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, November 20, 2016

Using What's Available for the Homestead

The homestead just after purchase
The Cockeyed Homestead is all about resourcing what's available and repurposing to get what we want and need. That's what our YouTube channel is all about. Not that we are opposed to spending money when we have to. The barn and rabbitry enclosures cost a pretty penny or two. Yes, we could have done a building project for those, but the needs was immediate. Mel had a Lexus that would not do well without a cover of some sort and she needed a workshop for building projects. Sanity prevailed when working with power tools in rainy or snowy weather. The purchase of the rabbitry couldn't wait with the loss of two of our angora rabbit does over the summer.

But things like the chicken coop and run, while a need, it could be a repurpose/reuse project. By repurposing pallets and reusing fencing, they now have a coop and run for almost free. The chickens had been left to free range and roost wherever for a year. Chicken poop was covering almost every flat surface.  They were left to roost, even during the winter, on Mel's front porch because they'd out grown their coop. Our gardening attempts were decimated and something had to be done. The situation just wasn't healthy for them or us. We couldn't even gather their nitrogen rich poop for composting. It was a waste of a valuable resource too.

We needed a new, larger wood shed for fire wood storage. The previous one was falling apart. This was also a need, but one that wasn't an immediate need. We had all summer to plan and build it. So free pallets could also be used. Leftover roofing and siding from the barn made it safe from rain while the open spaces in the pallets provided ample ventilation for seasoning/drying the wood. The wood from this wood shed allows me to light our wood stove with one match.

The winds that blow up and down through our hollow allows for ample kindling and dead fallen trees each year all we have to do is gather it. Junk mail and my discarded packing boxes sets fire quick. But all that being said, the wood stove was not without expense this year. The stove pipe needed to be replaced this year. The rust had actually eaten large holes in it. That was something we had to purchase new. I guess we could have searched for some that was cast off, but it would have been a lot of effort for little results.

Yes, this one is only $17 at Home Depot
The purchase of good tools can be found at one of the local pawn shops. I purchased Mel a brand new Dremel and accessory package somebody pawned. It had never even been opened for less than $100. Perfect for small jobs and there are always small jobs where the big saws are overkill like cutting a 1/4" dowel rods with a shop saw. Even Harbor Freight doesn't sell it that low. A scythe for the grain we plan to grow was $20. Totally rusted and dull, but nothing a little elbow grease and a wet stone can't fix. We had looked at the ones in the hardware/big box stores and they were cheaper, but not as nice as the old one we bought. The curved handle makes using it more body friendly. With the straight handle, you end up working your back and upper body too much, plus it's hard to do the step, swing, sway motion that is more ergo-dynamic for cutting hay and grain. Work smart to avoid body injury is a priority on this homestead. Cheaper is not always better. After all, we aren't young anymore. Both of us are on the downhill slide of 60.

We look at everything with an eye of how many uses can it have. In my mind, everything should have multiple lives and uses. I'm also thankful for everything I have. I was searching through my belongings housed in the barn yesterday. I was looking for a particular yarn to make Mel's birthday present with. I found the old tattered, handmade and stitched quilt that had once graced my husband and my bed.  It had been made by my husband's great-grandmother. I was flooded with memories of quilting beside my mother and grandmother, and our first years as newlyweds with children. I hugged the quilt before I placed it carefully back in its box. When I rework/repair it, it will grace my bed once again in my tiny house next year. Even if I use it as batting for a new cover, it will provide warmth in the winter and memories to hug me every night.

Enough sappy stuff. My point is everything can have another life even us. We just have to open our eyes and spark our imaginations.

Y'all have a blessed week.

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