I checked back to see when I last wrote a farm and garden report, and it was seven months ago almost to the day! The reason is that there simply isn't much to say in the winter. Tom comes home at night and does the chores - feeds the animals and chickens, and fills water buckets. They spend all their time inside the barn or within four feet of the back door. Many, many days I don't even catch a glimpse of them.
And now it is spring. Spring with just a few patches of snow. Spring and the air is filled with bird song. The robins returned on March 31. This morning I heard a phoebe. Tom thinks he saw a woodcock up in the woods, though we haven't seen or heard the nightly dance yet. The winter birds have slowed down in their eating from the bird feeders.
Every spring I think to myself that I should have planted some crocus bulbs in the fall for the treat of seeing that color just now. We do have daylily shoots up three inches, but that's about it in the flora department.
The baby chicks have been ordered and sixteen of those dear little soft creatures shall arrive the first week of May. I did a blog entry the last time we got new chicks in May, 2007. Though the girls slowed down in their laying over the winter, we never had to buy eggs, and now they've picked up so much that Tom has begun selling eggs at school again. As I've noted, we don't eat our chickens, and they just gradually die of old age. But Dominiques are a very hardy, trouble-free, long-lived breed. They don't get sick.
The leek seeds were planted under the grow lights weeks ago, and get stronger each day. We'll be planting the tomatoes any day now. I think I've written about our off and on situation with the lights. Well, we've finally found just the spot for them - in the new butt'ry area off the kitchen. They aren't too obtrusive. They are near the woodstove for warmth. And we love seeing the bright green plants underneath them. I occasionally bring some houseplants over to give them a little 'spa' treatment in all that great light.
For the first time in 30 years our spring has been giving us trouble. Tom thinks there is rust buildup inside some pipes but can't check them until the weather warms up. If we aren't careful in our use of water, we lose pressure. Like say for instance, I take a shower and then do a laundry too soon afterwards. The reservoir must fill up after a big usage.
Tom is going out to bury our beloved, and sorely missed Ben today. I can't be part of it. I've never felt such sorrow at the loss of a dog. I wrote about how special he was, and there's just a hole in our hearts now. Sadie was very quiet, very subdued for, I'd say, almost two months after he died. We've been trying to do some different things we couldn't do with Ben, like taking her for rides. Ben hated riding but Sadie loves it, and I got her one of those back seat liners that plugs in to make it warm.
Matthew and Margaret are going to get a couple ducklings in May at the local feed store. They have a little pond, and we have a big old duck house from when we had ducks years ago. Ours wandered to the far ends of the pasture and got eaten by something, and after two attempts we gave up. We loved those ducks, though. They had such personality. I hope the kids have better luck.
We have big plans to put in more raised beds this year and extend the vegetable garden out into the field. We want more boxes, as Tom calls them, for potatoes, corn, and peas. He is also hoping to build a second patio; this one outside the kitchen door between the house and the beginning of the vegetable garden. It's a kind of ragged area with some old walkway stones that have been covered over with grass, and flower gardens which are overgrown and need to be redone. I just saw that I was talking about this area a year ago in a farm and garden report! Time to deal with it!
This morning for the first time I went out outside and sat on the patio to read. I've just begun Wish You Were Here by Stewart O'Nan. I wanted to read it before his newest one Emily, Alone because though it isn't billed as a sequel, it does carry on the story of Emily from the first book. I have read some excellent books lately and have five book reports to write!