Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring!
It was a beautiful way to end to the winter. We had several snow storms that dropped about 10 inches over several days starting on Christmas night. While I always enjoy seeing the farm covered in snow, the snow overstayed its welcome a bit, and it gave us all a good case of spring fever. Of course the turkeys took it all in stride. Their adventurous nature when it comes to snow is always fun, and they continued their usual antics of sleeping outside and blazing trails all over the turkey yard. The chickens are always a bit more suspicious of the burning cold poison lava as we chicken ladies like to call it, and the ladies had me shoveling paths up to their outdoor shelter and handing out generous servings of treats to coax them outside for some fresh air. This was the first year that I put a strand of Christmas lights up on the coop, and I'm so glad I did. The cheerful sight of the lights made the cold days a little more bearable, and they give it such a festive look that I decided to leave them up all year. Heck, I may even add another strand because I'm all about the simple pleasures these days.
Mr. 5R and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in December with a weekend trip to the coast. If I have to leave the farm, the beach is definitely my first choice. We splurged on a beautiful beachside condo for a weekend of storm watching with our friends that were our witnesses when we eloped to Las Vegas. Lots of good meals and catching up with old friends, it was definitely a much needed treat. It's been a fairly uneventful winter on the farm, although not without a couple of losses which although always sad, we have come to accept as part of farm life. We lost our sassy little silkie hen that had recently been moved to the turkey yard, which was a much better fit for her than the back deck bantam coop. Size definitely did not matter in her eyes, and although she was pint-sized, that didn't stop her from mingling with the turkeys like she was one of them. She passed from a reproductive complication, but at least it was a quick loss and she didn't suffer which is the best you can hope for in these situations. We also lost one of our elder hens 'Other One' who was one of the original two dozen chickens we got for the farm back in 2012. She was never an especially affectionate lady, but the last few weeks she had taken to following me around begging for treats and even wanting lap time, I think these sweet ladies know when their days are numbered, and I made sure to enjoy every moment I could with her. Ten years for a chicken is a long life, you really can't ask for better than that.
Spring is definitely in the air the last few weeks. With the gradual return of longer days, the ladies are coming back from their lay-cation. More eggs are appearing in the nest boxes every day, and it's so nice to have rainbow eggs in my egg basket again. The spring bulbs are poking their leaves up, and I've been starting my cool season veggie seeds. The peas will be climbing up their trellis soon, and I have lots of little seedlings sprouting on their heated seed mats in the sunny southern window of the house. Seedlings will move out to the greenhouse once they are about an inch high. I've found that starting seeds on a heated seed mat in the house shortens the germination time significantly, and it always give me a little sense of excitement each morning to see what's sprouted overnight. Last spring I splurged on baby chicks, but the henhouse is full this year so I splurged on seeds instead. Black strawberry tomato, 'Blauhilde' purple beans, pineapple squash, Mexican sour gherkin, and salmon aster to name a few - I can't wait to see everything in the garden this summer! Rainbow harvests here I come!