Another storm is sneaking it’s way through Maine. Supposedly we’ll see 6 – 8 inches in our area, but even if we do, I doubt it will last for long.
The signs of spring are here. This morning the freeze was barely in the ground. While the top looked and felt solid, any pressure on the lawn give way, springing back in a manner of which reminds me of the descriptions of the tundra from my grade school science books.
Coming out of the coop, I was graced to see the first flock of geese fly not more than fifty feet above my head. It was glorious. As they went on the alight in Blaisdell’s field, my smile became brighter with the prospect of gardens, firewood preparation, and summer adventures. It was a needed blast of happiness as people’s bitterness and jealousy have been attempting to sour every joy as of late.
Stepping into the basement to get lunch out of the deep freeze for later, the smell of clean water seeping into the cracks in the concrete and the sound of the sump pump reminded me that, despite people’s belly aching, the snow is actually disappearing.
Spring is coming. It’s sneaking around the corner this year, instead of jumping up from the hedgerow. Soon the greens will push forth from cool soil as transplants wait for the air to warm up. The basement will be a cacophony of chicken chatter. The welcoming smell of spread manure will drift on the breeze.
For now, we’ll enjoy the warmth of the fire. It won’t last long, as spring will be here soon enough.
As the snow finally melts away, we are left with what remained at the end of last season. It’s a new war that is dawning: an adventure to parallel the likes of the Ring Bearer making his way to Mount Doom. The last few years have been trial and error when it came to what we need for gardens and how to fence them in. This year will be the year of massive planning and retrofitting the existing beds to work for a more long term mindset.
When we first moved into our home it was with the idea that we wouldn’t be here for more than a few years. Things change. We decided that starting a family was (and still is) more important than waiting until things are “prefect” – which they never really are. With that in mind, we’ve both finally come to terms with the fact that we’ll be here for another five, possibly ten, years.
(I will admit, it took me a lot longer than the Hubster to come to terms with that.) I finish my Master’s this December, so this is the last season that I will definitely be on site pretty much 24/7. These two things mean that this is the year to really hammer out the homestead. Or at least get the gardens up to snuff.
The plans, in no particular order, include:
* Re-fencing both existing southern gardens (seen in the photo)
* Tilling, fencing, prepping, and planting the new 10’x30′ plot. (This will go to the far right on the other side of the bed that’s going to be turned into two raised beds with trellises. We started work on this last fall.)
* Re-fencing the north garden
* Starting two potato towers made from locally sourced, free, untreated pallets.
* Mulching the bahgeebers out of the garlic patch.
* Fencing in the cucumber bed
* Re-fencing the old pepper bed for Little Mister’s growing spot
None of this includes making the “run way” for the sun flowers, herb boxes, lettuce boxes, of the mini greenhouse for the hot peppers.
On top of all the gardening, there will be foraging, wood splitting, house repair, animal raising, and all the other crazy goodness that comes with the spring.
We might not win every battle, but we’ll surely win the war. ;-)
"Chicken with Old Truck" by John Harvey
For those of you that have been following the blog on a regular basis, you all know that there has been a goal for this family since getting our own home. That goal is to one day have laying hens to supply us with eggs for cooking, baking, and possibly selling. The only thing holding us back really, aside from money, is waiting to see how my cholesterol numbers look before we think about an egg-heavy life style.
That being said, one can hope for the best. In an attempt to educate myself (and possibly the husband, even though he grew up with them) about chickens and the various sorts, I introduce to you a series of posts entirely about chickens. This is in no way meant to be a tutorial on chicken husbandry. This is simply my way of sharing what research I find. By writing I increase the amount of knowledge I retain and have the added bonus of passing that knowledge on to others.
The articles in mind will look at the following:
- General chicken information (history of chicken raising, reasons, ability…)
- Small coop designs (for flocks of up to ten)
- Initial coop set up (including a cost break down)
- Ways to obtain chicks (Murry McMurry, local stores, local farms…)
- Bantams vs. standard size hens (pros, cons)
- The necessity of a rooster (to have or not to have)
- Posts on different species of chickens
- Chicken health (illnesses, immunizations, controversy)
- Chicken feed (natural, pellets, misc.)
If you have ideas, thoughts, and information about chicken raising, by all means, feel free to share!