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Spring is getting ready to go “sproing”

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Each year, as the days get longer, we all start getting impatient for springtime to fully arrive. The outside projects start in earnest, cleaning up all the stuff that didn’t get cleaned up before cold weather,  whitewashing the fenceposts and the chicken coop, getting ready for the first batch of meat chickens, planting, pruning, and the dozens of other tasks that have to be done RIGHT NOW.

 

25046642769_982abd88e8The big push right now is remodeling the chicken coop.  It was in pretty bad shape this past winter – there was a hole in the roof big enough for me to stick my head through.  Last weekend Austin and I tore off the old plywood roof, and replaced it with some of the metal roofing that we  have laying around.  We had just enough so that we didn’t have to buy any roofing.  We’re also increasing the size of the coop, and adding a “nursery” for the (50) new laying hens that we bought a couple months ago.  We had a calf pen on the other side of the coop 24795682613_3615cc5633_bthat we’re expanding into.  All of the older children worked on the demolition of the old wall, cleaning out the winter’s accumulation of litter, and scrubbing the nesting boxes while Taya was busy whitewashing the inside.  Austin worked on building the addition, and hung the door from the old turkey pen.  It’s coming together quite well.  We have the outside run to finish this evening, and the nursery will be complete.

 

 

25260442212_ae50e13d24_cWe’ve added a Jersey calf to our collection of animals, and we’ve worked out a great arrangement with one of our neighbors.  They had a couple of very old horses, one of which had died, and they wanted something in the pasture with the remaining horse for company.  With some providential timing, we were able to move the calf in with the horse, along with Daisy – our donkey, and so far everyone is getting along fine.  The calf will provide our family with beef in a couple years, and he helps to keep the grass mowed in our neighbor’s pasture.25005697129_7f12e51c52_b

Since it will be time to plant sooner than we realize, we have literally hundreds of seeds started – kale, lettuces, peas, tomatoes, peppers, squashes, and even cucumbers.  I always make the mistake of putting the little plants outside too soon, and lose half of them to one of the infamous late frosts that we get in our little “holler”.  The last frost date according to the USDA map is 4/15; but there’s always several hard freezes for 2-3 weeks after that.  Hopefully this year our fruit trees will bear us some fruit.  The past 2 years they’ve gotten nipped by frost, just as they are fully budded out, and are most vulnerable.  We always try to save them by covering the buds and blossoms with every blanket, sheet, and piece of fabric we can round up, but the wind always blows it loose overnight, the frost settles on the flowers and kills them; usually the same night that I forget and leave the tomato plants out.  It’s a reminder that there is a power greater than us that controls creation around us, and we have to always be vigilant and pay close attention.

 

One of the reasons we’re starting so many seeds this year, is we have the goal of opening a produce stand/market on our property this year.  We’ve put in a total of 50 blueberry plants, are waiting on a few hundred strawberries to arrive, and are hopeful that the 15 grape 25053304559_095da39ff2_bvines do very well.  We have 50 new laying hens, and are planning on adding to our flock of ducks as well.  We’re hoping to produce enough for our family, and then have plenty to offer for sale.  We’ve done farmer’s markets, we’ve done other venues, and have decided it’s time to do it like we do everything else – our way.  We’re hoping put up a small building  at the end of our driveway, and offer flowers and plants, Taya’s soaps and lotions, fresh produce, pastured chicken, eggs; and whatever else we can think of.  We’ve got our “shingle” hung by the road; now hopefully we’ll be blessed with success in our venture.

There’s lots more going on, but not enough space and time for it all to fit here.  Lord willing, we’ll be adding updates a lot more frequently.  You can always check out our life in pictures at our Flickr site, as we upload photos there “as they happen”.  Hope everyone is doing well, and spring comes soon!

 

Until next time…..

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