Spring is in the Air

Spring is in the air, my friends! Can you feel it? We sure can! The breeze is no longer biting, the sun feels warm again, and the birds have returned. The air is filled with the sound of their sons. And smells have returned! That earthy, spring smell is everywhere.

Spring started to make its arrival last week. The temperatures suddenly started warming, and with it came our first spring rain, and lots of it. There was a lot of flooding! Our house doesn’t flood, but we have a spring-fed creek running through the property, and that turned into a river last week. The kids enjoyed the yard being a big puddle, though I had to keep them away from the areas where the water was rushing.

Thank goodness that the weather warmed when it did. There was a serious case of cabin fever mixed with baby fever running through our house It was just a little too much excitement contained within the confines of our house. Poppy was also desperate for some good playtime. She really needed a good run, so she was thrilled when Scott and I went for a walk on the trails over the weekend. And Scott and I were thrilled to be taking a walk on the trails again.

For as excited as I am about spring, I feel overwhelmed and anxious. We’re having some predator issues with the chickens because we’re having issues with our electric fencing because of all of the snow. It’s melting, but not fast enough! Our beehive that was alive after that first cold snap didn’t make it through the winter (possibly because of the second cold snap). The toys, shovels, and tools that the kids left out on their days of play throughout the winter are showing up all over the yard as things thaw out, and so are all of our projects. Like cleaning up from the fire, purging our homestead of stuff, garbage we were stuck with because we were snowed in… That’s just to name a few things.

And I know we need to cut ourselves some slack. We have a new baby, and that places some serious limitations on our time. But it is so important that we work hard at getting the cleaning, organizing, and repairs done this year. Right now the plan is to take it one step at a time, and start scheduling tasks that need to get completed. We’ll start with the simple, little things, and we’ll make a plan of action for tackling the bigger things.

For now, the chickens are at the mercy of mother nature. My hands are tied until the fencing situation is fixed, and I can’t really do anything until the snow and ice melt. If it was just as simple as digging out the fencing, I would, but it’s iced in and there’s nothing I can do. So the chickens have been roosting anywhere and everywhere around the yard. They’re sleeping on the porch, on the tractor, in trees on top of their temporary coop… anywhere they can find a place to roost.

The chickens are thrilled to see the ground again!

I’m also anxious to butcher the roosters. We had originally planned to butcher our roosters in the fall, but they weren’t big enough yet (because we had to start our flock over because of the fire). They’re getting more rambunctious by the day. They’ve starved out a few hens, they fight each other from time to time, and they are getting pretty loud. I’m not sure when we’ll butcher them, but I’m hoping somewhat soon. At least we know what is a good age for butchering this breed of chicken now, and if we order them again for this purpose, when will be the latest we should have them ordered by.

I’m doing my best to remain positive. Whenever I get overwhelmed, I just try and pick one thing to do to help make a difference. Over the weekend I burned some garbage and picked up anything the kids had left out that wasn’t still frozen to the ground. Then I went through and collected all of our maple syrup supplies and prepped everything for tapping and boiling. I started soaking seeds, and I worked on cleaning up the seed starting area so I can start planting. Meanwhile, Scott focused on getting our trailer fixed up so that we’ll be able to get the 4-wheeler fixed, haul away garbage, and generally do work around our property. Hopefully we can bring the 4-wheeler in by the weekend for repairs.

This snow pile is 4 feet at its peak, and probably 12 feet wide just from plowing the driveway, and this is after it shrunk several feet in size.

I made a good dent in the garbage pile, burning as much as I could. There are still a few bags left to burn, but after that, the rest needs to be hauled away. The yard still isn’t completely clean, but I’m just picking things up as they thaw out and putting them away as we go. And I gathered all of our syrup supplies. I washed all of the buckets and hoses, and Doodles helped me tap trees. Peanut helped me get the stove set up and bring some wood over to the stove.

While it might not seem like getting the maple syrup stuff together is a big deal, it really is. Not because we end up with syrup, but because we’re trying to get our supplies for all of our different homesteading jobs organized. We bought bins for the supplies awhile ago… one for syrup supplies (hoses, taps, filters, lids…), beekeeping, cider making, brewing… and now we need to get those bins filled and put in the right places. I think the biggest thing holding us back from making our homestead be a truly productive place has been a lack of good organization.

Good organization is intuitive, and it puts things in the best location possible. We’ve had two things working against us since moving here. One is that we were using somebody else’s system, and it wasn’t what was best for our needs. The other is that when people gave us tools and supplies, we didn’t have a good place to go with it, so it just added to our discomfort. Even though a lot of things were organized, it might not be in a place that made the most sense for us.

The fire forced us to contend with this issue, which is a great thing. While we weren’t able to do the actual work to solve our problems last year, we did come up with some better ideas. It does, however, mean that the job of organizing everything isn’t as simple as just sorting things and putting them away. Now we have fix buildings and set up spaces differently and shuffle everything around. But no matter how overwhelmed I might feel, at least things are starting to move in the right direction. Here’s praying for a good year!

I think I’ll go start some seeds while the baby is napping… What have you been doing to enjoy the spring weather?


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