Welcome to our Homestead

Welcome to Rocky Oak Homestead™

A quiet, peaceful sanctuary from the chaos of everyday living in a world on the brink of insanity! A place where we prepare for the worst, but hope for the best!

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

So, what do you know?

Picture above from Rocky Oak Homestead  
Brenda over at a Separate Path Blog posted this list the other day asking how many of these skills you knew...I have colored the ones we know and practice here at Rocky Oak in green...Also don't forget to check out my entry "Blog Changes" they are coming Friday...


Safely use an ax and hand saws.
Split firewood and kindling.
Stack and age firewood.
Grow a vegetable plant.
Plan, plant and grow a vegetable garden.
Sharpen any edge tool – knife, axe, hoe, chisel etc.
Basic firearm safety and gun proof your children and grandchildren.
Raise a chicken.
Shovel snow without putting out your back.
Read the weather.
Spin wool, cotton or flax into thread or yarn on a spinning wheel or with a drop spindle.
Use a garden shovel, spade or hoe without hurting your back.
Light a fire indoors or outdoors.
Go to a country auction and not get skinned.
Butcher small livestock like rabbits or chickens.
Hang clothes on a clothesline.
Basic tractor maintenance.
Know the difference between trees and the unique properties of various types of wood.
Cook 10 basic meals from scratch.
Pasteurize milk.
Distinguish healthy plants and animals from unhealthy plants or animals.
Basic sewing skills.
Set an ear tag or tattoo for animal identification.
Determine an animal’s age by its teeth.
Cut and glaze glass.
Drive a standard transmission vehicle.
Thaw out frozen pipes without busting them.
Know how and when to use hybrid seeds.
Sew your own clothes with simple patterns.
Hand thresh and winnow wheat or oats and other small grains.
Train a working cattle or sheep dog.
Read the moon and stars.
Make soft or hard cheeses.
Live beneath your financial means.
Fillet and clean a fish.
Use a wash tub, hand-wringer and washboard.
Make soap from wood ashes and animal fat.(I am currently learning how to make lye from woods ash and I use lard in my soaps so I am partially there...lol)
Lay basic brick or build a stone wall.
Basic home canning and food preservation.
Save open pollinated (non-hybrid) seeds.
De-horn livestock.
Use an awl and basic leather repair
Make long-term plans for the future – plan an orchard, a livestock breeding program, or plan for stored energy sources.
Jury rig anything with duct tape, baling twine and whatever is on hand.
Be comfortable with emergency/home birth.(could do it but not be comfortable)
Read an almanac.
Euthanize large livestock.
Use flat cloth diapers and wool soakers.
Cook on a cook stove.
Entertain yourself and live without electronic media.
Shear a sheep.
Manage human urine and feces without plumbing.
Swap, barter and network with like-minded people.
Generate electricity for home use.
Make a candle.
Dig and properly use a shallow well.
Refinish furniture.
Drive a draft animal.
Realistically deal with life, death and failure.
Use non-electric lighting.
Butcher a pig or goat.
Restrain large livestock.
Slaughter livestock.
Use a treadle sewing machine.
Give an injection.
Use a handsaw, hammer & nails, screw driver, wire cutters, and measuring tape.
Know when to ask for help.
Know how and when to prune grapes and fruit trees.
Hatch out chicken, duck or other poultry eggs.
Use a scythe.
Skin a furbearer and stretch the skin.
Tell the time of day by the sun.
Milk a goat, sheep or cow.
Use a smoke house.
Stomach tube a newborn animal.
Build basic homestead buildings (sheds, animal shelters, smoke house, ice house, etc.)
Break ground and plough.
Use a wood stove and bank a fire.
Make butter.
Make and use a hot bed or cold frame.
Deliver a foal, calf, lamb or goat.
Know how to tell when winter is over.
Plant a tree.
Brood day-old chicks.
Dye yarn or cloth from plants.
Haggle like a horse trader.
Bake bread.
Use a pressure tank garden sprayer.
Halter break a horse or cow.
Graft baby animals onto a foster-mother.
Weave cloth.
Grow everyday kitchen herbs.
Make sausage.
Set and bait traps for unwanted vermin and predators.
Grind wheat into flour.
Make paper.
Make ink.

Know when it is more economical to buy something ready-made or when to make it yourself.
Castrate livestock.
Choose a location for a vegetable garden or orchard.
Catch and care for wild yeast for bread making.
Weave a basket.
Use electric netting or fencing.
Make fire starters from corn cobs or pinecones.
Use a pressure cooker.
Use a pressure canner to preserve meat and vegetables.
Correctly attach 3 point hitch implements to a tractor.
Trim the hooves of goats or sheep.
Sew your own underwear.
Make your own wine and beer.
Darn knitted or crocheted items.
Know basic plumbing and how to sweat copper pipes and joints.
Keep bees.
Change a spark plug.
Cook on an open fire.
Make vinegar.
Purify water.
Graft trees.
Make and use a bow and arrow.
Preserve meat by curing.
Erect a fence.
Hang a gate.
Make and use herbal tinctures, infusions and other herbal remedies.
Replace electrolytes in a battery.
Charge a battery.
Change a car tire.
Repair a tire.
Do an oil change in any vehicle.
Build an effective compost pile.
Correctly set spark plug spacings.
Change all light bulbs – household and vehicle.
Prime a well pump.
Fix water troughs around the paddocks.
Suture both animals and humans.
Catch a fish without expensive fishing gear.
Gather edible wild greens and prepare them.
Catch and keep a swarm of bees.
Render fat into lard.
Use non-typical fats (lard, tallow, schmaltz, bear fat, etc) in cooking.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Looking back, Moving Forward

It is quickly approaching the 4 year mark that we have been here on this land...So much has happened in that 4 years...so many trials, tribulations and times of thinking we just couldn't go on...But we did go  on, the Lord saw us through and we learned some amazing things during this time...We learned alot about others,but more about ourselves...God was faithful to provide what we needed when we needed it...Farm man hauled in water every single day for 18 long months...we did not have the money to drill a well and our land is so rocky that hand digging was impossible...so we hauled it in...we never missed a bath, the critters never went thirsty, the garden got watered and dishes got done...we made it through using the woods as a bathroom come rain sleet snow or shine...you can read our story HERE

Without futher ado, here is our jouney in pictures...

 BELOW--What the land looked like when we bought it in August of 2008

BELOW--After Clearing in February of 2009

BELOW--June 2010--You can see the same cedar tree in the distance in the above picture

 August 2010--we finally got a well--again there is the same cedar tree


July 2011


May 2012


July 2012

BELOW--July 2011--Some of our berries


BELOW This is the building we bought and lived in for 17 months, this is not on our property it is where it was when we bought it

BELOW--Then we bought this --A 1970 10 x 50


BELOW--Inside of above mobile


BELOW--Then we purchased this in May of 2012 a 16 x70


BELOW--Inside of above Mobile

Our journey has been a hard one, and one I will remember for the rest of my life...but I am grateful for what it has taught me...I have learned you can let trials make you bitter or make you better...I have experienced both I think...I have learned I am strong and resourceful, I have also seen those who say they are your friend will leave you when you need them the most...I have learned there is nothing Farm Man and I cannot get through with the help and guidence of our Lord...It's been slow going for the past 4 years, it took us forever to get water and electric when first moving over here..living in a 12 x 24 (288 sq feet) 'cabin' was hard...we all were tested and tried, but we survived and learned we could...Life is not always easy and sometimes downright hard...but, there is always someone worse off than you...So today and everyday when things look bleak...Remember, someone has walked the road before you and there is always, always someone worse off...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Old Timey Church

I have often over the years spoke of my wonderful church...there are not many around like them anymore...Ours is small, 50 people or so and not all of them attend every week...We are a church that does not compromise to get members, we are not a church with a gazillion different programs, gimicks or activities to get folks to come..we are simply a bible believing, tell it like it is, full gospel kinda folks...we still sing all the old hymns and do not sing the modern christian music of today...Seeing as how I am physically stuck in this era but my heart belongs in an era of long ago...lol...I love my church...I love everyone in it, The pastor and his wife are not the kinda folks you find anymore...they preach what they live and live what they preach...I have known them 31 years and they are like parents to me..Last night our church had a little Christmas service and not only did we honor our Lord and we held a special service to wish them a very Merry Christmas...it was nice and had many new visitors...our Pastors son spoke of Jesus and how he is the light of our world he mentioned how wonderful it was to be one of those that saw the light...That is also an old song we like to sing...here is a glimspse into that part of my life...I am playing the tamborine, the pastors son is singing...Enjoy!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Day 3 and pictures

We are on day 3 of no grid power and doing well...This is a walk in the park compared to 4 years ago, so we are doing fine...Our biggest bump in the road has been the inverter...Farm man went to purchase a little one last night and when he got there, they were sold out, whoever told him they had one in stock was mistaken...*ugh*..Oh well, we will continue to use the generator as needed...Still investigating all our options for long term power...Today I am using the washing machine as normal and we use the clothes line since it is nice outside..... good temps and nice breeze...

I think we finally decided on the inverter to order, still checking around on prices...but so far it is this one that we are pretty decided on http://www.donrowe.com/inverters/voltec_2000_ps.html it is a pure sine inverter, which is needed for things like computers and HDTV...modified sine inverters will not run electronics well...also we have learned you have to look at the amps...and 17 amps should be ok to run our household things like lights, tv., computers...not the well or hotwater heater, but a solution to that is also in the works...then we are looking into whether to use 6 volt or 12 volt batteries, farm man is waiting on a call back from a man to ask some questions...this is certainly educational if nothing else...

Had poster(C.T.) say they would like to see pictures of how we hooked in the generator to our meter pole..it is running pretty much everything we need or want, just have to be careful what we run at the same time....so here they are...Click the pics to make them larger...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Back to our future

Back to our future...sounds similar to the 80's movie, Back to THE future...This has been on my mind alot lately, maybe do to the economy or the election and maybe because I think to much...LOL....I am a thinker...whatever the reason it has really weighed on my mind that our ancestors can teach us what I think may well be our future...If you have ever sit for very long at all and pondered what would happen if our economy actually failed, or we were hit with a global pandemic(coming in the near future) or ______(you fill in the blank) We could actually be plunged back in the early days...There is no way to know that if in any of our lifetimes that would actually happen, it is all mere speculation, but farm man and I do feel it wise to invest our time and energy into learning the skills of days of old...Even if nothing globally catastrophic ever happens in our life time, there are the daily up's and down's of life that many of us have experienced...I know in our own personal life when we moved here and things took a downward turn we were so glad to have the knowledge we had, many would not have been able to stick with it and make it through...So many today rely on the modern gadgets and conveniences that todays world offers they cannot fathom not having a phone, computer, television, anything electric... many homes across america are total electric and most people just think that it will always be there...We are not that naive...we were over night thrust into a way of living had not been seen or touched by most in 60+ years...

We feel there was a reason...was it to show us a glimpse of our past? Maybe a glimpse into our future? Whatever the reason it was hard, but blessed...I am ever so grateful to have had that experience...One thing I loved was the simplness of it all...there seemed to be more hours in the day, the reality of course is that days were not longer, we just did not have all the distractions that we have in 'modern' lives. There was no television to sit and watch, or computer to sit in front of for hours, we spent our time enjoying what God had given us...nature, time, each other, gardening, hiking and learning new skills.  It was during this time that the words God had spoken to us so long ago "Be prepared, the time is nigh" came to life and began to take shape in our minds and lives....we came to understand what we were to do...its been an amazing journey thus far...hard, but amazing...Farm man and I are forever grateful for the journey, in spite of the many tears, wondering why us, and sometimes thinking we could not go on...We have learned that with Gods amazing strength we can do all things, through prayer we find a friend that never fails, through trials we grow, and through faith we have peace and when we fall short he gives us undying grace...Our life looks different to many out there, and there are some on the other side of the fence that will never understand how things like this can change you...and thats ok...someday we may all be faced with the challenges farm man and I have already experienced...it will make you bitter, or it will make you better...I have become a little bitter and alot better...Through this amazing journey we had each other to live, love and laugh with and our Lord to lead, guide and sustain us...I can honestly say if and when things go awry we will be ok...We are grateful to have been able to go back and continue to live what might be future.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The facebook problem

Before bashing me over posting this video, please keep in mind this is simply an opinion I agree with...I am not asking anyone to agree with it, but give it some thought then delete facebook :0)