The last of winter’s snow has finally all melted away. Activity has begun here at our homestead and with the arrival of spring, we find ourselves falling into the rhythm of a new season.
The flock has been freed from their winter lodgings and can now roam over the pastures as they wish. The chicken run has been opened, bird netting removed and packed away, and the coop has had its spring cleaning. Eggs have been carefully collected and put into the incubator and soon we will have this year’s first round of hatchlings. We are focused on hatching out duck eggs this year since it looks like neither of the two females mallards are going to sit. We found a large clutch of 15 eggs in the duck house but no one seems interested in caring for them.
All of our transplants have been started and are tucked snugly under lights, their presence filling the room with the faint scent of greenery. At the height of our planting, it looks like this year we will have 60 varieties of vegetables and herbs in the ground. I have listed our planting list here. Over the last month, I have been making paper pots to hold the seedlings in. It is a quiet activity and one that helps to anchor the idea of food security throughout the year. As a family, we are often reminded that in day’s past, this time between winter and the first harvests of spring were truly the lean months.
The gardens too have been an object of activity for us. With every warm day, the soil comes closer to being ready for our hand. Already we have begun to turn under the manure and compost that had been applied all winter long. As each bed is prepared, we limit the exposure to the elements by recovering them with a thick layer of mulch until the day of planting. This has been a new change from past seasons when each bed had been allowed to remain uncovered once the soil has been amended. Left exposed, we experienced a greater amount of weed problems later on.
And so our workload slowly increases and the dreariness of the long winter months comes to a close and is replaced by the stark optimism of a green farm and noisy chickens.