I’ve alluded a few times to our primary goal for 2014 – minimizing our workload. We have constantly felt behind in the last couple of years; behind on the weeding, behind on the hoof trimming and barn cleaning, behind on the lawn mowing, behind on the renovations and projects. When Baby M came along, we felt even more squeezed.
This year, the plan is to limit the garden, rather than expanding it. Last spring, we plowed up a smaller garden plot, in a more convenient (visible) location between the house and the barn. I am reducing the number of labor-intensive ‘preserving’ crops (tomatoes, shelling peas), and slightly increasing the real estate allotted to ‘fresh eating’ crops (spinach, broccoli), in the hopes that we will enjoy more produce while it is fresh, and spend less time worrying about what, exactly, to do with nine bushels of green tomatoes.
We also dug up about half of the raspberries from the field garden, and relocated them to a spot near the new garden, in rows in a patch of lawn, so any suckers can just be mowed down when we mow the grass, rather than having to be laboriously dug out of the rows of beans and corn in the garden.
Some of our extra garden space is going to be planted into annual flowers, so that there is something taking up the space and competing with the grass; we don’t want to have to re-dig any beds, even though we don’t want to invest huge amounts of effort in the gardens this year.
We only bred one doe this year, and she is a third-time kidder, and proven good mom. She is not my easiest milker, but she has been hand-milked, and is familiar with the stand and the routine. We chose not to breed any of the first-timers, since we do not want to run the risk of bottle babies.
We will not be getting day-old chicks this spring. They are cute and cheap, but labor-intensive. If we need replacement hens, we will bite the bullet and buy pullets at the point of lay – girls with all their feathers and minimal needs.
So why all the sudden focus on labor reduction? Well, that is happy news. Baby M is going to be a big brother come July!