Warm weather this week has allowed us to venture outside and start those tasks which have been eagerly awaiting snow melt. I took out my farm planning list from March last night and frowned at how much wasn’t crossed off. A few such tasks were moved up to March from later months based on the warmer winters of the past couple of years; perhaps 30 years of living in northern New England should have cautioned me to leave them in April. Lessons learned. When I sit down this fall to update my farm plan I will do it with the 2015 Old Farmer’s Almanac and my disparaging notes on this winters weather.
The fifth season has arrived here with the increase in temperatures. Copious amounts of water pour down the driveway and running past the front of the garage creating a pond out of the driveway. Over the past couple of years we have not maintained proper grading of the driveway, changed the parking plan and removed two huge rock maple trees from beside the driveway. What this means is that water that historical was used by the trees, fell off the side of the driveway or ran through the back yard, this year, ran straight down the driveway and into the garage. There are drains in the garage and in any other year water in the garage wouldn’t be a big deal, this year, the rabbits are still in there. Imagine what several inches of water can do to your nice neat piles of pine shavings underneath your rabbit cages. Quite the mess! But even wet rabbit pellets and pine shavings are pretty east to clean up.
The water continued flowing and the drains were by then plugged with wet pine shavings; water went over top of the threshold and into the chicken coop. Chicken droppings are not so structurally sound and when mixed with water simply create muck!
I shed my jacket as I shoveled what seemed like feet of slop out of the coop (in reality it was only about two inches, but it was heavy and I am out of shape!). From the coop I moved to the garage floor shoveling, scraping and sweeping wet, sloppy pine and poo section by section. Little man’s father worked diligently on the frozen drainage situation and was finally able to get the water to start flowing away from the garage. By Tuesday night I was finally done cleaning up from Saturday and Sunday’s water damage.
Yesterday I continued the work of cleaning up the mess that December’s ice storm made out of the pine tree. The pile is big and waits for a day of calm winds before it can be disposed of. The brooder box in the garage was cleaned and disinfected, the reflector lamp tested and a new light bulb added to the shopping list. The last turn of the eggs in the incubator was done this morning – some of the eggs are already moving! New baby birds will be here this weekend.
As I sipped an adult beverage and watched Little man run up and down the driveway, the smell of boiling sap wafted down the hill from our neighbors. We decided not to make our own syrup this year. There comes a time when you are forced to realize that you can’t do absolutely everything. Not boiling has given way to progress in other areas and some quality time with my son. I will gladly barter or trade some rabbit, chickens, pork, eggs or vegetables, for our syrup this year.