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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Busy Season" Begins

We have developed names for the various "seasons" in our life here. There is Fair Season, which starts in early July and goes until the middle of October. Then there's the Holiday Season, spanning from mid November until the beginning of January. Homeschooling starts in early August and goes until mid May and kind of encompasses all the other seasons. Breeding season is from early October until early December, and mid February until mid April is the "Busy Season".

Busy Season kicks off with the 4-H Public Speaking Competition (this Friday, by the way!). The girls spend weeks (okay, days) preparing and practicing their speeches and presentations. We have made this competition part of our homeschool curriculum, starting with lessons in choosing a viable topic, researching, developing, and writing, and ending with their oral presentation before a panel of judges.

Quickly afterward "kidding season" starts. This year we have does bred to freshen on or around March 4th, 6th, 7th, 12th, and 24th. A few more are due to deliver in early April, for a total of ten bred does. This means a potential for twenty or more baby goats being born in about a forty-five day span of time! Thankfully this year I have only one 4-H'er who is a first timer in birthing goats, so my emergency calls should be light!

Then of course, there is preparing for tapping the Maple trees, collecting the sap, and the hours spent boiling it down to syrup. In that same vein is going over all the beekeeping equipment: fixing and repainting supers, and assembling frames of foundation for the new colonies due to arrive in late March. The baby chicks will be arriving in mid to late March this year.

In the middle of all this we have Nathalie's birthday and St. Patrick's Day. This year involves a major coming together of my parents, brothers, and sisters and their assorted families, in Connecticut. With some grandparents and aunts, uncles and cousins thrown in, it'll be days of food and fun!

The 4-H club starts to ramp up the fundraising with multiple Hot Dog Sales at Tractor Supply. As the weather warms up, the club plans more community service activities and hands-on educational programs. The 4-H Fair Association also requires more time as things begin to come together for the fair. The Southern New England Poultry Show and 4-H Goat Day take place too.

Then there's the garden and yard clean-up to get started. This year we have plans to fix field fences and add more pastures, as well as fixing and painting our wooden boundary fences. The patio, which has been in the works for three years now, has finally moved up to closer to the top of the list. The temporary horse barn will need to be taken down and replaced with a more permanent structure.

No wonder we call it the "Busy Season"!
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