Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fools For April

This morning when I stepped outside to  feed the animals, it  smelled so incredible!  Earthy and fresh, with a hint of green. It feels like the advent of spring is snowballing (inappropriate metaphor) and I am feeling a bit giddy and a bit panicky --so much to  do in the next month!  This post will be a hodgepodge of what is going on this, the first weekend in April.
A few crocuses are blooming!
Daffodils and tulips  are well on their way, too.
Rhubarb is starting to look like a wrinkly newborn.
Inside, 180 tomato plants  have begun to grow.  I have so many seeds yet to start!

The temperatures were right for the sap to run again for a few days and today we finished boiling down about 60 more gallons of  silver maple sap from our yard to make one gallon of the most delicious syrup that has ever hit your tongue.  We didn't scorch it this time.

Yesterday was a balmy 60 degrees, topped off by a beautiful blue sky, so we worked outside as much as possible. Rog  trimmed windows on the granary
while I tackled cleaning out my beehive. Sadly, the bees did not survive the winter.  I had decided to build two new hives this year, Warre hives, primarily because they are smaller and  easier to maneuver (when the frames are full of honey and  wax, they weigh a LOT and I can barely lift the boxes.) Also, the philosophy of this system is much more hands-off and low maintenance/no chemical, which fits my life better.

I have acquired a beekeeping mentor, my neighbor Tom, who has decades of beekeeping experience that he is willing to share. When I showed him one of my frames from this hive, he said it was a perfect frame that bees would be happy to move into - so I have decided to keep this hive in addition to the two new Warre hives if I can still get bees for it.  I will post more details about the beekeeping adventure soon.
We are gradually getting the muddy trench where electrical wires were buried for the solar panels filled in.   The clever silver-lace wyandotte hen accompanied Rog as he dug and raked - she discovered occasional tasty earth worms were being turned up.
Lariat is less than three weeks to her due date. She is looking pretty round. Although you can't tell is  from this photo where she is covered with  green hay, I have been brushing her and handling her a lot in the hope that she will be  more accepting of me handling her calf. She has become an extremely mellow, friendly cow since we got her.
LaFonda isn't due for a month and a half yet, but she looks bigger and rounder than Lariat. We bred her with a mini White Park, because I wanted to ensure she would have a small calf--I hope she doesn't have twins.  I have been reading  so many horror stories about difficult calf births that I am a bit anxious.
These three are part of the gang of six crazy roosters from  Lacey's surprise October  clutch. And when I say gang, I mean gang--they are really rowdy and terrorize the hens relentlessly.  We have a problematic ratio of roosters to hens--about 17 roosters and 35 hens --way too much roostosterone on this farm.  This week, all but two of the roosters will be harvested. I hate to see these colorful characters go, but their personalities are too aggressive. And we probably need some fresh rooster genetics if our hens insist on raising more chicks this summer.


Cheri said...

Can't wait to see the calves! Roosters sure can be cocky can't they? :)

leigh.jason said...

I hope you are planning on selling some of those tomato plants!