Monday, April 30, 2012

This weekend wasnt any different than any other weekend that we have here on the homestead. We work hard and rest hard. Saturday started with a trip the the local cattle auction barn. DD vet science class took a field trip to check out how it works and watch them vet check cattle. We have been to auction houses before but this one runs like a well oiled machine and was great to see the price of cattle still up. We were told that the high prices of cattle will last here in East Texas for approx another 3 years. I can gaurantee that this is all gonna affect on way or another prices at the grocery store. Slaughter cattle were bringing upwards of $2 a lb, no wonder why we cant get ground beef for under $3 a lb anymore.

Sunday brought all the honey dos that needed done. We started with mowing the lawn. We used the riding lawn mower to mow the large area but we used the small push mower with the bagger to mow the good grass and we are feeding it to the calves, goats and chickens!
The calves loved it!~
We then pumped out the water in the fish tank and took it and watered the garden with it. We pumped all the water out, which was about 225 gallons and we totally cleaned the tank. I netted out the fish that was left, never was really sure how many after the first malfunction but we still have 19 fish at this point.
The Garden is doing great so far! I actually harvested my first yellow squash yesterday!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I have to tell you trying to figure out this fish tank is getting complicated and at times I am ready to pull my hair out or just say forget it go throw the fish in the lake down the road! But we have to work thru this so we know how to do it and what works as I am determined to make this work!! I know that some youtube videos post crystal clear water and happy fish all the time but i want to know what is going on behind the scenes of these perfect videos!

We started thinking about raising fish a few years ago but it was all talk and no show, so this year we decided it was the magic year to try this out. After watching the happy fish and perfect youtube videos we thought well that person can do it so why cant we!?!?  Well if you have never decided to do something like this and really thought about it those videos only show the perfect side of everything and NEVER tell you how it ends. Why??? I think they don't want people thinking they are idiots or something but man i sure would LOVE to have a video that shows dead floating fish with rancid water and that your filter malfunctioned or your pump failed. I want to know so it isn't so hard to go through this school of raising fish.

So far since we started we lost about 75-80 fish right outta the gate due to a pump malfunction and electrocuting them.  I posted last week about the water being green and noticed that our filter was plugged so wasn't filtering out anything~ I have since added a few items that are supposed to help with algae and fish waste but apparently you cant use these in fish you want to eat but perfectly fine for fish you just want to look at.

After all of this so far I have had 2 more floating fish from causes unknown and I am getting discouraged on this as it takes alot of work and seems like a never ending cash flow. I will get through this, I will get through this! I wish that there was a magic book that had the answers to all the questions that we have trying this and that everything we do was just what it needs but alas i don't have the book and so we are on this carpet ride together trying to fly our way through all the ups and downs this trip has for us.

On a lighter note, yesterday we got a call out calves and goat was out.Of course we go flying outside to see where they went out and how much fence we needed to fix. Getting them to come back home was easy, we filled a bucket with some food and shook it and man they come running and went right back in where they came out~ A post had broken so they pushed the fence over. Lucky that all of these were bottle raised as i sure would hate having to round up wild cows and a run away goat!Everything turned out fine and the fence is now fixed. :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

The weather this weekend couldnt have been better! But it sure seems that when it is cooler that you tend to work outside more. That is ok I had some outside things that needed done. This is what we started with. A pile of recycled lumber!
What the hardest part was was having to grind off all the nails and screws from what this wood from used for before we decided on this venture. I love to be able to recycle wood into other things that we need without having to buy more! After some planning and cutting we got to this.
Anyone have any ideas what it is?? We picked this location for shade and We already had a fence up right there. After scavaging some more parts we finally got things to come together pretty well.
After a few more hours of stapling on 2x4 wire and screwing on some tin we had this.The back that has the plywood on it will be nest boxes build onto the house with the door that you access from the outside!
So at this point i think everyone probably knows what this is but if not this is one of my new chicken houses!! I have 20 pullets that I added to this yesterday after we added some roost board in there.
Here is part of the new brood that I put in their yesterday. There is 9 black sex links, 10 buff orphingtons and 1 brown leghorn in their.
They will be in here till i finish the covered run area that we have planned out. When i was at the local grocery store they had some row covers that were 10x20 I bought 2 of them and will use them to cover the run as they were only $4 each. This is part of their new run area.
The other half built this cool little door to be able to let them in and out. It works on a system that he came up with but we are gonna tweek it yet but im glad he put it in!
Yesterday after I had stopped taking pic we installed an old rabbit hutch door to the side of the chicken coop and then cut out some of the wire. With addition the kids can easily feed and water the chickens without having to open the door! You flip it open and it is big enough to stuck a hand and a feed scope into to get the feed into their pans! This whole house was built using all recycled everything! The only cost we will have in it material wise it the covers for the run!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Went out yesterday to check on the fish tank and to make sure the kiddos threw the feed in to them. When i got out there this is what i found.
The water is GREEN~ so i start looking to find out what is wrong. I think maybe the filter must plugged? So i start to dig out and put the sand and rocks into buckets and man i cant believe how dirty the filter sand is!
We started to try to clean the sand from the rocks but it was taking to long with just some window screen, buckets and water. So we went to Home depot which for some reason it the only big box store in my area that sells pool filter sand. We came back home with none as they ,ust have had a huge run on filter sand since it is warming up here in East Texas. But i did come home with these items.

The Barley pond cleaner is supposed to be an all natural pond water cleaner, it says it will take a few days to make it clearer. The pond cleaner tablets are to break down fish waste, phosphates, nitrates and other water pollutants.It naturally promotes a healthy aquatic environment, with a blend of beneficial bacteria, enzymes, and natural barley. We will be going back to Home depot today as the truck is supposed to be coming in with the filter sand on it. I hope to have the filter bar back up and going today!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It is amazing how the older i get the less it takes to make me happy. Over the weekend a friend was moving and she gave me her washer and dryer. It makes me happy as now i can keep these outside on the new porch and keep all the heat from them outside! She also gave me her pressure canner! Wow how did she know that the day before she gave it to me the other half and I were talking about needing to buy one for this canning season. The amount of canning books and tons of other cookbooks that she gave me has given our son HOURS of enjoyment so far! I think that he has only gotten through 1/4 of what she gave us.

The outdoor fish tank is doing great! I drained out about 200 gallons of water yesterday. I save all the water that i can that i drain off for watering the garden! I did buy a cheap mop from the dollar tree to use to mop the sides and bottom before i drained off more water. The installation of the new barrel to add back water has been GREAT! I dont know why we didnt think of it sooner! If any of you reading this are thinking about doing this make sure that you have chlorine remover to add to your tap water BEFORE you add the water into the fish tank.

I have spent more time just slowing down last week as I was babysitting a cutie pie that loves all the stuff we have going on here. She has pet all the dogs, pet the goats and LOVES to watch the chickens. When we set on the porch she will follow the chickens as they walk by, she has gotten used to the roosters crowing now! When they first crowed when she was outside it startled her and she cried. Our porch goat was pretty curious of her, he came up to her when she was setting in her seat and smelled her and then had to taste her Since he was raised from a bottle he was used to everyone and LOVES to check everything new out. He sure didnt like her grabbing his ears though.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

We had 1.5 inches of rain last nite and about another 1.5 inches of hail!! I am so disappointed, it pretty much destroyed the garden and now will have to start over with somethings. I wont bre starting any of the cabbage, broccoli, caulifower or brussel sprouts. Will also have to repair the roof of the greenhouse. The hail broke large holes thru it. All the animals are fine!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Since the broilers are 3 weeks old i decided i was gonna weigh them, they started out at 4 ounces when i got them they are now over 2 lbs! I have used 50 lbs of feed so far.

The fish are doing great, we installed a 55 gallon plastic barrel up on top of the fish tank frame so i can easily put in fresh water as needed. I took out 100 gallons yesterday and put back in 150 gallons. I have been testing the water weekly for ammonia. I also bought some chlorine be gone liquid so i can but water back in pretty much right away. I run the pump to cycle the water as I am putting it in. They really hardly eat anything, we do feed them bugs and they love that! Also they LOVE was fun to watch fish wars over a worm! Guess i need to dig more!

Over the weekend a friend of mine called me and said she had a canner and wanted to know if i wanted it. Well of course i do~ We went to get it and WOW it was almost brand new mirro pressure canner! I looked at her and said, how did you know that the other half and I was just talking about still needed to get one. She also had 6 canning books that she gave me with it. She then gave me all her cookbooks, it has been TONS of fun looking thru all the boxes! I think Ds has had more fun than me~ He was really excited when i told him about all of them!

I was feeding the chicks yesterday when i seen a snake! Oh how i hate snakes. I will kill them if  i see them up by the house or in the animals yards. Now i know where my baby chicks were going, this darn snake was eating them~ He might have gotten the mom too, I am not sure as her babies were calling and she wasnt anywhere around. So we caught them and brought them in and put them in a brooder here in the house. What was the funniest to watch was our small dog went nuts on that dead snake!~ She shoke that dead snake till it was limp and had flung on the stomach contents out,that is how we know that it was eatting the