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Welcome to Rocky Oak Farmstead©
A Simple, Sustainanable, Self-Sufficient Refuge. A place of shelter in times of Storms.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Been a full week

It has been a full week here on the farm. I have been busy canning up salsa, picking and freezing blackeyed peas, getting puppies ready to fly out, hatching out chicks, and trying to stay cool! I do have to admit though that for this late in the year in these parts our weather has been nice...it's been hot, but not as hot as it was last year or year before last with temps above 100 for weeks...I have realy enjoyed this summer and the moderate temps we have had...today high in the upper 80's...I will take it...more canning in store for me today...

Like many of you we set up an outdoor canning station...ours is quite primitive, or as I like to say a "make do canning station"...


This was made using 2 saw horses, a piece of OSB board and a propane camping stove...it worked great, the wind was very calm so no issues with it messing with the flame on the stove...Today I will be using it as well to can up more salsa...we love that stuff and use it for dipping tortilla chips, in chili, in meatloaf, on eggs....just about anything...we are addicted to my homemade salsa...I make it chunky as in the picture or I put it in my food processor or Ninja and make it kinda like a puree...not quite that fine, but not chunky either...
Rocky Oaks Homemade Salsa
Just getting started with the make do canning station
Make do canning station in full swing...waterbath canner full of jars of salsa

Our jars and food are prepared inside the house and then the jars are brought out to the canner. I prepare the jars and food where it is nice and cool...in the house...I do the canning outside as to not heat up the house...

The chickens are enjoying this summer as well, they free range everyday which helps on our feed bill...here are a few of them enjoying some tomato skins I threw out to them...

Some of the birds and one of the cats(lower right)

I had 3 more chicks hatch this week. 2 pullets and a little rooster...these were eggs that hens were setting that I finally took...a few of my hens have set all spring and into this summer and it was getting ridiculous so I finally took what eggs they had and put them in the incubator...so far 3 of 12 have hatched...that brings our grand total up to 43 I think it is chicks that our hens hatched this season...Not to shabby!...

I do have some eggs in the incubator that I gathered to hatch...I started with 56 and only around 30 or so were fertile when I candled them, which is fine and I really couldn't expect more...Our hen to rooster ratio is high...I have only 3 breeding roosters to around 50  hens...those little roosters can only do so much :0)...next year will be much better...

So there ya have it for this update...time to get busy with salsa making...

Until Next Time....
The Homestead Lady

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lost focus and regaining direction

I knew the beginning of the 2014 that things here at Rocky Oak were going to change.../discerment and intuition I suppose...What I didn't know was exactly how...I knew it was going to be good for us even if it was hard and also for the best...Oh, how it easy it is to lose focus!

Since my little break from here and taking the pressure off myself to post I feel refreshed...I feel like there is no pressure for me to post anything at all here if I don't feel like it...afterall I really don't blog for an audiance but you all are my added bonus and I appreciate your following along reading and sharing in our lives...my blog really is a journal of our life that someday I want to print into a book a give to my girls and grandkids so they can see how Rocky Oak was established, how hard we worked and the trials we encountered....somewhere along the way I lost sight of that...not sure how or when, but I did...being gone and just reflecting over the past year has given me a new perspective on blogging and what it is I want to do here and that is simply journal our life experiences...they may be boring and mundane and very uneventful, but none the less it will be life as it is at Rocky Oak...

These past few years have been hard. Farm man have built this place alone, just he and I. We have worked at times till we dropped in bed and wondered if we would be able to do it again the next morning. We have shed blood, sweat and tears in effort to make this once piece of raw, untouched land into something worthwhile. We have had moments of happiness, moments of intense saddness, moments of anger, moments of questioning what were doing, ah-ha moments,"just had to be there" moments and moments of this is where God is...We have seen the hand of God so strongly at times its almost overwhelming...We have experience life and death up close and personal, we have experience loss and gain in a very real way...We have watched our little farm come full circle...We have been blessed to watch goats born, chicks hatch, puppies come into the world and watch seeds put into the ground spring forth with life that provides us with food...Folks, this is no accident...this is God...

We reluctantly left our little church of 12 years last November and it has been by far the hardest struggle we have had...but it has also been good for us...we have studied and prayed so much and have found that true forgivness has no if's, and or but's attached...it is really a choice on our part to let go and let God...It isn't easy but necessary in order to find peace within yourself...as long as there has been life on earth and as long as life continues on this earth humans will always make choices to be hateful, rude and hurt us deeply...sometimes on purpose... other times...well, sometimes maybe the person is ill or just don't realize what they have done...but it is OUR choice to forgive no matter what we think the reason for the hurt is...it is not for the person that hurt us, but for us to have peace in our own heart and life...We have decided at least for now to forego organized church and instead focus on a smallish group we are working to establish here at Rocky Oak...Others have left our old church and maybe with time we can establish a nice sized group, a home church if you will...I like to say we are the Remnant...Folks, I do believe we are in the end times...what does that mean exactly? I am not sure...I just know we are getting ready to face things that we have never had to face as a nation...now is not the time to become weak, or selfish, or self-centered...now is the time to reach out to those that need hope and encouragement....those that need God...Here at Rocky Oak we want to be that Refuge...a Refuge for the Remnant...

When Rocky Oak started we had no direction really, we just wanted  farm...I knew we had been instructed to be prepared...Those words have never left us....We now realize it was just not an isolated event we were to be prepared for...No, it was many things, many circumstances...we are always to be prepared, be watchful and ready to move when God says move...and when I say move I don't mean from your home...I mean to move to meet the needs of those he puts in your life, or move to do more or move to scale down....whatever he leads you to do...be ready to move without question....It is just recently I have learned that lesson...Several months before we left our little church, the Lord had clearly shown me to leave there....I talked with Farm Man and we didn't agree...it was hard...I prayed for the Lord to show him as I was certain of what the Lord had shown me...we stayed...days turnned into weeks, weeks into months and finally it all came to a head...we had to leave, we felt we had no choice after the way we had been treated...the lesson we have learned is that when the Lord says leave he means leave, if he says stay he means stay, if he says to shut up he means to shut up...simple really...Farm man has admitted that he to knew to leave, but didn't want to lose our friends and fellowship...but had we left the situation when we knew to, what happend would not have happened and we could have left on different terms...we have learned...God means what He says...We could have been spared the mean spiritedness of 1 woman by leaving long before we did...but whats done is done...and I forgive her...

The old ways are the good ways...as the scripture in Jeremiah 6:16 says...I truly believe it...farming is an old way...it worked for many, many years to feed families...it still works today....Farming takes faith...its takes a family, and it takes hard work...It takes having a vision of something beyond yourself and your bank account...You don't get rich doing it, but you can sure bless others....We love having others come over and ask question and seeing the children pet the animals...we loving sharing a meal with them with food straight from the farm....It is satisfying...None of us know what tomorrow holds, but I know beyond a doubt who holds tomorrow...I look out my windows and see all God has allowed us to have and realize we are amongst a dying breed...the small farmer/homesteader....it is such a blessing to do what we do...not that I feel that way when its 105 degrees with humidity at 51% or when there is 8 inches of snow and ice on the ground and its 15 degrees...LOL...I have to remind myself God put us in this place for such a season as this...

I contemplated closing this blog completely because I had lost the joy in blogging and I think felt like I didn't have anything worthwhile to say...I am not one to 'give lessons' about this or that, I don't really share recipes...I just blog about whatever... that's how I roll....we don't take vacations, we don't have the time or anyone to watch the farm...I blog about life here on the farm....yep, at times its boring and mundane....but I like that...its simple and uneventful for the most part....Afterall that is what we are striving for...Simple and uneventful.....boring even...LOL....I am not sure how often I will blog...probably when the mood strikes and I have something to say...I am no longer going to stress over it....We have many other irons in the fire right now and time is of the essence, we feel...we need to make sure we have things in order and keep our priorties straight...blogging falls to the bottom of the list...

I leave you with this picture..."Goat in a boat"...As I went out this morning to do my morning 'chores'...I saw this...our goat kids were free ranging...there mom is tethered out in a place we needed weeds ate down and they discovered the boat....I was able to snap this picture...The dead 'weeds' you see were actually pots with grapevines in them that someone had giving farm man...weeds had grown in the soil in the pot...anyway all the leaves are now gone thanks to "Laicee and Lucas"...Gotta love goats and the farm life... *smile*








The Homestead Lady

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Rollin' Right Along

Things here are rollin' right along...the garden is doing good and that in itself is keeping me busy...doing alot of freezing this year rather than canning...

We butchered out 13 of our quail and they were good, so I have 156 eggs in the incubator...honestly I am hoping not all are fertile...thats just a lot of quail to deal with...But it will fill the freezer...

The hens are laying good and we are getting more than enough eggs, I have been sharing a few with family...Next spring should be a great year for eggs since the Rhode Island Reds will be laying then...the Delawares should begin laying any day....

The goats are good and the kids are getting big...they are so cute....can't help but smile everytime I see them...

The pigs are growing and doing well too...they are farm mans project but from time to time I walk out to the pen and take a look...

The weather here has been fabulous and I am enjoying every second of it...I spend a large amount of day outside just enjoying the critters on the farmstead...

We planted 5 more grapes and 2 more blueberries today...kind of an odd time of year, we bought them in the early spring and just had not had the time to get them in the ground...Hopefully they survive...

The apple tree is loaded with apples this year, the peach tree did not set fruit this year...the late freeze got them...looks like I will be buying peaches this year to put up for winter...

We have been having company some lately, not like us at all, but some folks from our old church have reached out to us and they too have been hurt...I think we are just trying to figure out where we go from here...Maybe a new church...We just don't know where the Lord will lead...kind of exciting really....

My absence from here has been good and it will continue with updates as I find the time or feel the unction to blog...So much going on in our world and lives I find myself pulling away from everything that is not priority right now...I am not one that gets into politics on this blog, but I will say...we all need to be preparing our hearts, minds and families...None of us know what tomorrow holds for our country...We find ourselves praying for guidence in what we need to be doing here on the homestead to be ready for whatever our future holds...I admonish each of you all to do the same...All of our worlds could change in a moment and we need to be ready...Spiritually, physically and emotionally....Spiritually for us is priority...I read often about folks worried about the best place to be if something big happens....I say this to them and to you...The best place to be is in the center of God's will...if you are you will be safe come what may...

Until Next Time....

The Homestead Lady

Quail wating to be roasted

Quail dressed in bacon...yummy!

For the cute factor--A puppy(he's sold)

156 quail eggs!

Mater's and Peppers


Maters, peppers and Cucumbers

Salsa! Yum!

Chickens

Chickens

And more chickens!

Monday, July 14, 2014

A huge goal reached and more

So the past few weeks have been really, really busy around here....my little break from here has been nice and I am feeling better....we are finding that there are other "casualites" from the church....it has been a very sad time for us all....not sure what is happening to us, this 'remnant'...maybe a church planting in the future...I just don't know....my sabatical will continue on for a little while longer, but I did want to take a few minutes this morning and do an update on whats going on around our homestead....

The chickens and quail are doing great...the Rhode Island Reds are growing like crazy...The Delawares should be laying soon...We had opossom problem  a few nights ago and lost 3 of my sweetgrass turkeys...I was livid to say the least...but the opossum got what was coming to it...*evil grin*..but I am still out 3 rare breed turkeys...So I am on the hunt again for some more...The last hatch of quail I hatched was suppost to be all Texas A&M quail....well, I got lied to the man sent me some Japanese and golden... I did wind up having 5 a&m's...He actually refunded my money...I was shocked, but also pleased...My plan had been to order several dozen snowflake quail eggs from him, but since I didn't get what I ordered the first time, I was to leary to spend 2.00 an egg and not get what I paid for...so I didn't do it...

Right now I have 56 hen eggs in the incubator....no special breed..just good ol' mixed breed farm chicks...this will put our count to over 200 chickens...*sigh*...I am thinking I have enough...LOL...Saturday we will be taking in some small roosters we have...they are not large enough to process out so to the auction barn they will go because I do not want to feed them all winter.....

The goats are doing great, our 2 little ones that were born last month finally have names... "Laicee and Lucas"...they are precious and will be raised here, not sold...I will of course breed Laicee in December or January and Lucas will become the breeder to Gracee and Marcee(or since she is a LaMancha we call her Manchee sometimes) This fall I will find a buck for Delilah and Laicee...

We have a total of 7 puppies that were born...3 were born 6-6 and 4 were born 7-7....the 3 are purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and 4 are Beagliers(beagle/cavalier cross)....It has been a good year for puppies.....

The pigs are growing like crazy I am looking forward to the time when we can get them processed and have well over 100 lbs of bacon in our freezer....Mmmmm, Mmmmm! And this spring we are looking forward to little piggies joinging our farmstead....

Tomatoes are finally turning red and some weigh 2lbs...I  kid you not! They are amazing...Peppers are also doing amazing...the squash died, we did get a little from them,but not as much as we had hoped for...the greenbeans didn't do so good, but the blackeyed peas are doing great...The corn is even setting ears...not sure how many we will get but we are thrilled we are getting anything! Cabbage moths and wild rabbits got the cabbage..such is life in the "boonies"...LOL....I was hoping for cabbage this year.... next year we will fence the small garden to keep the wild bunnies out....

So, now for the huge goal we reached.....We got an underground storm shelter....It has been years of waiting and praying for a way to do this...while it is certainly no bunker...LOL...it is so nice knowing when tornado's are on the way, our family will be safe...When this was done there was a sense of peace and a feeling of finality...It was like that was the last huge thing we really needed to do here and we finally accomplished it...There is a feeling of completeness I guess...We still have goals we want to reach and in time we will...We are thinking building a house may be in our future...maybe in a couple of years...time will tell....Its all a work in progress....

Here is the shelter

Digging the hole

Making sure its deep enough and wide enough

Being carried in on the truck

All done and buried

Looking inside from above ground...it extends over to the left and in behind the stairs...its a 6x8...not huge but plenty big enough for the 3 of us and even our 1 neighbor behind us!


 

 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Let me explain

Sorry I kinda left you all hanging with the abrupt "closed until further notice"...It is true I am very busy right now, but I am also still dealing with some effects from our church issue 7 months ago...We have struggled greatly with losing our church family...It should've never happend...but it did...I just need time and space to 'find myself'...grief is different for everyone and that's ok...I will be back....promise...but not sure when...I am just minimizing distractions in my life right now and trying to focus on healing and dealing with the depression I have been in for several months now...Thank you all so much for caring and I apologize for not explaining more...I am hopeful to be back soon, very soon...Until then I will stop in from time to time and read y'alls blogs and possibly comment when time allows...Anyone out there that believes in prayer send up a few for us...we could use them...

Much Love and Appreciation,
The Homestead Lady
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