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Art-earnative Life Farm Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead

Day 38 of 365 Blog or Vlog

We got about 2 inches out of this rain event. Not even close to the record deluges elsewhere in north Texas

We do have more rain in the forecast for later this week. This will be welcome, as the other water storage barrels need to be set up.

The yard is already starting to green up!

It was CRUNCHY after two and a half months of dry weather!

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Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead

Day 37 of 365 Blog or Vlog

My main income is from a work-at-home customer service position. Since the ISP I work for does not have a brick and mortar office open to the public, I can do all my work from my homestead office.

Being able to work from the homestead without leaving the homestead is a HUGE help.

With all the stresses of our lives, being able to get a stable source of income is a constant concern. We are attempting to diversify our income streams so that we don’t have to depend on ONE thing that can yanked out from under us at any time.

Our plans include a number of ways that we can get new and expanded sources of income.

Our current income is limited and is not keeping up with the crazy inflationary pressures. This is not at all uncommon. I think our plans are rather creative and in line with the idea behind our site name. Earning our living in creative ways.

Artearnativelife.com does not provide income itself, but it is the basis and center of our income efforts.

When we make blog posts, included links will go to our Amazon Affiliate items. These are all things that I have personally researched or purchased on Amazon. Since I get everything from cat food to power tool;s on Amazon, these links will be quite varied.

As videos get shot, edited and posted, I hope to expand our subscriber and membership base. This will get those links in the video descriptions. Eventually our videos will get monetized. The requirements are not difficult to meet. (1K subscribers & 4K hours of viewed content.)

Plans include getting Patreon members. I still need to research the requirements on this.

Then there are my plans to make items and get them listed in Amazon Handmade. The posts associated with these will provide opportunities to add afflilate links to the supplies and tools involved.

The full tutorials will be Patreon membership perks, though I will also add the tutorials to my online publishing for indivual purchase.

Products and Tutorials will also be listed in the website “store”, though the links will be re-directs to the Handmade store listings and my online Publishing .

One little-known ability of the Fulfillment by Amazon logistics is to have FBA handle the fulfillment of orders placed on other sites. For example, if an order is place on my website, I can forward it to my FBA account to handle the shipping.

These plans are designed to create multiple income streams without having to leave the homestead. How successful this is remains to be seen, but we have high expectations.

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Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead

Day 36 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Me may still get some more rain out of this system, but right now, I feel cheated.

As of this point we haven’t gotten any soaking rain. Certainly not the 3 inches or better that the forecasters were going on about.

It is cooler, so I’ll take that, but we need a lot more rain. I figure that we got about a half inch of rain so far. That is not a bad amount in the barrels – it looks to be a little over 100 gallons between the front and back gutters off the roof and the tubs on the front stairs

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Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead

Day 34 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Finally a Change in the Weather

(Some Stevie Ray Vaughn soundtrack. https://youtu.be/V1u_oHpSTKs )

After two and a half months of no rain and only the tiniest breaks in triple digit weather, we are looking at getting a drought-buster of a series of rain storms this week.

We’re getting set up to collect rain in the barrels, the tubs on the front porch and fill all the containers in the farm yard.

Temperatures are forecast to remain in the 80s and 90s with low temps getting into the 60s for the next two weeks.

My plans include getting some outdoor projects done! I hope to have Rahn work on the Homestead Office wiring, insulation and paneling.

The fall garden is a big part of my plans. I also plan to do a lot of reorganization in the kitchen. Batch cooking and freezing, perhaps even some rabbit processing.

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Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead

Day 32 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Some strategy and plans to out-produce the economic crap and crazy.

We’re all under the crushing load of the shortages and rampant inflation. Our margin between income and outgo is getting far too narrow for comfort.

It seems that the best answer is to out-produce what is going on. There are a number of actions we will take to do this.

First: Upgrade website.

Multiple blog posts need to be written and posted. This 365 Blog or Vlog thread needs to be caught up. Multiple Vlog posts need to be shot, edited, and posted.

Paid subscriber section needs to be developed. Value-added content needs to be created and links made to Amazon Publishing. Some paid content will also be posted to a Patreon account that needs to be created.

Second: Video plans

Many more videos need to be shot, edited and posted. Most videos will be short – 5 to 10 mins in final form. The plan here is to use the framework of the different categories of the website, rather than a weekly rambling forty minute video.

Projects and videos will have links to affiliate products, as well as personal products.

Full tutorial videos will be shot that have PDF content of plans, schematics, parts lists, affiliate links. The “quick version” will be freely available, but the full versions will be part of the Patreon perks / paid content.

Third: Video workflow steps include:

Study camera instruction manual
Study Premiere Pro instructional videos
Use existing video as practice material
Edit existing video
Post existing videos
Shoot new video on a regular basis
Have partner supply original music tracks for backgrounds without fear of copyright strikes.
Shoot / Edit / Post / Repeat

Set up posting schedule to match day of the week with website category.

There are six categories, so one day a week will be able to be used for any bonus videos.

Forth: Publishing workflow

My plan for the full tutorials will include written instructions, schematics, equipment lists, etc. These will be posted to my Amazon Publishing account so they will be available for purchase individually, as well as being available as Patreon perks.

The process includes:

Research
Trial and error
Adjustment
Recording results
Write instructions
Create PDFs
Full video of process, explaining how we get the result we want.
Still shots of needed details
Any edit and reshoots needed
Background music needs to be subtle or absent

Fifth: Projects and Products:

I have an Amazon Handmade account. I need to create quite a few items and go through the steps of:

Creating
Listing
Packaging
Shipping to Amazon
Promotion to get them sold.

I have ideas running through my head like a platoon of sugar-crazed toddlers. Some ideas will probably be more successful than others. Time investment on some will make them less economically viable than others.

Supplies and equipment have been collected for many of these products.

Wood burned projects – Coasters, drop spindles, additions to treasure boxes.
Treasure boxes / book boxes. Sculpted, embellished and painted. Cats, roses, dragons will be the main themes.
Drop Spindles – These will be in a variety of types and materials. Some will be all wood, others may include clay and sculptured elements.
Yarn bowls – Sculptured and embellished. Some will include mosaic decoration, others simply sculptured from cold porcelain.
Small looms – These will be primarily bead looms, but can also be used for tablet weaving / tape weaving. When we get the wood shop put together, I plan to add inkle looms and triangle looms

Other projects will be added as inspiration strikes.

Homestead Projects

Turning a worn out forty year old single wide mobile home into a working home and homestead is not a project for the faint of heart.

We’ll be shooting video and posting the history of our progress. We were discussing our progress this morning. Rahn admitted that he thought the progress should have been quicker and more complete by now. He also admitted that the progress has been substantial.

The most recent progress has been getting a larger air conditioner to keep the central section of the house at a reasonable temperature. With outdoor temps hitting 105F, and indoor in the central part of the house nearly as high, something had to be done.

Window units in the bedrooms and my Homestead Office were keeping those spaces cool, but the living room, dining area and kitchen were not going to be handled by the lower BTU rating of window units.

We took advantage of our local pawn shops willingness to keep things on layaway for us, and the much below retail prices available. We put a 12,000 BTU portable air conditioner on layawy last winter at about half of normal retail. We picked it up a few days ago, and Rahn got it set up. It is also a heater, dehumidifier and fan.

We do have the wood stove installed, and have a good amount of wood cut and stacked. While much of it does need to get split, the electric wood splitter we also got from the pawn shop will make that a much easier chore than swinging a splitting maul.

The Homestead Office needs to be completed. Interior wiring, insulation, paneling, finish flooring, and an exterior porch all need to be added.

I’ll be putting together a solar generator to take much of the energy needs of the Office off the grid electric. The plan is to put together a 2 kilowatt inverter and battery bank. Initially, the batteries will be charged with grid electric, with a small generator as backup. When the budget allows, solar panels will be added.

We have a second 2 kilowatt inverter, and the plan for it is to take the chest freezer and second refrigerator off grid electric with another set of batteries and solar panels.

The power outage and deep freeze of February 2021 had some sharp lessons for us. We plan to be much more prepared and responsible for our own safety.

The next post will concern farm projects and progress.

 

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Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead

Day 24 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Some thoughts on living within our means, priorities & projects.

We’ve all experienced the rising cost of everything. Gasoline more than double that of a year ago,  car insurance rates increasing, electricity providers adding fuel surcharges, grocery bills skyrocketing, and so on.

There are some things that we don’t need to deal with here – mortgage and rent in particular. This is more due to good luck than good planning, but we are very happy with this.  Our property is family land, and we were given an old single wide with the proviso that it got moved from the property it was on.

It was quite the rodeo to more it here, and we are still getting basic repairs done.

We have in numerous discussions taken the least costly option. Salvaging materials, shopping around, buying used, trading for labor, going far beyond frugal to channeling my Scottish heritage. I also apply my grandfather’s favorite comment that money spent on books or tools is never wasted.

I did have to use a buy here / pay here car dealer to get a decent truck. This has not been a bad decision. We got a much better truck than we could have afforded for cash. The engine was replaced the year before we got it, and now we had to replace the transmission. While that was a very steep repair bill, the dealership has a repair shop on premises, and the repair is rolled into the car loan.

The car loan itself is improving my credit.

Another this we are doing is rainwater collection. A DIY collection system can be budget-friendly, but mistakes can also be made.

We tried a non-caged IBC tote. Nope. It leaked.

I was able to find a half dozen 55 gallon food-safe drums for $20 each, and paid $30 to get them delivered yesterday.

We plan to do a different manifold system for these, and will probably change the other three barrels also.

I’ve done a specific post on rainwater collection, and will revisit the topic soon with some DIY filtering setups.

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Art-earnative Life Farm Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead

Day 14 of 365 Blog or Vlog

New trees getting planted

We just got an order of trees that I had paid for last summer.

I was getting rather frustrated with the claims of shutdowns creating delays in shipping. I won’t be ordering from that supplier again., but I need to get these tiny trees planted.

I’ve used markers and tags for plants, paint, and even cut open soda cans written on with ballpoint pen to make a dented label. I’m trying a different option this time.

I have a number of these wood rounds. They do seem particularly appropriate for making plant labels, especially using a wood burning tool.

There are a dozen tiny trees – crepemyrtles, dogwoods, hawthorns, crabapples, and redbuds.

My knee is not up to much physical work today after a fall yesterday. I think I can use some already filled large pots as nursery pots for the trees. I need to finish these labels, and on to another project.

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Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead Recovering Health and Fitness

Day 13 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Ouch.

I had a fall the other day and basically wrecked my right knee. While it’s swollen, painful, and difficult to get up and down stairs, I feel that I should keep in some level of activity.

We are using some over-brewed kombucha on a towel as a poultice on my knee. This has given me some relief.

I’ll still be making my way down to the Homestead Office and working on several projects.

One of them is some rearrangement of the work area. I’ll be swapping the positions of my computer monitor and TV so I can clear one table for the wood burning and glass embellishment projects.

We’ve discussed how drinking kombucha has helped both of us in the past. New batches of kombucha need to be brewed. A new starter culture has been ordered, and will be here in a couple days.

Once we have freshly brewed kombucha, we’ll be drinking it every day. From experience, home-brewed has much higher levels of probiotics and is far more effective at lowering inflammation.

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Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead

Day 12 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Salvage Materials: A few Thoughts on Creatively Sourcing Needed Items

The retail cost of materials for building projects can really put a roadblock in planning a homestead.

Lumber in particular can put many projects on hold. With a little bit of patience, and a fair amount of effort, salvaging lumber can be an option.

The opportunities and options for using pallets are well known. We’ve been collecting pallets for several months. Several projects are planned with the use of pallets.

 

 

Most of the rabbitry and chicken coop will be constructed from pallets, as will most of the skirting on the house. Raised beds for the garden will have half-pallet high sides to lower the need for bending over. The compost pile containment is already constructed of pallets, and the firewood storage will be made of pallets also. The uses of this free resource are nearly unlimited.

The term “free” is used with a few caveats. The trade-off of time for money is rather direct since gathering pallets does take time, effort, and gasoline. Large pallets can easily weigh over 70 pounds apiece. While some projects do not require the disassembly of the pallets, the aesthetics may not be acceptable. Where the disassembly of the pallets is necessary, more preparation work is needed.

Some pallets are made from treated lumber, and the uses for these are more limited. In particular, treated lumber pallets should not be used in living spaces, or in contact with soil used for growing food crops. Disposing of the scraps of treated pallets in the wood stove is particularly hazardous.

This past week brought a blessing in the form of several pick-up loads of lumber from a repair shop that was raising their roof to install vehicle lifts. Liability issues may make this more problematic in some areas, but a case of liquid refreshment(s) may lubricate more creative thinking. Workmen may be willing to load a pick-up and trailer instead of filling a dumpster, for example.

The lumber from this haul appears to be full-dimension red oak lumber. Possibly over 70 years old, it would be a crying shame for this to end up in the landfill. First thoughts suggest that this may become the framing for some of the planned additions. A good deal of preparation work will be needed to remove nails and bolts.

We’ve also been gifted with a rather sizable pile of vinyl siding. There are a few uses under discussion, but it probably will not be on the exterior of any of the projects here on the homestead. Since it will not rot, it may be used as a liner for raised beds, or on the interior of the rabbitry.

A neighbor did not need this set of porch steps once he upgraded his porch construction. These are well built and will be the steps off the back porch. It took a fair bit of main muscle power to load these onto and off the pick-up truck.

Cull wood is sometimes available from the home improvement stores near us. This can be a very inexpensive source of broken bundles of flooring, trim paneling, floor tiles, even some dimension lumber.

We have quite a bit of cedar closet liner from one of these cull wood hauls. This is quite attractive, and the thought for using this is to combine it with pallet wood pieces to cover the side of the kitchen counter, a backsplash, and possibly a wood patchwork feature wall.

Odds and ends of screening, extra light fixtures, flooring, barn metal, plastic roofing, and much more have also been collected.

Storage of all of these resources can be a bit of a headache, and with the recent additions, more re-arranging and preparation will need to be done.

Still, having these resources will save a great deal of money, and creates opportunities for more creative living.

 

 

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Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead

Day 11 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Updating from older blog

We just got your Christmas card. So much has happened this year, that I figured an email would be a better response.

Rahn and I moved the trailer last March we were renting to some family land that Rahn’s sister Karen transferred to us. It was quite the rodeo!

About 45 miles and $1,200, we got it to the property.

The house mover dropped it into a ditch when the trailer tongue collapsed. It took about a week for him to come back with a skid steer to drag it around and into place. Another week, and he came back again to get it leveled and up on piers.

During this time, we were working in town for a few days at a time, and came home one night to discover that the house had been burglarized.  It was heart-breaking, but friends did get my antique sewing machine and my custom-made spinning wheel replaced.

We got grid electric hooked up in the middle of April. Rahn has been working on getting stairs and porches built.

Over the summer, we worked on a number of handyman jobs away from the house.

The projects here at “Art-Ternative Life Farm” are many and varied. We started with meat rabbits, I plan to build a very large garden for next year. Eventually, we expect it to cover our acre of property, and hope to get the adjoining half acre as well.

The rabbit kits are just too stinkin’ cute. We’ve agreed that only the breeding stock gets named, though.

Rahn started an addition to the house for my art and weaving studio for my birthday on December 5th. He had to pause the same day, as he needs to get some plumbing done for our rainwater harvesting system before he blocks access to that part of the underside of the house.

Another birthday present was this vintage sewing machine. With a manufacture date of 1972, it’s the newest of my little collection. The eldest is a 1924 Singer treadle, and the 1957 and 1962 Singers fill in the middle. I’ll be doing a lot of sewing for sale on Amazon handmade page, as well as my AmedaDesigns FB page.

I have lots of spinning, knitting, painting, wood-burning, jewelry, and other projects going. I’m looking forward to having a more organized space to work in!

Meanwhile, he’s doing a fair bit of smoking on “da Beast” a smoker converted from a restaurant vent hood.

All our best, Ameda and Rahn