Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Not the final chapter, just an exit stage right

    JUGM and I have made the decision to combine our two blogs into one blog that we can share and not argue about what we are going to post nor step on toes. I will still keep this blog up as I feel I have put out some good information over the past years that I still would like to share with new preppers. Remember, it's never too late to start prepping because you never know what is around the next corner, only time will tell. I want to thank everyone that has followed my blog for these many years, whether you have commented or not, just as long I got your brain and gut feelings motivated, I feel that I have contributed to your planning. I have some new stuff to put out, one that I have been working on for 14 months now, as you know I like to take my time to review stuff, not buy something off AMAZON and spend 15 mins on it before doing a review, that is so amateur. If you still would like to follow me, please go over to http://hazegrayredclay.blogspot.com/

 Senior

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sorry, I have a busy life, please forgive me......

    Well as most of you have seen that I have not done a post in a while, I apologize but life has been hectic. First, I have transferred to a new location and getting my feet on the ground an running. Everything is good with the new job, I am really like it there. Baseball has been in full spring mode and now that we are done with out exhibition games, the season starts in 2 weeks. Both boys are doing very well on a team of mis-fits. This will be the last season we will play in the county recreation league as numerous parents from last years championship are wanting to put the old team back together and play travel ball. It should be fun.

     While I have been gone I have done a few things. As most of you know we no have pigs. We bought 3 gilts almost a month ago and they have been growing pretty fast, matter of fact I had to build a new hog pen as they started to out grow the first one. I also constructed the new one farther away from the house.


Went and got 5 more panels from Tractor Supply to start our breading expansion.
            Along with building the new pen for the pigs, I have also been getting the garden in the ground. We have been pretty lucky with getting the garden in without rain hampering our plans and holding off until it's all in. 

First 3 rows of sweet yellow corn

remaining 2 rows of sweet corn

5 rows of corn, 1 row of yellow onions, 1 row of green beans, 20 tomato, 15 various pepper plant, and row of red potatoes

row of red potatoes
      Now for some other news. I haven't even had a chance to do any upgrades on the "Fouled XJ" but here is a pic of it in the last snow fall when we went to a neighbors property to do some sledding.



And a small video of driving to town 

video 

      Let me make this statement. I am so blessed to have a family that is so on-board with the lifestyle of being self-sustaining. Yes, there is more to do and we have come along way and we plan on doing more but the WHOLE FAMILY is involved. I mean, really how can you call yourself a big time prepper/survivalist when you live in a HOA mandated community, create multiple websites that all have failed, and do Internet postings of raised bed gardens when you have the fencing and area to actually plant a real garden? Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with people wanting to plant a few crops in planters in their back yard and enjoy the success of eating something you grew, but don't tout yourself as some expert when you can't even feed one person in your family with your bounty. As far as I am concerned, you have earned Amateur status in my book. You know who your are and your buddy lives in a freaking apartment and eats Wendy's on group camping trips. Enough said on this.......

     Well I hope everyone has a great week and I would like some input on this. JUGM and I have been thinking about combining out sites into one blog. The reasoning behind it is sometimes we may step on each other toes when doing blog posts of the things we are doing. It will also increase the postings that we will be doing as a family so I would like to hear every-ones input. So fire away.

Senior
 

Monday, February 20, 2017

A lot going on, promotion, transfer, trip to Agri Supply, spring garden and pigs.

    I know it been a while since I did a post, sorry about that, just a lot going on. First off, I got a promotion and then 2 weeks later, I accepted the same job at a location closer to the house. I am excited about it as I got two things I was looking for. It took some time but persistence and patience pays off.
     Made a trip one Saturday to our closest Agri-Supply to purchase a device that would make it much easier to make beds in the garden.


The track too tough to tame, Darlington Speedway





Agri-Supply had Rain barrels for $109.00 each, they had spigot and filling fittings on them. I can make them much cheaper.


   What I went there for was the Keulavator 3 point frame. This device can be used for many things but what I wanted it for was to make perfect beds for my crops. Here are couple pics with bedding disc's on it.



    Since last planting season, I have been turning the soil over roughly every two weeks to rid the garden of weeds. The last 4-5 years of my dad's life, he didn't plant a garden and as you can expect, nature will try to reclaim the fruits of a man's labor. I also made track in the garden for the kid's RC offroad cars, so I had to bust it down and make it level again. Once all level, I hooked the 5 foot 3 point tiller up and mad a few passes on where I wanted to plant the Red potatoes.

JUGM and ND planting the potatoes, they look like rocks in the small trench

Row made with  Keulavator 3 point frame, notice the trough where drip irrigation will lay in center.

 
Bed depth is anywhere between 7.5 to 8 inches deep

Drip irrigation hooked up with line running 100 feet, cant do that with raised beds

    Like I said, I have never done red potatoes before, so this should be an interesting experiment. Worse case, I am only out $6.00 in seed potatoes from out local farm and feed store. Hell, some preppers spend that on cheap ass Chinese flashlights and do reviews on them.

    So moving right along, since we have had tremendous success with our chickens and had anywhere from 20-30 dozen eggs in our secondary fridge at one time, we said why not, lets get some pigs. Muslims would hate me if they knew the amount of pork I eat a year, whether grilled, smoked on a smoker, or fried up as bacon or sausage. Maybe I can raise attack pigs in case Muslims come around and want to start a fight. I'm sorry, am I being insensitive? I don't care, it's my property, my blog and my god given right if I want to raise pigs for my families consumption and if you don't like it, stay in the middle east, PERIOD!!!! I was born in the USA, defended the our nations constitution for 20 years so I have that right. Take it up with PETA.
    After reviewing our first year in the new house, I did notice that we did have some issues with our trash and how it accumulated a large number of maggots for excess food in the bags with the heat of the summer. We aren't lucky enough to have trash collection like some so-called Internet preppers have in their HOA controlled community. Also, stuff we grew in the garden that didn't make it we just fed to the chickens.So why not turn that into something more useful in the form of Bacon, Boston Butt, Ham's, Ribs, Pork Picnic Shoulder, and other fine pork products. The past week, we started the construction, yes it was a family affair.

 ND driving construction screw into frame

 NW and ND working together without yelling at each other


 Three sides done. Hog wire was recycled from an old dog pen on the property


 Completed. Will it win an award? Hell no, it's a damn pig pen, who cares!!!

Notice the bolts?

     When building this pen, I wanted to make it so it can be broken down in sections and moved to various locations around the property if needed. JUGM will do a post of our trip this past Saturday to the livestock auction in a neighboring town. She took some pictures that the ladies will go ahhhh!, they are so cute.

     Well that's about it from my world. Boys had their first baseball practice and I am pleased to announce that my commissioner, JUGM has lifted my suspension and has allowed me to coach again, WoooHooo!!!! As most of you that have followed me know that Baseball and my kids take precedence so I will try to blog when I get moments. So much for winter here in SC, warmer than normal temperatures have caused pollen to start floating in the air equaling to me being stopped up all weekend. I hate it. Stay safe out there.

Senior

Monday, January 16, 2017

Quiet and productive weekend around the house. Canned some Bacon

    As Christmas and New Years are over with we are back to the everyday norm of school and work. This weekend brought the kids and I a three day weekend. I get to enjoy another three day weekend this Friday as I have a VA compensation and pension appointment to go to so they can check one of my service connected disabilities, ONCE AGAIN!!!! I have a strong feeling that they think I will get better when there is no cure. I am sure the oil smoke of the Persian Gulf  during Desert Storm contributed to the condition as I have been surveyed several times regarding Gulf War syndrome.
    We did some early spring cleaning around the house with loading the trailer up for a run to the dump this coming Friday. We have almost got all out storage buildings in order and getting the last few boxes out and throwing away stuff we haven't used in a few years. I did get started on the grading for the garage that I have planned for late spring. The area of the property is somewhat level, but I do need to go down around 3-4 inches on the end closest to the house as I am wanting a 5 inch slab for the floor
     I did a search of the Internet Thursday during lunch and I was looking for dehydrated and freeze dried food as with each upcoming month I will start transitioning to them with a limited stock of canned goods in storage. We just cleaned out some canned goods that dated back to 2012, which I am sure they would still be good to eat, I would rather not until I really had too. I called another one of my neighbors who has pigs and told him to come get them.



 So as I am searching I run across Yoder's canned Bacon, holy crap that stuff has gotten expensive, $144.00 for a case before shipping. I told JUGM about this and we have been wanting to can Bacon for some time so she went to out local meat store and bought 5 lbs to start with. Well here it goes:

1 of 5 packs of Bacon

Masking paper cut to 18 inch's

Thick sliced Bacon placed on masking paper

Second sheet of masking paper placed over top of Bacon

Bacon is folded in half before its rolled up to go in wide mouth quart jar

Rolled up and going in jar


5 quart jars of Bacon pressure canning for 90 minutes

after the Canner
     Sunday morning, one jar was opened and consumed at breakfast.

Bacon unrolled
 Withstood the pressure canner pretty well

In the pan


The finished product

    The bacon went well with eggs, grits and toast. The FDA has discouraged people from canning bacon so pressure can Bacon at your own risk. I have only demonstrated that I accomplished this and have consumed the bacon I pressure canned. Please do your research before attempting and if you are new to canning, please use the Ball Blue book and learn canning of other food items before attempting.

    Well this will be a short week for me, only a few days till our 45th President is inaugurated and the other one is sent packing. I find it ironic that the Rep. Lewis from the Atlanta area said the same thing about G.W.Bush when he took office back in 2001 calling him illegitimate too. Makes you wonder of his racial tendencies...... Take care all.

Senior




Sunday, January 8, 2017

Hardly any Snow, headlight upgrade for the Fouled XJ, get-home bags and Harbor Freight tools.

    Well this Friday was supposed to be the first winter storm of the year for our area. All week, the two largest television stations in Charlotte touted this storm as to some big snowfall. Well let's sum this up real quick, "YOU GOT IT WRONG!!!!" Thanks for getting my and many other kids hopes up for some sledding, snow ball fights, and making snow men. I have seen for many years, meteorologist's have worked their way away from making a forecast by reading raw weather data only to rely on computers to make it for them and they dance around with their clicker while looking all pretty in front of the camera. I think I will do my own weather report for my family, I have been around enough AG's in the Navy and looked at enough satellite and radar data to make you look like amateur's. Hell, I cant do no worse than you guys and gals. Sorry, just my two cents





 
     I have been looking at doing a headlight conversion for the "Fouled XJ" for some time now. When we purchased it from a guy who works at Daniel Defense in Statesboro, GA, it had came with Sylvania Halogen sealed beam headlights, which the sealed beam are standard on the Cherokee. I don't know how many of you out there have the Sylvania Silver-star headlights on your vehicles but I have them on my other two and these things are awesome. They really light up the road and if you live in the country, they really help you out with deer and other critters running out in the road.
     There are many aftermarket kits out there for the Cherokee, specifically the HID/LED kits that cost over $100 and take possibly several hours to install. So after doing some research, I found that Sylvania has the Silver-Star headlights in sealed beam. I went to out local auto parts store to order some but luckily they had a pair on the shelf. So I had them cross referenced them as the store book only went back to 2000 on vehicles. They were the right ones and I was out the door at $53.00 with my rewards card. Once we got home, I went to work.

 








 
  The Cherokee headlight bezels have two phillips head screws to remove at the top corners. The bottom is held in place with plastic slots that fit in the headlight housing.





 



    The gray tab on the back, push toward the bulb to loosen the tension and disconnect from the bulb.




    With new bulb ready to install, place a small amount of bulb grease or silicon grease on the connectors. It makes it easier to slide the plug back on. The previous owner didn't apply it so they were a bit hard to get off.



     Total installation took around 20 minutes with me snapping pictures. So I waited till it got dark and this is the result.


Low Beam

High Beam

     Since the Cherokee lights have to be manually adjusted with two screws in the headlight assembly, I adjusted them as good as I could and went for a drive. I figure I have them adjusted right so if I pass cars on the road and nobody flashes me thinking I have my high beams on. Well no body did, I had great vision on the road, so it's parked for the night.

     As I mentioned in my post Christmas post, I was planning on making a second get-home bag, well here it is. Notice how much more room you have in the back of a Cherokee vice a Wrangler. I don't know how many of you out there troll Craigslist and see what used wranglers cost. OMG, these sellers have been smoking some serious pot. Go look for yourself.




Bag, boots, fouled weather jacket, first-aid kit


     How many of you out there have thought having a tool kit or box in your vehicle for those cases when you cant get your car started or have to change a belt/hose. I have two Craftsman brand tool boxes and if you have them, you know they cost quite a bit. Yes, they are awesome tools with a great warranty on them, but I chose to buy a set from Harbor Freight. Hell, it was only $37. All my specialty tools for working on cars is from Harbor Freight. Why would I go by a Craftsman torque wrench in 1/4, 3/8 or 1/2 sizes, that would be several hundred dollars when I got all 3 sizes from them for about $50 from Harbor Freight. They might not be a fraction off on torque specifications but what difference does it make? LOL, like we haven't heard that before. . I don't use them everyday like a auto mechanic would so why spend all that money? Once again, just my two cents......

     Well until next time, buy a real safe, not a thin-ass gun cabinet from Stack-on.

Senior