If you’re a farmer (even a small – scale one) you’ll know that spring is the busiest time of the year. Garden patches need tilling, seeds need to be started, coops and run – ins need to be cleaned and aired out for summer, and baby animals need to be prepared for. This year I have felt the busy-ness and anxiety more acutely because we’ve had one of the warmest Marches on record. The bugs have exploded in population and things are sprouting and blooming well in advance of normal.
One of the things keeping me busy (and exhausted) is my new vegetable garden project. I’ve mentioned before I fenced in a plot out front that’s just under 1,000 square feet. Since we have really terrible soil, and since I’ve had issues in the past with too much moisture pooling around the root systems of my plants, I’ve followed the example of Juniper Moon Farm and made raised bed rows to plant in this year. They are raised and rounded so that excess moisture flows off. I have 5 long raised beds to plant in now, thanks to weeks of digging, a load of compost, and a day of tilling.
Right now there are three kinds of onions, Rainbow Chard, two kinds of beets and little finger carrots sprouting out there.
An onion peeking through the straw mulch.
Now that it is April things are getting a little more exciting because it means it is almost our safe window for planting the seedlings we started indoors, such as our tomatoes, squash and herbs.
They’ve had a nice sunny spot in the house waiting to be garden – ready. Soon we’ll be receiving blueberry and raspberry plants that I ordered along with sweet potato and purple potato plants.
If all of this isn’t enough, we’ve got plans for a honeybee hive this spring to help pollinate our plants and increase our vegetable yields, and we have landscapers coming out next week to start clearing our woods for fencing. The goat shed is slowly being cleaned out to be ready for its once and future occupants.
The chickens are in full egg – laying mode and we are seeing about 2 dozen eggs a day now. I’ve been giving eggs away to anyone who’ll take them and even sending dozens off to two local restaurants, and I am still drowning in them. I am thinking I will make a bunch of freezable quiches and cookie doughs one of these days to use up some of the surplus.
Unfortunately we won’t have fresh goat milk this summer – Milkshakes aborted her babies. It turns out she had in fact been bred by the sheep in the fall and was therefore unable to carry the pregnancy. They were tiny, amorphous blobby things that were never meant to live. As I said, goat/sheep crosses aren’t viable.
Most likely I will try to breed her again this fall, for babies and milk next spring.
As you can see it is very busy outside right now in preparation for summer. Once the hot weather hits I hope to be able to spend some time indoors fixing the wallpaper Oona destroyed and touching up paint and other things we’ve been neglecting. But let’s hope the hot doesn’t come around too soon.
I hear you can freeze eggs if you open them and mix the whites and yolks up first. They you could freeze them in 1/2 or 1/4 cup containers (ice cube trays?) and use them in baking through the winter. Haven’t done it myself, though.