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.


Moving the Chickens from Brooder to Mobile Coop

May 20th, 2010 by Blogging Farmer

A Feathered ChickenAfter about 4 weeks, Cornish Cross chickens are ready for the move outside. Cornish Crosses are very fast growers. Most other breeds take more like 5-6 weeks to reach this stage. What you want to look for is feather growth. Remember, the reason chicks are placed in a brooder is because they can’t control their body heat and need to be kept warm. Feathers provide the insulation for them to do this on their own. So as soon as your chickens look like the fine specimen on the right, they’re ready for the great outdoors!

(Note: actually, because of the weather… early May was unusually frigid this year… we put off the move about a week to a week and a half. The chickens in the picture are actually a little older than normal.)

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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 »

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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Why Beef Jerky is a Great Health Food

February 10th, 2010 by Blogging Farmer

As you may have gathered from other posts on this blog, I’m pretty concerned with healthy eating. I also have a degree in biology, which makes me consider my opinions in this regard at least semi-intelligent. One of these opinions is that beef jerky is one of the healthiest things you can eat, bar none (provided it is made with organic beef, untreated with hormones or antibiotics). Read the rest of this entry »

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