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, August 14, 2016

The Garden and Downsizing-Ugh!

This week on the homestead is all about the garden and I think the garden is officially done except for the tomatoes, and maybe potatoes and sweet potatoes. It's not from harvesting it. So I know this you may wonder. It's those darn, blasted chicken yet again. This time five of them wiggled their way under the gate and had a feast. Now to figure this out and actually do this seems smart and desperate of them. You would think we didn't feed them at all. I know we do because I buy the layer pellets each month. They have more than enough bugs, grubs, scraps, and assorted greenery to eat as well.

They have scratched up my zucchini plant which was still producing. The green stems of the potato and green bean plants have been like wised decimated. Every ripening tomato that was lower than three foot has had chunks pecked out of it. I'm so disgusted with the garden I haven't been in it for days. That's not like me at all. I am thankful that all my winter squash is above five foot. They haven't been able to reach them. Yet! Given enough time, they'd figure it out I have no doubt.

I'm planning out my late season crops garden as you read. I know I'll be planting spinach, potatoes, and not sure what else. Maybe try green peas again.

Mel has been busy with projects and work. As I said a few weeks ago, her part-time job has her pulling almost full time hours. But she is only paid part time. The kitchen cart is completed except for the painting. I could paint it, but I like the look of the raw wood. I may paint it later when we don't have so many irons in the fire. It would be an excellent late fall project when things slow up. Her newest project is building a firewood storage hut out of pallets. I say hut because it's 8' wide, 16'
Sort of like this-firewood storage hut
long, and 8' high with a roof. The small one she engineered last year out of plastic and pallets is useless. It doesn't keep the wood dry plus it doesn't hold that much wood especially since we heat our home with wood when it gets cold. Strange when you think about cold weather when it's 90 plus degrees outside. But, that's life on the homestead you prepare in advance as much as you can. We will be needing about six of them when we get the trees cut down. We only have hard wood on the property.

I'm slowly educating Mel on prepping/homesteading. It's a lot more comforting than scrambling at the last minute to find necessities. I'll make a semi self sufficient homesteader out of her yet. Our main problem right now is where to store everything for the long term. On my old homestead I had a 12x12 room for storing food stuff, but double wide trailers are not made for that unless we give up a bedroom. Right now, all our bedrooms are spoken for by us two and an office/craft room.

We are talking about getting a storage container to house our canned and dry goods. But then again we'd need a back hoe to dig out an area in the side of the mountain below use too. That's in the long range plan for the homestead. We are constantly tweaking our over all layout for the homestead. Like grading a driveway to the the tiny houses in the area where retaining wall is by the hill side and around behind the trailer. We are planning the ramp access for the trailer off the other side of the screened in patio. It will be easier than steps for me and simplifies bringing food stuff in.

I think the solution is to bring in at least one tiny house for me and let me vacate the main house. It would be back where the dog training area is now. That way in the original plan my bedroom and bathroom are becomes the inside the house pantry. We decided on two pantries over all. The storage container for long term storage and a inside monthly stores area. We decided to place the chicken/ rabbitry building on Mel's current side of the house instead of behind the barn. It's shadier and there's plenty of space for it and the driveway once the current chicken coop is removed. The chicken run/coop/rabbitry is our next big purchase as you read last week. We also will not have to cut down any trees. There are three big ones on the current rabbitry side.
10x16 with porch

My tiny house will be like pictured without the barn door and a window where the barn door is. Where the additional window is will be my bathroom. I plan to put a walk in tub/shower and a composting toilet in it. Gutters along the front and back will form a rain catchment system for it's water. Solar panels will provide all the electricity it needs for lights and stuff. It will have a small wood burning fireplace for heat. For 160 sq ft, it won't take much to heat or cool. Even with 100 plus temperatures here now, I'm rarely in air conditioning although it would be nice. I've learned to make do with ceiling or box fans. A loft area will provide extra storage or a extra bed for overnight visitors. It will have more than enough room for just me even with a simple kitchenette of a microwave, electric kettle, or single burning cooktop, sink, and a small 4 cu ft refrigerator/freezer. My twin sized bed and dresser will fit nicely in the small area by the door and a small desk/table for my computer and television. I'll even have room for a walk in closet. I won't be spending much time in there anyhow. All the major canning/preserving/cooking will be done in the community building, our trailer so mostly you'll be finding me there. The processing/spinning will also be done there also. I really will only need my tiny house for sleeping and maybe some alone time. I'll be in the garden and rabbitry working the rest of the time.

I've gotten over my infatuation with stuff. My old place has TOO much stuff. Somebody has got to take care of all that stuff and it ain't gonna be me any more. I don't need huge closets full of clothes. It's not like I'm preaching or working any more in the public eye. One clergy outfit is enough for hospital visitations of stroke survivors. I normally wear sweat shirts and t-shirts to work on the homestead. Pull on pants and shorts too. None of that takes much room. Yes, a winter coat and a couple of sweaters are bulky, but they'll hang up or sit on a shelf nicely. Honestly, if you have a washer and dryer, do you need much? Sure a week's worth of socks, underpants and bras are nice. All of that I mentioned is in my six drawer dresser now, or in a plastic tub awaiting a cooler turn in the weather before I swap out summer for winter. Oh yeah, my handful of flannel shirts also fit in the winter category. 

Simplify was my goal with my move here. Sure I wanted my lift chair out of convenience. My twin bed may go to my grandson since Mel has one I can use. There was a large amount of kitchen gadgets, craft stuff, and adaptability stuff I chose to keep because it makes my life easier. But everything is small stuff compared to what I've thrown or given away prior to my move here on purpose. Remember, I left over a 3,000 sq ft house that was overflowing with just stuff. Mel actually kept more of my stuff than I wanted as we went through the stuff. One man's junk is another man's treasures. In all total, what I brought would have only filled a 10x16 room, or the area of the size of my tiny house. My whole, new tiny house is the equivalent to the size of my old master bedroom. Talk about downsizing.

Honestly, why would I continue to move all that stuff around? I'm only me. Yes, admittedly some of the stuff I brought is being used in the barn/workshop, the rabbitry, in the community building, or being upcycled to other purposes now. That's okay. I still simplified my life greatly. Plus when I die, nobody will be burdened with my stuff. There are still a few pieces that my children want that I'm not willing to part with yet. But the majority can be used by whomever takes my place in this community we are building. I've done the clean up after four relatives died. It ain't pretty what happens to their prized possessions.  I just simplified it for who has to clean up after me. I sure as anything, I can't take it with me.

Well that's this week on the homestead. Be blessed.


  1. I hear you on simplifying, Jo. I feel the same way and have been working on things for awhile. Feels so much better not to have so much stuff. Piles of things make me feel like I am suffocating. Like your tiny house plans. You and Mel have done a nice job planning. It's well thought out. How many tiny homes do you think you can have on the property?

    1. The initial estimate is at least four with the possibility of 2 more if we terrace the slopes.That's the beauty of tiny homes,they can go anywhere

  2. Very cool! I've watched several Tiny House videos on Youtube and love the homes. Keeping my fingers crossed and a prayer to Heaven that all works out. Thanks for letting all us Mel & Jo fans follow your journey.


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