Historically, I don't post a lot in April, and I can see why. Ironically, when I have so much to write, I have no time to write it. This April will be no exception. In addition to all the farm chores, I also have nine lectures or speaking engagements. (Yes, they're all about sustainability and homesteading issues.)
I've been working in the garden. Jonathan, Margaret, and I got all the dead plants cleaned out from last year. Mike tilled a wide row, so I could transplant 20 broccoli plants, 15 green cabbages, 5 red cabbages, and 10 Brussels sprouts. I also planted seeds for lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and arugula, my new favorite green. He also tilled another area where we'll put tomatoes, covered by a little greenhouse. I'll tell you more about that later. It's one of my spring experiments this year. My other spring experiment involves chickens, and I'll be writing more about that soon.
Jonathan has been cleaning out stalls in the barn. We had a really bad idea this year. We kept some of the goats in the barn all winter. We won't be doing that again. It was because of the cows, but that's a post for another day.
Maple syrup season is over. Now I understand why Illinois is not famous for maple syrup. It is not lack of trees. It is because our spring is so short. You need freezing nights and sunny days for sap to run, and that happened for one weekend this year. We made nine quarts of syrup that weekend. Then the days and nights grew too warm, and the sap quit running. We had two separate days when the sap did run again, and we were able to make three more pints of syrup. So, our tally for 2010 is 10.5 quarts of maple syrup. We're quite proud of ourselves. This was our first year, after all.
Mike has been behind the eight ball ever since he started making those kidding pens in February. He has been only a few days ahead of each new doe that is going to kid, and he was there again until today. Andi and Cinderella need to be moved into a nursery pen, so we can get their kidding pens cleaned out for three goats that are due next week. He finished the last pen this afternoon, so I need to get out there, get it bedded with straw, and start moving goats.
My soap inventory is lower than it has ever been -- I only have four fragrances -- so I need to make at least six batches of soap. Unfortunately, one of my molds is missing. Where could a soap mold go? Seriously! It's not as if someone would have stolen it. Most people wouldn't even know what it was. And it is almost three feet long, so it would not be easy to misplace.
And in the midst of all this, three goats are going to kid next week.