with how things were currently working in there. Example: my one and only workspace was the peninsula but whenever DH (clean-up man) had the dishwasher open, I (cook) could not stand at the peninsula. Two functions which should be able to go on at the same time were mutually exclusive due to bad design. Another example: my cooktop had about 10" of workspace on either side of it. That drove me nuts as I had no place to put things down next to the cooktop as I was working. I wanted plenty of counter space around my cooktop.

We picked our appliances first, mainly because the size of those would affect the design. We then started shopping for cabinets. That ended up taking about 5 months because we looked at so many cabs and got so many estimates. Meanwhile, we had at that point picked our "style" of cab (maple light stain raised panel) even though we hadn't picked our actual cabs so we began looking at countertops. Once we picked the counter, and knew the approximate color our cabs would be, flooring choices became more narrow and we picked that. We got lucky on the backsplash as we found that tile while searching for floor tiles even though I had not even begun to think about backsplash yet at that point. The last thing we did, after making all the major decisions (there were still a million decisions to be made along the way that we had no idea about!) was shop for a GC.

What I couldn't live without: more counter space, lots of drawers, more natural light. I got all three. What I really wanted: larger kitchen, I got that by ditching my seldom-used too-small breakfast nook (a great decision for me!). My biggest originally unplanned item that I now can't live without: corner pantry (by product of expanded kitchen).

I'm very happy with how my kitchen turned out and there's very little I'd change about it now. Good luck with your kitchen, this is a wonderful place to learn so much!

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clipped on: 06.19.2006 at 01:21 am    last updated on: 06.19.2006 at 01:25 am

RE: Planning a kitchen.... (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: karenforroses on 05.24.2006 at 10:45 pm in Kitchens Forum

I began with a large stack of kitchen magazines and books (fortunately my friend had just built a new home and had lots to give me). At first I just went through each one, putting a sticky note on the ones that really appealed to me. I discovered that the kitchens that I liked the most all had light paintend cabinets (i.e. cream, beige or soft yellow)) with plain lines (no fancy trim, arches or decorations), with matching light paint, tiles, etc. Then I began to look at those a lot more closely to define the exact components that appealed to me. I knew my budget - how much was relegated to cabinets, counters, etc. so I started looking at kitchen centers and Lowes and Home Depot, collecting stacks of cabinet books by brandname. I picked out the cabinets from each brand I liked, and had the venders give me an estimate for one lower 30" cabinet with pull-out drawers and one upper cabinet. The size didn't really matter - I just wanted to compare apples to apples. The estimates that came back helped me to narrow down my choices, as some were out of my league! Once I zeroed in on the brand and cabinet and finish I wanted, I took some time to figure out what kind and how many cabinets I would need. The KD at Lowes was wonderful and made me a series of computerized diagrams, with different options. I inventoried everything in my cabinets that I was planning on keeping in my new kitchen. I numbered each cabinet on my favorite diagram, and numbered all of the items I had inventoried, matching items to cabinets. This sounds much more tedious than it actually is, and was a wonderful help. After thinking about my cooking style, I discovered that I needed less cabinets with doors, and more drawers. I eliminated a hutch, and made one whole wall a tall pantry wall. This excercise helped me to know exactely what kinds of cabinets I needed and where they would go. The Lowe's KD and I had several planning sessions and zeroed in on a final plan. At that point we ordered the cabs and began looking seriously at counter tops. A wonderful granite sale at Lowes enabled me to go with granite, which I had really wanted. I'm glad we went to the granite warehouse, because we ended up picking a different granite that we had selected with the small samples (took a sample of the wood cabinet door, floor tile and paint (painted on foam boards) to help with the selection. The 'extras' I got in terme of cabinetes were the mixer lift cabinet, the under-counter microwave cabinet, two pull-out 9" storage cabinets for either side of the sink, two appliance garages, a plate rack, upper and lower corner lazy susans, glass doors for about 35% of the cabinets, and pull-out drawers in the tall pantries. I'm loving every one of these extras and am so glad I got them. We saved money by keeping our dishwasher and refrigerator (which were only a few years old) and our ceramic tile floor. We didn't move any walls, but we did take out a double window and put in a Franch door. That meant we had to expand the deck (which was great - we eat out there frequently in nice weather). That's really the only thing we would have done differently - built a larger deck. My husband was sure we wouldn't use it - now he loves being out there and admits we should have added a few more feet. We also spent a lot of time, here on the forum and at two local lighting centers, to design the light layout. This was much more involved, and important, than I had thought. The lights are not only important for work illumination, but for design and mood. Good luck! You'll love your new kitchen!

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clipped on: 06.19.2006 at 01:16 am    last updated on: 06.19.2006 at 01:16 am

RE: Period Kitchen Turn of the Century Butler Pantry Kitchen (Follow-Up #27)

posted by: farmhousebound on 06.17.2006 at 08:29 am in Kitchens Forum

Cacofold--regarding "pieces of furniture and convert[ing] them to kithen use"

For the most part, antique pieces are what I plan on putting in my dream kitchen. DH and I will be adding on to his grandmother's old farmhouse and I have been working toward this type of kitchen for the past several years. I will have a couple of pie safes, an old baker's cabinet, an old maple workbench (still has vise on side which I use to hang dish towel & 4 drawers great for storage) which will be used for an island, and a large unusual piece similar to an 8' long baker's cabinet that I will be using. I have found these pieces at antique flea markets, ebay, and antique stores. The fun has been in looking and most need very little, if any, restoration. Some of them are in my present kitchen being used; the larger piece is stored in my garage and will be used for my main "bank" of cabinets--it will have the only upper cabinet storage in the room. The only cabinets I will have that will not be these pieces of furniture will be a couple of small base cabinets on either side of an old gas stove, a base sink cabinet, and a couple of base cabinets on either side of the sink. (I also have a few pieces that I have picked up that I will not be able to use in my main kitchen because I have run out of room but we are planning a "side kitchen" so I can use there--a hoosier, anothe pie safe, an old table w/ a couple of chairs). Just start looking in antique stores and browse through e-bay antique primitive/american furniture and use for ideas--there are a lot of pieces that can be used that is only limited by your imagination. I would have never have thought of using an old workbench until I saw it and fell in love (had to convice my DH but both of us love using it now). I once saw a vintage looking kitchen in a magazine that used an older potting table as an island--looked great!

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clipped on: 06.19.2006 at 01:04 am    last updated on: 06.19.2006 at 01:06 am