Blueberry Hill - Building a Garden Shed Sized Chicken Coop

Discuss lifestyle changes to better survive disasters. This category is for topics pertaining to being self reliant such as DIY, farming, alternative energy, autonomous solutions to water collection and waste removal, etc.

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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by Anianna » Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:54 pm

I want that rock pile. Rocks are so expensive here.
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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by Tater Raider » Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:31 pm

Anianna wrote:I want that rock pile. Rocks are so expensive here.
I always ask the farmers if I can take some from the piles out in the fields (every field has a pile in at least one corner) and have yet to be told no. They have recently started bringing them over and dumping them in the pile for me. Mostly it's sandstone and limestone but there are some granites and other odd rocks in the pile.

We plan to follow the neighbor with my tractor, Jeep, and trailer next harvest and get as much rock as we can that way as well because it helps them and us both out - I want the rock and they don't want to break the plow.

Total invested in that rock pile? $0 and a lot of sweat.

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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by Halfapint » Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:51 am

I've said it before and I'll say it again..... You are an inspiration to me. I hope to have soemthing even half this size some day! Also I LOVE that little tractor. that looks like it's quite stable, and easy to use. I've been looking around (for my imaginary land plot) and that would be perfect!
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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by wee drop o' bush » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:26 am

Taters what are you planning to do with the rocks? :ooh:
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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by Tater Raider » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:37 am

wee drop o' bush wrote:Taters what are you planning to do with the rocks? :ooh:
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I'm planning to use the rocks to make the core of the earth mound and grow hawthorne as a thorny backbone for the hedgerow. I'm also planning on some ornamental uses for that, like lining the fill that forms the driveway.

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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by wee drop o' bush » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:09 am

That looks amazing :ooh:
Hawthorn hedges are great, our fields are hedged with hawthorn and also sycamore trees which grow amongst the thorn hedges like weeds. In fact out whole farm has sycamore trees that proliferate like weeds, we have to weed out saplings every year.
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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by Tater Raider » Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:33 pm

Follow-up:


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Lady Tater checks out the nearly complete trailer. Jeep and trailer give you some idea on the rockpile's size.



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But I couldn't fit it all into that last photo. Posted this just for you, Anni.



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HEMI!!!



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One of these days it will take less than an hour to remove the backhoe and front end loader and hook up the 60" mower deck. Old riding mower with the 38" deck and the 20" push mower are in the background for scale - it's a very small but capable tractor.



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Front mount snowblower with a 3 point hitch in the box. 3 point hitch cannot be mounted if the backhoe is on the machine and vice-versa.



More info on the BX25D:

Today I converted it to a mower and I'll be mowing later this week. Next week after mowing I'll convert it back to an earth mover and will leave it like that until next mowing. This way I only need to do 1 reconfiguration a week. You don't need the backhoe on to mount the front end loader but it helps when moving stuff. You do need the front end loader on if you mount the backhoe for stability, both when moving and when digging.

1 October it gets configured for snow removal (Winter Mode) and parked int he garage next to the Jeep. I'm hoping to add a rear blade for grabbing snow near buildings and a final scraping after running the blower. A heated cab would be nice too. For now it's just the blower though.

1 May it moves back to the machine shed and goes into the earth mover configuration until the lawn is in need of mowing, then we're back to how I'm running things now (Spring and Summer Modes, respectively). Those dates are based on first/last frost dates and how likely it is that the snow will stick around.

For something big enough to be called an acreage I think this is the right sized machine. Anything over 10 acres and it's too small. If you don't need a backhoe (and if you don't have at least 3 digging projects then you really don't need one) I'd recommend going with a different BX model.



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Insert duck pond here and stock it with some bluegill? Ryder358 and Jwoad marked out one while I was mowing and LT said, "Yes! We need this!"

Yup, this is happening sometime in the next couple years. 1 more project (and I've got more than just 1 waiting in the wings) and the backhoe is completely justified in my book.




On the Hedgerow:

Iowa has fencing laws that allow me to use one of those as a perimeter fence provided I trim it to within 5' of ground level twice a year or get a waiver signed by the neighbors saying they agree it will not be trimmed which then has to be filed with the county. If not, the fencing trustees can force the issue or removal of the hedge if they so choose.

I'm going to set it just far enough back from the property line to get the tractor through. Same effect as a perimeter fence but the laws in question no longer apply.

I'm still looking at different trees for the "spine" of the hedgerow, but at least half of it will be hawthorne. The outside part of the hedge will end up with ornamental thorny shrubs and flowers like roses and such for the pretties while the inside will be thorny berries. Perfect for security (low priority), real estate value (medium priority), and privacy (dingdingdingdingding!!!)

Not happening overnight - If I started today I wouldn't have a mature hedge for a good long while (literally decades, though it would probably be only 10 years until it starts taking off).

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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by wee drop o' bush » Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:38 pm

It's all looking good Taters :v:
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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by Anianna » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:58 pm

I totally love your rocks, man!

Also, I am quite envious of your backhoe.
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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by Murphman » Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:49 am

Tater Raider wrote:
wee drop o' bush wrote:Taters what are you planning to do with the rocks? :ooh:
Image

Image

I'm planning to use the rocks to make the core of the earth mound and grow hawthorne as a thorny backbone for the hedgerow. I'm also planning on some ornamental uses for that, like lining the fill that forms the driveway.
This might be one of the coolest things I have ever seen!
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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by Halfapint » Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:59 pm

That hedgerow diagram is rather interesting. But that is a LOT of rocks. just average it you're looking at 6' high, 8 foot wide at the base. How many feet are you looking to go with this? Not only rocks but you're going to need to have dirt on it too. Probably have the dirt sit on the rocks for a bout a year in order for it to get weathered down a bit. Then add more dirt and plant.

I know its definitely not a short term project but damn.... That's a LOT of work, but well worth it when all finished.
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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by Ryder358 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:52 pm

Halfapint wrote:That hedgerow diagram is rather interesting. But that is a LOT of rocks. just average it you're looking at 6' high, 8 foot wide at the base. How many feet are you looking to go with this? Not only rocks but you're going to need to have dirt on it too. Probably have the dirt sit on the rocks for a bout a year in order for it to get weathered down a bit. Then add more dirt and plant.

I know its definitely not a short term project but damn.... That's a LOT of work, but well worth it when all finished.

2,000 linear feet I think
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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by Tater Raider » Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:39 pm

Ryder358 wrote:
Halfapint wrote:That hedgerow diagram is rather interesting. But that is a LOT of rocks. just average it you're looking at 6' high, 8 foot wide at the base. How many feet are you looking to go with this? Not only rocks but you're going to need to have dirt on it too. Probably have the dirt sit on the rocks for a bout a year in order for it to get weathered down a bit. Then add more dirt and plant.

I know its definitely not a short term project but damn.... That's a LOT of work, but well worth it when all finished.
2,000 linear feet I think
~ 2,000' and I'm looking at 6' width, 4' height (go small or run out of dirt is the motto). The outside trench will be 2' deep by 3'(?) width and the inside trenching will only be as needed for drainage. This year I'm just gathering materials and I'll be starting in next year with the goal of 400'/month so the earthworks and planting are done on or before (I might work faster...) 2020, in time for my 50th birthday.

When the hedge part hits 5' tall plan to lay the hedge (click for image) (I will be planting densely enough that this is an optional step) to form a solid wall of living thorns, giving me something that is just beginning to mature and is fully secure (minus the gateways) when I hit 60.

The construction plan something like this for each section:
  • Spring - dig the outside trench for that section and set the dirt aside. Then put in the rock and cover with dirt.
  • If more dirt is needed, dig a pond or enlarge an existing pond.
  • Summer - Finish the earthworks for that section.
  • Fall - plant the hedge seeds in starter kits and nurse them over the winter.
  • Spring, Year 2 - add soil/compost mix to bring the earthworks back up to where it should be.
  • Summer - More soil/compost if needed.
  • Fall - plant the itty bitty saplings, start in on propagating thorny berries for the interior.
  • Year 3 - Water as needed. Plant thorny berries. Start on thorny ornamentals for the exterior. Last year of adding to the earthworks.
  • Year 4 - Water as needed. Plant ornamentals.
  • Year 5 - Final year of watering.
  • Year 6 - Hedge should be 5' tall, lay the hedge - optional.
So I go around once building earthworks and then go around it again laying the hedge in each section. From the 7th year on, I should be able to harvest berries for jams, jellies, preserves, and pies. Year 11 on I just kick back and enjoy or find something else to occupy me.

If I don't complete 400' of earthworks the first year and 800' total the second year I'll be doing this just on the north and west sides of the properties, with the exception of laying the hedge, so I can still enjoy the windbreak and I'll keep the 5 year deadline on completing earthworks. If I come up short of 1,200' completed by the end of year 3 then I'll shorten it up so the back part of the property is still fully enclosed and leave everything between the machine shed and road open and, again, keep the 5 year deadline on completing the earthworks. I do this because it's nice to have a plan in case you bite off more than you can chew but realistically we're talking about a section of earthworks longer than an American but shorter than a Canadian football field (including the end zones). Gathering the rock (this part may take a couple months each year for that one section and that's if you bust your ass) and propagating the enormous number of plants involved (even growing from seed we're talking hundreds of dollars for each section) is going to bottleneck things.

This puts the hedgerow's total height in 2030 at around 12-15' and a final mature height in the 30' neighborhood. If you use the right trees, do the proper maintenance, and get a little lucky the hedge planted atop the mound will last 400+ years.

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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by Halfapint » Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:02 am

Tater Raider wrote:
Ryder358 wrote:
Halfapint wrote:That hedgerow diagram is rather interesting. But that is a LOT of rocks. just average it you're looking at 6' high, 8 foot wide at the base. How many feet are you looking to go with this? Not only rocks but you're going to need to have dirt on it too. Probably have the dirt sit on the rocks for a bout a year in order for it to get weathered down a bit. Then add more dirt and plant.

I know its definitely not a short term project but damn.... That's a LOT of work, but well worth it when all finished.
2,000 linear feet I think
~ 2,000' and I'm looking at 6' width, 4' height (go small or run out of dirt is the motto). The outside trench will be 2' deep by 3'(?) width and the inside trenching will only be as needed for drainage. This year I'm just gathering materials and I'll be starting in next year with the goal of 400'/month so the earthworks and planting are done on or before (I might work faster...) 2020, in time for my 50th birthday.

When the hedge part hits 5' tall plan to lay the hedge (click for image) (I will be planting densely enough that this is an optional step) to form a solid wall of living thorns, giving me something that is just beginning to mature and is fully secure (minus the gateways) when I hit 60.

The construction plan something like this for each section:
  • Spring - dig the outside trench for that section and set the dirt aside. Then put in the rock and cover with dirt.
  • If more dirt is needed, dig a pond or enlarge an existing pond.
  • Summer - Finish the earthworks for that section.
  • Fall - plant the hedge seeds in starter kits and nurse them over the winter.
  • Spring, Year 2 - add soil/compost mix to bring it back up to where it should be.
  • Summer - More soil/compost if needed.
  • Fall - plant the itty bitty saplings, start in on propagating thorny berries for the interior.
  • Year 3 - Water as needed. Plant thorny berries. Start on thorny ornamentals for the exterior.
  • Year 4 - Water as needed. Plant ornamentals.
  • Year 5 - Final year of watering.
  • Year 6 - Hedge should be 5' tall, lay the hedge - optional.
So I go around once building earthworks and then go around it again laying the hedge in each section. From the 7th year on, I should be able to harvest berries for jams, jellies, preserves, and pies. Year 11 on I just kick back and enjoy or find something else to occupy me.

If I don't complete 400' of earthworks the first year and 800' total the second year I'll be doing this just on the north and west sides of the properties, with the exception of laying the hedge, so I can still enjoy the windbreak and I'll keep the 5 year deadline on completing earthworks. If I come up short of 1,200' completed by the end of year 3 then I'll shorten it up so the back part of the property is still fully enclosed and leave everything between the machine shed and road open and, again, keep the 5 year deadline on completing the earthworks. I do this because it's nice to have a plan in case you bite off more than you can chew but realistically we're talking about a section of earthworks longer than an American but shorter than a Canadian football field (including the end zones). Gathering the rock (this part may take a couple months each year for that one section and that's if you bust your ass) and propagating the enormous number of plants involved (even growing from seed we're talking hundreds of dollars for each section) is going to bottleneck things.

This puts the hedgerow's total height in 2030 at around 12-15' and a final mature height in the 30' neighborhood. If you use the right trees, do the proper maintenance, and get a little lucky the hedge planted atop the mound will last 400+ years.
I was thinking about this today while I was at my grandparents place (I hope to get it when they move). I was thinking about doing this along the front and I just took a walk and realized that it's a HUGE undertaking. I think you have a VERY realistic plan that's workable. The only problem I foresee is the rocks. getting that many rocks is going to be the biggest problem. The dirt shouldn't be hard your trench should probably give you enough dirt to do what you need. The bonus is going to be the pond, it'll really help with the plan. I just don't see getting enough boulders (without paying for them) to complete this in your time frame.

Of course this is just from my point of view I don't know how many rock piles you can scavenge from, or what the area really looks like as for as rocks go. One option would be placing an ad in craigslist or around local hangouts and say "got rocks? Want them gone? call me" People always want rocks removed so that is a bonus. I also imagine you could also use some concrete. That might be another option, it's all going to be buried under the dirt mound. Roots will eventually crack the rocks anyways so I don't think concrete will hurt anything. So that might be another option.

Keep up the hard work!
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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by Tater Raider » Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:16 am

Halfapint wrote: I don't know how many rock piles you can scavenge from, or what the area really looks like as for as rocks go.
Smallest rock pile I've worked on took around 10 loads to remove half the pile (1 ton trailer, loaded and unloaded by hand with the largest rock weighing around, I shit you not, 300#). That's the smallest pile I've already been granted access to.

With the equipment I just got I expect to be able to move 5 tons of rock a day. If I get my hands on a wagon that will go up significantly.

There's one on my paper route about 4 miles from my place that would take me damn near forever to make a dent in even if I had a wagon.

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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by Halfapint » Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:38 am

Well then, get yourself a wagon or some sort of dump truck with trailer hitch to use your loader on.... I stand corrected I you have access to rock piles like that. Rocks are the least of your worries.
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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by Tater Raider » Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:58 am

Halfapint wrote:Well then, get yourself a wagon or some sort of dump truck with trailer hitch to use your loader on....
I'll do what I can on that. :wink:

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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by procyon » Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:41 am

Some thoughts on the pond.

If you decide to put in a pond, these can/will be some issues or concerns.

If you have a basement, and the pond is not to far - it is going to raise the water table. A healthy sized pond could turn into constant flooding of a basement.

If you don't have an obvious grade to the land - find out what it is. If you have a pond, it is eventually going to flood. If your house/barn/etc is downhill - you could start collecting a lot of water someplace you don't want it - real fast. Also look at your neighbors. If your pond is about to flood out their crop field - you might not make friends.
If there is an existing stream that doesn't flood often -siting your pond so that overflow runs off into the creek is pretty ideal. Unless this creates a excess of water running into a neighbor's creek that goes from a nice depression in the ground to a washout 10' deep over the course of a couple years (seen it often when folks put in ponds around here...) that tears up one of their fields or makes it nearly impossible for them to reach a section of land they had no problems reaching before.

If you plan to put in a pond figure out how big you may ever want it to be - and make it that big. Seriously.
It is FAR easier to pump out water and fill it back in a bit than it is to 'extend' and existing pond. Digging out a pond is a muddy mess that generally results in a lot of time with your equipment mired/sunk in mud even if you drain/pump out the pond. Plan to spend far more time trying to free/fix/maintain your equipment as you will be pushing it pretty hard. That muddy ground is far heavier than dry dirt and will wear out your hydraulics quicker. As will the fact that everything will end up coated in mud/slime that tends to chew up your equipment.

Plan to dig deep. You are going to have a climate about like mine. And the small pond that is only about 2" deep freezes clean through nearly every winter. There just isn't enough water to hold the heat needed to not freeze. With our weather I wouldn't go less than (about) 5 or 6 feet if you hope to keep fish over a winter. Less than that and your fish will probably run out of air before spring during a hard winter.

Also be prepared for a general increase in the bug (especially mosquito) population. If the weather gets dry you are about to become the favorite location to be for lots of mosquitos/wasps-hornets/bugs that like to eat juicy plants instead of dry & dead ones. And just general critters if you don't have other ponds/streams/etc nearby as you will be the easiest place to get a drink. Being an attraction for coons/possums/coyotes/skunks can be hard on the other animals you keep.

The biggest reasons I keep ponds is that the livestock need them (and I have no interest in hauling that much water). The recreational value of them is there, but if it was going to be close to the house - I might be less excited.
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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by Ryder358 » Sun Jul 13, 2014 9:37 am

Procyon,

Tater's pond site is at the one of lowest point if the property, well away from and below the basement of the house. I think Tater is going to dig it 5 or 6 feet deep but I agree with you that he should dig it once. Once its a pond you won't want to try dredging more out.

Stocking the pond with fish and dragonfly should negate any boon to the mosquito population or may even reduce it.
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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by procyon » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:52 am

Stocking the pond with fish and dragonfly should negate any boon to the mosquito population or may even reduce it.
Fish are great. Didn't know you could stock dragonflies. They just show up for us. Same with frogs, turtles, etc...
But if you don't have a lot of ponds near where you live, you will become the new 'attraction' for all sorts of critters.
Ryder358 wrote:Tater's pond site is at the one of lowest point if the property, well away from and below the basement of the house. I think Tater is going to dig it 5 or 6 feet deep
I don't have much of an idea how it is laid out, but thought I would chime in on some of the things I have run into.
Lowest point is good. So long as the top of the pond is below the bottom of the basement there should be little trouble with the water level.
And the depth sounds about perfect.
Only thing I could think of would be the overflow on it. If it is the lowest point on the property - is it also the lowest point for all the ground around it for some distance? If so it will pull a lot of water and may come out of its banks with every rain. If it isn't the lowest spot you may have to look at where it will drain when you get a lot of rain. If it runs into your neighbor's bean/corn field and is going to flood out a section of it - they may not be happy (unless that section always floods out every year...got a couple of those...).
You might also want to use some of the rock you have gathered to 'line' it. The rock with help slow down any 'wash outs' from water 'overflow/run off' - and general erosion of the banks into the pond (they always try to get wider and shallower as the years pass...).

But it sounds like a good start. I was just concerned when I read the bit about expanding it later.
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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by Tater Raider » Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:11 am

Size of the pond will depend on how much I need for the earthworks on the hedgerow and if the surface area of said pond hits the point where we feel it might be a bit big we'll be going deeper than 6'. I'll see what I can do and avoid starting it until I start that and then not stop until I've got my estimated needs for that project. When those are met the pond is done so I'll be digging once on y'all's advice.

A small pond 20' deep would be kinda odd but if that's what I end up with...

Overflow would have to be a drainage pipe set in a trench dug through a small ridge to a lower point on the property and then covered with a small spillway set at the outlet. The pond is in the lowest point in back but up front is even lower and drains into an adjacent 'swampland" that loves to flood out year after year. That, in turn, creates massive mosquito issues for weeks - I almost feel like I'm in northern Minnesota. When we dig the pond we'll put in the overflow (maybe even start with the overflow trench and leave it for a bit to make sure it's the proper depth and allows the water to flow then finish with the drainage pipe and spillway). The guys that sold me the place will definitely thank me for it because it will put a stop to the field in that area flooding out and screwing up about a quarter acre of crop.

Soil is a loam/clay mix. Swampland adjacent my front property (which is the drainage basin for about 1-2 square miles of land) forms a pond in heavy rains that takes about a week to drain out so I'm not sure if I may need a liner or what.

Anyhow, the pond is a '15 project with '16 being the year of stocking. I'll be having some duck later this year which will make the final determination on if it's a duck and fish pond or just a fish pond, either of which will have a narrow channel connecting to a shallow pond (2-3'?) for fry, dragonflies, and plenty of native aquatic plants for shits and giggles. '16 will also include, or maybe I'll do it in '17, bridging the channel (my pet project in all this - I blame the rest of it on Lady Tater and my friends - and I thank them for it).

I've been thinking about my last exchange with Halfapint and thought it might have come off a bit snarky. I do that sometimes and it's never intentional. If a post offends just get a helium balloon, inhale deeply, then read it out loud. Talking with folk that are interested is always intended to be a bit lighthearted in nature right up until we start literally getting our hands dirty, then it's all business. And I know most of y'all aren't familiar with my area, let alone my property, so explanations there are just the facts in nature. So, again, it's not my intention to piss people off and I'm sorry if I somehow manage to anyways.

I'll take a pic of one of the nearby rock piles this weekend - the one that makes me drool with the potential it has on my place. I'm also going to try to finish the one we worked on all of last year without the tractor on Friday and see if we can't knock it out in a single day. It's untouched this year and sits at about half done. A weedhacker and bug spray will make cameos.

Had a pea harvest yesterday. Quantity was a massive let down but quality of the seeds donated by Ryder (thanks again) was out-fucking-standing.

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wee drop o' bush
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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by wee drop o' bush » Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:57 am

Hemi has gotten so ginormous! :ooh: :clownshoes:
I do love your tractor :awesome:
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Halfapint
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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by Halfapint » Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:30 pm

Tater Raider wrote:I've been thinking about my last exchange with Halfapint and thought it might have come off a bit snarky. I do that sometimes and it's never intentional.
:lol: you didn't come off snarky at all, you answered the questions as I asked them. But then again I'm about the hardest person to take offense to ANYTHING. Haha so no worries on my end :)

A small DEEP pond would be awesome just think SHTF that's now a "oh shit our well pump went out" back up supply. Not to mention that it could eventually be used by migrating waterfowl or other criters that are quite tasty when thrown in a pan with salt pepper and garlic.
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procyon
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Re: Blueberry Hill - If You're Having Fun is it Still Work?

Post by procyon » Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:13 am

Tater Raider wrote:The guys that sold me the place will definitely thank me for it because it will put a stop to the field in that area flooding out and screwing up about a quarter acre of crop.
Heck, I would invite you over for supper and a campfire if you stopped a field from flooding for me.
You could pick the menu. Whatever you wanted, I would be more than happy to put on the grill. Beverages also.

A deep pond is a good thing if you stock fish. It really cuts down on winter kill.

And ducks are fun (if messy). And they will likely call wild ducks in that will set on the 'swamp'. Which could help with the bug issue a bit.
So long as your ducks don't follow them south in the fall when they leave.
If a post offends...
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