Homestead News, Volume 15

It’s raining here today, which is expected to continue for a number of days. That’s good, because it was very dry here. Since we have been doing a lot of tractor work in and around the garden and antenna tower locations, much of the ground was just dust. We didn’t want to have any of our new topsoil wash away again like it did in the spring, so I took what was left of an old bale of hay and spread it out pretty thickly in the bare places. Then we turned the sprinkler on for a little while to mat it down and hopefully hold it in place. We got a good rain last night that wet it down even more. So far so good.

Lance, the boar

Our pigs are doing well. Their behavior is acceptable, and they like their routine. I have been watching Liberty, and petting her more than the boys, to see if there are any signs of pregnancy. She seems to be getting rounder by the day, and if I’m not mistaken, I think her teats are developing. Maybe some of you that are experienced with pigs can give us your opinion of these pictures. I can only guess at her condition based on a goat’s body, which is woefully inadequate since one is a ruminant and one is not.

Liberty, our gilt


In between antenna towers, the steps for the outdoor kitchen were built. The two posts to the right will host a handrail once the concrete at the base of the posts cure. The metal for the roof and lumber for the framing is in. Depending on the amount of precipitation we get early next week, we may see more progress on the kitchen.

Tower #2

Antenna towers. We now have three concreted in the ground. The main tower was the last to go in since it necessitated taking the radio shack off line for a while. We had our third Survival Radio Relay Net this week with another increase in participation from around the area. There are even folks that are starting to try to contact each other every evening at the same time, just to check in and see how well their radios are working.


Tower #3


We will do an indepth article on the changes in Frank’s antennas, the towers, their installation hows and whys, when we complete this project. If you have any questions beforehand, please post them so he can address them in the article. Our current set up surprised us with the number of people we could reach and the distance some of them are from us. We can’t wait to see how the taller towers will affect our communication abilities. This is a very exciting project indeed.

Bucket with a hole for watering trees

When we put the lattice work up across the front porch, we had to move a small jungle of trees that had lived in pots for a couple of years. Most of them had died due to neglect, but some of them made it by growing out of their pots and into the ground. One of them was this mulberry. We had to lop off a very large root to move it out of the way, and I wanted to try to save it. We really expected it to die. I pruned it severely, planted it by the chicken pen, and watered it regularly when we watered the chickens. The leaves all gradually died and fell off, but then the other day there were new leaves. Yea! This tree can provide berries for us and chickens alike, and will also provide some much needed shade for the pen in the heat of summer. 

Our wonderful Pearl

Our critters are doing well. Here is a glimpse of a few of them.

The chicks are growing.

The chickens like pears.

Scruf is funny.


Lady Bug
Okra blossom

I have one more day of pear canning ahead of me, hopefully tomorrow. I have a few more green beans I can put up as well. It won’t be long before the first frost comes and puts an end to the outdoor garden. Then I will really concentrate on learning to grow our winter food in the greenhouse. I already have visions of seedlings for spring lining the shelves. But first, we all need to weather the coming winter and whatever it holds in store. 

We continue to appreciate each and every day that we can live these comfortable, ‘normal’ days. That gives us one more day to prepare.

Until next time – Fern

22 thoughts on “Homestead News, Volume 15

  1. Thank you for the information, 308. I figured a 102 would be at the top of the list. A number of my friends use a 102 as a base station antenna. They use it for 10, 11, 12, and 15 meter. It works great. It's good to know about the K40. I am surprised about the Radio Shack CB, I would have figured a Cobra 25 or 29. I hope this information helps people decide what type of antenna or radio. Thanks again.73's Frank

  2. Hi Frank , about half of the group use the old standard 102 the rest is a mix of Fire Sticks and base wound K40 . has far as radios , Radio Shack is the most represented I think 4 out about a dozen the rest is a complete mix. I work 40 meter and have made contacts in your area and Texas from the left cost.73

  3. Your radio talk encourages Me to get the temp antenna up to Extend the range of my HT. We leave the end of November to the Sunny South for three Months an I will take the temp with Us. I need to install the mobile in the pickup I have a mag-mount for it an can use a side open window for the antenna feed , that's not available in the Motor home.

  4. The end of the pears will come. I just finished 2 weeks of apples. Whew! I so enjoy hearing about the animals on your farm. Thank you! Just Me

  5. I saw the pics of your little Scruf and thought it was pics of my Tuck. Funny. I've had three cats over the years that could be carbon copies that look exactly like your Scruf.

  6. Thanks for the information about the towers. BTW, I really appreciate how you and Fern take the time to answer all the comments. SJ in Vancouver BC Canada

  7. Hi, 308. HF/NVIS will be in our future, but at this time about half of our participants are non-hams. We hope to expand and get others in the group. I guess a group of us could practice NVIS separately. It's certainly food for thought, thank you for the idea.What's the most popular CB that your Jeep group uses? And which antenna performs best and makes the trip home intact? I use a Tram 4 footer, but my favorite is a 102. I'd appreciate any information you can share about CBs, antennas and durability. Thank you.73'sFrank

  8. I like your methodology \”KISS\” other wise I would remember it for a minute. Our Jeep group uses the day of the month on runs with CB. I was hopping that you used HF also so we might make contact .73

  9. Frank, if I was home I could show Dad and he could tell you how long she has to go but I am not so useful as that. But growing up in a pig farm I can tell you one useful thing. Any time a sow was not a good mother, rejected piglets or any problem Dad would give her a bottle of beer in a dish to drink. It pretty much worked every time. Beer/ Alcohol/ relaxation… = Pig in better mood. When we kept pigs later on a smaller domestic scale he always kept a couple of bottles of beer on hand. May sound funny but I saw this work many times.I hope everything goes well anyway and you get lots of piglets.

  10. SJ, here we go.The main tower supports my VHF/UHF antenna, scanner antenna, cell phone booster, and the center of my OCF dipole (long wire). The other two towers, in opposite directions, elevate the other ends of the OCF. One end of that OCF antenna, that tower is attached to my unattached garage/workshop. On that tower will also be a small VHF antenna, a CB antenna and scanner antenna. The third tower, where the other end of the OCF dipole will connect, will be the center of another long wire antenna, 90 degrees perpendicular to the OCF antenna. It also extends out 50' in each direction, and the ends are mounted about 20' in the air. On this same third tower, will be my main CB antenna. I also use my CB antenna, since CB is actually 11 meter HF, for 10, 12, 15, and 17 meters on occasion. You see, the CB is a vertical antenna, and the long wires are considered horizontal. My weather station will also be attached to the third tower. Thank you for asking. Hope this answers your question.Frank, the antenna farm director

  11. Hello Herdog. Please comment any time the urge strikes you, and tell your husband thank you for doing his radio part. It's difficult being a conservative in a highly conservative area. There are few that are on board. But I'd rather be here than surrounded by the left, at least here I know I'm right. Thanks for sharing.Frank

  12. We use a local repeater for our VHF amateur radio portion. The scanner folks also use that same frequency. For CB we use Channel 22 – 7.225 MHz. GMRS Channel 22 – 462.725 MHz. And we use MURS Channel 2 – 151.880 MHz. We do it on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at 20:00 hours. Notice the pattern here? Channel 22, Channel 22, Channel 2, at 20:00, on Tuesday. Catchy, eh? It's kind of like remembering the phone number for 911. Or do you think this is 'too' much? I removed your call sign from your comment. Hope you don't mind.Our little group is growing and we hope to grow even more. We firmly believe that we're going to need alternative communications in the near future. Our group is called SRRN, Survival Radio Relay Net. Some guys are hams, some are not. Let me know what you think.73'sFrank

  13. I read Frank and Fern's blog every day too, even if I've read it the day before. I find myself thinking the same thing. I wish they were my neighbors; we'd get along wonderfully.

  14. I am so jealous of your outdoor kitchen. I dream about canning our fresh catch albacore and garden harvest, outside. My best friend is the big fan that blows in the kitchen when I'm canning. I think it was Gods little joke to make canning necessary in the worse of summer.I don't comment all the time but I just want to thank you, Fern and Frank, (my hubbys retired Radio comm. tech for the county) for ALL that you share with us. I wish we were close and could be a part of your community. I was lamenting the other day that I wish I could have a trusted network of people here on the 'Left Coast\” to share in prepping for the future. But then I got to thinking that in a small way we do have a strong network right here in my neighborhood. Being conservative in a sea of liberals, you just have to sometime look at things a little differently.Keep up the good work and thanks again for sharing.

  15. OMG, the birds plant mulberry trees ALL OVER THE PLACE, even where the ground is mostly rock, and they are nearly impossible to kill. Looks like you are humming right along, making lots of progress.

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