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, December 31, 2017

Cockeyed Winter Mode

Happy New Year! Yes, winter slumber has finally comes to the Cockeyed Homestead. The nighttime and some daytime temperatures are below freezing. The delay of the colder weather was nice. Now is the time we snuggle indoors by the warmth of the  wood stove, but our self reliant mode still continues. With the first dusting of a couple inches of snow, outdoor work ceases for the time being. I doubt it will warm up much again with the arctic dips hampering outdoor activities until spring.

Work on the back screened porch begins. While the weather was
warmer, other outdoor things occupied our time. We had to fix and screen the gutters first. Isn't it always the case- one projects leads to two or three. We've replaced the torn screens to the dismay of two of our cats, Lil Bit and Flynn. They had taken to use the unattached area of screen as a doorway between the deck railing and the porch.We bought  a roll of 6mm plastic sheeting to cover the screened porch. Hopefully it will keep most of the frigid winds and cold out. Two 6x8 area rugs cover the deck spacing of the floor. It won't cover the entire floor but a good patch of it. We had to wait for the trees to loose all their leaves to begin this project. The animals and wind kept blowing them in. The purchase of a small electric heater will keep the temperatures above freezing. The old, clip lights will be repurposed, we used for brooding chick, will also heat and light the area.

The plan for this space is still a month or so off. We've basically turned the area into a greenhouse. I plan to start seeds in this area. Raspberry, blackberry, and grapes to begin with because they will take the longest and grow into transplant size. We'll also be starting dwarf lemon, limes, oranges, rambutans, and other tropical type fruit trees in pots which will be moved into the actual greenhouse when it warms up.  We've hmmed back and forth between buying fruit and nut trees or starting them from seeds. We decided to do both. So apple, peach, pear, pecan, and black walnut seeds will also be started. These can take up to ten years to bear fruit. That's why we decided to do both ways. We can get some harvest while waiting for the from-seed-trees to mature. The space will also be used to start other garden vegetable seeds in around Easter for the regular garden and herb patches to get a jump start.

Transplants are easier to plant and give instant satisfaction points when planted outdoors. Satisfaction points are important for pats on the back. :o) It looks like instant success. But the real work begins in keeping the transplant alive and healthy until harvest time. Keeping bugs and common diseases away organically takes time and planning by way of companion planting.

But even companion plantings is not enough. Sometimes manual labor and a little extra TLC is needed. Gardening is more than if you plant it; it will grow. There is no truly hands-free, organic gardening. If there was, would you do it? I wouldn't. There's something calming, relaxing, and therapeutic in gardening. All the tender, loving care that you put into the plants reaps a better harvest and puts you closer to what you feed your bodies with. Enough of the dreamy philosophy reeking from the pores of the Cockeyed Homestead, back to winter mode.

The wool from the angora rabbits is brought in. It is sorted and a portion is dye bathed. Of this portion, we'll form rolags for spinners by combing and straightening the fibers in preparation of spinning into pure angora yarn. Another potion will be blended with sheep's wool and/or alpaca sourced from neighboring homesteads, or our lionhead/ Jersey Woolie mix for our own Cockeyed blend of fiber. These blends will also be portioned into natural dyed or undyed lots. The rolags will be sold or spun into yarn for use or sale. I'm looking forward to producing some beaded art yarn by the end of  next year for sale. First I've got to find a wholesaler for the beads and /or sequins used. Running up to Gainesville to Michael's or Joann's is an expensive proposition when talking about bulk production.More handling of the fiber means a higher price point. Higher price points mean more income.

Between the fiber preparation, spinning, and knitting/crocheting, it will keep us pretty busy during the cold months of the year. There is also a pile of mending and sewing. There just isn't enough time during a day when the weather is nice to do it. I can envision a day when we'll be spinning and processing fiber year around to keep up with demand, but that may be wishful thinking on my part. There's just too much to do on a homestead when trying to be self sufficient in all areas, but then income coming in is also important for acquisitions, maintenance, and forward growth of our homestead too.

$300 plus shipping @ etsy
I still want to buy a small loom to try weaving. We have the ability to grow and process flax into linen. A locally sourced organic cotton may be available. I haven't looked into it yet. Napkins, handkerchiefs. place mats, and dish towels galore. Or, even using wool for fabric or woven scarves. This particular loom is only 24" wide so it's limited in making fabric, but you've got to start somewhere. Few people have to space to house the larger floor looms...us included. Since we only knit and crochet woolens during the cooler/cold months, spinning and weaving cotton or linen would give us a summer/hot months projects to accomplish. Cottons and linen production is perfect when the outside temperatures hit above 80 degrees.

Something to keep the hands busy while the brain rots with our three hours of television or movie time each night. We never rest unless we are asleep.Four to eight hours of sleep and we are back at it. Striving for a self sufficient, a more organic lifestyle, and homesteading demands that you are constantly busy and productive.

But again, I digress from winter mode. But then again, isn't that what winter mode is for? Down time to begin anew in the spring when life is reborn on Earth? There's something that makes you want to hibernate like a bear during the winter months. The stark beauty of leafless trees. The almost instilled silence of winter. Shorter days, longer nights. A cozy fire for warmth while the world takes a rest. With a hot mug of tea or hot chocolate, just watching and waiting for the first breath of spring. The reawakening of life. This too is winter mode.

Y'all have a blessed day!

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