The latter part of Matthew 10:8, "Freely you have received; freely give," certainly wasn't spoken by Christ in the context of a pea patch. But the principle got us to thinking here at Alderman Farms.
We have been so abundantly blessed by the LORD in so many ways, tangible and intangible, that we figured it would be only appropriate to pass some of those blessings along to others.
So here's the plan: the area at the front of our property, pictured above, will soon be planted with peas. Once they are up, we'll place two yard signs out by the road. One will be our Alderman Farms signs, and the other will say something to the effect of "Get you some," or "Peas: Free for the Pickin', so Help Yourself."
We certainly recognize that there may be some benefit to doing this: we may begin cultivating future CSA customers (we are considering beginning a CSA for veggies and a "share" program for pork), we may pick up some future Farmers Market customers, and so forth. But you just have to trust us when we say it's not about marketing, it's about blessing. Of course, experience and Scripture have taught us that "you can't out-give God," so we know the blessings we give with pure intentions will be returned to us in various ways. Again, that ain't why we're doing it. We just really want to share in the bounty.
We'll keep updating our progress here, so hey - when the peas are in, come get you some!
(By the way, the green strip on the right side of the patch above is an electric fence line that doesn't show up well in the photo. To the right of the green line, inside the fence, we will soon plant field corn that we'll harvest for the critters at Alderman Farms.)
The brooder box we built several years ago (instructions here) is terrific for babies when they are small, holding well over a hundred for several weeks. But when the young'uns begin to feather out, it's time to move them out and into a more spacious environment.
In the past, we have used the goat stall pictured at the top of this page for a sort of "finishing" area for the little chicks and turkeys, but in wrapping it with protective wire we typically did so in a more temporary manner. Once the chickens were allowed to range freely and the goats gained access to the stall once again, the protective wire didn't last long at all. So we decided to do it differently this time, attaching the wire on the outside of all but one of the four walls, away from the goats who will, once again, eventually have access to the stall.
My daddy always told me that having the proper tools was the first step toward doing a good job, and boy was he right. Using a stapler powered by an air compressor made quick work of covering the stall with chicken wire down low and 2X4 welded wire above that, and the 1/2" long staples ensure that the wire is there to stay. By the way, we put chicken wire around the bottom for two reasons: 1) the chicks could possibly still squeeze through 2X4 openings if they were really determined, and 2) chicken wire will make it a little more difficult for predators to climb. At least we hope it will.
darker feathers served as a cutting guide
We made sure to trim one of each chicken's and turkey's wings to keep them grounded. If you trim both, they can still fly. Although the stall is mostly enclosed, there are some openings high on the walls, and we don't want the little rascals getting any ideas. Better safe than sorry, you know?
By the end of the afternoon, the new tenants had moved in. They weren't thrilled at first, which is always the case after moving young birds from the comfort of their cozy brooder. But it won't be long until they are ruling the roost in their new quarters.
Below is the accompanying video of the process:
And here is the YouTube link for those who can't view the embedded video:
~ Tommy A.
The following is an unpaid, unsolicited product endorsement.
Patti has been threatening to buy a seeder for some time now. She's been shopping online, comparing prices, looking for the best deal. Hey, we're all about being thrifty and frugal. A while ago she settled on Earthway's Model # 1001-B Precision Garden Seeder, and today she discovered she could buy one locally. At $109.00, it was a little higher than the prices she'd found on line so far, but the convenience of being able to get it today, plus no shipping costs, and it made sense to grab it.
I have to tell you, when we first examined the contraption, we didn't have very high hopes that it would work as advertised. I mean, the little chain dragging behind the thing was supposed to cover the seed? Really? Well, yes. Really. It worked like a charm, and saved us a tremendous amount of time as soon as we put it together (which was a snap and didn't take long at all)
The blade-looking thing in the photo above is a small plow. Behind the plow is a groove through which the seeds are dropped from the hopper to the ground.
Inside the hopper, from which the seeds are deposited downward, there are interchangeable wheels designed to fit a wide variety of seeds. The seeds shown are snap beans. The wheel, or plate, works in a fashion similar to old-fashioned water wheels that would power grist mills: as the wheel makes a revolution, the little "cups" on the wheel pick up the beans one at a time for delivery down the shoot that runs behind the plow shaft toward the ground. That delivery system seemed very efficient to us, and Patti noted that she used fewer beans than she expected to use, although each row was fully planted. It must've been due to the controlled release of the beans, resulting in no wasted beans accidentally cast aside hither and yon.
Four times the results / one fourth the effort
We timed how long it took us to plant four rows of snap beans, and it took right at six minutes to plant four rows. In fact, it only took three minutes to plant the first three rows, but we hadn't loaded the hopper with enough beans for the last row, so the additional three minutes it took for the last row included walking to and from where the bag of seeds were located, and loading the hopper.
We didn't intend on conducting a comparison by planting a row without the seeder, but we ended up doing so because there wasn't a plate/wheel with cups big enough for the butter beans! We were sorely disappointed by that fact, but were later relieved to learn that additional wheels can be purchased which will fit virtually any size seed. Anyway, since we didn't have the right wheel for the butter beans, and the butter beans needed to be planted, we took the opportunity to see how long it took for one person to open a furrow, plant the seeds, and cover the seeds in one row. Answer: six minutes. Yep, it took the same time to do one row by hand that it took to do four rows using the seeder. Amazing.
In the final analysis, though we certainly need a few more wheels to fit a few more seed sizes (it came with several, just not the right one for our butter beans), we couldn't be happier with how the seeder performed. It's not every day you can find a device to cut your effort by such a huge percentage. Below is our video product review:
And here is the link to the video in case there's an issue with the embed: http://youtu.be/TZZ0XXEM4To
Of all our YouTube videos, the one with the most views (twice as many as the next closest) demonstrates a simple method of tightening 2X4 welded wire fencing. In fact, the last time I searched YouTube for "how to tighten fence," this video was in the number one spot in the non-sponsored search results. Here it is, for your viewing pleasure:
My encouragement to you here, if you are a blogger, is this: don't assume your tip is too simple to share! There are plenty of folks out there who can benefit from your knowledge, and who are hungry for it, however simple it may seem to you. And remember this: there was a time when you didn't know how to do what you now know how to do! Aren't you glad someone shared their knowledge with you? ;-)
So, what "simple" tip can you share with the world? Someone out there needs to know...they're just waiting for you to show them!
Our 4' X 4' homemade brooder box is made from 2 sheets of 3/4" OSB, 2' lengths of scrap 2X4's, a scrap piece of 2X4 welded wire fence, some scrap pieces of 1X2 lumber (lotta "scraps," huh?), and a handful of deck screws.
The bottom of the box is a full half of one of the sheets of OSB, and the sides are made from the remainder of the OSB, cut into 2' X4' pieces.
The 2' 2X4's are placed in the corners, and the sides are screwed to the 2X4's. The sides are not secured to the bottom - the whole contraption just sits on the bottom piece, and is plenty heavy enough to stay in place.
We wrapped the 2X4 welded wire fence around a 1X4 on opposite sides of the fence, allowing us to pull it across the top of the box to make the fence semi-tight. We drilled screws into the upper end of the 2X4 corner braces, and lock the fence in place over the screws. And we used one more scrap 1X4 as a brace for the heat lamp across the center of the box.
Screwing the box together has allowed us to easily assemble, disassemble, and reassemble with ease for several years. When not in use, the pieces are slid behind a tool cabinet in our storage shed, hardly taking up space at all. Pretty handy.
The bedding consists of one full bale of compressed pine shavings. Years ago, someone told us of the "sanitizing" nature of pine shavings, and our experience has borne that out. In fact, we don't expect to have to change this bedding until these chicks are ready to move out. Instead, we will occasionally stir the pine shavings thoroughly using a 4-pronged rake. Believe it or not, even with 50 or 60 chicks in there, the smell is only faint if one is diligent to stir the pine shavings at regular intervals (weekly at this point, every couple of days as the chicks get bigger).
Again, this may be the last brooder box we ever need, as we have every expectation that we will be using it years from now (only replacing the fence on top, perhaps).
Here is the link to an accompanying video, with more detailed images --> Click This.
~ Tommy Alderman
"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." ~ Proverbs 22:6
The Biblical admonition to "raise up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" is not, of course, a direct command to teach my grandson how to operate a tractor & front-end loader. Nor is it a promise that he won't forget, either. In fact, Solomon wasn't making any sort of promise, but simply expressing a principle. Dr. John MacArthur explains it this way: "How many times have you seen a parent cling to that verse in desperation as they watch defiant children forsake all they were taught? Some children sit under loving, prayerful instruction from their parents, only to later shame them with a scandalous lifestyle. It’s heartbreaking, isn’t it? But Solomon’s proverb is not meant to be a gilt-edged guarantee your child will eventually trust Christ and live righteously. Solomon is simply saying early training usually secures lifelong habits. It’s a charge to give great care and consistency to how and what you teach your children. God promises to bless us for parental faithfulness, but that doesn’t necessarily mean our children will be saved. They have their own relationship with God to work out. (emphasis mine)" [Source, "Parental Mythbusting]
Certainly, our primary responsibilities as parents and grandparents is to teach our young ones to love their Creator, to help them understand their need for a Savior, and to train them to be obedient servants and courageous witnesses for their Master. When we do such, we pray that the principle spoken of by Solomon will hold true for our little ones - that the lessons will take hold, that the Spirit of God will use the implanted Seed of His Word to draw them to the cross, and that they will live their lives as active, attractive Believers - even into old age. But the principle has value even beyond those primary, most-important considerations.
We should also be teaching our children the value of hard work, the truths associated with sowing & reaping, how a single grain produces abundance, and other such agricultural principles - all found in scripture, and all having application in life, as well as the garden.
"In all toil there is profit,but mere talk tends only to poverty." ~Prov 14:23 (ESV)
JUST before he heaved it up... ;-)
"Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox."
~ Prov 14:4 (ESV)
"Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it."
~ Prov 13:11 (ESV)
"As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same."
~ Job 4:8 (ESV)
"Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap."
~ Galatians 6:7 (ESV
"The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." ~ 2 Corinthians 9:6 (ESV)
"For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life." ~ Galatians 6:8 (ESV)
"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." ~ John 12:24 (ESV)
It's never too early to begin imparting truth to children. When they are young, they soak it up like water into a dry sponge. Their ability to grasp hold of concepts is astonishing: our grandson, who is not yet two years old, has been learning sign language for months. Patti has taught him how to say "please," "more," "food," "I love you," and "on." The last one is his favorite anytime he gets near Paw Paw's tractor, as he frantically slaps the back of his left hand with his right palm as if to say "ON, ON, ON, ON!!" It's entirely too cute. And there's nothing sweeter than for him to sign "I love you" without being prompted to do so...except for when he offers a kiss on the lips, just because he thinks about it. My heart melts.
And I am amazed at what he picks up just by observation. You should see him when he sits on my tractor: he works the steering wheel, then his little hands go from knob to knob, grabbing and wiggling every lever within his reach. He doesn't understand what they do, but he already knows they do SOMETHING. Well, he knows for sure what one of them does:
Click here--> watch him in this video clip. ;-)
Yeah, it's too early to really teach him the meaning of the scriptures quoted above, but it's not too early to begin preparing the soil of his heart. How can I do that? By involving him. By loving him with my time.
Parents, take note: when your children are little, they want to be like you. They want to do what you do, so bring them in. Sure, part of the reason my grandson loves PawPaw's tractor is because he is a little boy and there's just something about little boys and big ol' machines. But I also believe that he loves PawPaw's tractor because it's PawPaw's, and he loves PawPaw.
We spent a couple of hours yesterday, just walking around...climbing on and off the tractor...sitting by the woodpile...sitting on logs...watching the dogs play. As "work" is measured, I didn't get much done. But my prayer is that the soil of his little heart was turned yet again, making it more and more receptive to the Good Seed headed it's way.
This post shared at Homestead Abundance Blog Hop
We don't have enough mulch in our Back to Eden Garden yet, but Patti found these little alien egg-looking potatoes in our outside fridge (which we use for chilling milk), so we decided to plant them and see what happens!
We filmed the process, and the video can be found here: Plantin' Taters
If you've been to our Acknowledgements page, you know how much we owe to Mr. Thomas Carl "Stump" Easley. We think about him often, but especially today, which would've been his birthday. In honor of his memory, we are reposting the very first instructional YouTube video from Alderman Farms, "How to Set a Corner Post WITHOUT Concrete!" (Click the title to open the video).
Mr. Stump taught us many things, but setting corner posts without concrete has by far been the most useful and time-saving thing. Thanks, Mr. Stump!
You know, it's kind of embarrassing to admit that although we've lived here since August of 2000, this will be the FIRST time that I will be certain to have enough firewood to last through the following winter. What? Yep. It's not that we've ever completely run out - we live on 116 acres...it would be impossible to run out. But the truth is that every year including this one, I've had to scout the property for a downed tree and split 'er up in order to have something to burn. But not this time, pal.
Cory and I have already been scouting for next year's supply, and the tree in the photo was the first volunteer. It was also the first time I've cut a tree that was still standing, but I don't feel bad because it was only partially standing: it was rooted in the side of a hill that had given way and the tree was leaning on a 45-degree angle into another tree. For the health of the other tree, we thought it best to speed up the process and get this one down.
It is a huge sucker, too, so we had to cut it into six or seven lengths in order for me to be able to drag it up with the tractor (using the boom pole seen in the background, behind the spitter).
My Troy-Bilt 27-ton hydraulic splitter has been such a huge blessing for us, and well worth the money we spent. I can split so much more wood, in such a small amount of time, that it's almost silly. So glad we got it.
It's such a good feeling to look at that pile. I just might fix me a cup of coffee, head back out there and look at it some more.
We just posted a little video commentary, too. Take a look at it by clicking this link:
The man upon whose gardening techniques the "Back to Eden" film is based, Paul, talks about the properties of tree limb mulch in great detail. One that caught my ear is that when there is too much water, it spreads it out and eliminates mud. The pathway that leads from our back deck toward the barn has long been a muddy mess, staying muddy long after a rain, so we decided to cover it with tree-limb mulch and see how it performed.
It POURED rain here last night. There was enough rain to drown fish, so it was a perfect test of the mulch and I couldn't wait to get a look at it this morning.
I certainly wasn't disappointed - it worked just as we'd hoped that it would.
I walked to and fro (I love saying "to and fro"), and though there was standing water all over the yard, there was none squishing beneath my shoes - absolutely none. You'd have to really know how much rain we got to fully appreciate that, I reckon, but color me impressed.
Here is the link to a video I just uploaded: Mulch Pathway Update.
Thanks for reading!