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all the baby animals

We didn’t raise chicks early this spring and decided to wait until summer which now makes so much more sense.  Usually we get chicks while its still snowing outside and its a challenge to keep them warm even inside but in early summer it is warm everywhere and these chicks have been so happy.

We have added not only 38 chicks to our homestead but also 15 Welsh Harlequin Ducks and 5 Tolouse Geese.  The little peeps and quacks are such a pretty sound and I hear that the goslings are close to getting their little honks though I have not heard them myself.  Truth be told, chicks are my favorite part of homesteading.  Watching the chicks in the brooder is like watching my favorite show and these little peepers are getting more and more interesting as the days go by.  There is even one little chick that looks a bit like Liberace with poofy hair on its head and quite a flamboyant attitude.  It will be such a treat to see them all grow and develop their own personalities.

Then… just one day after we got the call to come and pick up our box of chicks at the post office, I got a message from a friend whose husband had rescued a wild baby raccoon whose mama had gotten killed by a car.  Her husband had come around a corner and saw a group of buzzards fly up off of the road and on second look, saw this little raccoon standing next to his mamas body.  My friends husband pulled over and this little raccoon walked right up to him as if to say “please help me”.  They brought him over and his first day he was more dead than alive but we nursed him back to health while we tried to figure out a good place to take him for help.  Ringo was decided upon by most of the kids.  Little Ringo raccoon got to be one of the Farmish bunch for a week before a friend with experience in raising raccoons came to adopt him.  So our career as raccoon parents was short lived but I have a feeling we will be talking about him for a lifetime.

Back on the chicken front, I have ordered portable electric fencing to keep our flock in this year.  I think Poppa will appreciate them a bit more when there aren’t hoard of chickens and ducks going to the flower beds near the front porch and roosting on rocking chairs.  We have been raising fowl since 2006 and he has been very patient for a non-farm boy.  It is the least I can do after he has welcomed flock after flock over the years.  I am excited to see how it all works and I hope to have good news to report back here.



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not yet spring

Last week I was so sure that spring was on its way.  It has been a very warm winter and most of us have felt a bit cheated.  We haven’t really gotten that winter feel where we just want to curl up with a book or a project by the woodstove.  Our woodpile barely looks any different than when we stacked it in November.

Then on Friday I got to give my little boys the news they have been waiting for.  A cold snap.  Enough days for us to tap our trees for maple which we had thought probably would not happen for us this year.  In just 2 days we went from spring right back to winter.  So much happiness from my little Southern boys.  It isn’t that they love the cold so much as that they know we need a bit more winter so we can tap our maples and so we get some good fruit set on our plants.

So the winter coats are back out as well as scarves and gloves.  We aren’t minding the cold very much and we have as much time with the sun out as dreariness which truly I probably will always love though the cloud days aren’t so bad either.  We are all pretty excited about foraging season starting very soon and our walks in the woods are turning more into inspections to see what might be coming up out of the ground these days.  We are back to indoor games and projects and the chinese checkerboard has regained popularity with games going on in the kitchen at almost every meal.

Two weeks ago, I walked into Luckys and they had Florida strawberries piled so high that my heart just flew home which meant that I had to buy a bunch!  It isn’t strawberry season here for a while but my heart knew that back home in Florida, the festivals are starting and I would have been making jam in these days so I bought some and made a batch.  6 jars of jam did not last very long with kids using a big spoonful in their yogurt or on toast with butter.  So this time I bought slightly a bit more and made 12 jars of our balsamic strawberry jam.  I hope it lasts until we have our own strawberries ripening on the homestead but I have to tell you,  these strawberries were so good.  They tasted like home.

I should get on with planning the garden and starting some seedlings but this year I am doing winter sowing so I am giving myself some grace and time to procrastinate, a little, not a lot.  Are you planning a garden this year?  I will be using what is left of winter inside time to get my spring prepared and planned and perhaps get just one more winter hat finished which we will still be able to use for another month or two in the early mornings.   I had hoped to finish a sweater for Mateo but its not even worthy of mention yet so perhaps that project should be in my basket right now where I can see it.

We did actually tap trees two days ago and the task of collecting sap every day has begun.  I am looking forward to a few days outside boiling it all down but much more on that tomorrow yes?   So much spring coming but very little winter left so I better get back to it.


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