Homesteading: Spring Decisions

Spring is in the air, or at least in the lengthening daylight hours.  The great awakening, around the homestead, has begun and we had better be prepared.  It’s time to make final decisions on this year’s direction. Which of our plans/dreams will we commit to for this year?  How much time/energy do we have now and think we’ll have through out the upcoming year?  So many dreams, so little time!  Where’s my crystal ball!

One thing I will commit to is continuing my quest to co-create the best possible soil in the garden, pasture, and fruit growing areas.  My focus will be implementing at least a small portion of the information I’ve absorbed from the NOFA/Mass soil health and nutrition classes I’ve taken over the last several years. A healthy soil growing the most nutritious, delicious, healthy disease and pest resistant plants, not only leads to a healthier me but to less time and work.  I’ll plant more beds to soil- building cover crops and grow fewer but more productive vegetable plants. I’m excited about expanding my use of cover crops as active soil builders, feeding and nurturing them as I do my vegetables, which will multiply and enhance the benefits to the soil.

I’ll also commit to finish building the hoop house that we started in the fall.   Having this operational will expand our growing seasons both in spring and fall and maybe even give us some wintergreens.  The other aspect, I’m looking forward to, is the worm bins constructed in the aisles.   We’ll have worms (protein) for the poultry and also castings for soil fertility.

Another major area is to continue and increase our educational commitment to share our many years of homesteading skills and knowledge.  Pass-it-on, so to speak.  This includes not only preparing for and teaching our monthly workshops but also creating a yearlong internship program.  This will necessitate finishing up-grading our summer intern cabin to make it ready for year round use.  The compost toilet addition is well under way, but we will have to finish upgrading the kitchenette and the sleeping loft.  And most importantly advertise for, interview and select the “perfect” person who is committed to learning the homestead life, from a couple of lifers!

The big question up for grabs is whether to raise a few sheep to increase our farm’s sustainability level.  The pros include: they would be great in a pasture rotation with the poultry; less mowing to keep the forage at a chicken desirable height; increased soil fertility via their droppings; and they would sure look pastoral out there.  The cons include:  added responsibility; extra work especially, when Pru is away a lot of time caring for aged parents; and increase financial outlay.  Decision to be made very soon!

Hopefully, I’ll be able to report not only progress but also success on these commitments as time progresses.  Though I must say, and try to remember, that life has a way of intervening.  I guess my final commitment today, is that I will not only roll with the punches but also be open to new possibilities.  Change is life/ life is change.  Harmony and balance to all of you in your life and choices.

To be published March 2013 NOFA/Mass e-news http://www.nofamass.org

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