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Spring is Here!

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It’s March! Our two months of bitter cold are slowly moving past us, the water tank is thawing (finally), and the goats have realized the joy of going on walks around the property. After spending two decades in the Chicago suburbs, it’s almost surreal how quickly winter came and went. It’s 71 degrees in Albuquerque proper as I write this, with all of my windows open.

With winter came a lull in our plans. It was too cold to plant, to make bricks, to do much else besides take care of the goats and fix what may have broken in the last snowstorm. However, March is here and yesterday we made our first bricks of the year and started working on garden beds.

The garden is what I’m most excited about. I was lucky enough to grow up with a green-thumbed mother and our vegetable gardens were one of my favorite things to help with over the summer. This year, I get to spearhead my own. I picked out drought resistant, brightly colored varieties to help us stand out at local farmer’s markets. Pink celery, rainbow chard, red okra, golden beets, and so many others make an appearance on this year’s roster. I’m equal parts excited and terrified, to tell you the truth. While our beautiful clay and sand soil is great for building, I’ve only grown things in the naturally fertile soil we had back in Illinois.

This garden’s our test garden, and I’ll be happy even if we only get a few products out of it. When I first started thinking about garden plans, I became obsessed and a little overwhelmed. There’s so much to do, yet so little time!  I wanted to order the whole catalog, get a fifty foot greenhouse, have 100% germination and yield rate. I got burnt out. However, just like I’m finding in many things dealing with the homestead, managing expectations is the number one thing that people forget to do. I love planning and running up pages and pages of future projects, without thinking about what is realistic. Most likely, we won’t have a perfect yield this year. It’s also 100% certain problems will come up, whether that’s disease, critters, or wind. However, every single thing that goes wrong is a learning experience. We’re first year homesteaders, who moved from the cushy suburbs to being roommates with rattlesnakes. All things considered, I think we’re doing pretty well and we’re only going to get better from here.