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, November 4, 2018

Cooler Weather is Finally Here~ New Project, Fall/Winter Routines, and Polar Opposites

It's the time of year we usually hate. The cooler weather is finally here. It's time to move inside from our back porch living. For months, we've used our back porch as a living area. We moved one of our TVs in there, cooked our meals and eaten out there. Mainly because it's been too hot inside to do it. It's with a sadness that we move it all back indoors.

But before we move it all back indoors, we do a fall cleaning top to bottom. Every piece of wood furniture get a coat of oil based, homemade furniture polish. All the wood soaks up the oils hungrily. All cabinets are emptied and cleaned. All the mattress are turned. Everything dusted, etc.

You ever notice how one project leads to another, and yet another? I noticed that our kitchen cabinet are looking a little worse for wear. It's my winter/spring painting project.

Originally, these cabinets were bought at the Restore. I actually love the detail on these cabinets. They were painted white. Mel did nothing other than give them a good cleaning and hung them. The person who had them before, painted the hinges too. Yuck! They are solid wood which is a definite plus and a rarity these days. I'll have to do a light sanding of the cabinets first before I paint them.

My choice of paint, an oil based enamel paint. Yes, I know they now make a latex enamel paint, but it just doesn't wear as strong or as long as oil based enamel does. I originally painted my crown molding of my old homestead with it. I had to repaint it in two years. I went back to my old tried and true oil based enamel. After ten years, it still looked great. My kitchen cabinets get a weekly scrub down and I need a paint that can withstand the abuse.

I'm thinking a semi gloss rather than a high gloss, but it will depend on what I can find when I purchase the paint. I think I'll just update the hinges, knobs, and pulls. I could try to sand all the paint off the current one, but I'm picking my battles. I may still opt for sanding them down the hinges and replace the pulls while I recouperate. It's enough to buy 12 packages of new hinges and 23 new cabinet pulls. If I calculated it right, the whole project will cost under $100. Not too shoddy for a kitchen revamp. What I'd really love to do is replace the linoleum floors in the kitchen and bathrooms, but that's opening up another can of worms.

I might actually get started this winter. I figure two cabinet doors and their cabinets a week and I can have this project done in 6 weeks. I'll give myself 12 weeks to be safe. Yes, I'm being optimistic because I have a major surgery scheduled for this winter too. I can hang the painted cabinet doors by their hinges between two chairs in our back porch to dry. This way I can do both sides and edges at the same time.Whether I can do the actual cabinets themselves will depend on the amount of fumes the paint gives off. With the house closed up for winter, this is a huge consideration.

I could wait for spring when the weather is warmer. but springtime around here is hectic with planting and spring cleaning before we open up the house again. So maybe I'll leave the cabinet doors off and drive Mel nuts. <grinning>

Polar Opposites Coming Together as a Team

It's often said that two, nonrelated females can't live in the same house for long. That's not true. My grandmother lived with her roommate for fifteen years quite contently. Females tend to be set in their ways and have distinct ways of getting jobs done especially when they are middle aged. Mel and I are past that as sexagenarians. As she puts it, "We've done our bit for God and country. We don't need men in our lives to muck it up." Or, as I put it, "I've had the love of my life and I'm getting too old to train another one." Don't get us wrong. We like our male counterparts, we just don't feel the need to have them constantly under foot.

  • In case you haven't noticed, or didn't know. Mel and I are the Odd Couple. She's Felix Unger to my Oscar Madison. She's a semi neat freak to my semi slob. In my defense, I'm not quite as bad as Oscar. My mobility, pain, and chronic fatigue issues make picking up after myself and other things challenging. In Mel's defense, months can go by without her dusting or vacuuming. 
  • She rarely cooks and hate preserving food. I love it. I like rich and different flavors and she could care less. 
  • I can't stand a messy sink and have to wipe it down immediately. She can leave the cap off the toothpaste, yucky water, toothpaste splatters and stuff in her sink. 
  • Her method of gardening is sprinkle various seeds wherever and stand back and watch them grow (if they grow). I'm more methodical and hover over them nurturing them until they produce. My way is definitely better for the long run for a decent harvest. This year proved it. None of her seed strewing produced and mine see my previous year end tally post.
  • There are things that she does that drives me nuts and things I do that drives her nuts. It's a two-way street, but we manage to get things done because we have a common vision.

Now that cooler weather is again upon us, we are in close quarters again. This creates a certain amount of tension as you can imagine. We both have to focus on peace and tranquility.

For example, with the fall clean up, everything gets moved around to her liking. I honestly could care less so long as I have clear walkways. I prefer having my medicine box by my computer and she wants it all put in my bathroom. That's okay for her, she's got one pill to take once a day. I've got some twelve prescriptions with some pills taken up to four times a day. She'll put my pill minder in my bathroom. I'll move it back by my laptop.We agree to disagree although her reason for wanting this is valid.... to protect our pets.
  •  I like a lot of light to read and do whatever. She is perfectly content to read by candles or oil light. She's at the formal dining table with her laptop and books while I'm at the breakfast table with lamps shining bright. There's no way we could work at the same table. 
  • Because of my strokes, I cannot read at night because my mind is too tired from the day's activities. She reads at night. 
  • I go to bed early, and she's up until the wee hours.
  •  I'm an early riser and she rises late. 
  • She's sensitive to any light while sleeping. I am not. It plays havoc in the early hours when I have to most energy to do things in the dark before sunrise. 
  • As a consideration for both of us, we use ear buds while at our respective laptops. We are far enough away to do our own thing, but close enough to share whatever we find or if we need help.

Even with the cooler/cold weather, I'm finding outdoor things to do. We have two large, black garbage cans that we collect kindling for the wood stove in. I've steadily been filling them with branches, breaking them into  6"-12" that we've gathered into pile throughout the year. We fill a 5-gallon bucket from the trashcans for in house use. Breaking branches over 2" thick with one handed is difficult. I'll do what I can to strip the smaller branches off to fill the trashcans.

Those larger branches are dragged to a space behind the workshop where Mel will either chop them up with her chop saw or her small chain saw during the winter to supplement our firewood stores. As you can imagine, there's quite a few branches that fall during the year from our over treed acreage. There's no shortage of branches to pick from within our half acre of cleared land.
It's teamwork towards a common goal.

It also gives us a break from each other. I can find tons of busy work for hours outside if the need arises. So does Mel. Plus, I have doctor and therapy appointments, grocery and assorted shopping to do that gives us our needed space apart. At times when her seasonal depression is at its worst, it's a blessing.

There's rabbits to tend too also. So we stay busy during the late fall and winter months. She does the bucks because they are rowdy and playful. They would be difficult for me to do one handed. I do the does except for Cara. Cara is still in junior mode and a handful. It's teamwork towards a common goal.

It's usually about five months of not gardening going on here. There's combing, blending, spinning and packaging of angora fiber that we've collected all year long. It's just too hot and busy to do it any other time of year. All the gathering, washing, and dyeing of the fiber (angora, sheep and alpaca wool) is done in early fall and spring when the outside temperatures are coolish. To everything around here there is a season and work to be done.

All our other fibers blending are locally sourced. I don't see us raising alpacas, but Baby Doll sheep or Angora goats are a definite possibility. We have no interest in raising Alpacas, but luckily there's a homestead within 20 miles of us that does.We do occasionally buy from other non-local vendor when I want something special like merino wool or sari silk, but those times are rare. We try to produce what we can here or locally. This is done together or do whenever task that lasts all winter.

We've decided to wait and breed of English Angora does in the late winter/early spring. The nighttime temperatures are very close to freezing now freezing, we don't want to lose any kits to the sharp temperature fall offs. Only one of the does is an experienced mama. The chances of a first time mamas giving birth on the wire cage bottom (not in the nesting boxes),or not pulling enough hair to keep her babies warm enough are chances we aren't willing to take. So we'll be breeding three does in the spring with babies ready for their fur-ever home just after Easter.

Since it got colder so fast and after much discussion, we decided to breed  our does starting in February of next year and breed the does 30 days apart. This way we'll have litters to sell in April, May, and June. We won't glut the market nor have tons of babies at once to get adopted.

Well that's it for this week.

Y'all have a blessed day!

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