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, September 24, 2017

A Cockeyed Update

In a few weeks, is our first frost date. This growing season has zoomed by. I'm still trying to adjust to having four seasons again.

Honestly, it's been a cockeyed roller coaster of weather this year. Marked with late freezes, a cooler than normal summer, rainy spring and summer (not that I'm complaining), and a tropical storm blowing through our mountains. I keep saying that next year will be better. Or, I hope it will be.

BECAUSE of our strange weather patterns, the orchard wasn't planted, but it is cleared now with a thick layer of cardboard, wood chips (thank you TS Irma), and straw so it will be ready in the spring for the trees and bushes. We did expand our garden area. It now has a blanket of cardboard, wood chips, and straw too. My goal for the garden this year was to produce six months worth of vegetables. We fell short. I only managed a few months worth. Vegetables that grew well for several years didn't this year. In part I blame the chickens...they ate the seeds, and decided my garden was the ideal place to sunbathe and dust bathe. Once again, I had no idea what would come up, or even if the plants would survive the chicken claws and beaks.

Most of what I canned was chemical-free, non-GMO, and locally sourced produce. Although it seemed like I canned a whole lot, it isn't when you look at how many meals and sides it will be. But then again, I did manage six months worth. I'm still working on Mel's attitude of not having too much food around. She just has a hard time understanding the quantity of food that is necessary to feed us for that amount of time. It's the city girl in her. It's so much easier to go to the grocery store every couple of weeks and buy what you need without thinking what the total amount needed for months. Sure we could still do that, but it goes against a healthier, self-sufficient lifestyle. It's hard to find good, whole foods in the grocery stores.

She griped when I canned two cases of apple pie filling. "We aren't going the eat THAT many pies!" Then, I made my pie filling muffins.  I didn't hear another peep out of her.

When I canned two bushels of green bean, her favorite. It was the same thing. I tried logic. "How many cans of green beans do you want to eat a week?" That didn't work. So finally I told her, "Shut up! It's my money." She stopped fighting me about food stuff. She's also got a part-time job now too so she's out of the house more.

While our 5 cu ft freezer is filled to capacity with beef, chicken, pork, and shrimp, I keep hearing her say that there's no more room but yet, I find room. Mel has a giant love of animal protein. I can take it or leave it. Five pounds of organic soybeans and dry beans will supply the amino acids I need without the animal based meat products for quite a while. Not that I don't like a well cooked steak, or chicken and dumplings from time to time. I really do! I love my veggies. I made a video of making Lo Mein. Mel's complaint, "It has too many vegetables." When I made chicken Lo Mein the other night I made hers with mushrooms, onions, and garlic for vegetables. Mine was loaded with about six ounces of vegetables. I try to get her to eat healthier, but sometimes it's a losing battle.

The Cockeyed Critters are doing well. I had the opportunity to buy a new breeding trio of Chinchilla rabbits, but didn't. Mel helped me butcher the roosters this go around! She held them while I dispatched them. She learned how to pluck them and watched as I butchered them saving the choice bits. It's a start. But by the same token, she loves the cuddly, fluffy bunnies. She doesn't mind eating them but raising them for meat purposes, she's against it. I don't understand the difference meat is meat. I watched her tear into a deer roast with no problem. If I could still maneuver, I'd be packing another freezer with venison hunting season. She doesn't think of deer as Bambi, or beef as Elise the cow. I do know that I'll be getting my quota of squirrel meat this year. Wait there is no quota. :o) I'll eat squirrel in a pinch but it'll go towards dog food. Anybody else notice how expensive animal food has gotten?  I wish the cats and dogs would eat fodder too, but their diets is meat protein based. I really love knowing where my food comes from and how its grown. It's quite a bit quieter around here since four roosters went on to their next stage of life.

Moira and Mel
The cockeyed rabbits, now down to ten, are doing great in the new, rabbitry barn. The does love their new, larger cages. The bucks are content. They get their weekly outings. All the bucks are allowed to hop and play for hours inside the rabbitry area (12'x24') while they are groomed. The does, likewise, are allowed their time too. Moira, while sweet and timid with us, is a holy terror and territorial in the open space. She'll stake out a corner and chase everyone else out of it- including the cats and chickens. It's really hilarious to watch her guard her territory. This giant poof ball chasing a full grown hen. Even Flynn the fearless runs from her. She actually only weighs a little over three pounds without the fur, but you'd never know it from her thick, luxurious coat. But then, all our angoras are great woolers. Our Chinchilla rabbit doe, Colleen, doesn't seem to miss the kit rotation I've had her on before we lost Keiran. But who really knows what bunnies think? 
Y'all have a blessed day!

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