Spring. Mosquito free, comfortable temperatures, low humidity, the perfect trifecta of great outdoor family time.
First up, painting bee hives! Last weekend, between Easter family gatherings with both sides, we finished assembling and painting our bee hives. We are officially ready for the bees to arrive in two weeks! Starting to get excited!!
I managed to sneak in one more small project over Easter weekend, cutting and installing crown molding in our bedroom. In addition to the crown molding, we also officially put in the order for our bedroom, living room, and kitchen windows (and maybe some red steel for the barn walls)! Bring on the natural light! They all come with a three week lead time, so only a bit more patience required.
This week, we also started tackling some landscaping in the evenings. Goodbye rock-beds, hello deep layered mulch. Lets face it, kids and rocks don’t mix. Lawnmowers+windows and rocks don’t mix. Mulch retains soil moisture and decays over time, further enriching the soil. Mulch will require layering additional mulch over the old layer each year, but in my opinion, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Additionally, once we get the initial layer of mulch built up, we can maintain it in the future with free wood chips, pine needles, and grass clippings.
We planted several perennials purchased from area growers. We are also growing some of our own from seed to transplant once it warms up a bit. We have chosen several heirloom flowering varieties of perennials that our bees should love, along with useful varieties that are edible or medicinal like comfrey, rhubarb, and spearmint. Our goal is to not only have a yard that is easy to look at, but to also serve a dual purpose as a food garden.
The past few weeks have been extremely busy at work, slowing progress a little at home. I have been in the middle of several larger projects at work, bringing me to a total of 79 hours on the clock this past week. Generally, I hate working this many hours as I feel it takes too much time away from my family, but we are doing our best to manage right now.
One of my engineering professors once said and bears repeating, “make sure you work to live, not live to work”. He passed away a few years ago from cancer. He no doubt made an impact on me and in turn, my family. I am still trying to figure out exactly how to manage time at work and time spent at home. They both are constantly at odds with each other and balancing the two can seem ever so elusive. I’ll be the first to admit, I still haven’t figured this one out yet, but I am trying.. I do know that when I am on my deathbed, those moments spent at work will feel like time poorly spent and those moments with my family, precious and too few and far between. This balancing act is never easy and I am sure many of you can relate.
With this in mind, we try to do many projects around our farm with the whole family involved. This weekend (between work) was no exception.
Time for a family wood cutting day. The whole family was involved and smore’s were the treat for a job well done. The kids worked amazingly hard. Stephen found the wheelbarrow and the younger kids filled the wagon, many times over, without complaint. Shelly ran loads back and forth with the lawn tractor and trailer while I ran the chainsaw.
Three takeaways became evident during and after cutting wood. Cutting wood for a day and several evenings in a row really wears a person out. The second, we have a lot of dead and fallen trees in our woods (we are only harvesting dead trees). Hopefully after clearing out some of the dead, it will give the smaller saplings a better chance at thriving. Third, I have no doubt one of the previous owners treated the woods as their own personal landfill. Bag by bag, we are getting the trash picked up. What a mess!
Several cords of wood put away with much more cut and waiting to be carried out, and even more left to cut… We’ll get there! There is no doubt our house will be warm for the next few winters! Think of your winter heat bill, now multiply that by 2 or 3. That is what we plan on saving over the next few years by cutting and stacking this wood. This is not only a cheap and natural source of heat, but also insurance against the occasional winter power outage.
I’ll leave you with a shot of our ducks, doing what they do best. We received an inch or two of rain this past week and they have been living it up. It didn’t take them long to find the big puddle on our driveway!