Now that things are back to normal - houseguests gone, holidays over, home improvement projects completed - I need to get back to work. Just catching up on the rounds. Making inventory of work that needs to be done and categorizing it.
Friday, January 7, 2011
-Work that can be done now, in the dead of winter, and that which needs to wait for spring.
-Work that requires cash funds and that which doesn't.
-Work I can do by myself, and that which requires masculine muscle.
-Work that has to be hired out.
-Work that requires tools we don't own, and the work of acquiring or renting them.
-Work that is quickly accomplished, and work towards long-term goals.
-Work that is long overdue.
-Work related to livestock or farm equipment and work related to running of the household and the raising of the children.
-Work related to Homero's business.
-Physical work and mental work.
Clearly, there are a lot of different ways to cut up the work-pie. Those categories were written in about twenty-five seconds. And I haven't even begun to talk about prioritizing the work. A few things that spring immediately to mind, in no particular order:
-Preparing the taxes for Homero's business. That always takes me a good month, and although it feels far away, April is right around the corner.
- Finishing the greenhouse. The men left it 85% finished, but it won't be usable until we have sealed it, added the last bits of siding, and caulked all the glass panels. Luckily, we have until March. Also, get some open-sided shelves and potting benches and decide how to organize the space in there. At 10 x 12, the greenhouse is plenty big enough for a single family, if I make good use of the space.
- Put up the cattle panels around the small pasture so I can put the goats in there along with the horses. This should have been done in November, so as to get all hoofed animals off of the back pasture for the wet season, but we didn't have the money to buy panels then. Now that we do, I have bought most of the requisite panels, but haven't done the grunt work of putting them up. So the goats are still hard at work destroying the main pasture, which is their - and our - bread and butter.
- Stock up on basic farm supplies. It looks like the hay we bought from neighbors last fall will last out the winter, but I have been skimping on grain for the pregnant goats, and they are starting to get skinny. Also, there have been no minerals out for them for a couple of months now, and minerals are vital during pregnancy. Otherwise I might get a whole crop of floppy kids come springtime.
- Seed the pasture with grass seed, as soon as I get the goats off of it. I have such trouble with pesky weeds (hemlock, buttercup, thistle, tansy, burdock, oxeye daisy, etc) that I over-seed every year. It certainly doesn't eliminate weeds, but I think it helps give the grass a fighting chance. This can be done anytime between now and mid-April.
- shovel out the deep litter in the main barn. We've been using the deep litter system (keep throwing fresh straw over all the poop, daily) since mid-November. It probably makes sense to leave it until mud season comes to an end in late March, but if we do that, we won't be able to use the resulting compost this year in the garden. Goat and horse poop is fine, but chicken poop needs to be composted for at least a few months before you can plant directly in it. Therefore, it makes sense to get the deep litter out of the barn and onto the compost pile ASAP. That is not something I can do - it needs Homero-sized muscle. And even for him, it's an all-day job.
- order seeds for spring. Do a little research - this year I have a greenhouse, so I will be ordering a slightly different profile of plants than in most years. For the most part, I see the greenhouse as a season extender, but it is awfully tempting to try a few things that would otherwise be impossible, like melons, hot chiles, eggplants, and basil.
Okay, that's a good start. That ought to keep me occupied for a while, dontcha think?