Sometimes things go bump in the night. Sometimes the dog barks and we don’t know why. Then I saw a pair of glowing eyes in the distance.
Frequent readers may recall that I patrol my property late at night. OK, I am actually just walking the dog, but I think of it as a de facto patrol. We walk down the drive way to the road, scout the perimeter, and check the chickens and their enclosure. I hope our presence and smell motivates any predators to think twice about paying a nocturnal visit to the chicken coop.
Each night, I don my headlamp, and I am always armed because, well, I am always armed. Some nights, especially of the dog has been acting like something might be out there, I strap on a 1911 with a Streamlight TLR-2 light/laser combo mounted on it.
I bought the TLR-2 relatively cheap years ago for use on a Smith & Wesson M&P with an extended magazine that was my bedroom self-defense gun. How long ago was this? Let’s just say that the light has only 135 lumens. Yeah, that’s old. Still, it is enough light to identify your target at pistol-engagement distances.
Continue reading “I Have a Late-Night Encounter and I get a Big Shock”
Fixing my electric fence meant tearing it down, installing larger insulators, and almost starting from scratch. But it was a learning experience.
Back on September 15, I documented how I had screwed up my electric fence install, primarily through inexperience. Since then, I bought larger plastic insulators. Then I disassembled and rebuilt the electric fence. I pounded a few stakes in to ensure the new wires that did not come close to grounding out on the welded wire fence behind it. Then I carefully inspected each run of wire before I turned on the energizer. Not even a sizzle or a crackle. The electric fence still did not work.
I caved in and bought an electric fence tester. Instead of more than 10,000 volts, my fence was carrying less than 500, the lowest setting on the tester. When I got shocked while using the tester, it was a barely noticeable tingle. I disconnected the fence from the energizer and tested it. It was working fine. The problem was still on my end.
Continue reading “Rebuilding our Electric Fence the Right Way”
I’ve never installed an electric fence before, and it showed. Sometimes watching YouTube can’t replace trial and error.
I have had the supplies on hand to install the electric fence for months, but I was always busy working on something else. We had the welded wire fence and two gates, so I wasn’t in a big hurry to complete it. I set a goal to the electric fence up and running by September 1 to prevent any bears that might find my beehives a tasty treat before hibernation.
Bears can destroy beehives. While cartoons and storybooks have led us to believe that bear like honey, they also eat brood, or the eggs, larva and pupae of bees which provide protein.
Let’s just say I missed the goal by a long shot.
Continue reading “How to Screw Up Your Electric Fence Build”
With spring giving way to summer and summer storms rolling through, we have to plan our work around the weather. There always seems to be more to be done.
We tackled multiple projects this week, some inside and some outside as we received more than 2.5 inches of rain and plenty of mountain fog over the past few days.
I built a new desktop computer for my wife, after ordering all the components online, moving her from her creaky Windows 7 box to a new Windows 10 computer. Transition was pretty seamless and all her old peripherals and her wireless network card worked just fine, which was a relief. That filled a rainy day and then it took part of the night for Windows to update repeatedly.
Continue reading “Another Busy Week on the Homestead”
Now that the beehives are set up, we need to get our fencing up before the bears sniff them out and come for a visit.
After spending a good part of the day installing our fence, I feel like I need a horse and a cowboy hat.
There are seven sections of fence to pull. First, to surround the garden and the beehives. Then I will subdivide the big rectangular area to create a chicken run around the chicken coop. I’ve pulled three of the seven sections and I have at least another day’s worth of work before we even get to the electric fence. But it’s going faster as I gain experience. The biggest challenge is pulling fence in the area where the ground is uneven, and since our lot slopes, there are multiple areas where it is uneven.
Right now, I am pulling a 5-foot-high 2” x 4” welded wire fence. Around the chicken coop we are adding half-inch welded wire with a foot or two lying on the ground to prevent predators from digging under the fence. After I finish installing the welded wire fence, I’ll pull a multiple single-strand wires for the electric fence. I will cover the electric fence design and install in a future post.
Continue reading “It’s Finally Time to Install our Welded Wire Fence”
After drilling our holes earlier in the week and picking up gravel and concrete yesterday, we are ready to continue installing our fence posts.
Construction of the garden fence and the posts to hold up the chicken coop continued after picking up gravel and bags of fast-setting concrete.
Our first step was to use the posthole digger to remove any dirt that had fallen back into the hole which was the case in most holes. We then picked the appropriate fence post for each hole and used it to tamp the dirt down. Posts on corners or that will be a gate post got the thicker six-to-seven-inch posts. The remaining posts were four-to-five inches.
We then removed the post and scooped in a few shovel loads of gravel. We wanted to get gravel at least four inches deep. The gravel at the bottom of the hole will allow water to drain from the hole rather than accumulating there and rotting the end of the post. We also used the gravel to level out our holes by adding extra gravel to any of the holes that were so deep they would not allow five feet or more of the pole to stick up above ground.
Continue reading “Prepper Diary March 6: Installing our Fence Posts Continues”
After evaluating a number of power augers, we decided to go with a powerful option to dig our 25 fence post holes.
After watching several videos about post hole digging using one-man and two-man augers to drill fence post holes, I started to second guess my decision about using the two-man auger to drill 25 fence-post holes. When you use the two-man auger, you have to bend all the way down to the ground as the auger drills in and then lift the auger, its engine, and all the dirt stuck to the auger out of the hole. That looked like it would be tough on my back, which has been giving me intermittent problems for at least 20 years.
So I got up early, drove to the rental place, rented the Vermeer mini skid steer with a posthole digger that you in the photo above, and towed it back home. This is a heavy track-powered device with a 35 horsepower diesel engine that provides far more torque than the two-man systems with have 2.5 to 5 horsepower engines. I expected it would do a much faster job and be easier on my back.
Continue reading “Prepper Diary: We Review our Options and Pick a Powerful Fence Post Hole Digger”
We venture out to fetch supplies for our future garden and load up the pick-up truck with fence posts and welded wire fencing.
We went to “the city” today. With fewer than 10,000 people, I can’t call it the “Big City,” but it is home to the closest Lowe’s Home Improvement and a Tractor Supply. Plus, we got to eat lunch out. Well, we ate take out in our car, but food we didn’t prepare ourselves was still a pleasant change.
The funniest thing is that it was sunny, and the temperature was in the mid-40s in the city with no snow. My wife said it felt like spring. When we drove home, it was partly cloudy and in the warmest part of the day. That’s mountain living.
I had stacked six pieces of firewood in the stove before we left. They had burned down to just a few coals, but it was still generating heat. I loaded the fire box back up and brought another wheelbarrow load of wood into the house.
I’m just glad we aren’t among those poor folks who have no electricity, as we discussed in greater depth yesterday. The latest reports from Texas are terrible. This article from ZeroHedge, includes a Tweet from a Texan showing the thermostat reading 37-degrees inside their house.
Continue reading “Prepper Diary February 17: We Make a Start on the Garden Fence”