“Springtime is the land awakening…

…The March winds are the morning yawn.” — Lewis Grizzard

I heard my first bat of the year last night while taking Frank the pup outside to potty. I’m not sure what he was hunting bug-wise, because there’s not much available. But it brought a smile to my face, because it’s one of the signs that the animals know Spring is imminent! The arrival of the first Robin to our property (that I encountered, anyway) this morning is just reinforcing it all, along with milder temperatures over the next several days. I am so weary of winter; all of these signs pointing to the change of season inspire newfound hope.

And stress. Yes, you heard me right. There’s some stress in there, too. Because I realize that with the disappearance of snow and cold weather, we have so many Springtime tasks ahead of us! Our seed order arrived a few weeks back, and our little starter pots for planting those that need to begin growing indoors should arrive tomorrow. We are also starting a new garden this year, and need to figure out an effective (and thrifty!) means of keeping out the deer. I have some ideas from past issues of Countryside & Small Stock Journal that I suspect George is also using to formulate his plan. I also need to create a spreadsheet for all of the seeds we are going to plant, which I will share here once it is complete.

Our ducklings arrive in less than two weeks, and that means that we need to get new housing built for the six-week old chickens currently living in one apartment of the brooder house outside. Actually, we need a facility in which to house all of the new chicks as they reach maturity, so it will be quite an undertaking, as we are talking about almost 90 chicken residents in that coop, total. What we’d really like to build is an eggmobile, along the lines of what is used on Polyface Farm in Virginia. We need to find an old trailer to start with, and one that is either free or very low cost to fit our budget. We’re watching the online classifieds sites like craigslist, and we may need to consider a trip to a junkyard, too.

The ducklings will need their own housing when they move outside – they’ll be living in our old garden space, about 2000 s.f. of fenced in area. I’m still planning on planting some edible landscape for them in there – even if it’s just plants that will entice bugs and slugs to visit that they can eat up! We are really looking forward to duck eggs – I can’t wait to try out baking with them!

I need to get our old nursery monitor system dug out of the basement and tested, because we need to set the receiver up in the barn to listen for signs that our goats are about to kid. I’ve been busy cutting up old sweaters (Thank you Nancy, Aunt Mary and Lauren for donating those to the cause!) so that we can use the sleeves to make baby goat sweaters to help keep them warm. You can see the general pattern for doing that here (be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page.)

We also need to get our pasture planned. My dad gave us his old electric fence charger, which we will need to test and get set up so that we can start providing better outdoor access to all of the goats. Right now, they have a small fenced yard right off of the back of the barn, but it’s insufficient space and grass for them to browse. During the growing season, I would take our little herd on walks around the property to make sure that they had a variety of browsing opportunities, and I am still planning to try that once the babies arrive, but it’s not a good long-term solution, because their eating requirements mean I could spend all day outside walking them! So, building that pasture is also a Spring project.

We’d love to get our water supply going out near the barn – there is an old well with an electric pump that no longer works. We think it was struck by lightning. Eventually, we want to get it back to working and drop lines in so that we have running water in our barn and the coop. I don’t know that it will be possible to do so this year, but it is on our list of goals. Currently, I tote two plastic jugs that hold about three gallons each down from the house to the barn, and generally that’s enough to take care of the needs right now, but once we have full-grown chickens in a second coop, and a duck house with which to be concerned, that’s going to mean a lot of trips back and forth! I’ll keep doing it as long as I need to, though. Those babies are thirsty!

We’re coming into our third year of living here, and while I’d love to say I will be getting the honeybee hives going for sure in 2011, I’m not sure that it will happen with everything else we have going on. We inherited the bee boxes when we moved in, and haven’t done anything to them, but in 2009 and 2010, they appeared to be active, with a lot of bee traffic going in and out. It will be interesting to see what happens this year. And maybe I’ll get those going after all. I have a book about beekeeping that I need to re-read and see if I can manage to fit it all in this year.

Phew. I’m sure it’s pretty apparent now why I say all of the Springtime hope and joy is accompanied by just a bit of stress! I’m certain I’m not remembering everything on our to-do list, too. Needless to say, it makes for a busy life, but it is also a fulfilling one.

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2 responses to ““Springtime is the land awakening…”

  1. Terri Avatar

    Wow! I enjoyed the blog as usual! I love the robin in the tree! I feel the stress for you – you are busy! I wish I would win some lotto money so that I could help you get it all done! Love you!

    1. Trase Avatar

      That robin made my morning! 🙂 I heard it singing and it took half a second for me to recognize its tune, but I was smiling and welcoming it back home once I saw who it was. 😉

      I wish I could win some big lotto money too! We’d buy the property across the street and build a south-facing house for you and dad to retire into! 😀

      Love you lots mom. 🙂 <3

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