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, April 9, 2017

Spring Has Sprung, I Think

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It's spring finally, I think but it's still in the 40s at night. We actually had some 80 degree daytime temps. Talk about a temperature shift between the two. It's now April. You'd think it would be safe to plant outdoors, but you'd be wrong here. May 1st is our last frost date.

I did plant some things though this week. English peas, potatoes, onions, garlic, lettuce, and a few other things that a late frost won't damage too bad. I've held off until now. It's a way different mindset.

When I think about my children's childhood in southeast Georgia, we had this rule. No swimming until after May 1st. That's because it was already 80+ degrees in February, and the ocean and outdoor pools had a chance to warm up. But here, nope! It would be like my childhood spent partially at my Grandmother's house in Nebraska. There would be snow on the ground until after Easter. The community pool didn't open until mid June when school let out. No, it isn't that bad here.I haven't even worn my heavy coat this year, mostly sweatshirts and my bulky sweaters. But then, I grew up and lived in northern type climates.

As you might have guessed, the proceeds from the sale of my south Georgia house has been reinvested somewhat into the homestead. I'm researching grading and driveway installation for our 1/4 mile drive. I've only talked about it for the past year. We are also researching companies for bush hogging and tree removal. This was an abandoned property for far too long. The sun doesn't hit the ground in most of it. We want to terrace our down hill slope into usable areas.These are big bucks things. With big bucks come big changes.

This will be easier for me to access. By planting the orchard and grains this way. The amount of sunlight and rain that the trees, plants, and bushes get will be optimized. It's a win win situation. It's also working within our property constraints. Or in other words, making applesauce. The only semi flat area we have is where the double wide and barn sits. Everything else is on a slope of a foothill. With the terraced sections being ten to twenty feet wide, It'll give us ample space for whatever we want to grow. it will also enable us to raise American Guinea hogs, or goats, or sheep plus have pastures for them to graze. Another step in becoming more self sustainable.

No, we won't be cutting all the trees. But we shouldn't have to cut firewood for a few years. This will be a good thing, because we aren't getting any younger. On this two-acre lot even cutting fifty or sixty trees to start with, is a small dent in the trees.

We've bought a used, but good rototiller for gardening. This hard packed clay takes years to get very productive. Now I can't use a tiller, but Mel can. It's a two handed thing. By adding lime and lots of organic material, even newly tilled soil can become very productive within a year. It is just a hardship to turn the soil with a shovel for new areas. While we have the chance, we're doing it.  If ever the SHTF situation arises at least we'll be prepared. If it doesn't, we still are prepared and more self sustainable.

Mel and Moira
Meanwhile, the English Angoras have blown their coats yet again. I plucked 5 ozs of just the back and shoulders of Moira yesterday. In all total I think I got 10 ozs of usable fiber off of her.  I did remove all her mats and buzz cut around her poo area with a mustache trimmer. I'll weigh it all up after I finish her up today and do Daisy next, then Dustin, Angus (so he can see again), Alby and start on the Jersey Woolie/Lionhead - Ebony, Kiki, and Early Gray. Luckily, our two male Jersey Woolie/Lionhead have the shorter Lionhead gene for hair more prominent so it's just a brush through on Squirt and Snowballz. After that, it's just standard beauty parlor grooming for them for a couple of months until they blow their coats again. Mel will give all of our rabbits a manicure this week.

We culled eight meat rabbits this week and they are in the freezer. Eighteen meals + for us and treats for the dogs and cats. We don't eat the livers, hearts, and kidneys. While I'm told they are tasty, I don't care for them. I'll be breeding Ms. Colleen again in the coming weeks to get our total rabbit meat needs until Fall when we breed again for human consumption.

Our baby chickens are four weeks old. Although I thought I bought six Buff Orpingtons, the feather pattern is different on two of them. It might just be our two roosters. I've never raised Buffs before so I don't know for sure. Time will tell. The Rhode Island Red chicks have almost tripled in size. I'd heard they were fast growing. Their coloring and feather pattern is more pronounced every day. All the chicks crowns have begun to form. They are at that gawky stage where their necks have elongated with their heads are tiny compared to their bodies. I'll be replacing their little, 24-hole chick feeder with a standard one. They are just going through the feed to fast. I draw the line at filling it more than twice a day. Their 2 gallon waterer is working out well. Now to get busy on their chicken tractors. No, I haven't started them yet. I've been too busy with rabbits.

So we are starting in earnest. Join us on YouTube to watch the journey and here for updates.

For now and always

Y'all have a blessed day.

2 comments:

  1. What do you mean by the rabbits blowing their coats? Do they lose the hair before you can collect it? Never raised rabbits for their hair before, only meat rabbits many, many years ago.

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  2. All rabbits, including meat rabbits, will release their old coats and grow new ones a couple times a year. Angoras do it 3 to 4 times. Blowing a coats just simply means the old hair has released from the skin. The old coat can get knotted up in the new coat and form thick mats. Neither condition is comfortable for them. You can run a comb or simply lightly pull on the old fur and it comes out by the handfuls. We spin this released fur into yarn. All animals naturally shed their fur. With angoras, their fur is four to six inches long. I've seen some angoras shed their old coats before the new ones come in and be totally bald. Ours, shed their old coats when their new coats are about an inch long. Just simply brushing them twice a week they will loose some fur, but when they blow their coats you get the most.

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