Last Round

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Syrup season is over; truthfully, it never really got going. Just not the right kind of winter for it. Nevertheless, we didn’t do too bad considering the small-scale snowshoe out and haul it back by hand method we’re using here. It’ll be at least a few months before we’ll have to consider buying some store brought syrup to grace the kid’s pancakes.

These photos are from the last two rounds of hauling back sap. The snow has finally melted, well, except for those stubborn patches by the tree line. The soil is warming up; we planted a few cool weather crops: lettuce, sugar snap peas, kale, arugula, broccoli, a few turnips. Not too much, just a little of each to get some fresh veggies started. 

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Is It Spring Yet?

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Slowly the days are growing warmer. A patch of grass is emerging high on the hill. Although, to get to it, you’ll have to cross a field still covered in a good 2 feet of snow. Some days we still get occasional flurries and brisk winds but they are starting to be outnumbered by “warm” (around 45F) sunny days.

The list of Spring chores grows: daily milking has begun, chicken and goat pens need a deep cleaning, hooves need a trim, and soon there will be a garden to cultivate -once the snow melts.

And some fences need mending….

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Despite the growing workload and the general muddy mess spring brings we’re just happy to be spending a little more time outdoors.

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And just because she’s cute….

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Hunker Down

Snow is on the way! Time to haul in some extra wood and locate all the snow shovels, sleds and dropped mittens. Not an easy task given how far and wide the boys roam. The goats won’t mind the extra snow; they like to jump the fence and play king of the mountain on the snow bank.

DSCN5720We’ll be hunkering down, wood stove ablazing – likely with the dutch oven on top, slow roasting a chunk of meat into tender perfection. With a new quilt and a stack of library books to see us through I think we’ll weather the storm just fine.

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Winter Around the Homestead

It’s been a while since we last had an “around the homestead” update. Freezing temperatures and snow is here to stay. The piles of winter coats, boots and drying mittens are growing. As is my collection of empty milk jugs to tote water out to the animals.

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The goats never seem to enjoy the snow. Already their tracks are mainly confined to a path between their shelter and the waterer. Manson has been taking his job very seriously so we should be expecting a new kid or two in the coming months. Nonetheless he still chases all the does around- just to be sure.

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Now that the snow is sticking the chickens are glad to stay in their camper. A week or two ago I gave the camper one last good mucking out and a deep bed of new shavings. As long as the cold temps are here the deep bedding shouldn’t get too gross and it acts as a layer of insulation. I stir it around every few days and add additional shavings when needed. The camper has a handy hatch in the back that makes mucking out the old shaving that much easier.

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Sad news- my bees have already succumbed to the harshness of winter. I checked on them a while back while I was prepping the hive for winter and they had already devoured their store of honey. I didn’t have my camera with me but they were positioned headfirst in their comb, in what my resources say is a classic starvation position. They had plenty of natural food around them and I had been supplementally feeding them. I didn’t take any honey nor is there another hive nearby (that I know of anyways) that could have robbed them. My thought is that perhaps our warm season is too short for a package of bees to really have time to get established and really produce enough for our long cold winters. If I can convince struggling_along I think our best bet would be to purchase a nuc, or two. Of course with bees there are no guarantees.

On a happier note: PUPPIES!

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They are all doing well and growing plump. They’re quite fun to have around but… 9 dogs! The very thought makes me glad the puppies are being spoken for left and right. Still for now we can take advantage of all the puppy snuggle time we can get, right?!

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Winter Around the Homestead

Snow, snow and more snow! This is what it’s looking like around here:

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I believe Manson’s expression sums up!

DSCN9190On the bright side the huge snow banks provide plenty of fun for the little guys. All that climbing, digging, sliding down. And taking a hike is quite the undertaking. Only Struggling_along, Noah and Megan have made it up into the woods – and that required snowshoes. They reported back that there’s easily 3 feet deep of snow back there.

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This isn’t Ishi’s first winter but this year he’s old enough to explore what this winter season and snow is all about.

DSCN9171He’s been quite the helper; joining me everyday (well except for those -10 below days) to go and feed and water the animals. I believe the chickens are his favorite. Likely because they’re not very bright birds and we have no roosters right now so they’ll squat there and they’re easy to pick up (or if you’re a pig – eat. And that’s why we have 6 chickens left).

DSCN8626The chickens are back to laying well though – 5 or 6 eggs a day.

DSCN9084The pigs (Mercedes and Lexus) have taken up camper remodeling and have thus far striped a large part of their section; after all that hard work they enjoy a fresh chicken. Chevy hangs out in his dog shed full of hay but readily comes out for a scratch and some scraps.

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DSCN8731I make many trips like this. Ah the days of hoses, grass and not spending a half hour putting on layers will soon be here (relatively speaking).

DSCN9071I’m thinking more and more that Manson did his job and Ellie will be kidding this spring! Milk again! Rita isn’t pregnant as Lenin has continued to nurse. He’s getting quite big and has beautiful colors as Rita is 3/4 Oberhasli and has color variations too.

I have to feed Manson separately or he’ll just ram everyone else away and eat it all himself.

DSCN9059Since the goats can be a little pushy before they get their grain I have Ishmael wait a second before we water and hay the goats. He just loves this part because he gets to sit and pretend to steer.

DSCN9199Winter around the homestead also means a lot of snow removal. Thank goodness for Struggling_along! He works the snow plow and shovels bits by hand.

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Ezra’s Pullover {KCCO/Yarn Along}

 I had just finished binding off Noah’s sweater (well more of a vest really) when Ezra asked me, in a rather injured tone, when I was going to knit him something. So I asked him what he had in mind. A  shirt, he replied. So I pulled up some patterns on ravelry (of course) showing him a few that I thought might fit what he had in mind. No! he said not like that. Oh.

That one. He was very confident. But in black.

Of course! How silly of me to suggest those other patterns. This one is so very much Ezra.

 A while back struggling_along came across a yard sale with a box of free yarn. Being the kind husband that he is he picked it up for me. This black is one of them. And it’s exactly what I needed. I did a swatch and now here is the beginning of the back.

I have a feeling there will be a lot of sweater knitting this winter. In less than a week we went from summer to fall:

to snow!

How did the boys feel about it?

There was much rejoicing, and a box full of Christmas ornaments were found and hung up!

While I’m not crazy about the recent weather it does have it’s perks:

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this post is part of KCCO and Yarn Along

     farmgirl friday