Finally, some progress!

I have many photos to post soon, but for now at least it’s an update!

The chicken camper is finished and the girls are being coop trained. We will install the nesting boxes later this spring and my daughter and I will paint the camper.

The ladies will be getting their first taste of the outside world in the next few days when they get to explore their run for the first time. They have grown from the little fluff butts to gorgeous, glossy girls! So far only two have names since they are the only two I can tell apart from their breed mates.

Their run is fenced and will be seeded this weekend. We still need to work on hawk deterrent as there is suddenly a hawk flying around a few times a week that has never been here before. The top of the run will be reinforced this weekend.

It’s been a busy few weeks at the homestead. I’m pretty sure my son is going to grow up thinking everyone has a backhoe in the backyard!

We are anxiously waiting for Big Momma Harriet to calve at the Red Barn. She looks quite the sight at the moment with her heavy belly and half of her winter fur shed out. Last year’s little heifer, Rosabelle, grew like wildfire over the winter. She is nearly as big as her Momma. She is going to be rather cranky when it’s time for Momma and the new calf to move to their own pasture.

We took the kids over to the red barn last weekend and put them both to work. They helped me scrub the summer water tanks, muck the last of the winter manure out of the barn, helped their Papa clean the hay loft, and rode with their Daddy to push the cows to spring pasture. It was a wonderful day of family play without any gadgets or gizmos!

The sow at the farm on the mountain is ready to deliver any day. I love those first few days of new piglets when those little babies are shiny and dainty!

Our plans for this years large garden are under way, with minor setbacks. We started the tomatoes, peppers, brussel sprouts, and broccoli indoors last month then moved them out to the enclosed greenhouse with the rhubarb, strawberries, and currants. We jumped the gun and lost the tomato, brussel sprouts, and peppers last weekend when the temperature dropped suddenly overnight. I’ll be replanting those this weekend.

Winter fatigue.

I haven’t posted much lately because this never-ending winter is sucking the life out of me. The chicks are now birds, the first garden seeds are planted, the camper coop is underway… and still spring just won’t arrive. My blood is sluggish and winter-weary. Can’t wait for spring to actually arrive and start feeling like spring!

Fluctuation. Otherwise known as February in Pennsylvania.

ice drops

Last week, my little creek was high in it’s banks and jammed with ice sheets. Then the weather turned, the water calmed and when it dropped it left beautiful ice shelves about 8 inches off of the water surface. I love watching the ice drops change day to day as the weather changes.

ice apple

Our January thaw, and 70 degrees, left our Spry apple trees confused. They started to bud just in time for their beautiful fuzzy leaves to freeze again. They are never going to make it past 4 feet tall if this keeps happening every spring.

ice wire 2

My little mud bugs thought the ice hanging from a roll of chicken wire was really fun!

ice huck

Huckleberry Hound on a jog by the creek. He will be much happier when his swimming hole is back this spring.

Those last dreary days of winter

Warm and Toasty

Warm and Toasty

Heading into the last stretch of winter now, getting anxious for spring. This year we have plenty of firewood left for the stove, due to an unfortunate change of plans mid-winter that meant switching our wood boiler out for a gas boiler.  Really wasn’t excited about going back to gas heat, but at least we have the wood stove for the chilly days. No need to crank the gas furnace since the Mountain Man can roast us all out with the wood stove in the living room in less than an hour.

The up and down temps have left all of the creeks and rivers in our area climbing their banks. Out on a drive the other day, we saw many roads that had water up to the edges on both sides. Every time we get snow it is followed by crazy warm temps and we are nearly swimming again. The picture below is the creek in our side yard. It is usually barely over a trickle, just enough for the mud bugs to splash through in the summer. It is now running high and full of ice jams.  I don’t know what it is about fog that makes me feel like bad news is coming.

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Johnny Run

Scattered from here to there

Our current efforts at starting our farm are scattered halfway across the county and back. We are blessed to live directly between two of our family farms. One my side of the family, we keep “Big Momma” Harriet and her little heifer from last summer,  Rosabelle, at a farm owned by my step-dad about 15 minutes away. We also raise our yearly butcher steer there. My little mud-bugs love to go see “Big Momma” and wait for her new babies to arrive in the spring.

Our pork comes from the pigs at my in-laws farm, where my husband grew up. I love watching those little piggies go from tiny little newborns to fat, happy piggies rooting and digging through the trees! Our current tired old laying hens roam around there, causing all manner of trouble.

Our garden spreads from my backyard, to the in-laws farm (Farm on the Mountain), to my step-dad’s farm (the Red Barn) where he has given me a garden lot that is 300 ft by 30 in between two pastures. The electric fence there should help keep the deer out this summer!