March to-do list

We made good progress on our last to-do list until events of late February threw all sorts of wrenches into the works. Joanna was thankfully never called for jury duty, but we both came down with a strong and long-lasting cold/virus that really cut into our productivity. Two major winter storms will have short- and long-term effects; tending to goat health issues was another unexpected drain. Here’s what we expect to be up to in March, as we enter the true beginning of the vegetable season. Much of this is dependent on the snow melting with reasonable speed, and the ground not remaining a muddy mess all month. On the other hand, we don’t want to see another absurdly warm spring like 2012, with all its attendant concerns.

Indoor & outdoor seeding preparations

  • Clearing swaths of chickweed & other overwintered weeds
  • Preparing soil for early plantings
  • Seeding lots of indoor & outdoor crops: See last year’s veggie to-do lists for early and late March for details, though some of the things we did in early March last year certainly won’t happen until late March this year, thanks to the lingering snow and cool soil temperatures

Logging & land management

  • Finish clearing thick cedars from western orchard edge, over to barn
  • Haul & stack logs at milling site on main road; can’t be done until ground dries out
  • Chip & spread the large piles of cedar branches resulting from winter logging
  • Burn multiple piles of scrap dead/dry cedar branches to make biochar (soil amendment)

Infrastructure work

  • Build permanent fence along western orchard side, replacing temporary one
  • Build enclosed run for chicken shed in time for hawk season
  • Finish hauling away scrap metal dump by barn
  • Re-gravel entry road up to barn, including new worker parking area there

Business management

  • Finish taxes
  • Finish & submit organic paperwork
  • Finish recruiting new CSA members and finalize delivery routes
  • Continue to build website content…a perpetual task
  • Begin regular worker shifts for the year; we’ve been hosting occasional shifts already

Storm repair

  • Repair/replace damaged fence extensions
  • Restring fences around fields & orchard
  • Re-set electric net fencing around goat pastures (flattened by snow)
  • Clean up downed branches

Chicken management

  • Cull old, unproductive hens as stewing birds
  • Select and separate ~8 young hens with desirable characteristics for breeding with selected rooster
  • Start incubator with their fresh eggs for this year’s generation of birds

Goat management

  • As soon as weather mellows, set up a new goat paddock with portable fence and shelter in a place with better forage. Now that we’re no longer waiting for kidding to move them from the barn, we can get them on fresh pasture sooner. And since the goats won’t need to make daily trips to the barn for milking this year, we can put them in some more out-of-the way places to give them access to better food and to let the pastures recover from last year

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