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This isn’t an April Fool’s joke.

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So many people were holding out hope that the local news stations were pulling a fast one on the people of Maine. Here’s the thing: It’s only March. Yes, it’s the last day of March and tomorrow is April, but you can’t bag on a lack of snowstorms until after April 15th, especially when this month has been so cold compared to normal. (If I recall correctly, they said it’s the fifth coldest March on record.)

What’s that mean for this homestead? Not much. We’re only getting 2-4″. That’s a dusting, enough to annoy the chickens and make things pretty. I’ll indulge in once again not being able to see dog shit piles and broken fences. One small breather before the craziness of prepping season begins.

Knowing when to draw a line.

One of the most difficult things about homesteading is knowing when to limit what you’re going to take on each season. I have seen one too many homesteaders who dive in head first, getting all the cannonical homestead animals – chickens, ducks, goats, sheep… – and attempting a full jump into complete and total self-sufficiency all at once. Some of these people have a good chunk of change in the bank for fall back. Some have a rich uncle to bail them out of bankruptcy. Many are leaving a paycheck-to-paycheck situation, tired of having someone lording over them, and with very little in the bank for backup. What they all have in common is diving into the deep end without treading through the shallow water first.

I get it. I do. The self-sufficient lifestyle of a full functioning homestead is very alluring, especially to those of us with that as an eventual long term goal. Unfortunately there are a few rip-currents along the way, and without at least planning for the ones you know will come – set backs in loss of income, seasonal changes and the problems that can arise, the necessary care costs of certain animals – it’s easy to get pulled under and in over your head when you’re being pulled from one rip-current to another. The longer you go without catching your breath, the sooner burnout comes.

This is why, despite how badly we wanted to try our hand at it this year, maple syruping has been put on hold. We’re planning on expanding our gardens this year by adding an allotment on a family member’s property. We have a scheme to actually get blueberries from our own bushes. Our sights are set on high yields in our own backyard gardens. Syruping would have been aiming too far over our heads this season. Maybe next year we’ll test out those waters.

Raptors

As gorgeous as raptors can be, I would appreciate it if the pair of goshawks flying overhead would bugger off. I have one hen held up under the coop who won’t come out. She left a pile of feathers where the hawk almost snagged her. Snow is a five year old Easter Egger and she’s lived through a lot, but I’d feel better if I could check her out. 

On the plus side, the two Roos worked well together to keep the ladies safe. 

Hatch #1

This past Sunday, the 14th, seven eggs went into the incubator. I candled them yesterday, on day three, and all seven have veins! I am beyond excited! While this development may not be constant and we may lose some throughout the incubating period, it’s exciting to know our boys are doing their duty. Here’s to the nail biting wait of the next candling session on day ten. 

Calculated Risk

We’re about to head into another freeze. There are fox prints around our yard. I normally don’t let the chickens out until midday, but temps will be dropping and then the wind will hit. The 22F that exists right now will be the warmest it gets for the day. I decided to let the flock out so they can stretch their legs. Here’s hoping I don’t regret that risk.