January 2019!

New Batteries!

Eight New 6V Batteries

I finally ordered and received our new batteries. The original batteries are still working but they are not healthy. When charged they do not last as long as they should. They are flooded lead acid which means they require maintenance including adding distilled water to the cells every 4-6 weeks. The new set are Rolls (Surrette/Rolls) which are located in Springhill NS. These new batteries are AGMs which stands for "absorbed glass mat" and do not require any maintenance. They are about 125 pounds each and the 8 of them together is 1000 pounds. (the tractor was put to use again!)

I plan on changing the batteries out one day this week. That will be a bit of a job as the older ones will have to be all disconnected and carried out of their current location to make room for the new ones. The existing batteries are around the same weight at 120 pounds each. 

 

Mink footy-prints!

A predator is lurking...

When I got home this afternoon from town I went and checked on the ducks and brought them some water as their jug was likely low or frozen. It's -7C today and I've been gone for at least a few hours. While walking to their pen I noticed foot prints in the fresh dusting of snow that we got this am. The prints looked like mink and went right to the duck pen and circled around the perimeter, no doubt looking for a way in!   The four ducks were okay but seemed more talkative then usual. I bet if I could understand duck they would have a story to tell me!

Writing a book

My wife has been suggesting that I write a book for a few years now. I finally felt the urge to do just that so I started writing about a week ago. It is going well and is a lot of fun. As a result it has been occupying a lot of my time. 

The book is on Homesteading and will cover many topics from vegetable gardens, and greenhouses to taking care of bees, and raising ducks. It looks at what you can do even if you live in town or in an apartment and the possibilities if you have some acreage out in the countryside.

So far the book has just over 15,000 words. There are alot of pictures as well. I think it will have about 25,000 words when it's completed. It should hopefully be in print in the spring of this year. 

Wow, I don't miss that weather!

-40C this morning at the Sudbury airport.  That's a little on the cold side. Had a quick visit with family and friends.  It was my dad's 90th birthday!  We all enjoyed the party. I also got to visit with some relatives I haven't seen in a few years. 

 

Planes have a much easier time taking off when it's cold compared to when it's hot outside. The cold air is denser and creates more lift.  I'd be okay with -10, even -15C but -40C without the windchill is darn cold. Global warming lol... NOT!

Minus 40 without windchill!!

What will they think of next!!

I don't think I knew that such a machine existed but apparently they've been around for a while. What am I talking about? A firewood processor! It takes the log in and cuts it to the length you prefer from 16" to 20". It then splits the wood and a conveyor throws it into a pile or into a trailer. What a great idea!!

The brand I'm considering is made in Finland. It is a HakkiPilke.   It can process roughly 1 cord (a bush cord that is) in 35-40 minutes!

Many people I know burn wood for heating. I can hopefully sell 40-50 cords a year in addition to what we will use which is 5-6 cords. We are going to be clearing some land in hope of creating a small pasture area.  This should provide us with the initial 10-20 cords of wood to process. For a supply of wood after this, I'm considering purchasing a few loads of logs each year from a fellow we met. I will hopefully talk with him this week and ask about his forestry practices. If he does so sustainably and with concern for birds and animals we will buy from him. 

 

I would like to learn about forest management. I just  downloaded all the modules, from the DNR Nova Scotia website, for a course that's called "Practices for Forest 🌳 Stewardship".  It's very informative and it's free!

Firewood processor

Livestock Update

We are considering the purchase of 2 alpacas and a donkey. Alpacas are very cute and fluffy animals. They resemble their cousin the llama,  but are only about 2/3 the size. Their wool is sought after for its warmth and softness. An alpaca is not able to protect itself like a llama can.  For this reason precaution must be taken against animals such as coyotes. 

The donkey is a great guard animal that will protect your livestock. 

 

As I mentioned in a post in December, I plan on cutting 3/4 of the trees on a 1 acre piece of land that we have. It is fairly flat and runs along side our driveway. I will be leaving any large healthy trees and all maple trees standing. Any trees with a nest will be left alone as well. Thinning out this portion of land will allow the remaining trees to grow better. It will allow wind to blow through providing some relief in fly season and also in hot weather. The trees left standing will provide some shade for the animals as well as places for birds to nest.  This type of pasture is called a silvo-pasture and is a more sustainable use of land.

Alpacas

Workshop

I would very much like a workshop. A place where all my tools can be. Instead of tools being scattered and hard to get too, they all will be readily accessible! I can't imagine actually. I plan on having a large work bench and some good lighting. We have a 20' shipping container that we needed when we moved out here. It is being used for storage... of things we obviously don't need as they've been in there for almost 2 years. 

There are some pictures online of workshops inside a shipping container that are awesome!  Ive been looking through some to get ideas of how I should lay ours out. 

20' Shipping Container

Awesome workshop!

Another one!!!

Firewood

We ordered a bush cord of logs from a fellow that we know. Our friend offered the use of his trailer to pick them up rather than having the logs delivered which would save us a bit of money.  We cut up 1/4 of the logs when we got home and split them using a hydraulic splitter. Hydraulics is the way to process firewood!

My wife and I piled what we had split and planned on doing the rest the next day. We didn’t get the rest finished as I had to go out of town for a few days.  I just found out that our friend cut up the rest of the logs for us.  How nice was that!