The Boys' Bugle

A Christian magazine for boys featuring things of both a spiritual and physical nature.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

How My Summer Went.

I’ve been very busy this summer. I’ve been working at building my centrifuge every time I got a chance all summer long. I am getting close to finished. I think a few days of working at it would finish it. It seems like one thing or another delays me.

The end of May Luray got appendicitis and we treated it with prayer and with herbal remedies. He got fine but being he didn’t know he should keep treating it for 3 months he stopped treating it and went back to work. Then the middle of July he got it again. Not knowing for sure what the problem was, we took him to the hospital. He was in the hospital twice. The doctor thought his appendix had burst so they made a big incision, but it wasn’t burst after all. Now he is not allowed to lift more than 5 lbs till the end of September. I’m really glad he is still here.

Mid August I got a hypodermic needle stuck in my knee while I was picking tomatoes. I never saw a needle in the garden before. I found a needle in a haystack! I think it came from some manure/hayage we bought from a dairy farm. I went to the doctor because I was afraid of tetanus. Afterwards I realized that going to the doctor was useless being I kept the wound clean. I only needed to go if it would have gotten infected, which it didn’t. I’m suspicious that the doctors get a lot of business because people are fearful and ignorant on how to treat themselves. My theory is that God made our bodies with an immune system to fight off any bad stuff that is out to get us. If we are strong, the bad stuff has a hard time getting us. If we are weak, it will get us one way or another. Of course, we should avoid stress as best as we can. I think this applies to both the spiritual world and the physical. I think fear causes us more trouble than the bad thing we’re afraid of. God, and being able to trust in Him, is the greatest strong hold.

About two weeks ago I thought to myself that I need to take a break. I wanted to get my centrifuge finished (besides the regular work) and then go to PA to get it balanced and take a break. But I didn’t make it that far, for I overworked my back and Friday a week and ½ ago it got stiff and tired and I ended up laying on the ground not able to get up. God saw fit for me to take a break sooner than I planned. Now I have time to write.

The beginning of August Charlie Thonus moved from southern N.Y. into Luray’s house at the greenhouses. He is helping with the produce. I think if he wouldn’t have come, by now we’d have hit the dirt. I’m really glad he came. Besides, now I have another friend.

Luray in the hospital.

Charlie beside Luray’s house.

The Bed System for raising produce

The conventional way of farming did not suit us for our pesticide and herbicide free produce farm. We had problems with erosion, overworking the soil, tilling and mowing small sections when a crop was finished, etc. Therefore we switched to a bed system. The bed is about 5 ft. wide and the walk way is about 3 ft. wide.
Generally we first mow the bed down with the flail mower to grind the weeds and spent plants. Then we disc it twice, followed with the rototiller. We may also run the field cultivator (S-tines) over it to make it smoother. Then we plant it and if necessary, we’ll cultipack it. We haven’t yet moldboard plowed it or remade the beds after a few years. The tractor tires always are driving on the walk ways; therefore the beds never get compacted. We try to have clover growing in the walk ways. We have very nice sandy soil, which makes life easier.
We try to keep a cover crop growing any time a bed isn’t planted in a useable crop. It’s best to never have bare dirt. Cover crops are good for soil fertility and for weed control. We use mostly oats, buckwheat, rye, and vetch for cover crops.
We built a nice cultivator for cultivating the beds. The cultivator has a diesel engine with hydrostatic drive (like a skid loader). The engine and operator and cultivators all go up and down. We made it so we can quickly put different attachments on it. Mostly I use 9 inch sweeps on S-tines or the tine harrow for cultivation. The tine harrow has lots of long (about 24 inch) teeth something like would be on a hay rake that scratch the ground. The tine harrow is good for sprouting weeds. We use it on most everything, including carrots. I also have an attachment for making hills, like for potatoes. And attachments for marking rows, harrowing a whole bed, and such. I really like my cultivator.
This system works nice for us on our farm.

Buckwheat for a cover crop.


Deer Fence

Cultivating strawberries

The Picker Machine

We’ve been dreaming about building a machine for picking produce and for pulling weeds for a long time already. This summer Daniel was complaining about his back aching. Luray decided to build a picker machine this summer. He was almost finished when he got sick. I ended up finishing it so we could use it. It certainly saves on the back and makes the work go faster. It helps the most when picking cucumbers and when pulling weeds in the strawberries. It gives me a headache if I use it too much. We need to make a few more changes to it sometime. It is powered with a 7 Hp Hatz diesel and hydrostatic drive. And of course, it runs on vegetable oil.

Rear view

Daniel pulling weeds in the flower bed.

Hatz Diesel Generator

My brother Nathaniel put a 7 HP Hatz diesel on a generator. We still haven’t used it enough to know how good it is. Our figures say it should run for 24 hours on a 5 gallon tank of vegetable oil.

Nathaniel and his milk buckets

Nathaniel’s cow

Dirty Vegetable Oil Tanks

I’ve been having a problem with dirt building up on the insides of my fuel lines and tanks. Inside the tank it gave like sheets of dirty leather that fell off and plugged my pipes and filter. I had thought that anti-bacteria fuel conditioner was going to fix my problems, but it didn’t fix them all. Is there a cure for this problem other then getting in there and cleaning it out with elbow grease?

See the pile of “leather” I got out of that tank!

It looks like corrosion on the aluminum piece I show here.

The Doodlebug

We use this doodlebug to get around on the farm. It is powered with a 7 HP Hatz diesel. We run it on straight vegetable oil in the summer time without switching to diesel. Boys love to drive it.

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