The Long Nights Cold Draw To A Close

Hrafnkell settled the whole of the valley, bestowing lands on other people, on condition of being their chief; and thus he assumed priesthood over them.

As Spring fades away into the summer season, our lazy way of raising chickens has been moving steadily along.  We enjoy taking a natural approach to our flock, providing them with as much space as possible once the cold grey skies of winter have been replaced by the warmth of the fertile season.  Our main flock is primarily comprised of Black Australorpes and Barred Rocks – two hardy types of chook that seem to do really well in our climate.  We picked these two types of birds of course because they are considered “dual use,” that is, good for both meat and egg production.

This year we decided to add some new hens to our flock as many of our other girls are quietly aging.  With egg production dropping off from previous years, we thought that this season would be a good time to bring in some new additions.  Thus, we brought in two new types of bird – Golden Laced Wyandots and New Hampshire Reds.

Here are some of the older flock out on pasture.

chicken homestead chicken
Unfortunately, not many of our eggs hatched out that we had incubated earlier this spring.  Our poor old rooster, while always a fine fellow, seems to be slowing down in his elder years.  This brings our total flock up to about thirty hens or so and three roosters.

Much of our work during the early spring fell to preparing garden beds by heaping on some extra compost and pulling back the fall’s bedding of mulch.  At the same time much of the focus fell to the new greenhouse and working out the plan for seeding, starting seeds and keeping it all fairly organized.  Here is a glimpse of some of the work:

This year we decided to continue to start our plants inside that are not direct seeded.  With so much going on with the homestead, we figured this first year was not quite safe to begin extreme experimentation by starting all seeds inside and then moving them out once they sprouted.  At any rate, here you can see one flat of our tiny tomatoes being moved out into the warmth of the spring sun.

Within a few weeks of this picture, we had the entire floor of the hothouse filled with flats of tomatoes, green peppers, brassicas and onions.  In addition, our entire little growing bed was bursting with assorted greens.  The fertility around us at this time of year is always so regenerating after the long, cold winter.

A poem entitled Spring by Analemma McKee-Schwenke

Sing ye, Heimdall’s kin, a song of mirth,
All ye warmed by the sun, nourished by the earth.
The sky is blue; the birds do sing.
For winter’s through; ’tis time for spring.

The long nights cold draw to a close.
For Sunna bold shall soon disclose-
Her radiant splendour, warmth, and light
To the world give life and growth and might.

The card’nal’s not the only bird
Whose morning song can now be heard.
The long leaf pine and broad leaf tree
Shall both soon green and wakeful be.

Blooms sprout where Freya’s feet do fall.
Frey, crowned in green, is lord of all.
Birch boughs with eggs and hearts are hung,
And wood wights walk new growth amoung.

All things must one day have their end,
And Skadi snow again shall send,
But now a time of light is here.
Ye good folk, Joy! Be of good cheer!



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