Here is a quick photo update of the farm(chickens) these days.
The birds are spending a lot of time in their coop, grudgingly making their way out to explore the snow during the day. The chicken tractor is set up on cinder blocks with the door open, the birds are using this dry area as their dust bath.
The strawbale walls of the coop help keep them out of the wind, but it still gets cold in there, with the rest of the greenhouse unfinished and no cob yet for thermal mass. We haven’t put in a heat or light lamp for them. They are laying well and don’t seem to mind cuddling up together for warmth. Though investing in a heated waterer would be lovely.
..and more bird photos. We have a few more named ladies. Winter is for naming the birds, it seems. Athena and Uncle Vincent. And Polly. Athena and Uncle Vincent are the two, full-figured White Orpingtons. Athena is typically the last hen into the coop at night, she likes to stand on the pop-door and muster lightingbolts at any would-be owls. Jeremy’s father named Uncle Vincent, after a dear relative. And Polly is one of the Mottled Javas, the biggest one. She’s so named because she likes to hop up on my knee.. and my shoulder. She gets comfortable, nestles into my neck, and takes a fair amount of persuasion to get rid of. It would maybe be cuter if her feet weren’t covered in mud and chicken shit. Jeremy enjoys this a great deal and calls her Polly.
One hen went broody, just for a few days. Squawky, she screamed at us if we got too close. And then she just sat there, settled and poofy. A feathery, partially deflated, black basketball. Patiently sitting. Deliberately rotating the eggs beneath her. More meditation than incubation, as the eggs aren’t fertilized. She got over it quickly.
We are spending lots of time planning for the upcoming season. Our hope is to increase the number of CSA shares we fill this year. This is taking a great deal of strategizing in terms of row spacing and rotation, varieties, timing, budgets, etc. We’re both going dog-ear happy with the seed catalogs. Jeremy is collecting a wish list of trees for the orchard. Radish is enjoying her days snoozing at my feet under the desk where I’m plugged into work. I’m enjoying the days being able to full-heartedly focus on off-farm work, not feeling torn or guilty – like I really should be outside. Jeremy is baking bread. We are connecting with our community in ways that are hard to do during the growing season. We’re reading Rudolf Steiner and Buffalo Bird Woman, Edith Hamilton and Michael Phillips. We are having fun working on projects in Jeremy’s father’s woodshop and fiddling around with blockprints. And we’re eating squash.
Happy 2013 everyone! We hope this is a joyful year for you all, full of peace and good things growing.