Spring Dreams

I’m dreaming of a green Spring… Seriously though!! I have the worst spring fever going on right now. And, of course, we are supposed to be getting up to a foot of snow between today and tomorrow. Winter is the worst! Minnesota is not being very nice this year. Just sayin’.

Do you get spring fever? I don’t know about you guys, but as soon as New Year’s Day is over, I’ve got spring fever. I don’t know what it is, but it happens every year. I think it’s because that’s the time of year that everyone starts talking about fresh starts and clean slates. To me, spring is the time for all of that. January is also the time that I start getting all my seed catalogs. That definitely does not help with spring fever!

I’ve had a couple things lately that have urged on the spring fever. The seed catalog is one of them, but the other happened this past weekend. A friend and I went to this thing called “Back to Basics.” We had a blast! It’s put on each year by a group of people that are experts in sustainable farming and other topics related to that. We learned so much. This year was the first year that either of us was able to go to the event. We went to four different workshops.

The first one we sat in was on the basics of chicken keeping. This was just a basic overview of what types of chickens there are, what type is good for the use you are wanting, and what equipment will be necessary to keep your chickens alive and healthy. I haven’t had chickens in a long time, so this was a good refresher for me. My friend has chickens now, and said she learned things from the course too. I was able to learn some new do’s and don’ts for when we are able to get chickens again. I can’t wait to get some and get started on collecting our own eggs and possibly raising some meat chickens for the freezer. My kids are going to love having chickens! And I’m really excited about the option of having eggs any time we want and knowing what went into those eggs. I’m also more than a little excited about the chickens eating all the bugs and ticks. I hate bugs!!

The next class we were able to attend was a beekeeping class. We learned about different types of bees and their personality traits. From what I learned, Italians are the calmest and easiest going bees. That is probably what I will start with so we all get stung fewer times. I’m not a fan of bee stings! We learned how to handle the bees and what equipment we would need for us. We learned the different pieces of the hive that would be needed to house the bees. We learned different tips for how to winter the bees and what to do if they don’t make it through the winter. Let’s face it, wintering bees in Minnesota isn’t always an easy thing and doesn’t always work. We even touched on the easiest ways to extract the honey at the end of the season. I have never had bees, so this was all new to me. It’s a little overwhelming, but I’m still pretty excited to be able to try it at some point. I would love to have my own honey!

The third class was on how to keep apple trees alive in Minnesota. Again, the winters here are not exactly easy or forgiving most of the time. Apple trees, for some reason, can have issues surviving our harsh winters. But, we learned a few tricks to help them survive the winter and be ready to produce fruit the next season. Apple trees are something my husband is really wanting to get into. He so badly wants to start an orchard. I would love it if we could start an orchard. It would be great for the kids to learn about how to care for the trees and land in a way that allows them both to prosper. An orchard would be an amazing adventure and a wonderful learning tool for everyone. I’m very glad we were able to sit through this workshop and learn everything that we did. My notes are about three pages long from that workshop!

The last workshop we were able to attend was for soap making. I have been wanting to start a soap business for quite a few years now. I have been talking to my husband for a while about it, and he thinks it’s a good idea. When I saw that this soap making class was an option, I jumped on it. It was so much fun! I have never made soap before. I have done lots of research and youTube watching, but I have never had the chance to actually make it yet. During the class, the instructor did all the actual soap making, so I still haven’t done the work myself, but it was good to be able to see the process in person. She explained everything so well and clearly, and put everyone at ease through the entire class.

I’m not going to lie. I have been super nervous to try making soap. I’m afraid I’m going to screw it up. But, from what the lady said, it’s not a big deal if it gets screwed up. I’m always afraid of messing something up, and that keeps me from trying a lot of things that I really want to learn to do. I’m afraid of failing. It’s a really stupid reason for not trying things, but that’s the truth. I’m afraid of messing up.

Anyway, back to the workshops. I think this event was exactly what I needed. I’m always afraid I’m going to mess something up, so I don’t try it. But, every single person who taught these different workshops gave us the same words of wisdom. Every one of them said, it may seem like a lot. You may seem overwhelmed, but it’s easy! Just try it! If you mess up, oh well. It’s not the end of the world, and you can always try again. The first few tries may be a total failure, but as soon as you get that first good result, you will be hooked even more than you are now.

And, you know what? They are right. I know I will be hooked even more than I am now. I know I’m going to mess something up and possibly kill off all my bees someday, but at least I’m trying! I can’t wait to be able to learn these new things and try my hand at doing them. I would love to be able to reap the rewards of the work and know that I did that. I would love to look at a few pounds of honey and know that honey was made in my back yard. I would love to look at the soap on my soap dish and know that the goats out in my pasture gave me the milk to make the soap, and that I put it together in my kitchen. I would love to make applesauce every fall from the apples I watched mature and ripen on my trees. The trees that my bees pollinated throughout the spring and summer.

You guys, life isn’t about all the stuff you can get. It’s not about things. Life is so much more than that. God gave us the ability to be self-sustaining and to provide the food our family needs. He created everything to be intertwined and to help each other to do their jobs. I love farm life. I can’t wait to get back to this way of living. I can’t wait to get my kids onto some land and to start teaching them these things. They are already super excited about learning and living off our own land. They are just as eager as I am to get going on this adventure. I was hoping it was going to happen last summer, but that obviously didn’t happen. And that’s ok. I need to be patient and wait on God. It’s hard to do, but I know it’s what I need to do. I’m trying my best to do just that. But, in the meantime, I’m going to learn everything I possibly can, and I’m going to scour my seed catalogs a few more times.

I hope you all have a great rest of your week! And let’s hope spring decides to make an early appearance this year. It definitely won’t hurt my feelings any!

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