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After a very, very long and cold winter, spring came to the homestead at the end of April.  Finally.  What a winter.  I can handle cold, but days and days of below 20 temps had me down (and cursing).

Due to cold temps and the fact that I don’t heat my barn, I lost three hens this winter.  So sad.  I did end up putting up a heat lamp, but it was like throwing snowflakes at a fire.  Barely made a dent in the temps.  Poor chickens.  But the ones that did survive are the ones that I know are hardy enough to live through a good old fashioned Saskatchewan winter, and those are the genes I want to pass on.

Spring time means chicks!  I’ve decided to try line breeding since I had almost enough chickens for three separate genetic lines.  I acquired a very handsome Ameracauna rooster to bring some much-wanted blue egg genes into the pool.  I hatched two batches in the incubator, and let one of my broody hens hatch the last batch.  She so desperately wanted to be a mama!  I heard the first peep of a chick from under her this morning.  Now all my chicks are hatched and the incubator goes away until next year.

Petunia had her third litter of piglets on Easter weekend.  She gave birth to eight, five survived, and mysteriously, one of them disappeared when they were a week old, so now there are four.

I snuck little Fletcher out for a selfie #berkshirepigs #sparrowhillsk

A post shared by Will brooks (@1willbrooks) on

Every time we need straw and hay, I get super stressed out and anxious.  We just don’t have the right type of vehicle to transport large quantities, so we get small quantities and then run out, and have to repeat the struggle all over again.  We decided that was enough – this time we were having it delivered.  And that’s what two hundred bales of straw looks like:

We hefted about twenty bales up into the barn’s hay loft, and the rest will be left outside for now.  If anyone knows of a bale elevator for sale in the RM of Blucher, let me know . . .

I went into rehearsals for Pride & Prejudice at Persephone theatre at the beginning of April, and opened the show May 2nd.  It has been difficult to say the least.  The show is fine; being a parent and an actor is not.  I am now perfectly convinced that the two are incompatible.  Theatre has not changed with the times either.  There is no leeway.  If you’re child is sick, you cannot take the day off.  You can’t even bring the child to work with you.  Liam got sick during rehearsals one day, so I went to pick him up since I had a break, and I brought him back to rehearsal with me because what else am I supposed to do?  I was then asked to remove him from the theatre until Will could come pick him up.  Not child/parent friendly.  Not even remotely.  I feel a long rest in my future.

Along with warmer weather comes all the chores of Spring.  The boys helped me bury my pysanky in the garden for fertility and abundance.

I shoveled out HALF the chicken stall in the barn.  Half.  Granted, it was the worst half.  But still.  Can’t complain though – it’ll make excellent compost for the garden, and the garden needs it.

Will rototilled the garden and the new (to us) PTO rototiller broke about half way into it.  We had to borrow the neighbour’s to finish.  Thankfully, we have good neighbours.

We made the painful decision to trim Liam’s hair.  I think it turned out to be the right decision though.  He loves that it’s not in his face all the time.  He brushes it himself now.  But he looks so grown-up!  Where did my little baby go??

And finally, I picked up a box full of fluffy chicks and turkey poults this past Wednesday!  One of my laying hens hatched out three chicks a few days before, and I put the new chicks in the same stall as her and her chicks, but separated them with cardboard.  When I came home after the show and checked on them, there had been a prison break, and my hen was sitting on about ten chicks and one turkey poult.  I managed to scoop the turkey and half the chicks back into the brooder, but honestly, I couldn’t tell which ones were the Cornish cross and which ones were hers, since I had her hatch out the Leghorn and Lohman hens’ eggs.  I figure I’ll be able to tell the difference in a few days when the Cornish start growing like crazy.

The garden is all planted thanks to Will and Liam.  Will got the soon-to-be pasture to the north of the house all cultivated last night, so tonight we’ll seed it.  We’ve got a list a mile long of stuff to repair, fix, paint, weed, etc.  But I’m really going to make an effort this summer to enjoy the homestead instead of worrying about all the work that needs to get done.  Last summer, I broke down in tears when the work got overwhelming, but I’m not going to let that happen this year.  The garden, although entirely filled, has been planted much more spaciously to make it easier to weed after last year’s fiasco.  Plus, I’m NOT doing Shakespeare this summer, and I’ll just be working my part-time job at Remai Modern, so that should also make things easier (Shakespeare & Remai Modern = 60+ hours a week; just Remai Modern = 20 hours a week).

Happy planting and enjoy the Spring sunshine!

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