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Mega Chicken Tractor, Barndominium Upgrades, Planting, Homestead Hacks! How To Homesteading Builds

Mega Chicken Tractor, Barndominium Upgrades, Planting, Homestead Hacks! How To Homesteading Builds

Welcome to another exciting journey on our homestead! Today, we’re diving into a variety of projects that keep our rural life vibrant and fulfilling. From upgrading our chicken tractor to enhancing our barndominium and planting seeds, we’re embracing the challenges and joys of homesteading.

Checking On Covered Plants: Navigating Frosty Mornings

One of the challenges of early spring gardening is dealing with fluctuating temperatures, especially those chilly mornings that bring unexpected frost. To protect our tender seedlings, we’ve been diligently covering our plants at night.

As the sun rises and the frost begins to melt, it’s a critical time to check on our covered plants. The first step is to assess the overnight impact. Even with protection, frost can sometimes sneak through, so we carefully inspect each plant for signs of frostbite or wilting. It’s a relief to see that, more often than not, our efforts pay off and the plants have made it through the night unscathed.

Next, we focus on the soil. It’s important to ensure that the soil hasn’t frozen, as this can hinder root growth and nutrient uptake. A gentle touch reveals that the soil is still soft and moist, a good sign that our plants are in a healthy environment.

As we uncover the plants, we’re greeted by the vibrant greens and budding leaves of our resilient seedlings. It’s a beautiful sight that reinforces the importance of our protective measures. We take this opportunity to check for any pests or diseases that might have taken advantage of the covered environment. Thankfully, all seems well.

This daily ritual of covering and uncovering plants is a testament to the care and attention required in gardening. It’s a reminder that, with a little extra effort, we can protect our plants from the unpredictable elements and help them thrive in the early stages of growth.

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Planting and Gardening

With spring in full swing, our focus has shifted to planting and gardening. We’ve started with tea seeds and watermelons, carefully potting them and monitoring their growth. We’re experimenting with different potting techniques to find the best method for healthy root development.

We’ve also introduced a new labeling system using a thermal printer. This allows us to include more detailed information on the plant tags, such as optimal pH levels and planting dates. It’s a small change, but it’s already proving to be a valuable tool in keeping our garden organized and efficient.

One of the most exciting developments has been the splitting of our worm bucket. This is part of our ongoing effort to improve our soil quality through vermicomposting. By increasing our worm population, we’re able to produce more nutrient-rich castings, which are then used to enrich our garden beds. It’s a sustainable cycle that not only benefits our plants but also reduces waste.

Using a Thermal Printer: Streamlining Garden Organization

In our continuous quest to improve efficiency and organization in our garden, we’ve recently incorporated a thermal printer into our labeling system. This small but mighty tool has revolutionized the way we keep track of our plants.

Traditionally, labeling plants involved writing on plastic or wooden tags with a marker, which can fade over time or become illegible due to weather conditions. With the thermal printer, we can now print clear, durable labels that withstand the elements and provide a wealth of information.

The beauty of using a thermal printer lies in its versatility. We can customize the labels to include not just the plant name, but also additional details such as optimal pH levels, planting dates, and care instructions. This level of detail is invaluable as our garden grows and we juggle the needs of various plants.

The process is simple and efficient. We design the labels on a computer or smartphone, and the printer quickly produces them on heat-sensitive paper. The labels are then easily attached to plant stakes or pots. The thermal printing technology means there’s no ink to smudge or fade, ensuring that the labels remain legible for the entire growing season.

Integrating a thermal printer into our gardening routine has been a game-changer. It’s a small investment that pays off in saved time and improved accuracy, allowing us to focus more on the joys of gardening and less on the administrative tasks.

Planting Tea Seeds: A Journey into Herbal Cultivation

Embarking on the cultivation of tea plants is a new and exciting endeavor for our homestead. Tea, with its myriad of health benefits and soothing properties, is a wonderful addition to our garden.

The process begins with selecting high-quality tea seeds. We chose varieties known for their robust flavor and adaptability to our climate. Before planting, we soaked the seeds in water, a crucial step that helps to soften the outer shell and encourage germination.

We carefully prepared planting cups, filling them with a mix of soil and perlite to ensure good drainage and aeration. The tea seeds were then gently placed on the surface of the soil, with just a light covering of soil on top. Tea seeds need light to germinate, so we made sure not to bury them too deeply.

Patience is key when growing tea from seed, as germination can take several weeks. We kept the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, and placed the cups in a warm, bright spot to provide the ideal conditions for germination.

As the seeds sprout and grow, we’ll monitor their progress, ensuring they receive the right balance of light, water, and nutrients. Eventually, these seedlings will be transplanted into larger pots and, in time, into our garden where they can flourish and contribute to our sustainable lifestyle.

Planting tea seeds is more than just adding another crop to our garden; it’s an exploration of new flavors, traditions, and the art of tea-making. We’re excited to watch these plants grow and look forward to the day we can harvest our own leaves to brew a cup of homegrown tea.

Worm Farming: A Key Component of Our Homestead

One of the most rewarding aspects of our homesteading journey has been our foray into worm farming. Not only do worms play a crucial role in soil health, but they also provide a sustainable way to manage organic waste.

Our worm buckets have become an integral part of our gardening routine. By splitting the worm buckets, we’ve effectively doubled our worm population. This increase is vital for producing more worm castings, which are a fantastic organic fertilizer. The process is simple: we feed the worms kitchen scraps and other organic materials, and in return, they produce nutrient-rich castings that we can use to enrich our garden beds.

Observing the growth and reproduction of the worms has been fascinating. We’ve noticed a significant increase in baby worms, indicating a healthy and thriving environment. This is a good sign that we’re providing the right balance of food and habitat for our worm population to flourish.

We’re also experimenting with different methods to protect the worms and their habitat. In our first worm bucket, we used silicone to secure the screens, but found that it didn’t stick well to the plastic. So, we switched to using pop rivets, which seem to be a more effective solution for keeping flies and moths out while allowing air to circulate.

As we continue to expand our worm farming operation, we’re looking forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on our garden’s productivity. The worms are not only helping us reduce waste, but they’re also playing a crucial role in creating a more sustainable and self-sufficient homestead.

Sealing Roof Leaks: Ensuring the Integrity of Our Barndominium

Maintaining the integrity of our barndominium’s roof is crucial for protecting our home and possessions from water damage. Recently, we’ve encountered some challenges with roof leaks, particularly where the metal roofing panels overlap. To address this, we’ve embarked on a mission to seal these leaks and prevent future issues.

The first step in this process was to identify the source of the leaks. We noticed that water was wicking back under the overlapping metal panels during heavy rains. To combat this, we decided to install J-channel along the edges of the roof. The J-channel is designed to redirect water away from the seams and into the gutters, effectively preventing it from seeping underneath the panels.

In addition to the J-channel, we applied a high-quality sealant along the seams and edges of the roofing panels. This sealant forms a waterproof barrier that fills any gaps or cracks where water might penetrate. It’s important to choose a sealant that is compatible with the roofing material and can withstand the elements, ensuring a long-lasting solution.

We also made sure to inspect and clean the gutters and downspouts, as clogged gutters can contribute to roof leaks by causing water to back up and seep under the roofing material. Regular maintenance of the gutters is an essential part of preventing roof leaks.

Sealing roof leaks is a critical task that requires attention to detail and a proactive approach. By addressing these issues promptly, we can protect our barndominium from water damage and ensure its longevity. It’s a reminder that regular maintenance and vigilance are key to a well-functioning homestead.

Homestead Hacks and Tips

Homesteading is all about innovation and making the most of what you have. In that spirit, we’ve come up with a few hacks and tips that have made a big difference in our daily routines.

One of our recent projects was constructing a chicken run with raised beds. This dual-purpose setup not only provides our chickens with fresh grass and bugs to forage but also protects our vegetable beds from pests. It’s a win-win situation that enhances the productivity and health of our homestead.

We’ve also been experimenting with different planting methods. For example, we’ve tried soaking some of our seeds before planting to encourage faster germination. It’s been encouraging to see some of these seeds sprout and begin to develop their first taproot. These small experiments help us learn and adapt, ensuring that we’re always improving our gardening techniques.

Another tip we’ve found useful is using scrap materials to create functional homestead equipment. For example, we used scrap rebar to make an axle for the back of our chicken tractor. This simple addition has made it much easier to move the tractor around our property, demonstrating that you don’t always need to buy new materials to solve a problem.

Canoe Garden Fixes: Addressing Drainage Challenges

Our canoe garden, a unique and aesthetic addition to our homestead, recently faced some drainage challenges. After a series of torrential downpours, we noticed that the drainage holes in the canoe were clogged, causing water to accumulate and stress the plants.

To address this issue, we decided to add more drainage holes to the sides of the canoe. While we initially hesitated to make these modifications, the health of our plants took precedence. Using a drill, we carefully added new holes above the existing waterline, ensuring that any excess water could escape more effectively.

We also inspected the base of the canoe to assess the drainage situation. Despite having a layer of rocks at the bottom for this purpose, it became clear that the arrangement was insufficient for heavy rains. We realized that a more porous material or a better configuration might be needed to improve drainage.

The smell of the water was another concern. A foul odor can indicate anaerobic conditions, which are harmful to plant roots. Fortunately, we caught the issue in time and were able to aerate the water by adding more drainage holes, preventing further damage to the plants.

Fixing the drainage in our canoe garden was a learning experience. It reminded us of the importance of regular maintenance and the need to adapt our gardening strategies to the whims of the weather. With these fixes in place, we’re hopeful that our canoe garden will continue to thrive and bring beauty to our homestead.

Creating a Raised Bed Chicken Run: Innovation in Action

One of our recent projects has been the creation of a raised bed chicken run. This innovative setup serves multiple purposes, providing our chickens with a safe and enriching environment while also protecting our vegetable beds from pests.

The concept is simple yet effective. We constructed raised beds for our vegetable garden and then built a chicken run around them. The chickens have access to the area between the beds, where they can forage for insects and enjoy fresh grass. This not only keeps them happy and healthy but also helps control pests naturally.

The raised beds are designed to be high enough to prevent the chickens from jumping into them, protecting our vegetables from being pecked at or trampled. At the same time, the proximity of the chickens to the beds means they can still contribute to the garden’s ecosystem by providing natural fertilizer through their droppings.

Building the raised bed chicken run required some planning and effort, but the results have been incredibly rewarding. It’s a sustainable solution that aligns with our goals of creating a productive and harmonious homestead. The chickens enjoy their spacious run, and we enjoy the peace of mind knowing our garden is protected.

This project is a testament to the creativity and innovation that homesteading demands. It’s about finding solutions that benefit both us and our animals, creating a balanced and thriving environment for all.

Converting the Chicken Coop to a Chicken Tractor: A Mobile Solution

Our journey in enhancing the functionality of our homestead led us to convert an existing chicken coop into a mobile chicken tractor. This transformation was driven by the desire to provide our chickens with fresh foraging opportunities while naturally fertilizing different areas of our land.

Step 1: Assessing the Existing Structure

The first step in this conversion was to thoroughly assess the existing chicken coop. We evaluated its size, weight, and overall condition to determine if it was suitable for conversion. The coop needed to be sturdy enough to withstand movement but light enough to be easily transported.

Step 2: Adding Mobility

The key to converting the coop into a tractor was to add mobility. We decided to use scrap rebar to create an axle for the back of the coop. This axle would support solid rubber tires, chosen for their durability and ease of maintenance. The tires were positioned to provide enough clearance for the coop to move smoothly over uneven ground.

Step 3: Constructing a Bumper System

To ensure the stability of the axle and to protect the coop during movement, we constructed a bumper system. This involved attaching wooden beams to the back of the coop, which would hold the axle in place and act as a buffer in case of any collisions.

Step 4: Testing and Adjustments

With the mobility features in place, it was time to test the newly converted chicken tractor. We attached it to a three-point hitch on our tractor to see if it could be lifted and moved easily. The initial test revealed that while the coop was mobile, some adjustments were needed to ensure smooth movement and stability. We fine-tuned the positioning of the tires and reinforced the bumper system.

Step 5: Final Touches

The final step was to add some practical features to the chicken tractor. We installed a new latch door for easy access and built a perch-style walkway for the chickens to enjoy. We also planned to add a rainwater collection system to provide a sustainable water source for the chickens.

Conclusion

Converting our chicken coop into a tractor was a rewarding project that aligned with our goals of sustainability and efficiency. The mobile coop allows us to rotate the chickens’ grazing areas, reducing the need for commercial fertilizers and providing the chickens with a varied and natural diet. It’s a win-win situation that enhances the health of our land and our flock.

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Fencing The Homestead | Bucket Driver/Puller Tool

Fencing The Homestead | Bucket Driver/Puller Tool

Hey everyone, Ryan here from Backroads Homesteading, and I’m thrilled to share our latest adventure in upgrading our homestead’s infrastructure. Today, I’m diving into how we’ve tackled the daunting task of fencing – a critical project for any homesteader, gardener, rancher, or farmer out there.

Our journey began with the realization that we needed a more efficient, less taxing way to install fences around our property. Like many of you, we started with a manual post pounder, which, while effective, isn’t exactly a friend to your hands or your time. In our search for a better solution, we stumbled upon a game-changing tool that I had to share with you all: the Buckte T Post Driver and Puller.

This innovative system from Bucket Driver, based out of Oklahoma, caught our eye primarily because it didn’t have much in the way of reviews, and we were curious to see if it lived up to its promises. The setup is brilliantly simple yet effective. It attaches to the bucket of a tractor – and with a few adjustments to ensure the base is flat, you’re ready to go. This device not only drives posts into the ground with the tractor’s bucket but also allows for the posts to be pulled out, thanks to a clever mechanism that grips the T-posts securely.

We had some initial concerns about whether our tractor was up to the task, but the Bucket Driver system is designed to work with a wide range of machinery. A minimum of 20-25 horsepower is recommended, which means most tractors, skid steers, and even front-end loaders can handle this system with ease. And if you’re worried about compatibility, Bucket Driver has thought of that too – offering different brackets to accommodate various bucket thicknesses.

One of the most appreciated features of this system is its ability to adjust to the angle of the bucket, ensuring the post remains straight during the driving process. Additionally, the post puller feature is a game-changer for us. It’s an affordable, efficient way to remove old posts or adjust your fencing layout without additional equipment.

During our test run, we found the installation process to be straightforward. The included washers help level the bottom of the device on the bucket, but we found we didn’t need them. The device attaches securely to the tractor’s bucket, and its swivel feature is a real work-saver, accommodating posts facing any direction.

The true test came when we started driving posts into the ground. The recent rain had softened the soil, making our job a bit easier, but the Bucket Driver system proved its worth by significantly reducing the time and effort required to install each post. We spaced our posts about 20 feet apart, mindful of avoiding underground utilities (always call 811 before you dig!).

Another aspect we loved was the ability to repurpose old, slightly bent fence posts. This not only saved us money but also aligned with our commitment to sustainability. The Bucket Driver system allowed us to drive these recycled posts into the ground with ease, breathing new life into materials that would otherwise go to waste.

For those interested, we’ve included affiliate links. These links support our homestead at no extra cost to you. We bought this product at retail price, just like anyone else, and I must say, the investment was worth every penny. Not only does purchasing directly from the manufacturer save money, but you’re also getting a high-quality, American-made product with excellent customer support.

In conclusion, the Bucket Driver and Puller system has been a revelation for us here at Backroads Homesteading. It’s made our fencing project much more manageable, saving us time, labor, and resources. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to install or upgrade their fencing. It’s a stellar example of American ingenuity and manufacturing at its best.

Thanks for joining me in this post. If you found this information helpful, please like, share, and subscribe for more tips and tricks from our homestead to yours. Until next time, this is Ryan, signing off.

Protecting The Homestead

How to protect the homestead.

It’s another beautiful day, and as the sun rises, our thoughts are firmly on the future of our homestead. Our mission is clear: safeguard our fields, our animals, and our dreams. These lands are more than just dirt and grass; they’re the foundation of our livelihood and the promise of a sustainable future.

Items In This Video:

Protecting our homestead is an undertaking that demands our full attention and dedication. Our commitment to growing food, raising livestock, nurturing bees, worms, and enriching the soil forms the backbone of our daily lives. Yet, without proper protection, all our efforts could be in vain. The presence of predators and the constant challenge of keeping them at bay necessitate a robust defense strategy. It’s a reality that has led us to invest significantly in fencing, a decision not made lightly given its implications in terms of time and financial resources.

Our approach to safeguarding the homestead is multifaceted. We’re experimenting with a variety of tools and technologies, including a solar fence energizer and various types of electric fence setups. Our goal is to find the most effective solutions to protect both our livestock and our gardens. This includes the strategic placement of electric wires and the innovative use of physical barriers to deter deer, known for their tricky depth perception. By staggering fence lines, we aim to create a deterrent that keeps our strong local deer population at bay.

The challenges we face are not small. From managing a herd of 10 to 20 deer to clearing brush and barb wire, every task is a step towards a more secure and productive homestead. Our plans are ambitious, ranging from repurposing land for sheep pastures to relocating chicken coops closer to the farmstead, all in the pursuit of a well-protected agricultural area.

With the arrival of spring signaled by the geese heading north, we’re reminded of the cycles of nature and the importance of preparation. Clearing trees, dealing with underbrush, and setting up electric and barbed fences are all part of our daily rhythm. The introduction of technology, like the battery-operated chainsaw, has made these tasks more manageable, allowing us to efficiently maintain our land.

Beyond the physical work, there’s a significant emphasis on community and relationships. Whether it’s negotiating with neighbors for land use or envisioning agritourism opportunities, we understand that successful homesteading is as much about people as it is about the land. We’re looking forward to hosting interns, engaging with local students, and opening our doors to those curious about the homesteading lifestyle.

Our journey is a testament to the learning process, a constant balance of ambition and practicality. While we may dream big, we’re always ready to adapt, learning from each challenge and opportunity. Whether this homestead remains our forever home or a stepping stone to larger ventures, our commitment to sustainable living, community building, and environmental stewardship remains unwavering.

Thank you for joining us on this journey. Your support, whether through watching our videos, sharing our story, or subscribing to our channel, means the world to us. Together, we’re not just protecting a piece of land; we’re nurturing a way of life that respects the earth and fosters a sense of community.

Burning A Fence Line

We tackled phase two of our project: creating a burn line along our fence line. With the help of the Burnomatic – the ultimate torch, we initiated this process about a week ago. We strategically burned a path down the fence line, trimmed the grass short on both sides, and then, as luck would have it, the heavens opened up, drenching the area thoroughly.

The aftermath of the rain was perfect; the grass along our freshly burned line wilted away, leaving a clear path. We then ignited a controlled grass line fire, allowing it to slowly follow the pre-burned path. This method proved to be fuel-efficient, allowing the fire to consume the dead grass at a measured pace.

However, this isn’t a task for the faint-hearted or inexperienced. Controlled burns require a deep understanding of the environment and conditions. For starters, the grass needs to be short, the wind minimal and predictable, and the ground saturated from recent rains. The importance of monitoring the burn cannot be overstated – this is not a set-and-forget situation.

I strongly advise against attempting this without proper experience or guidance. In fact, partnering with knowledgeable folks or involving your local fire department is a wise move. Controlled burns, when done correctly, offer a swift means to clear fence lines but demand respect for the forces at play.

Our goal was to prepare the ground for our upcoming project – installing a seven-strand electrical fence. The burn line ensures that the base of the fence is as close to the ground as possible, ideally within a six-inch margin, to prevent any undergrowth from contacting the fence.

To sum up, burning a fence line is a practical, efficient method to clear vegetation, but it’s essential to approach this method with caution, knowledge, and respect for the potential risks involved. Work safe, and happy homesteading!

Moving Forward: Exciting Updates and Plans on the Homestead!

Moving Forward: Exciting Updates and Plans on the Homestead!

Welcome back, fellow homesteaders and friends of the Backroads!

Ryan here again, and I’m thrilled to bring you the latest updates from our beloved homestead. Just this morning, I wrapped up an oil change on our trusty car, and it got me thinking about all the progress we’ve made and the exciting plans we have in store. So, I figured it’s the perfect time for a hearty update!

2024 Thoughts And Ideas

A Glimpse into Our World

Our homestead has been a hive of activity lately. We’ve reclaimed our tractor, been busy laying water lines, and let me tell you, we’ve got a lineup of videos that we can’t wait to share with you! Our schedule is getting packed, with live streams aimed for every Friday or Saturday and fresh videos every Tuesday and Thursday. We’re all about hands-on work here, and whether it’s changing oil or exploring alternative energy sources like waste oil heaters, we’re diving deep into the world of sustainable living.

A Direct Line to Our Community

We’re beyond excited to announce that our website is now live, complete with an active email list! This platform is our way of connecting directly with you, our community. Given the nature of our content, not everything is YouTube-friendly, so we’ve taken to platforms like Rumble X and our very own newsletter to ensure you don’t miss a beat. For those who choose to support our channel, we’re rolling out membership perks – from exclusive content and stickers to a heartfelt thank you letter.

Homesteading, Community, and Beyond

Our vision extends far beyond just maintaining a homestead. We’re talking about a vibrant, thriving community. We’ve got plans for primitive camping sites for those adventurous spirits and a dive into agritourism. But it’s not just about us. We’re laying down water lines, setting up fences, and planting a variety of berries and fruit trees – it’s about creating a space where self-sufficiency meets community spirit.

We’re active across social media, and we cherish the direct, uncensored line of communication that our email list and potential print newsletters offer. These platforms are our way of ensuring that our journey, our learnings, and our community’s stories are shared far and wide.

The Journey Ahead

As we gear up for the future, we’re reminded daily that homesteading is not just about the land; it’s about the people, the community, and the shared journey towards a more sustainable, fulfilling way of life. Our mission is to support local agriculture, promote self-sufficiency, and foster a space where life is lived in harmony with nature.

We’re here to share, to grow, and to support each other every step of the way. Whether it’s through our videos, our membership program, or our social media channels, we’re building more than just a homestead – we’re nurturing a community.

Thank you for being a part of this journey. Your support fuels our passion and drives us to keep moving forward, one backroad at a time.

Keep homesteading, stay connected, and remember – Affiliate Links support our channel at no cost to you.

Yours in homesteading,

Ryan