April in the heart of the mitten has been surprisingly mild this year which has given me the opportunity to get a head start on my outdoor spring clean up. Over the course of the last two weeks I’ve accomplished chores that normally I wouldn’t be able to do until May.
Starting with the garden, I’ve been able to clean all the square foot beds. I top dressed them last fall with paca poo and they are looking fantastic. The pp had a chance to decompose over the winter and has created a rich soil. I’m hoping to get my onions in the ground over the next week. I’ve got big plans to redo my fencing, upgrade and add a couple more square foot boxes and perhaps, if time allows, create a small outdoor “tool house” which would be about a foot square and mounted on a post (aka bird house).
In the barn I’ve started cleaning up the lean-tos and stalls by removing all the old straw and accumulated hay from the winter. Since we’ll be shearing in May I won’t be putting down any new straw. This will be for two reasons: One, it will help prevent straw from sticking to those velcro fleeces. This makes it easier to skirt the fleeces. Two, it will provide a cooler place for hot alpacas to lay as the weather gets warmer.
I also removed all the bedding from the chicken coop and replaced it with fresh pine shavings. That made me happy! I wanted to do it last fall and just ran out of time.
I still have two more stalls to destraw and the boy’s pasture around the barn needs a serious clean up. I have a few projects on deck for this summer based on how the barn/coop operated during the winter. The first is to create a lean-to roof over the boy’s outside stall door. The snow, rain and wind were hard to keep out of the stall. Also as the snow would melt it would slide off the roof and create large piles in front of the stall door, creating a serious road block.
I would also like to redo all the hay feeders I made last year. I found they were too shallow and small to hold enough hay. The chickens nesting boxes also need to be revamped (see the above clean coop picture). I’ve already purchased buckets, which I will use in place of the current boxes. This way the chickens can’t roost on top of them (too slippery) and poop as they tend to do, in them. I also want to redo their roosting boards.
I’m thrilled to have the time to tackle these chores and for now I’m feeling energized and excited to be able check the items off the list! Of course, that is subject to change based on the success of my projects.
Finally I want to leave you with a few of my current favorite photos.
I hope your spring has been as energizing as mine!