As each season has it’s own unique challenges there are aspects of spring that are not seen any other time of the year. With warming days the itch to work outdoors is ever present but not always attainable. For instance, a few beautiful days in March melted the snow to such an extent that there was a lake between my house and barn. This lovely pond later half froze making trips to the barn treacherous at best. This slippery path blocking situation made doing chores difficult for a few weeks especially with baby Penelope. It wasn’t safe to carry her with me so Lucian kept an eye on her while she slept and I listened on the baby monitor. Mostly he made sure Fiona left her alone. Fiona is two and she loves her baby sister but she is not the gentlest when showing the love.
As the pond dried up we have been able to get out and about better. The rains have been coming at least once or twice a week now which keeps us inside but overall the temperature is much warmer. The ducks love it when it rains and the kids and I enjoy watching them splash around in the puddles. The goats however do not enjoy the rain. I watch Nora in the doorway of her shelter voicing her displeasure over the wet weather. However, Nora loves to complain about every little thing so I tune out her vociferous appeals for drier days.
Besides the warmer temperature and wetter days the animals are showing me signs that winter is at an end. The chickens and ducks are laying eggs again. They are laying between 10 to 20 eggs a day right now, so if anyone wants farm fresh eggs I am up to my eyeballs in eggs. We were getting 2 duck eggs a day from our two hens but one of the hens went missing last week. I’m not sure if a predator found her when they were splashing in the creek or if she is nesting somewhere and she’ll waddle back in a month with a trail of ducklings.
Another sign of spring is Fauna our Nubian/Oberhasli cross had her kids a week before Easter. She had 1 doeling and 1 buckling. Unfortunately she is not the best mother of our two goats. She has a habit of ignoring the weaker of her babies until they are lethargic from cold and lack of food. Every year we have to warm one up in the house and bottle feed it until it is strong enough to go back outside. Usually it takes a few hours until the kid is ready to go. This year she ignored the little girl so we brought her in where she was subjected to Fiona’s loving care for a few hours until she was strong enough to go back to mom. When I put her back out I made sure Fauna let her eat for a while. She is now just as rambunctious as her bigger brother.
The chicks are hatching out at Northwood School with the 4th grade class like they do every year. As of yesterday there were a dozen healthily hatched chicks but the incubator will be running until tomorrow so we may have a few more. Last year we hit our best hatch out record. Of the 41 eggs in the incubator 26 hatched. I hope this year does just as well. The school kids love this project and I am happy I can help broaden their agricultural horizons. This year the chicks will be going to my sister Sondra who lost all her chickens last year to a persistent fox or two.
I am ready for spring to fully bloom so we can get started on the garden. Lucian is going to have his own corner of the garden to take care of this year and I am planning to improve my herb garden. Trenton is going to be working on aerating, liming, and reseeding the pastures this week so they are more productive. The window of spring is small but there is so much work to be done. Better get cracking!