We are past the mid-point in winter and here in Colorado, it has been an exceptionally cold season, breaking and tieing decades-old records for low temps. Those cold days have had us inside more than we like. We even put our little one’s water table in the bathtub one day, just to shake things up. Snuggled under sweaters and blankets, we also had time to look at seed catalogs, make to-do lists, and dream a little bit about spring. We have several hopes and goals for the coming season.
In the garden, I would like to keep things tidier. For my birthday, Julio’s parents gave me a beautiful seed box and a gardening ruler to help with that goal. I am also going to really focus on developing the flowerbeds around the run behind the barn. I started to get some growth there last summer, but this will be my third summer planting there and I am hoping that I will start to see perennials and bee-friendly flowers take over that space. A colorful border there would be a beautiful sight from our kitchen window. I am planting Busy Bee Sunflowers again because they did so well last year, but also trying Burpee’s new Crème Brûlée Sunflower variety. I also want to get Sweet Peas to grow up the old metal door that I have used as a trellis for twinkle lights.
In the pumpkin patch, I am going to try to grow Luffa squash again this year. Last year, none of my seeds germinated. If they take, however, they grow big fruit that can be dried and used as a bath sponge. I think that would be a cool offering for our market days.
I am also growing more Mashed Potato Squash, which I tried for the first time last year. It is delicious. I would happily not sell any and just eat them!
I hope to develop the tea garden more this year by expanding my chamomile planting. It did so well last year! I am also planting a couple of flavors of lemon balm to blend with the chamomile for an herbal tea.
In the kitchen, I am growing baby houseplants for sale and microgreens to eat!
Alpacas & Chickens
Moira and Theodora are pregnant and due in mid-September. Our goal is to just take good care of everyone!
We would like to free-range the chickens more and maybe come up with a solution for letting them roam without the dog being stuck inside. It would be nice if they laid more eggs too, but for chickens, they are starting to get old.
My bees have survived the winter so far, even that last cold snap. I feel so relieved and lucky. By now the queen will have started laying more eggs, building the colony for Spring. Spring bees are already being born. I snuck in on a warm day and gave them the rest of the honey out of storage and they still had plenty in the hive. I hope for a bigger honey harvest this year, and to that end, I am really debating whether to split them or just try to let them build up their population while otherwise preventing a swarm. I am not sure if I could pull the latter off, but I have plenty of frames of drawn wax in storage to help a split so they wouldn’t spend all summer building out the honey supers like last year. I don’t know. I’m thinking about it.
I learned how to embroider this past weekend and I know it will be tempting to embroider everything. I learned using The Embroidered Closet, which I picked up at the library several times before actually checking it out. It turns out I love it and it is not nearly as time-consuming as some other hobbies. For now, I will stick to freshening up my closet, because I also need to keep working through the backlog of fiber from the alpacas.
I have not learned how to use the spinning wheel…yet. That is on the agenda for this year, but in the meantime, I am spinning with the drop spindle for at least 15 minutes a day. I plan to spend some time making dryer balls out of the second and third cuts from our girls that are tough to spin and to get good at carding fleece so that I can move on from practicing with merino wool to actually using the fleece from our herd.
Around the house, there are also some little projects I would like to tackle, like repainting our bathroom and finally getting a lattice under the deck, but for the most part, I am looking forward to getting back out on long walks and playing outside more.
What are your plans for spring!? -Kasey