It isn’t really here and cold will come again, but yesterday was spring time. The tractor finally got warm enough to start, allowing some chores that had been needed for a while. Haying farmer friend always brings me a couple of bales of old spoiled hay after he takes the new hay each year. That old hay is used in the chicken coop until it gets too wet to be usable, it also is used over cardboard as mulch between the beds in the garden to help keep the weeds at bay. One of the bales was dropped where it could be rolled down near the coop, but the second one was too far from the garden. Our little tractor is too small to load a large round bale and though that ball wasn’t a full bale, it was too large for the bucket, so it just sat. Now that the boxes are being put in place in the garden and mulching between them is necessary, the bale needed to be moved. pushing it with the tractor bucket started it to unroll. Once it was about half of it’s original size, it fit inside the bucket and was dumped over the fence into the garden. Then the unrolled parts were collected with a hay fork, loaded into the bucket in several trips and dumped over the fence as well.
Now there is a huge pile of spoiled hay just inside the movable part of the fence that serves as a gate. Maybe this spring, a real gate will be hung. Shortly after moving in, we bought 4 half wine barrels at a winery to use for storing root vegetables. They were only used for a year or so that way and then two of them were put in the garden for flowers and later for potatoes. The remaining two were left behind the house and had begun to come apart. One of them was sound enough to move very carefully yesterday in the tractor bucket and carried into the garden, partially filled with soil to help hold it together. There are now three in the garden for potatoes. The fourth one fell all to pieces and needs to be puzzled back together. It really should be in the garden too. For now it is a pile of staves, metal rings, and a bottom.
While the tractor was out, the culvert at the top of the driveway received a clean out as the winter rain has caused it to nearly fill with fine gravel again. Two buckets of gravel, sand, and soil were scooped out and utilized to build up the area in front of the garage door that was forming a pond with each rain.
It was pretty quick work to scoop a bucket full from the ditch, drive it down, dump it and use the bucket to spread it flatter. It only took a few more minutes with a rake to make a gravel area again where it was only sandy mud. We will see when it rains again if the pond is gone and the water runs around the house as intended.
Some flower bed weeding was accomplished, the chickens loving something fresh and green to eat, the peach tree pruning was begun, but just too much to tackle in one attack. It won’t produce fruit this year, but will be a much more manageable size for pruning in future years and perhaps the other peach tree will give us some fruit this year.
It was nice to be outdoors in February working in the yard and gardens. Last year, we had just been plowed out by our farmer friend from one of the largest snows of the winter.
We are still searching for some chickens to increase our flock. Chick days are about to begin, but that is really not the preferred approach. Hopefully, the hens will be prolific this year and there will be many homegrown chicks from which to choose. Their fencing still needs to be removed and replaced with a finer mesh and a top put in place to try to thwart the hawk so that we don’t lose so many this year.
We are toying with adding two piglets, putting them in the lower garden which is a large space. To do so, perhaps that fencing will be used for the replacement fencing, it is good welded wire fence and just run a row of chicken wire around the bottom of the chicks pen. We could just use strands of electric to keep the piglets in or put hog panels between the t-posts. More research needs to be done before that step is taken, to see how much a port-a-hut costs, how much feed will be needed, and where and how to get them processed. It needs to be economical in the long run.
That would be another nice step toward self sustainability. Still loving life on our farm.