With the first few glimmers of the hope of spring I have been getting started on some of the major work to be done on the homestead this year! The biggest thing of note is that I am adding a slightly more official and professional website and while part of me loathes the thought I am branching out into social media sites (wanna like us on facebook? Please Go Here and do so!) to help expand my customer communications. Word of mouth is great and all but it is kinda hard to communicate that way so this should allow me to touch base more directly with my customers.
Another major project is cleaning up, hardcore! We have been shut ins this winter in regards to the homestead, what with the two or three feet of snow and the -40 windchills and all that it has been a struggle just to keep things warm. For a short window we had temps above freezing, as high as a whopping 56*F! So intent on our gardens this year I vowed to spread my compost from last year on the garden beds to let them finish rotting over the winter and build me a new compost pile by taking the top off of the old to get it started. How naieve! Tomorrow is our last day above freezing and the snow is not yet gone despite 50s and rain. Places in our back yard still have four or so inches of thick, icy snow on the ground (more ice than snow). I got the top layer off of the old compost but the rest of it is just a solid frozen block still. I did get my new compost pile built by chipping the top off of the old and mucking out the chicken coop but starting on the gardens is really a pipe dream at this point ddespite nearly a week above freezing.
I did see a breif glimmer of hope today after loading up the “new” pile with the deep litter from the chicken coop… As I chipped away at the older compost to load it onto the new pile a few determined seeds from the end of last summer had begun to sprout into green shoots and leaves. I am sure it was just some hay seed or perhaps a bit of leftover scratch but it was green and growing! In a world where we have had so much snow that the brown of mud is exciting that little blade of weed was a slice of heaven!
The deep litter from the coop and the hay from some rabbit cages as well as from on the ground in the chicken pen formed the start of our new compost pile and it is around 4′ tall already. It is an important step for the homestead since our location so desperately needs the soil to be raised up in order to grow anything! Tomorrow we will be adding even more to it as we try our best to take full advantage of the nice weather. I might be just a wee bit desperate to be outside right now!
By Wednesday we will be back into the teens and single digits. I am hoping against hope that the majority of the rest of the snow will go away tomorrow, our last day above freezing. But it shan’t and so the very wet, icy, slushy mud that lies on the ground right now and merely annoys, with its tendency to seep into ones boots and make ones toes cold, will transform. It will become a treacherous lake of ice that is uneven all over and is just right for catching ones foot on funny causing them to slip and severely twist an ankle. I am very ice-savvy having spent seven years of my childhood falling on a lake of deliberate ice while on skates in a rink. I dread and fear this kind of ice! I will probably be mulching our path through the back yard with the cleanest of the used rabbit hay tomorrow so that it will freeze into the snow and ice pack and become a much less slick surface to walk on! Then when we get a couple of inches of snow again I will be safe at last from the dreaded, awful ice!
In the meantime, though I am going to sit and pretend it is spring just a little bit longer! The Ameracauna eggs hatched out… They were shipped very poorly and so only 3/8 made it out alive. I am hoping against hope for 2 pullets. They are now growing out in my basement in a brooder and already are getting in their beautiful practice flight feathers! The brightly colored mice are due very soon, and Lucy’s litter of four are growing out beautifully! After that we have three more litters on the way, including another from Lucy! (We bred back early to try to kickstart her system into producing larger litters for us and get her used to having kits.)
So things are starting to move forward around these parts… Who knows what will happen during the next big thaw!