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, October 8, 2017

Waiting for Rain

Now that we have the orchard terraced, we are waiting for a rain forecast. It won't do any good to seed the tiers with a green cover crop without rain.

Without rain...
The seed will just lay on the ground and not germinate.
The chickens will have a field day eating all the seed.

So you can see our dilemma.

In looking at our extended forecast, there's no rain this week either. Sure we could run sprinklers and hoses, but that a lot of both to cover the 1/4 acre plot. The best chance of rain is the week of the 20th. So we're waiting until the 19th to sow our seeds.

It's too late in the year for a substantial hay harvest. We decided to hand sow about five or ten pounds of deer plot seed (rye grass, radish, and clover seed) over the area. We don't expect much. It will only have a month to set its roots and maybe some greenery before the cold will kill it. That's okay though. It's just a nitrogen booster for the newly terraced area. Later in the fall or early winter, cardboard, wood chips, manured straw and compost will cover the area for a nice warm bed for the winter's snow.

In the spring, we'll be hand sowing orchard grass seed as a cover, or should I say under cover crop for the fruit and nut trees. It will help retain moisture
and fertilize the fruit. As an added bonus, when trimmed, it can supplement the rabbit and chicken feed. We also plan to plant herbs around the trees like comfrey, oregano, and mint that are too invasive for anyplace else. The empty spaces between the trees might as well produce something else too. Remember, we only have a small patch of land to work with. Double and triple duty is the norm when possible. Maybe even sweet potatoes, and melons while the trees grow for ground cover to keep the weeds out. When there's bare patches of ground, Mother Nature tries to fill it. Better for me to fill it with something we can use.

While we could seed the area with orchard grass now, I'd rather wait until spring when we can sow and harvest a couple of times before next winter. The seed for organic orchard grass is a bit pricy. I want full bang for my buck.

I've also been researching markets to sell our excesses at. There are several within a 30-minute
driving radius of our homestead. While I don't see Mel sitting at a booth for four hours every Saturday, I can. I'd just need her help setting up and taking down the booth. I don't expect a huge amount of business income from this, I do want exposure for our homestead products. Whether it's fresh, chemical free fruits and vegetables, or angora wool and yarns, or needle worked products,  or even some other canned produce like pickles and jams. I had toyed with the idea of operating a CSA, and still may. I'd expect to break even on expenses, but we wouldn't say no to profits. :o) But the first step is make others aware of who we are and that takes time. I'm definitely more people orientated than Mel is. I've owned and operated several successful business ventures over the past couple of decades. I'm not opposed to doing it again.

I was talking to a friend of ours last week about the plans for the interim orchard(while the trees grow). She was shocked. "You have really put a lot of thought into this," she said. My response was, "Yes, I have." I don't believe into throwing away money. It took a pretty penny or thousands of them to get the area cleared and terraced with a back hoe and little jobber. While it was mainly done for our needs, it doesn't hurt to sell off the excess produce. It's getting a monetary return on my investment. There will always be other areas that will need investments in the future like dairy goats or guinea hogs maybe. Being a small homestead, cash influx to reinvest into the homestead is a must.

When I say little jobber, I'm talking about a small Bobcat like the one pictured. When my oldest daughter was five years old, we passed one working along side or its much larger cousin. When she asked what it was her father told her that it was used for little jobs the big one couldn't. "Oh," her five-year old mind rationalized, "It's a little jobber!" This name for a bobcat has stuck in my mind ever since then...almost forty years ago.

On that note...
Y'all have a blessed day!

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