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Cold Hard Truths

Cold Hard Truths

It’s been a busy time filled with various projects, from setting up a new chicken coop to smoking our first ham and tackling some home improvement tasks. Let’s dive into the details of our week and share some insights and experiences from our homesteading journey.

Setting Up the Chicken Coop

Our week started with getting the chicken coop ready for our feathered friends. We moved the coop inside and set up the chickens temporarily to get them acclimated to their new surroundings. Em has been diligently checking on them to ensure they’re comfortable and adjusting well. It’s always a joy to see them exploring their new home and settling in.

Smoking Our First Ham

One of the highlights of the week was smoking our first ham. Although we didn’t raise the pig entirely on our homestead, we were involved in most of the process, making it a special experience. We used the East Oak smoker, a budget-friendly option we found on Amazon, which worked surprisingly well for our first attempt.

The marinade for the ham was a simple yet delicious combination of brown sugar, molasses from Roy’s place, and some honey mustard dipping sauce. The result was a tasty ham that, while not perfect, was certainly enjoyable. There’s room for improvement, but for a first attempt, we were pretty pleased with the outcome.

Preparing for Spring Planting

With the threat of freezing temperatures seemingly behind us, we’ve moved our produce out of the pole barn. This week, we also invested in some cattle panels to set up a trellis system for our beans, peas, and tomatoes. However, we mistakenly got the more expensive horse panels, which put us over budget. Despite this, we’re excited to see how the trellis system will support our plants as they grow.

Maintenance Work on the Pole Barn

Maintaining our pole barn was another task on our list this week. We’re replacing the roof screws on the main building and the original lean-to. Over time, the sun and weather can degrade the rubber washers on the screws, leading to leaks and deterioration. It’s important to replace these every few years to keep the roof in good condition.

Home Improvement: Spraying Knockdown Texture

We also tackled a home improvement project by spraying knockdown texture on the walls. It’s been a while since we’ve done this, so it was a bit of a learning curve to get the right consistency and technique. The knockdown texture adds a nice finish to the walls, covering up any inconsistencies between drywall pieces. We’re pleased with how it’s turning out and can’t wait to see the finished result.

Spending Time with Friends

One of the joys of homesteading is the community of like-minded individuals we get to interact with. This week, we spent some time with friends on the ridge, helping them build something for their homestead. It’s always great to share stories, enjoy good food, and support each other in our homesteading endeavors.

Looking Ahead

As we wrap up this week, we’re excited about the projects and challenges that lie ahead. Homesteading is a journey filled with learning, growth, and the satisfaction of building something with our own hands. We’re grateful for the support of our community, both online and offline, and look forward to sharing more of our adventures with you.

Thank you to everyone who has liked, shared, and subscribed to our channel. Your support means the world to us. Don’t forget to check out our newsletter on BackroadsHomesteading.com and follow us on Facebook and X for more updates on our homesteading journey. Until next time, happy homesteading!

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.

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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!