So what's today -- Wednesday? Oh well, I've decided it's time for a "Friday" Roundup which, as you recall, is posted so we can all check in on what steps we've taken, big or small, to inch us incrementally toward greater preparedness (regardless of what day it's posted).
Now that spring is here, we're getting more active. Here's what we've been doing for the last couple of weeks:
• On March 1, I was a guest with the "Advanced Prepping Intensive" webinar run by Preppers University on the subject of -- what else -- homesteading and rural living. Really neat course if anyone's interested in signing up for future classes.
• I organized our medical supplies. This is necessary not only to keep things in easy-to-find order, but it also allows us to determine anything we're short on.
• A neighbor and I attended a day-long gardening seminar with multiple workshops. Of the various subjects offered, the one thing we both wanted to learn something more about was permaculture. The hour-long class we attended on this subject was, of necessity, little more than an intro, but we may be attending a 12-hour version coming up later in the spring. If permaculture lives up to its hype, it might be a decent solution to the problems of growing gardens in a dry climate with minimal water.
• We peeked in at the bees -- and they're still alive (yes!). We'll be making a new little "bee lot" to put the hive (we're also getting in two more nucs in a few weeks) near the house so we can keep an eye on them. We'll also be putting out wasp traps to catch yellow jacket queens in an effort to avoid the disastrous attack that killed one of our hives last summer.
We're also going to get some pollen patties to feed to the bees when the weather is warmer and they can start foraging. Pollen patties stimulate brood, so we don't want to feed it to them too early in the season.
• I backed up my computer and my blog. I urge everyone to do this!!!
• I planted two tiny sweet cherry bushes (they look like tall twigs at this stage). These are probably the last fruits we'll plant in the garden. Right now we have a wide variety of wonderful fruits (some of which haven't yielded produce yet): peaches, pears, apples, plums, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, sour cherries, and now sweet cherries. The nice thing about planting fruit is they're perennial and low-maintenance.
• We cut, split, and stacked a bunch o' firewood. Before:
After (hard to see, but there are three layers of wood):
• We augered holes, inserted railroad ties, and made the first of what will be several "airlock" gates to keep cows out of the driveway or otherwise go where we want (or don't want) them to go. As we get older and the girls are not available for cattle roundups, we need to find ways to guide and direct the beasties. Via this gate, the cows can go directly from the wooded side of the property to the field side without having to be directed through the driveway.
• We made an appointment with the regional mobile butchers for early April to dispatch six or seven more cows (and steers). Yes, you read that right. We're halving the size of our herd and shifting the focus of our farm a bit to make things more efficient. Cattle are wonderful prepper livestock to have, but we don't need that many at the moment and we can ramp things up with very little effort (and the help of a willing bull) at any time.
• I cleaned chicken coop. Heavens how it needed it.
That's about it for us. What has everyone else been doing?