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Spring Has Sprung

Winter is finally loosing its grip on the landscape. The old timers have been claiming that it was the second coldest and fourth most snow in recorded history. Honestly I have not done the research to verify their claims but I am willing to bet they are not far off in their opinion. It was a bear of a winter.

Now I am in the process of trying to make up lost time. Seems like every time one job is finished another appears. I am certainly not complaining because I enjoy my time outside but it certainly has kept me busy.

To begin with, the hens we were watching for friends over the winter have gone back home. I already miss their delicious brown eggs. We still have our four leghorns but I am considering trying to re-home two of the birds because I recently purchased a barred rock pullet and an ameraucana pullet and the whole pecking order situation has really gotten a bit out of control. I feel that if I can break the group up a bit it may become more manageable. For the moment I have the two pullets in a separate pen until they gain some size and hopefully some confidence.

We are also trying meat rabbits again. This time I am going to take the rabbits to a professional butcher. They are a mom & pop joint so I feel a bit better about the whole thing.

I have been repairing fences, moving rabbit pens outdoors and have been slowly working the rabbit manure from the winter into the raised beds. We have taken an old animal pen and turned it into a bin to grow potatoes. We are working on extending a few raised beds. My three oldest children have been super helpful and I think that they are probably as excited for the good weather as I am.

Our neighbors bought us two apple trees to celebrate the birth of our fourth child and we have been preparing for their arrival. We also have two grape vines and about fifty strawberry plants coming soon as well.

It has been very refreshing to dig in the dirt and listen to the wind stroke the chimes as I tire myself out. I have been listening to the crows call from the bare branches of the maple trees and discovering all sorts of interesting evidence of wildlife as I work. Everything from wild rabbit droppings to newts under the decaying hay. We have seen the fox take a peek at the chickens from across the road and our neighbor has witnessed a few coyotes in the neighborhood which is not only rare but a sign of how hard the past winter was.

The winter was long but now it is a memory and I am glad that the novice sunshine of spring has appeared. I look forward to the fleeting evenings of prepping the little homestead for a bountiful future harvest.

Tobias Whitaker blogs for Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine. Click on the Mother Earth News logo at the bottom of the page for all of his post. You can also find him on Facebook at Seed To Harvest: Bossy Hen Homestead which is a central location for his homesteading blogs and his homeschooling blog, A Mile In Her Shoes: Tales Of A Stay-At Home Dad found here


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