This time around, I’m taking a break from the Family Survival Planning list, and taking a look around at the Status Quo around the homestead. It’s springtime, after all, which means things are about to get busy.
The weather has mostly broken. (Ha! Oh, it’s broken, all right…) Which is to say, things are more consistently warmer than they might otherwise be. We’ve had our last snowfall of the season, unless things go so horribly strangely that no amount of planning can compensate. It’s about time to uncover the garden beds and work on cleaning them up. We’ll be raising several more of them by about six inches, and adding dirt and compost to fill. The chickens have had access to several of the others, and we’ll spend some time to till in their leavings. All of which leads to–
Seeds have been started. We’ve got the usual suspects going–tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, beans, and a couple of other things. My wife has it all planned out; she likes to use the free online planner at zukeeni.com, which allows you to “draw” your garden and select what you’ll be planting, then sends weekly reminders to nag you into doing whatever your region is (typically) ready for. (I’m not affiliated with them; personally, I prefer to take a more naturalistic approach, with my memory and a notebook; I suppose the online version is good for helping maintain rotations, though.)
Other areas of the garden, and other growing spaces, are in desperate need of an early-season weeding, to get rid of grass that somehow infiltrated the flower beds and the like. My grains all appear to be doing pretty well, in their second year on that plot. I’ll sow some clover into that area well before harvest-time, and probably re-sow more clover after harvesting. This will help put some nitrogen back in the soil, it will feed my bees, and it will help suppress the weeds that have managed to make it through two seasons. Then more winter grains, and wait for next year.
Speaking of the bees, my two hives last year both absconded; I’ll be getting two more in a few weeks’ time, and can hopefully convince them to stick around, this time. The chicken flock has fluctuated quite a bit; we’re currently at 21 laying hens and a rooster, and have six more pullets in a “safe place” in the house. (We use an infrared heater, not a heat lamp, to reduce the fire hazard. Typical feeder and waterer, but the overall container has to be dog- and cat-proof; we use a dog crate to which we’ve zip-tied 1/2″ wire mesh. So far, so good.) The hens are giving us between thirteen and eighteen eggs on an average day–so we’re selling the eggs to help pay for feed. Seems to be a break-even process, so far.
We’ve got most of the interior of the barn cleared out, except for the “fun stuff”–the (badly) poured concrete base. Then there’s a little additional clean-up of the walls and doors, to say nothing of the loft space. We probably won’t be ready for goats this year, I think, but next year is looking promising.
I won’t get much into the equipment maintenance that needs to be done–adjusting the deck of the mower, making sure that both the “riding” and “push” mowers are in working order, checking weed-whackers, etc. Suffice to say that there’s plenty of it. We’ve got a few dead trees that need to come down, which means chainsaw-wrestling. And there’s fencing to be put up–we’ll be borrowing a friend’s tractor and auger for most of that, though.
Well, that’s a pretty good start–and I haven’t even touched on repairs and goings-on inside the house…
How about you folks? How are things shaping up at your places? Got your gardens in? Let me know in the comments!