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It’s over!  Winter is freaking over!  I know this to be true because our farmstead has turned into a giant mud pit, but this year, the mud ain’t gonna get me down.  Mud means temps above zero, and temps above zero means SPRING!  

It also means there are a million and one projects around here that need to be done RIGHT NOW.  Seriously, last week, things just started to fall apart.  We broke the blade for the tractor, the pump on the well suddenly stopped working, the stairs need railings, I need to install two new light fixtures, we have wood to chop, and on and on.  Throw in work, two kids under two, a pig ready to farrow and 14 eggs about to hatch, and it is really, really busy around here lately.

Some updates:

Woodstove

After paying $821 to fill our propane tank in February, we decided to get a woodstove to offset some heating costs for the rest of the winter and future winters.  Best. Decision. Ever.  I’d like to move our bedroom into the living room so I can be near the wood stove all day and all night.  I love wood heat.  

Blizzard outside. Warm fire inside. #saskatchewanweatheriscrazy #blizzard #newwoodstove #march #winter

A post shared by Jamie Shebelski (@sparrowhill2016) on

Chickens

I hatched eggs!  From my very own ragtag barnyard crew!  I started with 24, and 16 eventually hatched. These cute little dudes are actually three weeks old now and have moved out to the coop since I have another batch of 14 due to hatch tomorrow, and they’ll need the brooder.  

I alos bought another ten white laying hens from a nearby farm.  They were in rough shape when I first got them, having never seen the light of day, but they look really good now.  I’m going to buy ten more this week.  Poor battery cage hens.  Makes me sad to see chickens live like that.  

Just brought home ten new chickens. Poor girls. I bought them off kijiji (like craigslist), and I basically rescued them from an egg mill. It was one of those industrial chicken barns where the chickens supposedly "free range." They are skinny, filthy, missing feathers, and have the palest combs and wattles I've ever seen. I don't think they've ever been outside. Ever. I have them quarantined from the rest of my flock right now just in case. But at least they are active. They were so quiet on the ride home, I was starting to worry. Once they got inside the coop, they started scratching and exploring. Hope they enjoy their new lease on life! #chickens #instagramhomesteaders #homesteading #layinghens #howchickensaresupposedtolive

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Pigs

Petunia is due on Wednesday.  Fingers crossed that all goes well with the birth.  I have shoulder length gloves and lube, but I really don’t want to have to use them.  Berkshires are supposed to be quite good at birthing and don’t usually require intervention.  Let’s hope.  

Farmstead/homestead projects

Now that the weather has warmed up, I’m itching to start working on outside projects.  So here’s the list:

  • The well.  As I mentioned, the pump suddenly stopped working.  We’re not sure why, and we haven’t had time to look at it yet, but I’m getting tired of hauling water from the house to the barn, so this is at the top of the list this spring.  
  • Insulate and side the foundation of the house.  This should hopefully solve the ice on the walls problem we had this winter.  
  • Staining. I need to stain the playset, the front and back steps, and the porch deck.  
  • Everything barn. The barn needs some TLC.  We’re planning to hire a couple of out-of-work actor friends for a weekend and get a fresh coat of stain on it.  It also needs new windows and a scrub down on the inside.  
  • The old house. It’s starting to become a safety concern.  The back part of the house, the kitchen, is falling off and separating from the main portion of the house, and giant cracks in the stucco have appeared.  A large chunk of stucco is currently wavering in the wind, and will probably fall any day now, hopefully not killing anyone on its way down.  The electricity for the pump still runs through the old house, so we plan to move it to the panel in the “new” house.  I think demo may have to happen sooner than I had planned.  
  • Perrenials.  Really, really want to get some landscaping done this summer. 
  • Clothesline.  My brother is removing his from his backyard, so I’m installing it here.  Can’t hardly wait!  

There’s a million more things to do, but as this is a marathon and not a sprint, I must prioritize.  We won’t be demolishing the old house anytime soon, but I think the rest of the projects are doable this year.  Hopefully.  

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