We have been doing some pretty typical mid-winter activities lately, and some not-so-typical as well.
Preparing for Spring!
We placed our garden seed order, which is a very exciting part of winter around here. We have ordered exclusively from Seeds Trust the last few years because they have heirloom varieties that are specifically bred to do well at high altitude in the Rockies. We have had great success with them. Because we save our own seeds as well the order isn’t typically very big. This year is our biggest order in awhile because I didn’t save as many seeds last year. The planning for a garden is such a hope-filled activity. Dreaming of what could be this year….I love it!
We also decided to order some chicks! As you know, we have had to temporarily down-size our farm because of our 2-year-old’s ongoing serious health issues. So we are currently only raising chickens. And the older kids took over the care of the barn and barnyard (chickens, LGD, and barn cats) to free up Mtn Man and I since we are often gone to specialists and hospitals hours away. Because they have totally taken over the care of the chickens, I thought it only right that they could decide what to do with them this year as far as production, breeding, selling, etc. They are already selling the extra eggs we don’t use.
So they all discussed it and decided that just because we had to downsize doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue being as productive as possible towards feeding ourselves from our farm, which is the main goal of our homestead – to feed our family as much as we can from our little plot of land. They discussed different breeding options, incubating vs. broody hens, buying chicks, etc. They decided that they will let any broody hen hatch that wants to. Those chicks will be used for meat, and replacement laying hens. But since they are only using broodies and not the incubator, that wouldn’t be very much meat (maybe 15-20 birds depending on how many sets the hens are willing to do), so then they decided it was high-time we tried meat birds. We have discussed it every year but never get around to it. So they have ordered 40 Red Ranger Broilers. They discussed potentially getting frankenbirds (Cornish cross), but decided they wanted to be more natural than that and didn’t want to deal with the health issues involved with those. The Red Rangers are able to free range and are at butcher weight by 9-11 weeks.
Then they decided that since they will be brooding chicks anyway, they wanted to add some Silkies to the mix because we only have one and she is our best broody hen. They want more broody hens, so they added a straight run of 10 Silkies to the order, hoping to get 5 or so more silky hens, of which hopefully 3 will be good broody girls. We are looking forward to having chicks arrive in March!
I have continued to try to finish some of my Works-in-Progress (WIPs). This week it was a crosstitch:
We have also been working on the English Paper Piecing quilt. I will be sharing more about how to do English Paper Piecing later this week.
We normally do our wood gathering, splitting, and stacking in the fall. But this fall was all catiwompus around here, so nothing normal seemed to get done. This means that we are splitting wood and stacking it several times throughout the winter to be able to keep our house warm. Thankfully, we have had a mild winter so far, which means that #1 we are not going through as much wood, and #2 it is nicer weather for stacking and splitting. This last week we saw that a snow storm was inbound so we spent time getting ready for it. This is the wood rack for ONE of our two woodstoves. That should last us a few weeks. Feels good to have it all filled up.