I see the ground!
Before I moved to New England, this would have seemed like a very odd statement indeed, but now it is an event to be celebrated. Most of the snow in the yard had gone liquid and returned to the land from whence it came. Daily activities around the homestead have also changed and since I am homebound; waiting for the impending arrival of our daughter, I have actually had time to focus on spring activities, instead of trying futilely to fit them in-between full-time work and weekend boys.
We were late for sapping but still managed to get a decent supply of syrup from our land. The sap is still running but now has gone bitter as it tends to do at the end of the season.
We did get a bunch of grade A syrup before it turned and that is better than nothing!
I extracted MORE honey from the empty hives and we got the unfortunate news from one of our neighbors that the field across the street from us has been using industrial amounts of Round-Up on his feed corn every year. Since corn is a grass, the bees collect pollen from it (to make bee bread) but not nectar. This is the main staple of food through the winter months for the colony. I’m not too worried about the honey I have pulled but it explains why both hives collapsed or swarmed yet again.
Here we were, for years thinking it was something we did when in reality 300 yards from the house there was a poisoned field of death. In light of this new knowledge we have stopped apiary plans for now since we cannot control our little buzzers and so bringing more into the area would only perpetuate the problem. It was sad news indeed, just another reminder that we are all apart of the web of life and the decisions people make for themselves are not isolated to their own harvest.
As the light retuned to our days, I got busy with processing eggs from the ladies.
When I got backed up I turned them into little temporary planters for the millions of spider plant babies our house plants have seen fit to produce.
I used the lazy vinegar method I discovered a few years back.
I cannot wait for all the indoor plants to be outside again! I might be the only one who cares though.
It doesn’t help that my husband can grow anything, anywhere. I mean, we have an eight foot banana tree in the boys room! That’s just silly. I have tried to explain that we live in Maine but he just shrugs and keeps on planting.
Since I am no longer spending 70+ hours away from the house each week, I have had ample time for projects and basic chores. The first weekend the boys walked in the door and the oldest looked around and marveled “It’s SO clean!”
Amazing what one can do when not working full time, managing scores of people and driving three plus hours a day- on the days we don’t have to drive four hours round trip to get or return the boys to and from Massachusetts.
I do miss seeing Mt. Washington up close daily.
But something tells me it will be around when I have time to visit it again. Easter this year I had time to come up with a very difficult Easter puzzle for the boys’ hunt.
It involved invisible ink and dirty tricks.
When paired with their Dad’s advanced egg hiding; the whole thing took three hours. They had asked for it so I didn’t feel too bad and in the end they were rewarded with spring bulbs, gardening equipment, homemade maple candies and chocolate eggs molded using real ones.
We have had time for walks to the top with the sheep. Lulu is in bad need of a hair cut and will be shorn as soon as this baby arrives. Daisy has started to shed and I am collecting her hair for lanolin extraction soon.
The flock is doing well. Though the new Guineafowl are as suspicious of me as the old ones, even though they too were raised from day old chicks.
The long and short of it, is that life has gone on around the homestead. The impending arrival of a new baby has added to the list of things to get ready. But all, in all, it has been nice to have so much other stuff to keep me distracted as I wait.
Soon enough I will have a new critter to worry about, life will continue to change and that is about as good as anyone can hope for. As we go into this new chapter of our lives I am cautiously optimistic about all of it.
Thank you for taking your time to read this scattered recap, there has been a lot to report but I have allowed myself time during each day to rest. This has been an important lesson in not driving myself too hard as everyone keeps on reminding me my decisions effect more than myself right now. I have allowed myself time to sit on the couch, take naps and just be. Each one of these pictures could have been a post unto itself but look how much time I saved us both!
Be well and happy spring!