Welcome to the behind the scenes survival diary October 23 edition.
While I don’t write a new survival diary daily as I should, I do use this space to help keep you updated on some of the events that are happening on our homestead.
This is a much more personal space to me than most of my posts and sometimes it’s hard to share some of the challenges we deal with.
There has been a marriage to my current husband Jeffrey Rhoades.
We have had new animals come to the farm, new animals being born and of course, new grandchildren!
Life is a roller coaster ride for sure!
This past year has been a year of improvements to the homestead.
It all started this spring with the building of the large tunnel house I have wanted forever.
I’ve had smaller ones – and even homemade ones that worked, but I wanted a big fancy one that looked better in photographs and video.
I found a ShelterLogic one for under $600 and ordered it.
It is a 10′ x 20′ and plenty large enough for me to get started with.
A friend came over and helped me tear down the old chicken run and a wooden chicken house I had paid someone to build.
The person did not build the house level and it never really worked out for me.
The winds and weather had taken their toll, so it needed to come down.
The basement walls were beginning to bow and the basement was always wet, so we went ahead and hired Indiana Foundation Group to fix that.
While I do have a craft room, the basement is better suited for my 3D Printer and heat press!
We updated the countertops in the kitchen to make them look nicer.
Jeffrey is still working on my cabinet doors, but one project at a time!
I was blessed to be able to get my 1989 F350 completely repaired!
It has major oil leaks since the day I bought it, but I just dealt with the issue by making sure it always had oil in it.
A year ago I was able to put it into the shop and have the motor torn down so all of the leaks were repaired!
When you live on a homestead, you need a reliable vehicle that can haul soil, feed, hay, straw, animals and whatever else you need.
I am also finally getting rid of the toilet that came with the house!
Now you might think that is nothing to celebrate, but believe me it is!
The old toilet sweat like none other – and it created problems.
The floor underneath is being torn out and replaced with new flooring.
I already chose new self-stick tile and a new toilet.
While this is not the end of the bathroom remodel I have planned, it is a start – and I am grateful to see that old toilet out of this house.
I am hoping the new toilet does not sweat like the old one!
In the spring of 2019 I went ahead and added six new chickens to the homestead.
It had been about four years since we had raised any livestock.
I started with just six to see how it went.
They were all supposed to be hens, but we ended up with one rooster that Jeffrey named Rooster Cogburn after a John Wayne character.
Jeffrey is a John Wayne fan.
The following spring, during the height of the pandemic, we bought two goats.
They were LaMancha’s.
I was new to the breed, but thought Bailey’s and Fernidand would make a good addition to the homestead, not to mention goats were selling as fast as people posted them and for insane prices!
Fernidand was a bottle baby, and Bailey’s was in milk.
We got them home and the next day I noticed Fernidand was sick.
Thank goodness some vets were open.
We were unable to get him into our vet, but was referred to an emergency vet in Hartford City, so we loaded him up and off we went.
Thank goodness we got him in because he had pneumonia and the vet didn’t think he would have made it had we waited.
Bailey’s had one live birth since then and one that didn’t make it.
I sold the little girl she had.
The one that didn’t make it was during the time we had Covid and we are unsure what happened.
It was really cold and maybe that was the problem.
This summer we added a new goat, Velveteen, an Alpine.
We also added numerous chickens and four Guinea.
Lastly Jeffrey made me a chicken tractor and we raised meat birds.
All but four ended up being hens, so we put those in with our other birds and just butchered the four roosters.
It was Jeffrey’s first time butchering chickens and he did a great job.
The meat tasted wonderful, although some of the pin feathers didn’t come out right.
I’ve shared this information before, but things change.
Jeffrey works 12 plus hours per day in a factory.
Lately it seems like he is never home.
The hours get longer and longer due to staff shortages and the work has to get done.
Of course management just pushes him harder and expects him to be faster.
One person doing two plus people’s jobs in the time it takes to do one job is not even possible, yet somehow expectations have gone way up since the pandemic.
Possibly this is why so many places are short staffed.
When you expect too much from an employee, they eventually move on.
As for me, I spend most of the day working on my blogs – you can see my weekly blog schedule here if you are interested.
I’ve been working on creating printables, online courses and other passive income options.
When it comes to the homestead, here is my daily schedule, which of course is flexible because things change – and sometimes it takes longer to do certain tasks, but this will give you a basic idea.
- 7am to 8am – I walk around the garden during spring, summer and fall to see what needs done. I take photographs, videos and notes. During winter I spend this time in my greenhouse caring for those plants.
- 8am to 9am – this is my time to exercise. Sometimes I go to Planet Fitness and sometimes I don’t.
- 10am to 11am – this is the time I spend milking, pasteurizing the milk, feeding the animals, collecting eggs, feeding sourdough or making bread, etc.
- 12;30pm to 1pm – this is the time I spend spot cleaning the stalls. Believe it or not, this is a task that when done daily helps keep the stalls cleaner, the animals healthier and the smell down.
- 1:30pm to 2:30pm – I set this time aside to “put up the harvest.” Of course during actual harvest season it’s an all day process, but throughout the off months I use this time to make bone broth, create freezer foods like frozen breads, make noodles, etc. Often it takes much longer than an hour.
- 5pm to 6pm – this is milking and feeding time. Milking is only done in season of course, but feeding is required twice a day.
- 6pm to 7pm – this is the time I spend pasteurizing milk and making supper – or at the very least getting supper started.
- 7pm to 9pm – garden chores, kitchen chores, whatever needs done that hasn’t already happened.
- 9pm – put the livestock up for the night
In between this time, I work on my blogs, spend time crafting, do household chores, yard work or whatever else needs done.
Jeffrey does help with things like laundry or dishes.
Sometimes he cooks supper, which is wonderful.
Bedtime is sometime between 1am and 3am.
I have become good at multi-tasking over the years, so I can run from my computer to the kitchen and back as needed, etc.
New Years Eve Jeffrey came home with Covid.
I didn’t get it for seven days afterwards.
Of course, he did not quarantine, so he was around me.
He also did not wear a mask in the house.
He did get the antibodies.
Neither of us were vaccinated – and we still are not.
I got Covid and had strep throat at the same time.
I was basically told I was not getting treated unless I got the vaccine by my doctor.
I refused and treated myself.
It wasn’t any worse for the two of us than the common flu.
However I do realize every person’s reaction is different.
We have lost friends over Covid – and they were vaccinated.
We have known people – both vaccinated and unvaccinated – that have been very sick.
Maybe we were just lucky.
I don’t know.
What I do know is life isn’t perfect – and having people around to support you and help you is important.
When you are alone – as we often feel we are – and people are against you, all you can do is keep moving forward.
Just keep living your life the way you believe you should and pray that someday people will come into your life that support and encourage you.