RESTORATION PROJECT: ANTIQUE DRILL:

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We were recently commissioned to restore this old drill. The owner wanted to give this family heirloom back to his father as a birthday gift. It’s not quite done, we still have the handle to finish, but so far we couldn’t be happier with the results. Nothing makes us happier than to bring these old relics back to life.

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DIY GARDEN PROJECT: BERRY TEE-PEE:

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We recently added 7 more BERRY TEE-PEE’S to our fruit garden. Their construction allow for EASY containment of vine or fast spreading fruit plants like black berries and boysenberries. With their 4×4′ base, they are easy to walk around and help to minimize fruit loss in the middle of the bush that you might otherwise be unable to reach. We now have 2 boysenberry, 2 blackberry, 2 golden raspberry, and 2 currant plants.

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To construct them we made a 4′ x 4′ raised garden bed out of 2×4’s. Next we ripped (2) 7 foot 2×4’s to make (4) 2×2’s on the table saw. We then screwed the 2×2’s together at the top of the tee-pee and secured the bottom feet to the 4′ box using 2 1/2″ screws. By using the height of our drill as a guide (about 10″) we drilled a series of holes in the vertical legs to feed our 20 gauge wire through to make a total of 7 horizontal rungs. This will give your vine fruit something to climb.

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We’re really happy with how this entire project has turned out and we are looking forward to expanding our grapes within our FRUIT GARDEN next.

DIY AFTERNOON PROJECT: BEARD BALM

12642466_794389184020822_6765067228773192936_nAS A PROUD OWNER OF FACIAL HAIR, I’ll be the first to admit that when working on the homestead I tend to let my beard go with the “ALL NATURAL” look. However, there are times when I (and my wife) wish that my beard was a bit more under control and had that “GROOMED” look as well.

Here is an ALL-NATURAL, HOMEMADE beard balm that not only smells great but will TAME even the WILDEST OF BEARDS on any MOUNTAIN MAN.

12644945_794389150687492_5342604065320721900_nINGREDIENTS:

2 1/2 Tbsp of beeswax pellets
2 Tbsp pure shea butter
1 Tbsp cocoa butter
1 Tbsp jojoba oil (Non-GMO)
2 tsp pure walnut oil
1 tsp coconut oil (Non-GMO)

essential oils – Young Living

3 drops of Tea Tree Oil
2 drops Northern LIghts Black Spruce

ADD all the ingredients except the essential oils into a clean recycled soup can. Double boil ingredients by placing soup can in a large pan and add water to pan half way up the soup can. Heat over medium heat until all ingredients are thoroughly melted in the soup can. Stir with a disposable skewer or wooden chopstick. After everything has melted add essential oils and stir until well mixed. Pour the balm into a glass jar of your choice and allow to cool.

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Once cooled and solidified, take a small amount into your hand and rub into both hands until balm is mostly melted. Then rub thoroughly into your beard, using a comb if you like to tame any unruly hairs.

By using the above mentioned essential oils, this beard balm takes on a mountain woods scent. However, you can add any type of essential oil to gain your own preferred scent. As a happy user of this BEARD BALM, I will say that my wife loves the smell of my beard which means she leans in more frequently for kisses. ‘NOUGH SAID!

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DIY AFTERNOON PROJECT: BAREFOOT SANDALS

1934743_822338377892569_4936716767857921334_nI saw this picture of some barefoot sandals and I promptly showed them to my beautiful wife and said, “These are cute, you should buy some.” My wife’s response in true homesteading fashion was, “Why buy them when I can make them?” Immediately these barefoot sandals went from cute to SEXY!!!

With the “EARTHING” movement growing in its popularity, these barefoot sandals are a great way to keep the earths electrons flowing, while making your feet looking cute as hell.

MATERIAL LIST and TOOLS:

1. Sparkle elastic cord (57m)
2. Crochet hook size 6
3. A collection of your favorite beads.
4. Scissors
5. Lobster clasps

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FOR A SIZE 5 FOOT:

1. Cut elastic 44″ (for each size larger add 2″), fold in half and make a 1/4″ loop, making a double knot.
2. Put one bead on both strands to begin your beading. Separate the two strands and bead both of the strands as seen in picture.
3. Then crochet 32 chains (you may want to add more chains for a larger foot). End with a pulled knot.
4. Go to the 1/4″ loop and single crochet in loop. This will begin your toe loop. Chain 25 for a size 5 foot (chain more for a larger sized foot). Slip in first single crochet in loop. Knot.
5. Pull the toe loop through the large bead to fit on the knot, at toe.
6. To wear, put the toe loop on your second toe first, then either tie the two strands in the back of your foot just above the heal, or a clasp can be added for easy on and off.

 

RABBIT HUTCH WITH AUTOMATIC POOP COLLECTOR:

IMG_2503IMG_2501So many of you have asked for plans to our RABBIT HUTCH w/ AUTOMATIC POOP COLLECTOR. Finally, we have had the time to answer your requests. With some minor repairs needed and a timely “vacancy,” we decided to take the left half of our hutches apart and REPAIR, UPGRADE, and DOCUMENT a HOW-TO with lots of pictures and step by step directions. Hopefully, this will answer any questions you might have, but if not please don’t hesitate to ask and we can walk you through the process. This project is 2 identical hutches placed side-by-side with a common roof. The hutches house a total of 4 rabbits (2 per hutch).

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First, we started with building the base or sub-floor out of 2×4’s. As you can see in the pictures we have written the dimensions of each piece in order to make the building process much easier and understandable. The rabbit “DEN” was given cross members in the sub-floor that only measured 3″ tall. This was to allow the 1/2″ plywood floor to sit flush. Over time the rabbits urine and poop in the den will rot away the floor so we included these easily removable floors to make our life a little bit easier down the road. After the sub-floor framing was done, it was time to cut out the 1/2″ x 1/2″ wire mesh that came in a roll 24″ wide. Originally, we built the hutch with 1″ x 1″ wire mesh because it was all we had at the time. However, this 1″ x 1″ mesh can be hard on the rabbits feet. It also has large enough openings for a baby to squeeze through. Using a simple construction stapler and a pair of wire cutters, the wire mesh floors were complete.

 

 

Next, we flipped the sub-floor upside down to install the legs. We cut the 4×4 wooden legs to 36″ in length. The legs were screwed in place with 3″ screws. With 2 members of the family being under 5′ tall it was important to keep the hutch at a height that was manageable for everyone in the family. (It’s important to know that the taller the hutch, the easier the poop will roll into your bucket.) Once the legs were firmly secure we flipped the hutch back on its feet to begin construction of the “SKELETON” or walls.

***THE BASIC SKELETON IS WHAT MAKES UP THE RABBIT HUTCH. YOU CAN ACHIEVE ANY LOOK YOU WANT BY HOW YOUR DECIDE TO COVER THE SKELETON. THIS WAY YOU CAN MAKE YOUR RABBIT HUTCH TRULY YOUR OWN AND A ONE OF A KIND***
The SKELETON is made up of 2×4’s that we cut apart to make 8′ 2×2’s. Each wall was nailed together with a framing nailer, however each wall was “SCREWED” to the sub-floor and each adjoining wall for easy removal or repair if needed. Once again, check the photos carefully as each 2×2 piece has its length written on it. We started with constructing and installing the back wall first and then built and installed the side and interior walls. Finally, we finished with the front walls and roof supports. This completes the structural interior skeleton of the hutch.
Next it was time to add some plywood walls to separate the den from the eating area and a center wall was added to create the 2 different living areas.
The plywood roof was added next, and covered with tar paper which was stapled down. We gave the hutches a tin roof. However, you can only see it on the final product because the 2 hutches share the same roof. The roof can only be installed once the hutches are in their final location to insure the roof is straight and square. To avoid any cuts from the roof edge a 2×4 was notched out and laid over the edge of the roof, thus covering any sharp edges.
After the roof was installed as much as it could be, we started the siding. We used 1″ decking material to give the hutches a “CABIN” look and feel. Being new to Missouri when we originally built the hutches, we had no idea how “truly cold” it got here so we wanted thick walls to keep the cold out, warmth in, and also to protect the rabbits from predators. Because the weather “normally” approaches from the SW, we placed the hutches on the EAST SIDE of our shop in order to protect them from the wind and rain. Also, we wanted the rabbits to get the direct morning sun during the winter and shade after noon during the HOT, HOT, SUMMER.
Finally it was time to build the doors for each den and install them. We used the same 1″ decking wood and connected them with 2 strips of wood on the inside of the door that opens downward by use of a typical interior door hinge you would find in your home. These were re-used from our house as we switched them out with nickel hinges. Two thin decorative strips ( the by-product of ripping a 2×4 apart to make 2 qty 2″x2″s) of wood were nailed into place using a finishing nailer and is purely decorative.
Now that the hutch is finished, it will be moved into its final resting place. There are several ways to install the hutch. We buried the legs of ours into the ground to keep them from blowing over in the wind or a predator pulling it over. Another way, would be to put “SKIS” on the bottom of the 4×4 legs. This will give the hutch a wider base and a lower center of gravity. This newly remodeled hutch will get some SKIS. We will then move our 2 rabbits into the new hutch while we remodel the right side. At that point, they will both be installed into a permanent location.
AND FINALLY FOR THE BEST PART….. THE POOP SHOOT!!!
Only when the hutch, or hutches are in there final resting place would I install the AUTOMATIC POOP COLLECTOR. You want to be able to make sure that the poop ramps are both at the same angle should you choose to make 2 hutches. And there are just too many variables to take into consideration when installing it. This is why is just best to wait and install it last. The last thing that you want to do is to take apart your hutch to because something doesn’t fit. By waiting you save yourself time and effort.
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The poop ramps were originally made from plywood which we painted with a rubber based paint. However, after a year the paint began to break down and prohibited the poop from rolling completely into the bucket. Once the paint broke down, then the plywood began to rot. Ideally, I would like to use a sheet of aluminum to avoid rust and corrosion. Sheet metal would work, but I would recommend painting it well, as rabbit urine has a very high acidic value to it. One option we have for the ramps is to staple “SCREEN DOOR” mesh to the 2×4 ramp frame. This will allow the poop to roll into the bucket while allowing the acidic urine to fall straight through. Of course plastic sheets or acrylic sheets will also work great with our humidity. Whatever we decide to use, I’m sure we will make it work.
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We hope this helps you in your quest to build your own rabbit hutch. Don’t forget to ask us if you have any questions about this project or any other. We are here to help anyway we can. Thanks again and HAPPY HOMESTEADING.

CHICKEN COOP BOARDWALK:

NO MORE MUD:

As homesteaders we tend to put up with certain things, like how mud and chicken coops typically go hand in hand. Growing tired of walking and slipping in the mud every morning during the rainy season, it was time to do something. We had recently replaced our back deck. Instead of just throwing the old deck away, we decided to flip some of the boards over and give the lumber a new lease on life, as a CHICKEN COOP BOARDWALK.

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The coop sat in an old unused garden bed. By using the boards that made up the border of the old garden and several pallets, we were able to level out the deck and connect the coop to a nearby garden. We did incorporate 3 small gardening areas. One for wild flowers, a second for our beans, and a third for pickles/ tomatoes. We were also able to reuse some of the railing from our old deck and use it as a border around our “Pickle Patch.”

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Finally, the coop needed a fresh coat of paint to brighten up the space, as well as some new welded wire after an animal attack tore apart one wall. We will be the first to admit that it might not be our “dream coop,” but in the end we are truly happy with how it turned out.

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Most important though was NO MORE MUD and the project cost us NEARLY NOTHING due to the fact that almost all of the material was reclaimed!!!

 

DIY AFTERNOON PROJECT: WOODEN KITCHEN UTENSILS:

12140849_748990908560650_8912482813873153153_nGRANDMA always says to us, “Don’t buy me anything for my birthday.” And you don’t argue with a woman that grew up during a time when everyone was a homesteader, lived though a depression, and a world war. Let’s just say grandma is “ONE TOUGH COOKIE.” So we chose to follow her advice and MAKE HER SOMETHING INSTEAD. Grandma loves to garden and feed the family so why not make her some WOODEN KITCHEN UTENSILS that she can use to cook up food from her garden?

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First we took these oak branches and split them with a hatchet. For a straighter surface to start with you can split them on a table saw. From there we used a linoleum knife for its curved blade to strip the bark off each branch. Then it was time to trace out the patterns of each utensil we wanted to build. By using a jig saw, you are able to remove larger pieces of material at a time, or if you just feel like taking it easy you can whittle away the wood with just your knife. The interior bowl part of the spoon wasn’t easy due to the fact we didn’t have the proper U-shaped chisel to gouge out the material so we improvised and used our DREMEL. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked. Once we had our desired shape for each utensil then is was time for sanding and then finished with several coats of MINERAL OIL. Even the chickens came to check on our progress.

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One key to success on a project like this is to make the utensil ends first and whittle down the handles last. You can put the wood under a lot of pressure and with a small handle your project is susceptible to breaking.

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One thing is certain, we had a great time on this project because it gave us the ability to think back to all the good times and great memories with grandma. In case you were wondering what birthday she is getting ready to celebrate…. grandma always said it’s not polite to tell a woman’s age so let me say that we don’t know anyone with as much wisdom as her. WE LOVE YOU GRANDMA AND ALL YOUR STRENGTH. HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND MANY MORE TO COME.

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