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, May 14, 2017

Summer Use of Our Cockeyed Greenhouse and Update

Our hoop greenhouse normally is empty during the summer. Why? Because it's too darn hot. With outside temperatures ranging around the 100 degree mark, why would we need it? Plants would wilt. The average humidity is lower here than my previous homestead (80-90% constant at the old place). I never needed a greenhouse. We'd hover around freezing for two weeks each winter. This place is at a higher elevation so the greenhouse comes in handy during late fall and winter.

This year we are stripping the plastic off for summer. The cattle panels, that make up the hoop section, will allow for climbing plants. The plants will also provide a shady area for tender plants that so better in partial shade or need a little bit cooler weather like lettuces. I do love me some rabbit food...Mel not so much, but she'll eat it if I put it on her plate.

It's just as well. Mel used duct tape to join areas of plastic. It didn't last. We'd have to recover it again before next cold season anyhow. I personally love the idea because of all the built in benches makes it easier to care and harvest the plants. No kneeling for this girl. The rabbits we housed in the greenhouse over the winter left us with a deep bedding layer of straw and rabbit poo for the garden almost six inches thick. We've placed it as slow release fertilizer, compost, and mulch on the strawberries and asparagus beds.

The cold snap last week and heavy rains for the last two weeks hadn't deterred us from planting our garden either. We did it between the rain falling. Slowly but surely, we've got it planted. The five-foot fencing is doing a great job of keeping the big hens out. I did a number of posts about the chickens getting into our garden last year. By the end of the season, not much was left for us. Not this year though.

We've rethought our rabbitry over the winter. I went out and bought a single car carport. They should be delivering it in a couple of weeks. We are sort of going back to our original design for the rabbitry. The cages will be hung from roof of the 12x21 structure. This will allow for the larger cages and every bunny will be happier. Each buck will have a 24x30x24 cage and every doe will have a 24x36x24 cage. Each doe's cage will have a drop down nest box for kindling purposes. Except for the meat rabbit does will have 30x36x24 cages. They are big at 10-14 lbs. With babies, they'd run out of room fast as their kits grow before weaning.

We'll be bordering the litter/poo area under the cages with wood so it doesn't go everywhere. This is my chief complaint with the hutches. So much poo is lost and hard to retrieve. We are always tracking it everywhere. Nobunny will be over or under another rabbit. How will we keep it cool for our angoras? Two hurricane fans to keep the air circulating and frozen juice bottles. If they suffer, we can always bring them back into the air conditioned old rabbitry.

So what are our plans for the old rabbitry? We'll scrub it out thoroughly and store our canned, and dry goods in there. With the insulation in the floor, walls and roof, the temperature didn't drop below 50 degrees in it this winter. That's with below freezing temperatures for several weeks. I brought my storage shelves from my old
homestead with me when I came here. So they will have a home at last. The food stuff will have a proper home too instead of stuffed into every available nook and cranny. It will be easily accessed for me via the handicap ramp that will run between the summer enclosed porch and the rabbitry. Although I trust Mel's carpentry skills, I'm hiring a carpenter to build the two ramp (off the front and back porches). It will just be done faster. She's only one woman and the new chicken coop and run still have to be built. Plus about a dozen other things that need doing around the homestead.

The plan for the back ramp will have enough room to push my wagon up and down. I'm still only a single handed person. I am planning for a 6' deck off the storage building that is level with the storage building. A big enough area to turn the wagon around on and not be to tight. Yes, the little tree in front of the building is still alive in spite of our efforts to kill it. This will also make it easier for Mel to bring up wood from the wood shed in winter too.

I'll be calling the contractor who is going to be doing all of our electrical, plumbing, and grading of our driveway this coming week. We had to get Mel's truck fixed first. I figured I could spend a few thousand to get a four wheeled drive truck, or keep my van and put in the driveway. I chose the driveway. The driveway has gotten even worse over my past year here and will only get worse. It needs to be done. I noticed following Mel up it, when we took her truck to the shop, that she had to put it in four wheel drive mode to get up in one spot. Her wheels were just spinning clay and rock. Luckily my van has a shorter wheel base so I missed it and had no trouble this time.

This summer we might just have some air conditioning in the house without circuits overloading. At least that's the plan. We are having a proper water line put in between the house and the well pump. It will be trenched to the proper depth too. No more piece meal fixed of broken water lines. No more waiting to have running water into the house during winter. I had enough this past winter of filling jugs the after the pipes thawed enough to let the trickle of water come through. I've also arranged for 275 gallon water totes to be delivered for our water catchment system. This will water the gardens and provide the animals with a fresh supply of water. Yes, I could have saved money on just picking them up, but we can only fit two at a time in the back of Mel's truck. The gas going back and forth to pick them up more than made up for the delivery charge. Now we just have to set it all up.

They'll be some major changes coming to our homestead this year. Stick around. I'll keep you posted.
As always,
Y'all have a blessed day.

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