Sunday, December 25, 2016

Brightest Blessings on You and Yours

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Elusive Farmer Barbie

Recently I was made aware there is a Farmer Barbie. Who'da thunk it? I had to have Farmer Barbie for my granddaughter. I mean, how fabulous is Farmer Barbie?!!

So I go to my trusty Amazon site and type in Farmer Barbie to find she is SOLD OUT! OMG, I set about hunting down the only Barbie I have ever considered acquiring for my granddaughter only to find out she is sold out not only on Amazon, but at Target, Toys R Us, and at Kmart NATIONWIDE. I mean, really? SOLD OUT!

Who would have thought a Farmer Barbie would be a hot commodity this holiday season? 

Then tonight, quite by accident, I found Amazon had them available to ship the day after Christmas. Score!!! I snatched one of those suckers up as quick as my fingers could move the mouse to the "one click to buy" button!

I think Farmer Barbie is a great example of a toy which can show our daughters women can do almost anything they want to be. Farmer Barbie says, "Barbie is glamorous, but has no problem shoveling animal shit, helping birth goats on cold, rainy nights, and is capable of taking care of business by providing for herself while being environmentally friendly and a touch glamorous." Farmer Barbie is a Barbie doll this grandmother can get behind. Farmer Barbie is a doll my granddaughter will be able to play with realistically. Farmer Barbie is like her Nona, only way more glamorous (and a whole lot thinner, lol.)

I am going to use Farmer Barbie as both a teaching tool and a fun toy. Farmer Barbie will take care of the menagerie of small farm animals I have been sending my granddaughter since moving to the homestead. I will teach my granddaughter how Farmer Barbie existed in the Women's Land Army in WWI and WWII and how Farmer Barbie is still alive and well today. Farmer Barbie, and women she represents, have been a significant part of providing for their families since the dawn of time.

Farmer Barbie can bring home the bacon, raise it up, butcher it,  and fry it up in a pan.

You go girl!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Brr...Baby it's Cold Outside

If you live in the United States right now most likely you are aware of the blast of Arctic air making its way south as far as Texas. In Oklahoma it is all we have been talking about for a week. The news has been abuzz with warnings about just how deadly the wind chills will be with this storm due to the high winds coming along with it. In my area we are predicted to have snow later today and a high of 9 degrees. That is pretty damn cold by anyone's standards, but consider the fact that I live in a tiny house and preparations for such weather are in fact a matter of life and death.

My home sits up on blocks (how redneck, right?). I have it on blocks because if I put it on a "foundation" it would be taxed differently. I like not having high taxes, so having the building raised and level is fine with me. I have toyed with different kinds of skirting, but haven't settled on what exactly I am going to go with. Meanwhile, high winds blow under my home steal precious heat. 9 degrees and high winds means a very cold floor and difficulty maintaining heat in my living space. I needed a temporary solution and I needed it fast.

My solution was to purchase 10 bales of straw. Now, I have to say that I am not a fan of using straw around the base of a tiny all the time. The problem is straw retains moisture, will mold, and critters love to make a home in them, however in a pinch straw bales make an excellent wind break and insulator. I would not, however leave the bales against the building any longer than necessary. As soon as this storm passes, I will move them, stack them aside for the time being, and move them back if a new storm threatens to arrive. In colder climates where the snow stays frozen and it doesn't just rain or thaw out in a couple of days (Oklahoma snow melts in a day or two), I suppose you could leave the bales in place, however if the moisture is trapped against your building it could do damage, so keep an eye on them.

Bales of hay from my local feed store run $7 each. I bought 10. 8 to form a wind break and the other two I broke apart and spread in the goat shed and chicken coop to give the animals extra bedding material. As I lay in my nice warm bed typing out this post I am very comfortable and the building is noticeably warmer as compared to the last windy cold snap about a week ago.

** Update: Last night temps crashed to 2 degrees. Guess what? Yup, the Shouse remained warm and comfortable. Hay bales are a success!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Progress Update on the THH Studio

I have been busy busy working on the new Tiny House Homestead Studio building. Any working homestead needs a good office space and I have wanted a recording studio for several years now. I finally settled on a place and a building. I set things in motion and the building was delivered last week.

Measuring 8' x 14', this building will be used as an office, sewing room, and recording studio. I am super excited to christen this space, make it my own, and put it to good use.

Inside wasn't much, but I love the light all the windows allow in. The first step is always to give a new building a good cleaning. Sweeping and vacuuming up all the sawdust, loose nails, and such in preparation is important.

After giving the building a good cleaning, I set out to paint the walls. Since I do not intend to insulate this building as it is so small heating and cooling it will not be an issue. I chose a nice clean creamy white to make the space seem larger.

Using two old bi-fold closet doors I got for $10 each, a frame was built to support each door and then secured to the wall. This created a large L-shaped work surface on two of the walls. A decorative wooden curtain rod was sacrificed to create decorative legs to support the outside edges of the table.

Using left over lumber and other building materials, shelves have been built between the wall studs. It has been slow going as they must be spaced, leveled, and plumbed before being secured using long screws. However, progress is being made. Some of the shelves will be painted and some will remain their natural wood appearance.

Things are coming along and the building is really taking shape. As time allows over the next week I will continue to install all the shelves. I still have to decide on flooring, but I may just paint the floor and bring in a room-size rug.

I need to insulate for sound in the ceiling, so I am exploring building my own sound baffles which will control sound and offer some insulation in the ceiling area. Once I figure it out, you can bet I will share it with you!

Thanks for stopping by the homestead!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tiny House Recording Studio

So I have been wrestling with a problem. This is totally a Tiny House problem. In a tiny house space is limited; very limited. No kidding, right? The problem I have been running into is a lack of office space at home. In my former suburban life I had a separate office. In my separate office I set up all my recording equipment, had a working desk area, and had access to all supplies at all times. I didn't have to set things up and take them back down in order to serve a meal or go to bed. I miss that. I miss it a lot.

I have toyed with and talked about building a separate tiny building to serve as my recording studio and home office. I have kicked it around now for two and a half years. Well, I finally made the decision, sucked it up, and ordered a small prefab shell of a building measuring 8' x 14'. It was one of the cheapest models that matched my other buildings here on Tiny House Homestead. It was delivered on Thursday. It is p-e-r-f-e-c-t!

A good friend and I spend a few days of labor raking leaves, cutting down fallen and dead trees, and cleared a great space in the forest for the studio. To keep things on a budget I have decided not to insulate the building except in the ceiling. Being only 112 sq. ft. it is easy to heat and easy to cool only when I am using it. It will not have running water, so I don't have to worry about freezing pipes. Besides that, most days in Oklahoma are above freezing anyway.

I had 6 windows installed so fresh air, the cool breeze, and beautiful views could be enjoyed from any direction. I am re-purposing two old doors I scored for $20 as my work table. I have whitewashed the walls and I will be building shelves between the studs. I hope to have the entire building completed by Thanksgiving day so I can get out a podcast soon telling all about it.

Perhaps now I can get more blog posts out and release podcasts in a more timely manner?

It has been two and a half years and I still love my Tiny House and homestead life!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Winter Preparedness Tiny House Style

This week temps are supposed to be up in the 80's here in Oklahoma, but I am super excited by the prospect of cooler weather. In fact, I am fantasizing about winter cold and snow! Oh yes, many of you may enjoy the sweaty, sticky, bug-filled summer months, but I love the silence of falling snow and the long nights. I know it is only October, but in the spirit of preparedness and living on a tight budget, I have begun making lists and collecting together my winter preps. Let me share with you some of my thoughts and the method to my madness to make sure I am prepared for Winter 2017.

Gloves, Hats, and Scarves:

I have dug out gloves, hats, and scarves along with my sweaters, jackets, and coats. I store these items in a plastic storage tub up in the loft each spring. Each fall I take it down and air the items, check for fit, make repairs, and run them through the wash. I make a list of anything I may need to replace and put it in my purse to keep on hand for when I go shopping. For example, this year I want a good pair of leather gloves.

Back Up Lighting for Power Outages: 

Oklahoma is famous for extended power outages during ice storms. I am checking all my flashlights for batteries, making sure I have emergency candles, and buying a couple of fresh disposable lighters. I am checking over my 3 Aladdin Lamps. I will make sure I have two extra chiminies and two spare wicks as well. I will check over my five Deitz Lanterns and make sure I have an extra globe and spare wick. Since I have 8 oil lamps, I will make sure I have a couple of gallons of lamp oil too.

Back Up Heat: 

I will take my kerosene heaters for a test run. Kerosene doesn't store long term, so I will make sure to burn off any old kerosene and refill my kerosene cans. I have two five gallon kerosene cans right now, but am thinking of buying a couple more. It is always a good thing to have extra fuel in the winter for the unexpected.

Emergency Food: 

Each winter I put aside food that I rotate, but replace immediately. I make sure I keep this food on hand because you never know when an emergency may hit or weather will make getting to the store a chore. Plus, I never want to battle it out at my local market when the newscast calls for a significant storm. You won't catch me fighting crowds and standing in line for a loaf of bread or gallon of milk. I keep on hand 14 cans of soup, 2 flats of bottled water, 7 cans of canned meat, powdered milk or shelf stable milk, frozen bread dough,  lunch meats and cheese, peanut butter, jelly, coffee, and some comfort junk food.


I fill all three of my propane tanks so I can use my barbecue all winter. Even if the power goes out I can still cook on my barbecue. It is kinda fun on a snowy night to grill burgers!

Sleeping/Staying Warm:

I wash all my extra quilts and blankets that have also been stored away for the summer to be sure they are clean and fresh. I purchase a large box of Hot Hands.

First Aid/Emergency: 

I go through my first aid supplies and replace anything used or expired. I add a fresh bottle of vitamin C and cold/flue medicine.


As of November 1st I never allow the tank on my car to get lower than half a tank before refilling it. I get an oil change and fluid check each autumn. I add some extra water, clean blanket, extra gloves and a scarf, along with some granola bars to my trunk. I also add a fresh bag of cat litter and make sure I still have chains.


I keep 2 large bags of dog food, cat food, chicken feed, and goat feed on hand as well as a full bale of hay. I lay a fresh straw in the chicken coop and in the goat shelter. I am a firm believer in the deep litter method to help keep my critters warm and dry. Additionally, I have two insulated cat shelters built from foam coolers and storage bins in case the cats get locked outside or I can't get home to let them in. My dog has a warm, dry shelter on the porch where he can hunker down as well.  It too get some fresh straw.

Bring on the cooler weather! I am prepared. What do you do to prepare for winter weather?

Monday, October 10, 2016


If you haven't heard, Oklahoma had a nice size earthquake September 3, 2016. Measuring 5.8 magnitude, it is the strongest in recorded Oklahoma history. I was enjoying the first day of my 3 day Labor Day weekend when at 7:04 am my bed began rocking (more than it has in years. Sorry - I couldn't resist) and I could hear dishes in the kitchen rattling. It took me a moment to realize it was an earthquake, but I lay there debating if I should get up. Ultimately it lasted for 15 seconds and I just enjoyed feeling the earth move as Mother Nature stretched her legs. The earthquake originated about 60 miles north of where I live, but the quake was felt in neighboring states as far away as Texas, Iowa, and Nebraska! Luckily my Tiny House rode out the earthquake with no damage. Nothing fell off shelves, nothing cracked in my structure, and the house stayed on her pillars without issue. Other houses in the state were not as fortunate showing foundation and structure damage.

I jokingly posted the picture of a crooked picture frame with the caption: I will rebuild. I thought it rather entertaining at the time.

But in all seriousness, those of us in states like Oklahoma and California must contend with the threat of earthquakes. So what can you do in your tiny house to make sure your home can ride out an earthquake? In my case I made sure my home was on a solid foundation of blocks, using more than necessary to give it a firm footing. My shelves hold things solidly and are angled back toward the wall so things slide backward instead of forward when subjected to vibration (I have wood floors and things vibrate when I walk across the room.) My furniture is solid and tall furniture is secured to the wall. Places where I sit and sleep having nothing that can fall on me during an earthquake. Other than that, I really don't have too much to worry about as I have no gas or water lines that could be damaged. Wind and ice storms are a bigger threat to my tiny home than earthquakes.

Do you live in an area with earthquakes? Do you have an earthquake plan?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Social Media Sell Out

It was insidious really. Slowly my blogging became erratic and then sporadic and then just ceased. My podcasting listeners began to question if I was blogfading. I can't really explain what happened except to akin it to a type of depression. I had begun comparing my content to other bloggers and I was feeling like the awkward child who ate alone at lunch and was destined to be picked last for team sports.

I couldn't really put my finger on why I was feeling this way, but each time I sat down to spill my creative guts, I just drew a blank or was unable to narrow my topic to something I felt others would like to read or listen to. But, last night I had a strange series of dreams and then the answer just seemed to pop into my head. I am on Social Media overload. You see, I, like so many of my fellow bloggers, have been led to believe that one must be on all popular social media sites in order to reach our target audience. I must have amazing photographs, tons of advertisers, and some product to sell to somehow make my blog and podcast legitimate. I began to feel like a fraud. Self doubt had crept in and whispered things like "Your homestead isn't picture perfect, therefor you are not a real homestead" and "No one really gives two licks about how you now have goats or that you put up fence." It seems the negative self talk came from looking at what other's posted on Social Media in pretty photos and poetic memes. Social Media is an illusion. I mindlessly scroll through thousands of posts and glean very little but the feeling that others done so much more than me. I began disengaging from my blog community and stopped writing altogether.

But the epiphany came when I realized that perhaps those in my reading and listening community could see through the phony perception that one buys a piece of land and the very next month has a photo ready homestead with overflowing gardens and perfection as far as the eye can see. Perhaps others out in the world are exhausted by the images and information because they do, in fact, know the reality of starting from scratch and living on a homestead. They too know the struggles between limited resources and unlimited vision and dreams. Perhaps I had sold my audience short.

Shame on me.

So here is how it is going to go from here on out: I will blog about my homestead and now worry about what others are doing. I will post about the things I take pride in even if others would feel it inconsequential. Why? Because homesteads don't come picture perfect. They are a hell of a lot of work. Building a house by yourself is a challenge and there will always be the hindsight-is-20/20 thinking, but in the long run I take pride in this place. I did this. I accomplished this and I believe others can as well. I think those who are truly looking to do what I do would appreciate the honest and truthful information vs pictures of perfection and hyperbole.

I am not about numbers, followers, or advertisers. I am about honesty and the journey. Why not come along for the ride and join me on my journey.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Tiny House Homestead Podcast #33

Catch up with happenings around the farm. Learn about the newest critters to come live on the farm and 10 things I learned about living on the homestead in the last year. Welcome to Tiny House Homestead. 

Check out this episode!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Surprise in My Chicken Coop

This Egg Should Hatch Within the Next Week
Mid summer is upon us here and it is hot, hot, hot! Yesterday was 104.4 Fahrenheit and today was 102.3 Fahrenheit. I have thought on more than one occasion this summer maybe I should have chosen a state further north, but alas, summer heat is only a couple of months and the rest of the year is rather pleasant. I will just suck it up and do my best to stay comfortable until October arrives with its promise of more pleasant daytime highs and cool nights. Heat is rough on livestock, so I have been checking the water in the coop twice a day to make sure my chickens can cool off and stay hydrated.

I had always considered chicks a springtime thing, so I have been collecting and enjoying all the eggs my small flock has produced. All the hens are laying daily, so I have a bunch of eggs and never seem to run out. While collecting eggs a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a hen of mine had become broody and was sitting on a few eggs. I decided to let her play momma, after all, I have a ton of eggs right now and I had no idea if my rooster was fertile. For one full week I didn't retrieve any eggs. I have three hens, so that makes for a lot of eggs in the coop.

Broody Betty with her Clutch
This evening when I went to check the water I noticed Broody Betty, as I have taken to calling her, has so many eggs in her clutch she has to keep her wings spread. I figured I should probably try to candle the eggs, cull the ones that are not developing, and mark those that show signs of a potential chick. Broody Betty was not pleased, but I found most of the eggs are in different stages of development!

The ideal temperature for hatching chicken eggs is 99 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit and 50 to 55% humidity. Oklahoma is, I have discovered, ideal for this. Days here are warm and humid. Brooding Betty can get up and move about if she chooses and at night it is not too much work to keep the clutch warm and snug.

Early development
So now I wait. I will continue to check the coop twice a day and as the chicks hatch I will remove them for protection from the rest of the flock until they are big enough to fend for themselves. I will need to enlarge my coop a little by next summer to accommodate the new additions, but my egg selling will ramp up next summer and I can expand to pickling and drying the eggs as well.

Farm life never ceases to amaze me!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Sweet Roll French Toast Bake

It's summer and we are at that point where we have all of our hens laying and a plethora of eggs to use. We share our eggs, preserve our eggs, devil our eggs, pickle our eggs, but still we are left with plenty to be used up. We try to come up with creative meals using our delicious, fresh eggs.

Tonight's supper needed to be quick and yummy. I stood in front of the fridge and glanced to the pantry. What could I make that would use up some of the leftovers so nothing would be wasted? I found I had a partial package of King's Hawaiian Rolls left over from a recent barbecue. King's Hawaiian Rolls™ are soft, sweet, and delicious. Contemplating the 4 rolls left in the package, I decided on making a Sweet Roll French Toast Bake.  It was a win-win to marry the rolls and the eggs into a simple and delicious dinner, but I suspect I will be making this again for breakfast or brunch at some point!

Doesn't it look delicious? It is super easy to make:


  • Left over rolls (in this case I had 4 King's Hawaiian Sweet Rolls™, but there are other brands, and, hey, you can buy rolls just for this purpose and even make an entire bag to feed a large family or crowd)
  • 6-12 eggs (more rolls = more eggs)
  • 1/2 Tsp. Cinnamon
  • Salt & Pepper 
  • Maple or Pancake Syrup
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Cooking Spray
  • 8 X 8 Pan (or whatever you have on hand)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spray pan with no stick spray. I used an 8x8x2 pan, but you can use whatever size is convenient for the number of rolls you have left. I had a space in the middle I filled with an unbeaten egg. 
  3. Split the rolls horizontally so you have a top piece and a bottom piece. Lay these in the pan forming one layer. 
  4. Crack all the eggs into a bowl, add salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Beat with a fork gently. 
  5. Pour mixture over the bread. I made sure I had enough eggs to cover the bread. 
  6. Use a fork to turn each section of roll over. The ensures the bread is completely covered in egg and absorbs the mixture. 
  7. Bake in the oven at 350 until the egg is cooked. (Rolls will still be somewhat soft. Cook a full egg in the middle gives an easy visual of how cooked the bake is. It took 15 minutes for me.)
  8. Serve up on plates, add syrup, and lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar. 
Needless to say, there were no leftovers after this meal. This would make a great dish for brunch or holiday mornings when feeding a crowd of people as well. Add bacon and a yogurt bar for a quick and easy holiday breakfast. Or, just do like we did and enjoy breakfast for dinner!


Friday, July 8, 2016

Amazon is Having a Leviton Special

Attention Tiny House builders! Amazon is having a sale on Leviton products through August 31, 2016!  That means you can get good deals on amazing Leviton products. 


I used Leviton when building my Tiny House. I love the quality and the variety. Here are a few of my favorites that I used in my own Tiny House: 

  • Automatically detects excess humidity in a room and activates the ventilation fan to lessen condensation which helps reduce mold and mildew, Sensor uses microprocessor and digital sensing technology to continuously monitor and manage humidity levels in a room
  • Built-in timer sets the "minimum ON time" for the ventilation fan. The sensor time settings can be custom set to 10, 20, 30 or 45 minute intervals. The sensor will continue to operate the fan for the minimum time set or until there is a reduction in room humidity level
  • A sensitivity level adjustment allows users to adjust the sensor's sensitivity to ambient air to prevent false cycling
  • Features an Air Cycle mode which automatically turns ON the ventilation fan for a set period of time and repeats the cycle hourly (eg. 20 minutes ON/40 minutes OFF each hour)
  • Replaces a single pole switch for control of ventilation fan or a fan/light combination, Fits in a standard wall box and requires a neutral for operation, The device's built-in humidistat control meets CALGREEN requirements for Indoor Air Quality and Exhaust, Five-Year Limited warranty

USB Receptacle
The Leviton USB Charger/Tamper-Resistant Duplex Receptacle offers two high-powered USB Ports with 3.6A of charging power and two 15A or 20A/125V Tamper-Resistant Receptacles. It has the capability to charge two USB powered electronic devices utilizing its two USB Ports, leaving the two Tamper-Resistant Receptacles free for other uses. The Leviton USB Charger/Tamper-Resistant Duplex Receptacle is designed to charge tablets, smart and mobile phones, gaming devices, e-readers, digital cameras and a host of other electronic devices.

Programmable Timer

Programmable Timer
The Vizia + 24-Hour Programmable Indoor Timer with Astronomical Clock helps lower your electrical costs without sacrificing convenience. Replacing standard switches with timer switches can reduce energy consumption, improve security, and save you money. Allowing up to 50 timer event settings per day, this timer switch can be programmed weekdays, weekends, all days or any combination of days. It (Vizia + 24-hour Timer) also meets all applicable UL, CSA, and FCC requirements, and comes with three changeable faceplates in white, ivory, and light almond colors to complement your decor.
  • Automated Control of Lights, Fans, Pumps, and More
  • Easy Programming with up to 50 Timer Event Settings per Day
  • Astronomical Clock for Unbeatable Accuracy

Building your Tiny House takes a lot of thought and careful consideration about every penny spent. Leviton is a top quality product and I swear by them. Yes, you could probably buy cheaper electrical components, but lets face it, who wants to risk substandard electrical fixtures. Spend a little more and get the best you can. This sale may just make those purchases a little more pleasurable!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

One Item Every Tiny House Should Have

Picture it. You are preparing to relax and read for a bit in the quiet sanctuary of the tiny abode you toiled to build. Deciding on a quick snack, you decide to pop popcorn. Things are going well until an unexpected grease fire pops up and quickly begins to become a problem when the lid to the pan doesn't squash the flames. The stars are aligned for this fire to spread quickly if not acted upon more aggressively. You need to use a fire extinguisher because throwing water on grease will only spread the fire.

Maybe you are feeling froggy and have lit some candles for romance. Unfortunately while you are distracted the flame catches on a nearby item.

Or maybe you are getting ready for work when suddenly an electrical fire begins in a faulty electrical outlet. What do you do? You can't throw salt or water or put a lid over this situation. You will need a fire extinguisher.

Are you picking up what I am putting down? That's right. You need a fire extinguisher. It is not an option, it is a must. The problem with traditional fire extinguishers is most are designed to deal with a particular type of fire: Grease, Electrical, or one that finds its fuel from trash, paper, fabric. Fire extinguishers have historically been large and require maintenance such as being "charged" now and again. Unattractive, we typically store them under a counter or in a cupboard. Out of sight, out of mind. Heaven forbid you should have an emergency and not be able to access the extinguisher.

I found the perfect solution to this. I purchased several Tundra Fire Extinguishers by First Alert. The size of a can of hairspray, Tundra puts out electrical, grease, and trash/paper/fabric fires quickly. An all in one solution that fits easily into a Tiny House. I have one in each of my buildings. I keep one in the kitchen, one in the loft, and one close to my bed.

The Tundra Fire Extinguisher sprays 4x longer than the typical fire extinguisher. The product is biodegradable and cleans up easily with a damp rag. Best part? It requires no maintenance and has a shelf life of 4 years (each bottle is printed with a performance date indicating when to replace.) Just use the product and toss the can. Replace. Simple, right? The very best part is the price. Two cans of this magic run around $25!

Having a fire in a Tiny House is nightmare I don't wish on anyone. Being prepared is simple and could save not only your home, but your life.

*This is an affiliate link. Your purchase through Amazon will send me a few pennies to help here on Tiny House Homestead. However, I have not been paid or supported by First Alert for this post. Like I said, I have 4 cans of Tundra of my own.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Tornado Count - April 2016

Oklahoma Tornado Count 

as of April 30, 2016

  • There were 5 tornadoes in March 2016 in Oklahoma
  • There were 24 tornadoes in April 2016 in Oklahoma
  • The average number of tornadoes in April in Oklahoma is 12. We have doubled that number this year.
  • Most tornadoes in April are EF0 or EF1. Oklahoma had three EF2's in April 2016. 
  • May typically averages 22 tornadoes. 

*Source: National Weather Service Norman, Oklahoma

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Tiny House Homestead Podcast 32

Podcast Title:  Parks, and Bats, and Werewolves, Oh My!

Podcast Episode #32 Show Notes

This episode covers….

It's National Park Week, Bat Appreciation Day, learn about the Werewolves of Konawa,  OKC Bombing Anniversary, and Gathering of Nations Pow Wow. Welcome to Tiny House Homestead.

Connect with Me:

Follow my blog at
Follow me on Twitter at
Join the conversation on Facebook at
Check out my pins on Pinterest at
Leave some feedback on Skype
Check out my snaps on Instagram:
Add me to your circles on Google+:
Shoot me an email at

Links from this episode:

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Human Wolves of Konawa: The Lothorios and Katherine Cross

Konawa, Oklahoma had two claims to fame: In 1930 Pretty Boyd Floyd robbed the First National Bank and Katherine Cross was murdered by "Human Wolves."

Katherine was the oldest of the children born to John Taylor Cross and his wife, Mary Katherine Diehl Cross and teetering between being a child and being an adult. Katherine's siblings were (in order of birth) Ursie Mar, Esther, Ella, Claud, Clyde, Marvin, and Raphen. Leaving their home in Arkansas, the family moved to the new state of Oklahoma in search of greener pastures and farmland. In Konawa Katherine found herself in trouble. Big trouble. Katherine was pregnant out of wedlock. While it may be common today, this condition did not bode well for a girl at that time in history. To add injury to insult, things were about to go from bad to worse.

Konawa, which got its name from the Seminole language, means String of Pearls, and was a trade center in the early days. Boasting steady growth for the better part of the early 20th Century. it was an up-and-coming community growing to around 1,000 folks around the time the Cross family started calling the area home. Sporting a post office, blacksmith, lumberyard, bank, drug stores, hardware stores, and its own newspaper, the town was a nice place to call home. In 1903 the Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma Railroad bypassed a neighboring town and more folks moved to Konawa. Like any other town, Konawa also had a school system and a doctors to meet the medical needs of the community. 

Abraham H. Yates was one of these doctors. A respected doctor in the community, Dr. Yates was one patient's could easily trust and approach with even their most intimate of problems. On August 15 1917, another citizen of Konawa, Elise Stone, went to Dr. Yates with a very serious, and shameful, problem. Elise, like Katherine was only 18, pregnant, and unmarried. To compound the problem, Elise was a school teacher. This would be highly unacceptable at that period of time and most likely lead to her dismissal from her place of employment. Further complicating the issue, the rumored father of the baby was none other than school principal, Fred O'Neil, a very married man. 

The procedure was performed on Elise, who was quite far along in her pregnancy, and complications arose. Elise languished for four days in Dr. Yates office before she was returned to her own home where she would subsequently die. Elise's death was listed as "Congestive Chill," translated into today's terms as Malaria with Diarrhea. A common cause of death at that time, her cause of death was declared by none other than Dr. Yates. Elise's family mourned their loss and buried her like so many others in the local cemetery. Did her family know the real cause of her death you may ask? The answer to that has been lost to history. However, Katherine Cross would die next and shed light on the true cause of Elise's untimely passing. Elise would not rest in peace for long.

On October 10, 1917, Katherine Ann Cross went to see Dr. Yates for the very same reason as Elise. Katherine was also familiar with Mr. O'Neal, but it is unclear if he was the alleged father of her unborn child too. Mr. O'Neal none-the-less helped arrange the "criminal operation" that would claim her life that day. Dr. Yates convinced Katherine's parents of the necessity of the operation by stating Katherine was suicidal. Unlike Elise, Katherine's parents were aware of her condition and consented to the operation with the prompting, prodding, and encouragement of Dr. Yates. 

Katherine's death was a red flag to the good people of Konawa. They wanted answers as to why two beautiful young women died while in the care of Dr. Yates. County Attorney A.G. Nichols ordered Elise exhumed and examined. Elise Stone's body was disinterred and an autopsy performed right at her graveside. It was quickly determined she didn't die of "Congestive Chill," but of an abortion gone terribly wrong. Katherine's parents then came forward and reported to authorities about Dr. Yates and gave information about Katherine's procedure. 

Dr. Yates was arrested and the headline of the Seminole County News reported the whole sorted affair, albeit with much more politically correct language than we use today. The newspaper told of the arrest of Dr. Yates and Fred O'Neil. Dr. Yates was arrested for performing the abortion while Mr. O'Neil was arrested for arranging it. Gossip spread about both men who were married and held positions dictating adherence to a strong moral code.

Likewise, the Shawnee Daily News-Herald plastered the headline, "Under Bond, Dr. Yates to Face Murder Charge; Konawa Physician Arrested Following Death of Katherine Cross; Charge Death Result Criminal Operation; Doctor is Brought to This County for Safe Keeping." This headline must have been devastating to the Cross family since it came just one day after poor Katherine's funeral. Dr. Yates had been arrested, ironically, while singing at a church revival.

Both men were being held with charges of Murder, however unclear legal technicalities dropped the original charge down to manslaughter. Friends of Elise Stone testified to the relationship between her and Mr. O'Neal while both worked at Vamoosa School. Surprisingly on February 23, 1918 the jury acquitted the two with a vote of 11 - 1 with regards to Elise Stone's death.  Newspaper after newspaper delivered the dramatic news, "Jury Liberates Konawa Doctor."

It should be noted several articles ended with, "Another charge of the same nature is pending against Yates, but will not be tried in this term at court." However, for whatever reason, which I have not successfully discovered, those pending charges were never addressed in a court of law.

Katherine's parents had enough of the grief and publicity, choosing to move away from Konawa to an area just outside Waurika, OK about 100 miles away to the south. Before they left, they were sure to set a mark in honor of their daughter that would never allow the town of Konawa to forget what happened that horrible October day. Purchasing the headstone for their daughter identical in shape and size of the one marking the site of Katherine's grandmother who was already at rest beside her, Mr. and Mrs. Cross had it inscribed with the following, 

If you look closely you would see the inscription read: 

The parents of Katherine Cross were not to be allowed to let their grief fade and move on so easily because in 1928 political rivals of County Sheriff Fred Bowles decided it was time to ouster him from office. The rivals asked Mr. and Mrs. Cross to sign an affidavit stating Sheriff Bowles was aware and actually complicit in the "criminal operation." Fred Bowles challenged the rivals in court, accusing them of libel and slander, for which they were found guilty. Each got a year in jail and had to pay a fine of $1,000, a very large sum of money in that time.

It has been debated since Katherine's death exactly what Mr. and Mrs. Cross meant by adding "Murdered by Human Wolves." Legend quickly grew werewolves existed in Konawa. Chatter on the internet has people claiming Katherine was ripped apart by mythical creatures supposedly roaming the open plains and thick forest of the Konawa area. Ghost sightings and mysterious lights are reported to be seen in the cemetery after sunset.

However, the inscription is most likely a literary reference lost on the less educated or unfamiliar. The idea of Human Wolves can be tied back to works of literature referring to "Lothario." A Lothario (synonym Wolf), according to Merriam Webster Dictionary, is a man whose chief interest is in seducing women. Elise, Katherine, and even Katherine's parents were seduced, albeit in different ways, but seduced none-the-less. Elise and Katherine had relations out of marriage resulting in pregnancy and the Cross' were convinced (seduced, if you will, by the good Doctor) abortion was the only answer.

Thus the meaning of the "Murdered by Human Wolves" on the grave stone of Katherine Cross is a firm nod and finger pointed squarely at Dr. Yates and Mr. O'Neil whose character, charm, and position seduced and destroyed so many lives.

Interesting, eh? However, this story does not end here.

I couldn't resist. I had to go check out the grave site for myself. I had to see if the grave stone existed. I had to see if the legend was true and visit this piece of Oklahoma history and folklore. I dragged along my friend, Destiny, and we set out to find the site where Katherine has rested for almost 100 years.

Here is what we found:

The headstone is missing! To say we were disappointed is an understatement. Who the heck would steal a gravestone? We are still perplexed. Poking around on the internet for an explanation, I was disappointed to find only one reference to the stone missing and that was dated 2007. What happened to the grave stone of Katherine Cross?

And here is another creepy fact: Dr. Yates is buried close by Katherine! That's right, the man who killed Elise and Katherine is buried a mere 50 feet away. They were connected in life and now spend eternity close by one another. Unlike Elise and Katherine, Dr. Yates lived until the ripe old age of  65. If you stand where Katherine's headstone once stood, you can see Dr. Yates' resting spot.

So there you have a little information on the Human Wolves of Konawa, Oklahoma. I can't wait to see what other legends I can go explore.

Oh, and PS: Remember Duran Duran's hit song, Hungry Like the Wolf? That song is all about a Lathario. Bet you never listen to that again without thinking of Katherine Cross and the Human Wolves of Konawa.

Tiny House Homestead Podcast #31

Today Riana Stone and I chat about coyotes, Eastern Red Cedars, goats, storm shelters, and general homestead shenanigans. This is a long one folks, so get a coffee and use the restroom first!

Check out this episode!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Managing Eastern Red Cedar on the Homestead

Eastern Red Cedars
Today was an absolutely gorgeous day. This morning was drizzly and thunder filled, but that all cleared up by noon. We spent a good part of the afternoon outside doing some forest management. We focused on irradiating small Eastern Red Cedars that have sprung up all over. We walked around looking for any baby trees (those under 5' tall) and cut them down. We ran out of steam at around 30 and will do some more next weekend, and every weekend after that until all 4 acres are free of the preditorial beasts. If you do not control Cedars they will grow tall and broad, blocking out sapplings and other new growth by preventing sunlight from reaching the ground. My forest is mostly Oak, and I want to make sure to manage my forest so it not only looks nice, but all the trees remain healthy as well. 

Unmanaged Forest
Eastern Red Cedar has always been present in Oklahoma, but were kept in check by natural wildfires. Back in the day before European settlement, wildfires would take care of the issue, however changes in use of the lands has led to these trees reproducing at a rapid pace.

Baby Eastern Red Cedar around 2 feet tall
Red Cedars are prolific seeders. Birds eat the seeds and spread them via their waste. Anywhere birds roost, Red Cedars are common. The birds digestive systems prime the seed and the seeds germinate with ease once they hit the ground. If not removed when small, the trees continue to grow and become more difficult to remove

Cut down at the root
For those with large tracts of lands, prescribed burns can be an effective way to manage the growth of these trees. However, on my land that is not an option. So I choose the next best option. I go around with a pair of loppers and cut the baby trees off at the dirt. That's right, I commit tree massacre.

Juvenile Eastern Red Cedar
There is still much work to be done to bring this forest to where it needs to be, but we are making progress. After we get rid of the baby trees we will be taking a chainsaw to the larger, fully grown trees. We will however be leaving the Cedars along the front of the property. They look nice, don't interfere with any other plants, and provide us with privacy. Not all Eastern Red Cedars are bad, but careful control must be taken to prevent them from taking over. 

For more information on controlling Eastern Red Cedars on your property, the Oklahoma Forestry Service produced this helpful pamphlet.

Thanks for stopping by the homestead!