This blog is meant to be a chronicle of the (mis-) adventures of my family and I as we adjust to country life. I'm a hands-on kinda guy, so many of the posts will take the form of illustrated How-Tos.


How to Run a Chick Brooder Properly

April 25th, 2010 by Blogging Farmer

Our Chicken Brooder

Newly-hatched chicks, just like human babies at the beginning of their lives, cannot maintain their own body temperature and so are susceptible to cold or over-heating. This lasts until their fuzz is replaced with feathers, at the age of 4-5 weeks or so. In the wild, chicks are cared for by the mother. However, if you’re hatching eggs in an incubator or ordering day-old chicks, you don’t really have that option — not to mention the fact that domestic hens often make terrible mothers, because of breeding that focused on egg-laying rather than mothering skills.

This is where a brooder comes in. This can be something as simple as a big cardboard box you keep in your bedroom to a setup like we have: an 8’x9′ manufactured wooden shed. The principles are the same though. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fair Weather!

March 30th, 2010 by Blogging Farmer

Last week, we had a dry, sunny spell that was all too brief, but it allowed us to get started on a few summer projects. Most importantly: expanding our garden. In the picture you can see our current garden as it appears currently (it’s greener later, I promise). This year, we want to incorporate the area in the background, between where the soil is tilled and the fence at the back. In the foreground is our tiller. We got it before we had our Kubota tractor. A tiller for the tractor is a much smarter idea, and they actually cost about the same. But oh well, we’re working with the tools we’ve got.

Garden Expansion Plans

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Posted in Camping, Country Life, DIY, Garden, Hammock Camping, Healthy Food, How To, In Local News, Organic, Vegetables | No Comments »

How to Build a Fluorescent Grow Stand to Start Seeds Indoors

March 16th, 2010 by Blogging Farmer

A Finished Fluorescent Grow StandThe growing season in Upstate NY is not nearly as long as one would like, so it’s helpful when you can start seedlings indoors, while it’s still too cold outside. However, commercial grow lights can be expensive, starting from $129.00 for this Tabletop model to $569 for this heavy duty 3-shelf model. In this tutorial, I explain how you can make a 4-shelf one for around $140. Assembly time is also under an hour.

You can see the finished version on the right. The bright lights contrasted with the dark interior of the room make it kinda hard to photograph this thing well. However, you get the general idea. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Country Life, DIY, Garden, Healthy Living, How To, Organic, Vegetables | No Comments »

The DIY Gun Vise Project

March 8th, 2010 by Blogging Farmer

An important piece of equipment for any gun owner is a stable gun vise to enable you to clean or tinker with your firearms safely, easily and without damaging them.One of the hobbies that I took up after moving out to the countryside was firearms. Many people living in cities don’t like the idea of guns, and I agree to an extent. A packed, stressful environment like the city is probably not the best place for people to have guns. Out on the farm, things are different.

An important piece of equipment for any gun owner is a stable gun vise to enable you to clean or tinker with your firearms safely, easily and without damaging them. You can buy one, of course, but frankly most of the products out there are either made out of flimsy plastic or over-priced. With the help of this guide, you can build a nice wooden vise in just a few hours. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in DIY, Guns, How To | 7 Comments »

Clearing Snow with a Front-End Loader

February 27th, 2010 by Blogging Farmer

This is How Real Men (and Women) Do It!A.k.a How Real Men (and Women) Move Snow

Clearing the driveway next morning is my least favorite part of any snowstorm. On the farm, we have a very convenient driveway that loops all the way around the house, making it really easy for multiple cars to get in and out. Easy, that is, unless it’s packed with about 20 tons of sticky, wet snow. This was the situation we awoke with this morning.

In the past, we’d moved snow the hard way with either a good old-fashioned shovel or a cheap, bad snow-blower (which actually saved no time or effort, as the thing is underpowered and clogs ALL THE TIME). Inspired by something I’d read on the TractorByNet forums, I decided to put our Kubota L4630 to good use. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Country Life, How To, Winter | No Comments »

How to Make Beef Jerky

February 14th, 2010 by Blogging Farmer

Loading the meat into the dehydratorDelicious, delicious jerky!I absolutely love beef jerky. Not only that, but it can be very good for you. Unfortunately, my family has been eating only organic beef for over a decade now (since 1997… at some point, I will probably explain our reasons). While the “organic revolution” has been making great strides recently, organic beef jerky is not yet really widely available, especially in backwater Upstate NY where we live. Armed with an Excalibur Deluxe Food Dehydrator, I set out on the quest for beef jerky. This is the method I worked out after a few trial runs.

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Posted in Healthy Food, How To, Organic | 1 Comment »

How to Make a Cheese Press

January 25th, 2010 by Blogging Farmer

The Cheese Press in Action!Our cheese press is not the prettiest The finished cheese!thing in the world, but it also took under 1.5 hours between making the decision to do so and the finished product, including the time it took to visit the hardware store for supplies. And it makes good cheese.
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Posted in Cheesemaking, DIY, How To | 1 Comment »

How to Make a Mobile Chicken Coop

January 2nd, 2010 by Blogging Farmer

Chickens!The finished coopIf you have at all considered raising chickens at home, you have probably heard of Joel Salatin. If you haven’t, then I just told you about him. He’s a highly recommended read for the small-scale farmer concerned with raising animals efficiently, ethically and without the use of hormones or antibiotics.

Tuna, the Bull TerrierShark, the Great PyreneesFor chickens, Salatin recommends using mobile chicken coops with open bottoms. These allow chickens to free-range (allowing them to be healthier and happier), while also protecting them from predators (we’ve two dogs that are not averse to the occasional chicken) and keeping them confined (ever tried chasing down a loose chicken?). These are step-by-step instructions on how to build a mobile chicken coop.

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Posted in Chickens, DIY, How To | 7 Comments »