While it is still officially winter, things on the homestead are ramping up for spring. We have had several new animal arrivals, new garden preparations, seeds ordered, and more. All of these preparations along with what feels like 40 days and 40 nights of rain, have me longing for spring.
Over the winter we had our laying hens, ducks, and guinea along with two goats. However, with the coming spring and in preparation for spring livestock and chicken shows, our numbers are growing. We recently got six new baby chicks for the spring chicken show. Each of my older three children are responsible for two of the chicks and they will each choose one to show in late April.
Next, we put our two livestock show pigs on the ground a couple weeks ago. My two older boys will feed, water, and train these pigs until the April livestock show. There they will be judged on how they handle the pig as well as the pig itself. There are several options after the show, but our pigs go to a local meat processor in order to fill our freezers with most of the pork we need for the year.
Finally, my daughter got a new goat for the spring show. Since the two goats that she keeps year round are Houdini and Wilhelmina (after Harry Houdini and his wife), she decided to name this cute little one, Theo. Theo was Harry Houdini’s younger brother. She will care for the goat and train the goat until the April show and possibly the fall livestock shows. After she is done showing him, she will find him a good permanent home, since we do not have the space to keep adding a new goat each year.
My husband and I have a running joke that he bought me dirt for Valentine’s Day. That might seem like a slight to some, but I was actually really excited. He got me exactly what I asked for, two raised garden beds and some topsoil to fill them. We have been gardening for years, but the sandy soil that is in our yard makes it a challenge. I am excited to try out the raised beds with more fertile soil and see if we can increase our yields.
He purchased all of the materials and worked with my oldest son to build the beds and fill them with topsoil. We also had enough topsoil left over to amend our current garden as well!
The weather is still a bit cool for most crops and the rain of the last few weeks has made it too wet to plant even the things that are seasonal. However, if it dries out a little next week we should be able to get carrots and a few greens planted.
Next month, we should be able to plant many spring crops including carrots, parsnips, spinach, lettuce, kale, and potatoes. We also have a variety of peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant seeds started indoors to transplant once the weather is warm.
We are also getting ready to add some more turkeys to the homestead next month. The first round will be just for meat and then at the beginning of summer we will get turkey poults for the fall turkey show.
This is a busy but fun time on the homestead. We are working hard to get ready for spring and learning a lot in the process. My oldest son in spending some time this year working out some challenges in several homestead ideas so that he might be able to expand into a bit of a small business next year, I am creating an agriculture class for his sophomore year, and my six-year-old has big plans to help me with the raised beds.
Are you growing anything in your yard or working with any livestock?
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