The Fowl Tower: High-rise failure

Way back when (last fall) I surprised Jamie with the Guinea fowl. Their sole purpose was to protecting the flock from snakes, as they were becoming a growing problem (stealing eggs). Shortly after they arrived, it became apparent that they may need their own space. So came the idea of the Fowl Tower. The idea was to have an outdoor nesting area like a tree because Guineas love to sleep/nest in trees.

our chicken/fowl high-rise

our chicken/fowl high-rise

We dug a hole, put in a 4×4 pressure treated board and some concrete. Once that dried we attached the top of a pine tree I had cut down earlier that year. Then finally we plopped on the top which has two covered areas for nesting. We thought that with the branches, the chickens/guineas would love jumping flying up and use. However, to date I think the only living thing that has climbed up and peaked inside has been me. At the end of the day it didn’t cost a whole lot and who knows maybe the new round of chicks will utilize it. If they do,  then I will put up a ladder going up the 4×4 so we can easily clean and inspect for eggs.

That’s it for now though, cheers.

Garden Re-Vamp is finally underway

After this week last frost should be behind us, so we are getting the garden ready to transplant the seedlings from the crafts room to the outside world.


Last year we tried straw-bail planting. It was semi-successful. But at $4 a bail, limited planting space based on the structure, and then of course the fact the decompose into mush. We decided to do raised beds (soil is terrible down here).

Step one was to start cleaning up the mashed up bails.


There where cardboard boxes under the bails but they apparently decomposed after less then a year. Only problem w cardboard boxes is that if you don’t think of it and remove the tape, your left with tape after everything is decomposed. So as I see it, I pick it out.

Soil and Straw


Next step is to start putting together the raised beds.

 view one

view two

We are making 14″ x2’x18′ (height, width, length) boxes. I took all my practice boards from the sawmill threw on some Thompson waterseal the day before then started building. After the structure was completed and placement done, I took scrap plastic from other projects and lined the inside of the box to help with dirt control and help prevent rot.



Once that was completed I confirmed a second time that placement was OK w the Queen (It is all for her, so I really want to make sure she is happy before committing to a location) and then pitch-forked in the old straw bails. When she is ready to plant we will top it off with compost from last year and soil from bags as needed.


Now its time to start on the next box


This one is going to 18′ (L) x 4′ (w) x 14″ (h).  I still need to put in middle supports across the bottom , another row of boards. I think all boxes I make will need at least one upper support to keep the sides together. If I wasn’t using first cut/learning boards ID have used 3/4″ boards instead of the 1/2″ I have here.

 You may have noticed our messy bags and failed rain barrel. We will share that experience when we upgrade that to version 2.0…  

That’s it for now. Cheers


Freakin piggies

Sure enough after talking about something the universe decides to kick it up in high-gear. During lunch while working on getting the garden ready for the raised beds I noticed some foraged earth in the chicken area (much more then they could do). After closer inspection I could see that the pigs had gotten under the fence between them and the chickens. I threw the logs back on the fence line and went on with my work. Just as I was getting one corner of the garden clean up finished I hear a noise and turned around…

Pigs exploring the chicken area

Pigs exploring the chicken area

they simply bypassed the fence and log, and went on to explore and eat some more

pigs exploring some more

pigs exploring some more

I was easily able to get them back over to their side after getting some cracked corn and yelling “I smell bacon” while lifting the fence. The came running from under the coup to under the fence and started going to town on the corn. With the pigs back where they belonged I went and grabbed the stapler, then went around stapling the fence to the logs to hopefully keep the pigs from going under.


luckily no issues with the pigs and the chickens.

I really hope that this has been happening for a few days and that we simply hadn’t noticed. Because it would explain why they haven’t torn-up the in ground veggie garden area as well as we had hoped.

Hopefully that’s the only animal drama for the day. till later, Cheers.

What the pork?!

Its been a while since we talked about the little porkers, which have been renamed Jerry (because he not nice like our neighbor Jerry) and Ben (because it matches and he really is sweet, always runs over to get pet)  . I am still in the process of finishing up their pen setup,  partly because it isn’t in its final spot yet and I need to process more timber.

First you must enter via the wood door made from scraps from their pen housing

gateway to the world of pork

gateway to the world of pork

We had bought a corner sink for the basement bathroom, got home and realized we needed the old faucet hardware, which was $100+ from the net/big box stores. So we use it to feed the pigs table scraps. We just holler “I smell bacon” and they come running.

The still unfinished pen's backside

The still unfinished pen’s backside

As you can see we ran out of the  shingles we bought from our local habitat for humanity and I had to use some that have been kicked around the chicken coup and shop since we moved in (from previous owners).  To date (other then the roof plastic, shingles and screws) all the lumber for the pen is from trees cut down behind the shop and processed with the Alaskan chain saw mill.

inside view of the pig pen

inside view of the pig pen

As you can see, I still need to finish processing lumber for the one side, and then put the finishing touches on. Pigs seem pretty happy, keeps the wind and rain off of them. I was in the process of putting in more straw for their bedding, as well as feeding them when I took this picture. They really are a playful bunch, loved knocking around the empty 5 gallon pale I kept their food in

pigs lovin the simplest of things

pigs lovin the simplest of things

Lastly their 2nd main purpose of life on our mini/micro farm. To root out all the grass, weeds and bugs from our in-ground garden area. They haven’t been that good at it, but they are rooting around eating up all the nasty’s that are bad for our garden. An added bonus is they poop like crazy, so they are fertilizing as they go. Once we are ready, I will till the whole area.

The pigs are grubbin

The pigs are grubbing

You may have noticed that we have electrified the base of the exterior fencing, areas we don’t when them to burrow under. So far it has been working and they are aware of the shock they get if they don’t mind the fence.

Well that’s it for now. Till later, Cheers.

Log to lumber

So with the help of our neighbor Ed and his son Brian we where able to bring up one of the last pine logs (only one left).

First step is to lob off the sides and turn a round peg square.


This left me with a 7 1/4 x 7 1/4 post. From that I cut it into 1 1/2 inch thick slabs. Then using our circular saw took the slabs and turned them into 2x4s.


I’ll be using these to make the frame of the greenhouse. Which will be 20’x15’… I should be able to get the rest of the base framing lumber from the last pine log that’s down. After that I will needed to start cutting down more of the pines.

That’s it for now. Cheers.

Bandsaw Mill – Harborfreight

Logging/Milling: Band Saw

This takes 9minutes off a cut when compared to the Alaskan Chainsaw Mill. So we have processed 10 logs, all smaller. So we haven’t netted much usable timber fyet. But with the help of our neighbor we will bring up the last 10 logs we have down already (they are all to large for me to move alone) so I am expecting to get some good timber from the remaining seasoned logs.

Bandsaw Sawmill

Band saw Saw mill from Harbor Freight

The only issue so far has been that need to figure out is how to keep the band from flexing too much. The blade flex causes a slight wave in the boards.

Since the smaller logs have been used for learning I cant complain too much. These imperfect boards will be used for outside/livestock projects.

Alaskan Chainsaw mill

Alaskan Sawmill from Northern Tool : Granberg Chainsaw Mill, Model# G777 for $160 before taxes


This is great, works, but IS SLOW. so if you aren’t ready to spend your time, your better off saving the $2000 for a Portable Sawmill from Harbor Freight or eBay

4) Guide Rail for Chainsaw mill (Northern Tool) : we got ours on eBay for under $200 (if you have a light, flat ladder, you can use that)


We use this for first cuts on logs, helps keep all boards semi flat. It works out well but does take some time to cut timber/wood.

Our Logging/Milling Chain Saws

Logging/Milling: Chain Saws

  1. I ordered a TimberPro 20″ 62cc from eBay: $180ish with shipping (manufacture site)
our main chain saw

our main chain saw

I have been using it for about 3 months now. The only issue I seem to have with it is keeping it tuned (and it drinks gas pretty freely). I constantly have to adjust the idle and hi/lo to keep it running smoothly. Otherwise, its been great. It includes the two chains, tool kit and a bag. Really cant complain about it.

2) Ryobi 18′ 46cc RY10519B from HomeDepot: $120-30 (on sale)


our secondary saw

This saw has been alright. I think I need to adjust the carb, as I have always had issues getting threw any hardwoods (really anything other then pine or poplar). So we have it really just for a secondary saw, and for straight cuts when running the mill. it does come with a chain, hard case, and a basic chainsaw wrench.

HippyNerd Home Tech

So we run a mix of tech here at HippyNerds.

Here is a general idea with some specs, links and info

Web/External Tech:

  • Hosting is being provided by my boss on our Hyper-V server
  • Our server is a virtual Ubuntu 15 Server
  • We run a mix of software on it which I manage from SSH (completely custom, so no stock options for security reasons)
    • Madsonic: our own Pandora without adds, and allows access to our music from anywhere (check it out: sonos, ldap and support for more) this also supports video and transcoding.
    • Apache: needs no introduction, but just incase: worlds most used webserver software: simply amazing stuff
    • ISPConfig (simplify management): was a process to install and configure (guide I used) but in the end it wasn’t hard, just took some time
    • eMail Server using RoundCube for webaccess –  (guide I used)
    • WordPress for site (clearly, just look around, you will see it) – installed using ISPConfig, applied changes to fix upload problems suggested here
  • Static IPs, Godaddy domain and external DNS

Internal Tech:

  • Synology Virtual Clone
    • Sec. cams
    • VPN
  • Media Management
    • SickBeard – The ultimate PVR application that searches for and manages your TV shows (find, rename, organize tv shows/series)
    • Couchpotato – Awesome PVR for usenet and torrents. Just fill in what you want to see and CouchPotato will add it to your “want to watch”-list (find, rename and sort your movies)
    • Madsonic: yes, we have two. the one in house is so that we aren’t trying to stream over our crap DSL connection
    • Headphones: Automatic music downloader for SABnzbd: keep your music collection updated, organized and tagged
  • Media/Storage: this is a pita because I haven’t bought any tech in ages, and wanted to not spend money
    • Movie/Download Target: This is all running on a HP HomeServer hardware running OpenMediaVault  (this is dying, I will be replacing  by installing 4tb drives and a 2nd raid controller in my home server box)
      • Download Temp – 250gb 7.2k drive
      • Movie Storage – 3x 2TB 7.2k drives, 2x 2TB external usb – software raided total 7.6ish TB of storage
    • TV Show/Music/pictures: Very old BuffaloTech TerraStation Pro hacked running TS-HTGL/R5 F/W 1.35
      • 4x1tb 7.2k drives, raid 5 around 2.7TB storage
    • Security Recordings: Windows Essentials
      • 1 15k 156gb dell sas drive: OS install, software, backed up to 500Gb external
      • 3x10k 300gb dell sas drives raid 5: this is the storage location
  • Networking: a mix of old and very old tech to make things work wired and wireless
    • Cisco WET200: using as a wireless bridge for my walkout basement home office
    • DLink DSL Router/Modem: crappy Verizon model, used for wireless G (non-service items) so phones and laptops use this
    • Linksys E1200 v2: running DD-WRT this is for service items G/N. I have WDS setup for extending to chicken coup and shop
    • NeatGear WG602v3 x2: VERY OLD but work well as extenders using DD-WRT for converting out wired sec cames to wireless while still extending the network to the shop and chicken coup (using external antennas)
    • 3com 24 port gig manged switch: I haven’t don’t anything with this really, just using as a unmanaged switch
    • HP 8 port gig managed switch: same as above, simply using because its gb and is higher end
  • Services: how things get address, talk, go outbound
    • Windows Server 2012r2 Essentials
      • DNS
      • DHCP
      • Home Domain
      • Software Host (see above for links and info)
        • headphones
        • madonic
        • sickbeard
        • couchpotato
      • VM host: Synology Soft Device (currently getting re-setup, was a physical box)
  • Media Viewing/Serving: I have played around with Plex, XBMC/KODI, Synology, MediaPortal, LMCE. But in the end, I always go back to my beloved Kodi (formally known as XBMC
    • Kodi 15 is on my following devices which have a shared database so progress and watch status is the same across all devices
      • Raspberry pi 2b: our main viewing device, connected to our tv through our denon amp
      • Raspberry pi b: with touchscreen skin, this will be my shop media center, its setup, but not in use at the moment
      • Ubuntu 15 desktop: my main laptop
      • Android phone: for on the go viewing
    • Madsonic: this is used for Music streaming, its the best on the go (subsonic app) and web based player imo. I use it on the following:
      • Devices
        • Android phone
        • iPhone 4s
      • Browsers
        • IE
        • FireFox
        • Chrome
  • Home Automation: still unable to find a software solution that I like. So no central management yet
    • Hardware:
      • power controls (outlets, switches) are Insteon
      • IR: iTach2 ir over network: no used yet
  • Security Cameras: a mix of old and off brand new
    • Hardware
      • Avacom HD PT – using as our porch cam for front yard viewing and package delivery
      • Dlink 5300 – using as our goat cam, currently waiting to be put-up
      • Wanscam w Foscom Hack – was our “baby cam” but it being re-purposed to the chicken coup
      • Others (located around the property/outside home)
    • Software: checking out a view now: installed on our home server. Still nothing found that I like as much as the synology security center

Meet Solider Boy/Stoner Boy : Our newest addition

Solider Boy/Stoner (Nigerian dwarf):DOB Aug 2015  We bought Stoner (as the neighbors call him due to his face, HAHA) to make sure Penelope and Lola wouldn’t have babies that would require assisted birth. This is because of possible issues due to the physical size difference between Alpine Dairy breeds and Nigerian/ Lamancha

Stoner-Soilder Boy

Our newest addition to the goat herd…

Stoner boy LOVEs people and is always the first to run up for a pet and looking to rub up against your leg… then try to eat your pants. 

Soldier was purchased just above Afton VA but his parents are both from a high end goat farm in Maine. He wasn’t sold with papers because the woman didn’t get pics of his moms udders while she was with milk. We don’t need papers because we are breeding him with our mix goats Lola and Penelope.  I have noticed a local goat farm here selling “mini Alpine” goats aka Alpine mom and Nigerian dad. Which we so happen to have. I’m not trying to encourage him to breed with Nadeen because we mill her twice daily. But if it happens aka if she actually lets him and he figures out how ( she’s three times as tall) so be it. 

Thankfully,  Soldier only acted like a perv when the girls are in heat. I have not seen any ( including Nadeen) in heat in 2 months now. 

Soldier boy came debudded, however, some horn is still growing on both sides :/