March 16, 2022

Our Agrarian Year: Spring Project List

March (the old agrarian new year) marks the beginning of spring, which is planting season! Our project prioritizing motto is "food first." So, hopefully, we've gotten the maintenance and winter projects to a good stopping point, so we can set everything else aside to focus on planting. Even if we haven't, this seasonal project takes priority over everything else, save emergencies.


  • Planting
    • Annual food crops
    • Pasture forage
  • Cleaning out the barn (of which the winter's accumulation of deep litter is spread across newly planted areas in the pasture)
  • Prepare for April kidding
  • Continue working on swales

We hoped to get further on the swale project during winter, but we have a couple of obstacles to deal with for which there are no easy solutions. 

Obstacle 1:

Big pile of dirt where the swale needs to go.

That pile came from the old swimming pool, which Dan dug out to see if we could do anything useful with it. That's where he put the dirt, and that's where it's stayed for over two years now. Our tractor doesn't have a front end loader, and trying to move it all by hand is a discouraging idea, so there it's sat. 

Obstacle 2 is related, i.e., lack of equipment to move the dirt and dig the swales. We dug the garden swale by hand, which was fine, but pasture swales will be much larger undertakings. We'll probably end up renting something; not a cheap option, but certainly cheaper than buying equipment.


These are things we need/want to do but which haven't made it to the top of the list yet. It's an ongoing list that is good to keep at hand, in case weather, time, necessity, or change of plans allows us to tackle them. This list never goes away, because as we cross things off, we add things too.
  • Finalize design and materials list for masonry heater (construction will be a summer project)
  • Do something useful with our remaining two solar panels
  • Finish the exterior of the house
Of the house exterior, this is all that's left . . .

Last exterior wall in need of new siding and paint.

Not much, is it? So you'd think it would be done by now! The holdup here is that we've discussed adding on a small greenhouse here, but so far haven't been able to decide/design what we want to do. And that's why it's been on the project list for so many years! Maybe 2022 will be our year of success (???)

So, there it is. A very short list of the projects that will occupy most of our outdoor time this spring.

How about you? What are your plans for spring?


Sandi said...

There is something fulfilling about a life working the land. It makes all the pursuits of modern life seem pale.

daisy g said...

Sounds doable, but anything on paper does. I'm sure you'll prioritize and work at what you can, bit by bit. I wonder if you could barter for the digging equipment. Maybe someone you know has a machine for the task and you could trade something for the use of it.

I am awaiting parts so that I can complete an irrigation install in our front flower bed. I also have lots of plants to install, once I decide on a garden plan, something I find daunting (the planning, not the planting). There is always something to do around the homestead. Keeps life interesting!

Best wishes on completing your projects.

Leigh said...

Sandi, I agree. And I have to say that it's a means of grounding oneself in a reality that modern life is increasingly disconnected from.

Daisy, that's exactly right - everything seems doable on paper, lol. That's one of the reasons we've learned to keep our lists short. And seasonal. Bartering for equipment may be a possibility, but not many folks around here have that kind of equipment. Mostly they have bush hogs and mowing attachments. But who knows, we may find somebody yet.

Goatldi said...

Stink’n amazing Leigh! You and Dan continue to amaze me and entertain me. It’s been quite a year watching the improvements the list, the list scratched, the list rearranged about your property and my good friend not too far from me.
Between both homesteads I sometimes feel like I’m still standing still in comparison.

It will be fun! I’ve already been working on it. We got some warmer weather as did you earlier. Hopefully I’ll finish up the pond area small pond hundred gallons tops. Will also include a small duck habitat and the fencing that goes around it. In addition to that sometime within the next three days I
will have baby goats again so the milking will start up and with that cheese making that I miss so much will start up and the soap making too.

May will add some chickens to the flock this year. Plus the usual in the food department, pastured poultry may be a couple of turkeys for Thanksgiving isn’t the list always just out there an always ? But I think it teaches us good things don’t have to be done all at once and it doesn’t have to be finished all at once.

So thank you again for the ongoing chills thrills and inspiration tell Dan I said “howdy”.

Annie in Ocala said...

For me just getting the already established things properly pruned, (mostly done) and weeded around, fertilized and also rotate the compost contents. Which go hand an hand. The weeding is ever present job. I need to pull some winter greens and things that are done and put something else in. I have planted pasture forage several times over the winter months but got no rain to speak of... Till last week. I think its about 4" since then and things are jumping. My wood stove is on her last legs and I need to find a decent metal worker come see if it can be 'tuned up'.... Or I do have another but it is about 1/2 the size but might be installing that over the summer. And need to get that sorted out soon as it will only take 16" logs and the one been warming the home 36 years takes up to 24" logs so big difference there.... There's a hundred other things but these on the front burner now... Still working a job and this is our busy season so time and energy coming together is sporatic...
I would LOVE to make something like an outdoor rocket stove/oven.... Or even like Kev's pizza oven. A dream atm.

Leigh said...

Goatldi, I think have a shorter list helps keep it feel manageable. Your duck pond sound fantastic! We really enjoy our Muscovies. And baby goats! The milk is a blessing, but the kids make it a real joy. :) We've wanted to get turkeys too, but alas, they remain near the bottom of the list. :)

Annie, pruning is an important seasonal chore! We got ours done last fall. Wood stove maintenance is a must! I hope you can find someone to fix your big store. Good to hear that your pasture is finally growing. Long dry spells are a pasture killer. Which is why I'm anxious to get more swales in.

Retired Knitter said...

Oh, a green house. That would be grand.

Leigh said...

RT, I think we might actually be able to make that happen this year! It ties into two other projects that have risen to the top of the list, so I have high hopes!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Leigh, I am going to confess failure and pull out my struggling lime trees this year - I might replant one, but I have a different location and hopefully one will be able to shelter rather than two.

I have a slab which I am trying to determine what to put on (pulling it out seems both unwieldy and not a grand idea as a slab has more resale value). I have toyed with the idea of adding another small garden space to the Eastern side of the backyard which gets more sun.

In all of this, I am trying to balance how much I want to do here versus how much I want to save the time and energy for The Ranch.

Leigh said...

TB, yes, you now have two project arenas, don't you? I suppose if your long-term goal is to eventually move to the Ranch, that is a determining factor in planning and prioritizing. Sorry about your lime trees! I've not done will with my Meyer lemon, sadly.

Ed said...

No matter where we have piled material “out of the way,” they always seem to end up in the way eventually. I have a siding project to start/finish come spring.

Leigh said...

Ed, very true! And the more I tidy up and organize the piles, the worse it gets. :)

Nina said...

We're boiling sap right now for syrup. It's an odd year though, with extreme temperature changes making things difficult.
My big spring job will be moving the garden to a new space as the original garden space is getting less sunlight due to lots of tree growth in the past few years.
I love the deep litter method for bedding. I use it with the chooks because as it breaks down over the winter, it produces a little bit of heat which makes it just a little warmer in chicken coop, during the stupidly cold winter months.

Leigh said...

Nina, moving the garden sounds like a huge job. Actually, boiling sap does too. But those are the kinds of jobs that are worth it.

Extreme temperature changes is why I don't think I'd be able to collect sap for syrup. Ours just bounce around too much in spring, but that's normal for us.

Renee Nefe said...

Hubby retired in Feb and had plans to finish our basement and do other house projects...along with also finally taking a vacation.
However, before he retired he got headhunted by about 6 different firms who wanted to hire him. So now he is working for a construction company as a "coster" (he figures out what the construction project will cost). It was supposed to be part time work, but with spring almost here (just had snow yesterday) everyone is wanting to have work done on their homes.
So I guess it will be a while before my basement gets done. :-/

Chris said...

A greenhouse off he side, would be great. I'm always looking for places to nurture my cuttings, seedings, etc.

As for the pile of dirt and swale, I always got creative with projects that could be started nearby, in order to not have to move dirt far. I'm looking at that pile of dirt, in a tall pile, and thinking, can it be piled in a long berm on contour to act as part of the swale?