Well, we are pushing full steam ahead. This past weekend Jim and the boys almost finished our hoop house, but today it was windy and cold, so Jim decided to wait until a more calm day to cover the hoops with reinforced plastic. Hopefully that can be done tomorrow so the ground inside will have a chance to warm up and we can plant in there. They also worked on utilizing an old pump to draw water out of a slough to water the garden. I never understood why some people had barrels and buckets of standing water to use for watering their plants, but after our report came back from the local water testing lab I now can say I do understand. Apparently the minerals in our well water could ruin the garden soil if we continued to use it for watering. We did use our well water last year, but this year it will be out of the lake or slough. Jim needs a better pump to siphon the water out of the lake, though, as it's quite a ways uphill to get to the garden area.
I spent Saturday and today trying to get caught up in the house ... just wishful thinking, I guess. In spite of waking up to a dusting of snow on the ground, I still hauled out our winter jackets, snowpants, etc. to pack away in Rubbermaid containers in our semi trailer. I hope we won't need them again until next fall! I am really beginning to see how "stuff" certainly gets in the way of having a well organized home. Since we have 4 boys I save clothes of various sizes out in the semi trailer so we have them ready when a new size is needed. It does get to be a hassle to store that much in clothes, and I am trying to figure out a more efficient way of doing it. I am always thankful when David grows out of a size, since he is the youngest and I can get rid of another bin of clothes!
Saturday evening we headed over to a neighbor's farm. They live a mile north of us, but we have to take a round about way to get there. Brad and Arlene have lots of sheep, and invited us over to take a look at the new lambs. We have 3 sheep, and Brad will come over one night this week to shear them for us. They are getting pretty miserable as the weather warms up. They would like us to take a few lambs, but I'm not sure if the boys want to tackle that or not. We were asked if we would be interested in taking care of their sheep when they go on a trip, so that would be quite a challenge. I wonder if they would have us take care of their 25 sled dogs as well?
After the boys bottle fed one lamb each Arlene was going to feed the lambs some pellets in a small barn area; one of the ewes got wind of that, so she broke through the gate to get into where the pellets were. This caused a stampede and the barn was more than full of sheep -- to the point where some of the smaller ones were getting stepped on and I even saw one sheep laying on its back on top of other sheep with its four legs flailing in the air! It was total bedlam! I now have a better understanding of why in God's Word we are compared to sheep; they certainly are dumb animals! Arlene had to quickly run around the barn and coax the sheep out with more pellets, and as soon as they saw pellets being poured into troughs they all came running. Thankfully none of the sheep were hurt.
Steve (Mountain Fire Keeper) did another excellent job of planning yesterday's Country Living Skills Workshop. It was very good for our family to listen to the discussion of safety on the homestead. We sure have a lot to learn in that area as well. Paulette did a very good job of explaining what she keeps in a first aid kit, using herbs, charcoal, etc. in place of the usual medicines. We need to get one together so we have it ready. Steve also had a talk on pruning trees and did a walk through of the hoop house. It was too cold for me, so I stayed inside! (It was a typical Turtle Mountain spring day: we started out the day wearing short sleeved shirts, and by bedtime it was snowing!) Afterwards there was a very nice time of fellowship.