Don’t you feel so happy when the first little flowers push their way through the cold earth reminding us that spring and gardening and all things beautiful are on the way soon! I spotted this little guy in the corner of our lot. Since this is our very first spring on the farm, I have no idea what spring perennials will peek out and surprise me!
It is a good reminder that it’s time to start planning my spring planting. To be honest, I’m probably the farthest thing from having a green thumb. Over the years I’ve gotten the reputation of being good at killing most plants I try to grow. Actually, I just bought some rosemary to add to my little kitchen herb collection, but it died and I have no reason why! I was watering it and it got plenty of sunshine here on the ledge with my other herbs…
(Ah yes, see my cow in the background? It’s a reminder, that one day I will have real cows in the background! Anyway, I digress.)
Now that spring is here, I’ve put together a to do list:
- Clean up all fallen branches and rocks from pastures. Spread lime and fertilizer. I already bought seed, but need to spread it on all the bare patches, the areas that were overgrown with brush that we didn’t clean up last summer, and overseed the existing pasture. We buy northern horse pasture mix here.
- Finish raised garden bed design. I have four 8ftx4ft raised garden beds and we are going to grow lots of vegetables this year! I’m really excited about this. I’ve read lots of books about creating your own potager (French term for kitchen garden!) where you mix vegetables and flowers and make the design of the garden itself a focal point of beauty in your yard.
- Purchase electric fencing. I plan to have goats do some of the brush clean up for us. I’ve never used electric fencing before, it always made me a little nervous. But, I realized that with some farm animals, you just need to use it. Even with three board horse fence, you can’t keep a goat in and more importantly, you can’t keep the coyote out. It is also a much cheaper and more flexible option than permanent fencing. I will use it to divide my pasture up into smaller pastures so I can do rotational grazing and make best use of the land. I remember when we were hiking in the Dolomites in Italy, it was the first time we ever came upon the ribbon style electric fence – had no idea it was an electric fence (you can tell what total city/suburban folk we were). It was keeping some donkeys contained near a home. My youngest daughter touched it and shouted out in surprise that it shocked her. Then, what was SO hilarious, is that my other daughter immediately reached out to touch it too! Isn’t that so funny that she didn’t think to keep away from it? She thought to test it out for herself instead! Thankfully, it was just a little shock and no harm done.
Gosh, as much as I love being outdoors and being in touch with the earth – this can be a little daunting for someone with no experience working on a farm. What I’ve realized is that it takes a lot of “go on out and get something done” spirit, and less planning and stressing and paying other people to do it for you. We can achieve more than we think we can.
One of my all-time favorite books that helps to keep me going on tough days, is The Daily Coyote.It is an autobiography of this woman, who while driving across the country falls in love with Wyoming, and does what most of us do not have the courage to do. She leaves her city life and everything she knows behind and moves there. She doesn’t know anything about living off the land, but she learns. She is strong and works hard. She builds fences, raises animals, survives in the cold and unknown land.
Yes, we have the strength to follow our dreams, to accomplish more than we think. We are strong. That is my mantra as I enter my first spring on the farm.