The past two months have been unseasonably warm for New England. It’s mid-December but I find myself with dirt under my nails and a rake in my hand. Not that I am complaining, by any means!
The warm temperatures have allowed my husband and I (with our now 6.5mo daughter on my back, of course!) to get a jump start on some of our Spring projects. This past week we have been clearing the brush, leaves and thorny bushes from the area behind and to the left of our coop. It started as a general clean up, but as our vision for the spot developed, so did our frevor to get it as ready for planting in the spring as possible.
Some of you may recall that I attempted to get more garden space from the yard before we put down grass seed (ok, maybe I was a little crazy… But who needs a yard when you could have more farmland?!). I am happy to say that this newly cleared land will be another garden spot, where I can plant double (maybe even triple!) the amount of corn I was planning on putting out back, a few rows of oat straw, and the berry patch we have been dreaming of since we first planted a raspberry bush at our last house.
I have been learning to operate our new tractor, which was tricky at first since I couldn’t even reach the pedals, but that’s nothing a blanket and foam pad couldn’t fix! 😉
We also processed our remaining three hens, which was of course bittersweet. It’s good to have such quality, home raised meat in the freezer, but it is difficult not to become attached to an animal you have cared for. We are looking forward to adding a dozen new chickens next year, with the goal of keeping four layers. I have had fun picking out new breeds, picking hardy birds that will also lay a variety of egg colors.
One of the craziest parts of this warm fall is looking past our Christmas tree and seeing vibrant, lush green grass behind it! It seems quite surreal. After months of preparations – gathering, splitting and stacking wood, preparing kindling bundles, putting my gardening tools to bed, etc.- I am more than ready for winter already. It seems like it will never begin, although I tell myself not to be too eager as I’ll be wishing for Spring in the same fashion soon enough, I’m sure.
We have a lot of projects to do to keep ourselves busy once winter arrives: finishing our laundry area in the basement, finally organizing and setting up my craft room, finalizing garden designs and ordering any final seeds/plants and of course, starting out seedlings in February. We’ve started to enjoy those heartier meals on cool days, homemade cookies and pasta, slow cooked roasts and curry braised pheasant and the smell of the wood stove burning; there are books to read, scarves and baby booties to knit and the endless joy of watching our daughter grow a little more each day. Like I said, I’m ready for winter!