Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday Stroke Survival~ ARGH! Despair and Agony on Me!

Not really! I just wanted to say the title yo see what it felt like. I've honestly never felt this way totally. So many stroke survivors live daily this way day in and day out. My question is why? Life sent you a curve ball and you have a decision to make...whether to swing and possibly hit it out of the park or take to strike.

I've never been one to take a strike. I root for the underdog and go for hitting the ball out of the park. I may miss but I at least try. That's how I feel about my stroke. It's a curve ball. I had dreams and aspirations before my stroke, and now it's just a matter of getting back to it.

Every so often I play a "Gotcha Day." It's been a long time since I've done one. It's a fun thing to do...telling a tidbit of information and see how it embellishes itself in the retelling. In other words...feeding the rumor mill.

I announced I was building a tiny house and homestead. Well, not so recently it was three years ago. But recently, I've evaluated the story from various sites and family to see where it led.

Comments among relatives...
  • She's lost her mind since the stroke and her impeding death of her husband.
  • How can she manage by herself? I mean look at her.
  • I admire her courage but it's insane!
  • Don't worry. It's just a fantasy and it will never happen.
On the web...
  • The great homesteading experiment. 
  • Grassroots and seat of your pants back to basics.
  • My 20-acre homestead adventure has now grown to 1,000 plus.
  • I now have cows and horses.
  • I've failed at the attempt and have given up.
The truth...
Yes, my stroke and a major financial crunch has made me rethink my plans of homesteading. I've sold my 20 acres or at least it's on the market. I'm still playing it smart urban homesteading instead. The curve ball has had a definite influence. For one thing, the big move has been delayed in part because of my stroke and my husband's rapidly failing health.

I'm rethinking the scale of my property. I'm downsizing it by half and looking for five to ten acres of land. I still want the pond and/or creek.  Two daughters will not be joining me on the homestead. They have built or are in the process of building their own. I've played at gardening for two years post stroke and can do it. I'm also researching an aquaponics system.

I've been raising my chickens for years now so I know I can do it. I'll need to build a bigger house for the new ones. My four girls have steadily producing less eggs now that they've reached the five year mark so they are destined for the next stage of their for me.

I have a plan to build another pallet and hoop house for them which will give a lot more room to the new chickens. I'm going for twenty next round for eggs, meat, and fun.

Based on this design
I have a two-year plan for raising and breeding Angora rabbits. With plans on purchasing a breeding trio (1 males and two females) this winter. I've converted a double closet into a rabbitry to house them. This should house four-six rabbit easily giving each ample room. Yes I still have Buddy too. He's not going anywhere.

Speaking of Buddy...I had to remove Bella (my female Guinea Pig) out of the big cage. He developed nasty habit of plopping down on top of her. Her irritated squeals and actually biting him made it a necessity. His ten pounds versus her two and a half pounds. They still chat when he jumps up to his second level and when they are in the outside tractor. Although like most couples she does all the talking and he stoically listens not saying anything. :)

I've plucked over two pounds of fiber from Buddy. I now take him to Pet Supplies Plus and the manager cuts his nails for me since I have no kids around me now. No recent pictures because he's molting. Angoras do this yearly. He looks like a hot mess. But, he's a happy, loving mess. It's a bit creepy to see him without fur. Rabbits have very thin skin so the veins show, but I can do a thorough skin exam on him.

The plan is for pure bred, blue-eyed, white, French Angoras. That's not to mean that Buddy can't have his turn at breeding either. But alas, these hybrids will be raised for the next stage of life, my freezer. Yes, I'm practical about this and I have a plan. I'll breed for food, wool, or sale. That means every four-six months or so I'll have babies. I did something similar with my meat rabbits who are now in their next life. I bred on demand. When I needed meat, I bred them.

The plans is for an eight-ten hole rabbitry and no bigger. But I'm starting small with four. I'm taking baby steps towards my pre-stroke dreams. I tried my hand at butchering rabbits. It wasn't pretty doing it one handed and it took forever! But I tried it and did it. At least with one rabbit this winter. My grandson did the other two. But I imagine it will get easier with practice. I haven't tried butchering chickens yet but their time is coming just as soon as the need-to-be-purchased chicken come and age up a bit.

I decided on this new design
Someone asked me why a tiny house. While the idea of living in less than 200 square feet seemed daunting for two or more people, I'll soon be alone. It seems logical to me. Less space + less stuff= less clean up. I mean really how much stuff do you really need? The fact that it's tiny means the possibility of less falls. I mean there's always something close to grab onto.

Besides most of my time will be spent outdoors anyhow. I do plan on building a barn to house my rabbitry, chickens and goats.
Yes, goats. My independent living plan includes Pygora goats. Goats are terrific for clearing underbrush. They'll mow your grass. They'll provide wool. They'll provide milk. They'll provide meat. Makes sense to me. Sounds like a win-win situation.

Why I decided on Pygora goats? They are small about the size of one of my German Shepherds. At 75-95 pounds, they are manageable versus their counterparts at over 150 pounds and the size of a Great Dane. I can call someone for hoof care and shearing once a year or get a grandchild to do it. I can almost guarantee that once I have semi mastered rabbit and chicken butchering, doing something bigger won't be a problem.

So that's the truth. My stroke may have delayed the enviable, but it hasn't stopped me. It's the curve balls in life that make the journey more interesting. Yes, we can honestly live more easily without them, but that would be so-o-o boring. Baby stepping may be the safest way to go about a goal, but to me, it's better than cliff digging. Life is all about the learning process. Getting there is half the fun and once you get where you are going, the stuff of memories.

So what are you going to do with your curve balls?

Nothing is impossible with determination.


  1. Hi Jo - I admire your courage and also the fact you're putting your plans into process now, so when things change you won't have to worry about that side of things .. and can take time out to adjust.

    Good luck and I love the variety of critters you'll be enjoying ... cheers Hilary

  2. I think all of that is still possible. The rabbits, the goats, the continuing of your chickens. As you said, just a bit delayed.

  3. I'm always amazed by your ability to deal with the curve, Jo! {{{hugs}}}

  4. Your plan sounds perfect for you. I love the small house bit - which is ironic given the monstrosity I live in. I was on the third floor trying to clean up dust bunnies. I don't want that.


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