When Internet, or the Lack Thereof, Gets in the Way

Since moving out to the Homestead, I have not had any regrets, not one.  This week tested that sentiment.  I have mentioned before that we have had to use satellite internet.  No other service will provide for us.  All of our neighbors can get internet, literally ALL of our neighbors can get at least DSL.  Apparently we are literally feet too far to push their signal.  I have been calling and emailing any nearby service to see if there is some way to get better and more reliable internet all to no avail.  I will keep trying, but at this point I feel defeated on this front.  First world problem, I know and am aware, doesn’t make it any less frustrating for me.

The reason this came to a head this week was I have been unable to upload several YouTube videos.  I have even tried going to two family members’ homes and tried uploading videos, but I would have to leave my laptop there for hours to upload and if something were to go wrong I wouldn’t be there to fix it.  For my blog, I have always saved on our data usage by using the WordPress App and uploading pictures from my phone using that instead of uploading them from my desktop.

Early on in the YouTube channel, I was making one take videos on my iPhone so I could also upload the videos using the YouTube app on my cellular data plan, no problem.  Since I have been trying to make more professional, and longer, videos I have needed to use editing software.  It has made the videos better, but uploading a 4GB video eats into our data allowance in a huge way.  I actually think part of the problem with uploading was the fact that I wasn’t pre-rendering the videos.  I use Corel VideoStudio X9, and when I was trying to upload a video it would render the video and upload it at the same time.  I think something about that timed out the connection.  Last night I figured out a way to render the videos to a file, and then upload that file.  It seemed to work even on our slow connection because I was able to upload three videos.  Here is one that has spent a week in the can, waiting to be shared with the public.

One of the three videos I uploaded was my son’s first video.  He has seen me taping for videos and wanted to start his own channel so I opened a Homestead Kids channel.  His first video was just scenery on the way home from a friend’s house.  He time lapsed the video, added music, and at title shot at the beginning and end, and he did it all himself.  If you have a couple minutes, take a look, and if you really want to give him a thrill subscribe.  While you’re at it, consider subscribing to my channel as well.

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Star Photography, First Attempt

I have always been fascinated by stars.  Before we even moved out to our Homestead for years I loved being out here early in the morning or late at night after hunting and just looking at the clear night sky and all the stars.

A couple times I have tried to take pictures of stars, but I always tried to let the auto features on the camera make it work, and it never did.  As I have been doing more videos with my YouTube channel I am learning my camera better so I decided to give star photography another go.

These are the pictures I came up with, they aren’t great, but it leaves plenty of room for improvement.  I  had my ISO at either 3200 or 6400, I believe the f-stop was around 3.5(which was as low as my camera would allow), and the shutter time was 15-20 seconds.   One of the most unique pictures is the picture that has a streak of light through the bottom, it was a car driving buy during the exposure.  Let me know what you think, and give me some tips if you have experience with night photography.

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That bright streak across the bottom is a car passing by during the exposure.

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Bringing Home the Bacon

Today was the day.  Today we went to go pick up our American Guinea Hogs.  It was about an hour and a half drive each way.  We got on the road around 9:30 and arrived at the farm we bought the pigs from at 11, fortunately we didn’t have to make any stops which is never a guarantee when traveling with kids.

The man we bought the pigs from was very nice.  He has been rehabbing an old run down farm house and has been busy getting his hog facilities set up.  He has both American Guinea Hogs and Julianna Pigs.  We were able to walk around his farm a bit and the loaded up our pigs and got back on the road headed home.

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When we got home and got the pigs in their new enclosure it was time to get their hut finished.  It took less than an hour to get the pallets screwed together and get the roof on it giving the pigs some shelter and shade.  I was able to get the sides on it between dropping off HB1 at a church group, and picking him up.  It isn’t perfect, and it will still need to be winterized, but it’s good for now.  I forgot to take pictures of the sides on because I needed to run and pick him up.

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I ordered a pig watering nipple from Amazon and it should arrive tomorrow at which point I will use a 55 gallon drum I have to make them a waterer allowing them to use the small trough that I have for baths.

Watch out for a video on the YouTube channel soon.  They are cute little buggers.

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Closer to Bacon

We are inching our way closer to being ready for pigs.  As of now I am planning on picking up the pigs early next week.  Things have been slowed down because a couple of the little ones have been sick.  Even so, we are still getting some work done, the latest of which was getting the gate hung, pounding T posts in between the wood posts, and fixing the corner where the wooded posts were slightly too far apart.

The boys have been a big help.  I do my very best to make sure I let them know when I am going out to do a project and to let them help in some way.  Lately that has even included working the cameras for making YouTube videos.  Always learning, teaching, or both(or at least attempting to).

Here’s the video from hanging the gate.

 

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Posted in DIY, Family, Farming, homeschool, homesteading, kids, Outdoors, pigs, Preparation, YouTube | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Putting up Hay for the Winter

It has been a dry summer, so much so that the grass hasn’t been growing much at all.  Because of this the sheep and cow are currently eating hay and I will probably have to give them another bale soon.  I’m not sure hay prices are going to drop so I wanted to get some hay now.  I was able to find someone who could deliver 10 bales yesterday, so I pulled the trigger and had it delivered.  Delivery was the best option for me, I could only fit four round bales on my trailer, if I really work at it so it would take me three trips to get the ten bales he was able to deliver.  At over an hour and a half round trip, it was money well spent.

I used the tarp with which they transported our house.  It kept the inside of the house from blowing away on the highway and is over 70′ long and probably 12′ feet wide.  When they were leaving after putting the house together they asked if I wanted to save the tarps or throw them away, I definitely wanted to keep them so they have been stored under the house since then.

This should hopefully be enough hay for the winter.  We currently have 13 bales, one of which I will give to the animals while the grass grows back, and if we are lucky we will get a couple more bales when they bale our field in the fall.

If you’re interested, here is the video of me moving it with the tractor.

Posted in Cattle, DIY, Family, Farming, homesteading, Outdoors, sheep, YouTube | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gaga Pit Video

For those of you who might be interested in the video of us making the Gaga pit, here it is.

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I Go Ga-Ga for my Kids, Literally

When our oldest son and I went to camp with our church earlier this summer there were lots of games and activities for the kids to partake in during their off time.  The one game that most of the kids gravitated towards during that time was a game called Ga Ga Ball.  Apparently it has become pretty popular around the country, but I wan’t cool enough to know about it.

When we got home, B1 wanted to build our own Ga Ga Pit, the “arena” in which you play the game.  Giving the kids more reasons to be outside playing, I was in.  But with all the traveling we had been doing in the weeks after, building a Ga Ga pit got put on the back burner.  Well, B1 was hoping to have some friends over this weekend and he really wanted to try and get the pit built before they came over.

My original plan was to build the pit just like they had at the camp, with posts sunk in the ground and dimensional lumber between them to create the “octopit”, another name for a Ga Ga Pit.  Since we didn’t have time, and I wasn’t sure where I would want to locate a pit permanently, I came up with an alternative plan.  I would use pallets that we had for the sides.  I figured it should work.

So B1 and I got to work Saturday late morning.  B1 used the yard trimmer to cut the grass down low where we were going to locate the pit.  We then brought over 8 of the best pallets we had left, ones that didn’t have slats missing or nails protruding.  Then we set up the pallets and tried to get them into as regular an octagon as we could by eye and used some scrap two by fours to cleat the tops of the pallets together.  In a regular pit, with dimensional lumber and posts, the kids would just climb over the sides of the pit to get in, and then those kids who have been knocked out sit on the sides and watch the rest of the game.  With this pit being constructed of pallets I didn’t want them to be climbing the sides, pallets just won’t stand up to that kind of wear.  So I had to create a door.

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I had thought about using hinges, but where hinges would attach to the pallets the pallets just aren’t that strong structurally so I scrapped that idea.  The next idea I had was to cut a left over two by four and use it to make legs to hold up the pallet and hold it against the ball hitting it.  The two by four I had wasn’t long enough to cut in half and still use so I headed back to the scrap lumber pile.  While I was there looking for another two by four, I saw some balusters that I had left over from when we built our front deck, and I figured they would work perfectly.  I cut them to length and screwed them on and they worked great.  I may need to find a way to strap the top more securely, using shock cord or something, but it works for now.

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The door panel

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The legs to keep the door panel upright, they work pretty well

We were able to play some games Saturday afternoon and it worked just fine.  There may need to be some fine tuning, but considering I used things I already had around, the cost of the pit was a couple bucks in screws.  If you check the YouTube channel, I will be posting a video on the construction of the pit sometime this week.  Better yet, you could subscribe to the channel and share the video with your friends.

Until next time…

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Adjusting the Waterer

I needed to adjust the waterer as it was tilted the wrong way.

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A New Video…Segment?

While I was out working on the pig pen, I realized that some people may not know the different types of fencing I was talking about so I made a quick video.  I am thinking of making it into a series, A Homestead Minute.  Quick little videos that explain something that I probably didn’t know just a short time ago, that others might be interested in learning.  Let me know what you think.

Posted in building, Cattle, Chickens, DIY, homesteading, Outdoors, pigs, sheep, Turkeys, YouTube | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Odds and Ends

The weather has turned hot again.  We had three nice days, lows in the lower 80’s with low humidity.  Unfortunately we are back to highs near or into the 90’s with high humidity.  All that is to say working outside is no fun at all in that weather.  I am what you would call a sweat-er, and when it’s humid I sweat by the bucket full.

I have been able to get some things done over the last few days.  I am getting close to having the pig pen ready for our piglets.  I got the hog panels up and stapled to the fence posts.  I still need to pound some T posts in between the wooden posts.  I also need to hang the gate and strap a section of the hog panel onto that gate, but we are getting close.  I hope to have a video of my progress up on YouTube shortly.

I also got a small start on getting a tree off our path through the woods.  The boys and I went down there with hand tools and cleared out the area around the tree so I can get down there with the chainsaw and get that tree cut up.  It has been on the path since late last fall, so this is long overdue.  The boys really want it off there so they can take the golf cart through the woods.  There will be a video on the progress on that project coming shortly as well.

Other than that it is mostly trying to stay cool and keep the animals as comfortable as possible as well.  Checking waterers several times a day to make sure they don’t overheat.  With the heat we have been using the pool almost every day, definitely worth the Craigslist purchase.  It has also allowed B2 and G1 to become so much more comfortable in the water.  They have gone from not wanting to put their faces in the water to being very comfortable, to the point where they are talking about joining their older brother on the swim team.  It has been nice to be home, and not be re-packing for another trip.  As much as I love traveling, and visiting friends and family, being home is really nice as well.

Until next time.

Posted in Cattle, Chickens, DIY, Family, Farming, homesteading, kids, Outdoors, pigs, pool, Preparation, YouTube | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments