Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Those Darn Chickens! & Mel's New Project

I've totally given up on trying to plant corn and green beans this year. What I have growing will have to do. One of the hens figured out a way to fly over the 4' fencing. She's decided to make my garden bed her favorite nap and dirt bath spot. Well this year was a trial run anyhow. I figured the first year of any garden is fresh eating. It may

Mel's favorite chicken. Cuddles still insists on being one of the domestic animals. I can't leave a door open to let the cool breezes in or even carry multiple loads of groceries in without having to chase her out of the house. She knows I disabled too, because she'll head to the door via a cockeyed path around the living room and dining rooms first with me hobbling along after her.

Of course because she's inside, Whitie Rooster has to follow her to protect her. Then one or two of the other hens has to follow him. To update you on our zombie rooster, he is alive and well. He was kind of sickly for the first two days, but then he's back to normal self, and stays well out of arm's reach from me. His head is still cocked to one side and he no longer crows. This is a blessing. It is much quieter on the homestead with only one crowing rooster. When I snapped or hyperextended his neck, I must have damaged his vocal cords. I really don't hate chickens. Watching them is more enjoyable than television. They are so comical and de-stressing. We can sit on the porch and watch them for hours.They will eat goodies from my hand without pecking my skin. If they'd only stay out of my house and garden. This truly is a cockeyed homestead. The garden is fenced and the chickens run rampant.

Next Spring it will be different. We'll be hatching out a new flock of layers and meat chickens. These old birds, besides Cuddles and Whitie, will be culled just as soon as the the hens begin laying. The roosters of the new batch will immediately go into the deep freezer or csnned. I'm not putting up with all this nonsense anymore. These chickens will be penned. I've been looking at some designs online for a run around the garden.I though it was pretty neat. But I was also thinking about putting chickens and rabbits under a carport.
Sort of like this

I had originally planned to split the corn crop up between us and the chickens for winter. So it's just as much their loss as ours.

Mel finished writing her book, How to Train Your Dog in Ten Weeks. There is still a bit of editing to do. She had this brainy niche marketing ploy to include pictures and a DVD of her actually training a dog so the reader could copy the techniques she uses. Great idea, huh? She built her training area. She really wants to board and train dogs. That's where her heart lies. So I went out and bought 100' of fencing, screws, and wood for her to build the area. (see it here) She had this ingenious idea for moveable fence posts. Where the training area is now is where Mel's tiny house is going in the future. I have a problem saying "no" to Mel when she's got her heart set on something.

The only thing lacking was an untrained dog. Her two, Nnyus and Herbie are too well trained. We've been looking for months now. Well she finally found a dog online that we both thought would be perfect. She went by this private no-kill shelter to take a look. There was a ton of paper work to fill out, home inspections, a hefty adoption fee to boot, and a list of other things necessary for adoption. Mel being a dog trainer carried no weight at all. She came home and told me about it.
We decided to go by the animal shelter one county over the next day while we thought about the other dog. They know Mel well at this shelter.

So we walk down the row of dogs. We stopped at each cage and made the motion and told the dog to come or to sit. When the dog did it, we petted him and walked to the next cage. We wanted an untrained dog. We must have looked like two insane women who commanded the dog to sit and when he didn't we praised him. We narrowed it down to two eligible candidates, both males. I personally dislike training grown male dogs because raging testosterone makes them stupid and harder to train. But Mel wasn't bothered. I do love to work with German Shepherds. I've been training them to guard and protect since I was 16. Well, it was between a male black Labrador mixed and a German shepherd/blue heeler mixed. The black lab was 7 years old and the German Shepherd was listed at 3 (rough guess). She brought home the German Shepherd. Didn't I say I have a hard time telling Mel "no"? I sold two of my German Shepherds before I moved here. Mel dropped the bomb shell on me on the way home that I wasn't to have anything to do with this dog during the ten weeks of training. I was heart broken.

The pound had named him "Karma." Mel wanted to call him "Bennie." She got him out of the car and took him around back to the training area. He whined the moment Mel walked away from him. When she had taken him into the cat room at the shelter, he hid behind Mel's legs when they hissed at him so she'd figured he'd be alright with our multi cat household. The first night this dog attacked Herbie, the terrier mix, and one of the cats. He actually bit down enough to draw blood and shake them. He was severely reprimanded and stuck tethered to Mel's bed post for the rest of the night. During the fight Mel was pulling on the leash so hard that she hyperextended the muscles and tendons in her wrist and forearm.

The next morning he was fed and again placed in the training area. Mel came inside for a cup of tea and breakfast. In mid bite of the raspberry and cream cheese danishes I made for her, she jumped up screaming. The dog had gotten out over the fence and was now shaking a hen. Mel chased the dog around the front yelling "no" at him. She finally caught him and dragged him back to the training area. She tethered him with the spike she had leftover from the goat into the center of the dog run. As she watched him she realized that this poor animal had been tethered all his life. He'd never been loved and always yelled at. I now call him "Dufus." He is slowly coming around to training but Mel has got her work cut out for her. She still insists that he will be a well behaved dog in ten weeks. I hope so.

Speaking of future plans. We decided to keep the double wide trailer right where it is to be renovated to become our community center. The plan is to gut it almost. It will definitely have better insulation. It also calls for an open floor plan and enlarging the kitchen area. The master bedroom and full bath will stay the same except for ripping out the dingy wood paneling and el cheapo mock tile panels in the bath. It will be the overnight guest place. The second bathroom and where my bedroom is will be converted into a dry storage/monthly needs pantry. The laundry room will have a better, more user friendly layout. The old ceiling panels are history, if they don't fall down first. The place will still with a wood stove ...an actual wood stove and cooled by a swamp cooler. Where the office is will be converted into a reading room/slash library. Both porches will be screened and have rolled down plastic for winter enjoyment. The separate tiny houses haven't changed. Mine will be smaller than the others on purpose, although more expensive because of the handicap bath. I've got my heart set on a walk in tub again.

Y'all have a blessed day.

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