Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sunday Stroke Survival: Changes and Challenges

Well, I officially started being a homesteader this month. Not really,  just an semi urban homesteader because we only have a couple of acres versus dozens. The shift wasn't without drama. I'll spare you most of it. Don't we all have enough of that in our lives? But doing it all post stroke was a major headache!

We, Mel and I, have come up with a name for our little homestead. It's called the Cockeyed Homestead. Mainly because that was Mel's favorite term for what she did...cockeyed. In part, because I'm always thinking outside the box. It's been called original thinking by the kind, and down right insane by the not so kind. In other words...cockeyed. So it fits.
adjective informal

 1. crooked or askew; not level.
    "cockeyed camera angles"
    synonyms: crooked, awry, askew, lopsided, tilted, off-center, skewed, skew,  misaligned
    "that picture is cockeyed"
  2. absurd; impractical.
        "do you expect us to believe a cockeyed story like that?"
3.  drunk.
        "I got cockeyed"
#1 Pretty much describes us.
#2 Possibly, we are both over half a century old, but we are still gonna do it.
#3 Nah, alcohol rarely passes these lips anymore. But there are plans to make honey mead and fruit based wine in our future. Why? Because we can and will, and there are medicinal uses for the stuff. Always in moderation. Never truly drunk as the meaning implies.

What we started with
Right now, we are getting organized. That's a huge job. Mel's thinking for the last two years was scatter brained, to put it kindly. She wanted it, she got it. It didn't matter whether so was equipped for it yet. It's not really her fault. She has ADD, which I've had plenty of practice with by way of my youngest daughter. She got chickens (6), Angora rabbits (6), a goat kid, started a garden, AND tried to renovate her trailer all within the first year of starting the homestead without any background or experience to back it up. Not to mention YouTube, a website with a blog, selling homestead products, and working away from the homestead. (Sound familiar my blog followers? Is she a Jo 2 or what?) She knew what she wanted and did it with very little forethought. And while she tried, everything fell apart.  She did everything cockeyed and quickly became overwhelmed. As a result, disillusionment and depression set in. While endearing to her following, as is her infectious giggle, it had no possible way to succeed but stranger things have been known to happen.

I had been counseling her for all that time. She needed to S L O W down. One job at a time. Gain experience and a comfort level before adding something new. Enter Jo permanently two years later. So you can imagine the mess. My contribution to this partnership is experience. Thirty years of organic gardening, three years of rabbit care, umpteen dozen years of building, renovating and remodeling, and off the grid skills. Although disabled, I have the same drive and dream as she does. I bring some planning and organizational skills into the mix. I also bring some really helpful tools like a weed whacker and lawn mower. :) Learn and plan before you do it as much as possible. There will always be surprised, but minimize their impact with knowledge and resources to be better able to deal with it. That's my way. So I'll be balancing her out and keeping her on the road to fulfilling our mutual vision.

The first order of business was to cut down the overgrowth to see what we have. That's where we are now after a full week. I have a clear vision of what we want to achieve and how to get there. Mel's property is laid out on the side of a mountain. So slopes and drops are a difficult problem for me. It is also heavily wooded with thick underbrush.The next or at the same time is to layout the gardens. Expanding or better planning on what has been established. We gotta eat. For the first year together, the focus is on finding what will grow well enough to offset half of our grocery bill. We'll improve on it yearly.  I need relatively flat areas for access. I do have a semi-paralyzed leg and walk with a cane most times. So this is an imperative if I've got to access and tend to these areas. So that's job one.

On the behind the scenes action, plans and goals are being set on paper to be put into the works. The nonvisual aspects, as for right now, is also being done.The website and YouTube channel are being revamped. I'm looking at marketing angles for wool, yarn, crochet and knitted goods, and other products produced by us. The homestead has got to generate income to be self-sufficient. Yes this a mid term goal. Little details on things like what we are calling ourselves. what and when we'll do items, how we divide labor and goals verses cost, etc.There are tons of details to be figured out. What I'm basically doing is setting up the homestead as a business. I  spent too many years in college and real business world doing this to succeed. This I know how to do even with brain damage.

Dream vision for bunny outside area
So it's busy, busy, busy. Mel provides the able, although getting older body, and I provide the working orders and help out where I can. The next big purchase is for The Warren. We decided to purchase an out-building for the rabbits. Yes, as income/people food making members of our household, they deserve a house and a proper play area outside. Just because they are working stiffs doesn't mean they will live a dole drum life. Besides, this will also be our temporary living quarters too while our new homestead house is being constructed.

I've been working on a logo. You have got to have an identifier to be branded, right? What do you think?
It's just one of the ideas I'm working on. Hopefully by next month the homestead portion will be up on it's new site if not sooner. God's still working on patience with me.

Until next time remember...
Nothing is impossible.


  1. That's great! Wow, you really know how to plan. Smart to take it one step at a time and grow confident in an area first.
    And that will be one impressive rabbit home.

  2. Opps got the date wrong. Sorry all.

  3. My stroke taught me that losing the use of one hand is not the worst thing that can happen. The can-do spirit and problem solving skills you are using during this move are a testament to abilities that are important for thriving.


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