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, March 4, 2018

It's a Cockeyed Life

You know if it wasn't for my body crapping out, I'd live on this Earth forever. But that is not the case for me. For instance, I'm still dealing with a broken foot. As if a surviving a stroke isn't bad enough, I also have a bum ticker, aortic aneurysms, and now moderate kidney damage. In other words, I'm dying, but aren't we all?

All each of us can do is the best we can do.  I'm no different. I'm busy living my life and dreams until I can't anymore. As should we all. Bummed out yet? Don't be. I'm not.

Even with all these health issues, I'm getting ready for Spring. We've got a garden and orchard to plant. Although right now, all I can do is plan and pay for it. It will be up to Mel to install it. Much as I hate it, it's the truth. It's already March. The last expected frost date is May 1st. That means come Easter, I need to start seedling in trays so we'll have a jump start on our garden. My garden plan and layout still stands. Hopefully by about mid growing season, I'll be back on my feet again.

I'm praying for a great harvest this year now that the chickens are finally penned up. Well almost. Houdini, Buff Orpington rooster, and Little Red, Rhode Island Red rooster, are still free ranging. They service our two remaining New Hampshire Red hens who live in our rabbit barn. But all of them are too big to squeeze under the gates or through the fence. So my garden should be safe now. Just the occasional squirrel or small cotton tail rabbit should be the only predators.

Now pests and birds in an organic garden and orchard is another  story. I plan my planting and yield with them in mind. I figure 1/3 of the proposed harvest for them leaving 2/3rds for us. Bugs and birds do have their benefits. Birds eat the pests. For the caterpillars and larva the wild birds do not eat, my chickens will feast on them as I go through the area. It will break their hearts to have to wait on their treats this year, but oh, well, if they had left my harvest alone they'd be loose still.

I'm already gearing up for canning and freezing my produce. I found an upright freezer for free on Craig's List and it works great.  This will be for bunny bottles and vegetables. The chest freezer in the barn will be for just meats. I bought another sleeve (364) of canning lids off of E bay. I also purchased rolls of food saver bags. So I'm ready.I still have another 60 cases of pint canning jars awaiting pick up for when I to to North Carolina again.

I still haven't found a good, used small pressure canner yet. I'm still looking. I'm in the market places and auctions looking for two of them actually. I want a smaller one for smaller batches. My two large ones are great for bulk produce, but as any gardener knows, fruits ripen at different times. Sometimes, there's just enough harvest for 6-8 pints or even half pints. It just seems like a waste of energy and resources to keep pulling out my 23-qt pressure canner for these jobs.

The reason for two of them is that the Lord has put it on my heart to provide one for an internet friend in TN. She wants/needs to can food, but doesn't have the resource to purchase one. She only has her freezer that's on top of refrigerator too. That makes canning a necessity. I'd love to find an All American, but almost any small pressure canner will do. If it needs new seals, gauges, or weights is a small issue that can be corrected. I usually change mine every couple of heavy canning seasons just out of habit. Better safe than sorry.

This isn't a story of a friend of a friend occurrence with a pressure canner. I've actually seen one of these explode through no fault of the owner. She was scraping canning jar glass and beef stew, I think, for weeks off of walls and ceiling. There was actually imbedded glass into her dry wall. The cause was a fault in the metal which held the lid on. Two of the prongs snapped off when the canner was under pressure. The lid made a dent in her range hood. Luckily no one was hurt. She was also an experienced canner. This was a Chinese knock off pressure canner too, which I will only buy a canner from reputable dealers and check them out carefully. I always follow the instructions of the manufacturing company. So far in almost 25 years of pressure canning and cooking, I've had ZERO incidents. It just takes caution and common sense when operating your equipment. Oh Lord, please don't get me started on the lack of common sense these days.

Anyhow, I'm healing and hope to be ready for Spring.

Y'all have a blessed day!

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