It’s hard to believe we had snow so recently, with daffodils blooming away madly in the woods next to the house and coatless children outside cleaning out the garden beds. The last snow actually only lasted a couple of days, long enough for some sled rides down Alice’s hill and a couple of snowball fights.
The snow melted, and the rains came, and now a bit of sunshine. We’ve been taking advantage of the bright days and warmer temps to get out and get things started for Spring. It seems like every time I cross something off the list, something else gets added on, mash’Allaah. Here’s a brief look at what we’ve done so far, and what we have still to do.
First of all, we had two new kids born to us just a couple of weeks ago, the third and fourth born on the homestead. They were Popsy’s babies, one boy (Huckleberry) and one girl (Hibiscus). They are white and black. Huckleberry has airplane ears and his sister has elf ears, and they both have curly hair down their backs and tails. The birth was pretty uneventful, just a few days later than we expected. Popsy handled it like a champ, you would never have known it was her first time. All four newcomers are doing well, alhamdulillah, growing bigger every day and amusing all of us with their antics. You would think their legs were spring-loaded, the way they pop straight up into the air and bounce up and down like little jack in the boxes.
Second, we have been working to clear the forest paths for the summer. This means raking up lots and lots of leaves, but the work goes quickly and I can always count on at least two helpers to keep me laughing as we progress down each path.
Third is the garden. Ahhhhhh, the garden. I started some seedlings last week – LAST WEEK- in my own little made up potting mix inside under lights, and Nusaybah had to transplant some of them into the larger boxes already. Squash and watermelon and cucumbers seem to be going bonkers, I am hoping that their good start will help me combat the squash bugs this year. I have been outlining my strategy, so here’s hoping we’ll make some headway against them.
I haven’t firmed up my garden plan yet, except that we do have to dig two new small beds in the fenced area, and I really want to get an herb bed dug in the front lawn. I know the soil will need to be built up, but I am pretty sure at least some of my many herb seeds will grow, if I can just get them in the ground. I am hoping to put in a large bed, so that I can have herbs to sell in various forms as part of Simple Kindnesses. Because of this, I am going to have to hire someone outside to dig the bed, which is on my to-do list.
In the existing garden area we are weeding and getting ready to plant some early cold tolerant crops like kale, spinach and peas. We are also clearing out the paths between the beds there as well so we don’t have to worry about snakey visitors. Yes, snakey, NOT sneaky, though they can often be the same thing!
We also have to beef up our fencing to help keep deer, rabbit, and the occasional invading pig from the neighboring farm from messing with our vegetables. Last year we used a product called Deer Scram to great effect, and I am going to use it again this year. Still, I think some fencing reinforcement would not be amiss at all. Because fencing is so expensive, I am trying to decide the best way to do this.
Fourth are the compost bins. They are not working in the way I had hoped, so Hudhaifah has been drafted to see what he can come up with. I am hoping for something that will not only compost fairly quickly, but also keep the possums out of the compost. Getting rid of them is one of the least pleasant aspects of life here, but it has to be done. Better, then, to not have them in the first place.
Hudhaifah is also working on the buck pen, as well as devising tomato and pepper cages on the cheap. I will let you know how all of those projects come out as they are finished, insh’Allaah.
Fifth is deciding on where to plant our new fruit trees and bushes. We won’t be getting them for awhile, but I want to be ready for them when they come. We are already planning a border of rosehips along one side of the property that will serve the dual purpose of providing us with lovely rosehips as well as extra privacy along that border. The fruit trees will go in the orchard, or course, and I have ideas for the elderberries and other goodies as well.
Sixth, the girls are planting bulbs all over the place, and all of them have various projects going. Juwairiyah built a trellis and ordered some lovely flowers for it, and Maryam and Asmaa are planting a butterfly garden using seeds our neighbor, Marty gave us. They all have an idea for the shady area right in front of the house. I’ll let you know about that as soon as I know about it!
Seventh is our forest growing project: ginseng, Black Cohash, and goldenseal to name a few. We are working to clear out the underbrush in a couple of areas and make a good habitat for these forest gems.
Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg, but it will give you an idea of what’s going on here at Wide Earth. In all of this, we are trying to look at the homestead in a holistic manner, and incorporate as many Permaculture principles as we can.
I am also working on various indoor projects, such as an Etsy shop, an herbal book, and a cookbook, as well as a community building idea or two that I think will be a lot of fun.
I’d love to hear what you all are up to, big or small! Please do leave a comment and let me know.