This amazingly wonderful spring weather has had us all outdoors nearly every waking moment. There is so much to do to ready our little homestead for the growing season. I went around the pasture two days in a row and hacked-hacked-hacked down all the overgrown weeds and little trees and wild bushes, clearing the space for the fences we will put up in the following weeks. The animals are still confined to the barn as there are no fences here, and unlike our old place where they were free to roam - fenceless - there is much less land here, and the neighbours are much closer. No one particularly likes to discover a flock of feral sheep in your backyard eating the emerging tulip stems, do they!? We do take a couple ducks out to the pond each day and let them splash and play, but they are eager to get back to their cozy coop in the barn, and happily waddle back there after their pond-bath.
We have taken walks in the woods near our home and found wild leeks, interesting rock formations and abandoned mining carts from long ago. The scenery here is very beautiful, and so different from our last place. The woods are peaceful, with lots of hills and rocks. The deer frequently pass through the hill behind the house, as do flocks of wild turkeys. The tree frogs sing in the pond each night and the windows are open. Bliss.
Jason has started, with the help of one of our good homesteading friends Andrew, repairing the barn in spots. Overall, it is sturdy and well-built, but some things are in need of fixing immediately, like dry rot in the wood of a few beams and posts. Last weekend they poured a concrete support under a vital post in the hay loft that was to be sitting on the stone foundation but was 'floating' in the air because the beam under it had rotted out. We all feel much better that it has been remedied!
One of the nicest discoveries this past week were the vegetable garden beds that the previous owners had made. I am not sure of the time-line, but we are thinking they had been unused for 8-10 years or so, and in that time had become completely covered with various fast-growing weeds and trees and wild, tangley plants that were extremely difficult to remove! When I finally liberated the garden beds, still sporting their wooden edging, I was pretty happy. Jason got right to work digging them up and now we are on our way to having gardens full of bursting herbs and vegetables! The greenhouse is in full-swing; we have a variety of things started already. It's very exciting and fun to start over, to start fresh, but to do so with all the knowledge and experience we have amassed while homesteading at our last home is wonderful! The icing on the cake will be having chickens again. I was supposed to bring them home today actually, but the looming avian flu virus has prompted the supplier to push back the date, for the sake of safety. I appreciate the biosecurity measures this poultry farm is taking as I have learned the hard way that taking (unknowingly) sick birds in can pretty much decimate your entire flock. They chicks will come when they come, and by then, Jason hopes to have coops built in the barn; separate ones for both the chickens and the ducks, and an additional area for quail. We will be using the little duck coop he built during the winter for a brooder. Yay!
On the blustery or rainy days, we stay inside and the boys draw and draw and draw. Both of them are addicted now, and they happily incorporate letters and writing into their lovely drawings. Jude (5 yrs) is writing words and sentences quite regularly now, and is improving daily (It's amazing how fast little ones learn!) and Ollie (3 yrs) enjoys writing random letters, and can spell his name (: When they tire of working quietly at the table, they ask for good dancing music with drums (Lately, the Chieftans have been a BIG hit!) and they dance wildly in the kitchen until they desperately need a glass of water (: