Watermelon update ☺️

There are two!!!!

A cantaloupe tooo!!!

The peppers are doing good

Tomatoes in greenhouse doing well

We have grapes as well!!!

Ducks in their new home

New projects

There's never a shortage of stuff to do.  I will probably start a few projects in the next few days. I will be building a garbage storage box and a wood shed.

I'm tired of putting the garbage in our tool shed. Sometimes it leaks and it often smells up the place. I'm planning on building a 48" wide wooden bin with a hinged lid and ventilated sides. 

 

The second construction project will be a little bit bigger as I will be building a woodshed with a roof. 

We are suppose to have a very cold winter as far as what the farmers almanac is predicting. We will likely burn 4-5 chords of wood minimum.  That's a lot of pieces of firewood that has to be carried into the house. The current location where the wood would be stacked is not ideal. I am hoping to build the woodshed closer to the house for convenience. 

 

So what's a bush cord anyways?

 

A bush cord is 128 cubic feet. 4ft x 4ft x 8ft. A face cord is 1/3 that size as it is 4ft x 8ft x16". A bush cord split and delivered is about $220. 

Bush cord

BTUs of various fuels

A BTU is a British thermal unit and it is the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of 1 gallon of water 1degree F. 

 

To compare various heating fuels you need to consider how much the fuel costs per unit, how many BTU are available per unit and also the efficiency of the furnace etc.  

 

Hardwood provides 24,000,000 btu per cord. 

 

Fuel oil provides 36,000 btu per litre  

 

Propane provides 24,000 btu per litre 

 

Electricity provides 3,413 btu per kWh. 

 

We now have to price out these fuels. 

 

To be continued...

 

OK I'm taking a break from some chores and thought I would do some calculations to compare heating fuel sources. 

Burning one cord of hardwood produces 24,000,000 BTU of energy. That cord cost $220. 

Doing some math shows that 1Million BTU would cost $9.17

 

We calculate per million BTU to 

make it the same across the board.  

 

Propane cost about $37 per million btu (MBTU)

 

Fuel oil works out to $28/MBTU

 

Electricity is the most expensive at $44/MBTU even though electricity to heat conversion is 100% efficient. 

 

Heating with wood is the most cost effective. It is also the most work lol. 

If you are going to heat with wood one of the best stoves is a Blaze King. They are made in BC. 

Another good one is a Pacific Energy. They too are very efficient. 

Be sure to check that the chimney is clean and ready for use before the cold weather comes. Also, does the door on your wood stove need a new gasket?  If you have an airtight wood stove and air is getting in through a poorly sealed door you will burn a lot more wood.

Free range ducks!

Topsoil delivered!

Some landscaping

I did a bit of bartering with some solar gear for some topsoil. Both parties got what they hoped. All good  😊.

I have to do a bit of landscaping around the duck pen as I'm hoping some grass and weeds will grow. Yes weeds too. The ducks will be allowed to free range outside their pen during the day when we're home. I also needed a bit of topsoil for inside the pen to spread on top of the hardware cloth. (that job is just about done). With the remainder I plan to make another small garden or add on to the fenced in garden. 

Today might be the day....

...that the ducks start sleeping outside!

The ducks have been spending most of the day outdoors but they come inside in the evening. That's all about to change. Yayyyyy 🙂

Their new home is almost finished. I built a new door for the duck pen on Saturday and got the inside ready for the installation of the fencing along the bottom. It should be weasel proof by the end of the day. 

My wife has asked many times if they could still come in at night even after their outside home is complete..... wow 😳 

After many discussions I agreed to bring them inside in the winter only if we are having a severe nor'easter. A nor'easter is an intense winter storm (blizzard) usually with 100-120 km winds and 30-45cm of snow. 

Hardware cloth seals off the bottom

Koda's hurt paw

About 4 weeks ago Koda started licking one of her paws more than normal. I checked it out and there was a red spot that looked like a small cut possibly, between her toes. She's been licking it too often and a few days ago she started to limp favouring that paw. When I went to have a closer look at it she whined in pain and disapproval. We made an appointment right away with the vet and they got us in later that day. Because of her temperament the vet decided to sedate her so he could have a good look without getting bit 😳

The vet was awesome and said she had made the cut/abrasion worse by licking it so much which   made it raw. The solution was easy, keep it clean and apply antibiotic ointment twice a day. 

We have been doing that and it's almost completely healed. Koda would wince and growl at me when I touched that paw to clean and apply ointment. Now she doesn't have any more pain in the past few days and the growling has stopped. 🙄

We put a sock on her foot for about 20min to keep her from licking the ointment off. I use one of my wife's socks. 😜

Koda resting with a sock on.

Zucchini Salsa! Cha cha cha

We started our annual zucchini salsa making event lol. This is our second year!

We peeled and graded 2 large zukes. Then we diced up 4 sweet peppers and 4 red onions. Mix in large bowl with 1/4 cup of pickling salt and refrigerate. Tomorrow we add tomatoes and some tomato paste, vinegar and some spices then boil for 15 min. Then we can the mixture. 

Stay tuned... 

Homesteading

The definition of homesteading is being self sufficient. 

Something that I have wanted to do for a long time, is to live a life less dependent on the "system". 

 

Growing our own vegetables 🍅 🌶  

 

Growing our own fruit  🍉 🍎 🍇 . 

 

Having our own water supply. (Chlorine and fluoride free)

 

Producing our own electricity. 

 

Having chickens 🐔 or ducks for eggs 🍳

 

Having bees for honey 🍯 

 

Having maple trees for syrup. 

 

Heating with wood.

And so on....

 

There are many reasons for wanting this type of lifestyle. 

First of all it's fun and rewarding. Yes it is a bit (okay a lot) of work but that's ok. 

 

Another good reason is the food we grow is healthier than what we can buy at the grocery store. There are no herbicides or pesticides in our fruit and vegetables. 

 

We can also save money 💰if we grow lots of our own food.  That's always a bonus. 

 

Last, but not least, is a reason that many never think about.

I think that there is a good possibility that life as we know it may change (a lot sooner than later) and not for the better unfortunately.

 

Most people think that things are going to stay as good as they are forever. They believe that we will always be able to drive down to the grocery store and have fully stocked shelves to choose from. That banks (and bank machines) will always be there so we can accesss our money. That when you turn the switch on the lights will come on, or when you turn on the tap, water  💦 will come out.

 

We (North Americans) have been spoiled for a very long time and have come to expect this quality of life.  When things start to change for the worse it can happen very quickly. 

 

The inflation in Venezuela 🇻🇪 has increased over 40,000% since 2015/2016. It now takes 1,000,000 (million) bolivar to equal $1 CDN dollar.

 

I recently met a lady that moved to Canada from Venezuela with her husband. She assured me what I had read was true about the economy and hyperinflation there. Grocery stores were now weighing the money that people had rather than counting it as it takes too long due to its devaluation.  Store shelves were almost empty and things like toilet paper were no where to be found. 

It wasn't that long ago that Venezuela was one of the wealthiest countries in the world. 

 

What does Venezuela's economy have to do with us? 

Many of the articles written by economic/geopolitical experts that I read say this is coming to America (Canada and USA). 

 

The probabilty of a similar situation to Venezuala happening in the USA 🇺🇸 and Canada 🇨🇦 Is very likely. This is according to people like Bill Holter, Dr Paul Craig Roberts, Greg Hunter, Nomi Prins and Catherine Austin Fitts just to name a few. 

 

What should you do?

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Homesteading! "Where to Start"

 

 

 

 

Homesteading Part 2 "Where to Start"

Q. What should you do?

 

A. First of all don't believe everything you watch on the news. Most of what is said is propaganda. 

 

Check things out for yourself. Get other sources of news rather than the "main stream media" (CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX). 

 

There are some good alternative news sources. Do some research and you will be glad you did. 

 

If you live in a big city and you always wanted to try living in the country... stop procrastinating and make it happen. 

 

When things in society change for the worse, the last place you want to live is in a large city. 

 

If you can afford it, move to a place that is rural. It will be less expensive than living in the city as far as property prices, property taxes, etc.

You may have to commute to work but it really isn't all that bad.  The extra time driving gives you a chance to unwind a little from work prior to getting home.

 

If you can't move to a more rural place consider planting a garden where you currently live. A few raised garden beds don't take up a lot of room but can provide you with a lot of fresh vegetables. 

 

Another option, if moving to a rural place isn't possible, is buying a rural property and building a small recreational place there. 

Or try and find a rural property with a cabin already built on it. These are often very affordable.

 

What are some other steps I should take to prepare for the coming economic problems?

 

Stay tuned for Homesteading Part 3 - "What Next?"

Homesteading Part 3 "What Next?"

There are several things that need some of your consideration.

 

As mentioned earlier there is likely going to be a major economic downturn that many think will be worse than the Great Depression of 1929. If such an event was to happen most things in life that we take for granted will change. 

 

Something of great importance is access to water & food. People can only survive approximately 3 days without water. If you don't have a well and you are on municipal water, than you should store up some water and some items required for water purification. The average person needs about 1 gallon of water per day for drinking, cooking and hygiene. You should try and store up enough water for all members of your family including the furry ones (🐶 🐱) for at least 3-4 weeks. 

 A few good products to consider are The Water Brick and The Sawyer Mini filter. 

Water Brick

Sawyer Mini Water Filter

If you have a well ensure you have a back-up power source to run the pump if the electrical grid has problems. A generator is a good idea but a better one is having a solar photovoltaic system to run your pump and other essential devices. 

If the power outage is longer term due to an equipment failure or major economic downturn you should have some fuel stored for your generator.  Be sure to add some fuel stabilizer to what you are storing in order to keep it preserved. 

As for having some food stored, that's fairly simple. Start by buying a few extra things as they go one sale. In a matter of a few months your pantry will grow considerably. If soup or peanut butter is on sale, buy one or two extra. Some foods store for a very long time. Rice and pasta for example have a long shelf life. 

Having some extra food on hand is just a good idea. At the very least you are buying food on sale and will eventually use it. We had some financial hardships over the years and we were able to basically stop shopping at the grocery store and start using the food we had stored in the case of an emergency. It was sort of an emergency as we had no money lol. When our financial situation improved we started to slowly replace what we had used. 

 

What should you do to prepare financially?

Stay tuned for Homesteading Part 4 - "Riding out the storm"

Homesteading Part 4 "Riding out the storm"

It's hard to say when the economy will take a serious turn for the worse but it's not very far off. 

What can you do?

Try and get out of debt. Do this once you have stored some food, water and other essentials. 

If you have lots of money in the bank or invested I would suggest taking most of it out. There's not really any point in keeping it in the bank. The bank doesn't pay much interest and in some countries in Europe for example, they have negative interest rates. That means the banks charge you for keeping your money there!

The stock market is not a good place to keep your money long term either. You definitely could have made money in the market over the past few years as stock markets have seen record highs. The stock markets are essentially rigged aka manipulated. The stock and bond market are big "bubbles" as is the housing market. These "bubbles",  when they pop, will wipe out billions of dollars globally.  

So... what to do?

Invest in some precious metals. Gold and silver are real money. Their prices have also been manipulated - they have been seriously suppressed. When the manipulation stops gold and silver prices will rise tremendously. Silver is a great bargain at current prices. It has been $50 USD an ounce 3 times since the 1970s. Silver has many uses industrially. There is 2/3 an ounce of silver in every solar module! Most new water purification devices/systems use silver. The medical industry uses silver for its antimicrobial properties.  Just make sure when you buy silver you buy physical silver. Don't buy paper certificates that can be later traded in for the real stuff. The same goes for gold. The only problem is gold is a lot more expensive than silver. $1600/ounce vs $20/ounce. Something else to note is the silver gold ratio. Currently it's close to being 80 : 1

Historically it was between 10:1 and 15:1. That's similar to the ratio they are mined at. So why the large difference now... that's part of the manipulation. 

 

Even if the prices of precious metals don't go up much (don't worry they will) our paper money which is called fiat currency will soon be worthless. All fiat currencies return to their intrinsic value of zero. It has happened every time in history. 

Dont get caught holding a bag of money when the economy crashes, but rather have some gold and silver. 

Koda with some firewood lol

We have 3 watermelon growing!

Growing fruit and vegetables...

I am amazed at how a tiny seed, that looks dead, germinates and becomes a plant and bears fruit or vegetables. It's really quite awesome to see the growth happen daily. 

There is more to it than that however for having an abundant harvest. I'm just learning some of the specifics now. 

 

I thought that all a plant really needed after it germinated was some light and some water and somewhat warm weather and they will flourish. Well that's only part of the requirements. 

 

The pH of the soil is important.  The amount of nutrients in the soil in important.  The temperature of the soil plays a role.  Some plants need munching on the ground around them to minimize competing weeds and also to retain some moisture in the soil. Some vegetables require the soil to be hilled up around them as they grow.  There really is a lot to consider. 

 

As for the basics, there are acceptable ranges for light, moisture and temperature and I don't think we were in all the sweet spots. The plants didn't get enough water down at the roots where it is needed. It drizzled often enough but not a thorough soaking.

 

The humidity was terrible (think 28 feels like 42) and too much humidity with not enough air movement causes problems. See pictures below. 

 

The potato plants had some problems. The leaves did not look healthy. Yes we got a harvest but only a fraction (and not 7/8 but think 1/4) of what I was hoping. The potatoes were also fairly small. 

 

I mentioned a few weeks ago about the carrots and radish not being thinned out. That was a problem too. There are certain depths to plant the seeds and proper spacing requirements which we followed. However for some of the vegetables it says to sow seeds 1/4" apart then thin out to 1" spacing once they started to grow. I didn't do the thinning. Partly because I didn't want to kill the new cute little plants.  

Rhubarb plant leaf with possible rust

Potato plant leaf showing problems... possible blight

Pumpkin leaves with powdery mildew due to high humidity.

Gardens

We have 2 gardens and a greenhouse. The vegetables plants in the fenced in garden, that we built last year, don't seem to have problems. The plants in the greenhouse are doing ok as well except for the cantaloupe plants. Some of the leaves appear to have a problem and they do not have any fruit yet.  The tomato and pepper plants seem fine however. 

The field garden is where the potatoes were planted, along with the watermelon and the pumpkin (around the perimeter). This garden is where most of the leaf problems exist. The watermelon plants must be resistant though as the leaves are healthy looking. 

Like many other things, gardening has a steep learning curve. ☺️

Duck house lowered into pen

Our neighbour

We are blessed to have nice neighbours. Bobby came by with his tractor to help relocate the duck house into the pen. That made things a lot easier. 

Afterwards we chatted about work etc and I mentioned that I wanted to clear some brush out in a few different places. I asked what he thought was the best tool for that and he said a brush saw (weed wacker with a saw blade instead of nylon for cutting). Here is the rest of the conversation. 

 

Me - "I have one with the blade but it doesn't seem to work well"

 

Bobby - "really?"

Me - "ya it's just over there"

Bobby - "let's go see it"

Me - "ok, ya I thought it would cut better"

Bobby starts it up and attempts to cut some nearby brush

He then stops the engine and says "ya there's something definitely wrong with it. "The blade seems dull"

Me "that's a brand new blade, it's sharp"

Bobby - "really?"

Me - "yesssss" 🙄

 

Bobby - "maybe it's on backwards"

 

Me - "nooo" 🙄

He checks it and says "ya it's on backwards"

 

Me -"nooooooooooooo" ☺️

 

Some fresh taters!

Fresh cukes and zukes

Guess what this is!

A walkers cicada bug.... Wow

Large Flying Insects

Those are three words that shouldn't be used together. 

After looking for 20 min or so I found what type of bug it is. 

It appears to be a Walkers Cicada. 

Those squares on the fencing are 1/2" by the way. 

Plant fertilizer

I watered the plants in the greenhouse and added some natural fertilizer to them. We used a seaweed extract that is suppose to be awesome.  All the tomato, pepper, cantaloupe and strawberry plants got a drink of kelp juice. Yummmy 

Fresh salad

My wife made a yummy quinoa salad for lunch and it had fresh cucumbers, onions and tomoates in it! How cool is she, and how cool is that!

Duck pen

So... it looks and sounds like we may have two female ducks and two drakes. That is great news as last year we had 3 drakes and only one female. 

I am hoping to finish the duck pen this week and relocate our cute, feathered and smelly friends outside. My wife is already planning to bring them in at night! 😳

Ducks love watermelon...

August 19th Update

 

Some things to note and also some mistakes I made. 

 

  1. I didn't thin out the radish and carrots as suggested. As a result the radishes grew very close together resulting in a small and clustered crop . I also didn't harvest them early enough. The first few were delicious but a few weeks later they had a woody texture and terrible taste. 
  2. The carrots were also suppose to be thinned out once the tops sprouted through the soil. They were very close together but still produced large carrots for the most part. 
  3. The potato plant leaves are badly damaged by insects or possibly a rust. I will have to investigate further. I will harvest some this week and see how the tubers (potatoes) are doing. The new potatoes we harvested a month ago were good. New potatoes are exactly that new and small and tasty. 
  4. The fruit trees we planted haven't started to produce any fruit this year. Last year the two new apple trees each produced an apple or two. Those same trees have no fruit this year and the plum, pear, honey crisp apple and cherry tree that I planted this year have no fruit either. 
  5. The watermelon and cantaloupe plants have grown well with a lot of flowers. There is a baby watermelon! I haven't seen a canteloupe yet. 
  6. We harvested several cucumbers and also a zucchini. 
  7. There are a lot of green tomatoes on the plants. 
  8. The celery seems to be doing ok but they are thin and tall though. 
  9. I didn't harvest the lettuce and spinach fast enough and lots went to seed. 
  10. The broccoli plants haven't really produced broccoli. One plant had a small cluster forming then it stopped growing. I will have to check into that. 
  11. The pepper plants actually have peppers this year! Even the jalapeno plant has one!
  12. The strawberries in the greenhouse are doing ok. 
  13. The grape plants in the greenhouse are growing well but no grapes yet. 
  14. Of the grapes planted outside next to the garden one of the plants has a cluster of grapes!  🍇 
  15. I didn't follow the suggested plant feeding that was recommended for several of the vegetable plants we grew. I even made a spreadsheet to summarize what plants needed fertilizer or feeding and didn't use it... wow thats pretty silly. 
  16. The blueberry plants haven't produced any berries... So our friends that were just visiting went and picked us some from the u-pick. (When I say some I mean alot, like 30 pounds!) We put them into freezer bags and into the freezer for some future baking, and jam.... most of them went into freezer bags maybe 25 pounds... the rest we ate! (yup that's 5 pounds) 
  17. I didn't water the garden enough as mentioned on a earlier post. This could be the reason for some of the above mentioned problems. 
  18. It's been crazy hot with high humidity. 28 feels like 40, 32 feels like 42 for several weeks. Terrible to get any work done or to even sleep. The ceiling fan and shade cloth on the upper windows has helped a lot. Looking forward to cooler days. 
  19. I'm getting rid of the composting toilet. I'm getting a holding tank installed and I will install a conventional toilet. I'm tired of dealing with the waste. It's a bit of a pain and it's quite stinky!
  20. We had a great time with our friends from Saskatchewan. We went whale watching off of Brier Island. It was awesome. We saw several whales and a few of them breached! That's when a whale jumps out of the water...all 40 tons! Picture to follow 
  21. Our guests went clamming and found about 9 clams 6 of them were large bar clams. They also went mackerel fishing off the wharf and caught three. As a result last night we had some fresh seafood. Mmm
  22. I haven't finished the construction of the relocated (and expanded) duck pen. It's been extremely hot as mentioned and we had friends visit us a few times which was very nice... and it gave me a break from work. 
  23. Weeding the garden is a job that should be done often, almost daily for a few minutes rather than leaving them get out of hand and having to spend several hours trying to get them all pulled. 
  24. We ran out of power at our house for the first time since the winter. It happened due to 2-3 days of overcast with minimal sun. When the LVD (low voltage disconnect) tripped unfortunately someone was in the shower and the first thing that happened was the on demand hot water stopped. Oooops!
  25. I ran a potable water line from our house to the guest house so I can fill the water storage tote easily. That is way better than hauling containers of water let me tell ya. 
  26. We are planning to side the guest house prior to winter. I think we are going with a rich blue colour. It all depends on time and money. 
  27. I hope to thin out the trees in front of our home so that we can see the river and also have more of a breeze to help keep things cooler in the summer. The breeze will also help with the bugs we have in the spring and early summer. 
  28. I finally flew the drone I bought several months ago. Our friends that were up a few weeks ago were there and Mike was up for the challenge. There is a lot to getting the drone and controller setup for the first time and a little complicated if you haven't done it before. The instructions were not very good. Yes I actually read them. Lol. So the initial flight was without GPS which didn't end well. I crashed the drone a few hundred feet away into the ground. Mike tried it next and he hit a tree and it crashed into the soft forest floor. We tried to get GPS connection but failed. I tried flying it again (without GPS assistance) and the drone flew into a tree several hundred feet away and stayed in the tree about 20-30 feet off the ground. Oooooops! Mike later got it down when I was out running some errands. One of the blades was missing a tip. I changed the damaged blade and everything else looked fine. The next day we tried flying it again. This time the GPS connection worked and Wow what a difference. I flew it for several minutes down the driveway, up a few hundred feet back to where we were standing and hovered it in front of us. Mike did the same without any problems. Note don't fly without GPS unless in a large open area. 
  29. Mike likes flying kites so he purchased a nice one. We went to our RV trailer which is right on the ocean. He had it up to about 400' in no time. He had 500' of masonry line in total and not a whole lot of line left. 
  30. I went snorkelling with Mike who is a diver. We went to Smugglers Cove and also Sandy Cove along the Digby neck. Wow the water was very cold. We both had wet suits but Mike had a hood which would have been nice. 
  1. I checked the bee hive and things look okay. The upper super had the centre 4 frames with comb and honey. We may get to add a honey super before fall! The "honey super" is the top box that goes above the two supers. The honey super is where the honey, that can be harvested, is stored by the bees. The lower boxes as mentioned earlier also has a lot of honey but it is left there so the bees have food to survive over the winter. 

 

Humpback Whale Breaching

Mike flying a kite!

Holè mackerel!

A boat I'm thinking of building