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Bonnie Johnson

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since Nov 23, 2012
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Recent posts by Bonnie Johnson

I just remembered this.  I used to do endurance riding. You don't get a lot of pockets when you wear riding tights.  Everyone was wanting pockets but not everyone wanted to wear a small backpack or a fanny pack. Many people took to wearing fishing vests.  Fishing vest have all kinds of pockets.  People wore them especially on rides where they were really far from a possible rescue in case they got tossed off their horse.  The pockets enabled them to carry a pocket knife, an emergency blanket, a lighter or matches, some energy bars and a bottle of water along with other emergency supplies like ibuprofen and benedryl bandages and vet wrap and what not.    I imagine you could wear a fishing vest over your shirt if you were wearing a skirt and have a multitude of pockets.  Fishing vest are usually light weight often with parts made of mesh so it wouldn't heat you up too much.  

hope it might help.
2 months ago
I forgot to add this bit.

Friend of mine, Connie, once asked me when I visiting her where I found sweatpants with pockets.  My reply, "The men's section at Walmart." { And that is where I get my basket ball shorts and my lightweight breathable shirts too}. And they last longer than the women's sweat pants.  I stopped paying the pink tax.  I buy men's socks because they last longer and cost less.  I usually get them at COSTCO now. THey have lightweight mens socks for summer and for winter they have these nice 70 percent merino wool socks that last several years.  Heck Sweat pants are sweat pants. they aren't a fashion statement. But is is awesome to have pockets in your nice comfy sweat pants so you can carry your cell phone and pocket knife with you when you go out at night to lock up the chickens and check on the goats. Then you can take a picture of the goat with your cell phone to send to your friends to show how your goats once again attempted to commit suicide and then you can use the pocket knife to cut the goat out of whatever they got stuck in.  My goats are continually coming up with new unusual ways to try and off themselves. I think they keep score.


PS. I don't wear my sweat pants to Walmart I only buy them there.
2 months ago
I refuse to buy pants/jeans that don't have good pockets.  I am female, 57 years old.  I do not carry a purse. I do not wear skirts. The heck with skirts. I have been riding horses since I was 5 which is when I got my first pony. Had my first horse when I was 8. I still have horses. I also have cattle, goats, pigs, chickens, and rabbits and dogs. I sometimes have other critters. I can just imagine goats getting up inside a skirt.  Not for me.  I stopped carrying a purse when I left my purse in a movie theater after a date in high school. I carry a wallet.  I also carry a pocket knife my mom got me my first one when I was 8.. I only recently moved up to a smart phone and I miss my nice small flip phone, sigh.  I think I am going to have to stick to the smart phone though.  I have always been a tomboy type and I got tired in grade school of boys looking up my skirt on the monkey bars. The heck with it. I haven't worn a skirt in 20 years and I don't freaking miss it.  To each their own. I have been happily married to my husband for over 33 years.  If you want to wear a skirt, that is fine, but I don't think they work well when I am cutting wood or sorting goats, or riding horses.  

So back to taking your wallet or cell phone with you.  Make sure that wallet or cell phone fits in the pockets of the pants you buy. Lately, I have found it worth it to buy the fire hose flex pants from Dululth Trading.  They have pockets with pockets in them. I mean it. Therear hip pocket on the right hip has a pocket with a zipper pocket that fits my wallet and that pocket has a pocket on the outside of it. The other rear hip has a pocket with zipper.  There is a cell phone pocket, but find it doesn't work well when I am driving the tractor or my one ton truck so I put my cell phone in the thigh pocket. There is a thigh pocket on either side in addition to the cell phone pocket on the right leg. The thigh pockets have pockets in them too. I have never run out of pockets for doing normal stuff around the farm.  I don't carry my wallet while working on the farm only when I go to town. The fire hose flex pants look good enough for town. I wear them to a lot of places including restaurants. Now when I am building stuff, I put on a carpenter tool thingy my husband bought for me that has the suspender straps because I hate tight belts.  I wear shorts once it gets over 68 degrees. I have a pair of the fire hose flex shorts but usually wear mens  basketball shorts around the farm  as they breathe better and they hold the cell phone and my pocket knife.  My first pair of fire hose flex pants are going on year three. This makes them worth it especially if you can find a good coupon since the jeans I was getting before at TSC and Walmart were only lasting 6 months and the pockets sucked.  With those zippered pockets I don't have the fear of losing my wallet in the porta john at the local livestock auction. Everyone has phobias and that is one of mine.   The duluth trading shorts don't have zippered hip pockets but they do have velcro so they are pretty secure.  For a while, I was able to buy of all things Gloria Vanderbuilt pants at Costco that had really nice pockets that would hold a wallet, but I don't think they sell them anymore especially since they were only $14 each. I haven't managed to wear any of those out and I wore them for several years. I still have them but stopped wearing them when I got the Duluth Trading Firehose flex pants as the pockets were even better.    

And make sure that the front pockets will hold your keys and pocket knife.  It sucks when you lose your pocket knife. I don't leave home without mine.  

I have bought mens shorts and had them fit okay. I can sew so if I need to I can take in a waist that is too big so the pants still fit in the hips. But I don't have to do that with the fire hose flex pants since I can get them in women's sizes.  quite the relief. One less thing to do...

So if you can afford it I would suggest the Firehose Flex pants. While they seem pricey up front, they are tough and last quite a while.  And they seem to shed dirt really easily so you don't have to wash them that often and they still look good.

2 months ago
When chicks get chilled, even if it is because they were lacking the brains or instinct to go back to the warm place, their immune system and the entire rest of their bodily functions get pulled down. I think their what little brains they have stop functioning too.  So it is very easy for them to die even if they just had to run two feet to get into the warm area.  

When you first got the chicks home, I would have gave them a heated area even if it was very warm out. I would have given them the option to go into a the warming area.  When putting them outside for the first time, They need a small area or they seem to get lost and not always are able to find their spot.  I use a cut in half 275 gallon liquid tote as a brooder about 40 inches by 48 inches.  I also always give them a light for the first couple of nights or a week so they come back to the warm place in the brooder and don't go huddle in a corner and pile up on each other and die.  No light and sometimes they just can't seem to find their way to the warm spot.  When I give the chicks the run of the coop, I will give them a warm spot even if it is summer time. If I am brooding in early spring, fall or winter, I turn my liquid tote brooder up side down and I put a light in it. I use an LED light white. I hang it inside the brooder from some wires sticking through the sides. I lift the sides up about 4 inches with some boards so the chicks can run in and out when they want to.  I also have  warm spot in there for them.  So it is always warmer under the brooder.  I have used this even in January and February here in Central Ohio very successfully.  I sometimes even brood day old chicks in chicken tractors in April with my brooder plates. I cover the ends of the chicken tractor with plastic and since it has a solid roof, the chicks stay warm.

Now for my big suggestion.  Ditch the heat lamp for the warm spot.  Heat lamps are energy hogs usually over 200 watts.  Probably over 5 years ago, I stopped using heat lamps. I bought a brooder plate from Premier 1.  I wasn't sure at the time if I would like it but even the big one which is the one I bought only uses 40 to 60 watts. Darn near no fire hazard.   I know that brooder plates cost more, but I think they work so much better. Mine have legs that you adjust for the height of the chicks. As the chicks get bigger you raise the legs.  If you have the legs adjusted to the correct height, which is just about the height of the chicks back it keeps the chicks from piling on each other.  If you raise cornish rock crosses, this saves a lot of chicks.  I have been using the same brooder plates for over 5 years.  I used to have to buy new heat lamp bulbs at about 10 bucks each every year because the darn things don't last long.  I use so much less electricity with the brooder plates, I know they have paid for themselves easily.  I have three of the ones that can handle 50 chicks each and I have one little one that handles ten chicks. I use the little one in the house in a small tote when I have eggs hatching in my incubators. I raise and sell replacement pullets and roosters for people to butcher.  I have had one of my chicken tractors blown away over a fence with the brooder plate inside.  I had to replace the cord on the brooder plate, but other than that it is still functioning fine. There were no chicks in the chicken tractor at the time. We had 70 mile an hour gusts that day.

I have also started using Oregano Essential Oil in the chick waterer to combat coccidia. IT seems to help a lot.  

I also raise goats. I don't use heat lamps for my kids in the winter. I have heard too many horror stories about the barn burning down. I use heat mats. When it is really cold. The mats lay on the floor and the kids and even the momma goat can lay on them mat without hurting it. I have been using the same heat mats for over 7 years for my goats. The heat mats use about 40 to 60 watts depending on the size of the mat and in the spring, I sometimes use them to help germinate seeds.  The heat mats I buy I got at rural king and they are for dogs to use in the winter in their dog house.  I think you can order them on Amazon.  I don't worry about my goat barn well really the goat hoop house, burning down.  

I really consider the brooder plates and the heating mats as game changers in raising livestock.   I have heard that some people have had their house burn down from heat lamps in the chick brooder. The brooder plates just dont get that hot.  You can safely put your hand on the plate when it is warm.  

Anyhow, goodluck with your chicks and I hope you don't have any more problems.

2 months ago
I often process chickens myself.  I usually process the rabbits and goats and pigs myself too but I do get an assist for the steers.  I have been processing chickens since I was about 10 years old when my grandma gave me instructions on how to do it. My mom relayed the instructions over the phone.   These days the process is much faster as my husband made me a chicken plucker out of a barrel with a plucker fingers.  I often do 16 to 25 birds in one day.  
I try to plan ahead and have my chicken tractor near the killing cones  so I don't have to walk back and forth so much. This saves a lot of time. If can't get the chicken tractor near the killing butcher area, I I bring the chickens to the area in a big cage that allows droppings to fall through. This helps keep the chickens clean while they are waiting.

I clear out a place in the refrigerator the night before so I have a place to chill the birds overnight before freezing. Or set up a cooler with ice for chilling the packaged  birds.

I set up to or three of my folding plastic tables and bring out the chicken plucker. I have the killing cones mounted on a tree.  I set up the scalding area near the tree. I use an electric hot plate to keep the water at temperature of about 148 to 150 degrees.
I put the plucker next to the scalding area.  I like to put a cooler close to that so that I can toss plucked birds into cool water to wait for gutting and packaging if I need to.  I have a table that use to gut the birds or lately, I have been hanging the birds by their wings in the wire shackles I made for hanging rabbits to butcher.  IT works pretty good as I can pull the guts out of the bird and have the guts drop into a bucket. I can also hang the birds in the leg shackles by their legs to get any feathers the plucker missed. I have the shackles hanging in the tree by the killing cones.  This lets me skip using a table for gutting.  I can get the gizzard and the liver and heart without laying the bird on a table.  I keep a bowl handy or the bag I am going to put the bird in handy so I can toss the gizzard and stuff in the bowl or the bag when the chicken is ready to package.

I set up a table for packaging with my vacuum sealer.  I then run my extension cords. I put up each connection between the cords on the top of an overturned bucket.  Sometimes I put the connections in a plastic bag and tape the area so I don't have to worry about water getting in there.  

I run my hoses out to the area from the hydrant.  Doing set up the day before is a real time saver, but I can get set up in under an hour if I need to.

Depending on your plucker you might be able to pluck two birds at once. Since my plucker is made from a 55 gallon plastic barrel, I can toss two birds in at a time.

As someone else has said I don't like to get to many birds killed as I don't like them getting stiff for plucking and gutting. I kill a bird, and let it drain out in the cone. I get another bird and let it drain out while I am scalding the first. When I get two scalded, I toss them in the plucker. IF you have a drum/barrel style plucker make sure it is spinning before you toss in the birds.  I take the bird to the gutting area and gut them.  I spray them off and take the bird over to package them with the vacuum sealer.  I usually have another cooler with cold water or ice water that I toss the packaged birds into. I sometimes put bleach in the water to make sure the packaging is disinfected on the outside.  

Make sure you have towels or rags or paper towels handy to wipe off your hands as you will get interrupted and have to stop in the middle for something.

3 months ago
I keep telling myself, "Rome wasn't built in a day."  I try to set goals but if I don't get to those goals, I don't let that be the end of a world.  Small bites. Do what you can when you can with what you have.

This is for Ryan. Cooped chickens are at the mercy of you feeding them and watering them. Unless you have automatic waterers and feeders that hold lot of feed. Free range chickens and other poultry aren't at the mercy of you taking care of them quite as much, but they do need protection from predators. If I were you I would consider investing in automatic solar powered coop doors that would let your poultry range out in the morning when the sun comes up the door opens. At night when the birds come in the door closes. They sell those doors in a lot of places like on amazon. You can buy the parts you need and make it yourself cheaper.  I make a cheap chicken/poultry waterer with a bottom of a plastic barrel cut to adult chicken height with an automatic float valve and a hose to the water hydrant. If you don't have a hydrant and are catching water in a barrel or tote, you can still hook up a float valve to a water pan or barrel bottom.  If you get ducks, you probably don't want a waterer with an automatic float valve as ducks will just keep the water flowing especially if they can jump in a swim or attempt to swim and bathe.  You can get large poultry feeders that hold 25 lbs and more of feed or you can build some that people are showing on pinterest using a tote and PVC pipe fittings. I haven't tried those yet but I might in the future.   I tried Muscovy ducks. Never had one roost on anything ever. Never had one fly into a tree. Never had one scratch through stuff like a chicken.  If you let them get over a year old they are so tuff you can't eat them in my personal experience.  I sold all of mine. Two of the drakes would gang up on any new drake and have their way with him......over and over and over.  You mileage may vary with muscovy ducks.  

This is for Carla Burke. You are thinking you have to move a whole bag. When I was a kid of about 8 I had chickens and a horse. I had to take care of them.  So my parents took me to the feed store bought a bag of laying mash for my chickens and had the very nice guys at the local farm equity load it in the trunk of the car.  When we got home, I was told I had to move the feed and feed the chickens as it was my job since i wanted the chickens. I think my parents thought I wouldn't have the chickens much longer as there was no way I was going to be able to move that bag of feed. I am pretty sure it close to 100 lbs had to be at least 80 lbs since it was one of those big plasticy burlap bags that was longer than normal 50 lb bags.  I did manage to get the bag sitting up vertically in the trunk but I couldn't manage to lift it up out of the trunk.  So, I went and got some container/bags/ buckets and my feed scoop.  I scoop feed out of the bag into my buckets/bags and containers in amounts I could lift and move to the trash can I was going to store the feed in. I would fill a bucket or bag and then take it to the trash can and dump it in. Then I would go back and do some more until I had that bag down to weight where I could lift it and carry it to the trash can and dump it in. Over the years, I have had various injuries that have forced me to return to this way of thinking. Broken arm, hurt back, crushed knee.  My husband travels for his job so I have to do things myself.   So save your old bags. Take them to a the car. Scoop half of the new bag or a third of the new bag, what ever it takes to make it easy into a extra bags and carry them into the the feed storage area or container.  If you need help carrying even the small bags, get a dolly or a wheel barrow or a lawn cart.. This is doing things smart. Not everyone can heft a 50lb bag onto their shoulder and walk with it for tenth of a mile or a 100 yards or 50 yards. I am blessed that I can at my age of 56.  Yes, all that scooping may take longer, but you do what you have to do.

you can do it.  Yeah, you have to believe that you can do it. One small chunk at a time.

And for the person talking about freezing hoses. I live in North central Ohio have hoses everywhere from my animals. In the winter the hoses are off the hydrants so the hydrants won't freeze. I have invested in some of those light weight hoses some of them even collapse. The water drains out of the them really easy and I can carry them into the basement of the house so they stay warm and don't freeze. I have a 35 footer I can easily carry with one hand after it is drained.  Heck, I have a 75 footer that I can carry with one hand when it is drained. Makes life so much easier in the winter. I use regular hoses in the summer but I use the lightweight ones in the winter. I love them and they make life so much easier.

You Can Do It.
1 year ago
If you go to premier1 or Kencove they have have great info on how to properly ground a fence and how many ground rods to use. But if it is really dry your ground rods will need some help. A positive negative system works well with separate wires alternating with positive negative. Still if you don't have a good ground, it won't work well. I have had this problem when we lived in Arkansas during drought conditions and here in Ohio. Wet rainy Ohio. We live on a hill the county actually used some of this property to harvest gravel back in WWII. The ground drains really quickly had the fence wont have a good ground at certain times of the year if it doesn't rain for 4 to 5 days. There is a simple solution, we were lucky that we put our main ground rods close to a hydrant so we can run the water on them for a while and keep them moist.  I also put ground rods in at several places in low areas where we have hot wires  where the water table is about three feet deep.  The other thing you can do if you don't have your ground rods close to the hydrant or water source is to put a five gallon bucket with a small hole in it that is filled with water over the ground rods. The bucket will slowly leak out the water and keep the ground rods moist. I used that trick when I was moving the kencove positive negative electronet  for the goats. Ground rods weren't working well because we had a dry spell, but they worked just fine with the slow leaking five gallon bucket or 5 gallon leaking jerry can over that portable ground rod. Everyone has a bucket that leaks right. I have a bunch of them I use them to keep ground rods moist or i use them to put the water bottles for the rabbits in so the water leaks out after I fill them and i don't have to lug 5 gallons of water around. Buckets with holes in them are very useful. I keep them around for all sorts of stuff. Sometimes i even drill holes in buckets.
2 years ago
I use these fittings for putting the hoops on the metal base and for making corners.

I put a sheet metal screw in those extra round holes you see in the panel clamp. It makes a goo solid corner and it also holds the hoops on the base very nicely and for a very low price at $1.38.  

When I put the top and side bracing horizontal bars on, I often use hose clamp or I will use metal brackets/braces that you can buy in the building supply area.
2 years ago
Hi Jared,

For the buildings that we made, we used the chain link fence top rail that is 1 and 3/8 inch that we got at Lowe's or Home Depot whichever one had it cheaper.  You are supposed to be able to bend the heavier walled conduit that you can pick up in the electrical department, but then you need connectors. The chain link comes with one end smaller so you don't need a connector. The small end slips in to the other end of the fence rail.  We have had the bigger 20 x 48 building up for 7 years and the 10 ft by 10 ft chicken coop has been up for over 3 years. The bigger hoop house went through two billboard tarps and now one winter with metal (8 months with metal ).  The hoops bend really easy, I can bend them myself. I have also made a green 10 ft by 10 ft green house with the metal hoops. Even with the hoops attached to a metal base, I could move the green house around by hand. So when I was building the chicken coop, I was able to move it around by hand by myself to get it set up on the wooden base that I sat it on.


2 years ago
Hi Jared,

I will try to get pictures and post them. We have built two hoop house structures and put metal on them. We bought the hoop benders online. We have two hoop benders on that gives a 20 foot wide hoop and one that makes a 10 foot wide hoop. We first built a 48 foot by 20 foot wide hoop house that we covered with a billboard tarp. That worked okay but we had to replace the tarp after a storm with a new tarp. When we placed those hoops we actually put them in the ground with cement so we couldn't move them easily later. WE used metal fence rail for the hoops and for the three horizontal support rails that went the length of the hoop structure. Last summer we got a great deal on metal siding at our local auction. So we put metal siding the 20 by 48 hoop house. Since couldn't move the arches, it isn't as nice as it could have been as the arches aren't quite all the same height and we had to seal the overlap with some roofing tape but it still keeps the water and wind off much better than the tarps were doing.
We did not use wood at all. We used metal to metal screws that go through the sheet metal into the arches. The metal covered hoop structure did fine even wit h10 inches of snow on it. The hoops are four feet a part. If you were getting regular big snows you might want to go 2 foot apart on the hoops. We are in North Central Ohio.  We keep goats in this big hoop house during kidding season. We used to keep hay in it.

However, the first sheet metal structure we made is a 10 foot by 10 foot chicken coop. We used four hoops and sheet metal. We did not put any wood on the hoops to screw the sheet metal into exIcept on the ends of the arches where the door and window were put in.. We screwed the sheet metal directly into the metal fence rail hoops. It worked great and it makes a very nice strong structure. ONce we got the metal up it really stiffened the entire building up and it is very solid. We have been using this hoop house sheet metal chicken coop for several years now and I am very happy with it. I did set the base of the structure up on a 2"x8" board all the way around, but it is just sitting there. I did the normal building of the hoop house with a metal base that the hoops fasten into with the fence rail connectors that you buy at lowes or home depot. This hoop sheet metal chicken coop has never moved in the wind and has never had a problem shedding snow. It wouldn't even have any leaks if I hadn't reused the metal siding. Since it was reused the metal siding had holes in it from the screws and nails that had previously been in it. You can buy the metal to metal sheet metal screws at Lowes or Home Depot or Menards you just have to be careful and make sure you get the metal to metal ones and not the metal to wood ones. In the picture of the inside of the chicken coop I did use wood to put in roosts and wood to support the roosts.

I am going to build another hoop sheet metal building to make an additional goat house that also holds a round bale feeder this summer.  This will be a structure for the goats to be in in the winter when I can't use rotational grazing.  The tarps on hoop houses don't work well with goats unless you have the tarps above goat rubbing height.

You  don't have to use wood when putting metal on a metal hoop house.  The buildings work well and are pretty easy to put up.  

where the short ends of the metal overlap on the big 20x48 hoop house, we put a bead of silicone in between the metal and then we put the six inch wide butyl roofing tape over the seams. This stopped the leaks. On one side, I didn't put silicone between the metal and the we did still get some leaks. I am going to fix that this summer.

good luck and as I said I will try to get pictures.

2 years ago