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Spring is a busy time of year on the homestead. It’s time to start the outdoor projects that have been dreamed up all winter long. This is the first spring on our homestead, which means a long to-do list. Here’s what we’ve been up to lately.
The Missouri Department of Conservation has a program where you can buy a variety of tree and shrub seedlings. We ordered 300+ trees and shrubs, which meant a lot of time planting trees in early spring. We also added cherry, apple, pawpaw, chestnut and seaberry to our orchard. The trees that we planted last fall are doing well. It’s so encouraging to see the fruit trees that were carefully planted leaf out and thrive!
We’ve been busy building hugelkultur beds in our garden. We have a lot of trees on our land, so it was easy to find rotting wood and fallen logs that were perfect for a hugel. The beds took time to build, but should be well worth the time and effort. As soon as the beds were built, the garden was planted. I also used the area where we started our pigs for melons and pumpkins. They rooted up the dirt, so I planted! We planted a large garden this year. Our goal is to can/preserve as much food as we can from the garden so we’re less reliant on the grocery store. There is a great health food store nearby, which is so nice to have in a small town. However, their prices are high. Having our pantry full of nourishing food will help us keep to our budget and still have great organic produce. It has been interesting gardening in a new grow zone this year. I have gardened in Colorado long enough that I’ve figured out how to get things to grow at an elevation of 7400 ft. Our area of Colorado was a USDA zone of 5, however gardening in high altitude had a lot of challenges and behaved more like a zone 3 or 4. We are now in zone 6b, and it feels like I’m learning to garden all over again! The soil and climate are entirely different. But I am loving how things grow here with little effort. Of course the weeds grow just as well, so mulching is currently on my to do list.
More animals have been added to the homestead. Meat goats, pigs, a cow/calf pair, more chicks(layers), guinea keets (little tick eaters!) and ducklings. We are practicing rotational grazing with the animals, which means a lot of electric fencing and moving of animals. The goats have already cleared quite a bit of brush from the pastures. They absolutely love blackberries and multiflora roses! The plan is to keep adding more animals as we find them. Bit by bit, we’re building our homestead.
Back in January we started a new chicken coop for our egg layers. It sat nearly finished for quite a while, with just a couple of finishing touches that needed to be done. It was one of those projects that was put on the back burner as life happened and more pressing jobs came along. After a couple of hours of work, it is finished! Just in time for our new pullets to go into the coop. It’s a movable coop, so once the pullets are a little bigger, they will be added to the rotational grazing schedule. We have plenty of green grass and bugs for them to feast on. The coop is Travis’s design based on what has worked well for us in the past. You can look forward to a chicken coop tour soon!
The to-do list is never done on the homestead. June is already filling up, with the arrival of more honey bees to add to the orchard and meat birds. It’s a busy life, but it’s a good life!
How’s your spring been?
Hi! Around here I wear many hats. Homesteader, farmer, homemaker, homeschool mom, gardener and builder. We strive for a simple, self-sufficient life on our little piece of paradise. Read more