Spring on the farm is very slow in coming this year. There is still plenty of snow on the ground. The driveway is starting to melt, hinting at the mess of mud season yet to come. The ground in the green house has thawed slightly allowing me to clean out the detritus from last years’ plants and move the dirt around, if only just a little. Slightly more than the top inch has thawed, teasing me into thinking I could get all cleaned up and ready to plant this past weekend. If the sun comes out as predicted this week, even though the temperatures are cool, I should be able to start turning in some compost and plant some cool season crops next week. My original seed starting schedule had me sowing seeds during St. Patrick’s Day week – it is looking like they will be a full two weeks behind this year.
I purposely held off on putting eggs in the incubator in February as the almanac did predict a cooler than expected end to this month – I am certainly glad I waited. The baby chickens will arrive the first full week of April. That gives me another week and chance to get the brooder box cleaned off (as Little man’s father has taken to using the chicken wire covered top as a shelf), disinfected, the heat lamp located and tested, and the box ready to house new baby chicks.
The order for meat birds is due into the feed store shortly so talk this week turned to remodeling chicken coops and whether the parts to the old washing machine would work for the motor, belt and drive for the chicken plucker I am planning to make. Unfortunately the door to the section of the barn where the old machine is stored is frozen shut and blocked by a snow pile still well over six feet tall. In talking with my cousin yesterday, he is planning on milling some posts and beams for a barn my uncle is building – maybe there will be some left over material that I can salvage for the support structure of my plucker.
As the snow melts I am starting to pick up and clean up from everything that was left outside over the winter. My old car (my favorite so far in all of them that I have owned) was carted off to the salvage yard today. Little man’s father went out on Friday afternoon with the tractor and dug out around it then on Saturday afternoon attached the tow strap to it and yanked it free from the ice. I miss that car!! De-cluttering continues; perhaps there is a little more money to be made from clearing out the junk to put toward solar fence chargers, metal roofing, or hydraulic hoses. My monthly project list is being held hostage by the weather and lack of snow melt right now.
Tomorrow night I am headed to the first (annual I hope) seed swap in Enosburg to trade some seeds, meet some other like-minded folks and to drum up some business for the local farmers market. Even though I might not be able to vend much this summer, I like the market and hope to get back to it soon.
With forecasted temperatures in the forties next week – here’s hoping for the beginning of a great season!