Stink bug jamboree and sleeping in the cold..

So, a beautiful weekend here on the farm. High temp about 72, low around 44.

Great weather for working! Except….

I get to the pop up and find out that a swarm of stink bugs have tried to evoke some squatter’s rights. I knew what they were and knew better than to squash them. Bad idea in case you didn’t know.

But holy Jesus they were everywhere inside.

I did a little research and found out that they are Halyomorpha halts, also known as the brown marmorated stink bug. They are an invasive species that came from Asia and landed in Pennsylvania in 1996. They feast on fruits and berries. I guess they really LOVED our huge covering of blackberries.

Anyway, in the fall they look for a place to over winter and this group decided that our camper was the spot. WRONG. I caught and released over 200 of them and then I realized that the ones I had released were getting back in. So I fired off a couple of bug bombs. I set one can inside and rolled the other under the camper like a grenade. The last person you want to mess with is a pissed off Marine, lol. It didn’t kill most of them, but they sure beat feet like their heads were on fire and their asses were catching. Not in my house!

I hated to kill any, but I was overwhelmed. I really have changed as I’ve aged.

Got a ton of work done today though.

I was able to get a trail cut wide enough through the trees to be able to get the tractor and bush hog down by the creek tomorrow to mow that tick infested wonderland. It really is beautiful, but the ticks can get really territorial in the tall grass.

Oh yeah, and the furnace in the camper won’t light, so I shall be sealed up in my sleeping bag nice and tight as the temp drops to the mid 40s.

In spite of all that, I still love building and creating our homestead!

Maria and I hope you are having a good weekend, where ever you are!

All the best,

Chad

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Contemplating a new career..

Maria and I have been looking for just about any way for us to leave the area we live in now and get nearer if not ON the farm. That, of course, would require a career change. The farm itself won’t be ready for at least 2 more years to help provide any income.

Our online business isn’t doing bad, but its not to the level of being able to support us even with the meager lifestyle that we have. On a side note, if you like to visit to look for great gifts for the ones you love head on over to http://www.noharminfarmin.com

Ok, back on track after that short commercial break.

We’ve both been coming home from our day jobs everyday for quite some time now with the first thing out of our mouths being “we’ve GOT to get out of here”.

Both of the day jobs we have are high stress, moderately to highly dangerous (depending on the day), and have become very unfulfilling. We both feel that the productivity just doesn’t exist anymore despite better work practices and greater knowledge. Basically, the world is changing and so are we. That we have out grown them.

I won’t mention what the jobs are mainly for security purposes, but we both believe it’s time to move on.

Brainstorming has become commonplace in our household. I actually stumbled across an old desire that I had as a kid….

Being an auctioneer!

I went to farm auctions as a kid with my Dad and I was always fascinated with the auctioneer. I had always thought that it would be the coolest job ever. But, life got in the way and that dream had been filed away, until a couple of weeks ago.

I’ve started looking at different auctioneer schools and licensing requirements. Even if I don’t just flat out quit my current job, I might go to school and get licensed.

Now, I know that in a past post I lamented about having too much to do and this would be one more thing to add to the list. But, I think that if I add this one to the list I can clean that list up and remove some other things. Thus, getting us closer to the farm and still afford to live.

This whole plan is still in the thought stages, but as I compare pros and cons I lean toward this kind of plan more and more everyday.

Have you ever figured out that the job/career that you have been doing for years is suddenly not where you should be and made a drastic change? If so, we’d love to hear about it. If you think I’m just bat shit crazy, I’m ok with hearing that too. Lol

Maria and I hope everyone has a great week.

All the best,

Chad

The pure satisfaction of a good days work..

We had a great weekend of work at the farm this weekend. We were able to get about an acre completely cleared. The surprising thing is that we came up with an easier and cheaper method.

Our property is rough and rustic. By that I mean it was logged about 8 years ago. I can understand the former owners doing this to make money. After all isn’t that what farmers do? However, when a logging company clears a large area they leave a ton of stuff behind. Luckily for us it isn’t trash, but it does mean stumps and logs. Both are now hidden in the 8 year overgrowth. These obstacles make clearing land extremely difficult and time consuming. About 80 to 90 percent of the overgrowth is thin enough to use the bushhog to clear…until you smack a big old stump. Then you go clean out your under shorts and change the shear bolt in the pto shaft.

Cleaning out those stumps with a chainsaw is both labor intensive and gets expensive. It seems that both the 18 inch bar and the 20 inch bar saws we have drink gas like nobody’s business. Plus, they both get rather hard on the lower back when you are bent over searching for stumps.

So, the easy AND cheap alternative?

We’ve got a cheesy 14 inch bar, electric chainsaw that is light and easy to wield. We also figured out that running that saw on the generator used just a fraction of the gas.

This is the view after sawing out old stumps and any tree over 2 inches in diameter. Once we cut all of that out and put it all on the ever growing brush pile, we then run old Darla Deere (the tractor) through it with the bush hog.

Same spot after bushhog treatment.

We’ve found that we can clear the areas that need clearing faster, with less fighting vines and thorns, and sweating, and at a fraction of the cost.

I can run one of the gas saws for about 30 minutes before refueling, this means that after a days work I’ve gone through well over 5 gallons of fuel. Our generator will run under a full steady load for about 4 hours on a gallon, longer on a lighter load. So, 8 hours for less than two gallons.

The type of generator might make some difference as well. We bought a Honda EU 2000I. It was a little pricey at the original purchase, but well worth it. Those are one of those things you don’t want to half ass. It’s super quiet and sips gas. When not running power tools with it we can run the pop up camper on shore power (including A/C) for almost 5 hours on a gallon of gas. We really want to lower our carbon foot print, but we also want some comfort once in a while.

We also got this beauty of a cultivator. It’s not being used for tilling and planting much now, but it will drag those old logs and cut brush like a giant lawn rake!

Things continue to improve and we will get things liveable before you know it. Our temporary home feels like home now because its ours…even though we only stay every other weekend, it gets harder to leave each trip.

But, it’s Sunday night so back to the grind.

Maria and I hope you all have a great week!

All the best,

Chad

Giving opportunities to others..

I received an e-mail from a casting Producer with ITV America the other day. They handle casting for several shows including “Forged In Fire”, “Alone”, “American Grit”, and “Pawn Stars” among others.

I got the e-mail because I was on Forged In Fire, and since folks that compete on that show might know people that train and use knives on a regular basis. I was asked to put out the word that they are casting for a new show involving knives and some sort of physical challenge.

I don’t know the details of what it would entail, but I can give you an excerpt from it that gives a brief description and the contact info…

Excerpt:

“We’re searching nationwide for bladesmith, swordsman/women, weapons experts, martial artists, bladesport enthusiasts, etc. who want to put their knife skills to the test. All levels – from amateur to expert- are accepted, as long as they know how to wield a knife. Participants will use their favorite forged weapon in an obstacle-course style challenge.

For more information or to speak with a Casting Producer, please e-mail me at jen.gross@itv-creative.com ASAP with your name, age, phone number, and a bit about yourself. You can read more about ITV at HTTPS://itvstudios.com/studios/itv-america”

Just so everyone knows, the only affiliation I have with that company is that I was cast as a contestant on Forged In Fire. I can tell you that I was treated very well, and they all seemed very professional.

So, if anyone thinks they’ve got some skills and wants to test em….shoot them an e-mail.

20 years ago I would have been up for that challenge, but now I just make knives for people to use in something like this. If you apply, Good luck to ya!

All the best,

Chad

Storm prep…

We are on the southeast coast of North Carolina and regardless of the track that Irma takes, we are going to have a mess to deal with. Of course, if were able to move permanently to the farm (Virginia piedmont) then we would probably only have to deal with a pot full of rain. But alas..

We’ve prepped our house and put away anything that might become a missile. We’ve stocked up on water and food. Plenty of gas for the generator and all vehicles topped off.

Maria has the option that if it looks bad she will head for the farm and stay in the camper.

I don’t have that option. My day job as a first responder means that I will probably be out in the weather working 16 – 18 hour shifts trying to help people who will curse me for it. Its what I do, and what I’ve done for 26 years.

If you are in the path of Irma, or the following Jose, stay safe and if someone in uniform suggests that you leave, don’t call him an asshole, it really IS for your benefit and they are looking out for you even though they can’t be home evacuating their own family.

Stay safe, and take care. We really do love all of you.

Chad