This past winter was brutal in way I won’t soon forget. Our first winter at our new farm brought polar fronts that caused pipes to freeze, drafts to be discovered in every wall and floor board, animal water to freeze every 5 minutes and sleepless nights of wondering if all of animals would make it through the insane sub-zero nights.
The one thing that really kept me going was the promise of spring and all of the exciting projects we would be taking on, and all of the things we could finally tackle without freezing our parts off. Dreams of tucking in my seedlings in the sun, of the new goat kids to be born, of all of the animals lounging in the sun – these are the thoughts that sustained me through every inch of snow that fell, through every death-defying drive to work.
And now the temps are holding steady above the freezing mark. Water buckets are changed less frequently. We can see large swaths of brown grass and only few patches of snow. Soon the ground will even be thawing. And those lovely dreams of spring? Well, suddenly they are overwhelming, expensive, labor intensive tasks. Each project is fighting for a spot on the priority list, and I’m feeling behind even before we’ve begun.
- Fencing – This is the #1 project on my priority list for spring. I want to put in nice, secure fencing for the goats and give them a lot ot area to browse and stretch their legs. The chickens also need a new, expanded run. Right now the goats and chickens are sharing a small outside area, and the fencing took a severe beating from snow sliding off the barm roof. I have already ordered cedar fence posts from a local organic farm, but it will take an entire day to drive to get them and back. This is also going to mean renting an auger and a tencher to put everything in place nice and deep. Not to mention all of the rolls of fencing and hardware that still needs buying.
- The Bees – Our honey bee “package” arrives on April 15th. This is 6 days away. The supplies we’ve ordered from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm haven’t even shipped yet. The hive is still drying slowly from it’s last coat of paint. And the day the bees arrive? It’s looking like rain.
- Setting up the garden – Must build raised beds. Must truck in some great topsoil. Must build more fencing to keep out the deer, rabbits and other things that want to eat all my veggies. Must build an irrigation system.
- Expanding the chicken coop – With all of the new chicks we’ve hatched out and plan to keep, will will probobly be more than doubling our flock. This means expanding the living quarters for our ladies.
- White washing – We plan on mixing up an old school lime white wash, and mega cleaning all of the animal areas and giving them a nice fresh coating. This will kill bactieria, make everything fresh and clean, and be non-toxic for all of the animals.
- Kidding – Our first baby goats are coming, staring in May. I am equal parts excited and terrified. I’ve done all the prep work I can, including helping with other farm’s kiddings, but I know it won’t mean a whole lot when the time comes and we’re doing it all on our own.
- Mini Orchard – I have had heirloom fruit tree sapling on order and they should be shipping soon. They will need to go into the ground quickly. I’ve never planted trees before. I hope I don’t kill them. I hope the deer don’t turn them into snack food.
- Painting the house – The house and barn look awful, in desperate need for a paint job. I know the hubby doesn’t think this is a critical one, but I just hate having people drive by our farm and thinking it looks shabby.
And these are just the big ones. There’s endless pruning, raking, fixing, building, etc. But, even though it’s a bit panic inducing, I’m still excited to dig in and make our homestead a really amazing place to be.