ffj's early retirement

Where are you and where are you going?
ffj
Posts: 2004
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

Well it's official, I own the mini-farm. The first couple of days were a bit overwhelming as there were so many things I felt I needed to do, but with a little work and common sense I've found much better balance with my time.

There are two immediate goals that I want to accomplish this Fall and Winter: work on the barn and get it fit for duty, and start cleaning up the problem areas of the land. I've done some work on the barn already but my main focus has been cutting and chopping.

There is a border fence behind all of this:

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And this:

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It's about 20 feet by 600 feet of land that is just choked with scrub trees, wild rose, brambles, vines, and weeds. It's ugly and a waste of good land AND this is the view once I hack my way to the fence:

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I think it's worth doing the work, as everything will look so much nicer when I am done. I can also plant trees that have value in the open spaces that didn't exist before. There is a lot of osage orange (hedge apple) that is coming out as I don't have any use for that tree. What an awful tree unless you want to create an impenetrable wall. I don't know whether to respect it or hate it. I'm either getting stabbed by its thorns, dropping a chunk of it (it's very heavy wood) on my foot, or rolling an ankle on one of those damn softball size fruits laying everywhere.

The unsung hero besides my chainsaw is this little beauty. I bought it a couple of years ago at a yardsale and the blade is actually created specifically for heavy weeds versus grass. I can cut right through small saplings without much effort and something about swinging this scythe just makes me feel good.

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A days work. I really enjoy this kind of stuff as it's a great beginning to something that is ultimately going to look really good. It's a little rough looking right now but in a year or two it will look great.

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I'll leave you with a picture of this little mutt. She belongs to a lady I was working for and she just wouldn't leave me alone so I had to take her picture. She's so goofy and energetic you can't help but smile.

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halfmoon
Posts: 713
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by halfmoon »

ffj, it looks like you have a new challenge/adventure unfolding. Best wishes! This is what keeps us alive.

That pup photo reminds me of our own little rescue (one of two). As far as we can determine, she's a windhund crossed with maybe a spaniel? Super hunting instinct. Kind of an odd photo here, in which she's soaking wet and apparently congratulating herself on ditching our other dog in the swamp. :lol:

:? I've uploaded a cute photo of her about 10 times through imgur, and it still doesn't work. Kind of discouraging.

Jason
Posts: 2424
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Jason »

That is the cutest rabid dog I have ever seen.

ffj
Posts: 2004
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@halfmoon

Try Flickr. Although apparently you can't leave it dormant for too long as all the pictures disappear. I looked at my rope rescue page recently and all the images are gone, but those images are stored in a separate Flickr account than the one I am using now. I should really redo the the whole thread as I have learned so much since I started it, and I have better pictures and new procedures to boot. I'm curious how one gets a picture uploaded without using a third party platform?

I'm not sure what the dog is but she is incredibly fast and can jump 4 times her height. I roughhouse with her all of the time and she loves it, no foo-foo dog there.

@Jason

She's pretty cute and non-rabid looking when she isn't wet. I was cleaning paint brushes and she loves the water hose, obviously.



I bought a house today. Let me clarify, I bought a lot of the lumber from a house that was torn down and salvaged from a guy on Craigslist. I've been buying new lumber fixing up the new barn and it is expensive. My wake up call came the other day when I bought three boards and I was $40 poorer with not much to show for it. So off to the land of Craigslist.

I figure I saved at least $2000 today with the deal that I struck. It should be enough to frame an entire shop sized 30 X 50 feet including rafters and all of the sheeting with wood left over. My plan is to build the shop first so I have a base of operations and the tooling on site to build the house and this salvaged lumber is a perfect start. Everything is straight, de-nailed and sized 2 x 6 and up and will make a fine building. And the wood is better than what you can buy today.

The guy had the wood stored in a tobacco barn and for those of you who have never seen curing tobacco this is what it looks like:

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halfmoon
Posts: 713
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by halfmoon »

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I finally got it to link! This is a soaking wet Jade, and she's not normally so rabid (yo, Jason) in appearance. I just love her evil wink in this photo, though.

The salvaged wood is a find. I'm wondering if it has any special bug-repelling properties, since tobacco is a natural insecticide. I completely agree about salvaged wood being better than you can buy today...the lumber at HD or Lowe's is real crap. We have a big pile of lumber salvaged from a demolished airplane hangar (been sitting under tarps for a few years), including about 40 8"x8"x24' treated timbers. Since we've had to scale our empire-building fantasies back immeasurably, I'm now advocating for turning them into "logs" to build a blockhouse woodshed. Probably sacrilege, but more potentially achievable.

Jason
Posts: 2424
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Jason »

I'd have to go with FFJ's entry in the "looks rabid but is really only wet" cute dog contest. But I understand its a Ginger vs. MaryAnne thing.

ffj
Posts: 2004
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@halfmoon

Jades a beauty. I've always loved dogs for their companionship and loyalty. I'm partial to hounds, as I have always had a beagle or a hound mix since I was a kid. The problem is that they are hunters, and especially beagles will disappear running after rabbits or deer, but they're worth it.


@Jason

Ginger vs MaryAnne has always been a false choice. How about both? ;)



Work continues on the new place, with my current emphasis getting the barn ready for the storage of lumber that I recently agreed to buy. Since I have no electrical power, I am reduced to using a battery with an inverter to power my corded tools. Still better than hand sawing all of the wood I am adding for structural support but it limits the amount I can get done each day. And although my lithium 20 volt drills work great, they also have a set amount they can run. So I work until all my power dies, then I pick up a chainsaw and start cutting brush. It's become a pretty simple lifestyle which I am greatly enjoying.

Here is one of the problems I am attempting to fix. Basically this one post supports the roof assembly and keeps the walls from blowing out from the outward thrust of the rafters. I am actually amazed that it has worked for so long as whoever built this just threw these boards together. My solution is to replace this with a post directly underneath the ridge beam and to tie the walls together much more securely. I am also adding bracing and collar ties to the rafters. You can also see that I've started to tie the front and back walls together.


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I dug a two foot hole and added 160 pounds of concrete for a footing and then added this central support beam after tying all four walls together. Now the roof has a direct support down to the ground directly in line.

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My next step is to screw down the cladding as it represents structural integrity too. The builder used minimal lumber and nails. Many of the exterior boards have only one nail at the top and bottom. Whoever built this just took every shortcut possible.



The other day I hosted a horticulturist on the farm to help me identify my trees and beneficial plants. With her help I have identified these trees:

poplar
walnut
buckeye
hickory
oak
maple
dogwood
locust
osage orange
ash
cedar
sycamore
hackberry
cherry
pawpaw
mulberry
elm
sassafras

Not a bad variety so far, and it doesn't include various shrubs scattered throughout. One of the shrubs unfortunately is very invasive and is coming out. I really thought the honeysuckle was fairly mild until she started pointing out all of the small ones which are everywhere. This is the culprit:

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And this is how they spread so easily. The birds love these berries and poop them out everywhere.

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I've already cut down and poisoned the large bushes but there are thousands more of small, single strand honeysuckle that has to be pulled from the ground, which is easy but there is a lot. At the least I have stopped the berry production. This plant is a huge problem here in Kentucky and some places have huge thickets of this stuff that has killed off every other plant, as they can get quite large. It seems I have gotten to the farm just before it really exploded.

bigato
Posts: 2292
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:43 pm

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by bigato »

Congratulations on the land acquisition ffj, it looks like you are really converting a serious problem into a huge life improvement.

Gilberto de Piento
Posts: 1359
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:23 pm

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

Looks like you are having a lot of fun. I agree about the honeysuckle. Usually I'm against herbicides but in this case I agree. Just cutting it down won't kill it.

I like your barn project. It is like a much bigger version of something I did with awhile back. At least you caught it before anything needed to be jacked back up. I hate when people cut corners on things like that just to save a few dollars.

Riggerjack
Posts: 2764
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:09 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Riggerjack »

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tp5WN5UxB_A

An interesting solution to the shallow soil septic issue. It may or may not be useful, since some soil has already been trucked in. But maybe you have better uses for that soil...

Congratulations on your new adventure! I'm watching with joyful anticipation.

ffj
Posts: 2004
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@bigato

I fell good about it and it has given me something to get motivated about. I do get a little frustrated on how long some of these tasks take to finish however. I have so many jobs lined up in my head that I want to start checking off some boxes.

@Gilberto

That's the only way to kill that stuff. Anything else is a pruning.

For the amount of work I've put into fixing someone else's ineptitude, I could have almost built a new one from scratch, correctly. But the barn has grown on me simply because I have performed so much work to get it structurally sound. I have reinforced this thing into a tank. But yeah, I have never seen so many corners cut on a building before.

@rigger

Interesting. I've often wondered why one couldn't use the effluent from a tank as a fertilizer for gardens. Especially if it was filtered.

It wasn't too joyful today, haha.

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That's my rock hauler having to be pulled out of my field. After he dumped all 22 tons of stone to lighten his load, which was about 100 feet away from where I wanted it. :x

The ground was frozen and I just assumed with an 80,000 pound truck that traction would not be an issue on fairly level ground, and apparently he thought the same thing because once his wheels started spinning he decided to back his rig downhill and away from the dump site where he really got stuck. My exact thought as he was doing this was " what the fuck is he doing?" Haha

However, the guy with the tractor was able to load my barn up with his front end loader after saving the day. Cost me an extra hundred dollars but what can you do? I trusted that the rock hauler guy knew the capabilities of his truck. He told me afterwards that he got his truck stuck a few days before too.

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After several hours of shoveling rock. It was so cold today that the only way to stay warm was to work so a lot got done. I have a few more hours tomorrow to level everything out.

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Had an interesting fire run the other day. This little guy fell down a sinkhole and had to be rescued. I was on standby with my ropes and pulleys but the backhoe operator was able dig enough out to where he just jumped out. I was a little disappointed to be honest that I wasn't able to do a rope rescue.

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ffj
Posts: 2004
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

Thank goodness the rock work is done. It took me two days but I moved around 14 tons of rock by hand. One shovelful at a time. Just goes to show how much you can get done even if you don't have machinery available. I'm tired though. :) The barn is pretty much done now except for some small details and gladly I can move on to other projects. It cost me around $900 to renovate and a couple weeks of work, but it was worth saving.

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In my spare time I have been going down various rabbit holes on YouTube, namely the permaculture route. I spent about 2 hours the other night learning about mealworms, which aren't worms at all apparently. They kind of gross me out but they would be great for chicken feed. It looks crazy easy to raise these guys.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7X6E4Bd_7g


I also came across probably the most beautiful example of purposeful planting I have ever seen. This place looks like it came from a Disney movie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9T4T-LqQJk

Now I think this lady is a bit kooky with all of her Goddess references, but wow what a beautiful place she has created. Truly stunning.


Here is another fantastic reference for permaculture.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp6Ia4 ... bhQ31EBRmg

I've watched a lot of his videos and they are excellent and full of great content.


And one more. This guy is a no-nonsense farmer from Sweden who has his operation down pat. I've been watching him for years and he is also a great source of information.

https://www.youtube.com/user/mrintegralpermanence

basuragomi
Posts: 38
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2019 3:13 pm

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by basuragomi »

Move 14 tonnes, what do you get? A scratched-up shovel and a bucket of sweat!

I often read warnings that mealworms are too poor in nutrition to be a primary food source for reptiles and the like, to the point where lots of breeders dust them with vitamin powders prior to feeding. I'd imagine foraging chickens would have no issues with this however. Having raised a few mealworms, they smell terrible too! Like slightly less fetid cockroaches.

ffj
Posts: 2004
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

Like slightly less fetid cockroaches.

I'm out. My chickens can find their own worms. :)

ffj
Posts: 2004
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

It took a days work but I got the wood from the Craigslist seller safely in the dry. I was thoroughly tired after having to load and unload this amount of wood in a day but the realization that I was saving a couple grand helped to lighten my mood quite a bit.

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The wood came from a house that measured 28 feet wide by 60 feet long. It's basically the entire roofing system that I bought and if I keep the width and pitch for my future shop than I won't have to cut any rafters or ceiling joists. All of the ridges, birds mouths, and rafter tails are already cut. Also, the rafters were on a 16 inch on center layout, and if I shorten my shop to say 48 or 52 feet and layout on 24 inch centers, then I should be able to frame up the entire shop without having to buy additional wood or close to it.

The backstory is that a neighbor of the seller was going to tear down the house and burn it. Back in the 1970's the house had been hit by a tornado and the roof had been torn off so they rebuilt the roof, which is what I have now. But the original house was really old and fell apart and the owner told the seller he could have anything he wanted, and he spent two weeks dismantling the roof and pulling every nail, even in the 70 plus sheets of plywood! That's a lot of nails and I don't know that I would have messed with the plywood but he did a good job with minimal tear out. The seller asked me to send him a picture of the shop after framing which I will happily do.

My cleanup of the farm continues. I have a constant war with invasive species such as honeysuckle, wild rose, and grape vines. Add to the mix fencing and barbed wire and my days are full.

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I have started to make a difference however, and I really enjoy taking an overgrown and nasty area and making it nice. My goal is to create a beautiful and private area in the woods where I can relax and get away. I also will be building a treehouse in the future and have selected a wonderful and healthy oak tree for that endeavor. Unfortunately I can't started on that right away as there are too many necessary measures I have to take first.


And a reminder of why I want to move:

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That's the cops at my neighbors house once again, this time searching one of their vehicles. One of these days I will detail some of the more memorable idiocies of the dumbasses next door, but once I move. ;)

cmonkey
Posts: 1790
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:56 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by cmonkey »

Ha! Bad neighbors are everywhere. We are surrounded by them here. There were 5 cops at one of the places down the street about a month ago. It's known as the neighborhood drug house and routinely has a red light on the front of the house...

I'm pretty jealous of your farm adventures. ;)

ffj
Posts: 2004
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@monkey

My tolerance is much lower than the average person as I spent an entire career in emergency services dealing with these types of people. After spending a 24 hour shift cleaning up the aftermath of people's horrible life decisions I always wanted to come home to a nice, clean, organized and sane household. When your typical medical run involved grossness on many levels (I could go into very detailed nastiness here), the last thing I wanted to see was the same shit right next to my door.

Next door:

All of them have arrest records, some are in jail right now

All of the women are mentally ill, with drugs playing a large role

Everybody uses drugs

They've burned their house down once already

It's a continually revolving door of people just like them that stay there, I get a new "tenant" every week or so staying there that I have no clue who they are or their background, but I know that if they are staying there, then they have problems.

They once had an alcoholic living in the barn on the property until he got arrested for evading the police after threatening to kill his girlfriend.

Word on the street is that they have used that same barn to make meth. Some of the kids were/are drug dealers.

One kid ( who's in prison now) who burned down the house ( which is one version of how it happened ) also set the neighbors field on fire. I got to put that fire out.

The local and State Police have been there multiple times for various offenses. Everything from arson, drugs obviously, one of them shooting themselves, domestic violence, and a suicide attempt ( not the shooting ).

Over the years they have kept various animals which they don't take care of or contain, which means I get to deal with farm animals getting into my yard and cats and dogs running around my place eating my pets food. Their damn horses got into my yard so often that I had the fix their fence to stop it and I've begun trapping the wild cats coming from his place. I don't blame these animals for their actions but having to listen to cats getting into our food and trash all night plus fighting with my cat is tiresome. Now they have gotten goats which escape all of the time and I'll have people knock on my door asking about 20 goats standing in the middle of the road. Not mine, I tell them.


When they are gone or in jail, it is very peaceful around here. Their place still looks like shit, but at least I don't have to see or hear them.

Anyway, I'm ready to check out. ;)

GandK
Posts: 2010
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:00 pm

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by GandK »

I don't blame you. :shock: What a nightmare.

Jason
Posts: 2424
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Jason »

ffj wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:44 am

Word on the street is that they have used that same barn to make meth.

Now they have gotten goats which escape all of the time and I'll have people knock on my door asking about 20 goats standing in the middle of the road. Not mine, I tell them.
It's probably these guys.

https://methandgoats.bandcamp.com

ffj
Posts: 2004
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@Katherine

Fortunately they stay on their side of the fence. And I am actively working towards a solution which makes me feel so much better.

@Jason

I actually like some of their music, haha. I've been binge watching drug addict youtube videos and my favorite one was addicted to meth. He's sober now but when he described in detail how incredible meth makes you feel I almost wonder how many people he convinced to try it rather than dissuade. :?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0HtlAlmdxk




I felt like a kid today as I made a bridge. My leaping skills, especially with a chainsaw in my hand aren't what they used to be, so I took an old fire ladder ( which is much stronger than a conventional one ), put a board on it and presto, I have a bridge.

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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving so no work then, but the woods are looking better everyday.

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