Long, Long Winter

Oh, dear readers, I am sick and tired of winter.  We’re not even halfway through and I normally don’t get fed up with winter this early, but man, this year I seem to just be done with it already.

To compensate, I am busy making plans for spring.  I’ve decided that this is the year to do the things I’ve always wanted to do but just haven’t gotten around to yet.  So far, here is my list:

- Maple Tapping.  Last year and the year before I had planned to tap maples and make syrup, but I never ended up making it happen.  Perhaps it had something to do with being 8 months pregnant at tapping time last year, and holed up in the house with baby Raina the year before… at any rate, this year I will tap maples, gosh darnit, and I will make syrup.  I’ve read all about it in my handy book, The Backyard Homestead, and now all that remains is to actually do it.

- Raising Fiber Animals.  Yes, I’ve wanted fiber animals for a long time now.  Sheep and angora rabbits seem most plausible at this point, and now that I finally have a spinning wheel it makes sense to have fiber animals.  I’ve used up all the roving I got for Christmas and I’m just itching to have something else to spin.  Roving can get pricey!  What better solution than to produce my own – angora rabbits are easy enough to keep, and now that the barn stalls are finished and the fence is up, a pair of sheep should be no problem.  However, I am not the only decision-making adult around here, and my dear partner may not agree that adding more animals to this farm is a good idea…

- Goat Milking.  Here’s hoping that Edward successfully did his job and Bella & Alice are pregnant by now.  If all goes well, we will have a couple of little goat kids in the spring and our girls will be at full milk production for the summer.  I am determined to become a great milker!  My dabbles in goat milking this past Autumn have only strengthened my resolve to become a master of the milk pail.

- Gardening.  These cold, dark January evenings are perfect for sitting around dreaming about the garden.  It will be time to start seeds before you know it, and I’m really enjoying the planning stages.  What to plant, and where?  How many of each plant?  Which plants for the market garden?  Which plants for the kids’ garden?  Oh, I do love digging in the dirt and I can’t wait to get those first seeds into their little pods of soil.  Life feels so hopeful and full of promise when there are little green shoots bursting alive all around the house.

- Hatching Chicks.  Have I mentioned that I evaluated my options for replenishing my flock and determined that purchasing chicks from a hatchery doesn’t feel like a good thing to be doing?  I am hoping that Casper will be a good little rooster this spring and fertilise some eggs.  The fellow we got our ducks from has a few broody hens that hatched and raised chicks last spring, and he will sell us one or two for cheap.  My hope is that between Casper and a couple of broody hens, we’ll be able to have some farm-hatched chicks raised by a real mama this spring.

 

There is more I could add to my list, but these are the things that seem most likely to be accomplished, and if the list gets too long I’ll end up feeling like I’ve taken on more than I can handle.  I’m extremely excited for this spring – the first time in years that I won’t have a babe in arms or a pregnancy limiting what I’m able to do outdoors!

In the meantime, I’m going to make the best of the snow.  Lynden got a super sled from his grandparents last Autumn, and I’ve purchased a harness for the dog.  Sometime in the next couple of days, we’re going to take that sled out into the fields and let Oddler pull the kids around – something the dog loves perhaps more than the children do!

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