Spring has Sprung in Texas

Maybe I was paying better attention this year, but it seems like when Spring hit, it hit all at once.  My memory isn’t the best, but in previous years it seemed a little more gradual.  Within the first two weeks of April, we went from a drab winter scene of brown and more brown to trees in full leaf and the grass and weeds in the pasture being knee tall.  We did have a sneak attack freeze on Tax Day this year, the latest freeze I can recall.  Luckily, I was able to cover all the tender squash and bush beans with a thick layer of straw, so they fared pretty well.  The onions, radishes, and sweet peas could care less about a 29 degree night.

Now that we’ve had our last freeze, it’s time for everything else to start going in the ground.  I procrastinated this winter on starting my seedlings for tomato and peppers, so a trip to the Dennis Farm Store was in order.  Dennis’ is a locally owned store that covers just about any need for farm or ranch.  To make it even better, the owner is a wealth of information.  The best part is seedlings from his store are twice as healthy and half the price of the box store places.  I ended up picking out 14 tomato and 16 pepper seedlings.  He threw in the big packet of okra seeds I needed for me.

This morning found me out getting the tomatoes in and mulched.  As soon as the last of the straw mulch was spread, big raindrops started to fall.  I wish I could say I planned it that way, but it was dumb luck more than my ability to forecast weather.  Now the sun is peeking through the clouds and we’re looking at a warm, sunny afternoon.  I think the baby tomato plants will enjoy their first day in their new home.

Aside from gardening, other upcoming projects on the homestead include building a quail tractor and getting 20 or 30 quail.  Sarah and I have no experience with these little birds, so we’ll document the process the whole way and hopefully not kill too many birds while we learn.  I have a friend that is getting started with quail several weeks ahead of me, so I’m hoping to learn from any mistakes he might make.

Once the garden starts producing, Sarah and I will fire up the pressure canner to preserve some of the harvest.  We’ll do a full write up on the process for anyone interested in learning the skill.  We have other projects in the works, but like always we have more plans than we have time.  We’ll cover anything we get into and share them as we learn new skills in self sufficiency and self reliance.

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