The rains come. Snow melts. Snow falls. Rain. Warm days. Cold nights. More rain. More snow. The roller coaster of spring has arrived in the north.
By mid April it's no longer safe to go ice fishing. The men have little luck fishing from shore. The sleigh bogs down as they travel through the bush. The trails aren't clear enough to use the cart. Everyone stays within walking distance of the house.
What little grass pokes through the snow is still dead and brown. We manage to shoot an occasional bird, rabbit and fox. They stave off starvation for the birds, just barely. The birds are getting more milk than we are now, along with the kale that I planted midwinter in the sunroom. I'm afraid I may have to start feeding them my seedlings soon. They're almost ready to transplant now, with no where to transplant them to.
I busy myself in the greenhouses, working the soil, filling buckets with snow, patching the plastic. It's still too cold overnight to plant inside, but towards the end of the month the weeds start growing, giving the chickens some fresh greens.
The men cut logs to build more greenhouses for each house. The ground is still frozen, so no digging yet. At least they'll be ready when they can dig. Tree tops are brought up for firewood. Our wood shed is full, so we begin refilling the basement.
I can what meat is left in the entranceway freezer. There are over 700 jars, enough for one meal a day for each house, until fall. We decide not to butcher anything big until then. With any luck Dorie and Nelly will calve soon, and we'll have meat for the future. Mildred's calves are growing well, and Monsoon, the little bull, will probably be on the menu next winter.
The garage freezer is filled with pop bottles of water. All the extra bottles have been filled and stored in the basement. The carboys, canning jars, and 5 gallon pails in the cold room have all been filled with water.
There are only a few jars left of pickles and beats, and still a fair bit of jam. Sometimes the boys take a jar and eat it straight. What else can we do with it with no flour for bread or pancakes?
Dad and #2 carve a mold of a foot, and make new shoes for #2 from last year's cow hides. They plan to carve more molds in everyone's sizes, but only #2 is without shoes for now.
We're down to the last four bales of hay. We need grass soon. The snow melts slowly. We put up more fences in the clearings, more places to graze this summer.
We have visitors regularly now. The townsfolk come out to see if the trails are cleared to the bush every 4 or 5 days. They're looking for greens. They cut pine branches for tea, but there's not much else to be found yet.
A seed exchange is set for mid month. We go with just a few assorted seed packets. There are fewer people than last time. We hear of many who didn't make it through the winter, or chose to head south. Letters from the south tell of decimated populations, but an early spring, and growing season well under way. Town governments have begun contacting one another, seeking answers to the questions that everyone is asking- when will the power be back on. In some areas windmills have been fixed, and pockets of hydro do exist.
We're surprised to find some of the Mennonites there, and they have wheat, barley and oat seed with them to share. Everyone gets enough seed to grow one acre. I am thrilled at the prospect of bread in the fall. They have a working mill, and will grind what wheat we grow, in trade for other goods in the fall.
Everyone is hopeful for the future. We've survived the winter. In another month we should begin harvesting the first spring veggies, and fresh weeds and forage before that. Hydro in the future. Some hope for normal.