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 17, 2019

Arctic Blasts Come Early This Year

We usually don't get the first of many arctic blasts until January. This year it came early sending freezing temps of nighttime lows in the teens and daytime highs just above freezing. It leaves me with foreboding of the winter to come.

It's a good thing I didn't plant a fall garden to offset our year's garden loss. It would have frozen. Icy frost covered everything for two days this week.  With all my health issues this spring and summer, we've been ill prepared for these cold temperatures this soon. Our firewood pile was nonexistent except for 1/4 cord of firewood leftover from last year. I was scouring the yard for the twigs and branches we use for kindling between rainy spells while Mel was on the phone arranging for another half cord of firewood. Did I mention that the price had increased over the summer to $80 for a half cord?

It's a good thing we're out of the rabbit business. The extra water bottles have come in handy for our two, long eared babies. Their fur have has come back in nicely to keep them warm. Before with all the rabbits alive and kicking when their water bottles froze overnight, we'd have to thaw them out and refill them, or substituting crocks of water for them. Rabbits can dehydrate very quickly. Now we have ten spare bottles so I can fill them from the tap inside and carry fresh water to them.

The chickens are another story. Their 5-gallon buckets and pans ended up with an inch or two of ice and they can't drink. I fill an apple cider jug with lukewarm water for them. When I go outside, I have a pointed branch (I keep one by each bucket) to break through the ice in the 5-gallon buckets. I'll pull the ice out because it usually has debris trapped in the ice and drop it on the ground. In the bunny/chicken barn, I'll pour some of the water from the jug into the pan. It'll help wash the pan clean of dirt and debris so the birds can have good water to drink. I then fill it up with fresh water.

I rarely give them more than a gallon of water in the barn because they are free range chickens and they can avail themselves to one of the 5-gallon buckets (4 of them) around the house. After all are fed, the straw is raked under the bunny cages and roosting bars. This gives me fairly stable walk ways through the barn. It's enough to keep the stay-in-the-barn chickens (4 of them) busy for hours spreading it back out. The cold temperatures are keeping most of the chickens from free ranging in the garden and orchard areas so I've taken to scattering grains and seeds around the barn. As well as, their feeders in the barn. Nobody wants to be out in the blustery wind with the temps so low. I even dropped the tarp down over one end to keep everyone warm. Since the wind and rain blows in from one side, this is sufficient. There are still the wired slats between the pallets to provide ample ventilation for the critters.

We are huddled inside for the most part. We are keeping busy with computer work, spinning, knitting, and crocheting. We are definitely glad to have the wood stove. It keeps us warm and cozy. The kettle and water bath canner on top of the wood stove provides the much needed hot tea and chocolate available on demand and humidity in the house. I'm cooking dinner around 3PM because Mel has this thing about eating after dark. By the time we finish dinner and watch two shows on Netflix (currently Supernatural & Agents of Shield) while knitting and crocheting, it's time to go to our respective corner (laptops) to work or play for an hour or three with the alternating chore of fetching four splits of firewood. Mel is nice enough to leave me enough wood to start the morning fire. I'm up most times before her. After that, I'll spin some wool and Mel will read her books until bedtime.

So we're in full winter mode this week. Next week it's suppose to warm back up to our normal November temps again. We'll pick back up with our outside activities like a new coop and run for Mel, and I'll continue with revamping the old rabbit hutches into quail hutches.

Oh, and the coyotes are back. Between Mel, Nnyus, Kassity, and I, we're making it known that they are not welcomed here anymore!

Y'all have a blessed day!
Cockeyed Jo 


  1. Hi Jo :) Oh gosh, we are having that arctic weather here too, it's unreal how cold it's gotten seemingly overnight. I hope your critters stay warm and safe. And that goes for you two critters too lol! ;) Having a wood stove must be so nice. In previous rentals, I've always had one and loved it, but where I am now we only have a fireplace. Alex and I have been renting here since 2014. That fireplace loses more heat than it produces so we rarely use it, just mainly for ambiance around the holidays. Enjoy your cozy evenings!!!

    1. Rain, that's the problem with fireplaces without inserts that captures and redistributes the heat. We've got plenty of winter cozy nights ahead.


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