2011, and (belated) welcome to it!

Our winter is whirling by faster than any that I can remember!  The days are getting longer, the sun is higher, the chickens are getting restless and the seed catalog’s beckon!

We will be sending out renewal notices and posting membership information here soon, there are just a few details to the upcoming season that we are working on and then the seed ordering begins!

It’s very satisfying to look at the beautiful and bountiful seeds that we have saved from some of last year’s plants.  (Okay, that Matt saved from last year.)   Looking at the bucket-full of bean seeds takes me back to the summer day that I watched Matt and Casey with the box fan cleaning the chaff from the seed.  They did a darn good job, too!  This will be the 3rd generation for some of the spinach that we will be providing for our members again this year.

Because we grow several varieties of most vegetables that we grow, we often don’t save seed with concerns of cross-pollination (although that can be interesting too!).  We often don’t have the time or space to let the plants linger to seed stage either, but we hope to do more seed saving in the future.  Then I will know that those tomatoes that I am dreaming of will be back again next season!

Meanwhile, down in the barn, the chickens are hoping for the snow to melt so that they can see what last year has left for them out in the fields.  I have seen chickens that venture into the snow at other farms, but never here on our farm, although they do like to taste the snow while standing on safe, dry ground.  They did manage to find some nice green wheat shoots out in the field between the snow melt and the last dusting of snow!

This winter I took big jump and purchased a fancy nest-box setup for the ladies.  They were clearly missing their tractor nests and several hens were too large for comfort in the make-shift nests that I had given them in the barn.  (I thought they were pretty nice, personally.) The catalog promised that the bigger girls would love this.  I was shocked at just how much they did!  It appeared to be the chicken dream-house that they’d been hoping for!  Before I could even get it set up there were over 20 hens climbing on it when the whole thing tipped and crashed to the ground.  Now that it is secured, it is their new favorite egg-laying spot, and our egg production went up shortly after.  There is one independent group that all like laying in a large milk crate that has a very fancy (in their opinion) canopy over it for privacy, and the smaller hens aren’t pestered in their small nests any more.  There you have it…the secrets to a happy hen house.

‘Tiny’ the cat, being evicted from his happy place.

The rewards of a happy hen-house!

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