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!