Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Welcoming Spring

In the same way that winter slowly crept in, it has crept away again leaving beautiful spring in its wake . . . and oh the joy in welcoming my favorite time of year again! Every day seems to bring a new reminder that spring is here, and each new sight is very much welcomed and enjoyed . . .
~ Robins filling the air with their cheery song ~

~ The arrival of the first Eastern Phoebes (one of the earliest spring birds) ~

~ Spring peepers making their chorus of noise down in the little farm ponds ~

~ Flowers blooming in an array of colors ~

Daffodils just about ready to break into bloom

A crocus with one of our honeybees gathering pollen and nectar

A sure sign of spring . . . blooming daffodils

~ Many trees flowering and some, like our peach trees, nearing that point ~
Both of our peach trees are loaded with blossoms . . . barring a late frost, we should have our own peaches this year!

~ Leaves beginning to grow on some plants, trees and bushes ~
Our lilac bush

~ The rhubarb made its appearance ~

And life continues on our little farm as the days grow
longer and the hours become busier . . .

Legacy

During the day, we have been moving the goat kids outdoors, and they have loved that! Playing in the warm sunshine, learning to munch on the fresh green grass, sleeping the afternoon away, and munching on hay . . .

Aurora

And as March days slip away and April draws nearer, so does Dixie's kidding date . . .


She is definitely looking pregnant now! And she is feeling it, too, and is enjoying spending more time lying down than she used to. Pregnancy seems to agree with her as she has gotten a lot sweeter the past weeks. She loves to be petted now and simply to be close by us. Not only are we anticipating having more goat kids, but then we'll also be able to begin milking! Which is something that I am quite excited about. :)

With warmer weather here, much work outdoors has been able to be done including a renovation of one of our flower beds . . .

The bed extends a ways to the right of this as well

It had been lined with brick, but I went down in our woods and found a bunch of rocks, hauled them up and edged the garden with those instead. Then, since the soil was so poor here, I hauled up quite a few bucket loads of top soil that I had scraped off the top of the ground down in the woods and also mixed in several bucket loads of compost as well. Once it is assured that winter is truly gone and there is no chance of a late frost, more planting will begin in here. So far all that is in it are the early daffodils and irises.
This week I uncovered the strawberries of their winter blanket of mulch, and for the most part, they are looking great! I can almost taste those fresh from the garden strawberries . . . :)


Part of our rabbit set-up

Recently Dad was able to butcher a bunch of the rabbits that we had raised up, and it was so nice to have that meat put up in the freezer! We had bred three of our does awhile back and two of them kindled in the past few days and one more is due to any moment now. (Edited to add: Leah just came up and told me that doe #3 had kindled and had six!)
 

It's always exciting to have new life on the farm! Each of the does had large litters, and they are doing a great job caring for their babies. One of the does we were a bit skeptical about how she would do as her last (and first) litter that she had had, she scratched them all up and none of them survived. She's proving to be an excellent mother this time around.

Still waiting on this one (Edited to add: not any more! :)

The chickens enjoyed free ranging all winter, but now that we are preparing to plant grass in our yard (there might be more about that later), they haven't had that pleasure anymore. Though, we have two bales of bad/weedy hay that we have been giving them to scratch around in, and they have been enjoying that.



Dad and I did another beehive inspection this past Saturday and were really pleased with the results! The hive population is increasing dramatically, the hive looks very healthy, the queen is doing her job beautifully, and there is a lot of pollen and nectar coming in. Maybe, just maybe, we'll be able to harvest honey this fall!

Busy bees bringing in loads of pollen and nectar! (And the yellow/orange near the entrance is propolis [something the bees make to seal up their hive, etc.])

This spring we are planning on adding another hive, and that was ordered this week. Once it arrives, Leah and I will get it all assembled and painted and then come mid-April, we'll have another hive of bees!

The next two photos were taken quite a few weeks ago, but they fit in well with the theme of this post, so I thought I would share them here . . .

Leah with Aurora and Lacy in the barn - they love attention!

Me holding Gunner - he has gotten a lot bigger since this was taken

How thankful I am for the life the Lord has blessed me with! A life full of simple pleasures . . . the joys of family . . . the satisfaction after a long day of work . . . enjoying the fruits of our labors . . . and so much more.

20 comments:

  1. What a beautiful post! :) And such beautiful pictures. ;) Spring is such a wonderful time of year; maybe my favorite; all the new life, flowers, animals, grass; ah yes. :) Such a wonderful evidence of our loving Creator. Thank you for sharing, Sarah. :)

    Many blessings,
    -Mikailah

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  2. What a lovely life it is Sarah, and your descriptions make it all come alive.

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  3. So lovely to see your garden!

    I took a photograph of a bee on a daffodil (it is on my blog) but I am really scared of bees! Can't imagine having a bee hive as just one bee makes me run away!

    I am trying to start a garden and planted a few seeds at the weekend. I keep going out to see if anything has grown!

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  4. I so love spring! I can't wait to get out in the raised beds and get the garden going! Life is springing forth on our farm as well. almost every day there is a new calf born.

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  5. Oh, what a lovely walk through the coming Spring at your place, Sarah! I can almost smell the scents, and hear the sounds, and feel the softness in the air. You are indeed blessed, and more so because your heart is full of gratitude for God's gifts to you.

    I love what you did with the renovated flowerbed. It reminds me of one that we had years ago in Indiana, near our log home. Good for you for using the natural decorations and soil right from your own woods! You're being a good steward of your natural resources, and saving money as well.

    Sarah, I wondered if you might recommend a few good books or resources on raising rabbits, for a complete novice?:-) I have a daughter who has expressed interest in doing this as a little business.

    Thanks in advance, and I look forward to watching Spring progress right along with you!

    ~ Betsy

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  6. New life, new growth, all in God's creation. This really is a beautiful post, Sarah. I love those cute goat faces :-) Those goat kids are growing fast and soon, Lord willing, there will be new ones.

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  7. Thank you, Mikailah! And you’re welcome. :) I am glad that you enjoyed it! Spring is indeed a wonderful time of year . . . and yes, all of those things you mentioned are indeed wonderful evidence of our Creator. His hand can so clearly be seen in all the beauty around us!

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  8. Thank you for your comment, Elizabeth! It is . . . and it is one that I am so thankful for.

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  9. I am glad that you enjoyed seeing it, Jenny! It can be fun trying to capture photos of bees on flowers . . . I’ll have to stop by your blog and see the one you were able to get. :)

    It was a little intimidating at first having a bee hive, but our bees are so gentle that now I can go and sit right up close to the hive to watch them, and they don’t mind me in the least. I even began going ‘gloveless’ during hive inspections last year (I never dreamed I would ever do that!) and have only had a few bee stings since then. They are surprisingly gentle little creatures!

    How exciting that you are starting a garden and were able to plant some seeds over the weekend! Isn’t it fun going out to see if anything has sprouted yet? I hope that your garden grows very well for you!

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  10. Your comment made me smile, Monica . . . your enthusiasm for spring I can well relate to! I just started planting in our garden yesterday, and it was wonderful working the soil again and planting the tiny little seeds. Before long, gardening season will be well underway!

    That must be exciting having a new calf born almost every day. What a treat to be able to see those - calves are so adorable! Enjoy life on your farm during this beautiful spring season!

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  11. I am glad that you enjoyed it, Betsy! And thank you for your kind comment. :) Ah, you described it so well . . . it is such a delightful season, isn’t it?

    It has been fun trying to utilize the natural decorations/soil/etc., right on our place . . . it takes some thinking outside of the box sometimes (and sometimes things don’t work!), but it has been a lot of fun nonetheless. And amazing to see what all is right at our fingertips if we can but see the use of it!

    That’s wonderful that one of your daughters is interested in raising rabbits! It is a lot of fun to do. One book that we have found very helpful is Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits. The information in it is overall accurate and is excellent for someone just starting out in rabbits.

    One of the main companies that we had used to get our rabbit supplies from back when we were starting was DaMars, but it looks like they are out of business now. A few others that we have used were:

    -- http://www.bassequipment.com/default.aspx

    -- http://www.kwcages.com/home.php

    I hope that those will be helpful to you! And if you have any questions about rabbit raising, please feel free to ask. :) I would be happy to help if I could!

    Hope you all are safe and well after the storms! I was thinking of you this morning and hoping that they weren’t near where you all lived.

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  12. Thank you, Helena, for your sweet comment! The little goat kid faces are so cute! I wish you could see them in person as they are even cuter then. :) Yes, they are growing so fast, and I think they will seem huge once Dixie’s little kids arrive!

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  13. Thank you for the resources, Sarah! We've requested the Storey book from our local library, along with several others. We look forward to checking out the websites you gave us as well!

    Yes, we are safe...thanks for inquiring. We actually did not get any storms last night, 'though we had a pretty nasty one a few days ago that stole a few shingles off our roof.:-) Naughty, naughty wind...

    ~ Betsy

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  14. What a lovely post, Sarah! I love seeing signs of Spring all around us. It has reached 70+ degrees here every day this week, and is expected to stay that way for the next week here in NE Ohio. It has been so wonderful to be spending as much time outdoors as possible.

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  15. You're welcome, Betsy! Enjoy reading the books that you got from the library and exploring those websites. :)

    I am so glad to hear that you all are safe! There have been some bad storms so far this year, and we're only just beginning to enter the stormy season. Hopefully the remainder of it will be a calmer one!

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  16. Thank you, Renee! I am glad that you enjoyed it. And it sounds like you have enjoying your own springtime up in Ohio. :) It is indeed wonderful being able to spend so much time outdoors!

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  17. I love this post! I just wrote about spring on my blog the other day. What a wonderful and rejuvenating time of year. I'm loving this blog :)

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  18. Glad that you enjoyed it, Optimistic Existentialist! Spring is indeed a wonderful time of year . . . and so full of the beauty that God created!

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  19. I loved the picture of the white New Zealand with the Red! I raised the White New Zealand rabbits. (Had to sell out because we are on the road so much now with our singing ministry, but I miss them!)

    Yes, you probably do have a white strain in your reds. Many breeders will breed a white into their stock because the reds are getting too dark, or breed a black in because they are getting too light. Many breeders are so picky about their colors! But, if they show them, I guess they should be picky! :-D

    I personally loved my rabbits because they are such a neat way to see God's miracle of birth! The gestation time is short, and so is the growth period, so we are able to "see it all" in a few short months! Praise God for the marvels of His creation!

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  20. That's neat that you raised New Zealand Whites, Rebecca! I really like the New Zealands as not only are they functional, but they are sweet and pretty, too! Rabbit color genetics are interesting, aren't they? Yet another example of the wisdom of the Creator.

    I love rabbits as well! And for some of the reasons you mentioned. :) God's design in His creation is amazing isn't it? And especially so in new life . . . I never tire of seeing it!

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)