I know some people are looking at the month of February and thinking to themselves that we have a long way to go until we turn the corner to some golden days. Part of me feels that way. It really does. The other part of me looks at the last couple of months and wonders where they disappeared to. Winter is supposed to be the time on the farm where the garden goes dormant, animals stop having babies so we can work on the things we don’t have time for the rest of the year, like making serious headway on the farm store. And dare I say the winter is a time when we can go in before 9:00 at night and watch football on Sunday after church. Well… winter is just about over.
Technically, the winter still has almost two months to go, but if you are standing in my shoes (which are completely disgusting right now because I cleaned out the chicken coops today), things are about to get busy in an awful hurry as spring bears down on us like a freight train.
February Task#1: Hatching Chicks
Next week we’ll be releasing the roosters with the hens because we need to collect and incubate fertilized eggs for the first spring hatching. Once it starts, this project continues through the fall. The first eggs hatch March 1, and then we keep hatching them every two weeks until September.
February Task #2: Birthing and Milking Goats
Starting in mid-February, the goats could deliver at any time. We are already milking one of them (Pepper) because she had an early stillbirth a few days ago. While this was disappointing, it made us quite sure that the other two are pregnant, and getting to refine our milking skills for a month before the other goats give birth could prove to be very helpful. Once the other two goats deliver their bundles of joy, it will be a full-fledged nursery out there, with three goats to milk twice a day and little goat babies to enjoy 🙂
February Task #3: Maple Syrup
Around the same time as that, we will be watching the temperature closely, as the daytime temperatures could be subtly climbing into the high 30’s and low 40’s regularly, meaning it is time to tap the trees and make maple syrup. Somehow, that magical season always seems to sneak up on me. It is winter one day, then all of a sudden we are outside every day collecting sap and boiling it down every weekend.
Not to be overlooked, we have a garden to plan and seeds to order. Come March we will be starting to grow plants under the lights in the basement. The planning of our garden is particularly exciting this year as we are expanding our summer produce program.
On top of all that, we are putting in every free minute we can find (they get harder and harder to find) on the store. While we still have a lot of work left on the store, the progress we have made thus far has made us more focused on the finish line, which is becoming clearer and clearer as the weeks roll by.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining that winter is melting through my fingers. I am greatly looking forward to everything I wrote about above. It is just a marvel to me how fast even the dreariest seasons go when you have so much excitement right around the corner.