Category: Farm

The part of the homestead we manage to grow things for profit.

We’ve Got Mail!

While the post office started delivering the odd junk mail a week or so ago, we’ve just been added to the online database and can now start receiving packages through other shipping methods. We’re still waiting on our mail forwarding to kick in, but I imagine it won’t be long now.

With the mail sorted, James has finally been able to order the next equipment we need for the solar expansion and we’ll have some new videos to make once that gets here.

Earthquake 301cc Woodchipper/Shredder

In the meantime, we’ve picked up a wood chipper/leaf shredder and an auger for digging post holes. We have also gotten some insulation to start getting the shed prepped to become a temperature controlled area to work in. I’ll be taking out some saplings and branches and stacking them for a chipping run, while making space for the ShelterLogic barn so we can get that set up. The auger will be used to get the posts installed for the compost bin and shelter, and the gate for the driveway.

I’m relieved to be able to get back to work!

Building a Compost Bin

Today, I worked on some project materials lists for our next few trips to the lumber store and listened to podcasts while I worked. Had a couple of good phone calls with my boys back in Ohio. This evening, I measured out a spot for our compost bin and scratched out a footprint for the first third of the final project. I’ve got a lot of tree roots to cut through and digging to get the spot level but the manual labor felt good.

Off Grid in Tennessee

We made it! Last week, we hauled our 5th wheel RV down to our property in Tennessee, dropped it off, returned to Ohio, loaded up our utility trailer and truck with gear, and returned to Tennessee.

We’ve now established solar power with a gasoline generator for backup, water storage via IBC totes and a 12v transfer pump, and installed a mailbox and registered for mail service. We’ve done laundry off grid, have a storage shed coming in a few days, and sorted out where to take our garbage.

Our next projects include building a second solar array and running it parallel to the other series, setting up a composting site, installing an access gate, and building out the shed as a mechanical room for the solar equipment as well as storage.

We also made some new friends at the Self Reliance Festival in Camden, Tennessee!

Not bad for week one.

Check out our videos on YouTube and you can see some of our progress: https://www.youtube.com/user/dfvalkyrie/playlists

We’ve started a YouTube Channel

James and I thought it would be good to share what we’ve been doing via the video platforms that are available to us. We have had somethings hosted on Odysee but YouTube tends to be where more folks are accustomed to going and is more reliable with framerates.

Here is the link to the channel. I hope you enjoy!

Autumn Dawn Endeavors – YouTube

The ducks are 3 months old now

3 months old

We are all very impressed with how much the Muscovies have grown over such a short period of time. Granted, they eat more than the chickens, but I imagine that will slow some as their growth needs also slow. We have picked the 2 drakes we intend to keep to maturity and cull the other 4 next month. In the end, we will cull to just one after we decide which one does the better job with the girls.

I built a duck house for my Muscovy ducks

Ducks grow fast…

I ordered a dozen Muscovy duck eggs and hoped I would get at least a 50% hatch rate. Sadly, they were delayed in the mail as, all of my live orders have been since covid, and we had only 2 live hatches. One died a few days later. I had one lonely duckling and so we turned to Craigslist and found someone who had hatched some Muscovies a few days before us.

Suddenly, we had 10 ducklings and they filled their brooder quickly. It began to get difficult for them to move around without bumping in to one another. We took them outside on hot sunny days to give them a little more space until bedtime.

Ducks enjoy a Picnic!

But this would not do for the long-term.

I gathered some leftover lumber, some cattle panels meant for the garden, bought a heavy-duty tarp from Tractor Supply, and repurposed some other odds and ends. Now my 10 little ducklings have a roughly 8×8′ duck pen to call home. I am sure it will evolve over time, but it is in a hard fenced area and will be adequate for the summer.

Success!

Pig House v.3

Pig House number one was merely an extra-large dog crate covered in an old blanket for insulation and a tarp for water shedding. Pig House number two was 2 pallets screwed together as an A-frame with a few boards nailed across the bottom for bracing and some plastic stapled to the top. The pigs have outgrown both, though somehow they still cram themselves into the dog crate together to cuddle.

It was time for a thorough upgrade:

Labrador thinks it’s awesome!

I used some pallets, some extra sheets of plywood, and a 2×4 and made a large shelter for my pigs. It should be nice and airy through the summer and easy to amend for winterization. We added a thin coat of white paint to help the water shed from the wood. Come winter, I’ll close the ends and probably 2/3 of the front.