I’m liking the new route…

I really do enjoy our blog. I enjoy our business happenings, milestones, and the creativity. I also enjoy working on the farm. I have gotten a little more creative with the go pro camera and learning to better edit video. I think this will go well with our business plan and of course, our blog.

I think, I will continue to make some forging videos, and as I get work done at the farm.

I spent the weekend at the farm. I needed to take the backhoe attachment up there and hook it up to the tractor. I got it there, hooked it up, and ran it for a grand total of 6 minutes and blew out 5 separate hydraulic lines. It wasn’t fun, but it wasn’t a total surprise. I could tell that some of them may go, they looked pretty sketchy. So I spent the rest of the weekend removing and measuring lines. Isn’t homesteading fun?

So, I decided to film some while I was there. You can have a quick tour of the main cleared area and see what we are working with. If you’ve got a few minutes to spare, feel free to check it out. I’d love to see some comments, all the feed back I can get would be great.

Our laser engraver is due to arrive tomorrow, we are looking forward to that adventure!

All the best,

Chad

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Mud work and goals..

Being the beginning of a new year, I suppose its normal to make plans and set goals.

In 2018 we didn’t spend much time at the farm. This happened for a few reasons.

1. We have been really busy making things and working our day jobs.

2. We had the pleasure (sarcasm, of course) of riding out and working in the middle of hurricane Florence.

3. Until its paid off, we aren’t allowed to build anything permanent on the land.

So, for goals this year.

1. Hope to have the land paid off. The sooner the better. If we hustle, I think its attainable.

2. Add some drainage to the open and cleared areas of the farm.

3. Get more land cleared and graded.

Getting the land cleared should get a bit easier. I have found a deal for a backhoe attachment for the three point hitch on the tractor. The most difficult aspect of clearing is removing stumps. None of them are big, but there are a lot of them. Now I will be able dig them out quicker.

The drainage might be a must. Here on the coast we had 102.4 inches of rain in 2018. The neighbor a cross the road from the farm has lived there since 1978 and he says that he has never seen it that wet. He said that during the snowstorm a couple of weeks ago there was 16 inches of snow. With a clay heavy soil, things don’t drain too fast.

Yesterday, a friend of mine rode with me to retrieve our older truck and bring it back to the beach. That truck had been sitting there in the woods for almost 1.5 years. A quick jump start (dead battery) and it was ready to roll. Here’s the problem. That 946 foot driveway that I have cleared was a slick, clay, muddy mess.

It took nearly 30 minutes and a tractor to get our 2 wd truck out to the road, here’s how she looked after.

The old truck is 4 wd, and didn’t require the tractor. I got it out in about 10 minutes, but I was slinging mud like a fiend. Here’s what that one looked like after.

Now the reason we retrieved it was so that I could trade it. A friend of mine wants an old truck to use as his hunting truck. We really don’t need a second truck, so I agreed to trade it. He wants to trade it for an AR-10 rifle. Now, I don’t really need the rifle either, but, it can sit in the safe and not lose value. If that truck continued to sit out there in the woods, it Damn sure would lose value quickly. So the trade will be made.

I’m still in the middle of the huge shotgun rack commission, but I needed to make a flat platen attachment for my belt grinder.

I know that little video probably isn’t very exciting to most, but I was really tickled with how it came out.

So, more knives will be made soon, to help pay off the farm.

Just remember, custom requests are welcomed and encouraged.

We hope that you all have a wonderful year.

All the best,

Chad

Busy, always keeping busy

First, and foremost, Maria and I hope that you all have a very, Merry Christmas!

As always, we have been busy. It’s something that we just seem to always be. Dealing with our day jobs isn’t nearly as much fun, but all the rest that we do doesn’t seem much like work.

We finally found time to run up to the farm. I haven’t been up there since summer and had no idea if the camper, tractor, etc..was even there. Luckily, everything was there and looked in pretty good shape.

Maria took a few photos on the way up. We aren’t quite in the mountains, but there are some hills nearby.

We talked to Mr. Brooks (who lives a cross the road from the farm) and he said that during the big snow storm last week there was about 16 inches of snow there on the farm. And we missed it!

Back in the forge, I took the knife that our online scammer had tried to get me to make for him and made something different. I turned it into a chopper type butcher knife, perfect for barbecue.

I also completed the steel and G10 sheath for the red and black hunter.

And, of course, that last photo still has a big fat thumbprint on the blade. Lol.

I was also able to finish up this beauty.

But, its not all about knives. I also came up with a flat platen attachment for my grinder. All fabricated by me. I have ordered some aluminum idler wheels for it as I just don’t trust the skateboard wheels. They weren’t designed for those rpms or that much force. But a true blacksmith makes as many or more tools than he/she buys.

Again, we hope you all have a beautiful Christmas, and we are looking forward to a new year. (Just that much closer to retirement from the day job, lol)

all the best and Merry Christmas,

Chad and Maria

Hurricane Florence, overdue post..

Maria and I hope all is well with all of you.

We weathered the storm fairly well, and I’ve been meaning to post for a while now. Things have been a bit hectic and scrambled.

We didn’t have much damage at all. There are areas around Wilmington that were hit quite hard, but we came through pretty well. I had to work nightshift straight through the storm and for a couple of weeks after without a day off. Those 12 hour shifts day after day can wear you down quickly.

During the storm, we lost power for a few days, but that little Honda generator that we take up to the farm was a gem. We could run the fridge, the freezer, a fan, and charge our phones. We could also use the microwave or coffee maker if we temporarily unplugged the fridge.

Maria was the true trooper of the storm. She had to hunker down at home while I was out in it. Worrying about me and taking care of things here. We also ended up with a couple of guys I work with staying with us until they could get back to their own homes. She was the rock in the middle of the storm for sure. She took great care of us all.

I saw some damage while working, a lot of flooding, some trees down, and some structural damage.

Yep, that’s a car in a hole.

Once the flooding started to subside we could see in different areas that there were a lot of fish that got trapped.

There are certain areas where the smell is horrendous.

All in all, things are starting to get back to normal. There were about 20 Deputies that lost their homes completely in the storm, mainly from flooding. Everyone else in the department is trying to help those in need. It just sucks to be out there working in the middle of the storm to save others, only to find out that you have no home to go to at the end of that shift.

Anyway, we would love to hear from all of you, let us know how things are going. Take care for now, as we get ready for a big fall festival/ forging demo coming up in November. More to come on that adventure!

All the best,

Chad

Soon, a nice hot shower on the farm…

I’ve been kicking around an idea for a shower at the farm. It’s going to be quite some time before we can get a well drilled up there. Normally we carry our drinking water in, but washing is another issue.

Now, we could go down to the creek and wash up, but that’s not a great idea. For one, we really don’t want that gray water going straight into the creek to pollute and contaminate it. For another, in the spring and fall…and winter it will either be super chilly or just flat out frozen.

So, the solution is to be able to take some water (as needed) to the top of the hill. This will give us the opportunity to heat that water for washing and, with the proper drainage, to let the soil filter that gray water long before it gets back to the water shed.

A few years ago I built a small wagon/trailer/cart. I decided to attach a 55 gallon drum to that and add a pump so we can pump water out of the creek, haul it up the hill, heat it and run a shower.

First I had to get some parts and components.

This is a portable, propane fired tankless water heater. Super fuel efficient

There’s the trailer, the drum, a new pump, and a few of the plumbing fittings.

Finally ready for testing. If you notice, its after dark when I finally got this joker put together, I am definitely NOT a plumber. Lol

In the background to fhe right you can see the water heater hooked up. It worked well, except for one thing…I had a leak..a pretty big one. If you look where the green hose comes out of the pvc you can see a black rag wrapped around the fitting. It by no means stopped the leak, but it kept water from spraying everywhere. I’m going to have to change out that green hose to something a bit more rigid. When filling the barrel (simulated creek) the pump was powerful enough to collapse the hose. Even with the collapsed hose I can fill the barrel in just around 3 minutes.

The water heater had a bit of trouble because it has a low pressure safety switch that turns off the burner when the pressure drops. Well, the rag wrapped fitting caused the pressure to drop to the heater. Water still flowed out of the shower head at a decent rate, but not with enough pressure to ignite the burner.

A couple of adjustments and some tweaking is in order, but I think it will be a glorious addition to the farm. After working out the bugs it will be time to build a nice, cedar deck to stand on while showering.

Let me know if you have an outdoor shower and how often you use it. I’d actually prefer to shower outdoors regardless of the weather.

I’d love to hear what you’ve got!

We hope you all have a great week.

Chad

Family day at the farm…

Maria and I had the pleasure of having my Dad and Step mom come down from Indiana for the weekend. We spent a great day at the house in Wilmington on Saturday, and then today we drove up to the farm. They hadn’t seen it yet and we wanted to give them the grand tour.

We went for a stroll around the property and explained what the plans were for each area. Yes, I know that grass near the creek needs mowed…next trip. We all took home a couple of ticks each from that grass, they seem to be starting early this year.

Those photos above are Maria and I leading the way down to the creek, and me and my Dad (Mike) discussing the bottom land while my Step mom (Rose) just enjoyed the view.

I guess Maria likes to take pictures of two old farmers talking, lol.

I explained how the creek is formed by three natural springs within a mile of our property and how the water is always cold, even in the summer. I dipped out a little in a soda bottle so they could feel it.

Then, of course, we had to pose for the camera.

🙂

We then headed back up the hill to the homesite. The folks wanted help out a bit with construction so we hung the rest of the tar paper on the walls. I wanted to finish sheeting the roof and paper it, but it was VERY windy today and I really didn’t want to be on that roof holding a loose sheet of plywood and have it turn into a kite. That bit had to wait.

I did have to move Darla Deere (our tractor) so we could move the ladders around. Maria decided to take a little spin with me. I am continuously impressed with that 33 year old tractor. We shade started it in 2 months and it fired right up like a brand new model.

So, it was a great day. The weather was beautiful (other than the wind gusts) we got to bond with the parents by doing a little homestead construction. Then after a wonderful meal at a local buffet (that included fresh banana pudding that was still warm!), the folks went on up to Alta Vista to spend the night and head back to Indiana.

We were sad to see them go, and can’t wait for them to come back to see what we’ve built next.

We all hope that you have a wonderful week!

Chad

OH, to have a hot shower…

Hey everybody, if you’ve been following us for any amount of time, you will know that we now have the roof sheeted on the cabin. The next step is of course, walls, door, windows, insulation..etc.

However, I am always trying to think and plan at least 2 steps ahead. After the last weekend, I have been thinking about a shower set up.

We don’t have running water or grid electricity out there, so water supply will be a refillable tank and power is a generator.

I’ve been thinking about building an elevated stand for the tank, installing a 12v pump, and a tankless propane water heater. There will be a half wall for a bit of privacy, but it will be essentially an all outdoor shower.

I normally try to wash up with cloth and tub after a long days work, but when you are that sweaty and dusty there is nothing better than a nice hot shower.

Right now its all in the planning phase, but I have high hopes.

If anybody has any pointers or suggestions, please feel free to throw em at me!

All the best,

Chad

A little more progress and being tired!!!

We finally got back up to the farm this past weekend, I realized that it had been since December that we’ve been up there. Dealing with the day job and the wisdom teeth issue (completely headache free since then, btw) and being generally busy made it tough. And I missed it terribly.

Anyway. I got up there early, put down some old carpet for the road bed, and made a lumber run. I got all of the 2x6s necessary for the trusses, and the plywood for the roof.

I was able to unload and mark all the boards by the time Maria arrived. She and I set up an assembly line of sorts and had them cut in what seemed like no time. Then we started building trusses.

We started hanging them one at a time as we built them. That was a very slow process, even with two of us.

There’s my girl, she really likes to take farm photos with the selfie angle. Lol

That guy in the back almost looks like a cowboy with a drill instead of a six gun…hmm

Late in the day, Maria had to return home. So after that I was on my own. Then things got difficult.

I continued to build trusses, but instead of hanging them one at a time I built them all and just set them up. Then I went back and stood them up, braced them and then secured them. It was still slow but it seemed more efficient for one person.

At the end of the day I was 3/4 done and I was absolutely exhausted. I crawled into the camper and passed out. After about 11 hours of sleep, I got up, had a fantastic breakfast (as usual when I’m cooking at the farm) and did some stretching. I then got back to work.

I finally got the rest of the trusses up and secured. The real fun began after that!

If you’ve never sheeted a roof by yourself, and you’re looking for a challenge…then give it a try. I’ll be perfectly honest, it whipped my ass!

I did get it done, but wow, was I tired!

I closed up the camper and packed up just around dark. I then made that 3.5 hour drive back to the beach. And that was a job in itself.

I spent the next couple of days at the day job pissing and moaning about how sore I was. But at home in the forge I was able to make my first friction folder. I’m pretty proud of how it came out. Its got a 4.5 inch blade and a leopard wood handle.

There she is, prior to finishing the handle. Its all sanded, it just needs to be oiled.

Anyway, this one ended up waaaay longer than planned.

As always, we hope you have a great week! And hopefully a week and a half from now we will have the cabin dried in! Yay!!

All the best,

Chad

Any forward progress…

Work seems to be progressing well now on the farm. For months it seemed like we were swimming up stream, but now things are falling into place fairly well.

I was able to get three out of walls framed and braced on the sewing cabin. I’m a great blacksmith, but only a mediocre carpenter. Framing walls on the deck, standing them up, and bracing them all by yourself is a little bit tricky. Ok, its a lot tricky, but sometimes you’ve just got to get after it.

I think this building will work perfectly for what we plan to use it for. It will initially be used as a cabin, and then once the house is complete it will be Maria’s sewing studio. Not too bad of a work environment.

I did use ole Darla as an anchor for some. Climbing rope to help hold the wall until I could get it braced.

I also got the 946 foot driveway widened to just over 15 feet. This will allow us to lay the carpet and gravel wide enough to drive comfortably without the trees and brush closing in on you during the summer months. I forgot to get photos of that. I left on Saturday afternoon to come back to the beach. They were calling for rain and if you don’t get out of there before it starts raining it gets a little dicey. Without the gravel on the driveway the red clay gets really slick. So, its either get out before it rains or hunker down until the ground drys. I chose to get.

So, this all happened just before Christmas eve. We hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas, and an absolutely glorious New Year!

All the best to you,

Chad

No Harm In Farmin

Creating a park and some sneaky #$@%&* deer..

We had a good weekend of work on the farm this trip.

We had been wanting to get a “road” cut down to the creek. The brush is thick everywhere on the property, but just at the bottom of the hill to the creek it gets particularly heavy. The trip before last I had cut a road with the bushhog and chainsaw down to the creek. The terrain down there is much different than the rest of our property. The soil is comprised of more sand than clay and the vegetation is different as well. When the logging company came in and stripped the parcel a few years before our purchase, they couldn’t log within 30 yards or so of the creek because of that soil. The good side to that is that the trees there are bigger, creating a heavier canopy and preventing the briars from taking over. Because of that, between the trees was mainly just tall grass. Once that road was cut, I couldn’t really maneuver the big tractor and bushhog around down there. And that tallare grass was a tick haven!

Anyway, we took our normal suburban riding lawnmower this trip. Maria turned into a slalom, road course driver and mowed all over that bottom land. The amazing thing is that when she was done it looked like a park! We joked that we should open it up as a small campground.

How nice is that?

Now we can use and enjoy this area without being carried away by the ticks.

Now to those dang deer…

Sunday I spent all day driving Darla (our John Deere tractor, Darla Deere) I continued to rip out roots and stumps in the house/barn area. Then, I decided to run the cultivator down the driveway again before I packed up to head back. I really want it to be as smooth and well groomed as possible before we start spreading gravel. Well, after moving dirt with the rake, I swapped out for the grader blade to smooth it. It was really looking good.

Once I got that done, I went to take a little break in the camper (ok, the air conditioning, lol). I was only in there for about 20 minutes with the generator running. I then decided to take a walk, get some good photos and then start shutting down and locking up.

When I walked out to the driveway and started taking photos, I happened to look down and saw a fresh deer track! I was 40 yards away with the generator running!

It wasn’t very big, but geez…you talk about sneaky!

Broad daylight, me nearby, engine running….and that deer tip toeing by. Next trip I’m putting the game cameras back up. I’m super curious now!

We hope you all have a good week.

Chad