Monday, October 29, 2012

Day 29 The First Freeze

31 Days of Homestead Living!

Hello friends.  I have failed at this idea to post once a day for 31 days.  Sometimes life gets in the way, and that has happened to me.  But I have enjoyed posting again, and so I will get started for today. 

Last night we were expecting the first frost of the season.  When that happens, there are lots of things I need to do.  Of course, my husband makes sure the water won't freeze.  Some places on the farm, the water will need to be cut off until the freeze time is over.  He also winterizes the rental houses.  Puts antifreeze in the toilets, and runs the water out of the faucets.

The first thing on my list, was to go to the store to buy antifreeze.  I paid almost $50 for 4 gallons.  I got three that were 100% strength at $13 each, and one that was diluted for $10.  I don't know how I got that one.  I specifically wanted the full strength ones because it seemed like a better buy to me.  But it made its way home with me anyway.  I also got gloves for GrandBoy.  You  know, you never have too many pairs, and I didn't want to stay up half the night looking for his.

Next we (GrandBoy and I), went to the garden.  We picked all the green tomatoes, the peppers, and anything else that was still hanging around.  I also picked a few cactus balls that were left over.  I think Husband must have missed this cactus because it was up by the house, and he picked all the ones out by the barn.  We cut the flowers that are still blooming.  The roses especially.  I can't stand to leave them out there to ruin.  We move all the potted house plants into the green house.  Most years I cut the rose hips, and pick up the dogwood berries, but I didn't have time this year. 

But the freeze missed us so far.  Shouldn't happen before the weekend, so I still have time to gather some more.

We also spent time covering some of the windows, and putting rugs in front of the doors.  In the South, most of the year we keep our homes open.  We spend so much time outdoors.  But when it gets cold, I want everything to be warm and snug. 

I get the table clothes off the outdoor tables, and put up the cushions on the lawn furniture.  I move the good floor pots I don't want to freeze and crack.  I put them in the green house.  I get all the clothes pins off the line, so they won't get black with mildew over the winter. 

We pick up GrandBoy's toys and store them till the next warm day he will drag them back out again.  I guess that about covers it.  How we get ready for winter.  We will do more preparation when we expect the first hard freeze, but for now this will get us started.  What do you do to get ready for winter?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day 23 - Predators (No, not the fly kind!)

31 Days of Homestead Living!

Today I am going to talk to you about predators.  No, not the fly kind I told you about the other day.  Every year we have a predator problem on the farm, and it's usually not the same two years in a row.  This year the problem has been with something getting our chickens and other small animals.  It's gotten rabbits, chickens, ducks, a kitten, all kinds of things.  We still aren't certain what it is.  All we know is that it puts its "hands" in the cages to hold still the animal it targets.  It eats as much as it wants, and leaves.  The chickens' heads will be gone.  A rabbit had it's head skinned.  The animal is probably some sort of cat or a raccoon.  But a neighbor told us there are weasels around here, so I guess that is what it sounded like to her.  It's smart, too.  It can get an animal used as bait, out of the trap, without getting caught in the trap itself.  We have hardly any chickens left.  And none will lay eggs.  I don't know if that's due to the season change, or some type of fear reaction.  I definitely need to get new chickens in the spring.  Husband has varmint-proofed the chicken house, and we haven't had a problem in a few weeks.  Just no eggs.

Some of our laying hens

Young rabbits

One year, something got every baby goat we had, in a week's time!  I came home from work, and my husband said, "Please tell me you sold all the baby goats and forgot to tell me!"  I, of course, had not.  We lost the whole goat crop.  That predator was a coyote.  At the time, our large male dog had died, and we didn't have a dog around the farm.  So we got a puppy to raise up for the next year.  We also put out hair trimmings all around our fences.  We got these at barber and beauty shops.  One beautician trimmed her dogs and put those scraps in the bags, also.  This puts out scent, that the animal will avoid.  Now, we try to keep the baby goats and their mothers put up for a week or so until the kids gets a little bigger and more active.  And we keep them up at night for a while.

GrandBoy carrying a baby goat just born

More baby goats

For a while we had something that would bite all the ducks' heads off.  It was a large turtle.  My husband finally caught it in our pond, in a trap.  That incident was very upsetting to the children, to say the least. NOTE:  I read this to my husband, and he said this story is not true.  He did catch a turtle, but a racoon was biting the ducks' heads off.   

When we first moved here, one of our daughters had a pet duck named Feather.  Well one day that daughter came running into the house, telling me that her duck was flopping around in the water.  So here I go, running down the hill toward the pond to save a duck.  I thought that the turtle had Feather by the foot or something and was trying to pull her under.  Instead, the duck was having seizures.  We believe it was bitten by a snake.  So I wrapped Feather in a towel and brought her in the house.  We put her in our bathtub.  Daughter wanted to stay with her, so she slept on the floor, and I sat up with the two of them.  The duck passed away during the night and daughter was sad.  Those things happen when you live on a farm.  A friend's wife, who is a big animal lover, got mad one time when we didn't take an animal to the vet, in an instance similar to this.  Husband tried to tell her that these are farm animals, not pets, and we can't run up a huge vet bill over a $15 animal.  She never got it.

One of the oddest predators we ever had was a horse.  He was a certified mustang.  We couldn't keep him with anything except cows, and no little calves in his pasture, or he would kill them.  Well, we got a female horse as a companion for him, and she had a baby.  We wouldn't let him be with the baby.  We noticed, also, that the mother horse always tried to stay between her baby and the mustang.  But other farm people, who had been farming forever, thought we were crazy.  They said, "He ain't going to hurt that baby!  He knows it's his!".  Well, we quit guarding them, and put them back together.  Within about a week, the baby was dead.  She died in the night, before she was two weeks old.  Husband woke up, and felt he needed to check on things.  He found her body in the pond, and the mother horse wouldn't leave her.  We sold the mustang.  We had an ad in the paper for the mustang and another horse.  An old horse farmer from the community came by.  He said, "I don't want no mustang, but I'll buy that quarter horse there!"  I said, "That quarter horse IS the mustang!".  He was really a beautiful horse.  The farmer told me "a mustang will wait thirty years to hurt you".  I guess he was right.  In defence of the mustang; before we got him, he was on a stake, tied up on the side of a mountain.  I think he remembered that and wanted his own space.  Well, we don't have enough land so the horse can have his 15 acres to himself!  Or maybe the horse was just mean.

You can't put Jack donkeys in a pasture to guard the animals.  He will kill the babies, and run the animals sometimes.  We didn't know this, until we experienced problems, and then we read up about it.  Now we only use females to guard our herds.  Also, some people put a pair of donkeys in a pasture, to be company for each other.  Well, two of anything is a herd of its own, and it will be less likely to protect your herd if there is a problem.  Just use one Jenny, and she will make friends with your herd and everything will be fine.

Some years we have lost young calves, too.  No sign of them at all, just disappeared.  A professor at a local farm college told me that he had seen coyotes carry off calves.  Coyotes are a real problem around here.  At a pasture we rented this year, coyotes are a great big problem!  There has not been cows in that field in years, and it is very isolated.  The coyotes are so bad there, that the two cows and donkeys we put in to test the fence, busted out, and ran off.  Cows will get out, but they don't usually run off.  We have a photo of our cows at the local downtown restaurant.  They were out for about a week, and one cow turned crazy and had to be taken to the sale.  Hope we never have that happen again.

UPDATE to this story:  Husband said I forgot to tell you about the real Predator in this previous story.  The animal control man.  He was called by a neighbor when the cows were out, and began to chase them.  He chased them for six hours, and never caught them.  That is why the previously-good cow went crazy.  Oh, what a day that was.

nursing calf

Dogs can be a problem also.  They will chase animals until they can't run any more, then kill them.  That is why a lot of farmers carry guns. 

Owls are bad news on a farm.  They will kill and eat a lot of rodents, but they sometimes go after chickens and such also.  Husband killed one here in our hen house.  It was huge.  Its wing span was unbelievable.  His feet are still outside in our General Store. 

The last predator I am going to tell you about today is a hawk.  They will fly over, pick up small animals, and carry them off.  One day, I was in the yard.  I love Silkie chickens.  They are a "fancy" type of small chicken, and I think they are so pretty.  We keep ours in a separate pin, because they are smaller than regular chickens, and kind of delicate.  Well, I heard a ruckus in the silkie pin.  I headed that way, and I see a bird has swooped inside the pen somehow, and has a hold of a silkie.  The hawk is slinging my silkie around, banging it on the ground, and the silkie is screaming.  I take off running toward the pen (I really don't run as much as this article makes me sound).  In my head, I'm thinking,  "I really need a gun".  I yell, but all my children are inside and no one hears me, so it is me against the hawk.  I pick up a stick and get to the cage.  I beat on the pen and went to open the door.  The hawk let go of the chicken and flew out a hole in the roof.  I was so glad that he left, and my chicken was OK.  She just got up, shook herself off, and clucked to herself for a while. This is the reason people cover their chicken yards with netting or screen, so the hawks don't pick up the chickens or their baby chicks.  My husband said he would have paid a lot of money to see that event.

Well, I guess that is all the predator tales I can think of at the moment.  I read this to my oldest daughter, and she couldn't remember some of these stories.  She now wishes she doesn't remember the horse story!  Check back tomorrow and we'll think of something else to talk about.  Honey

Day 22 Donkeys

31 Days of Homestead Living!

Hello friends!  I have been unavailable for a few days.  Computer trouble.  But I hope that is all behind me now.  I was going to write about donkeys Saturday, so that is what I will do today.

My husband told me he wanted me to find a black male donkey to breed our Jennys to.  I put a notice on Craigslist, and you can imagine some of the responses!  But I got one email from a town about an hour from here.  They said they had one, free.  So my husband went to pick it up.  He got there, and there were two men there, and neither seemed to know how to catch the donkey!  There were also a mother and baby donkey.  My husband asked for a price, and that was not an easy decision to come to, either.  Finally they said they would take $150 for the two females.  We usually only pay $50 or less for a donkey, so since we were actually getting 3 for $150, my husband said he would do that.  They eventually got all three donkeys loaded and husband and his friend started for home.  The male donkey was dropped off at the pasture where our females were residing.  The older black female, turns out to be the male's mother, so they don't need to breed.  She and her daughter were brought here to our farm.  GrandBoy thinks she is so cute, and calls her his pony.  He wants to ride her.  We keep telling him he has to have patience.

On the farm we use donkeys to guard the animals.  But males can't be used with the herds, because they will chase and hurt the animals.  They are likely to kill the baby animals.  These new Jennys will be put with the sheep, goats, or cattle at different pastures.  The male will be sold or given away after his services are no longer needed!


Friday, October 19, 2012

Day 19 Wine Making

31 Days of Homestead Living!

Each year about this time we make wine with the juice we have produced during the year.  In years past we have made Blackberry, Grape, Peach, and Fruit Mixes.  I started out several years ago using the Welch's Concentrate Wine recipe on the web.  Since then, we have started to use our own fruit juices, but I still basically follow that recipe.


11.5 ounces of grape or blackberry juice
4 - 5 cups of sugar (depending on how strong you want it)
1/2 tsp dry yeast

Add enough water to dissolve sugar and yeast.
Put in Gallon jug and finish filling with water to about 1 inch from the top.

Put a heavy large balloon or surgical glove on fastened at top of jug with a rubber band

Set in warm place for about 6 weeks.  When balloon or glove goes down your wine is ready.  Wine should be checked each day, because sometimes the balloon bursts or comes off, and you have to get another one on quickly so the wine will make.  We usually put our wine in regular size bottles once done.  Everyone loves this.

Next weekend is the time we will probably be ready to bottle our wine.  Right now we have 11 gallons making ready.  After we bottle ours we usually wait a month or longer to drink any.  The longer you wait, the better it will be.

Good luck with your wine making!  Honey

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day 18 Pest Control

31 Days of Homestead Living!

Pest Control - Where do I start?  When you live on a farm, in the middle of 100 acres of cotton, there will be pests.  Some are not as bad as others.  Some you really don't want to think about. 

I recently decided to try hedge apples to deter pests such as bugs and spiders in my home.  I was told by a friend that you place them around your home, and the bugs don't like them and stay away or leave.  She cut her hedge apples into quarters and placed them in saucers, one in each corner of the room.  I wanted to put them in our basement mainly for crickets, and such.  I was planning to stop on the side of  local highway to pick some up.  I was in the process of trying to decide how many I should get, and what day to go when GrandBoy wouldn't be with me.  I didn't want to take GrandBoy because I would have to keep one hand on him, and try to pick up hedge apples with the other.  I guess this sounded like a dangerous trip to my husband, Pappy, so he surprised me with a bucket of them the next day!  I'll let you know in the spring if I notice any difference.

A problem I am having right now is with gnats!  I have never had a problem like this before.  I have tried making fly traps with vinegar, rotting fruit, paper funnels, and nothing works.  I have used these methods in the past and always had success!  I tried spraying them with hairspray (I heard they won't be able to fly, and would die),  but it didn't make a difference.  I searched and searched last week end, and finally found what was attracting them.  Rotten potatoes!  So I got rid of those.  I've never had that happen before in almost 30 years of marriage, either.  I guess you could say I've been a little distracted!  So I hope in the next week or so, the gnats that are here will die, if they are able to outlive my fly swatter!  If anyone has any idea to get rid of these pests, please let me know.

In early spring we always have ants come in the kitchen window, and sometimes the bathroom, too.  Those windows are on the same wall of the house.  The pest control man told me that ants will travel a long way to come in your house.  People put poison around their homes, but the ant hill may be a ways away.  So I try to put ant bait in the window sill.  We pour boiling water on the hills as we discover them around the house.  The best luck I have in killing them inside is to spray them with just anything.  Febreeze type product, glass cleaner, maybe water would do.  I haven't tried that yet.  But when I spray them, they die instantly.  I have a cleaning bottle marked "ant spray" in my kitchen, so no one will carry it off and clean with it.  It sits on the counter of the kitchen when we have the ant problem.

I buy all the rubber toy snakes I see at yard sales and thrift stores.  We put them on the car port, deck, and sun porch to keep the chickens and other birds from pooping where we spend time.  These rubber snakes also frighten the repair men who aren't expecting to see them!  Well, at the start of this summer, I started out the kitchen door and headed toward the dove cage.  A real, live snake was laying on the concrete.  It was striped and as long as my arm. The snake saw me and turned and started toward me.  I turned and started back toward the house for a broom or something.  I glanced back over my shoulder and the snake had turned away and was headed toward the cage again.  I couldn't see where it went.  I never found it.  GrandBoy found a green snake wound up in the screen door last week!  He started to grab it by the tail, but his Aunt yelled at him to stop!  They caught it and put it in a juice bottle to look at.  We usually don't have many snakes, because the chickens and guineas will eat them.  But snakes are good for killing mice and rats.

Speaking of mice and rats.  They have been bad, this year, too.  We see them in the yard, out in the open.  They are in the chicken and rabbit houses, and anywhere we store grain.  I think it is because we had such a mild winter.  But we also didn't have a cat this year.  Well, now we have two barn cats, and they are hunters.  So hopefully next year the mice will be history!  Just this week, I was expecting a gentleman to do some work at our home.  I went downstairs to our daughter's room, and there was a mouse.  I couldn't be sure if it was real or not, because it just sat there and looked at me.  I moved very slowly and grabbed a coffee cup.  I turned it upside down over the mouse, and he started to cry.  His tail was caught, but I didn't care!  I called my husband to remove it from the house before the repair man arrived.  Shew!  That was close.

The first year we lived here, my husband worked nights and I was home alone with the children in the evenings.  At that time we had one or two gopher rats!  They would only come out (or inside I guess) late at night.  A few times I would look down the hall and see one in the kitchen.  About the size of a miniature dog.  Once it stood on its back legs slowly and looked at me down the hall.  Pappy asked me what I did, and I said, "Nothing!  I stood and watched it to make sure it stayed down there!"  My husband said it sounded like it was old, since it moved so slowly.  One time I came in the kitchen, and there was one on the kitchen table eating an apple from the fruit bowl, like corn on the cob!  Husband looked around the outside of the farm house, and found an opening where the dryer ductwork vented to the outside.  He sealed that up, and we haven't had one since.  I'm glad they were outside when we sealed the hole!

When you live around livestock, flies are always a problem in the warmer months.  A few years ago, we found a product called "Predators".  Every few weeks, we get a box at the post office.  In it, is a zip lock bag with saw dust, and a bunch of black specks.  When we notice the specks starting to move, it is time to set the bag outside and open it up.  The black bugs, called Predators, eat flies.  We have found such a difference since we started using this product.  I don't know what kind of insect they are really, but they are great.  Each year we order more than the previous year.  I guess because we have more livestock.  The company said we needed to go two more cycles this fall, but we thought we had done enough and stopped.  Maybe that is why we have a gnat problem!  I believe we pay about $18 a shipment for Predators, and they are worth every penny!  Another thing we have tried with the flies are hanging zip lock bags with water near the doors.  I guess maybe some of you have seen these hanging outside country restaurants!  Some people think you should place a penny in the bag to reflect the light.  We stopped doing the bags since we have our Predators.  The Predators were originally used at horse farms, but now a lot of farms use them.  I would recommend them for anyone who wants to get rid of flies, farm or not.

Something else we have noticed a problem with this year is moles.  We never had them at this house before last year.  They dig tunnels in our yard.  My husband has set traps for them, but I don't know if he has caught any.  I also purchase some pellets for them that you pour down the hole.  The neighbors have had them for a while, so I guess it was inevitable they would come.

A different kind of pest we have from time to time is a crane visiting our pond.  My husband hates cranes because they eat our catfish!  But it is a federal lawn that you can't harm them.  So I ordered a metal crane decoy that stands on our dock to scare them away.  Now the crane just stays on the far side of the pond.  Mental note:  Buy another crane decoy.

I've talked about so many pest problems I bet some of you never move to a farm!  I just remembered I have a book my mama bought me a few years ago about homemade remedies for pests, made from pantry items.  I think I'll go look and see if they know how to get rid of gnats!  Honey

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Day 17 Harvesting Cactus

31 Days of Homestead Living!

This time of year, we pick our cactus balls.  I believe they are really called cactus pears.  When the pears turn dark purple they are ready to harvest and use.  In the past, I juiced them on my stove.  This involves making a juicer from several bowls and a double boiler.  This year, I think I will simmer them on the stove to soften them up.  Then my husband can juice them in our fruit juicer on the carport.  Husband thinks they are too big and tough to juice that way from the start.

GrandBoy helping make juice

Then I can the juice.  This juice is very bright red and pretty.  We drink it.  It is suppose to be great and helps with many health problems, including joint pain.  Another thing we have done is use the juice to make jelly.  I heard that this is good to do for Christmas gifts because the color is so pretty and holidayish.  I have heard of people making wine with the juice.  I won't be surprised if my Husband tries this, too.

The leaves of the cactus are also edible.  These are called paddles.  I can't seem to find out how to process them or use them in recipes.  So I haven't done anything with ours before.  I understand they are cooked somewhat like green beans.  Sliced and diced into smaller pieces.  But they can be slimy like okra, so you have to know how to prepare them.  One day I will find someone who knows what to do, and I will learn.

Now that I think about it, I think the blooms are edible, too.  So I guess just about all the cactus parts are edible.  The blooms can be fried and used in other dishes.

Cattle also like cactus.  If I don't plan to do anything with our cactus pears, we dump them out in the pasture for the cows.  We will also see the cows nibble the paddles, if there are any within reach! 

So now you have a quick tutorial in using cactus to feed your family.  I often see big cactus patches in someone's yard, and am tempted to stop and ask if I can pick the pears.  I haven't done that yet, though.  But you can usually get cactus to plant in your yard for free.  And I hate to waste items I can use to feed my family for free.  We also have some cactus that is spineless.  We would like to get more of this growing and phase out the other type of cactus. 

In case you were wondering, you pick the cactus pears with some sort of long tool, and you probably should wear gloves.  I use long bar b q tongs.  Then you singe the spines off  the cactus pears.  At this point you would be ready to juice them.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.  Honey 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day 16 - Growing Vegetables in Winter

31 Days of Homestead Living!

Today I want to talk to you about continuing your gardening season into the winter months.  About two years ago, my husband built us a greenhouse.  It has a gas heater inside, and I can move my house plants in there over the winter.  My houseplants spend the summer outside in the rock garden.  They used to winter in front of the french doors in the den.  But then GrandBoy came along, and that plan didn't work anymore.  Then I moved them to the bathroom.  That worked OK, but it was like a jungle in there.

We love the greenhouse.  Last year we tried planting some onions and garlic in their in the spring, and it did well.  This year, just before the Co-op stopped selling garden plants, I bought two tomato plants.  We love fresh tomatoes, and I decided to see if I could plant these in the green house and have a few tomatoes over the winter.  We don't need a lot over the winter months, but one or two a week for sandwiches and salads would be great!  Husband planted them for me, so I will keep you posted on that project. 

I also want to plant some lettuce, spinach, and maybe pots of herbs.  I'm going to move some of the Stevia in there.  Probably will do a few onions.  I'd like some radish, too.  I love radishes!  I looked through my seed stash and found some cabbage, swiss chard, and broccoli.  Those might be good to try so they would be ready in the spring.  I bought some pete pots, about 30, at another rummage sale this summer.  So I'll use those to get started.  I'll let you know if the greenhouse idea works for growing vegetables, not just starting seedlings.

Our greenhouse, under construction!

Another way you can grow some greens this winter is with sprouts.  There are several different seeds you can use to grow sprouts.  I have broccoli and radish seeds to sprout.  I purchased mine at the health food store.  We use the sprouts in salads, sandwiches, and maybe in scrambled eggs.  We like them.  Maybe you would, too.  You can purchase a fancy set up to grow sprouts, or you can use a quart canning jar or two.  We use canning jars.  At a rummage sale this summer, I picked up a set of special lids to use with canning jars to grow sprouts.  I'm going to try it out and see if I like it better than the net and canning ring I use currently.  I normally don't do much sprouting during the summer months.  There are other greens we can use in our diet.  But I always turn to sprouts in the fall and winter months.

I have read recently about other vegetables and fruits you can grow from your kitchen.  I would like to try some of these ideas.  I believe that green onions and celery are on the list.  also some pineapple and avocado.  I don't know if avocado will make fruit, or just a decorative plant.  I'm going to look over this and try some this fall.

These are just a few ideas that I am looking into.  I would like to be able to skip the salad items in the produce section of my grocery store this winter.  Local is always better to me, and free is best of all!  Let me know if you have tried any of these ideas.  I look forward to hearing your stories.  Honey

Monday, October 15, 2012

Day 15 - Alternative Ways to Make Money on Your Homestead

31 Days of Homestead Living!

Today I am going to share with you ways to make money with your homestead.  These are not ways to get rich, just ways to make a little money while you are doing everything else.  Sometimes it takes putting lots of different things put together to support a family.  We have collected these ideas, tried some of them, or plan to try them when we slow down and have more time.

1.  Farm tours - I really have wanted to do this for about 10 years.  We will do this when I retire.  Home school families come often and ask if they can look around.

2.  Sell vegetables and other items from farmers market booths or road side stands in your yard

3.  Eggs:  sell what you have extra.  We carry ours to church

4.  Sell manure -  from any farm animal.  People ask for this often

5.  Worm farming for fishing

6.  Sell small animals from your home.  Chickens, ducks, goats, sheep, rabbits, calves, just about anything

7.  Board animals such as horses, dogs and cats

8.  Sell shares of calves, pigs, vegetable boxes, etc.  People could go halves or quarters on pigs or calves.  Vegetables boxes:  Get 10 people to pay you in advance to have vegetables all summer.  If you sold 10 shares for $200, you would get $2000 in advance.  Take them a box of fresh items every two weeks, or however you wanted to do it.

9.  Board calves to grow off.  Someone might want fresh beef, but not want to pay the price of organic meat.  Or maybe they don't have anywhere to raise the calf themselves.  They could buy a calf at the sale, and you raise it and drop off at the butcher for them.

10. Make and sell cheese

11. Milk - for human consumption if your state allows, or for animal use

12. Bake and sell pies, etc

13. Bake bread for others

14. Take orders for holiday baking: cakes, pies, cookies

15. Gift wrap during the holidays

16. Put together large gifts for others during the holidays  (Bikes, swingsets, etc)

17. Holiday decorating services

18. House cleaning

19. Day fishing passes

20. Sell fish, vegetables, herbs, deserts to restaurants

21. Collect seeds to sell

22. eBay for yourself or others

23. Sell wool from rabbits, sheep, goats for yarn

24. Sell feathers (guineas, peacocks)

25. Sell fruit or nuts you grow or collect

26. Canning for others

27. Take in laundry, ironing, mending

28. Collect and sell hedge apples to use as bug repellent

29. Sell dinners for freezer meals

30. Have classes for any skill you know:  canning, herbs, wine making, etc

31. Have bed and breakfast weekends, they pay to work on your farm with you

32. Summer camps

33. Rent out farm for weddings, rehearsal dinners, company picnics, events, birthday parties, churches

34. Let photographers use your place for photo shoots

35. Rent animals to photographers for Holiday shoots:  rabbit and sheep for Easter

36. Cooking classes

37. Salvage metal

38. Sell vases to florists.  There is a local florist that buys any and all vases for fifty cents each.  They say they pay that at the thrift stores, and will pay that to anyone else who has some to sell.  If you have them to get rid of, may be worth it to try.  Might could pick up at yardsales.

39. Collect children's clothes, toys and equipment to sell at kids consignment sales twice a year.  Some sales here also take womens, mens, and household items

40. Sell garden seedlings

41. Sell small trees

42. Sell hunting leases

43. Offer shopping and errand service

44. Pet or house sitting

45. Sell yard sale spots in your yard for those who have nowhere to have a sale

46. I have heard ladies collect dogwood berries to plant and then sell trees in cups.  Could also do this with acorns, I guess. 

47. Tutor

48. Typing services and resumes.  I have done this for 20 years.  I don't advertise anymore, but people still call occasionally.

49. Pick your own _________ stands.  If you grow something you can do this, berries, apples, etc.

50.  Sell recipes

51.  Write an ebook

52.  I have companies that will buy books, used ink cartridges, cell phones, and a few other items from me.  I just collect a few, and send them in at one time.  They mail me a check.  With the books, I type in the number on the back, and the company tells me what they will pay, if anything.  The book company pays for shipping.

53. Internet surveys

54.  Coupon for savings, then sell extra purchases to others

55.  Sell get some bees and sell your honey

This is what I can think of tonight.  I'm sure there are others, and I will update as I have time.  Honey

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Day 14 - Sheep and Goats

31 Days of Homestead Living!

We have a small herd of sheep and goats.  We sell sheep and goats to people who come to our house to buy them.  We also butcher a couple each year for our own family use.  Mostly we have sheep because I think baby sheep are the cutest thing in the whole world.  Nothing is cuter that a baby sheep.  So we started out with three.

The sheep were suppose to be two females and one male.  I named them Mary, Martha, and Lazarus (from the Bible, of course).  We after two years, Lazarus had not done his job, and we had no baby lambs.  We got another male sheep, and planned to take Lazarus to the sale the next time we went.  Well, one day we get up, and we have a baby sheep!  The cutest thing ever.  A few days later we get up, and we have another baby sheep.  A few days later, I hear my husband yelling for me.  I go outside to see what the commotion is about.  Husband says, "Beauty, you better call the papers, Lazarus just had a baby!"  Lazarus was mistakenly found to be a girl, and her life was saved!  The reason no one knew Lazarus was a girl is because sheep are very wild!  Or at least ours are.  When we take them to the sale, the workers comment on how calm ours are, but my husband can't stand them because you can't do anything with them.  But anyway that is our cute story about getting started with sheep.  Sheep bring better money than goats at the sale.  They are a lot easier to raise too.  They pretty much take are of themselves, don't get sick, and give birth by themselves.  Very low maintenance.  Each year my husband takes a load of sheep and goats to the sale about this time of year, and I use my sheep money to pay for Christmas.  Husband decided a few weeks ago that he was going to the goat sale this Friday.  So we will be getting the sheep and goats together this week to sell.

Our sheep and one goat

GrandBoy moving a just born baby goat

We have 15 sheep currently, and plan to take six to the sale.  We have 12 goats, and Husband plans to sell one or two.  Everything else we have taken to the sale has gone for an extremely high price lately.  We'll see if the sheep and goats are the same.

Another way people make money with sheep is to sell their wool.  But our sheep are "hair" sheep, so their hair can't be used for weaving, etc. 

We do well with goats, too, but goats are more "hands on".  Goats get sick easier, and go down faster.  They get worms, and other sicknesses and just go down fast.  You have to be careful when you bring new animals into your herd.  If it is sick, it can make all the others sick.  So after you get started, you might consider buying from the same people again if you had good luck before.  Now we don't usually have to purchase animals, we replace out of our own births.

Well, I guess that is all for tonight.  The weather is bad here, and being so rural, I never know when things will go down.

Thanks for stopping by!  Honey

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Day 13 Stevia

Welcome back to our farm.  I missed being with you yesterday.  Just got busy, I guess.  Husband wasn't feeling good, and I helped him out with chores more than usual.  Sorry about that!

Today's post will be short.  I wanted to tell you about my quest to have natural sweeteners at a more affordable price.  This year I have cut our use of white sugar in half.  My husband is diabetic.  So he really needs to watch what he eats. 

The thing that we use sugar in the most, is sweet tea.  We have gone from 2 cups of sugar in a gallon of tea, to 1 cup.  But I still wanted to do more to help my husband watch his health.  I decided to try some of the natural sweeteners.  We like Stevia.  I use probably a fourth a cup of Stevia and a half cup of sugar.  That works well for us.  I have also tried Zylitol.  It measures the same at sugar, so we use a half cup of each.

I saw Stevia plants at the coop this spring.  I was fascinated with them, and bought two.  I went home and read about what to do with the plants, and how to harvest them.  After I read how easy it was, I went back and bought the rest of the plants the store had, about eight total.  I called around the area, but no one else had gotten any in.

What you do is just let the plant grow.  When the first frost is about to appear, you pull up the whole plant, and hang it up to dry.  When the leaves are dry, you crumble them up, and you have your stevia.  You can use a dehydrator during this process if you like.

Today I thought about our plants and went outside and picked some leaves.  I chewed one, and couldn't believe how sweet it was.  I think this will work great!  I got my family to try them, and they were surprised, too!  One of the plants is flowering, so I think I will try to get some seeds for next year.

I also tried to plant some sugar beets, which can be used for sugar replacement, but they didn't do so well. 

I will definitely try this again.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Day 11 - Cotton Picking Time

31 Days of Homestead Living!

No, we don't grow cotton.  Although, I am the first generation in my family not to pick cotton.  My Grandmother told me that my mother didn't "HAVE to pick cotton".  If you are southern, you know how that statement should sound when spoken out loud!  My Grandmother sharecropped cotton fields (as a young married woman) around the house they lived in till they passed on.  That was how they got the money to purchase their home.  When they moved there, the house was in the country.  But now, it is deep in "downtown".

My Grandmother lived with us a while before she passed away.  This time of year, she would look at the cotton and remember all the stories from her childhood.  She told me her last Autumn here, that she wished she could go out there and pick cotton again.  So I called the farmers around our fields and asked if we could do that.  They didn't care, they knew we wouldn't pick much.  But my Grandmother was embarrassed, and wouldn't go.  I wish we had.

The farmers try to pick all the cotton before it gets wet.  They don't want it to get rained on, because that lowers the value or quality.  I remember one year, friends of ours picked cotton on Christmas day!

We used to own a child care facility.  In the fall, we would take the children outside and take their photos in the cotton field next door.  I think cotton waiting to be picked is pretty.  I have some cotton in a vase, sitting on my kitchen table at home, that GrandBoy picked for me.  Must be a Southern thing.

We live on 15 acres of a 100 acre farm.  The farm was divided about 15 years ago at an auction.  We have the home place and 15 acres and a pond that we use for cows.  The rest of the place (that doesn't belong to us) is in cotton.  I will remind you that most of the pasture we use is not attached to where we live.  Anyway, it is cotton picking time here.  First, the planes used to fly over to spray the stuff that makes the leaves die on the cotton plants.  This got on our cars, and all over everything.  My husband said they don't do that anymore here.  They use sprayer tractors.  Then when the foliage is nice and brown, the cotton picker machine comes to pick the cotton.  My GrandBoy could sit outside all day and watch them work. 

Then the cotton gets carried to the gin, which happens to be across the field from our home.  There the cotton is made into bales, and the seed and trash is separated out.  I guess the seed is sold.  I know it is passed out to school children who tour the gin!  Then the trash is pushed into big piles, and farmers buy it to feed their cows and other livestock.

We watch as the lot adjacent to the gin fills up with cotton waiting to be ginned. Some years there is so much cotton that they have to park some of it in a field down the road. GrandBoy and I are sad when all the cotton is gone.

I will attach photos tonight.  Honey

UPDATE:  This afternoon when I got home, the cotton picking had started!  And like I said, GrandBoy couldn't wait for them to get close enough so we could watch!  I went back outside about 10:00 tonight, and they were STILL picking.  Four large tractors with headlights, trying to beat the rain!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day 10 - Just Do It

31 Days of Homestead Living!

Hi!  Welcome back to our farm.  Today's post is not going to be what I planned.  It is just something I felt was appropriate to cover.  Everyone has days that they don't feel like doing anything.  Days where you just want to go back to bed.  That is kind of the day I had. I received sad news about one of my children.  But when you have a farm, all this just doesn't matter.  You have to do "it" anyway. 

The animals all need to be fed and watered.  The eggs need to be gathered.  The hay needs to be put out.  My husband has to go and check the pastures at other places where we have cows and make sure they are all cared for.  Even if I get bad news, and just want sit down and ignore the world, I still have things that have to be done.  This is not just our home where the laundry can sit in baskets.  It is an investment.  Of money as well as our time and life.  And sometimes we have to be bigger than we want to be.  I may be able to get my family to eat frozen pizza for dinner if I don't feel like cooking, but the cows don't care for it.  Sometimes we have to remember Nike, and "Just do it". 

Our family

Monday, October 8, 2012

Day 9 - Alternative Feed Sources for Cattle

31 Days of Homestead Living!

Hi!  I'm so glad to be able to tell you that the cows all stayed in their pastures today!   No calls of cows out.  What a blessing.  I did get a phone call that Husband was stuck somewhere and his truck wouldn't start.  But other than that, it was a great day.

I thought I would talk about some alternative ways we have fed our cattle and other livestock in the past. 

We used to go to the day-old bread stores and buy what was called “feed bread”. I would fill my car completely full, and you would not be able to see out. It was like $.50 a tray, all kinds of breads, rolls, cakes, etc. It was suppose to be only feed quality for animals, but I did pull stuff out to feed my family. We did this a lot for the rabbits, ducks, and pigs. Any animal just about will eat bread. But after a while, a large farmer started paying in advance and picking up all the bread, in large trucks. Us little people don’t get it much any more. I don’t even go try.

Another thing we have done. Here where we live, some of the farms have “Pumpkin Patches” where the kids can come and pick pumpkins, for a price. The local one buys rabbits from us for their petting zoo. We have paid them in November after they close, to go in the fields and pick pumpkins, like $5 a pick-up truck load. Last year, they said they would have given them to us, but I asked the day after they tilled them under! I’m not going to be shy this yea.  I'm going to make a point to ask sooner!

A friend we share a pasture with, goes to the cotton gin and busy the cotton “trash”. Seeds, hulls, etc. The cows LOVE it, and eat as much as you will give them. We mix this with their feed.  It is good to put weight on the cows.

We also feed them the left overs from the garden, and the corn stalks, etc.

We order our feed now, and it gets delivered in a truck.  We have to have a feed wagon to have it loaded into.  Some people get feed mix with candy in it.  It is cheap and puts weight on the cows.  Ordering feed this way is an investment, but it is cheaper than buying it by the bag at the local feed store.

We also sometimes buy "year old" hay.  We haven't had a problem having our own hay the last few years.  But some years we run short.  So we do buy hay, and don't mind buying last year's if it is in good condition and the price is right.

Thanks for stopping by!  Honey

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Day 8 - The Cows are Out

31 Days of Homestead Living

Hello, welcome to our farm.  Today I am going to talk about something I dread more than almost anything.  The phone call where someone tells me we have cows out.  We rent a lot of pasture for our cattle.  All over the county.  So when someone calls to tell me the cows are out, I have to be certain to find out which pasture they are referring to, and try to find out how many cows are out. Sometimes its a good idea to ask what color the cows are.  Because more than once we have been called about cows being out that weren't ours. 

We've had calls of the same cows being out for four days in a row now.  And that pasture is about 45 minutes from where we live.  And it is not just one cow out, but all of them.  It is very annoying when this happens, and it takes up a lot of time, as well.  Usually cows get out in the spring, so this is a little unusual.  But I'm sure my husband will figure out the problem and fix it.

Once someone came down our driveway, and told us they thought some of our cows were at their house, across a cotton field from us.  When I got to their home, there were a bull, two female cows, a bull calf, and a donkey there that belonged to us.  The bull went through our fence and walked to their house because their cows were in season.  The rest of the crew followed.  I'm sure they looked like some odd parade walking in a row to the next farm!  They just opened their gate and the crew just walked right in. 

I used to have to leave work if we got a call and I couldn't reach any of my family by phone.  But now my husband is retired, so I can usually find him, and he will take care of the problem.

We have signs on all our fences giving our phone number in case cattle get out of the fence. 

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Come back to see me soon.  Honey

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Day 7 - Raising Chickens

31 Days of Homestead Living!

Today was a cool day for us here.  I know some people have already had snow, but in the South 50 degrees is cool! 

When we first moved to the farm, we get some young chickens.  We raised them in our basement until they were large enough to be outside.  We've had chickens ever since!

We had about 20 chickens earlier this year, but predators got most of them.  Now we have about seven.  We were getting about three dozen eggs a week.  Now maybe half a dozen.  We need to get some more laying hens, but I just haven't had time.  My husband wants to get another rooster, too, because he misses their crowing!

We love having our own eggs.  We sell a few along the way, too.  In the summer when we have too many eggs, we freeze them to use in the winter.  There are several different ways to do this.  Some people just put the eggs in a freezer bag and place it in the freezer.  Some break the eggs into ice trays, one in each space.  Then they freeze.  When frozen, the place frozen egg squares in a zip lock bag.  Some say you should press the egg through a sieve, to keep them from getting tough.  So I guess you have to try the one that sounds best to you.  We haven't tried them all yet, so I can't give you a good opinion yet.

We also butcher our older birds for the freezer.  But my husband hates to clean chickens, so we don't order chicks for meet.

Some people are very picky about what they feed their chickens.  We buy laying feed for the chickens.  But I feed them all the left overs, all the stuff I take out when cleaning the fridge.  It is really great that you could keep a few chickens, feed them your scraps, and have eggs for free!  Chickens love tomatoes.  If you have a garden, and the chickens run loose, they will peck the tomatoes.  They also like strawberries, and they love cucumbers.  I give our chickens all the cucumbers from our garden that get too large and turn yellow.  I slice them down the middle, and throw them in the chicken yard.  They love them.

Our hens at feeding time.

We buy chick starter feed for our little ones when they first arrive.  You must keep the chicks under a heat lamp and make sure they have plenty of water. 

Hope you stop back by tomorrow!  Thanks - Honey

Friday, October 5, 2012

Day 6 - Raising Rabbits for Meat and Money

31 Days of Homestead Living!

Today I want to talk about raising rabbits.  I was at a farm meeting at a local college a few years ago.  At that class they discussed ways small farms could make money during their off seasons.  They mentioned that rabbits could be raised for little money, with little space.  The rabbit cages could even be built single space along the edge of your fields, and not take up a lot of room needed for your main money crops.

I went home and told my husband about what I'd learned.  We began to look at it a little, but not really seriously.  We had always had a rabbit or three since our girls were little.  But the rabbits raised for meat are different.  There are several types but most are all white.  They grow larger and are heavier, and they grow quickly.  We started buying a few rabbits here and there.  Then I read about a rabbit farm that was going out of business in the next county.  My husband gave his blessings, and I bought all their cages, rabbits, feed, and what ever else they had.  I think I paid $400.  We were in the rabbit business!

Our state had a group then who would buy the meat rabbits live and take them to the slaughter house.  We got paid per rabbit.  A large truck made a route and would meet farmers to pick up the rabbits.  Then a few years ago the slaughter house was taken out by a hurricane.  So that kind of slowed down and never really got off the ground again.  We still grow our rabbits.  We butcher them for our own needs.  We sell to the public live rabbits.  These people come to our house and knock on our door to see what we have for sale that day.  We sell live rabbits at Easter time.  And we sell rabbits to petting zoos, and other situations like that.

People love to come and see them.  They stop by and look at how we have ours set up so they will know how to raise them too.  Rabbit meat is like chicken.  It is very lean and healthy.  Rabbit is a popular fresh meat to purchase where we live because the international population is higher than in outer towns.

There are other ways to make money while growing rabbits.  You can sell the manure.  Some people use the manure and raise worms to sell.  Some people sell the furs, and some sell the wool to be woven and spun for yarn.

Rabbits can't be too hot or they won't breed.  We keep heaters on them in the winter when needed, and fans on them in the summer most of the time.  We buy rabbit feed at the feed store, but we feed them other things as well.  They can eat the same feed as the cattle if we need them to.  We give them hay, grass, vegetable and fruits, what ever we have.  They love bread.  They are not really picky.  If a rabbit stops eating, he probably doesn't have any water. 

Rabbits are very quiet, small, and non-destructive.  I've known people to raise them in their garage in neighborhoods that didn't allow pets.  Lot's of people are interested in independent living now.  Rabbits are a meat source anyone can raise.  That is why I became interested at first.  I knew if anything happened to my husband, I could raise rabbits myself.  I may not be able to tend the cows alone, but I could do this!  I know that we will never get rich off rabbits.  It's just another piece of the puzzle.  Another thing we put together to support our family.

We let our rabbits run free in fenced areas at times.  Rabbits are great editions to your homestead.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Day 5 - Storing Vegetables in a "Root Cellar"

31 Days of Homestead Living!

We extend our season of eating fresh fruits and vegetables by storing them in our home in a cool dark place.  We don't really have a root cellar, but we do have a basement.  In our basement, I have stored whole pumpkins and watermelons.  They will store for a few months before getting soft or going bad.  We store sweet potatoes and white potatoes in barrels or tubs.  These need to be checked regularly.  Currently I have several butternut squash in a basket with newspaper placed between them.  This was our first year to grow this type of squash, and it grew great here.  We are enjoying having the option of eating these items for a longer season.

Strings of pepper hanging to dry

I have strings of peppers drying downstairs.  And garlic hanging to harden.  Most of the time I have herbs hanging to dry.  A friend of ours buys apples from the local orchard every year.  He wraps several in newspaper, puts them in a brown paper grocery bag, and he has fresh apples to eat for Christmas dinner.
Another friend tells me that one year his family picked tons of pears.  The wife loves pears. They, too wrapped them in newspaper.  But then placed the pears in a cardboard box and put it in a dark closet.  They say that winter, they ate fresh pears till spring! 

Green tomatoes waiting to ripen, and garlic hanging to harden

I think other vegetables like carrots, turnips, or onions could be stored this way, too.  One year I had baskets of pecans and walnuts sitting everywhere till they could be shelled.  I bet you have a cool dark place you could store some fresh food!  Honey

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Day 4 - Producing our own Food

31 Days of Homestead Living!

In our home, we try to produce as much of our food as possible.  Over time, I have decided that it is healthier for my family if we can eat our meals from food made with ingredients as close to natural as possible.  This means we raise our own meats:  beef, goats, sheep, pork, chicken, rabbit, duck, goose, and turkey.  We have our own catfish pond. 

Canned mushroom soup cooling
We grow our own dairy:  eggs, and part of the year we have our own goat's milk to drink and use for cheese.  My husband gifted me with two dairy cows earlier in the year.  We hope they will calf in the spring, and we will have our own milk. 

Pears waiting to be canned

We grow most of our own fruits and vegetables.  If we don't grow something ourselves, we look for a local source to purchase it.  I really believe in the 100 mile diet.  Everything you eat should be grown within 100 miles of where you live.  Recently I was blinded by a chain grocery store that had produce so cheap!  They sold bags of kiwi for .85 cents, pears and apples for less than any store in town.  They even had pineapples and coconuts for $.99 each!  But when I got home and looked closer, the kiwi were from Costa Rica!  I don't want to eat food grown on the other side of the world if I can help it!  So we try hard to eat local.

We plant a large garden each year.  We have some things we grow each year (like tomatoes and peppers).  Others I make lists, and decide what I really need to plan to put up for our family that year.  When all the girls lived at home, we put up most of our food  in quart jars, and would you two jars of spaghetti sauce at a dinner!  Now there are three of us some nights.  I'm canning some of the vegetables in jelly jars or pints, because we don't need a quart of something very often now. 

When I shop for groceries, I have a list.  The list has been in progress since the last time I left the store.  My daughter works in a grocery store.  We get a discount of 10% on the store brands every day.  On holiday weeks, we get a discount of 20%.  I try to stock up as much as I can, on the items we use, during the holiday sales.  The rest of the time, I just buy what we need.  I shop the outside of the store, purchasing the fresh foods and perishables.  I start in produce.  I always check first to see what has been marked down, and purchase it.  I usually purchase all that they have that we can use.  We will eat it first, and can or freeze the left overs.  This past year I bought 30 bags of baby carrots marked down to .75 each.  I canned them in pint jars, and we still have a few jars.  GrandBoy loves carrots.  I also buy mushrooms when I see them marked down.  I can some to put over meats.  But a lot I use to make and can cream of mushroom soup.  We never buy the canned soup at the store.  This soup is so good, I can eat it plain!  Each year we can our own spaghetti sauce, pickles, relish, tomatoes, salsa, green beans, pintos, corn, peas, fruits, etc.  I will share more about this later in the month.

Shelled white beans

So I start in the produce section.  Next I go to the organic area.  I check the mark downs.  The I go to the grocery mark down section.  Next I skip the meat department and go to the dairy side.  We buy the dairy items we don't make ourselves.  Dairy is a large part of our budget.  Next I go to the deli department and look at what is marked down.  I pick up deli pizzas, chicken salad, breads, and what ever else has been reduced to a good price.  Now I stop and look at my list to see if there are any items we need from the center of the store.  Then I am done. 

We don't buy any paper products except toilet tissue and female products.  I don't buy many cleaning supplies either.  I make my own laundry detergent, fabric softener, wrinkle spray, and stain treatment.  I do purchase dryer sheets, but I split them to make the last longer.

We buy tea bags, coffee, sugar, cornmeal, flour, and spices.  We buy tortillas and sandwich bread.  We buy mayonaise, mustard, and ketchup.  I'm sure there are other things we buy, but not a lot.  

I will talk about different areas of our food purchases later this month.  Thanks for stopping by!  Honey

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day 3 - Insurance

31 Days of Homestead Living!

Hello!  Welcome back to our farm.  Today I'm going to talk about a topic that many of you may find boring.  But it is very important when you need it!  That topic is insurance!

Our barn

There are so many types of insurance you may need when you have a farm.  Everyone needs medical and auto insurance.  In our state auto insurance is mandatory now.  I guess medical coverage is about to be that way as well.  What about homeowners coverage?  Coverage for your tractors and farm equipment?  How about liability in case your cow walks out in front of a car?  What about if you let people come on your property and buy vegetables, and they fall?  Are you covered for that?

Our home

One of the most important types of insurance to have is homeowners.  If you have a bank loan to purchase your home or farm, your bank will require you to have homeowners insurance.  You can subtract the value of the land from the loan amount, and only insurance the value of the home itself, not the total loan amount.  But some banks will make you maintain a certain percentage of the loan value until the loan is paid off.  In April of 2011,  we were hit by a tornado.  We were involved in another tornado in March of 2012.  The 2011 tornado caused damage to our home.  Roof damage, loss of all the floor covering in our home, some furniture and appliances, as well as downed trees and rubbish removal.  Our insurance policy covered a portion of the costs we incurred.  Everyone thinks insurance covers 100% of your property value, and that is not true.  We carry a high deductible to make our insurance coverage more affordable.  We feel  we will be able to come up with a $2,500 deductible, to have lower yearly premiums.  We try to avoid filing insurance claims of any sort.  We live in an older farm house.  Insurance pays better for new home damage than it does for older homes.  Our insurance company wrote us a check for $8,000 to cover our damages.  The SBA would have allowed us $22,000 for our damages.  So you see there is quite a difference there.  None the less, we were pleased to get the check, and used it to help patch our roof and cover our floors.

Our premiums on the farm policy are outrageous.  The main reason they are so high is because we are half a mile off the road (I know you all are getting tired of hearing me say that), which means we are at least a half mile from a fire hydrant.  We have a large pond in our front yard, and the fire fighters have acknowledged  they would use that water to fight a fire at our home if necessary.  But our insurance company won't recognize this fact.  If we were on county water, we could  "buy" a fire hydrant of our own and have it placed back here, and our premiums would go from about $1,200 a year to $350 a year.  But the price of a fire hydrant is a couple of thousand dollars, so we will wait.

GrandBoy, Pappy, and our new tractor

We discovered a new insurance need about a year ago:  tractor insurance.  We had always paid cash for our farm equipment, but a year ago, my husband came across a great deal for a larger John Deere tractor we could use during hay season.  We got it (with the help of our local bank), but the bank required that the tractor have an insurance policy naming the bank as the loss payee.  We tried to explain that our current policy covered our farm equipment, but they wanted our tractor listed separately, to them.  We finally got that worked out without buying another policy.

Some of our cattle

Our farm policy does cover us for liability if a farm animal walks in front of a vehicle, or causes other property damage.  Even at the pastures we rent that are not attached to our farm.  Our state does not require this coverage, but it is nice to know we are covered, none the less.  We have had people drive through our fences several times.  A couple of times someone has hit a cow in the road.  Once a man had been drinking when he hit our cow, and he did try to get us to fix his car.  He said he only had liability insurance, that the law required, but it wouldn't fix his car.  I told him I was sorry, but the law didn't require me to have insurance on my cow.  Our state feels an animal walking in front of a car is like an act of God.  And for the record, never, has anyone who has driven through a fence, come back to pay us.  Or stayed to help try to round up cows in the dark.

If someone came on our property to buy a cow or maybe some eggs, and they fell and got hurt, it would be covered under our liability on our homeowners policy.  But if I start allowing groups of people to come on our farm for tours and someone falls off a hay wagon, I will probably need some type of additional policy.  And I'd be afraid to price it.

GrandBoy on the hay wagon

Another insuranc coverage used on farms is crop insurance.  We don't raise crops, so I don't know anything about it.  If you are thinking about raising a crop, call your farm insurance office for more information.

Stop back by tomorrow.  No telling what you'll learn!  Honey