It's spring! That means weeds, warm breezes, and mosquitoes. We've been hard at work cleaning the land, dragging brush to be burned, starting gardens and planting trees.
Garden: In the main garden, we now have raised beds. It's still a work in progress. While I have weed barrier cloth on the walkways, I'm biding my time trying to find free brick on Craigslist so I can line them. I have brick-envy bad. Everywhere I go I look for someone giving away their bricks.
It'll probably take a long time. I'm looking specifically for old brick. The good solid ones.
Not much to see yet. The tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and okra are in. The onions and garlic are in the back, and in the middle are the strawberries, full of flowers.
My friend, Mel, gifted me with a three grape vines for my birthday. I love my friend! If you're ever in doubt about what to get me for a birthday or Christmas gift, you can't go wrong with plants. I'll always find some place to put them.
Next month, that garden should be entirely full. We'll also start the back garden with the tall plants like sunflowers and corn. I should plant soybeans too. I hadn't done them in a while.
Rabbits: We put the last litters in the freezer. I normally don't talk about killing and butchering our farm animals on this blog, but I have to mention the device Greg forged to make the deed less cruel.
He made a cervical dislocator which makes the process of dispatching our rabbits much quicker and more humane. Anything that makes this difficult procedure less brutal is a blessing.
Goats: The girls still haven't delivered. This means they didn't get pregnant when the boys escaped last fall. Unfortunately, I still don't know when they did mate. I'm speculating they'll be April births, so I'm checking them several times a day to make sure no one is in labor.
Ray Charles: Does anyone remember my little goat who was born blind last year? (He was so big he'd gotten stuck in the birth canal and damaged his spinal cord, resulting in temporary blindness.)
Ray Charles is a sweetheart. Because I spent so much time with him, he thinks I'm his second mother. But things aren't turning out the way I had hoped.
Even though he regained his sight, Ray Charles continues to have health issues. Nothing terrible, but you can tell he's not the studly goat his cousin is. He's smaller and less thrifty looking. I've made the difficult decision that Ray is going to have to go in the freezer. The job of stud will go to his cousin, Moe.
Moe is superb looking, but I can tell he's just like his father, BBQ. Remember him? Meanest goat that ever lived. (But very tasty.) Moe is manageable right now, but every so often you can see shades of BBQ in him.
Here's a picture of him getting tangled in a tarp. I tack up tarps during the winter to give them a wind break, but lately, he's been using it for goring practice, and this was the result. (Just like his father!)
If we have any boys from this delivery, it won't bother me to put Moe in the freezer too. Our plan right now is to sell or freeze all but two goats so that we'll be able to travel. We'll have a caretaker while we're gone and I don't want it to be an overwhelming task to whoever gets the job.
Chickens: I need to put a For Sale sign at my local feed store and sell my black Australorps. I hate to see them go because they're such nice birds, but I really need to downsize.
Greg has plans to build a new and improved Chicken/Rabbit Condo. We're going to build it inside the goat pen so we can have all the animals in one area.
I really want to raise a couple of geese, but Greg thinks they need a pool/pond and I don't have one. I'll have to ask around to see what their requirements are.
Dogs: Here is where I admit I was a bad mom. Maggie, our white lab, hadn't been feeling well. I was afraid she'd had a stroke because she was panting heavily and her right side looked droopy. We took her to the vet and she confirmed it was Horner's Syndrome.
It's a good news/bad news situation because most dogs recover within four months--UNLESS--the damage is near the brain stem. If it is near the brain stem, she'll only get worse. All I can do is wait and see. I'm glad at least Maggie is in good spirits.
While we were at the vet's office, we did find out one other thing. She had gained weight and it was my fault.
After Tank died, I lowered the ratio of cooked food to their kibble. More kibble, less meat. The reason I cooked for Tank was to keep his protein intake high (because of his tumors). Kibble has too many carbs.
When he passed away, I started feeding the others more kibble thinking it would save me money since these guys had no health issues. What I didn't realize is that I was giving them too much kibble. I never read the instructions on the bag. It turned out I was feeding almost twice their normal requirements.
Bad dog mama!
Now it doesn't matter with Nana, the border collie. That dog expends more energy than a tornado, but the other two are couch potatoes.
I feel bad for getting them used to so many extra calories but hopefully they'll drop the pounds soon so I can give them treats again. In the meantime, it's lots of belly rubs and walks.
I should have better pictures next month when the gardens are full and we have babies on the ground.
This is the busiest time of the year for me. The weather is perfect too. We're even getting record amounts of rain which is great because we'd suffered four years of drought. If this continues our lake levels could be back to normal this year.
Is it Spring by you? Are you a gardener? What are you planting this year? I've got a helper this year so I plan to do a lot of canning this fall.
If you're not a gardener, what's your favorite Spring activity--or Fall if you're in the Southern Hemisphere?