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Archive for September, 2015

Apples, Apples, Apples

September 16th, 2015 at 05:35 pm

We have a tremendous apple yield again. Last year, not so much, but this is probably the same as we had two years ago when our tree yielded so well.

Last time we had so many apples, an Amish neighbor pressed them into cider for us. DW stopped by yesterday, and he said he wouldn't be ready to press them for another week.

DW has already canned several quarts of sauce. But, we don't go through a ton of sauce. We do go through a ton of fruit juice, though. The boys drink a lot of juice.

My mom has a friend that has quite a few apple trees. He gave us permission to pick apples at his place. All the trees in the area are just loaded.

I think we had 11 gallons made two years ago, and I can't remember how long they lasted us. Most of the year, anyway. We usually water juice down by half when we give it to the boys.

Any way, the cider from our apples will help us save on purchased juices for a lot of the next year.

Hauled some scrap metal

September 15th, 2015 at 02:34 pm

I hauled some scrap metal this morning before work. I haven't hauled in a long time, because the farmstead is getting pretty well cleaned up. Cleaning out the barn, getting ready for the renovation, had produced enough to justify a small haul.

What I cleaned out of the barn was the old chain paddle system that sat down in the gutters of the barn to remove manure. We had already cleaned out about 3/4 of the paddles previously, but this set was a little harder to access. I added that to the small pile of other scrap that was accumulating, and decided to haul.

I only delivered 140 lbs. of scrap iron. I've always figured that as long as I haul enough scrap to pay for the gas and the wear on my vehicle, I'll make the trip. Fortunately, the scrap yard is only four miles away.

I was paid $4.20 for the 140 pounds. I covered the trip, barely. I figured it out, and that's $60 per ton. The previous low that I remember calculating for scrap that I delivered was $75 per ton. I think it was selling for $275-$300 per ton during the summer of 2008, when the majority of scrap was hauled from our place.

I've heard that part of the reason scrap was so high that summer was because China used so much iron to build that stadium for the Olympics. I'm not sure if that's much of the reason or not. That's also the summer that corn prices and gasoline prices were sky high. The world was going on one last binge before the global economy collapsed.

Barn Budget

September 14th, 2015 at 06:22 pm

I blogged a couple months ago about renovating our barn. It's the barn that houses the kid's 4-H animals. For better or for worse, we've decided to use some of our home equity to finance the repairs.

One side of the barn will be used for storage - straw, haw, animal show equipment. The other side will be used to house animals. So, we are only renovating the side that houses the animals. We've reduced the number of animals in the barn while we work on the renovation. Right now all we have is one laying chicken, one duck, and one goat.

I've removed and burned all the lumber that made to old pens. I'm working on cleaning out all of the manure. I have pretty much all of it out, and am probably ready to power wash.

We'll also side the barn, and put on a new roof.

We're in the middle of getting bids. Some of the work we will do ourselves, some of it we will hire out.

Here's my (current)budget:

Siding and roof materials - $6,800
Inside labor - $2,500
Outside labor - $2,000
Water hookup - $1,600
Lumber and adhesive - $1,050
Gates - $1,130
Feeders - $185
Hardware cloth (for chicken coop) - $136
Lighting and electric materials - $100
Pins and hinges for stalls - $75
Misc. hardware - $48
Gate closers - $26
Total - $15,650

The only number that I pulled completely out of the air is water hookup. The plumber hasn't been out to give a bid. I've guessed $1,600. Hopefully that's on the high side. We'll either run a pipe underground from the house (about 75 feet), or punch in a point well at the barn. Whatever we do, it'll need to be frost-free.

The outside labor (putting on roof and siding) is also a guess. We've not gotten a bid. But, when the materials supplier was adding up his bid, he guessed $2,000. So, I'm using that as a semi solid number.

The lighting and electric materials and misc. hardware are also my guesses.

When we started out, I was hoping for a 12K budget. The first quote we got was $6,800 for the siding and roofing materials. So, I knew then that the total project budget would have to be increased. Hopefully the plumber comes out this week to give a bid. Then, I'll be satisfied that we'll have a decent working budget.

This is a lot of money for an asset that doesn't provide us with shelter, or substantial income. But, if you've been following my blog for any time, you know just how important these livestock project are to our family.

I downloaded Mint

September 3rd, 2015 at 03:58 pm

Why didn't I do this years ago? My bank account, credit card, and retirement balances all housed on one app.

I have to get my budget entered. And, unless I can link it to a future Mint account on DW's iPhone, the budget will be useless anyway. I'm assuming that can be done. Otherwise, this Mint app is really only fully usable by single people.

But, still, just having the account balances available in one app is worth having it.