When you’ve got livestock, even just chickens and geese, there’s no real off season. Animals require attention year round, 24/7, and even more so when the weather freezes. Nonetheless, winter does allow us to unwind from the tasks of weeding and harvesting in the garden, and having a few hours of the day to relax can make all the difference in re-charging your engines for summer.
Winter is not only a time to rest, it’s also an opportunity for planning. In previous winters, the rows of future gardens have been laid out on paper and sketches of ideal chicken coops have piled up on my desk.
This year, our planning is going a little differently. I decided when we first starting talking about moving to Liberty that I would not put too much focus on a large vegetable garden in 2016. Sometimes, you have to make sacrifices to keep your sanity.
So, instead of tilling, sowing, and growing a large garden this summer, we’re just going to have a few of our favorite vegetables growing in pots and containers around the property. My sketches and plans revolve around stalls in the barn and paddocks for our growing herd, and outlining the areas of the property that we will till and turn – for larger crops, and for my personal vegetable collection.
As many regular readers of the blog know, we are getting goats in Spring 2016. There will be three Nigerian Dwarf kids arriving sometime in July, two does and a wether. We’ll have a fresh gaggle of five more geese coming in May, to join our current flock of seven. Follow that up with a batch of chicks arriving in June and plans to put hatching eggs under our first broody hen, and four ducklings coming in July – and you’ve got a pretty full summer of animal integrations.
Our move date is more or less early April. We’re at the time that we have to put the planning papers down and start finishing up the projects so that we can make the transition. Our summer, when not cuddling these creatures, will be all about clearing and preparing land.
So, on days when sleet and snow flakes mix and the temperatures fall well below freezing, the chance to sit by the fire for a few moments and contemplate the coming summer is much appreciated.