|Flower garden at front gate|
Mike also put together four new raised beds, and he has the lumber to build four more, which will give us a total of twelve raised beds. They're eight-feet by four-feet, and we've discovered that there are many advantages to them. For one thing, you can work in them when it's just rained buckets, because you are standing on grass next to the raised beds. I am thinking of putting gravel between them though, because we are not great about mowing between them in the summer. The four existing raised beds were turned into low tunnels for winter gardening, which is why we have lots of lettuce right now. Five of the new raised beds will be used for perennials -- strawberries, rhubarb, and purple asparagus, which are sitting in the house losing vitality, waiting to be put into soil.
As for the animals, the goats are only going outside about every other day. We're doing this balancing act, trying to figure out whether the goats are better off outside with mud and parasites on wet pasture or in the barn eating alfalfa all day and increasing risk of coccidiosis for kids. It feels like a no-win situation, so I just keep piling on more clean straw in the barn for the inside days. Katherine was at least able to get all the goat stalls clean on Saturday. Still, I worry.
Even the pigs are not happy with all the mud in their pen. I keep piling on more straw in their shelter and right outside the shelter so they don't drag too much mud inside. As soon as I put fresh straw in there, they immediately lay down on it.
This is starting to remind me of the spring of 2009. It rained and rained, and just when you thought it was finally going to dry out, it rained again. Farmers couldn't get their heavy equipment into the fields until about a month later than normal, which then meant they were still harvesting at Thanksgiving, which even the oldest among them had never experienced before. The really frustrating thing about the spring of '09 is that when it stopped raining, it stopped for weeks. But the good thing about backyard agriculture is that we don't use heavy equipment. Yeah, mud is nasty, but if we put on a pair of waterproof boots, we can still get a lot done. And if we have a drought, we can water the garden.
So, I just have to learn to relax.