Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow, Snow and more Snow!

Well it snowed for most of the night and this is what it looked like when I first went out to start to shovel some.

This was taken from my front (side?) porch and some where out there is my driveway!
Did we get the 7 inches that was predicted? I took a ruler out and stuck it in several areas that seemed to be level and sure enough, 7 INCHES!

My truck with it's hat of snow!
After I got some of the stuff off the  windshield . Gives you a better idea of just how much we had ! It's a very dry snow and I was able to use a broom to get it off the truck.
I did not go to work last night. The road that I live on has not been plowed and it will not be for some time. I tried to shovel some of it out, But with the driveway being so long, that proved to be more work then I was willing to do today.
There does not seem to be much melting going on and the Temps are going to stay in the lower 20's! So any that does melt, will just refreeze tonight!
I will try to get the truck out tomorrow and turn it around to face out towards the road and leave it parked out by the road so I can get to work tomorrow night. I will have to work some overtime to make up for all this, But if I stay home, No pay!

As you can guess, the Chickens did not like all the white stuff!
It was noon before I went out to feed and water them and the two above were the only ones to come out for the bread I tossed out for them

There was one place that was clear of snow and I poured out some feed  there and got the rest of them out long enough to get something to eat.

But that didn't take very long and all but the two went back inside.
Of course both the water containers were frozen and the outside pan was solid ice. so I dumped it out over the fence and refilled it with very warm water, But they were not willing to stand in the white stuff to get at it. So I took the one from inside the hen house went into the house and placed it under hot water to melt the ice. It got a good cleaning and was refilled with warm water and returned to the coop! That one they ganged up on and got their fill of water. I will have to go out and refill it later, as it will not take long for this one to freeze up again!

At least one of my critters though the snow was great fun! we had a snow ball fight until he got cold and wanted to go back inside and lay in front of one of the heaters!

"Come on, DAD it's cold out here! Romeo rolled and played in the snow until he had enough!
We do not get this much snow. The last time was 3 years ago and when we do, everything shuts down! Schools and most stores do not even open their doors! It's pretty, But a big pain in the butt! We have been lucky in that we have not lost power! With my heat pump down, The three space heaters I use has kept the house warm enough so that pipes do not freeze. Keeping the water cracked and allowed to run also helps!

So for you who this would be normal winter weather, all of this is old hat! But for us that do not, We are hoping that Spring arrives early this year!!

So long from the new WINTER WONDER LAND that has become NORTH CAROLINA!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Batten Down The Hatches

We have been following the reports of a major winter storm coming our way for the past few days. Yesterday the high was 69 degrees and I was able to turn off the space heaters for most of the day.
Woke up this morning to falling temps and the edge of the storm had arrived. All the schools are closed and it has been reported that we could get as much as 7 - 10 inches of snow by tomorrow afternoon!
I know that this isn't much for you that live in the north, But those of us that live in the south very rarely see this kind of snow fall.
Well it started coming down about 1800 and as of this posting (2300), It must be 3 inches already! They say that we could see 1 inch of accumulation an hour at times. And with the wind coming from the northeast, drifting is not out of the question. As a matter of fact, I opened the back door and a foot of snow fell into the house from a drift that had built up there. None of the dogs wanted to even go out.
I will post again tomorrow morning with pictures!
Also have been working on a post of a school project that I helped Terri with, That will be posted soon!

Monday, January 20, 2014

I must be a Magnet!

I started attracting all the stray dogs a few years ago.
It started when I picked up a Deer Hound that was wondering around the parking lot at work. Remember "ANNIE"? She was way under weight and covered in ticks and fleas. I got her home and the first thing I did was to get her a bath and a good meal. She was a sweet hart and over the next few weeks she put on some weight. Her diet was Chicken and Rice. She also got a bath every other day and the ticks/fleas were controlled and she was free of them after a week or so. She was not used to being an inside dog and when I put her outside she was placed on a cable (She would run off if not for that!) or walked on a leash.
After 5 months she somehow got off the cable and I never saw her again.

And then came "BELLA"!
A Catahula mix I got from my ex-BIL. She was another sweet hart and her and Daisy got a long just fine. Bella was a great dog and she was my shadow, loved to sleep on my bed and would cuddle with the two cats I had. But she got a blood infection from a tick bite and after a couple weeks of trying to get antibiotics to stay down, I had to have her put down.

Not long after that I also lost the two Cats and that left Daisy all by her self. Last march I decided to get her (ME?) another dog to hang out with.

And that is how I got "IZZY". She is another great addition to the family!!

And then on Christmas night "Holly" showed up on Terri's back deck. We spent a week trying to find her owner, But she looked like she had been dumped in the woods and found her way to us. So I decided to keep her.

So that gave me 3 Dogs!

Then just the other day this guy showed up!

I made the mistake of naming him ROMEO!
The reason for the name is the first time I saw him he was BUTT-TO-BUTT with Izzy. And IZZY has not been fixed yet!! That was on the list for the future because I do not want puppies! But I may not have that option now!
Terri, Mark and I spent the day yesterday working on the fence around their dog yard. Her three had been getting out and we have spent some late night hours looking for them! We got them back home, But it was a pain looking for them.
So A new fence was put up yesterday. And Romeo was with us all day. I don't want to call animal control as he would be taken to a KILL Shelter and if not adopted in short order, They would destroy him! He is another sweet dog and I hate the idea that he could be destroyed!

As we finished up for the day, He wondered off and we saw a van driving slowly down the road and though that they might be his Family. He did not come back and we were happy to think he had gone home.

I got up this morning and put Daisy and Izzy out and went in to dress and get their breakfast. As I opened the back door, Daisy came in, But Izzy was again hooked up with ROMEO!

He is a beautiful dog. And I can not bring myself to call the COPS on him!

And he is very friendly and loves to be with people! And other Dogs or at least IZZY!!

I can't afford another Dog! Hell, I can't afford the three I already have!! But I also can't take him to a shelter!!
He just went with me to feed the Chickens and he does not seem to want anything to do with them. He was laying on top of the septic tank warming himself after a cold night. I do not know where he goes at night, But it seems that it is somewhere he can get out of the cold,  in the woods.
He seems to have gotten hurt sometime last night. He is limping with one of his hind legs. I tried to look at it, but it hurts him to have me touch it. I didn't feel any broken bones when he let me feel around the knee area, but he didn't like it.

But that is the reason I feel like a magnet!

Saturday, January 18, 2014


The Book Of THE YEAR

The first Thing that Leigh Said in her Intro was "This is not a how-to book" and I must Agree with her!
The next thing she said was "This book is about two people having a dream and taking the first step toward it!
And it is so much more then that!
For you who already read her Blog know that she is a great writer and this Book is a contenuation of that Blog!
With a lot of information and ideas that her and Husband Dan are making their Dream come true one step at a time!

If I were to use a star rating for this book, It would be in the hundreds.
It's a great read for the cold winter days for any one who is looking forward to Spring and have a Dream of their own!
The pictures and maps are wonderful and behind it all is the "MASTER PLAN"

Four and a half years ago, Leigh and Dan had a Dream and this Book takes you on the journey with them and she shows you with pictures and words how they are working towards the end of that Dream!
In her conclusion, Leigh has titled it "Doing What We Ought"
And what you OUGHT to do is read this Book!!

Leigh, I'm very proud of the fact that I'm a member of your Blog family and you did a great job on this Book!!
Looking forward to the next one

Tom Stewart

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Work tables

The Weather has really been nuts!
Last Saturday it was torrential rain, But a high of 74 degrees!
Then Sunday and Monday, clear skies, highs in the mid to upper 50's.Water puddles every where!
Tuesday, more rain. But it cleared off just as the sun was going down. The temps stayed in the 40's and by the time I had to go to work, The fog had rolled in.
I had my break at 0130, The fog had gotten thicker and the temps were at about 40.
I came out at the end of my shift (0700) and the temps had dropped into the low 30's and the fog was now ICE!
The Sun came out and we ended up with a high of 60!

Like I said, Water puddles every where. This is looking across the crop field next to Terri's place.
 But the real reason for this post is to show off my new work tables!
Before I went to work at the prison (June 2012), I worked for 3 years at a QVC distribution center. The drive was 160 miles round trip each day and the pay was pretty low. But there were some benefits that were pretty good!
There was a time when they decided to upgrade all the work stations in shipping and to get rid of the old  work tables. I got two of them! Gave one to Terri for a craft table and computer desk and put the other one in the shop.
A week or so ago Terri decided that her table was just to big to stay in her room any longer and asked me to take it out to the shop.

This is the table I already had out there. And yes, it's a mess. But I'm still working on trying to get the shop organized.
The new tables has a great set of caster on it and I got it out of her house and down the back stairs into the mud and water from all the rain!

I had to drag this table about 125 feet and as the picture shows, it dug into the soft ground! It weights about 150 pounds!
Both tables have a heavy metal frame!

This is the new table, I took the top off to make it a little lighter. Once in the shop, I laid the top face down on the floor and turned the frame over on to it.Lined up the holes and drove new screws.
The work surface is over 5 feet long, 4 feet wide and 3/4 inches thick. Some day I will replace the top with a custom built top, But for now this will do the job!
The best feature are the handles that allow me to raise or lower the work surface up or down, From 32 inches to 48 inches above the floor! No more sore back from bending to work on a project!

Here are the casters on the new table. The front two have brakes I can operate with the toe of my boot. This makes for a very stable work area. and I can roll it into any place in the shop. And when not in use, push it up against a wall out of the way!
Still an organized mess! But I'm working on it!
Ladies, I know that most of you will not be interested in this post, But let the guys take a look at it and I bet some of them will be drooling over my new tables! Oh and tell them that they were the right price....FREE!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

What the heck?

OK, Just a few days ago it was so cold that I took the three dogs and closed us all up in my bedroom and cranked up both space heaters just to try and stay warm!
But today its like a stormy summer day outside! Torrential rain, high winds and Thunder/Lightening!! What the Heck? Is it really the begging of January or July?? I mean Really ???

The old saying "If the Lord's willing and the creek don't rise", Well the creek has really come up and so has the wind! Gust's of over 40 MPH!

I took a picture from the back door and one from the front porch...

The Chickens seem to like the rain. Kind of hard to see in this shot, But they are out running a round the Chicken yard. Silly Birds!

A summer shower? Wrong! It's the first week of January! WHAT THE HECK!?!? See the creek? Nope that's next doors driveway!
And this is not helping me get rid of this Bug I have had the past week. Last Thursday I spent 8 hours at work on the weapons range. Our annual qualification! It was in the 40's and wind chill felt like the 30's! And last night I got drenched in the rain! So the Bug is back! I will be staying home tonight and see if I can't kick this thing.
Anyone out there want to send me some Chicken Soup?

Friday, January 10, 2014


Hey everyone,
Today is a wet but warm day and I decided that it was trash day!. So I loaded up my trash and recyclables and did the same at Terri's house and made a trip to the dump.
I have been reading a few new Homesteading books the past couple weeks (Leigh Tate's "5 acres and a Dream" and Anna Hess's "The Weekend Homesteader") and they both talk about the use of Biomass on the Homestead.
Wikipedia, The free encyclopedia defines Biomass as "A biological material derived from living or recently living organisms" The article I read was more geared to commercial fuel use of the material. But I want to use it as a way to add organic matter to my poor soil and as a mulch.
When I bough this place 6 years ago, I knew that it was part of an old crop field. But I did not know that the Farmers had misused the land so badly that nothing would grow here but weeds and a little grass. Every ting I put in the ground ether died or was over run by the weeds!
So I have decided to cover the poor soil with as much Organic material as I can get my hands on! There were no trees on the place and I did not want to use the weeds that were part of the problem.
So I have been looking for Biomass at other places that I could load in the truck and haul home. The one requirement was it had to be close and free.
I have read a few Blogs where the local power company and tree service's will bring truck load after truck load of wood chips and other materials to any body that asks. But not here! So I have to go get it my self. And most available material s are leaves.
The small town I live out side of has large trees all over, But the people do not rake and bag the leaves, They instead rake them to the curb and the town vacuum truck come along and sucks them up and hauls them to the dump.
I have tried to get them to bring them here, But because I live just over the county line, They can't! So today as I was coming back from trash day, I spotted a bail of straw that someone had sat out at the curb for the trash man.

Loaded in the truck and brought home.

 I know this is not much, but every little bit helps. I have also been known to go to the local grade school and rake leaves and bag them to bring home. But this is time consuming and a lot of work. I have seen a yard machine on Crag's list that will vacuum up the leaves and chop them up at the same time. It will also eat small tree limbs and turn them into mulch. I saw 3 or 4 of this kind of machine and the price range is $200 - $600. So I will have to start saving in that direction. I know that does not fit in to my requirement of free, But if I can collect the leaves and chop them at the same time, It will help me save time too. Also I will be able to get more leaves each trip if they are chopped.
And what did I do with the straw I got today?

Some of it went into the Chicken yard. They will scratch thou it and pick out any seeds or bugs that are there. Also it will help with the muddy conditions they are living with!
The rest of it went into the compost bin to cover the kitchen scraps I just put in there!
So that's what Biomass is and how I hope to use it.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2014 Cold and more Cold

Holly Crap Batman!
I know that a lot of you are having it a lot colder then we are, But 13 degrees is still pretty dam cold. And with the wind chill...It feels like 4 degrees!
The Chickens are out in the sun light trying to get some warmth and when I went to feed them, found the their water container was frozen solid. Normally it has just a coating of ice on it. Not today, froze solid! The Girls gather around the container to get at the warm water I had brought from the house and ignored the bread that I tossed out for them. Hopefully the water will warm them from the inside out!

The pictures do not show the cold.

But the ice that formed from the recent rains

And the crunch of the grass under foot does.

Something the cold has done... We normally have a large number of Canadian Geese that spend the winter months here. While I was out with the Chickens, I heard a flight of geese over head and looked up to see a flight of SNOW GEESE!  Pure white and talking to each other (no doubt about how cold it is!!) They were headed further south.
They should have checked with the Weather Channel. According to them it will be back into the 70's by Saturday! Go figure?
With the Heat Pump still on the fritz, I'm closed up in my bedroom with two space hearers and 3 Dogs! Last night was a 3 Dog night!!
Today is a day for staying in and watching a DVD!!


Thursday, January 2, 2014

A whole new year!

Happy New Year to all.

I had big plans for New years eve, But that had to be put on hold! I got called into work for overtime and spent 8 hours watching the Inmates sleep.

But I have two stories to tell you about:

On December 23 Terri let her dog Archer out into the back yard and he started growling and barking at the top of his voice. Terri did not see anything in the dark, But Archer kept it up and was homed in on her back deck. So Terri went back inside and out onto the deck with a flash light. She still did not see anything. But as she turned to go back inside, She saw movement out of the corner of her eye and a small dog came out of the shadows and walked up to her.
It was apparent that the dog had been a stray for some time (underweight, Ribs and Back Bone showing) and with the night time cold, Terri got a bowl of food and a blanket for the dog. She called me at work to tell me about it and that she was going to see if she could find the owner.
That was 11 days ago and no luck finding the owner. Terri even went to Face Book to see if she could at least put the word out.
I could not see turning the dog into the animal shelter...So guess what?


Yep, I'm keeping her!
She is a Pit Bull. And I know they have a bad reputation. But she is the sweetest thing and she gets along with my other two just fine. She is about 1 1/2 years old and has had at least one litter of puppies. We took her to the Vet the other day and she checked out just fine. I need to get some weight back on her. She has only had one accident in the house and she loves to spend most of her time in a pet crate. JUST LOOK AT THOSE EARS!
I have to admit that I'm smitten!

And the other story:
Terri called this morning and wanted to know if I wanted to go on a road trip. She had found a dog on a rescue site that needed to be transported to Florida from New Jersey. So we went on a road trip to pick him up. Terri will keep him for a couple of days and the Lady that is adopting him will come from Florida on Sunday to get him!

So two Dog stories for the start of the new year!

And a year end update on the Chickens..
At one point, I had 12 laying Hens. But down to 10 now. And the total Egg production for 2013 is....1970!!
I sell a few, eat some and Terri gets hes share and I even feed some to the Dogs! But that's still a lot of Eggs!

So I hope that you all had a great New Years and are looking forward to 2014
 I'm waiting on UPS to deliver the book that I got just after Christmas and when it arrives, I will post a review on it!