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, January 21, 2018

Cockeyed Homestead Profit Maker for 2018

For 2018, we are focusing more on income producing ideas drom the homestead. Everyone needs income source, right? I'm unable to work because of my disabilities. I have a limited, fixed income from Social Security and a pension. Most of my nest egg that I had is gone on making necessary improvements to the homestead. Much needed and essential in the past two years. Homesteading ain't cheap.

While Mel is able to work off the homestead, she hasn't worked for the past 18 months. Blame it on her mental quirks and the local job market in this area. She isn't the 9-5, office type like so many folks out there.

Yes, we sell our eggs, but we have heavy competition on the local area. The eggs sales may generate enough income to offset half of a commercial feed bill. Which is why we feed our birds non gmo sprouted grains and their ground egg shells back to them. This breaks about even cost wise so there is no expense in raising them.

We sell angora wool, but once again the market is limited. With the loss of Dustin in 2017, we lost our ability to breed on related stock which would allow us to develop a pedigreed line of litters to sell. It actually stopped our breeding litters for sale totally. Inbreeding causes genetic mutations. So we lost income in that respect. With the loss of Keiran (my American Chinchilla), we lost our meat rabbit and pelt line. Two major losses in 2017, really put a hurting on our income production. We either have to replace these two or get out of breeding altogether. I believe that is the direction we are going. The fiber and yarn sales generate enough income to pay for their keep, but not a lot extra. We aren't large enough to generate a serious profit without breeding.

So that leaves us with searching for new income generating sources from the homestead. It's a dilemma every homestead has.  The bills keep coming and a way to meet them is part of grown up life.

I mentioned in an earlier post about making plarn. One man's trash can be recreated into usable objects. Call it recycling, repurposing, upcycling, thrifty, frugal, or whatever catch phrase you want to use, I call it income producing. Whether I sell it as plarn or make market bags with it. With a little bit of labor on my part, it can create a product to bring in income. The cost of materials is basically free. The reason for selling both the plarn and market bags is- that we are not the only crafty people out there the world is full of knitters and crotcheters. How do I know? Take a look at how many YouTube videos, forums like Raverly, and magazines there are at the book stands. But then again, there are uncrafty folks out there that need finished products too. Not that we expect to get rich with this item alone. Far from it. If we sell enough to even pay a couple of electric bills each year, every little bit helps. I've included the video inspiration with you below.

It's easy enough to do. Spinning it with my Heavenly Handspinning Vespera electric spinning wheel is a breeze.  Jan at Heavenly Handspinning is a true gem to work with and now she lives in a neighboring town too. Yes, it uses electricity, but hey, one handed spinner here. I gifted myself this machine after I retired my great-grandmother's spinning wheel. Yes, I relearned how to spin one handed again after my stroke. I spin the plarn for added strength and a more consistent product. Knitting and crocheting one handed has enough challenges. I can make yards of plarn watching my favorite show or movie via Netflix in one evening. I can comb fiber or spin while rotting my brain with the boob tube. Otherwise known as relaxing in the evening before bed. Spinning is one of my old favorite winter pastimes. And, it is winter.

Of course, there are our other handmade products as well. Mel and I are avid needlework gals. Whether it's dishcloths, socks, sweaters, caps, or anything else, we can make it. My knitted beaded evening shawls are a sure fire money maker. It all takes little startup capital and higher profitability.

Again, there is the farmer's market. Offering chemical-free, heirloom produce won't make us rich either. But as I said before, every little bit helps. It all depends on the harvest. There's also my pickles and jams we can sell.

With the farmer's market, we can sell other things too. Mel made me a fantastic harvest tote for Christmas. It was made of scrap lumber. She used welded wire mesh on the bottom so I can rinse the vegetables outside with the hose before bringing them inside. She also made me a folding board so I can fold laundry easier. There are a tons of wood working projects she can make and sell.

The only drawback to farmer's markets is that they are for a limited time. Events in our local area also are a possibility. But then we have the website too that is doing nothing right now. There are other websites like etsy and ebay which offer year around access to sell on. There's always business cards for word of mouth referrals.

So making money on the homestead is challenging, but not impossible. You just have to put your mind to it and maybe a little creativity. What will sell and what won't is a trial and error method. All you can do is try. Wish us luck.

On a personal note...I've had an increasing amount of pain while walking. After therapy, yes still physical not mental, I couldn't climb the stairs into the house without it feeling like someone was stabbing a knife into my foot with each step. After a couple of days, it was worse, not better. A run to my podiatrist for x-rays showed that I had not one but three fractured bones in my braced foot. I've been ordered to be nonweight bearing on my right foot for 3-12 weeks. Talk about a bummer! It sure puts a hurting on us with both of us on the injured list and trying to homestead too. But as always, we'll be thinking of more creative ways to get the job done.

Y'all have a blessed day.


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