Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Gearing Up for the Busy Times

We are "gearing up" for our busy seasons! We put in our order for 50 taps and 500 feet of tubing. We estimate about 20 trees that are in easy distance from the house that we can tap this February. Last year we waited too long ot put in our order and they were sold out. If it is a good sugar year and we put in all 50 taps we should be able to collect enough sap to make about 12 gallons of syrup! YUM!

I am also putting in my order for three bee colonies (I was able to collect and sell enough honey to increase our overall hive number this spring!). They will arrive mid April or early May. So far the one hive I didn't "kill" in October is still alive. This winter hasn't been kind though, with such major temperature fluctuations (-4 one day and 55 two days later!). If it continues they will not survive until March. With three new hives I should be able to get some decent honey by July with another good yield in September/October.

Another thing we are getting ready for is kidding season. Our first goat is due to kid March 5 (with seven total kidding all before April 5!). Since they can kid up to 5 days before or after their due date, we have a lttle less than 2 months to get the kidding stall and "kid barn/pen" ready. This means rearranging the dogs' sleeping areas, mucking out the stalls, and clearing out the milking area for stanchions and such. We also clear out cobwebs and make it look pretty (well, as pretty as a working barn can look) because we always have several people come to watch the kidding.

The other part of kidding preparations is we need to vaccinate the does and start increasing their feed ration. We also need to make sure all the animals hooves are clipped up and neat. I will need to evaluate my "vet bag" and restock it, for those "uh-oh" moments. We'll make sure we know where our dehorner is (I've loaned it out so much, I 'm not sure we ever got it back!) and that is is working properly.

Lastly, we are pouring over hatchery catalogs and making decisions about what kind of chicks to order for mid March. We will be checking the chick supplies and making sure we have heat lamp bulbs that work and that all of our "chick tubs", waterers and feeders, survived their storage in the old chicken palace.

By May things will have settled back into a routine... just in time to get ready for Summer!!
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