As some of you know, in late 2013 my life was turned upside down by the very unexpected death of my then husband.
It’s felt like I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster since, the kind that keeps you upside down until that point you are about to collapse, then spins you right side up just long enough to keep you alive.
I did remarry shortly after he died and that is, I believe, the one thing that has kept me holding on even though the marriage was not under the best circumstances due to what I was going through.
It is however, a decision I do not regret.
This spring it seems like things are finally settling down and some kind of normality is returning to my life and our homestead.
With the exception of this insane cold, rainy weather!
Jeff was able to get out a few weeks ago and rototill the small garden, twice.
But it needed it a third time.
I have a ton of Creeping Charlie and Canadian Thistle I am fighting in that garden.
I have tried everything from pulling, digging, spraying with vinegar, covering it with paper to try to smother it – and it just keeps coming!
The rain has made it too wet to work in the garden or even get it planted, so it sits there.
Then there is the big garden.
I decided to expand it this year and without measuring it, Jeff thinks it is closer to 70 feet by 70 feet, which is still pretty small for everything I want to grow!
He was able to get it rototilled once – then the rain hit.
Since the garden was not worked at all last year, it is full of grass and definitely needs rototilled two more times.
Did I mention it also has it’s fair share of Canadian Thistle in it?
You see, the issue is, the previous neighbor did not tend his acreage and let the poison ivy and Canadian Thistle set seed every single year for over five years!
Those seeds blew into my yard and I am now fighting both.
The sad part is that every weed seed that hits the ground can lie dormant for up to seven years!
Yes, you heard that right, I could be fighting these weed seeds for another seven years!
The good news is, the house was sold and the new neighbors are cleaning that acreage up!
But back to the story –
So, with the wet rainy weather, nothing has been planted and the flower gardens are overgrown with weeds.
I’ve tried to get out there on days when the soil is dry enough to get rid of some of the weeds – and of course, I have succeeded at pulling some up by their roots.
However, I simply refuse to work in the garden when it is wet because I have worked way too hard on my soil to ruin it now by working it wet.
Clay soil has a tendency to turn to concrete – or more correctly, brick – when it is worked wet.
So, the seedlings I started are in the greenhouse, waiting patiently to be planted.
I did plant one tomato plant in a five gallon bucket because I am getting impatient and it is starting to flower quite profusely so we should have tomatoes soon.
I’m ready to get the garden started, so I called around to various bakeries looking for free buckets thinking I would start a lot of plants in them instead of in the ground, but guess what?
Not only are they no longer free, but many places won’t allow anyone to have them anymore.
I could buy buckets, but that is an expense I am not willing to take one a this time.
So, I had to come up with another plan because the one thing I am not going to do it allow another gardening season to go by without having a garden.
I am waiting one more week for this rain to stop and if it does not, I am laying clear plastic down on my garden to kill off the weeds and dry it out.
Then I will remove the plastic and plant.
However, if the rain stops as I think it will and the soil dries on its own, we will proceed with the rototilling plan and then plant.
This years garden is going to be quite different because I have a lot of seeds I need to use up before they lose their viability so the diversity is going to be quite extensive.
We also have chicks this year – six of them.
They are supposed to be hens, but of course, sexing a newly hatched chick doesn’t always mean you get what you are supposed to, so we will see as they continue to grow.
So far, I have not heard one try to crow, so I am hopeful.
The chicks are in a chick brooder in my living room for now.
With the issues people are having this year with livestock not making it and chickens dying due to buffalo gnats, indoors is the best place for them until they are a little older.
Plus it temporarily solves the issue of where to house them outdoors.
The old chicken coop needs torn down because it is way past its prime.
Plus with the way it flooded in the past, I am sure it has sitting water inside of it this year.
It was also short so it was impossible to stand up inside it, even for someone who was only 5′.
The plan is to redo part of the barn to create a chicken area that is brighter, has better ventilation, is easier to clean and easier to access.
The other thing we have to do before we move them outdoors is get rid of some wild animals that are causing issues – such as black squirrels and groundhogs.
We have also noticed raccoon and fox.
All of these will reap havoc on chickens and gardens, so they have to go.
While trapping and relocating is ideal for some, it doesn’t always work and the safety of my livestock is the number one priority.
On a final note, we bought a brand new refrigerator that was delivered on December 23.
Last Friday the repair men were here because the freezer quit working and we lost a bunch of food, then the refrigerator went.
It’s going to be at least ten days before it is fixed because the circuit board went out.
So, we have been trying to survive without a refrigerator, which let me say is not an easy task.
I ordered some freeze dried meat which was supposed to be here yesterday, but guess what?
It did not arrive.
The tacking information says it will be here this morning, so we shall see.
Trying to figure out how to cook for two people without having leftovers or being able to grab condiments or other items from a refrigerator and working in a kitchen that is all torn up due to the refrigerator and freezer needing to remain open, is disasterous to say the least!
We are making the best of the situation however, because what else can you do?
After all people used to live without refrigeration.
The lesson to be learned from this is to make sure I can more ready to eat meals this year and stock up on freeze dried food so if this happens again we are better able to deal with it.
If there is anything I have learned in the past 15 years of homesteading, it is always being prepared is essential because things break at the most inopportune times, people and animals get sick and sometimes die. and of course, what is going to happen tomorrow is never guaranteed.