Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Beginning of Spring on Our Farm

 
A sign of spring . . . daffodils slowly growing

With the warmer weather we had been having recently, I so enjoyed spending much of my time outdoors simply enjoying the beauty of my favorite season as well as cleaning up some, cleaning out under all the rabbit cages and hauling everything to either the garden or compost pile . . .


Inside the rabbitry afterwards

. . . and hauling piles of old hay and mulching with it around our fruit trees and the rhubarb . . .


Part of the orchard

With getting the fruit trees mulched, that's another thing crossed off of my March Homestead to-do list! I am loving using my Homesteading Binder . . . it has been so nice to be able to keep up with the egg laying and butchering records (the latter had it's first entries this week as we butchered both rabbits and some chickens!) and to have the monthly to-do lists of regular seasonal tasks, as well as having a running to-do list of outdoor projects.


My Dad pruning one of the peach trees

It has been especially helpful having the the monthly to-do lists. Because of those, I have been able to keep on track and not get behind or forget certain tasks!

Some things did have to be rearranged a bit, though, such as starting seeds. I had originally planned to begin that in February, but since the long-term forecast was for a continuing long, cold winter, we decided to wait a little longer (and it is a good thing we did!) Then some other tasks such as hauling compost to the garden didn't happen since everything was still very frozen.

 Some of the hens enjoyed scratching around where one of the old hay piles had been

As I/we keep thinking of more projects to do, my outdoor to-do list continues to grow! One thing that was added was starting a new strawberry bed which I did this week . . . after hauling wheelbarrow load after wheelbarrow load of compost and sand to the new location, it's ready now to be tilled.


In progress


Finished! (except for tilling to combine the layers)

The compost was from our bins and the sand was from where our old waterfowl pens used to be many years ago - it was so nice to have everything that I needed right here on our place!

 Rich, beautiful compost - I was thrilled with how well our piles had composted!

Next to do after tilling will be to plant the new strawberry plants when they arrive the first week or so of April.

With the warmer weather, there has also been increased beehive activity which is always exciting to see. And especially this year as unlike I had originally expected last fall, all five of our hives successfully overwintered! There is still a bit of a critical time between now and when the first honey flow starts, but I think they should get through that just fine.

Four of the hives

The first pollen coming in!

Yesterday we moved Aurora and her bucklings from the barn out to the pen with the young Boer does. The little guys were so fun to watch! They were racing all around, leaping up in the air, and having a thoroughly good time.


The bucklings

And Aurora has a 'new look' now . . .



Since her horns are sharp and she has a tendency to use them on other goats, we put tennis balls over the ends of them to keep her from horning one of the other young does (a fairly common practice for horned goats in order to prevent injuries.) She looks a little comical, but I don't think she realizes. :)



The above photo goes with another big project - or projects - that we are in the process of working on . . . converting the chicken coop into a milking barn and the adjoining current chicken pen into a pen for our two milkers! I wrote out the long list of things to be done in order to reach that goal (some of which are already done!) and it includes:

--building a chicken tractor (or two) for the laying hens
--cleaning out the entire coop, removing nestboxes, and setting up all of the milking things
--reinforcing parts of the chain link pen
--building a hoop house
--building fence in order to enlarge the pen
--and more.

Leah and I are both so looking forward to how much easier and faster this will make milking time for us! And speaking of milking, that will likely be beginning in just a few weeks. It will be really nice to have our own fresh milk again!

Me with Dixie's sweet doelings - the darker one is especially so!

With the coming spring, there has definitely been an increase in outdoor work . . . and I am loving it. It feels so good be be out doing physical labor again, accomplishing so much, and enjoying these beautiful, springtime days!


In addition to all of this, Leah's doe, Willow, kidded this week as well! A post about 
that will be coming soon.

2 comments:

Elizabethd said...

My goodness Sarah, you have so much going on! All I have done today is to plant out some tiny lettuce seedlings. They are in a bed which is covered with a protective fleece so they will stay warm.
I did also put in a dozen Gladioli bulbs saved from last year.

Sarah said...

There is quite a bit, Elizabeth! Spring with all it's busyness has begun. :)

That is wonderful that you were able to plant out your lettuce seedlings! And I am sure they are appreciating the protective fleece. We have yet to plant anything outdoors as we are still getting fairly cold temps occasionally (teens and twenties) and even had snow flurries this evening. Hopefully soon it will warm up for good, though!

Gladiolas are beautiful flowers! I am sure you are looking forward to when they bloom.