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April 2014
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Finally got a Tractor

A 1951 Ford 8N to be exact. Disregard the “Grizzly” stickers, someone just stuck those on and they will be gone soon. These things were made between 1947 and 1952. Runs great but needs front tires. I will have to find a used 5 foot brush hog, ( a rotary mower that will cut through 3″ saplings) but it did come with a blade, a plow, and a drag-bar with trailer hitch for implements. Parts are widely available and there are whole forums and clubs dedicated to restoring and using these machines. For reference, here is a photo of a restored one. Restoring it will make a nice winter time activity.

Here is the new toy.


It has been very dry here this spring, a mixed blessing. With rain comes unstable conditions and big storms, even tornadoes. But we have not had any of that in the last month. The lawns are brown and crispy, but I have faithfully watered the garden which is enjoying all the warm sunny weather.

I have been busy trying to keep all the dogs in the yard, the woods keep calling to them and they dig under the fence at any spot they can find. However, I just installed a solar powered electric wire about 6 inches above the ground all the way around the inside of the fence. It gives a jolt like when you get sparked from static electricity. It wont hurt them, but not very pleasant just the same. So far so good.

Garden Update

The garden has come along way from raw pasture to finished garden. I hauled a lot of rocks out of there and filled in some low spots on the property. I have gardened for years, but on a very small scale in suburbia and nice clean fill dirt. This is a quantum leap for me and the beginning of a new learning process.

Everything is planted including a few things I have never tried before like watermelon and okra. I also have the usual beans, corn, tomatoes, cucumber, squash onions, and peppers, as well as some herbs. I am going to try pressure canning Alton Brown’s Tomato Sauce this summer. I may clear another smaller adjoining plot just for potatoes this year, but after all the work for this one the thought is daunting.

I am also experimenting with hay for mulch as I have an almost unlimited supply of that and cow manure. At least ten of our 15 acres is pasture and I let our neighbor hay it twice a year so that it is maintained and not allowed to turn back to nature.


I painted Dad’s old bench from his house in Los Angeles and put it out by the pond. I think he would approve of the location and view.

Building a Rock Garden

Actually it will be a 50 x 50 vegetable garden but since I am carving it out of old pasture here in the Ouchita mountains, rocks is what I get. I had the neighbor plow it, then I rotor-tilled and am in the process of removing all the rock.  He has given me access to the area where he fed his herd of cattle all winter, all the rotting straw and manure I care to haul over here in with the ATV and a small trailer. To keep pests at bay ( rabbits, skunks, armadillo and deer) I am employing a three prong defense. I will have a 4 welded wire fence surrounding the garden, the dogs are in the yard along one side of it and I am using a motion detector impulse sprinkler. I am also moving all the rock to the base of the fence to prevent digging, and if I need to I will extend the fence up another 3 feet with deer netting. I know that they can go over the 4 ‘ fence like it is not even there. Here is the work so far with more to follow when I am finished and start planting ASAP.

I also finished cleaning out and insulating the root cellar beneath the old tool shed. It stays about 58 degrees down there and eventually will have shelves for storing root crops. After the garden is going I will build the chicken coop next to the compost pile and then we will start to really have a little homestead around here.