Texas Heat VS Free Rocks

Pin It The Side Yard- The Less is Better Principle After I finished the front yard we knew we needed to do something with the side yard. I had to deal with the shade issue but I also had to handle the situation that the yard had a steep slope that made it very difficult for the water to not just run off. I knew I couldn’t do anything about the shade, but I might be able to fix the slope. I thought about terracing the yard but with my son’s truck and my truck in the driveway it would create a trip hazard that I didn’t want to deal with. My wife said that since it was now June and the Texas heat was quickly sneaking up on us, this was a project we would tackle in the fall. But the Rocks are FREE!!! Actually, they are mini boulders. … to read more of the poop…

Precision Pet Wood Treadle Chicken Feeder Review

Pin It About 5 months ago I purchased the Precision Pet Wood Treadle Chicken Feeder because of a rodent problem. I was seeing small rats getting into my hanging feeder. I also saw droppings all around the feeder. I was very concerned about diseases in and around the girls. Stop Feeding the Rats I read that treadle feeders should eliminate or reduce problems from rodents. At the time I only had 3 chickens and I didn’t want to spend a lot on a feeder. I was using a Precision Pet Cape Cod Coop without any issues. The Coop seemed to be built reasonably well; therefore I felt that another one of their products should also be reasonably well built. Read the Instructions: All the Instructions The first thing I noticed when I received the feeder was that the instructions were simple to understand pictures. Unfortunately in my exuberance to get … to read more of the poop…

A 30 Year Project Is Finished!

Pin It The Evolution of our Front Yard Have you ever started a project with the intention of just completing it and getting on with life? That is what I planned to do during the spring of 2015. I live in North Texas and we had an extremely wet spring. When I bought my zero lot line house 30 years ago it was in a new development. I picked the lot that was the highest in the neighborhood as a safeguard against flooding. Fast Forward 15 years Everything was fine for about 15 years. I was talking to my then neighbor and he mentioned that water levels were getting close to the back door. I also noticed the water was taking longer to drain out of my backyard. I decided to install 4 surface drains at the low areas with a pipe to the street to move the water out … to read more of the poop…

From Playhouse to Chicken Coop

Pin It Around three years ago we decided we wanted to raise chickens. If you have read any of my previous articles you will see what a relatively quick coop and run I put together. We bought the coop online and it was cute. I built the run and truth be told: it was ugly. I just didn’t want to spend a lot of time and money on something that may not be a long term desire. After losing three of the original five girls to possums (they are just plain mean suckers) our enjoyment hasn’t waned; it has just grown. We recently decided that instead of fixing the defects in design it was time to just start over. Run=Ugly My wife finally shared with me that she thought the run was really ugly and that she wanted something a heck of a lot more attractive than what she had … to read more of the poop…

Doug’s Smoked Turkey Recipe

Pin It  I have been asked for my recipe for what my family deems the best turkey they have ever eaten. After 33 years of preparing the turkey for Thanksgiving I think we have a winner. For many years I cooked the turkey without brining it; then about five years ago a friend of mine and I were talking about trying this additional step and I must say it brings the turkey to a whole new level. Turkey Brine Recipe 2 gallons of water 3 cups of canning salt 3 Tbl minced garlic ½ c roasted vegetable stock 2 Tbl ground black pepper ½ cups Worcestershire sauce 2/3 cups brown sugar 2/3 cups apple cider Combine ingredients in stock pot, stir and then heat up until salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. Preparing the Turkey I don’t buy expensive turkeys. In fact if … to read more of the poop…

Smoke Hollow PS 4400 Review

Pin It In my previous article I talked a little about my experience in the world of smoking meat and Turkeys in particular. Over the years I purchased various brands of smokers and types of smokers with varying degrees of success and failure. Last week I purchased a “Smoke Hollow PS 4400” propane gas smoker from a club house store. The benefits of buying from these types of stores, is they tend to include a number of extras for no additional cost. The extra on this unit was a cover, normally priced at $44.00. This is a big smoker. I could smoke 4- 15lb turkeys or 21 racks of ribs. Because of the size of this smoker I would suggest that if you are a beginner smoker or your plans for smoking are a couple of turkey legs a couple of times a year or maybe a whole chicken once … to read more of the poop…

Talking Smokers…Talking Turkeys

Pin It          Thanksgiving is getting around the corner and it makes me think about the turkey. I started smoking my turkeys about 33 years ago when I received my first charcoal smoker as a wedding present from my father in law. I have gone through at least 12 different smokers over the years. I have had charcoal smokers, propane smokers and an electric smoker. I have also cooked on custom built trailered, wood smokers.   Different types of people who smoke meat There are all levels of people who use meat smokers. The spectrum goes from the 26 weeks a year, traveling competition teams with rigs that cost more than my house to the guy who read about smoking on his grill and threw a pan of wood chips and a hunk of meat on his grill and hoped that it produce something edible. Different types … to read more of the poop…

Hugelkultur

Pin It After another year of drought, I started to investigate gardening styles that use less water.  I live in North Texas and our summers can be brutal even without a drought. We have been in a twice per week water ration for a couple of years now and so I thought it time to investigate gardening alternatives. I came across an old gardening technique called ‘hugelkultur’, that has the benefit of drastically reducing the water to maintain it. The exact origins are sketchy but from I can find, this was a old German farming technique.  It would provide both a way to dispose of larger pieces of wood and branches as well as building up the nutrients in the soil. Simply put, it is taking old decaying wood and burying it under soil, then planting on top. I can see a couple of ways that hugelkultur would come about. … to read more of the poop…

The Chicken or the Egg?

Pin ItI have mentioned in the past that I have a small yard with a limit of six chickens to my property. That being said, I am finding it very disconcerting at the number of people who are giving up their chickens. When I have nothing better to do, I enjoy going through Craigslist and to see what others are giving away. I have been noticing the last couple of months an increase in the number of people giving away or selling off their flocks. The good news is, that in many cases, someone wants them. In other cases, it’s bad news and animal shelters are turning into their short lived home. I have spoken to a few of the craigslist donators as well a number of animal shelters. There seems to be reoccurring theme about wannabe chicken owners,  “lets get chicks or chickens because we will have fresh eggs … to read more of the poop…

Life Skills

Pin ItLast weekend my 24 year old son came up to me and thanked me for teaching him how to use all the tools that I own. When he said this it got my wife and me thinking about this and our current society norms. I realize that people who garden, raise livestock or work with their hands may never think about this but if you are imparting your knowledge onto your children you are developing a level of self sufficiency that is becoming obsolete in our society. We have become such a throwaway society.  No one knows how to fix anything themselves and its often just cheaper to replace something than to hire someone to fix it.  I’m not saying there is anything wrong with replacing goods when they need to be replaced. That is what keeps the manufacturing industry alive. I think most people have forgotten the personal … to read more of the poop…