Author Topic: Zip's 13  (Read 4599 times)

Offline Zip

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Zip's 13
« on: January 25, 2013, 04:25:27 AM »
First a little background.  My significant other and I bought a very old farm house on 7.5 acres of land late last year in the hills of TN.  We use well water and are on septic. Given the age of the house (circa 1850's), and being on well water for the first time, she and I have a lot to learn.  I've had several small gardens over the years, but this one is going to be much more serious.  I have quickly realized that I am going to learn much more than 13 new skills this year, so I will likely add to the list of 13 as the year progresses.   

Gardening — In Progress
Learn the basics of gardening. Create a garden. Make and establish a compost pile. Plant at least five vegetables and/or herbs.

Hunting — In Progress
Learn to hunt Deer and game birds (quail, ducks and maybe turkey). Become proficient with a bolt action rifle and a pump shotgun so that I can safely operate both and hunt with my friends and family. Kill at least one deer and quail this season.

Canning — In Progress
Purchase a pressure caner. Learn to pressure can and can at least one recipe.

Marksmanship — In Progress
Become proficient in shooting long guns and shotguns to some level of accuracy that I will determine later.

Fitness — In Progress
Lose 10 pounds and be able to work in the garden without becoming overly tired.

Animal Husbandry — In Progress
Learn to raise one type of farm animal (birds, goats, or pigs).

Money Management — In Progress
I've got very well defined goals for this skill, but feel that they are too private to post and update with any specifics. I will give general updates for this skill as the months progress

Communication — Planned
Join the local Ham Radio Club and learn to use repeaters and become better at HF communications. Participate in an HF contest.

Hunting — Planned
Learn to clean and dress deer and game birds.

Cooking — Planned
Learn to cook casseroles and become proficient in cooking game meat.

Plant Identification — Planned
Learn to identify the plants in my garden and the wild trees on my new 7.5 acre property.

Seed Saving — Planned
Save at least one type of seed.

Cooking — Planned
Learn and bake at least three different breads.

Offline Zip

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Re: Zip's 13
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2013, 05:08:54 AM »
We moved into the house in mid December and I have made progress in several of the skills.

Gardening - I've read "The All You Can Eat Gardening Handbook: Easy Organic Vegetables and More Money in Your Pocket" by Cam Mather. I actually read it back in late summer then read it again in December.  Excellent book for the beginning gardener. We identified the area where we wanted to plant, dug up most of the garden using the "Double Digging" method described in Cam's book then covered the area with a thick layer of mulch consisting of cardboard and hay.  We've got a little more digging to do, but the ground is frozen.  We should be able to dig some more later this week after it warms up a bit.

We've identified what we want to grow, now we need to buy the seeds.  I'm also reading "The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control: A Complete Guide to Maintaining a Healthy Garden and Yard the Earth-Friendly Way" (Rodale Organic Gardening Books).

Hunting - Deer season is over, so I will wait until next season (November) to accomplish this.

Marksmanship - I have identified an Appleseed class that I am going to take in March.

Canning - I read "Ask Jackie: Canning basics" by Jackie Clay - Atkinson.  I"m looking for a canner.

Fitness - I haven't lost any weight yet, but my general fitness level is much improved.  I work out in the yard at least a little almost every day.  Double digging a garden is great exercise if you do it for a couple of hours at a time.

Animal husbandry - We've decided to raise chickens.  I've read "The Chicken Whisperer's Guide to Keeping Chickens" (corny title, but it is filled with loads of good information for a beginner) and have decided to go with dual purpose chickens.  This may change as we become experienced.  I've identified a local source for the chicks and will buy them next week. I've also decided to convert an old but serviceable shed into a coop.  Haven't decided if I'm going to let them free range, or fence in an area. 

Cooking - I've made rye and sour dough bread.  This may be too easy of a skill so I will likely change it.

That's it for now,

Zip


Offline Zip

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Re: Zip's 13
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2013, 10:56:45 AM »
It's been two months since I posted my progress.  I haven't stopped moving forward, but my progress has been seriously hampered by my new job. Reality raised it's ugly head and I had to find a job. I'm selling motorcycles for the local Harley-Davidson dealership. It's a great job, but the hours are killer. I've never sold motorcycles before, so I'm having to learn the product and competition.  That said, sales is sales, and now that I know the product I'm off and running....er selling.  ;D

I've made the most progress in Gardening and Animal Husbandry.

The garden is ready for tilling. My girlfriend and I double dug the area we are planning to plant, covered it with cardboard and hay. I will till it in the next couple of weeks. The compost pile structure is built and the pile has been started. I will add more leaves and hay to get it up to the appropriate 3:1 carbon to nitrogen ratio. Today I will identify and purchase all of the seeds that we want to plant.

We have chicks! We bought 12 chicks from two different sources. The first was a local seller and we have lost two and a third is currently quarantined. The second batch of chicks was bought from Tractor Supply and they are incredibly healthy. We currently have all but one of the chicks in an old playpen with a heat lamp that keeps it at about 95 degrees. We had a heat lamp malfunction while we were both at work the other day and lost the first two chicks because the temperature got down to 70 degrees for an unknown amount of time.  We have since corrected the problem and shouldn't have another outage assuming the electric doesn't go out. We have one chick that is not looking good so we have it quarantined. We check all of the chicks for pasty butt twice a day and wipe as needed. We are slowly introducing the dogs to the chicks in hopes that they will all get along.  It may be a pipe dream, but we are going to try.  The next step is to begin converting one of the sheds into a coop.


Offline AllYouNeedIsLove

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Re: Zip's 13
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2013, 02:50:55 PM »
Good on ya, Zip! It sounds like we're pretty close in our 13 skill goals for the year...

We get our chicks tomorrow from Cackle hatchery. My buddy tells me the most important thing is to keep them dry and keep them with a good supply of unfouled water.

Offline Zip

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Re: Zip's 13
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2013, 05:08:48 PM »
Thanks All,

Yeah, there are a couple of other things.  Inspect them for pasty butt.  They get clogged sometimes and you have to wipe them off with a warm water soaked tissue.  Also, keep them warm.  The temp should be 95 degrees when they are less than a week old and can be lowered 5 degrees per week there abouts.  I had a heat lamp malfunction the second night while we were out.  Not sure how long the lamp was out, but the temp got down to 70 degrees and we lost two.  However, I question how healthy they were to begin with. 

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Zip

Offline AllYouNeedIsLove

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Re: Zip's 13
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2013, 06:01:36 PM »
Thanks for the tip! We have the heat thing pretty dialed in...thanks for the advice on the pasty butt - about how many days were they before you started checking for that?

Offline Zip

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Re: Zip's 13
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2013, 06:40:36 PM »
I saw your set up, very nice. 

I started checking on day two.  It doesn't take long for them to get caked over.  For some reason some chicks are more prone to getting it than others.  Most of the chicks never get it, but I have a couple that seem to always have it. 

I've also found that the chicks will let you know when they are uncomfortable.  They chirp loudly when it is a bit too chilly or their butts are bothering them. 

Zip

Offline AllYouNeedIsLove

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Re: Zip's 13
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2013, 10:05:55 PM »
Thanks Zip. I guess we didn't check soon enough - one of our birds died. We'll keep our ears open for the distress call from here on in.

Offline AllYouNeedIsLove

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Re: Zip's 13
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2013, 11:02:24 AM »
Zip, what are your breed of chickens? Are they all the same?

Offline Zip

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Re: Zip's 13
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2013, 05:09:35 AM »
Oh man, I hate to hear that.  Sorry you lost one.  I saw in your other post that you found four others with pasty butt.  Good for you. 

Six are Reds, and I'm not sure what the other ones are.  They came from the local source and are smaller.  She told me when I bought them, but I didn't recognize the name and unfortunately didn't write it down.  Once they are full grown I should be able to identify them.

Zip

Offline Zip

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Re: Zip's 13
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2013, 10:12:41 AM »
I've made progress in several areas.

Gardening - The garden is thriving for the most part.  My broccoli and cauliflower are doing great.  The other plants, like my tomatoes got hit pretty hard by two late and unexpected frosts, but they are coming back.  The biggest problem I have now is controlling the weeds.

Chickens - are doing great.  They are getting really big.  I finished most of the coop.  Just have to put up the nesting boxes which I'm going to make out of 5 gallon buckets. 

Fitness - I've lost the 10 pounds I wanted to lose, and my girl friend has lost 40! Cudos to her! We are both in pretty good shape and can work in the garden almost all day.  Last weekend we worked around the yard/mini-farm, both days and felt pretty good afterwards.

Cooking - is complete, but I really set low goals for that. 

Markmanship - I took a new job that had me working every Saturday and Sunday, so I could not take the Appleseed class.  There is a class in late June and one in late July that I want to attend with my GF.

Canning - It will soon be time to get serious about canning.

Seed Saving - Same.  I need to start reading up on how to do it.

Thanks for reading my update, Zip

Offline Zip

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Re: Zip's 13
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2013, 05:41:21 AM »
It's interesting how things change as the year progresses.  I moved back to TN last December after being away for 27 years living in South FL. My family and old friends are here and its been great re-connecting.  In the process I have had two different jobs.  The first was selling H-D motorcycles.  I've never had a job where you work this hard and make so little money. Yet I was one of the better salesmen in the three months I was there.  I then took over an on-line car dealership (yep, everyone's worse nightmare, I sell used cars).  Neither of which I had any experience in before I started, but I've been in sales for 22 years and in the end, sales is sales.  You just have to learn the product and understand the clientele you are working with. Given these two career changes I have not been able to spend as much time on my 13 skills because I have spent an inordinate amount of time learning these two new jobs.

Our farm is evolving.  The vegetable garden was fairly productive (got to do a better job of weeding and fighting off the insects early on) and I'm looking forward to an equally productive fall crop of bush beans, broccoli and spinach. In order to prolong the growing season I'm building a hoophouse to put over my veggies. My goal next year will be to harvest enough vegetables to be able to sell them at the local farmers market.  I'm also going to start a blade sharpening business that will complement my stand at the farmer's market, with the end goal of being able to get out of the corporate rat race.  We are also converting an old corn shed into a boutique of sorts where we will sell my photographs (you can see my work at www.scottmoorephoto.net), my brother's leather goods (he is a leather crafter) and odds and ends made by local artists as well as our garden vegetables.  I'm currently working with the USDA to get grants and other assistance to put this all into motion at a bit faster pace than I am currently going. Lastly, I'm learning about beekeeping so that we can add that to the mix.  My end goal is to become a master beekeeper in the next three to four years. 

Fun stuff, thanks for reading my update.