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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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Beginning a new journey

The past few years have been difficult to say the least. 3 years ago we left the church we had been part of for 13 years, however I had known the pastor and his family for 35 years and loved them dearly. They were an "adopted" part of my moms side of the family and spent the holidays with us many many times before my grandmother passed away in 2001. The parting from that church was not on the best of terms and my hurt was deeper than anything I can express in words. I think this was the life changing event that set into motion of a chain of events that have brought me and my husband to where we are today. The church was a fundamental church so "rules" were just part of life. Looking back sin was more focused on that grace, mercy and love. I will not get into all the issues but even before the parting my husband and I had began to see some serious problems within this particular church...many of the issues could be called cultish. So with a broken heart and spirit we left. 

Fast forward....with all the pain I was still carrying from our experience in church my dad became very, very sick in December of 2015. He had been diagnosed with COPD many years early but he had entered the end stages. For 9 long months he was in and out of the hospital with a collapsed lung, a blood clot and several times with pneumonia...my dad was not a believer and was not interested in things of that nature at all. He was also a very abusive man and I grew up in domestic violence. My dad and I had very little of a relationship but I was determined to put the past aside and spend time with him before he died...and I did just that! I spent as much time As possible with him...it wasn't easy as  he liked to view the past through his own lens and it was quite clouded at times with his memories being way different than any of us kids remembered it...that was hard for us...but at some point in this journey it just didn't matter anymore...none of it...my daddy, the man that used to seemingly stand 50 ft tall and bullet proof, the man that would beat us because he had a bad day, the man that called us is horrible things was reduced to a mere 94 lbs and bed ridden...his heart became softened and even now I often wonder why this change wasnt made so many years ago...but it wasnt and noting can change that...On September 21st, 2016 he decided being an atheist was not a good choice and requested to see my brother.... Let me backup for a moment if I may....during this period of time I knew I was on a mission so to speak...I needed to show my dad unconditional love...trust me when I say this was far beyond an easy task....Speaking of God or the bible or anything of that nature was not something my dad would hear from me...my brother on the hand, well, my dad had a respect for men he didn't have for women...So my "job" ,the path set before me was to just love him....many, many times I would leave his house in tears because of the mean things he would say to me...I would swear I was never going back, but there was a drving force in me that would not allow me to stay away....it was God...I didnt realize this till sometime later...so back to the 21st....it was a Wednesday and I had been there for several hours that day...Daddy was weak, but talking and even laughing and singing(so NOT my dad)...when it came time to leave I kissed his head and told him I loved him and said I'll see ya Sunday...I was choking back tears...He feebly raised his arm and said come here...he wanted a hug...as I bent down to hug him...I said "Daddy" I want you to go to heaven when you die"...he sobbed...again I said I love you and I walked out of that room...I cried for hours that afternoon...I think it was tears from all the years of my life....all the pain of growing up like we did, the pain from being hurt in church...the pain of knowing my dad was dying....years and years of pain....I sobbed uncontrollably that day....he requested my brother after I left and when my brother got word he dropped what he was doing and went to my dads bedside...it was that day my dad prayed for forgiveness....it was that day he finally found peace after years of living in a private hell all his own...he found peace from the torture that plagued him all his life...he found peace with God.....That was on Wednedsay evening...my daddy died at 3:45 a.m. the morning of September 23rd, 2016....It was a Friday...

When my brother and I talked and he told me of my dads praying I said "Mission accomplished"....it was then the gravity and seriousness of the situation hit me full force...God, had worked though us to save a man that we believed was unsavable...I collapsed in grief, relief and thankfullness that my daddy saw the light and I collapsed from sheer exhaustion and cried for days and days after this...again....tears from years of pent up pain...

During this time of illness with my dad, I also became sick...for those that have followed me at my old blog know that some time ago it was thought I had MS(multibple sclerosis)
it turned out, with no doubt I have Systemic Lupus...So here I lost my church, find out I have lupus and my dad dies....Its been a hard year....

With the diagnosis of lupus and because I am photosensitve, I can  no longer spend time in the sun...My most favorite thing to do....I love gardening and just sitting in the sun enjoying the outdoors...We have been "homesteaders" for 16 years....Depression hit me hard....life seemed pretty pointless at this time....

We made the decision to sell all the chickens and turkeys since I can longer spend time outdoors for very long and my husband cannot care for everything alone and work too....soooo...we no longer have chickens, still have 5 turkeys to sell....Hubby still has his pigs....for now...

In October I also reached a milestone in life....I turned 50....*Sigh*

Im going to end this entry here for now...but will contiune in a day or so...    

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Summer time busyness!(pictures)

Our first picking of green beans
Once again time has gotten away from me. Our summer has been filled with gardening, bees and general homesteading activities. So much has went on I just dont know where to begin...

Jalapeno peppers and a few cucumbers
The garden has been prolific this year inspite of our triple digit heat somedays and our lack of rain in the month of June. God has certainly blessed us. I have frozen yellow squash, zuchinni and a various sundry of peppers this season. I have canned whole tomatoes, salsa, tomato soup and rotel. I have canned Jalepeno peppers as well. The greenbeans did amazing with a final count of 31 pints and 21 quarts in the pantry! Tomato products are not far behind! The garden is finally slowing down for the season. I wont be putting in a fall garden, I think we are just to tired after the amazing summer garden we have had! We are ready to rest.
First picking of produce beginning of season

Most of the chicks I hatched in early spring are doing awesome...had an illness of some kind go through the chicken yard for a few weeks and we lost some, but most surived whatever it was...The turkeys I hatched are doing great and getting really big!

Farm man transferring from Nuc to Hive
We got our bees in June. We are using a Langstroth hive. We did our homework and settled on this type due to the ease of care and the availablity of information. We bought a nuc as we feel it is far better than ordering bees. A nuc is an established colony which is why we believe you have far less problems and loss of hives. However we also know anything can happen and go wrong in any hive at any time. Our hive is doing amazing. We have been blest with a great mentor who has helped us immensly with learning the in's and out's of beekeeping. He has raised bees for many years and has a bee farm so he is pretty versed in bee keeping and has graciously volunteered his time and information with us. We have been invited to his place to walk through his set up and learn all we can learn first hand....Hopefully we can do that this extn weekend.

First pints of greenbeans
Our pigs are expecting again, I am curious how many little piglet we will get this time. Last litter we had 10 in one litter and 11 in the other...the one sow layed on one of her piglets.....But each sow sucessfully raised 10 little ones. We were impressed. We kept back a female breeding next spring. We are still madly in love with the G.O.S breed...their temperament is amazing and they are not escape artist, they are content in their respective pens. We are blest!


Various produce from one days picking.
In my last post I mentioned dieting....I am proud to report since that time I have lost more weight....I am down 30 lbs and Farm man is down almost 40! We have completey changed our way of eating and are thrilled with the results as well are our doctors! We are low carb, sugar free(mostly) and gluten free. We found out that Farm Girl is gluten intolerant. She was tested by her doctor and it came back positive for gluten intolerant, so our way of eating has changed drastically...We eat much cleaner now that we once did and the results are astonishing. Our health is better than it has been in 20 years. I cant sing the praises loud of enough for "eat what God gave ya, not what man made ya".

Stay Calm and Homestead On!
The Homestead Lady


Friday, June 3, 2016

Just a short update


Rocky Oak Homestead

Time once again has gotten away from me...I stay so busy these days with other things that I just 'forget' to blog...LOL

Like eveyone else our garden is doing great...it takes a lot of work to put it in and keep it up, but its worth it..

So the happenings here are as follows:

We took our biggest hog into the processer, she weighed just over 500 lbs...we got 350 lbs of meat from her...we will pick that up next week...I am thrilled to have our pork freezer full!

We still the have the meat birds to process...we were going to do it last weekend, but things came up that made it impossible to get them done...so hopefully this next week we can get to those...

We have began harvesting yellow squash and zuchinni from the garden...our tomato plants are loaded with baby tomatoes...soon very soon...The pepper plants are loaded as well..

The grapes are amazing, the blueberries are doing good, this will  be our biggest harvest since planting them 4 years ago..Not huge but noteworthy...

I am back up to well over 100 chickens again...we'll see how that works for us...Almost all the baby pigs are gone, just a few left to sell...we held one female back for breeding will be getting another old spot this fall hopefully...

We are still working and adding to our new relaxion area in the yard(see pic above)...its coming along nicely...the flower seeds I planted are beginning to bloom...

My herb bed is just awesome...I cannot believe how big everything is...Soon, very soon I will have to do some transplanting...Things are getting so big I am outta room...

I saved the best to last...Heehee

Farmman and and I have made several changes to our lives this year...some I don't feel like sharing here, but this one I do...We have completely and totally revamped our diet...

So, remember back a few months ago when I was so sick? Well, after months of deaing with doctors I decided to take matters in my own hand...I decided to lose some weight...I was not horribly overweight but enough I didn't like myself much and felt horrible...So what did I do? I decided to follow the Keto diet...it is similar to Atkins...I had remembered the doctor that I loved that moved to the Cleveland clinic telling me she thought I was gluten intolerant(not celiac)...well I did stay off gluten for awhile, but....well....its hard!

This time I was and am determined...Well 3 days into this Farm man jumped on board...We now eat only meat,eggs, and veggies...berries ocassionally and nuts...I have lost 18 lbs in 28 days and Farm man has lost a whopping 25 lbs...his blood pressure has dropped and his blood sugar is now running normally...Now, he is diabetic, so before he began this diet we taked with his dietician...she said it was a good a way to eat... just hard...if he keeps this up he could be off all meds in 30 days!

So heres what we do...I eat no more than 30 total carbs a day and I try to stay below 20 total carbs a day...Farm man has 50 or less carbs a day...We eat NO bread of any kind, no potatos, no corn, no grains and no sugar at all at this point, somethings will be added in small increments later...We eat minimal fruit mainly strawberries, blueberries and blackberries...other fruit with high carbs will be added in later...So besides weight loss I feel fabulous...I have tons more energy, the swelling issues I was having body wide is resolving at an awesome rate...Many of my IBS symptoms have improved...I still have joint pain, but I suppose some of that can be expected at my age *smile*...My brain fog has gotten better, and my tripping and falling have improved...Many of my symptoms are totally gone...So this is working for us...

I do not advocate anyone do this without first talking to a doctor...This was a very radical change for us, but its working...We also eat as organic as we can...We are in a situation where we can raise our own meat, vegetables, herbs and fruit along with raw honey...So we are feeling pretty blest...I still have to purchase somethings like almond milk, and various flours like almond and coconut...and of course months we can't grow our own we will purchase...Its been a wonderful change for us...Were not where we need to be, but closer than we used to be!..I have 20-25 more lbs to go!...

Pictures next time!
The Homestead Lady

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Tranquil transformation

Once again its been awhile since I have posted...time seems to get away from me these days....We have been crazy busy...In all honesty I am struggling with whether to keep this blog up...There are many changes taking place here at the homestead...Some in our homesteading edeavors and some more personal...Life is an ever changing journey and sometimes the path we find ourself on is very difficult esepcially when it involves letting go of things or beliefs we have held very dear to our heart and lives for almost 30 years...I find myself deep in my own thoughts many days trying to find my way and I keep myself busy here on the homestead as a way to not think as much...Time seems to elude me a lot these days...

So anyway, on to whats been going on here...The garden is all planted(no pictures yet)...It is somewhat smaller than previous years, just because of all the other projects we have going on....Everything is coming along nicely...the grapes, peaches, apples, strawberries and blueberries...

The meat birds are growing like crazy and should be ready to process in a of couple weeks...There are 50 of them...ugh! lots of work coming our way....

I sold off some of the little chicks I hatched...but still have upwards of 60+...they are all doing good... the 1st batch of them just went into the barn yard with the big birds...I still have smaller ones brooding but should be ready to be out and about in a week or so...

My last batch of birds are hatching as I type...25 turkey poults...some of them are sold...the rest we will keep and process at the appropriate time...

The little pigs are doing great...all 20 survived and the moms are amazing moms...The first 10 are ready to be sold and we have had interest...The money will go toward a landscaping project we are working on...more on that next...Its been a good season so far at Rocky Oak...

Now for the huge project we have been working on...

Last spring I sold all my goats...I was just ready after 15 years to not mess with them any more...I am funny that way...when I am done with something...I am done and its that simple for me...so the next question was what to do with the land where the goats were...it was a real mess...the shed used for housing the goats was beginning to need tore down even though once the goats were gone it was used for a rabbit shelter...however we sold all the rabbits as well, so we decided to tear it down and do a massive cleanup and turn this area into a "meditation garden" if you will or just a pretty place to relax after a long hard day....The past few weeks have been filled with days and days of hard non stop work....it is paying off....We have planted flowers, made an herb bed, picked up a gazillion rocks, sticks and limbs....we have burned brush and turned this place into a sanctuary of sorts...It is still a work in progress but as you will see from the pictures the transformation has been amazing...I have also posted other pictures as well...

The transformations taking place here not only on the home front, but in our personal lives as well has brought about much tranquility in our lives...


The grapes...they have grown so much over the years
Beautiful strawberries


The apple tree is loaded this year


The peaches will not be as plentiful as I had hoped due to a freeze after blooming


Goat shed coming down
Goat shed down and major mess to clean

Its cleaning up nicely...but we sure are tired

Serenity and Peace

Evening view....I love this...hard to believe where we started just a month ago!

The Homestead Lady

Monday, April 11, 2016

Changes, more piglets and more....

Its always amazing how much can change in a short span of time...So much has happened since I last blogged....

I think I had mentioned we were going to be removing some fencing around where we had the goats...We got that done and also got the old goat shed/rabbitry tore down....Grass is now growing in that area and we are working on planting flowers and adding a few things to make a relaxing little "park area" right in our front yard! Its slow coming along, but were getting there....Farm man, after today will be taking the week off to finish up some projects that need finished before hot weather sets in....

All my chicks for the year are almost hatched...it hasnt been a real good season for me but I wound up with 85 new chicks...I have 24 rhode island red eggs in the 'bator...we'll see how they hatch....I had also had 8 turkey eggs in with my last batch of chicks and all 8 hatched, but one died...so that gives me 7 new turkey poults....I have 28(I think) more eggs in the incubator with the RIR eggs...

Everything is blooming nicely...The grapes are leafing out, the blueberries are doing awesome...The peaches and apples are coming along nicely....we had a freeze with the peach trees in bloom, we are hopeful we still get peaches...I have been planting flowers along with flower seeds...I transplaned some Iris' I had over to the "park area" of our yard...The garden will go in this week while farm man is home...

In addition to all the chicks and turkey poults we welcomed 10 more piglets to the homestead....Our second sow farrowed the 9th....she birthed 11 but one was born dead...Our first litter gave us 3 girls and 7 boys....this litter gave us 8 girls and 2 boys...We are thrilled with having 20 little piglets running around...Farm man had built her a nice little shed to farrow in, complete with straw...but she decided to have her babies behind the little shed...so farm man had to make a makeshift shed for her to keep her and her piglets warm and dry.....
NOTE: ONE PICTURE HAS SOME AFTER BIRTH SHOWING.....PLEASE IF THAT BOTHERS YOU DON'T LOOK!

On the health front...I am somewhat better lately...Farm girl and I went to to the doctor last week to get results of some blood work...We found out we have somehow contracted the coxsackie virus...That would explain the virus we had a couple weeks ago....problem is, it can affect the heart...could explain my shortness of breath lately...We have to go to a cardiologist Thursday to get all checked out and make sure were ok...I also found out I had walking pneumonia(could be my shortness of breath as well)...I had no clue....Doc gave me some powerful antibiotics and I am on the mend and feel 100% better!.....I told my best friend, I feel yucky so often I don't even realize i'm sick til I feel better.....LOL...kinda sad really....but it is what it is...I try not to complain and make the best of life...Always someone worse...I will say its been a hard year and half for my health...I think its time to look into ways to build my immunity and get healthy...I am just really run down and seems I get everything anymore...Not good at my age....

Pictures of our progress coming soon....

Below are piglet pictures....

You can see the first litter of piglets looking at "new pigs on the block"...one of the little ones, just hours old already checking things out...you can see it next to the fence....

Mama and babies in their makeshift shed doing well....They are 3/4 Old Spot...We love this breed...So calm, friendly and docile...We will never raise another breed...they get up around 600 lbs so they also make a great meat hog...

The Homestead Lady

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Look Back...Moving Forward...A New Beginning

March 31st will mark 7 years that we have inhabited Rocky Oak....We purchased in 2008, but did not move over here until 2009.

We have "homesteaded" since 2000 and in that time we have experienced so much...We are the kind of people that like to try new things....We have raised lots of breeds goats, chickens, turkeys, quail, several breeds of pigs,ducks, rabbits, had a horse, a donkey, and we have had calves and a cow...

We have gardened for 25 years, big and small gardens...We have raised many things in our garden...I have canned for many years...I have hung clothes on a line for many years of our almost 26 years of marriage...We have had times of feast and times of famine as is life with self-employment...we have sown and we have harvested...we have cried and we have laughed...What many people find interesting and do for a hobby we have lived as a way of life long before it became the "new fangle thing" to do...We are simple people with simple thoughts and dreams...We have expanded our homestead over the years and we have downsized...We have had health and we have had sickness...The one thing that has remained constant is the fact we keep aging! With age comes changes...we grow in wisdom and we begin to realize whats important...Sometimes we find what we once held dear to our heart wasnt so dear anymore...Our kids grow up and move on...we become grand parents...Life keeps moving forward...In the months that have followed leaving our church, much in our hearts have changed.....much in our lives have changed...its a long story and not one I care to venture into on this blog, but maybe on my other one soon...We are finding many things we believed and were taught were maybe not right...We are finding a freedom we never had...The changes in our hearts are being reflected in other areas of our lives...We are finding what truly makes us happy....

We are finding out who we really are without all the influence of a 'group'(church body)...We are finding life is awesome and not all about rules and regulations...As I age and my health continues to decline, I find I need simplicity and crave solitude...All the busyness on the homestead that I once embraced I am finding I no longer wish to have all that busyness...Simple is good! Farm Man and I are finding balance in life and on the homestead...Its been a journey in both instances for sure! But one we are grateful for....For a very long time we 'homesteaded' for a way to survive if the S*** hit the fan...We found that always looking ahead didn't allow us to enjoy the moment...We missed out on a lot of joy in life...We also found that some churches are more concerned with satan than God and when we are always looking for the devil behind every bush, we miss the blessing right in front of our face...Life is good...Its gone all to soon...Some of the goals we had set for ourselves will be changed in the coming months to reflect the changes in our hearts and lives...We are very happy with where we are at the moment...Chickens, pigs, turkeys and bees are good for us...they are simple and easy....I want to enjoy them rather than them be just another chore...I dont want to wake up someday and realize life has passed me by and all I have done is work...The truth is, none of us know what the future holds....we could prep for 20 years and never need it....and then again, we could need it all tomorrow!...The point is, for us, is that the past few years we have spent so much time worrying about the future, that we have missed the right now in many instances...I look back now and realize that was time wasted....time I can't get back...however today, I can begin to move forward with a renewed mindset to enjoy every moment for what it is...We will face tomorrow....tomorrow...Today I want to enjoy all we have worked so hard to have....I want to embrace the sacrifices we have made and know someday my kids can benefit from that...I want no regets, no woulda, coulda, shoulda way of thinking....I want to be able to spend time time with family, friends, and not always worry about work and chores...Its time to slow down and just enjoy what we have and what we have done...This season I want to work less, play more and enjoy Rocky Oak for the sanctuary it is!

Keep Calm, and Enjoy Life!
The Homestead Lady