It is officially Spring on the farm and I can definitely feel it. These are the days that I take hot baths whenever I can and use lots of hot/cold rub. There is so much to do and so little time!!
1. I have a major project going on (the Mobile Chicken Coop - Thank you to Harvey Ussery and his book Small Scale Poultry Flock) that we have raised farm money and spent hours planning and buying materials for. It finally started this weekend but I digress.
2. I have been working on replacing our chicken run fencing with taller fence my Aunt and neighbors have given me as scraps from their farm improvements (Thank you both!!) and are looking forward to being able to walk into the chicken run without stooping and that other level of difficulty for the chickens to fly out of the area and get into my gardens.
3. The children helped me get our seeds started the other week and we have big and little green sprouts coming out of our containers - now it is time to start "hardening them off".
4. We have had 1 incubator hatch out 10 goslings and 8 chicks and have another batch of 16 goose eggs and 16 chicken eggs in the other incubator to hatch this Thursday and the 3rd batch with 10 goose eggs and 18 chicken eggs to hatch around mid-April.
5. We have been lamenting the non-productivity of our back acre and I finally got the soil sample done and results back - needs nitrogen. I am trying to learn as much as I can about soil and balancing all the different elements that are so important to a good crop. We started applying fertilizer and are praying it will be enough - wow it is expensive (especially organic which is a must)! I plan to investigate and do some research of my own as far as comparing the chicken yard and the raised beds to see what the effects of chicken manure, leaf mould mulch, and horse manure have in respect to soil balance. I feel like I need to go back to school and study soil. We also planted red clover in the back acre - I hope it will sprout this spring and start working its magic.
6. We have been building raised beds and filling them with horse manure from next door. We found a listing of free cinderblocks on Craigslist and picked up 100s of them. I have laid them out into 5 new raised beds and filled them with horse manure during my twice weekly trips next door to help out with their bounty. I am really excited about planting in them and the possibilities of having a great crop from the effort.
7. Building building building!! We have already built a PVC run for my mom, a run for chicks and goslings (need to finish the lids), a PVC run for connecting to the Mobile Coop and new nest boxes for the chicken house. Now we have a couple projects left on the list of "To Do" - a. rebuild JP's mobile chicken house on a new frame to make it functional again. and b. add on to the chicken house to make better use of all those new nests. We went a little crazy with the nests. :)
8. Dare I dream? I have two thoughts - if we are going to expand the chicken house then we need to provide more run area (because the current flock is bigger than the current runs can support during the non-growing time.) So my question is: can the back acre be recreated into a serious run? Can a mixed flock of geese and chickens keep us from having to put up netting to keep the hawks from eating the chickens?
What wonderful problems to have!