After a typically cold winter (Note: it is always too cold for me), we at the Modern Day Pioneer homestead have finally had a taste of spring. The high has been over 40 degrees for five days! Here is what’s been going on in the homestead over the long winter:
MICE!!! Icky little vermin were living in the walls. Most likely brought in to the basement when we brought the straw in for the chicks. Once identified, Mr. MDP and I did not rest, figuratively speaking, until the disease threat was eliminated. Multiple mousetraps and work, but such a relief to have them gone.
We have acquired lots of bucked, dry ash logs for the wood stove, so the sub-zero temperatures were not as unpleasant as they might have been. I much prefer going barefoot in the house to wearing heavy clothes and freezing anyway. This has led to much log splitting and stacking on the reasonable days and playing music and dancing in the living room on the unreasonable ones.
At week nineteen of chicken ownership we got our first egg! It was tiny, but we were disproportionately excited to see it. People who have kept chickens and know about such things have told us that it is rather early to see eggs. This is probably due to the heat lamps being on in the coop to protect the birds from the deathly cold. At the time of this writing, we are getting 3-7 little eggs a day. Our egg is on the right.
Because of some serious unrest in the coop, we had to thin out some roosters. The last weekend in February, we caught, killed and cleaned two of the most aggressive roos. Through some YouTube university, Mr. MDP built a cone for a neat, humane butchering. It was my first time plucking a chicken, always having skinned them until now. It went smoothly in spite of the cold and our sleep deprived state (courtesy of Mini-MDP teething).
One of the projects to arise from the mouse fiasco just before Christmas, is the deconstruction of the pantry wall. In order to get to the nest, we removed the rear pantry wall. All the applesauce and canned goods have been living on the kitchen island since, as well as a 50 lb bag of rice.
Now that we have a trailer (YAY!), we are able to get sheet rock and 2×4’s to put the area back together. After several tortuous minutes of deliberation, we decided to give the space a dual purpose. It shall become a place for some food and all the coats and boots. Coats for seven people, snow pants, hoodies, gloves, hats and boots will live below two shelves of food. I dislike the chaos of gear that currently lives at the back door, so I am delighted at the prospect!
Most recently, (end of March), we have been working on the new garden space. It is closer to the house and water supply to make it much easier to maintain and for the younger MDPs to help out. Mr. MDP and I spent a warmer but very windy weekend tilling the space between the house and chicken coop to level and put in raised beds. After a winter of vegetating in the house, our disused muscles screamed in protest! However, the bulk of the work is done. The ground is leveled, the beds are in and ready to receive the seeds. As a bonus, the old garden space can house the sprawling vegetables like pumpkin, melon and potatoes. I am anxious to begin sowing, but the cold lingers here and plants would not do well yet. A few more weeks of waiting and planning and we should be ready to take this garden by storm. In the meantime, we can get some wood chips from the county dump to put between the beds and finish installing the threshold for the garden area.
So, happy spring to you all and much “instant gratification” work like this!