A Tentative Spring
I feel like there's finally hope of spring coming. Our chickens have laid an egg! One egg, but it brings with it the hope of so much more.
I've been scarce on the blog because I spent a lot of time working on my natural birth website. Then I needed to spend a lot of time focused on my kids and house to get things back on track from being ultra-focused on the website. And then we were all sick. And then we got the ground-shaking news that Scott will likely be laid off in the fall due to a bank merger. That's never fun to hear.
But life is always good at shaking things up, and God is always reminding me I need to look to him. I think I've had more paradigm shifts this year than I have in a long time. It's very humbling, a bit scary, but at the same time, it's exciting. It's exciting to see how God guides and provides when you remember that's who is really in the lead, anyways. Humbling, but I am so grateful for my God.
Anyways, enough personal rambling – on to some thoughts for the farm. Our plans have shrunk greatly in scale, but we are still committed to growing our little farm. We're gearing up now that spring seems to be trying to shine through after a brutal winter:
We lost a few chickens over the winter, which was devastating but part of learning. We finally got bedding and all of that sorted out well, and we learned some lessons along the way. Deep bedding is pretty inexpensive and it keeps chickens much happier. Figuring out how much to feed the birds has been troublesome, and I hope next year we'll have something worked out for winter protein.
But regardless, we've got a new batch of layers started. We got a mixed run this time around, meaning they're boys and girls 🙂 Our hope is that the cocks will go into the stew pot at the end of the summer, and the ladies should be laying (and hopefully keep it up through next winter) by then.
Meat birds are also in the plans this year – I'm thinking to get them in late May / early June. They'll be ready to dress out in 8 weeks or so, and at that point we'll be well done with homeschooling so it's a good timing. We're going to get Cornish Crosses this year to start to learn meat birds, and hopefully a heritage bread (which will take longer to grow) next summer.
We've been very pleased with the hoophouse we bought in the fall. It has served our chickens well. We started to partition off a coop inside of it but never finished that. So we'll take that partitioning wood down this year and reuse it for another project.
But we do plan to get another hoophouse, and the chickens will spend next winter inside of it. That will give the current hoophouse bedding time to compost and cure, and then we'll plant directly inside of it next spring! I'm planning to do some container tomatoes inside it this year, but chicken manure has a lot of nitrogen and will burn roots if uncured. So nothing directly in the ground yet.
The hoophouse stood up to our extremely harsh winter and an incredible snow load – so I'm very pleased with it 😀
We are still planning to get a milking doe this year. I would like to get two milking does but I'm not sure if that will happen. But we'll definitely get a milking doe and hopefully her doe kid with her (so she can be a milking doe for us soon!)
Evie's goats will be kidding any day now. They're Kinder goats, the breed we've chosen to start with. I'm very excited to think about getting our little goat. We won't be able to be quite as expansive as we'd hoped, but we will still get the goat pair and put up a smaller paddock for them 🙂
We've watched the Eden Garden film and think it would be a good fit for our poor soil. So now I'm trying to find a place for us to get chipped trees by the truckload!!
The kids and I have also started a lot of seedlings inside – again, we've adjusted plans quite a bit due to the unwelcome news of the merger and probable layoff. But I'd already ordered seeds when we heard, so we're pressing forward and doing as well as we can with makeshift grow lights and seedling starting areas. The kids are excited and I am too.
I'm praying a lot more these days, so maybe one of the benefits is that God has really humbled me (again). And maybe with his direction and with Scott's input, our little farm will grow modestly but surely this season 😀
P.S. I started this post several days ago – since then we have more chickens laying!! Here's our bounty so far 😀 And much of our snow has melted off. Hooray!