Archive for Frugal Living

Hot, hot, hot!

Wow. While it would be nice to say that everything is picture perfect at the Raymond Homestead – which would be the ultimate excuse for not posting in forever – things are….well, they’re not falling apart, but they’re far from perfect.

Saturday was a bit hectic. With everything going on lately, we just haven’t been able to get to splitting up the wood until now. While last year we did about 80% of it by hand, we came to the decision that this year we might not be able to. Hubster really wore himself out last year of on the massive rounds that called for the “sledge and wedge” treatment. So we made a decision: We rented a log splitter from the local TrueValue and hammered out about a cord or so of split wood. Hubster’s mom – GiGi – was able to come over and watch Little Mister once he woke up so that Hubster and I could go out and work as a couple on the wood. This is something that we’ve rarely had the chance to do since someone’s been up and running on his two legs. It was <i>wonderful</i> being able to work together.

Sunday saw the death of our 9 year old washer, which at the time contained a full load of water and laundry. Thankfully Hubster was able to come in from doing something – I can’t remember what –  and fought with the thing to get it to drain. We’ve been debating for the past year or so about getting a new control knob as it had been flaky for a while now. Now we’re glad we held off since the motor died on it. That would have been a bit of a waste of money, for sure. Needless to say, we lucked out. The in-laws still had the washer that came with the house that they bought from us and weren’t using it. Now we have a working washer. It doesn’t have a “quick wash” setting, and it’s not energy efficiency rated, but it’s better than nothing.

Tuesday the car had to go in for rear shocks and a sticker. It passed, which I wasn’t to surprised about, and we were able to figure out how to get it back despite the sweltering heat that is just too much for the pup and the boy. Unfortunately the car still needs tires. But, that will come later. They’re still legal right now and holding air.

On top of this all, we’ve now been working on staking the split wood as it dries. The past two mornings what little exercise I’ve been getting this week has been half hour spurts of stacking wood out in 90F heat. Now, I’m not complaining, mind you. I’m just pointing out that sometimes the reason why those of us with a homestead don’t get time to do certain things that we want to – or need to – is because of recuperating time that we need to take for ourselves. Too many people forget this and over do it. I guess the only point of this last paragraph of this random post is more of a PSA: PLEASE take it easy in the heat. Yes, do work. But do it slow. Take your time. Reset.

New muffler on the truck

Our Ford Ranger’s muffler was ready to go to the great metal pile in the sky.  Actually it looked like it was getting ready to swim to the bottom of the ocean since it had evolved gills in the sides.

I decided to replace the muffler as well as convert the truck’s exhaust to a side exit.

For the muffler I chose a compact Jones Turbo Tube (model ATT12S-3) that was only $23 from SummitRacing.com.  It was the best fit for the custom exhaust I was planning, not glass packed and made in the USA – perfect!

I installed a new exhaust gasket, bolt/spring kit and tailpipe piece along with parts of the existing tailpipe to make my new exhaust.  I welded it together with my 50amp 110v buzz box running 1/16″ 7014 rod, despite everyone telling me I couldn’t weld exhaust with a stick welder.  Maybe it’s easier for some with a MIG, but I don’t have one, so I use what I do have.

See the pictures below which chronicle the adventure.

Old Rusty Muffler

Here is the old muffler, removed and sitting in the bed of the truck, waiting to go to the metal bin at the dump. Notice the rusty “gills”.

Newly Welded Exhaust

Here is the newly welded exhaust, ready to be mounted to the truck.

New Exhaust on the Ranger

Here is the Ranger with it’s new side exit exhaust. The Jones Turbo Tube sounds great and was easy to work with. No complaints.

The first harvest!

We’ve officially had our first harvest here at the Raymond Homestead. I was able to pull out about 80% of my radish patch two days ago. The haul was great and tasty! The down side? I’m the only one that likes radishes. Oh, well. More for me!

In other gardening news, all the beds are doing well. We’re having a bit of an issues with the cucumbers this year as we tried a new location for them. Given that they’re not taking too well to it, I think we’ll be adding yet another garden on the south side of the house. The lettuce seed and beets seem to have all washed out early on, so I’ll be replanting those soon as well. (Most likely tonight or tomorrow.)

The most ironic part: the second bean and potato bed that we planted is doing well. When we moved our shed to a more stable and less floodable location we decided to throw in left over seed potatoes from this season and bush been seeds from two years ago into the dead area from the previous shed location. The only prepping we did was to till up enough of a workable hill to get the potatoes into the soil. The soil, by the way, is about 90% clay. It’s the type of Maine clay that you could sculpt out of, leave it in the sun, and then never break it. It will be really interesting to see what we get for a yield from it.

backyardjune2014

We’ve also come to the point where the chicks needed more room and have been separated into the two tractors. Five of them were a bit beaten up from the three bullies, so we put the bullies by themselves. Before long we’ll need to have a run between the two tractors…or figure something else out for space.

On an interesting note, the past two days we’ve been awoken to crowing by one of them. We think we have it narrowed down the most beaten of the five in the larger tractor. The comb on that one is much larger and redder than the others, not to mention the feathers have a bit of a luminosity to them that the other birds lack.

 

We’re Expecting

Chicks_1_2013

That’s right. Tonight we’ll be bringing home octoplets, if all goes smoothly. We decided that a good starter meat/layer combo for us would be speckled sussexes. They’re known to be very docile, which is great since this will be our first time raising them from chickhood. The game plan is to keep one, possibly two, for layers and have the rest butchered this fall. Here’s hoping my emotions don’t get too tangled up in these birds. It’s easy for others to say “don’t get attached” where they’re not the ones raising them.

Spring Photo Update

We have a friend that's been around for a few years now, but he's now making daily appearances. He loves to hang with the chickens!

We have a friend that’s been around for a few years now, but he’s now making daily appearances. He loves to hang with the chickens!

The new game that the ladies have created is "Break In" - they try to see how far into the kitchen they can get when no one's looking.

The new game that the ladies have created is “Break In” – they try to see how far into the kitchen they can get when no one’s looking.

In the background you can see the new method we're trying with the pepper plants. Here's hoping the extra heat from teh window and wood stove give them a decent start.

In the background you can see the new method we’re trying with the pepper plants. Here’s hoping the extra heat from teh window and wood stove give them a decent start.

The San Diegos and Glaciers are growing like mad already!

The San Diegos and Glaciers are growing like mad already!