February has cruised on by, leaving us with two decent snow storms and then a series of surprisingly warm days… Today, for example, is a beautiful, cloudless day with a temperature of 52. It feels and smells like Spring, and you know it wasn’t even 10am before there was dirt under our fingernails! The weeds wait for no one, and I’ve always had the mindset that it’s never too early to get started. In fact, I feel as though I am perpetually late on weeding, and with these warm temperatures, there were weeds galore looking at me. Some of the Spring flower bulbs that I missed last fall are already coming up as well, so I went around and dug them up, too. My husband pulled off the daunting task of removing the last pachysandra patch, and then yanked an old cedar stump from the ground with our Kubota. I wasn’t optimistic about accomplishing that task before gardening season began, so I actually have no plans for the area! Now I’ll have to look at my seeds and see what I should plant there.
Of course, we still have a ton of work to do (I don’t believe a day will exist when that won’t be the case, but we like it that way!) yet it is great to be working outside already.
Our garlic is peeking up through the mulch, I hope those cloves are bulking up down under the soil! So far we are still eating our garlic harvest from last year, which is SO satisfying! We finally seemed to have zeroed in on a good number to plant to sustain our verocious garlic appetite – I would be hard pressed to name a savory dish where garlic hasn’t been used in our home!
My husband ordered our Mason bees this morning as well, I am so excited for the new adventure! If these do well, we plan on adding Leafcutter bees to our homestead next year. We are going to make our own little house for the bees, my husband is excited about the project. We are also picking up some more tubing from the hardware store today, as we started tapping maple trees. I think in a normal New England Winter, we would be right on schedule, but with these warm nights, we both are apprehensive about how this will turn out. But, we’ll give it a go and see what happens!
Some of our other projects right now include setting up and adding two more rain barrels, which will be used for watering the gardens. My husband is going to rig up the one for the chicken waterer as well. Then we are making a brooder for the 15 chicks we are receiving in June; and of course all my vegetable and herb seedlings are well under way. The tomatoes, peppers and eggplant were started at the end of Jaunary, and just made the move into the greenhouse. I now have two varieties of cucumbers, more eggplant (the first seedlings don’t look too hot), celery, broccoli, three or four medicinal herbs/flowers and strawberry spinach in the germinator. The strawberry spinach has proven difficult to grow for me, which is ironic as all I read are stories of how easy it was for other gardeners to get going. Now I can get just about anything to grow, and yet this will be third attempt with the damn plant! I wasn’t even going to bother, but I got the seed packet on clearance for $0.35, so . . .
Our daughter is nine months old today, and I can’t believe it. Where does the time go? She has been joining us in all our homestead adventures, bundled up and strapped to our backs, where she chatters and smiles incessantly. She is a baby who likes to be busy at all times… Hmm, where did she get that from, I wonder? It certainly makes every chore more of a physical work out, that’s for sure. We laugh because she enjoys the work now, from her cozy carrier! Will she still love it when she has a bucket in hand, picking up the weeds I hoe up, or when she’s stacking freshly split wood with us? Maybe she won’t at the time, but we know how these chores are, they grow on you. You reap the benefits – from having fresh food to eat or a warm fire to sit by, to the well-defined muscles, the sun tan and freckles, and to the deep internal joy that comes from being active, living healthy and providing for yourself and your family.
I can’t help but get more excited every day for this gardening season, for all our plans and goals. While the weather is unpredictable, the garden soil needs work and the whole setup is new to us, I welcome the challenges and learning experiences ahead of us…. And yes, all those darn weeds.