Quinn, Quinny, Quinny-Winny
We’ve had our dog for a good 4 months now, and he has no shortage of nicknames! He loves going for walks around our 19 acres with Karl on his super-long leash. He pounces in the snow and in the tufts of grass, nose down and hunting the whole time, having the time of his life out there. We hate to burst his bubble, but this is an area where he needs training, because as soon as his nose hits the ground we are pretty much non-existent to him.
Thankfully, we haven’t had any dog-chicken incidents yet. There was one time when he broke his collar and escaped (we were outside with him, doing yard work) and he ran up to the ducks, but then stood there, wide-eyed and ready to play. Karl snatched him up. He could have killed one if he wanted to, but he didn’t, thank goodness. He definitely doesn’t look at them with the same intent that he does a bunny, or squirrel… so that’s a good start.
Spring couldn’t get here soon enough for the chickens. They have a plenty big coop, and they went outside all winter (unless it was below about 10 degrees F), but by the end of February they were about ready to kill each other- in fact, I think the roosters tried… I found them with bloody combs one day. Must be those spring hormones. They were both fine, by the way.
There was a week in the beginning of March that was in the 60s (totally not normal) which melted all the snow, and the chickens resumed their free-ranging behavior. They are soooo happy once again. They are eating last years grass and already finding plenty of bugs, plus a couple of frogs too! Livin’ the dream.
We just wrapped up the maple syrup season- this year we tapped two trees and got about 40 gallons of sap between them, which turned into a little over a gallon of maple syrup! If you’ve ever considered making maple syrup, read more about our numbers for this year’s harvest, plus my tutorial for making small-batch maple at home!
It’s Pretty Much a Miracle
We had two hives of honey bees going into the winter. Because of the weather last fall, and the fact that they were brand new packages of bees, the bees didn’t have anywhere near the amount of honey needed to make it through winter. As soon as the nectar flow ended, in a last-ditch effort, we started feeding them sugar (which I soooo didn’t want to do- but it was either that, or lose them for sure). We gave them all we could, then bundled them up for winter and hoped for the best.
I am happy to report that one hive has made it! I really didn’t think there was any chance. They are probably not as healthy as I’d like, since they’ve been eating sugar and not honey- but hopefully they can hang on until the natural nectar and pollen start flowing. We will open them up and do an official inspection to assess everything in a week or two.
Plans for the Spring
As expected, we’ve got a mile-long list of things to accomplish around the homestead this Spring and Summer! Last year we had a tiny (by my standards) garden, and this year we have mapped out where our big garden will go. As soon as the ground is workable, and with the help of our new (well, old) tractor, we will be plowing it up, fertilizing the crap out of it (or into it, literally) and fencing it in!
We also need to complete the chicken coop… this project has been hanging over Karl’s head all year. It just needs siding, and an added divider inside so we have two separate sections (to separate the flock for breeding, or to protect new baby chicks when needed). Of course I will give a full coop tour when it is complete. Oh, and it also needs to be decorated. I have a whole box full of chicken decor I’ve collected over the past couple years. Not joking.
Fences are also on the short list. We’ve found a couple chickens getting a little too close to the road, so we need to deter them from that. We also need to prepare for the next members of the homestead- we hope to add a heard of Icelandic sheep in the coming years.
Here’s to a productive and fun Spring on the homestead!
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