The snow has melted and temperatures are more often than not above freezing. Spring is right around the corner. We have been preparing for or have started several projects here at the homestead. It was great to see our contractor show up this past week to start to finish our screened-in porch that was started last Fall. This space can be used as a summer kitchen if need be. But more importantly we have started putting fence posts into the ground for our pasture. We designed a stainless steel “box” that will be used for our outdoor pizza/bread oven. The project was given to a local fabricator who just finished the bending and welding of the box.
I went to the hardware store and picked up lumber, or should I say gold, to use to build the platform the stainless-steel box will sit on. The basement is hosting our seedlings and we have lots of tomatoes that are doing very well. The peppers didn’t come up but once I added a warming mat they popped up and are now doing well. Very impressed that our heirloom seeds that were stored back in 2014 had a very high germination rate. It is good to know.
We put 41 eggs into the incubator however only 2 hatched which is 2 more than the last time we tried so we are headed in the right direction. I think we really need to watch the humidity for one and I believe many of the eggs were too cold out in the coop and the embryo didn’t survive. The good news is that we have started to collect more eggs to try again. This truly shows why we need to actually do what we think we will need to survive now, because my survival isn’t hinged to the result right now as we learn. I did manage to purchase 6 chicks at Tractor Supply at were 50% off. We are praying that our Amish contractor can rehabilitate our old barn that will be used to house our livestock within our budget. That barn rehab was another 2020 project that did not get done, let alone even started.
We have a piglet on order from the neighbor. His sow is due May 1st. I don’t think we are going to have the barn ready by then. That is one of our main hurdles to progress right now, not having a barn for cows and pigs. I spent some time trimming some Pine trees back and splitting wood that didn’t get done last year. I am planning on setting up two beehives under the pines where I was trimming. I can face the hive openings to the Southeast and right into our orchard. Knowing that “nice” days were soon to be the norm, I got out and pruned the apple trees.
My ban on attending auctions is up however I think I’m now on some kind of double-secret probation. I took a Friday off and traveled about an hour to attend an auction at an Amish farm. My goal was to bring home a very nice anvil for the blacksmith shop that is on the agenda for building this year. I stopped bidding at $250 and it finally went for $325. But it wasn’t a complete loss, since they had two blacksmith’s vises (aka leg vise or post vise). In all my years of attending auctions, I don’t ever recall seeing a blacksmith’s vise up for bid. I did a quick search on the iPhone to see was they were being offered for sale for on the Internet so I had a general idea how high to bid. They offered a choice with option for both to the highest bidder. I was stunned to win the bid a mere $25 and of course took both. The added surprise was the hand-cracked blacksmiths drill press (aka post drill) that they uncovered that also went home for a mere $50. Not an ounce of rust on it and everything moves freely. It was obvious the Amish gentlemen still used it as it was well greased and cared for. The drill press will also go into the blacksmithing shed when finished.
When I got home and reported to my auction probation officer (aka wife) she immediately wanted to know how much I spent and on what. After dramatic eye-rolling and stand-up lecture on “wasting money,” I showed her what the items were being offered for on eBay and I was given a reluctant pardon. This year we plan on setting up an irrigation system that is hooked up to the large rainwater catchment tank. We used the water from the tank last year to water the garden with a hose hooked up to the tank and it worked but the gravity feed just made the process a little longer than I enjoyed. I bought a 12-volt DC on-demand pump that will help speed the process up and I can use timer as well.
I would really like to hear from other SurvivalBlog readers as to what they are doing this Spring. Send JWR your “Snippets”, via e-mail.