John Pollard

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since Jan 25, 2013
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homeschooling goat dog tiny house chicken cooking building solar wood heat homestead
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Recent posts by John Pollard

Rebecca Norman wrote:THank you for the links to tutorials! After many years of occasionally using a fake version of photoshop, several years ago that was no longer possible so I've been using GIMP, but I do find it much more difficult. Sometimes I just can't select in GIMP. It's so annoying! I really need to watch those tutorials.

Everything is a layer so you select a layer. In the menu, click Windows >> Dockable Dialogs >> Layers. That gives you a dock, either floating or pinned as a panel, usually on the right. You can select layers there and also create duplicate layers, delete layers etc. Then of course there's Select in the menu and the Fuzy Select tool that looks like a magic wand.

1 year ago
A whole lot of people's graduation pictures wouldn't look so good if not for editing. They remove blemishes and smooth the skin tone among other things.
1 year ago

I've got one of these I bought used for $900.00

I can dig with the dirt scoop or grader blade, got a mower for the back, made some forks for moving things around on small pallets. If a small tree gets hung up, I hook a chain to the bottom and drive off. I have a 220 gallon water tank on a trailer. I go down a pretty steep hill to get spring water and have to come back up the hill loaded. Between the water, the trailer, which is the front half of a truck frame and the generator that runs the sump pump, I'm hauling 2000 lbs behind a 1000 lb tractor. Just a matter of axle location to give it plenty of tongue weight. I tow my log splitter back to the woods.

It's a 3 cylinder diesel and it's mechanical injected diesel. Not much for electrical and no electronics. I'm pretty sure it would run just fine on biodiesel but I've yet to get into that. It will run all day on a gallon of fuel - two gallons if mowing.

It's got turf tires on the back just like the one in the pic and I don't have any problem getting around the hilly woods here. Might have to step on the pedal to lock the rear wheel together sometimes. I'd love to have the 4wd version of course and with ag tires but for less than a grand, I can't complain. Wouldn't mind having a roof over me though. Gets hot out there mowing in the sun.  

Only real downside is max 6mph and you have to crawl on rough areas because there's no suspension(springs) so you feel every bump.

The forks have been a godsend. I'm one little 53 year old man. I use the dirt scoop for hauling more than digging too. 300 lb boulder, no problem. Used the forks to move a 400 lb wood stove last week.(back up with forks under stove, pull lever to raise, drive away) I can pick up and move the 4.3 liter V6 engine sitting on my engine stand, stand and all. This Spring, I plan to build a trailer for the tractor. Something like 4x10 foot with the axle pretty far back. I'll be able to bring a good load of firewood up from the woods where a vehicle can't get. Just have to tow the splitter back first and then go back and get the trailer.

Don't know if it will ever happen but a loader could be made for it as it does have hydraulic ports to connect it to. Wouldn't be able to dig with it but could scoop up gravel, loose dirt or compost.

I do have one property line I can barely fit my S-10 pickup truck. It's 4x4 and got the tiny 2.8 liter V6 and it's handy too.

I've got a small four-wheeler(2wd) that I need to fix up. I plan to use that to check the perimeter fence on a daily basis. The fence goes through the woods. It's got springs & shocks for the suspension.

I wouldn't mind having an electric golf cart for visiting neighbors.

I've had the little tractor for about 5 years and haven't had to do much of anything to it but change the motor oil.

I left mine out in the weather too much and the handle rotted off down inside the lower collar. It was a cheap one and my tiny arse bent the tines on a regular basis. I've been thinking about building something from scratch. Maybe a hybrid between a broadfork and a forked garden spade. Haven't put much thought into it yet but I had thought about using rebar for the tines. Some round stock would be nicer to work with but rebar is cheaper and harder. I did see forked spade handles at the feed store last time I was there. Might just get one of those and find a way to reinforce the tines and also do the improved step spot at the same time. I've got a spot where a high tunnel is going that I want to double dig and a broadfork is no good for that. Clayey loam here. When it's dry, you can't do anything with it.
1 year ago
If I'm out for the day, I might buy something to eat but I try to keep it minimal. Fast food prices have skyrocketed due to higher labor rates of $10-15/hr. I might get a cheap burger by itself or even fries by themselves. The other thing I do is buy a slice of pizza from the local convenient store chain, Casey's. Pretty good pizza. $2-3.00 is about as much as I'll spend. McDs double cheeseburger with bacon added is about $3.00

I don't drink soda anymore but do drink sweet tea. If I buy it, it will be from a convenient store so I don't have to pay for ice aka water. I buy sweet tea by the gallon for $3.00 and when I buy a 16oz bottle, I rinse the bottle and refill from the gallon and take the bottle with me.

My sister used to be a USPS rural carrier aka mailwoman. She would put cereal in a tupperware and munch on dry cereal all day.

I've been tightening up our food budget lately and potatoes are a big help. I also got an Instant Pot which also helps though I wish I'd have gotten the 8 quart rather than 6 quart. $4.00/lb chuck roasts come out good. I rarely pay more than $4.00/lb for meat. If whole chickens are on sale down close to $1.00/lb, I get 4-6 of them and stick them in the freezer. I built a smoker a couple of years ago and mostly do Boston Butts when they're around $1.50/lb. I know when our local grocery store puts out the manager's specials in the meat dept. Any weekday around 2:30-3:00. Any meat I buy is either a good sale or a manager's special. Hit the jackpot a couple of days ago and got a two pack of good sized T-Bones that had a $5.00 off sticker. That put them at $11.50 and fed the four of us. That was a splurge really but we get quality cuts of beef so infrequently, it's nice to have a good steak a couple of times a year. Had potatoes and carrots with them. Probably a total of $12.50 for the four of us. I try to keep us under $10.00 for dinner for the four of us. Occasionally, it's as low as $4.00 (chicken & rice)

Future plans:
Meat goats (small acreage and hilly/rocky - average kidding of twins)
Kunekune pigs (small, docile, cute as hell and don't root much at all - average litter of 8 or so)
Laying Hens (already have - super cheap eggs)

I raised some red rangers one time and it came out to over $1.00/lb so I don't know if it's worth it. Maybe if I can find a way to supplement the purchased feed.

Haven't grown a whole lot yet. Did taters for a few years and tomatoes a couple of years. I'm digging a root cellar this winter and building a high tunnel that will go up in Spring.

I'm digging a root cellar this winter. You can grow a bunch of stuff but then you have to store it or process it and processing it takes a lot of time and energy and energy cost $$.

Our income is around $1200/mth and right now food is about 25% of that or $400. Would love to get it down to $100/mth. I'm hoping to have the livestock pay for itself. Will sell kunekunes to individuals, maybe processed but probably live. Might sell meat goats the same way or might take them to the sale barn. For both, I'll be keeping some for the freezer and sell enough to pay for feed and other expenses. hopefully.

I got some fertilized eggs from a neighbor which saved some money and we'll be keeping a rooster so we can have our own fertilized eggs.

We really don't eat enough greens but that's definitely something that will be grown in the high tunnel.

We don't have a choice but to use a budget but at this point, I don't have to break down food costs because I spent the last year keeping track of how much a meal costs. I just know what I can buy and what I can't. No $4.00/lb fruit. No prepared/packaged food.(except for sauces/condiments) No $8.00/lb beef. No $4.00/lb chicken.

Speaking of chicken. When you buy them whole, there's a bit of work to be done to prepare them. These days, I spatchcock pretty much all of them and then roast. Very quick and easy. I've got half a dozen chicken carcasses in the freezer I need to make stock from. Probably make some chicken soup out of most of it.

When warm weather comes again, I'll start grilling them. I built a crude wood fired grill. Field fence wrapped in a circle. Fill 2/3 with large rocks. Lined the top 1/3 around the outside with flat rocks. Fill with wood, set on fire, wait for coals, set grill on and cook. My neighbor's got a neat one. It's a steel outer tractor rim and his grill hangs on a line that he can raise and lower the grill with by using a boat winch. Mine just kinds of spans across the rocks and isn't adjustable. It's something I threw together one day. I need to rig something up to raise and lower  the grill. I've got an old steering column from a 1950 truck I'm thinking of using somehow. Just turn a steering wheel to raise and lower.

I've got an abundance of wood here and will for some time as I continue to clear land. Nearly free cooking fuel. I want to make a rocket oven someday as well as a rocket water heater and rocket mass heater. Thought about designing and building one of those "Improved Stoves". Basically a rocket stove with a hole for a pot to sit down in that's a couple of inches larger in diameter than the pot. I'm hoping to power a pressure canner with it.

Something like below but since I'm a fabricator, I'd probably make it out of steel plate.  

One thing that cuts the cost on fast food is you don't have any time or energy costs. Might only be $0.25 per meal but money's money.
1 year ago
Looks a lot like most of the old barns here in MO although most of these old ones were built from fairly green oak so all the boards are twisted and bowed but they hold together.

Around here, mostly in Arkansas, they're tearing down old chicken houses to rebuild them to new Tyson specs and the contractors sell off the old materials. Average size chicken house is 40x400. They started out selling parts and pieces pretty cheap but now they all sell them as kits. 40x40 up to 40x_____(any length). The 40x40 is $2800. The trusses are steel - comes with 2 Inch foam insulation for roof and 2x4's for purlins and the trusses have angle iron brackets to hold the 2x4s upright. The poles for the side walls are 6-7 foot tall so in most cases, those would need to be extended. They center is high enough as is to back an 18 wheeler inside. The roofing is 26ga steel which is on the thick side. The cheap stuff is 29ga irrc.
1 year ago
8 degrees here this morning in Ctrl Missouri.

Saw a video of some phd gal saying we're in for a mini ice age due to a solar minimum and planetary alignments. These mini ice ages can last from 10-50 years.
1 year ago

T.J. Stewart wrote:I save some of my own seeds, mostly flowers, but some vegetables as well.  I am a market farmer and sp I have to be a little more careful about the seeds that I use.  Like someone else mentioned, most people just want to buy things that they are familiar with.  

I'm putting up a high tunnel next Spring and from everything I've read, the hybrids will out produce the heirlooms by almost double and at some point, I want to sell the excess at a market. We're in the boonies and people out here aren't into trendy foods. Tomatoes are supposed to be globe shaped & red. Not into baby greens. etc Seems like a good majority of high tunnel growers buy hybrids recommended for high tunnels/greenhouse from johnny's. On their website, you can filter your choices. Applying "greenhouse" and "heirloom" gives you one product under vegetables and it's not seeds. It's an heirloom tomato plant collection grafted to hybrid rootstock. ($251 for 24 grafted plants)

Filtering for "greenhouse" and "hybrid" gets you 77 results.

The heirlooms tend to have too many problems with the higher humidity of a greenhouse/tunnel.
1 year ago

My other stuff - electric signs - auto body incl welding on rear quarters - right hand drive conversion - custom tailgate
1 year ago
I agree. As long as you had enough air space in the canner to have it come to pressure, you should be fine as that pressure allows the temperature to get up to around 240 degrees F. That and as long as she went by the proper time for the item canned, it should be fine. Water won't get into the jars because the contents in them is expanding and releasing air. That's the reason you only tighten them finger tip tight, so they can release air/pressure. Only after you take them out and set them on the counter to cool do they get a vacuum going and that's what pulls the lid down and makes the seal. In fact, after they cool and the lid has pulled down, the screw on rings can and should be removed, the jar cleaned and you don't put the rings back on because they tend to rust underneath. Wash the rings, make sure they dry real well and store them. And even if a tiny amount of water got pulled in while cooling, it's not a big deal because having been at 240 degrees, it's all been sterilized.
1 year ago