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I’ve spent much of the past week with jars, two canners, and a whole lot of bovine. A week ago we picked up the first three boxes that make up the butchering of a bull. That Wednesday I got a great deal of help from the ladies in our community and we put up 105 quarts all told. We’ve since increased that number to 140, filled our little solar freezer and our neighbor’s, and have been enjoying a great deal of meat and now bone broth in our meals. Today we pick up the last two boxes – one more for making broth and one more filled with organ meats. So it looks like liver and tongue and heart will be on the menu as well and with all the bustle I got zero photos of the process.

The goats are pregnant, or so we think, and are beginning the drying up process. A little less milk runs through the filters every day and I don’t believe it is a coincidence, this provision of gallons and gallons of bone broth coinciding precisely with the dwindling of the milk.

The hens, too, are producing wildly and it is all you can eat on that front. We’ve never gotten this many eggs before and what a gift to have more than we can use of something or other.

I may as well say it: It seems like full on spring here in the gardens. The peas are now three inches taller than that photo. The onion beds and rows are looking lovely. The boys’ lettuce is ready for thinning and I heard something about the first carrot sprouting. Stewart planted a flat of collards yesterday and the lettuce in the Pallet Garden still has a ways to go.

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But before that bull took over our kitchen and before we began planting seedlings, there was this field. For sometime now we have talked about expanding the Chicken Field to two or three times its size. Every garden bed we’ve ever planted here we (and by we I mean mostly Stewart) have cultivated by hand. This new field needs lots of breaking up and mixing in and we are hopeful that doing so once on a big scale will lend itself to not having to disturb the soil with tilling on such a scale as this again.

This new field about triples the size of the Chicken Field and we decided to see if Mr. Sifford would allow us to use his tractor for the project. Stewart found some old hay for a good price on Craigslist so many bales of that, a couple of bags of gypsum, and some chicken manure later we now have 274 perimeter feet of garden to fence in. That is, of course, an approximate number since Annie and I did the measuring while calling out numbers and adding as we went as Joshie sang his own tune from the stroller. So pretty approximate.

So that is where the homestead stands one week into March.