Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The days are getting a bit more productive now that the weather is starting to show some signs of warming. It’s been in the 50’s the past couple of days, and what snow we have left is rotting away into mucky puddles. If I was a superstitious person from the middle ages, I would be thinking that with every snowflake that melts a fly is spawned. The barns are filled with flies. It’s so gross, but I know as soon as we get the chickens out there the fly population will be checked.

Yesterday I got a good start on whitewashing the coop. All that is left to do in there to ready it is get some straw on the floor, hang the feeder, fill the waterer, and put up the two heat lamps. Of course, I’d also like to get insulation on the ceiling and finish whitewashing, but I can do those even if the chickens are in there. Today, I picked up four bales of straw for $4 each. Not the best price in the area, but I like the people, so that’s where I plan on getting most of our supplies from now on. For anyone curious, I go to the Eaton County Farm Bureau just outside of Charlotte. I also picked up some ground up oyster shells and another bag of chick feed. We probably still have another week or two left to go on our old bag, but I like to be prepared when we can afford it. Once this summer comes, I think we’ll probably let the birds forage for most of their food during the day. The property is big enough, and the side with neighbors is fenced off, so I think they’ll have all the bugs and greens they could ever dream of.

We’re on the lookout now for someone near us who has the machinery to till up the three acres out back and perhaps seed two of the acres with cover crops. My husband wants to do at least a quarter acre of buckwheat, but other than that I think we still haven’t decided. Clover would be nice as a green manure. I’d also like to experiment with a little white and red wheats, perhaps some rye, maybe some oats. Anything that we’d be able to us as hay/straw as well as for feeding ourselves or the animals would be a plus. If any local farmers read this blog, please give us a shout!

I’m seeing more wildlife now that it’s warming up, too. I mean, besides the endless droves of flies. On a walk the other day, we found deer tracks, tracks of an overly large rabbit, cat tracks, and the birds in the trees and fields seem to be increasing in number. So far I’ve seen lots of starlings, cardinals, mourning doves, and blue jays. And, of course, the crows. I’m not too pleased with the starling population. Those are the birds that totally ruined our corn crop in our old house. They landed by the hundreds on each corn stalk until every one was broken sideways and picked clean, darn things. I’m thinking a little bird shot might be the answer to that one if they start wrecking our crops. We’ll see. Maybe they won’t. But that rabbit? Oh my goodness! The tracks looked like one of my toddlers had alternately sat and poked their hands forward on the snow. That’s how big they were. If I see that rabbit it’s going into my stewpot. A rabbit that big could wreak havoc on a garden.

Ok, well I have to get back to job-searching. Cross your fingers for me, okay? Toodles!