Monday, April 10, 2006

Ready to Go

Well the snow is just about gone and the frost is rapidly coming out of the ground. Yesterday, I finally got the chickens to come out of the coop, and they watched me carry the poultry bedding bags to the driveway from around the coop and delighted in scratching up the spillovers left on the ground. The outcoming frost softened the ground to an ankle deep mud patch on the slope between the coop and the driveway by the time I finished moving the last of the bags. The job took me a good half day, but I got it done. Today, Tom helped me load the bags into the back of the pick up truck and we moved them all in only three loads to the field where I dropped two bags per apple tree and left the rest of the bags around the field area. We hope the weather cooperates on Wednesday as we plan to till in the manure and start turning under the next half acre section where I want to put the pumpkins and sunflowers.

The seeds I started in the basement the middle of last month look pretty good. A few of the tomato varieties had poor germination -- Riesentraube immediately comes to mind, and most of the sweet peppers did poorly. The hot peppers for the most part sprouted well, but Tabasco peppers were rather poor germinating. None of the curly leafed parsley sprouted so I replaced it with some Green River flat leaf and we'll see how that does. The Copenhagen cabbage was about 60% germination. I planted more of whatever needed filling in the seed starting cells and plan to start the cucumbers next week. I will pot up some of the tomatoes. Now that the snow is just about gone I can retrieve the high tunnel frame and set that up out in the field.

The chickens are still laying well. They laid all winter for me and I got between 5 and 7 eggs a day from my girls. Petty good for only 7 hens. I butchered three of the roosters when the weather started to warm up and now am down to two gents. Still too many for the number of hens, but I'd rather have a spare rooster in case something happens. I ordered egg cartons, a candler, and a new waterer from and am looking for a decent used refrigerator to keep the eggs in. Once I have that, I'll be able to start selling eggs from the farm. I made a little shelter from fallen branches for the chickens at the opposite end of the run. I put some hay over the top of it and it looks like a punji stick A-frame. The chickens really like it. At the end of the day they come running when they see me because they know that they will get some scratch when they go inside the coop. It's pretty easy to put them in at night. I can't wait to give them my own wheat and oats.

There is so much to do; I wish I could work more quickly, but you just can't with this type of work--you'll only injure yourself. I keep remembering that German proverb: Slow and steady goes long into the day. Amen to that! I keep telling myself that the really hard work is now until I have everything built and the permanent plantings done. After that, it's all maintenance.

I better sit down and make my shopping list for Easter dinner! Until next time!