Saturday, July 28, 2012

With all the nice weather we've been having lately, I've spent a lot of time outside in the garden with my family.  We got an early start by planting seeds in small containers in the house. 

The next step was to take care of a huge flooding problem in my garden area.  It seemed to hold several inches of water and never drain, must be all that clay.  Fortunately for me, there used to be a mobile home set up about 10 feet away from where my garden is currently located.   I was able to dig a trench and drain pit and connect it to the old septic system. Within 2 days my garden was dry! 

Then I had some black river dirt hauled in to top it off.  Now the garden is dry, rototilled and has good fertile soil.  We even put some raised beds in.  Once I start working on a certain area, I come up with many new ideas.  We're working on the picket fence that surrounds our garden, and an arched arbor entry to give it a focal point as you enter the garden.

My wife came up with the idea of a garden shed, which is currently in the works.  We just poured the concrete slab a few days ago, complete with hand prints and a dyed slate finish.  I'll post pictures of the shed as it progresses.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Building a Rabbit Hutch with my Daughter

In large families most of our time is shared between multiple children. But each child needs one-on-one time, not with just Mom, but Dad as well. I always make a point to get that one-on-one time in. Whether it's taking one of the children with me somewhere, working on a project together, or just hanging out and playing games.

Today it was my daughter Renee's turn. She had been asking me for several weeks to help her build a rabbit hutch. I set aside the whole day just for her. She was so excited to finally be able to spend the day working on this project together. She got up early, and couldn't wait to get started!

Here's the paper template we used to make the cut-outs for the doors.

By lunch time, the temperature outside was over 100 degrees! I asked her, "Would you like to stop and go swimming?" She answered, "No, let's keep working on my rabbit hutch." Not the answer I expected!

I was surprised at her determination to finish the project, especially with it being so hot out. I enjoyed spending the day with my little girl. It is very important that we set aside time just for them.After a hard day's work, Renee's 10 foot long "rabbitat" was complete!

Monday, October 31, 2011

What I've been up to

I haven't had time to blog in quite a while.

I have have been working side by side with my best friend; my wife. We have been finishing up one of her videos, Home making 101.

We dropped off the master copy for duplication and packaging last week. We are eagerly awaitng the finished product tomorrow.

Here is our trailer, I can't wait to see what else the Lord has in store for our family.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Rabbit tractors

Today I have a guest post over at New Life on a Homestead....

Ever thought about mobile animal pens? Or specifically, a rabbit tractor? Click the link above to read about ours as well as the benefits of one.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Can you raise cattle on 1 1/2 acres of pasture?

Most people will tell you that two acres per cow is what you need to raise them. We only have one and a half acres of pasture. Being the entrepreneur that I am, I came up with a plan. Smaller cows. Bottle calves to be exact. Most dairy farms will sell you bull calves for a good price. They don't need them and usually want them gone at only three or four days old.
I bought three or four at a time. I have had up to fifteen at a time on my acre and a half.

  • A good shelter
  • A round bail of hay

  • A good water tub
There is plenty of room and yes, there's plenty of green grass in the pasture. I also give them some grain.

"How could you possibly afford all that milk replacer?" You ask. What most people don't know is that dairies throw away milk. Usually called "dump milk." it is fine for calves, but not good for people to drink. You may want to ask the next time you buy some calves from a dairy.

We raise the calves until they're weaned, sometimes selling younger ones to turn a profit to pay for hay, grain and more calves. We sell them in the fall, keeping three or four to put in the freezer for the family.

If you are creative you can make any situation work for you.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Taking time to teach

We all have tasks we would like to get done for the day. We also have little ones hanging around watching us work. If your children are like mine, they have lots of questions. Sure it would be easier and faster to get our work done without all the interruptions, except this is how they learn, and who better to learn from than Mom and Dad.

The next time one of your children starts asking questions, give them some good answers and take the time to involve them in your project. You will be amazed at what they can learn from you. Remember, don;t be frustrated at them, keep a godly attitude. Give them a chance to rise to the challenge.

Now it's time to brag on my boys. They came to me and said, "Hey, Dad how come we never fixed our dirt bike?" I replied, "It would take a long time to find the electrical problem, and to fix the carburetor." Then they asked if we could go try and fix it. I said, "OK, let's see if we can find the problem."

Since it was their idea, I proceeded to rattle off a list of tools for them to get out. I then told them what to take apart and how to do it. It wasn't long until it was all apart. With some guidance from me on trouble shooting, we soon found and fixed all the problems.

Given the chance, children will rise to the challenge if they are truly interested in the project. That bike sat in the shop for a year, until two ambitious sons of mine rose to the challenge and decided to fix it!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Barn with my Boys

The boys and I have a pretty good start on our barn. Built mostly from bartered for materials.
Cory (12) and Joey (10) ask me almost everyday if we can work some more on the barn. It's just the three of us building it, so that makes for some good father-son time.

I would encourage all you dads out there to take any opportunity to do a similar project with your boys. It is awesome to take a few steps back at the end of the day to see what the boys and I accomplished together.

They are especially excited about the hay loft that they are claiming as their spot. I will load pics as we make progress, we only work on it a few hours here and there between other projects.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A little body work on the side.

Several years ago I worked in a body shop. So when the opportunity to buy a Durango (that needed some bodywork) came my way, I took it. I figured it would be a good time to brush up on my paint and body skills and make a few bucks as well.

All to often we get caught up in what were doing, missing valuable opportunities to teach our own children. While I was in the middle of sanding bondo on a fender, one of my little guys says: "hey Dad can I sand that?"
My first thought was: "you're too small." Then he asked again.

A little surprised at his request, I handed him the sanding block and proceeded to show him what to do. You never know what may spark interest in the eyes of your children. Take the extra time to teach them whatever it is that you are doing.

A missed opportunity may be lost forever.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hatching eggs

Thirty nine years old and I still get a kick out of hatching eggs. We have really increased our flocks this year.We have also added several new varieties.
  • Red golden pheasants
  • Yellow golden pheasants
  • Bronze turkeys
  • Chinese fancy button quail
  • Some rare chickens
  • and New Zealand rabbits.

It's been a lot of fun hatching eggs with my children. They can tell you how many days it takes to hatch a quail, pheasant, turkey or chicken. They did their own research to figure this out. It has been a good learning experience for them.

My young entrepreneurs also sell hatching eggs, chicks and bunnies. I would have to say the quail are by far the funnest to hatch. To see a little chick the size of a grape hopping around is pretty cool!

We've just hatched over 30 quail this morning. We are selling the chicks for $2 each. We also have hatching eggs for sale, that we can ship.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

About me

I'm a 40 year old Christian father of eleven. Born and raised in the California Bay Area, now raising my children in the Mid West. We live a debt free life on ten acres.

I always have several projects going, such as animals, vehicles, building projects, making films, and a few home businesses. I enjoy encouraging others. If you tell me it can't be done, I will find a way to make it happen. I love a good challenge!

"With God all things are possible" Matt. 19:26

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bartering still alive and well

You would be surprised how much bartering still goes on these days.

If you get out and talk to people, especially in the country, they are bartering for just about everything. You can always find someone that has something you need or want. Likewise you probably have some goods equally appealing to them.

I put bartering to the test for the last few weeks. Here's some of the things I came up with that we have traded:
  • Chicken hatching eggs for duck hatching eggs.
  • A stack of lumber and two pheasants for a four wheeler.
  • A bottle calf for a riding mower, (the yard looks great now!)
  • I cleared a fence row for some treated posts.
  • I loaded logs on a sawmill for enough lumber to build a nice size barn.
  • A mini farm truck for a full size truck and a dune buggy.
  • I also traded eggs for milk.
You never know unless you ask, so put your money back in your pocket and start bartering.

It's fun.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Can you really live a life of abundance on ten acres?

We started with ten acres, two open, and eight in woods. To start with, we needed a house. So, we borrowed a band saw mill.

We bought a chain saw, cut down some of our pine trees, and sawed them into lumber on the mill. This was a learning experience, but it went very well.

We were careful to pick and choose trees from different spots, you could hardly tell that we took any out. We worked on our house plans at night, and cut the trees into lumber during the day.

In only a few months, our house was taking shape. And best of all, we acquired no debt, since we were making our own lumber. With the exception of the foundation, my family and I built the entire house, with some help from friends with the heavy stuff.

We read in Proverbs that the borrower is servant to the lender. Not having a loan on our home is one of the best things we've ever done. The freedom you experience by not being indentured to a bank for thirty years is unmatched.

The Lord knows and provides for our needs.

Our first need has been met, a home for our family. Not only was there an abundance of trees to build our home with, but we were able to sell some of the lumber we sawed in order to pay for some of the things that we couldn't make. Things like insulation, the metal roof, and plumbing.

We have enjoyed the good of all our labor, it is the gift of God.