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Thursday, August 27, 2015

No Post in Eight Weeks

Wow,  has it been that long? We've been busy enjoying life (finally).  Idaho has turned to out be everything we've been looking for in an American Redoubt community.

Sis is a cheerleader for her high school.  She's finishing up her first 4H project (Hercules,  her swine).  She was elected Honor Queen of her Job's Daughters Bethel.  She is in the high school choir and drama club and has her first official,  father approved boyfriend. She turned 18 last Saturday. I've never seen her so happy and involved.  She started off her birthday by not doing just one act of service but TWO!  From 8-10am she served at our local church Temple and from 10-12 she cleaned the fairgrounds with her 4H club. #ProudDad

Macky is finishing up her 4H swine project too.  She's looking forward to track season as she seems to have a knack for throwing discus and shot put.  She submitted her short story to Deseret Publishing but was turned down.  Now she is tweaking her book in hopes of making it just a little bit better. She is very interested in criminal investigation and crime lab stuff.  Like looking at blood splatter on a wall and determining the angle and trajectory from where it originated. She was also nominated Outer Guard by her Bethel.

The Queen is starting freshman year and made the cheer team with Sis.  She's as pretty as ever and super excited that the nearest town now has an Ulta (makeup store).  Her 4H swine is named Queenie and likes to eat dead mice. She enjoys church socials and dances and is having a great time in her elected position as Junior Princess in Job's.  She gives me near daily hugs now without me even asking...at age 14!

Boo is the most involved with her swine and enjoys walking "Bacon"  around the pasture. She is a Jobie to Bee and attends all the parades and stuff with her big Sisters.  She helps me feed the chickens,  swine and Lucky and is really into animals. 

Running out of phone battery.  Will complete post later tonight.

OJD

Sunday, July 5, 2015

SurvivalBlog Appears to be Down Again 2015

Update: SB appears to be up again. Not sure if I just experienced a glitch or not. Glad to see it back nonetheless.

Also, the Swedish server appears to be nixed and replaced with the following, albeit still under construction:

http://50.193.232.247/

------------------------------------------------------

I intended to re-read a recent article about the recent decisions of our Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. Unfortunately, SB seems to be down again. In the past, Rawles gets hacked on extended weekends by hackers that know he will have an extended period of time when his server will be unattended. Last I checked, Rawles does not have a server in his home and is dependent on commercial servers.

These companies tend to staff lightly (if at all) on holidays like most other American companies. He did have a server in Sweden last I checked so I would think that it would be up. However, neither of the IP addresses I have on file are working at the moment:

Please bookmark both of SurvivalBlog's servers:
http://64.92.111.122/ [U.S. Server]
http://95.143.193.148/ [Swedish Server]
One or both of them may go down.

 My guess that this is the same DoS attack he tolerates every year and if we wait 24 hours, we'll probably hear something from him.

 It is Sunday, so enjoy some time with your families.

 ~OJD

Friday, June 26, 2015

Our Own TV Series!

The producers of Gold Rush interviewed us this morning.
I know, it's silly...but we did an interview this morning for it. A production company in London called RAW TV has interviewed our family to potentially be in a short tv series on living the self-sufficient lifestyle.

Apparently this is a popular thing across the pond right now? I guess you can say America is kind of waking up to the idea too. For several years now we've been trying to move farther away from the big city and closer to rural America.

We were tired of the crime and pollution...the 90 minute commute time to work (one way!)...and all the other joys that come with living in an overpopulated area. So we moved from Arizona to rural Idaho.

My children now ride their bikes on a private dirt road that has but one other house on it besides mine. We have enough land that we can grow as much food as we want and raise several animals. We currently have around 27 chickens (lost five last weekend to Lucky) and 5 pigs. We've planted six fruit trees and one of our apple trees has popped out three little baby apples (we're SO excited!).

Anyway, this film company thought this was all very interesting and of course my girls thought that having their own reality show would be a hoot. It would be nice to offer something to the American public that was a total polar shift from the Kardashian junk on the tube now.

So what do you think? Would you do a tv show if asked?

Let me know in the comment section...if there is anybody left out there.

OJD

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

5 Pigs Added for 4H Projects

Working on becoming friends first...
Now that the 32 chickens have room to roam, we've gone to the next level. We've added five pigs to our homestead to raise for 4H. We got them on Sunday (today is Tuesday) and we'll be raising them until the county fair in September.

At that time, the girls will show them to the best of their ability and if they do a good job, maybe even come home with some ribbons.

Wifey hanging with the boys
We're learning as we go and having tons of fun doing it. Idaho and the American Redoubt has been very good to us. We are so happy we moved here.

Lots of friendly people and wide open spaces to explore and enjoy.

I'll try to post a video of the day the pigs were brought over. I didn't have a trailer to load them into so the folks we bought them from were nice enough to deliver them.

They have even offered to take them to the fair for us. The girls are SO excited!



~OJD

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

All Are Gathered Now

Frosty pulling the Jeep home to Idaho.
After four months, I finally had enough cash to make the last run to Flagstaff and retrieve our last two cars. The Jeep Cherokee, which is our daily driver, was hauled back with the use of a U-Haul trailer. The old pickup truck, with it's oversize tires, was left behind becuase it would  not fit on any trailer that could be rented.

Thanks to my best friend, it was successfully driven 750 miles to our new home. Not without a few pains, of course. Needless to say, all that went wrong was a power steering line blowout. When we first discovered it we thought we had cracked the block. I checked the oil dipstick and noticed it was normal color.

If you crack an engine block, water seeps into the oil pan and turns the oil a milky white color. This was clearly not the case and so we pressed on...careful not to drive over 55mph just in case something else went wrong.

That made for a very long drive. What Google Maps says should have taken 11.5 hours took 17 hours total. We left Saturday at 0930 and arrived home around 0300 Sunday morning. I had a rental car on standby and my buddy drove it back to Flagstaff where his truck was waiting to return him to Phoenix.

It wasn't cheap but I finally have my cars in one place. The old Suburban that I bought back from the fire for $400 can finally be retired for emegencies. We nicknamed it Frosty because it melts in the heat (the house fire burned all the plastic on the outside, enough that the insurance company totaled it.) Once I fix my power steering, I'll drive the old truck daily to work and back. Wifey gets the comfy Jeep Cherokee for her daily driver.

In the back of the pickup was an additional bonus: all of my fencing supplies. I can now finish fencing in the garden, new chicken coop (still being built out of pallets) and have some left over materials for additional fenced areas if needed or wanted.

I just wish weekends were longer so I get do more of the stuff that I WANT to do.

~OJD


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Care for Your Water Canal to Ease Flow

Tilled garden, starting to fence it in.
In my last post I mentioned that I bartered for a tiller. It has been of tremendous use around the homestead. Not only did I till up our new garden area but I was also able to till out the water canal by the street. This canal, as it was explained to me by a neighbor, is my responsibility to keep cleared out so that when adjoining farmers begin to flood irritate their crops and it comes flowing into my runoff canal, it doesn't back up into the street.

If it gets to the street because my canal is clogged with debris, the city comes out and shuts off the water...to EVERYONE. At least, that's what I was told. So I dutifully spent a few hours trenching out the canal to excellent condition. My only options were digging out by hand with a shovel or tilling it out with my new Husqvarna.

The tiller option was not necessarily less labor, as I thought it would be given it is powered by a motor, but served to be quite a struggle to hold in place as the front mount tines dug through years of overgrowth and uneven canal walls. By the time I was finished, however, the canal was equal distance from side to side and the same depth all the way down the canal. I was quite impressed. My shoulder and back muscles...not so much.

video


With that project complete, I've turned my focus back to our new garden. There are still fencing bales remaining so I began to put up a perimeter fence. I placed the t-posts ten feet apart which in retrospect seems to be too far apart. I unrolled the bale and hooked my new garden tractor up to it. With the aid of the tractor, I was able to pull the fencing taut and tie it with wire. Two loops around and twisted at the top, middle and bottom of each post held it good and tight.

My new garden tractor pulled the kids around the yard
I got as far as my supplies would allow and am now waiting for more posts to complete the project. About ten more posts should do it as I have ample fencing wire for this project. I'm now eyeballing the area adjacent to the garden for a possible goat pen.

Oh, and I bartered for the garden tractor. I traded to full-sized arcade games that we had in storage. The kids weren't too thrilled but, then again, they weren't the ones responsible for mowing three acres. The Craftsman riding mower is awesome. It's used and worn but I still love having it.

~OJD

Monday, March 23, 2015

What If You Run Out of Money?

My new tiller
Let's face it...who hasn't run out of money at some point in their lives? The point of this post is to show you that cash isn't always king in the real world. Handheld physical assets will always be an acceptable form of exchange.

Trust me. I just did it tonight.

One thing we sorely needed on our new homestead was a tiller to begin our new garden. Tillers can be bought from stores for hundreds of dollars. They can also be rented from equipment rental stores by the day or week.

We are low on funds from our recent move to Idaho so I had to think outside the box. One method of finding things you need, which I have shared here before, is using a CraigsList application on your computer or cell phone to notify you when someone posts something you want for sale. I input several items into my app like "tiller", "freezer", "shed" and such. Then, when someone posts an add selling something with those keywords in the title, I get an email or text notification.

The quicker you act on the notification, the better the chance you can score it. Tonight was just such a night for me.

Someone posted a used Husqvarna tiller for $300. I looked up this tiller on Google and found it for sale (new) at Sears for $459. Having no cash, but knowing what items are ALWAYS in demand, I quickly contacted the seller and offered a trade.

I said "Your tiller is just what I'm looking for to start our garden but I have no cash. Would you be interested in trading for something that goes bang?"

His immediate reply was "Absolutely!"

I sent him a few photos of my 12g shotgun bought at last years Black Friday sale over at Cal-Ranch in Flagstaff. It was a $300-350 semi-auto that they had on sale for $199 (only seven were sold at that price.) I had only fired it twice so it was still in pristine condition.

I quickly headed to his house and reviewed the tiller. It barely showed any signs of use and fired up on the first pull of the cord. I was sold! I showed him the shotgun and the deal was done. We wrote up a quick contract of sale and down the road I went.

With no cash to speak of and payday still three days away, I am now a proud owner of a shiny new ORANGE Husqvarna front tine tiller.

Garden, here I come!

Don't be afraid to think outside the box. Offer services (like yard work, babysitting, etc) or items for trade and you'll be surprised what you might get.

My past barters:


~OJD

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Off to a Terrific Start

1st batch, mostly Americaunas.
Boy oh boy are we off to a great start on our new homestead. I haven't blogged much because I've been so busy doing what we've been training to do for years.

If you've been following my blog (are you two still out there?) you'll know we've been preparing to be homesteaders for about seven years. We started in Mesa, Arizona with a cookie-cutter home crammed between two other homes in a packed subdivision.

We determined that smog filled, crime infested, traffic laden city life was no longer for us. We started studying SurvivalBlog.com, Rural-Revolution.com, and similar websites to learn what we didn't know...how to be self sufficient. YouTube helped tremendously thanks to some folks like LDSprepper, WranglerStar, Engineer775 and the like.

Most people, I think, sit back and say "We don't know how" or "I don't have time" and never start. We made a conscious decision to start no matter what. We began planting gardens on our 0.17 acre city house and attempted to raise chickens. I started learning how to handle different weapons and Wifey started sewing, canning, dehydrating, and crafting.

Simple swing does wonders for children (and teens!)
Did we succeed? Not as much as we would have liked but we learned a huge amount of knowledge. Our chickens were quickly eaten by our dog and our garden succeeded about one third of the time.

I began slowly collecting hand tools and items we could use for self sufficiency. I have about fifteen 55 gallon drums that I've been towing around the country that will someday be a rain water collection system, better than the simple two barrel system I experimented with in Mesa.  Along the way, I acquired an 8 x 10 enclosed trailer and slowly built it into a mobile workshop.

Enjoying a gun show less than one mile from my house.
If you aren't where you plan to be permanently, don't let that stop you. As a renter, my approach was to make everything modular. Make a workshop that I could tow behind my truck and take it with us when we moved. Same for the garden. Build raised bed garden boxes that can be put in the back of a truck if you move. Same for chicken coops...they can be mobile too.

Fast forward to now. We have attained our three acre paradise and can easily slide into gardening, building rain catchments, canning, planting our orchard, etc.

In the past two months (we've been here for almost three), we've have:

  1. planted apple trees x 2, pear trees x 2, peach trees x 2, raspberry bushes x 2, blueberry bushes x 2, strawberries and herbs. (video link) Trees were $11.69 at the CostCo in town.
  2. built two pig pens to hold the 4 or  5 swine we will be raising for 4H projects in this May.
  3. rebuilt a Briggs and Stratton hand push lawnmower (you can't beat a good B&S engine) and slowly started to mow the property. Two were left on our homestead = free!
  4. consulted a local honey grower and learned how to start our own hive this August. (Video link)
  5. purchased 32 chicks at a local coop sale at a wonderfully low price of $0.89 each! Got some different  breeds but mostly blue egg layers ("easter eggers") to make for a colorful assortment.
  6. built a swing for the little girls to solve some "boredom" issues in our new home.
  7. restored an old timey self playing piano which provides HOURS of enjoyment.
  8. acquired a 1950s large freezer for the garage, absolutely FREE from CraigsList. This will be a necessity when we start harvesting our own pork later this year.
  9. Rewired an old Oreck vacuum cleaner and it now cleans our carpet.
  10. Refurbished Grandpa's old work stool as a Valentine's Day present. (video link)
  11. Built a craft room hide-away for Wifey. (video link)
The first four trees of our "some day" orchard.
I can't tell you have exciting it is to finally be on the property we've been praying for. I still have to figure out what to do with about an acre and a half of pasture. With only three water shares, a neighbor tells me that it isn't enough to grow a crop. Maybe if I can collect water in my rain catchment system that it would be enough to subsidize what my three shares won't cover.

Now that I have 32 chicks, I'll need to build them a home in the next couple of weeks. They live in a box in the garage for now. I'm thinking two or three chicken tractors, strategically moved about the property can serve a dual purpose: weed control and free food.

Other projects I am considering:

  • solar panel similar to LDSprepper's to provide electricity for the whole house for less than half of what we pay to the utility company.
  • meal worm farm for chicken food (I hear they practically grow themselves).
  • a craftroom shed in the backyard for Wifey.
  • build an enclosed hoop garden to protect our stuff during the winter months.
  • build a one room shed in the backyard for the teens to hang out in
  • someday, maybe someday, build a ride-able sized mini train to ride around the homestead perimeter (gotta think of the future grandkids!)

I welcome your comments.

~OJD

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Help Identifying a Bush

I inherited a garden in front of my new home and I'm not sure what I have so..

We'll start with what I hope is a blueberry bush.




It has little dark blue or black berries on it from last season.

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance.

~OJD

Monday, March 9, 2015

Planting Question: berries between fruit trees?

Our first four in our orchard.
We planted our first four fruit trees this past weekend. We planted two apple and two pear trees that we bought from CostCo for $11.69 each. There was no documentation on how far apart to plant them so I marked them 12 feet apart.

Wifey went out today and came home with two raspberry and two blueberry bushes. I'm wondering if I can plant them inbetween the fruit trees?

You see, I originally planted the trees six feet apart. Then I reconsidered, dug more holes, and moved the trees further apart so there are holes I could use for the berry bushes in between each tree.

They all (the trees and berries) say "full sun" which is where they are planted.

Does anyone have any pro's or con's to doing this? Can they be watered on the same schedule?

~OJD

Friday, March 6, 2015

In Pursuit of My Masters

The view from the door nearest my classroom at Weber State.
This week was school week for me. I returned to campus at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah for my twice-a-semester mandatory classroom sessions. I can't complain because the rest of the semester is all handled online. Typically it is a two day session of seminars and classes. This particular visit contained three days with one of them being specifically centered on how to write a thesis paper (which I am NOT looking forward to.)

When I worked the night shift it was easy to complete homework during downtime and not drag school work into family time. It's not so easy now that I work an 8-5 job but I'm not complaining. At least I have the opportunity to earn more education. Usually I take a kid with me to accompany me on the trip. It gives us bonding time and plants the seed for what college life could be like for them. So far, everyone who has gone with me has loved it.

Frosty parked outside the place I stayed (no snow upon arrival)
This trip started out dry on the day I traveled to Utah but I woke up to several inches of snow. I almost got stuck in the parking lot the first day of class thanks to several inches of snow and my 3/4 ton 'burban with two wheel drive. Frosty, the Suburban I bought back from the insurance company after it was totaled in our house fire, cost me $400 to get back into my name with a salvage title. That poor old 'burban has been through a lot but it keeps trucking along. Got me all the way to Ogden and back  (not to mention pulled Jack, our Volvo, all the way from Arizona to Idaho).

Speaking of earning it, the education is costing me about $3500 per semester and there are four semesters. $12,000 is really cheap on the grand scale of obtaining a Masters degree. Most degrees at this level cost much, much more. I'm hoping to find some scholarships to help along the way. That doesn't include books, hotels, gas or food.

Eating my sammich in class...mmmmm...
I took along as much food as I thought I would need for the trip. A bucket of smoked almonds, a few ham sammiches, some granola bars and a water bottle. I made it through day two before I hit a Subway for a $5 footlong.

As most things usually go, this trip didn't end without a big, fat fubar event. I struck up a partnership, so to speak, with a local ski resort in Eden, Utah. The first time I stay, I swapped a few days of our timeshare for a few days for a place to stay for school. The ski resort was nice and not too far from campus. After telling the resort that I was a student traveling (at that time) from Arizona to obtain my degree, they began to offer me a low price for every visit. The protocol called for me to call them just a day or two in advance of class and as long as they didn't have all their rooms booked, they would let me have one for $39 per night.

A whole family of these guys reside on campus. I see them every year.
On this trip, they ran out of rooms at the main ski resort  but were able to place me at their sister location at the bottom of the mountain. The price for three nights were offered at $149 which was higher than usual but still couldn't be beat for the location and accommodation. The fubar occurred during checkout. The front office gal accidentally charged me $200 but quickly promised to get $50 of it immediately reversed. The next day, when I looked to see if it had truly been reversed, I noticed it had actually be debited $200 AGAIN. Now I'm out $400 when I should have only been charged $149.

Found a note in my lunch...
It's always something, no matter what. My windshield on Frosty cracked for no reason too. I think it was my defrost putting out hot air on a frozen windshield. I've heard of people pouring hot water on a frosty windshield hoping to clear away  their view only to end up cracking the windshield from the heat hitting the cold window. I guess this is what happened between my defroster and cold windshield...only I've never had it happen before.

Neither incident bothered me much. The money will sort out. The windshield crack is on passenger side and doesn't affect my view. It's a $400 car...who cares about a cracked windshield? You can't let all the little set backs get you down because they happen all the time. With nobody tagging along on this trip, I was able to crank out several weeks worth of homework in three days. It's almost Spring Break and I'm almost caught up on homework.

~OJD

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Amazon Contest Winner Announced! ($50 Amazon Card)

 A few posts ago I blogged about using an electric dog fence. I made a contest and opened it up to anyone who shared or commented. The prize is a $50 Amazon gift card and I picked the winner using a random number generator.

I simply numbered the commenters starting with the first comment as #1 and went down the list. The random number generator picked #3.

Congratulations:

Kim Johnson!


Please use my Contact Me link on the top tool bar to send me your email address and I will email your prize to you within a few days.

Thanks again to everyone who participated. I wish I had gifts for all of you.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled program...

~OJD

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Busy Filming Beekeeping Videos

I had a wonderful visit with a local beekeeper this weekend.  I took along my video camera to record the experience in an effort to retain more than my memory would have allowed.

It ended up being such a tremendous amount of information that I have chosen to edit it into a YouTube mini series.

It contained about 49 minutes worth of beekeeping gems so I cut it into three segments for brevity.

If you are interested,  head over to YouTube and search for me: OrangeJeepDad to see my list of videos.

~OJD

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Valentine's Day on a Budget

Red roses from CostCo were only $15
I caught myself making a reservation at the top restaurant in town for Valentine's Day.

Hostess: "Will 8:30pm do? It is all we have left."
Me: "Sure. That will be fine."
Hostess: "Great. I'll pencil you in. We are having a special just for Valentine's Day. For only $59, you get a choice of salad, a main meal and a desert."
Me: "Um, ok."

And I hung up...stunned. Why in the world am I making a reservation that will cost me $120 for a meal for two...and that doesn't even include a tip?

Traditional pink pancakes on V-Day paper plates
I thought of all the things we could buy with $120.

Fast forward to Valentine's Day. After sleeping in, I began cleaning the bathroom. I cleaned our toilet and the girls'. I cleaned the bath tub, both sinks and mirrors. Anything that I could picture Wifey saying "I really don't want to clean that today." is what I cleaned.

As I cleaned the bathroom, I began looking at the old step stool that her father had made decades ago. It is quite dilapidated with many splashings of paint mixed about. It had certainly stood the test of time and held up very well. Not a morning goes by during the week that each little girl takes her turn standing atop the stool and getting their hair done by mommy.

I thought it would be a nice gift of my time to refurbish the old stool for all who use it. I video taped the refurb and put it on YouTube. I chose a nice bright red paint to signify Valentine's Day and the girls were quick to jump on it once I brought it back into the bathroom.

Valentine's Day ended up costing me a total of $25 ($15 for roses and $10 for paint) and there was plenty of joy to be had.

~OJD


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Tree Question

Flower found a tree with berries in the parking lot at my work. Turns out, there are a lot of them in the parking lot but we don't know what they are...do you?




Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Free Family Homestead Activity at Home Depot

Building flower pots for free at Home Depot
One of the things you eventually struggle with when raising children is how to keep them busy (or not bored) while teaching them something fun at the same time. This post reminds some folks who already know of the little gem but also informs the unknowing of a great way to spend a Saturday morning together with you children while learning some skills and walking away with a prize.

As far as I know, most Home Depots have a Saturday morning "hands-on" workshop for kids. They provide simple pre-made projects that can be assembled in under an hour and all supplies (and clean up!) are provided completely free to the public.

This project's apron pin
We have taken advantage of this wonderful program in Arizona and Idaho. We've helped our little ones build bird houses, monster trucks, flower pots and many more fun projects that are ours to take home and use or display in all their amazing glory.

This past Saturday, we took our three little girls and built a flower pot from a kit. All materials: wood, screws, nails, hammer and paint were provided. Best of all, the girls were given miniature Home Depot orange aprons just like the ones that the employees wear.

Upon completion of each and every project, every child gets a lapel pin for their apron to show they've completed the project. As the years go by and the projects become completed, the kids earn quite a collection of neat little collectible pins.

With each project also comes just a little more earned skill at using tools, paint and the accompanying techniques needed to use them. On this little pot, my girls learned to choke up on the hammer just a little to gain better control of the fulcrum power. They learned how to hold an object from the inside while painting the outside and I taught them how to hammer a nail back out of the wood when driven in too far (among lots of other tricks).

Simple to follow instructions
Have a sick kid at home who can't make it with his or her siblings? Politely mention it to the HD attendant and they have never denied us from taking an extra kit home for the child who couldn't make it.

As far as I have seen, these are always held on Saturdays and typically run for at least two hours...usually three. You can show up as early or late as you want during that time frame and HD is happy to allow you the time you need to finish.

There aren't many FREE activities left these days so this event is certainly worth mentioning. It is a great skill building and family bonding activity that I hope stays around for a long time.

Do you know of another gem like this that you can share in the comments. Good clean fun like this is hard to find these days.

~OJD

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Contest! $50 Amazon Gift Card - DIY Electric Dog Fence Topic


(Want a $50 Amazon Gift Card? Read on to find out how this post can help you get one.)

Freedom zones can be expanded with add-ons.
It’s been a while since I’ve held a contest and now that I’m in my new Idaho homestead, it feels like a great time to have another one! Everyone who comments and/or shares this post on any social media venue gets put in a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card! The contest ends March 1st at midnight and the lucky winner will be drawn using a random number generator.

What’s all the hoopla? Why, Lucky of course. He’s generated quite a bit of comments recently as I post about getting him settled into our new homestead here in southern Idaho. The property we’ve settled on has no perimeter fence and I’ve been working on different methods that will keep him from running over to the neighbors’ houses while allowing him his freedom to be a dog. Or as Joel Salatin might say, to let him experience his “dogness.”

I’ve decided on an electric fence for Lucky. Through the comments on my blog from you loyal subscribers (all three of you!) and my own research, I’ve determined there are six reasonable uses for a DIY electric dog fence.

If you have dogs, keeping them safe and out of trouble is always a top priority. Dogs thrive on having the freedom to run and explore for the good of their physical and mental health, but in some cases they can’t do so without restriction (ie., irritating the neighbors). Electric dog fences are versatile and reliable methods of containment in most cases and they’re relatively easy to install on your own. A DIY electric dog fence can be used in many different ways, and here are some of the ways you can take advantage of them.

Create Custom Dog Zones
One of the great things about electric dog fences is how versatile they are. Our three acres is perfectly rectangular…but our house sits cattywampus (crooked) on the property. Traditional fences are rigid and typically meant for rectangular yards or 90-degree angles. If I ran a fence line in parallel with my house, it would look awkward on my property. An electronic dog fence is easily installed in any shape or angle, allowing you to fully customize your dog’s zone. In small yards, this can let you maximize the space your dog can use, without being restricted by oddly shaped property lines or structures that would interfere with the path of a traditional fence.

Protect Your Chicken Coop
When I had my chicken coop in Flagstaff, I had to protect my flock from Lucky. He would dig under the fencing and swipe large swathes of feathers off their backs…if they were lucky enough to get away from his massive paws. Whether they have the urge to hunt or just want to play, dogs can easily injure or kill chickens (Lucky 4, Chickens 0). A fence around your coop to keep your chickens inside is often not enough to stop your dog from digging under or jumping over it. An invisible fence placed around your chicken coop will keep your dog and chickens separated. If you use electricity in your coop, an electric fence can share the power source. You can also purchase a solar panel for less than $100 to power the electric fence.

Guard Your Gardens or Flower Beds
Dogs that love to dig can wreak havoc in gardens or flower beds. Lucky can dig holes big enough to hide a lawn tractor in. If it’s a challenge to stop your dog from entering your garden, an electric dog fence might be the right solution for you. You can run wire around any sized garden, and your dog’s e-collar will emit a mild static shock if they get too close. You can even use a wireless dog fence in your garden, and some units are even disguised as rocks. An important thing to remember, of course, is that an invisible fence will not stop other critters from going in your garden.

Enclose Large Properties
For people with large properties, an electric dog fence is an excellent option. Some electric dog fence systems can enclose up to 100 acres at a time. Installing your own electric dog fence can save you thousands of dollars and the savings are even more significant over larger areas. With an underground dog fence, you don’t have to deal with evening out the terrain. You also don’t have to regularly survey your fence for damage, because an electric system will notify you if any portion is broken.

Add an Extra Layer of Protection
Lucky and I watching the Super Bowl
Even the best electric dog fence cannot contain the most aggressive dogs and cannot keep other animals out of your yard. Because of this, electric dog fences are great as an extra layer of protection in an already fenced-in yard. Dogs who like to dig under or jump over fences will be unable to do so when an e-collar system is added. My neighbor has mad welding skills and was able to spend an entire summer building his on solid pipe fencing around the entire perimeter of his three acres. But he also lined the inside of the traditional fencing with electric to keep his animals from jumping on or leaning up against the fence. With a traditional fence and an electronic fence, your worries about your dog becoming injured - or a liability - will be alleviated. We’ve all heard stories about the neighbor who shot a dog because he was tired of the dog wondering onto his property.

Restrict Indoor Space – Yes, it can be done!
Electric dog fences are not just for use outdoors. They can also be installed inside to restrict the movements of your dog. If you need to keep your house cat and dog separate, for example, an electric fence can set the boundaries. Barriers specifically designed for indoor use allow you to block off access to certain rooms with easy installation. It’s as simple as placing a small strip or wireless unit in a doorway, and your dog can have free range in the rest of your home.

When choosing a containment system for your yard, there are lots of options to consider. For example, the PetSafe YardMax is one of the most popular choices for average-sized yards (based on Amazon customer feedback).  Other systems, like the Havanhart Radial, PetSafe Little Dog, and SportDog SDF, are great for specific situations.

Installing your own electric dog fence will save you hundreds - if not thousands - of dollars, and it can be done by anyone, regardless of experience. A DIY electric fence can be installed in just one weekend, and it only takes about 15 minutes per day for two weeks to train your dog on it. There are plenty of YouTube videos available that teach methods of training your dog to respect the fence before going live.

I encourage you to share your experiences with a variety of dog containment systems in the comments section. Commenters and those who share the post in social media qualify for a drawing of a $50 Amazon gift card! Let me know how you share this post and you’ll be in the drawing for the gift card. Again, contest ENDS March 1st, 2015 at midnight.

~OJD

Published in partnership with www.dogfencediy.com.

Joining 4H Club

Last night we had a two hour visit from our local 4H leader. I invited her over to discuss the details of joining and all the activities they do in our area. We discussed all the animals that can be raised and shown at the fair in September.

We also discussed some of the non-animal stuff like dutch oven cooking, sewing, crocheting, and more. After much debate, we've just about settled on raising some pigs for this upcoming season.

We'll buy them around May and care for them until September when the fair is in town. Luckily for us, the county fair is straight down a road not far from our house. It literally only takes us five minutes to get to the fair.

If I wrote the numbers down correctly, sounds like a pig can be had for around $100 at the approximate age of 3 months old. The feed should run around $200 for the four months we will be raising the animal. Then we can either sell it at the fair or process it with a local butcher for around $120.

This will be our first time in 4H and raising anything other than chickens. Any advice gladly accepted.

~OJD