Tuesday, April 30, 2013

An old horse made new! Before and after photos

Those of you that have been following my blog will know we were given a horse in June of last year.  She was not much more than a horse hide draped over a skeleten.  The people told us she was about 18 years old and was only skinny because the younger horses ran her off the food.  When I got her I noticed her dropping her food when she ate so I called an Equine dentist.  The dentist has an office in Oklahoma City but makes house calls and was coming thru our area.  She worked on her and at one point just reached in her mouth and out came a molar.  The dentist said she is closer to 30.

This picture was taken just a few weeks after we got her.  I was so afraid someone was going to turn us in for animal cruelty!  See how you can see all her bones!
These are recent pictures.  She now looks like a horse and you can no longer see her bones!!  She is still a little on the thin side but nothing like she was.  These were taken 9 months after we got her and 7 months after the dental visit!
She got really barn sour during the fattening up process.  I am in the process of now teaching her how to be a horse again.  She can still be cantankerous when I have the saddle on her but bareback she does fine.  She has enough meat on her bones now that you can comfortably ride her bareback.

If the SHTF and there is a EMP then she is our alternate transportation so I will keep working to get her in tip top shape. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spring time on the Farm

It is Spring which is a very busy time.  We have started getting our garden out but Jack frost keeps interfering.  He has not looked at the calendar and realized he needs to go away!  I have Soda Bottle greenhouses over my tender tomato and pepper plants.  The town next to us sells mulch for one dollar a truck load we just have to load and haul it.  Next week we will be going to get five loads for the garden to keep the weeds down.  Plus my son-in-law has been saving large sheets of cardboard from his work to put under the mulch to further fight the weeds.

We have 4 additions to our milk herd

The incubator is running constantly and I have hatched so far 57 chicks and 18 ducks, currently there are 41 Guinea eggs in the incubator.  Soon the first batch of Chicks will be headed for the freezer.

Three ducks are setting on their own nests and so are 3 chickens.  I really thought the black sex links would not set so I bought some baby bantie's.  Then 3 decided to go broody!  Yeah!!!

The rabbits are producing and we are able to have bunny dinner frequently.  We have eleven in the grower cage right now.

Spring is in the air for the pigs and Monster should have her piglets in 3 months.  Husband pig is much smaller than monster but he somehow managed to do his duty!
The Turkeys are growing and the brooder is full of baby chicks
Cow is getting big

Monday, April 15, 2013

determining sex of turkey poults

There is a little known fact.  You can determine the sex of a turkey poult with about 98% accuracy on the day of hatch.  Most people do not know this but if you have ever worked in a connercial hatchery you learn.  Back in the mid 80's I worked in a Cargil Hatchery as a "Sexpert".  It is a nasty proposition but if you want to know what you have then it is a neccessity.  The hatcheries must seperate them so that they can send the toms to one house and the hens to another for growing.
I will explain first and then if I can get someone to help me with pictures I will post them later.  You can check them as soon as they hatch.  In the hatchery this is when we sexed them.

Take a poult in your non-dominate hand and hold it upside down with the tail toward you.  Using your dominate hand place your thumb on at the tail and your forefinger on the other side of the vent, spread the vent toward the front of the poult so that you can visualize the inside. A Tom will have two very definate bumps pop up on the inside but at the edge toward the front of the poult and a hen will have a smooth place that is more rounded and not as defined.  After you look at a few you will be able to see the difference.

I just bought 12 poults from a local breeder and they sexed out to be about 50/50

Saturday, April 6, 2013

What NO TV???!!! What are we going to do???? Grid down entertainment

We all know the possibility of a grid down situation...   With that said we have wrapped inverters in foil made Faraday cages, bought solar lights, stored food and water and medical supplies but has anyone thought of entertainment?
Yes I said entertainment.  When the human brain has time on its hands many times it will become pessimistic and obsess over what it doesn't have...  Like no more Wednesday episodes of Survivor... So we are also prepping for entertainment.  My daughter bought matching fiddles for she and I for Mothers day and we are taking fiddle lessons to learn to play the American fiddle.
There are many other ideas such as board games, cards, outdoor sports etc.  You can be creative just please think about this one aspect of prepping that can be over looked.  What about a useful craft such as basket weaving or looming.  It could be quite entertaining to work on a piece of fabric with cool details.  The work will be hard and time consuming in a grid down environment so a little R & R will be required in order to keep the sanity!

And with that I will continue my lessons and soon I hope to be able to play something more than boil them cabbage down and shortnin' bread!  Sitting under a tree drinking tea or fresh made lemonade and dancing to fiddle music sounds like a good idea to me.  I just hope the little lemon tree that is part of my preps produces enough lemons!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Thinking outside the box to get what you need. Barter 101

When there is an item or commodity that you want but either is not available at the store or you can afford it then there is barter or trading.  If and/or when the SHTF regular money will be useless but there will still be the power of barter.  So it would be a good idea to brush up or learn your negotiating skills now.

I have traded many things but I guess the best one I am doing right now.  I have a gentleman who has a bunch of 223 shells that he does not need.  I need them.  I have eggs that I do not need need but he does need them so we are trading.  He brings me a box of 223 brass cased with a FMJ and I give him 5 dozen farm fresh eggs.

I have traded the use of my billy goat for a rick of hickory wood.  My billy goat had already bred my girls and I darn sure needed the hickory to smoke meat.  Worked out great for both of us.

I also traded an extra canner I had for a rick of wood one time a few months ago.

The thing with barter is that you have something of value and the other person has something of value.  Maybe it is not valuable like gold or silver but something that is needed.  Like the hickory wood.  That would not be valuable to many people but to me it was because I needed it to smoke meat.  And sending my billy goat down the road didn't cost me a thing.  So essentially I got the wood for free.  The eggs I have calculated cost me about .37 cents to produce a dozen eggs so in reality I am paying $1.85 for each box of those 223 rounds which are $12.27 a box at Wal-mart.  When I traded the canner I had gotten it in a bunch of stuff.  It was a small 16 qt Presto and I already have huge canners.  I bought the stuff to get an all American canner and a Victorio strainer that was in it.  There was also a bunch of canning jars 2 Presto canners one of which I gave to my daughter and a bunch of funnels, strainers etc.  I paid $100 for the whole mess which the strainer and the all American was worth that.  So the canner I traded had no actual cost and the wood only cost him the gas to cut it.  So he got a canner for pennies that would have cost him $70 at Wal-Mart.  I got a rick of firewood which would have cost me $45 to buy it. 

Sometimes maybe the person has something to trade that you might not need.  Like for example a bottle of whiskey and you do not drink.  So you trade a couple dozen eggs or a pound of butter for said bottle of whiskey then later a couple months later you get hurt and need to be sewed up, you have a neighbor who is a medical provider.  he already has cows so he doesn't need butter and he has chickens so he doesn't need eggs then what?  Well maybe just maybe he would like that bottle of whiskey (it can be used as an antiseptic as well as drinking) that you had no use for but got in a trade and then you get your wound fixed for it.  So also when you are trading try to think if the thing offered in trade may be something you could turn around to use in trade down the road even if you yourself don't need it at the time but it could be then traded for services or items.

I hope this helps get everyone thinking.....