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, June 26, 2016

Garden Update

As you can tell from the upcoming and uploaded cooking videos, I've been harvesting a few herbs and strawberries. Well this week while tending and crimping (cutting bits and pieces to promote growth), I found a fairly large zucchini squash. It had been hidden beneath some leaves ( aka a very bushy tomato plant). I promptly cut it. I usually don't like my summer squashes to get this large. I like the smaller variety to eat, can, or freeze. This sucker was a foot long and six inches around!

I'm going to play around with an Eggplant Parmesan recipe but use the zucchini in it. Yes, I'll video tape it if I do it. Or I just may make Zucchini Bread with it. It will probably make five or six loaves. I may video that too. I'm still fighting with Mel about eating her vegetables. I haven't decided whether to post my recipes on a page here or on our website yet, but I'll keep you posted. Y'all keep asking for them and I'm trying to comply.

I found our first tomato. It's only about 2" around right now. Something has been chewing the leaves off my tomato plants. I've searched several times a day for the culprit to no avail. We lost all sixty English peas plants due to the weather (more on this below). I replanted green beans and corn both have a sixty day harvest cycle. Up here is a much shorter growing season than I'm used to. Since the chickens have scattered all the seeds I planted, I found some ripe beans in the Hardy board bed that I had no idea what kind they were. I picked them (4 of them) and shelled them. It turns out that they were red beans. So now I know.

Speaking of Mel, she's been training Bennie Dufus, he now answers to both names, LOL! She's also been cleaning out the barn/workshop. (More building project videos on the way) It was a disaster! Almost all the bales of hay which the chickens had scattered everywhere and the wayward stuff has been reorganized. It's now looking like an actual workshop. She can actual find the tools she's looking for. The hay was a mixture of dirt and chicken poop so it's going into the compost pile.The last zombie rooster's days are numbered because she found the hatchet. I've just have to wait until she grinds a sharper edge on it before I attempt killing him off again. If he walks off again after I decapitate him, I'm leaving the homestead. LOL!

The weather has been so hot (mid 90s) that it's rivaled my south Georgia homestead. Not only that but we've had a drought. Not a drop has fallen in the past two weeks. At least on our side of the mountain. It evaporates before it reaches us. We need rain desperately. It replenishes our spring water system. We've started conservation measures already. But the garden needs water too.We find ourselves in a catch-22 situation. Later this summer I'll be purchasing some 275 gallon IBC totes for a rain water catchment system, but that doesn't help now. I'm also planning an automatic watering system for the rabbits. Every gallon of this life giving/providing fluid counts. It will also be working towards our goal of self sufficiency and our expanded homestead.

Well that's about it for this week on the Cockeyed Homestead. As always...like, subscribe, and comment. We love hearing from you. Y'all be blessed!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Those Darn Chickens! & Mel's New Project

I've totally given up on trying to plant corn and green beans this year. What I have growing will have to do. One of the hens figured out a way to fly over the 4' fencing. She's decided to make my garden bed her favorite nap and dirt bath spot. Well this year was a trial run anyhow. I figured the first year of any garden is fresh eating. It may

Mel's favorite chicken. Cuddles still insists on being one of the domestic animals. I can't leave a door open to let the cool breezes in or even carry multiple loads of groceries in without having to chase her out of the house. She knows I disabled too, because she'll head to the door via a cockeyed path around the living room and dining rooms first with me hobbling along after her.

Of course because she's inside, Whitie Rooster has to follow her to protect her. Then one or two of the other hens has to follow him. To update you on our zombie rooster, he is alive and well. He was kind of sickly for the first two days, but then he's back to normal self, and stays well out of arm's reach from me. His head is still cocked to one side and he no longer crows. This is a blessing. It is much quieter on the homestead with only one crowing rooster. When I snapped or hyperextended his neck, I must have damaged his vocal cords. I really don't hate chickens. Watching them is more enjoyable than television. They are so comical and de-stressing. We can sit on the porch and watch them for hours.They will eat goodies from my hand without pecking my skin. If they'd only stay out of my house and garden. This truly is a cockeyed homestead. The garden is fenced and the chickens run rampant.

Next Spring it will be different. We'll be hatching out a new flock of layers and meat chickens. These old birds, besides Cuddles and Whitie, will be culled just as soon as the the hens begin laying. The roosters of the new batch will immediately go into the deep freezer or csnned. I'm not putting up with all this nonsense anymore. These chickens will be penned. I've been looking at some designs online for a run around the garden.I though it was pretty neat. But I was also thinking about putting chickens and rabbits under a carport.
Sort of like this

I had originally planned to split the corn crop up between us and the chickens for winter. So it's just as much their loss as ours.

Mel finished writing her book, How to Train Your Dog in Ten Weeks. There is still a bit of editing to do. She had this brainy niche marketing ploy to include pictures and a DVD of her actually training a dog so the reader could copy the techniques she uses. Great idea, huh? She built her training area. She really wants to board and train dogs. That's where her heart lies. So I went out and bought 100' of fencing, screws, and wood for her to build the area. (see it here) She had this ingenious idea for moveable fence posts. Where the training area is now is where Mel's tiny house is going in the future. I have a problem saying "no" to Mel when she's got her heart set on something.

The only thing lacking was an untrained dog. Her two, Nnyus and Herbie are too well trained. We've been looking for months now. Well she finally found a dog online that we both thought would be perfect. She went by this private no-kill shelter to take a look. There was a ton of paper work to fill out, home inspections, a hefty adoption fee to boot, and a list of other things necessary for adoption. Mel being a dog trainer carried no weight at all. She came home and told me about it.
We decided to go by the animal shelter one county over the next day while we thought about the other dog. They know Mel well at this shelter.

So we walk down the row of dogs. We stopped at each cage and made the motion and told the dog to come or to sit. When the dog did it, we petted him and walked to the next cage. We wanted an untrained dog. We must have looked like two insane women who commanded the dog to sit and when he didn't we praised him. We narrowed it down to two eligible candidates, both males. I personally dislike training grown male dogs because raging testosterone makes them stupid and harder to train. But Mel wasn't bothered. I do love to work with German Shepherds. I've been training them to guard and protect since I was 16. Well, it was between a male black Labrador mixed and a German shepherd/blue heeler mixed. The black lab was 7 years old and the German Shepherd was listed at 3 (rough guess). She brought home the German Shepherd. Didn't I say I have a hard time telling Mel "no"? I sold two of my German Shepherds before I moved here. Mel dropped the bomb shell on me on the way home that I wasn't to have anything to do with this dog during the ten weeks of training. I was heart broken.

The pound had named him "Karma." Mel wanted to call him "Bennie." She got him out of the car and took him around back to the training area. He whined the moment Mel walked away from him. When she had taken him into the cat room at the shelter, he hid behind Mel's legs when they hissed at him so she'd figured he'd be alright with our multi cat household. The first night this dog attacked Herbie, the terrier mix, and one of the cats. He actually bit down enough to draw blood and shake them. He was severely reprimanded and stuck tethered to Mel's bed post for the rest of the night. During the fight Mel was pulling on the leash so hard that she hyperextended the muscles and tendons in her wrist and forearm.

The next morning he was fed and again placed in the training area. Mel came inside for a cup of tea and breakfast. In mid bite of the raspberry and cream cheese danishes I made for her, she jumped up screaming. The dog had gotten out over the fence and was now shaking a hen. Mel chased the dog around the front yelling "no" at him. She finally caught him and dragged him back to the training area. She tethered him with the spike she had leftover from the goat into the center of the dog run. As she watched him she realized that this poor animal had been tethered all his life. He'd never been loved and always yelled at. I now call him "Dufus." He is slowly coming around to training but Mel has got her work cut out for her. She still insists that he will be a well behaved dog in ten weeks. I hope so.

Speaking of future plans. We decided to keep the double wide trailer right where it is to be renovated to become our community center. The plan is to gut it almost. It will definitely have better insulation. It also calls for an open floor plan and enlarging the kitchen area. The master bedroom and full bath will stay the same except for ripping out the dingy wood paneling and el cheapo mock tile panels in the bath. It will be the overnight guest place. The second bathroom and where my bedroom is will be converted into a dry storage/monthly needs pantry. The laundry room will have a better, more user friendly layout. The old ceiling panels are history, if they don't fall down first. The place will still with a wood stove ...an actual wood stove and cooled by a swamp cooler. Where the office is will be converted into a reading room/slash library. Both porches will be screened and have rolled down plastic for winter enjoyment. The separate tiny houses haven't changed. Mine will be smaller than the others on purpose, although more expensive because of the handicap bath. I've got my heart set on a walk in tub again.

Y'all have a blessed day.