I’m Back


Hey guys, sorry it’s been so long since I’ve done anything here. But that will be changing, this blog actually worked as part of my platform to get me a writing contract. …I guess I should take back those things I said about BWH too. Don’t hold your breath on much agitating, but I will be posting about the homestead progress as time allows. This summer I NEED to get the attached greenhouse done, in addition to the third and fourth floor (~300 ft2) and relocate the solar panels. If I can manage it I’d also like to get the fifth floor catwalk and eighth floor crows nest done also. right now I’m still trying to get the garden in, but it’s so damn wet and cold it’s a constant fight.

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Published in: on June 17, 2011 at 3:05 am  Comments (8)  

Cheese Making Equipment


OK, so I posted about the press I made a few days ago, it’s working great. Here are a few pictures of it for anyone who missed the other post:

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The observant reader will have noticed the difference between those two pictures. My original mold, a Gatorade container within a popcorn container worked really well until I tried to remove the cheese. I still don’t know where a razor blade ended up…not a good thing to lose. So I redesigned the mold. A lot of cheese supply companies sell three piece molds, but some of these cost upwards of a hundred dollars. Here is how I solved the stuck cheese problem for less than ten bucks:

Important update: Don’t boil to sterilize!

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I think the photos are pretty self explanatory but I’ll break it down anyways.

The parts list (make sure all PVC is food grade):

1-PVC cap (I used 4″ because my follower is 4″)

1-length of PVC pipe

1-PVC coupler

Cut you pipe in half lengthwise (use a thin saw blade, I used a metal cutting blade in my Sawzall,) remove the burrs with a pocket or kitchen knife. Cut your coupler in half crosswise, if you get it cut exactly you won’t have to remove the pipe stop in the middle. If some of the pipe stop remains remove it with a knife. Drill holes in the cap to allow whey drainage (drainage will also occur where the two halves of the pipe meet.)

That’s it, happy cheese making guys.

Published in: on January 22, 2011 at 9:50 pm  Comments (2)  
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Another Gulch Update


The two babies we were able to save from the last arctic front are doing well. The black and white one is a doeling we will be keeping, her name is Dalia, the brown and white one is a buckling that I will be castrating in a few days and will end up in the freezer next fall.

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I was making cheese the other night (like I do about once a week) when the lil’ lady told me we were out of Parmesan. I checked my go to book: The Encyclopedia of Country Living, found a recipe, but discovered I needed to finally build that cheese press… so I did:

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Oh, and I finally got all the little sheet-rock “crowns” done between the log rafters on the first floor, less than a dozen to do upstairs and I will be all but done with hanging the F-ing sheet-rock.

Published in: on January 18, 2011 at 9:58 pm  Comments (2)  
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That Time of Year


So TurkeyLurkey fulfilled his purpose, to the tune of thirty three pounds:

Before:

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After (when his name was changed to Turkeyzilla):

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I finished off Thanksgiving by driving the lil’ lady to “The Big City” at midnight to go shopping. We didn’t get back until seven AM this morning. I’m all out of holiday cheer.

Published in: on November 26, 2010 at 11:14 pm  Comments (1)  
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Winter


Winter has finally arrived in The Gulch. I have no complaints, in fact it was such a nice fall it almost made up for the long horrible spring we had. We finished processing the onions and mustard we grew in the garden this summer, and I’m already feeling a longing for the seed catalogs.

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Published in: on November 19, 2010 at 12:59 am  Comments (6)  
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Heat


Nixie (a.k.a. squirt,) our prudish bitch yellow lab is in heat again. We still want puppies, and Rowdy (a.k.a. Booboo) our male lab is more than willing to do his part however, Nixie isn’t interested in anything to do with this process. Whenever Rowdy presses his suit Nixie kicks his ass and he’s too much of a gentleman to do anything except retreat and plan another approach. I was going to muzzle Nixie and tie her to one of our log loft posts, but apparently this is considered “uncool,” at least according to my wife. My friend the breeder whom we got Nixie from suggested we do A.I. (artificial insemination,) and even suggested a vet who has a hot chick tech who would…um, extract the semen. I was informed having a hot chick tech do this is a plus. Anyways, last night at 3AM we were awoken by what I first thought was our Thanksgiving turkey being attacked. I grabbed a flashlight and the large frame Glock to investigate. (I would have preferred The Judge loaded with .410 buckshot but I haven’t installed night sights on it yet.) When I got to the spare goat pen (where the turkey is living out his last days) it was obvious that the noise was coming from elsewhere. I had tracked the noises to the top of the ridge above the pens when the noise changed to a long undulating howl. I recognized the howl as a coyote, but it seemed in pain and not moving. I didn’t have any leg-hold traps set in that area so the only thing I could come up with was the ‘yote had gotten into my root cellar and got stuck. Not wanting to deal with this in the dark, I turned on the flood lights by the pens (incase it was still mobile and hungry) and decided to wait till morning. When I got back to the house I heard another howl, this one reeked of desperation. This was the kind of desperation I remembered from back in my Jr. High School days when my girlfriend told me to get my hand out of her pants. That is when I realized this was just another chapter in the continuing saga of trying to get a litter of puppies.

Published in: on November 13, 2010 at 8:56 pm  Comments (1)  
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Don’t Name Them


I just got off the phone with my friend Troy. Like many people who have moved to rural areas from more urban environments he purchased some livestock. In his case not only did he get the typical small flock of chickens, but also a pair of turkeys. These turkeys flourished under his careful care until they were too big to get through the coop door. When he told me he was having to shove them in for the night, I mentioned that that might be a sign that they were ready to butcher. A few days later his wife gave me an account of how he went out that night with a chainsaw and enlarged the poultry door for them. A few months later I stopped by his place and saw firsthand what monstrosities these birds had become. They were huge; at least thirty pounds apiece. He didn’t say much when I mentioned that he and his wife sure would be eating good this Thanksgiving. A few days later one of the monsters was killed by a skunk or weasel and he was upset. I figured it was the same kind of concern I get for our surviving birds when a predator has breached our livestock defenses, and gave him some advice on fencing. During the call I just received he asked if I could help him with a problem he was having with his turkey. With Thanksgiving approaching, I figured he was having problems figuratively “pulling the trigger.” This isn’t uncommon even for hardened lifelong ranchers. Every fall, me or another of our hunting crew had to kill our friend’s steer that he butchered every fall, and this man grew up ranching. I offered to go over to Troy’s place and put the bird down for him. He thanked me but said he had grown so attached he didn’t think he could even eat it. Turkey-Lurky is being delivered as I type this. We will keep him penned in the spare goat pen until thanksgiving, when his named will be shortened to just Turkey.

Published in: on November 2, 2010 at 7:50 pm  Comments (1)  
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Unrecognized Socialism


I received this Email from a fellow firefighter friend:

Rick Moran

A local neighborhood is furious after firefighters watched as an Obion County, Tennessee, home burned to the ground.

The homeowner, Gene Cranick, said he offered to pay whatever it would take for firefighters to put out the flames, but was told it was too late. They wouldn’t do anything to stop his house from burning.

Each year, Obion County residents must pay $75 if they want fire protection from the city of South Fulton. But the Cranicks did not pay.

The mayor said if homeowners don’t pay, they’re out of luck.

This fire went on for hours because garden hoses just wouldn’t put it out. It wasn’t until that fire spread to a neighbor’s property, that anyone would respond.

Turns out, the neighbor had paid the fee.

“I thought they’d come out and put it out, even if you hadn’t paid your $75, but I was wrong,” said Gene Cranick.

Bottom line: the firefighters were there and they should have put the fire out. Standing by and doing nothing was cruel.

Daniel Foster at National Review discusses some of the issues, including the moral dimension but this is really a simple matter; there are some things government should do and one of them is creating and maintaining a fire department. Voluntary participation in a fire district is stupid and self defeating. The man whose house burned down shouldn’t have been billed; he should have been taxed. And if the town didn’t have the ability to tax him, then the state, or the county, or the township should do so and pass on the money to the fire district.

Libertarianism is a fine thing – until you’re being raped or your house burns down. Then it becomes clear that there are limits to voluntary participation in government.

The following is my Rant… I mean reply.

Until just recently(last 100 years), this was the way all departments were setup. It was the precursor of fire insurance. Beats the shit out of the property tax screwing we now have. The current scheme is nothing more or less than socialism. Why should I have to pay for the equipment and staff necessary to fight the fire at a neighbor’s home because they haven’t taken the safety precautions I have.

Where I use to live some neighbors refused to cut the pretty trees near their homes, in some cases these idiots would build a wood deck AROUND a tree. On the other hand, I created hundreds of feet of defensible space. When the Missionary ridge fire came raging through, most of my neighbor’s homes were lost, but mine wasn’t. However the firefighters wasted thousands of man hours and dollars trying to save these homes that stupid choices selected to burn.

Where we currently live I have cut ACRES of defensible space around our home, I spent big bucks for top-of-the-line electrical equipment, installed my own private high volume pressurized fire hydrant, lightning rod, grounded chimneys, and other common sense fire precautions. I refuse to expect someone else to pay for my own laziness, cheapness or stupidity.

A Time of Transition


Yesterday I had planned on replacing a fuel line on my big plow truck and an actuation cable on my small plow truck, but a friend stopped by with his kids riding their 4-wheelers

He talked me into putting off my maintenance chores and go riding with them. To be honest it wasn’t that hard for him to do.

We rode for several hours and were nearing a small community (less than 100 people, our whole county has a population of 3000) when a wheel flew off one of the kids ATVs.

Using our rural “do it yourself” traits which typify people here we removed the other wheel and set the wheel-less end of the incapacitated ATV on the cargo rack of one of the other ATVs and started heading back.

On the way back I ran across a patch of wild Shaggy Mane mushrooms and picked a bunch. After arriving home I realized I didn’t have any beef streak and decided to go to town to purchase some and give away the extra mushrooms I wouldn’t be using.

At my first stop I was informed that my friends there don’t like any type of mushrooms, and people keep giving them to them. I left with my original bag of Shaggy Manes and three more bags of Morels which they didn’t want. Not wanting to risk quadrupling my mushrooms again I picked a friend who I knew liked wild mushrooms and sneaked the bag of Manes onto his porch and went home. I wrapped up the day by cooking a white wine, butter, baby (homegrown) shallot and wild mushroom sauce for my steak.

Now that The Gulch Home is nearing completion I figured I’d pick up some part-time work to help keep me busy this winter. I had heard the local mill was looking to start running on weekends so I stopped by. It’s kind of funny how being in that chair hasn’t changed. I totally forgot I didn’t really need the work, that I had my own business at one time, and that I wasn’t a teenage kid anymore. Sweaty palm and the whole works. Like an old friend of mine use to say: “It’s all chemical.”

Published in: on September 27, 2010 at 6:42 pm  Comments (3)  
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Almost Ready


The Boy and I finished cutting our 10+ cords of firewood yesterday:

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I rebuilt our large plow’s hydraulic unit.

I harvested the potatoes a few days ago after a frost got them. The rest of the crops are all doing fine though.

This was a horrible year for potatoes (wet cold spring) and we barely doubled our seed.

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Published in: on September 13, 2010 at 1:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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