Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead

Day 71 of 365 Blog or Vlog

“Challenging” Weather

Into the deep freeze we go!

We’ve had several below-freezing days already this month. We haven’t seen this image (this is from February 2021) but we’re not even done with January as yet.

The deep freeze from February 2021 taught us a few things. My post “Lessons from a Dangerous Situation – How Not to Die of Stupid” is a good one to re-visit.

We have done a few of the actions I mentioned in that post, though more needs to be done.

Health-wise; we both have been having some problems. We are trying to address this with vitamins, Rahn’s Health TreaT, less sugar, more sleep, and better eating.

On the better eating front, Rahn will be building a number of raised beds for the garden. We got a pair of 275 gallon IBC totes, so the lack of water that doomed my gardening efforts the last few years will be handled.

I have a good mix of seeds in my stash, and several seeds catalogs have arrived. I plan to inventory everything so I don’t double up, but will order what key varieties are missing.

A pressure canner was added to my resources last year, and we were able to get a used freezer. More jars do need to be purchased.

An order for more chicks has been made, and scheduled to arrive the second week of April.

A big part of the garden plans this year are including feed for birds and bunnies. Feed them well, the nutrition from them is improved.

The IBC totes and several 55 gallon drums will be our water storage for rain water collection. One of the IBC totes can be put on a trailer on in the back of the pickup truck to be filled at a neighbor’s house. The mobile IBC may not be needed once we get gutters the rest of the way around the house and the Homestead office shed. We will also be installing a multi-stage water filter setup.

We were able to obtain a tank-less water heater, and that will be getting installed when we remodel the master bathroom. The wood stove water heater options may still happen.

We dropped out going to the gym, though we will start back in the next week or two.

The wood stove is now working, and a fair amount of firewood is cut, stacked, and dry. Both our generators now work. We have gotten two 4 KW inverters, though we still need to get batteries. Plans also exist to get a small wood stove for the Homestead Office.

Freedom should imply that we take our self-responsibility seriously.

Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead

Day 61 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Change in the Weather

The fall equinox was only five weeks ago, and now we’re getting a hard freeze this week. Sheesh.

It may even be a new record low for the date.

I have a new space heater in my office.

The image is from a while back when Rahn was installing most of the insulation in my office. That needs to get finished before the weather really gets cold.

We just got a new space heater for Rahn’s room. He likes the 3D wood fire effect.

Rahn is working on getting the living room organized today. He also detailed how he plans to build the raised planter boxes and a new mailbox / planter box combination.

I need to work on study and more writing today.

I just watched a quick video on product photography that will save me endless amounts of work getting images for Amazon Handmade.

Next tutorial is a 6 hour course on Adobe Premiere Pro.

I may go upstairs and get my sock knitting so I can put more attention on the tutorial. I also need to start some new knitting projects. I’d like a knit headband and fingerless gloves. A new sweater would be a nice thing to have.

Art-earnative Life Farm Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead

Day 59 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Discussing more chickens.

Rahn and I were discussing when we plan to get more chicks.

There are a number of good hatcheries. We use Murray McMurray. We’ve always had good results with their chicks.

Chickens are a great choice for even a person beginning a off-grid lifestyle. They are pretty easy to keep healthy and you get breakfast!

I plan to order chicks to arrive in mid-March. That way, they’ll have a period inside and go to a sheltered brooder pen after last frost in early April.

This year we’ll order all females. I’m not sure on breeds this year. I’d like some more Brahmas. Because of a bird flu disaster at Murray McMurray, I wasn’t able to get any last year. Brahmas are generally considered to be a breed better suited to cold areas, but have done quite well here regardless.

Rahn plans to send the rest of the roosters to freezer camp (Yes, that’s an euphemism for slaughter, clean and freeze for food.) at some point this winter.

Historically, food animals were processed during the fall when the weather cooled and before food for animals ran short. People kept the animals that they planned to breed for the next generation, or needed to keep for eggs or milk.

New chicks arrive at our post office only a couple days after they hatch. The post office calls me as soon as they arrive, so I can drive in to pick them up.

We set up a brooder box indoors for their first week with a heat lamp, chick starter food, and a chick waterer. We get each chick to drink, and make sure that they are warm enough. We don’t want the chicks to have to pile up to get warm. That’s a fast way to get chicks to smother the smaller and weaker chicks.

We keep them indoors until they have feathered out. When we do take them outdoors, we keep them in a protected part of the chicken run apart from the older birds until they are large enough to not get bullied.

The best time to integrate the new birds with the older birds is after dark. The two groups have had a couple weeks with a fence between them, and after dark the birds are more interested in sleeping than chasing each other around.

Most breeds of chickens start to lay eggs at about six months of age.

Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead

Day 52 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Since I wrote the last post, (number 51 in this series) Princess Mocha has passed.

She went peacefully in her sleep at home, and is buried just outside my bedroom window.

We certainly miss her.


Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead

Day 51 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Is it Time to Say Goodbye to an Old Friend?

Princess Mocha has been with me since 2011. She has been a wonderful kitty. She and her brother Jackson were both adults when I adopted them. I said then that I would never re-home them, that they would be with me until the end of their lives.

Jackson passed a couple years ago. We believe that he had eaten a rat that had been poisoned. We don’t use any poison baits, but Jackson had hunted the area quite enthusiastically, and the neighbors likely do use the rodent bait.

Princess Mocha has been getting quite frail and has been having trouble keeping food down. I noticed yesterday that she has at least one lump I could feel, and if there is one, there are likely others.

We will be taking her to the vet tomorrow, and see if there is anything to be done.

Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead

Day 49 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Back Deck Project Progress

From nothing to something. Projects like this tend to sit there for the the longest time and then BOOM! It like the proverbial rabbit out of a hat.

I had purchased the lumber for this some months ago. I hope it gets done before we get the forecasted snow this week.

Blog or Vlog 365 Cooking and Food Storage Homestead

Day 47 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Good Luck foods for the New Year.

There are a number of foods that are considered to be good luck to eat on New Year’s. They are all symbolizing long life and prosperity.

What most people miss in modern times is that midwinter can be pretty frightening. You have only the foods you’ve stored, can still forage, or otherwise produce to see you through the winter.

Being able to “Eat, Drink and Be Merry” means that you have done pretty well at that task, and can celebrate that you and yours are likely to make it through another winter.

We had bowls of ham and black-eyed peas here.

Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead

Day 46 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Breaking down pallets to salvage lumber without breaking yourself.

Some people use a “pallet breaker” tool that frequently breaks the wood of a pallet. This renders much of a pallet unusable, and requires a good deal of strength.

We’ve come up with a method that does not require much strength, is quite fast, and leaves nearly all the wood usable.

Here\s the link:


Art and Music Art-earnative Life Farm Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead Recovering Health and Fitness

Day 45 of 365 Blog or Vlog


A lot of positive changes will be coming up here at the Homestead for 2023.

With my upcoming cataract surgery, I will have a key part of recovering Health and Fitness going into place. This will allow me to make headway on my art plans, and may even let me add a new musical instrument to my abilities.

Rahn has a pair of new instruments on layaway – a guitar and a bass. I’d like to get a saxophone, and being able to see will let me learn to play it. I may also see if I can get a new clarinet. I used to be pretty good at playing clarinet, and skill on a clarinet should translate to being able to play sax fairly quickly.

We’ve been discussing the layout for this year’s garden. I have the seeds I need, and will be getting some seeds started this week. Rahn will be getting a new top on what will be my main potting bench (hopefully) today. I still need to get potato, garlic and onion sets.

Plans for a more stable water source are also moving forward. Meanwhile; with rain in the forecast for tomorrow, I’ll be getting the water collection tubs put back in place today.

The new tool shed is progressing nicely. The walls are up, and Rahn will be starting to organize and store the tools in it. That will get some of the things that are currently in my Homestead Office relocated.

I got some warning that the pay structure at my work will be getting updated. While this may be good news, I have some ideas about making a new stream of income. I’ll be starting a new line of products to resurrect my Amazon Handmade store.

Rahn plans to build the new back deck today. I’ll be getting the video camera out and will take video of the progress. He also plans to relocate the security cameras for better coverage.

Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead

Day 41 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Artic Blast Redux

This fast-moving artic blast is not nearly as long, as severe and lacks (at least in our county) the rolling blackouts, but it is testing some of the changes we made after February 2021.

(Lessons from a Dangerous Environment)

Health and Physical Ability: Despite my health challenges mentioned in my last post, both of us are in better shape now than we were in February 2021. Just having defined the problems are helping with handling them. More attention on nutritional needs, and more Kombucha are particularly helpful.

Food: I had more canned food on hand, and was able to put together a bean and burger soup that stayed warm on the wood stove. Hot food makes a great deal of difference in cold weather.

Rahn filled all the 5 gallon bottles, so we had plenty of water for us and the animals.

Shelter: The wood stove helps a lot, but is hard to get to draw. I think I need to get a covered ash bucket so ashes can be removed even if not cold. We still have not been able to improve the insulation, or make a couple key repairs, but the alternate heat source was key to our comfort.

Energy: We did not lose power at any time during this blast, and we do not depend on natural gas. I am still confident that the wood stove would have kept us warmer and safer than we were in February 2021

Progress has been made on the off-grid option. I have gotten two 2-kilowatt inverters, but have not yet obtained the batteries and bits and pieces needed to put everything together.

Clothing: I did get some more wool socks made for both of us. Rahn managed to felt his to the point where even I can’t wear them. I’ll cut them up and knit on new cuffs.

A couple more layers of clothing makes a big difference, fingerless gloves keep my hands more comfortable, and a heating pad to help keep Rahn’s feet comfortable when sitting at his desk are useful upgrades.