I Opened the Door and it was Spring!

I knew spring was coming, after all it is April for goodness sake! However, as busy as we have been and as crazy as the weather has been, it has been hard determining if it is still winter or if spring truly was coming. My day starts early, normally 4 am but lately 3:30 am. So it is dark on the long commute to work. About 2 weeks ago on a Saturday morning, I had slept in and when I opened up the door the grass was incredibly green and the Bradford pear trees were in full bloom. It was like spring had happened overnight. After the incredibly long winter, it was a sight for sore eyes. I love when the sky is blue and the grass is green and everything is alive and bursting into color! I enjoy watching the bees buzz about to capture pollen and the bulbs beginning to bloom.

Since my last update our lives have progressively gotten busier. Springtime on the farm means we have many more mouths to feed. We had to get our brooder finished for the baby chicks since we doubled our capacity. We converted our old turkey house into the brooder – it is 10’ x 16’. I had posted pictures on our FB page showing that we had insulated it and built a wall to allow some storage space for the bales of pine bedding and bags of feed. We picked up 245 Cornish Cross meat birds and 27 Broad Breasted White turkeys on 3/21. We had a smaller brooder for the turkeys, 4’ x 8’. This is our first time raising this breed of turkeys. So far, with them it has been easy – we haven’t lost any. The Cornish Cross are harder to raise for sure. They always say consider that you will lose 15%. We aren’t at 15% losses yet, but they aren’t 6 weeks old either. We hope to get them on pasture tomorrow – or at least ½ of them. The brooder is getting too full and we must get them out. The weather has not been optimal conditions. We don’t want to put them into the chicken tractors until the temps at night are at least in the 50’s. When we add these new poultry to our existing poultry and consider the dogs and cats, we have 381 mouths to feed!

In that total number above, we added to our laying hen flock by purchasing 25 Hyline pullets and 5 White Leghorn pullets. We’ve been losing (1 to 2 per month) our older laying flock just due to old age and we needed to increase production. We need to clean out the coop badly, move them to new pasture and fix the roof that is presently covered with a tarp due to a recent windstorm. I always feel a little sad when we lose one of our existing hens because I know they have given their all to us over the last several years. The 14 guineas that we have love to be outside and eating all the insects, but on occasion I keep them in due to the fox. He reappeared just this past weekend and that made me very nervous. Last year the fox killed the mother goose that nests on our island, so this year, we have put a fence in front of the bridge that leads to the island in hopes that the momma goose will be safe.

We have been making progress in the garden. I’m disappointed to say that of all the garlic we planted, I only see 3 rows making an appearance. We planted 9 rows of onions and I still have more to plant (about 1,050 planted). We have broccoli, green cabbage and cauliflower in the field. We have many seedlings still to plant and lots to direct sow. If we could just get a break from rain. Speaking of rain, we have received 6.5 inches in this last month. We have a pattern of 3 to 4 dry days and then 3 to 4 wet days. The sump pump has still not ceased operating! We had to get 2 more dump truck loads of gravel delivered to replace the road that is washing away. 

I am happy to report that we finally have 17 of the 34 riser posts in the ground (concreted) for the high tunnel. We had to pump water out of the holes, re-dig some of them and level and fill with gravel/concrete to the height we needed. We felt so grateful to get those done. Now we wait for another dry weekend to be able to proceed with the other 17. 

We have been able to get both of our Polaris Rangers serviced (every 50 hours) and our zero-turn is presently being serviced. We still need to get our Mahindra tractor in but we can only do that on a Saturday and so we wait for the perfect Saturday to take it in. Although my husband could service most of our equipment and does service a lot of it, we take advantage of the service plans to save our most valuable asset – TIME! 

We have been to several workshops or presentations (usually during the weekday evenings). This included a high tunnel workshop, a senior nutrition program for farmer’s market vendors, a farmer’s market vendor meeting and a cut flower seminar. I was able to volunteer 2 more times at Kress Farm for the hours I need for my Master Gardener Certification. One of the highlights was seeing in person the picnic table and blue bird house we had purchased in honor of Grandma! She would have loved them. 

I have gotten several flats of flowers planted and in the propagation house. I still have many more flats I need to do. I got some ranunculus planted and have several dahlias to plant. Our asparagus and rhubarb arrived so we need to uncover the tarped ground and prepare that for planting. One thing I’m very excited about is that I got asked by the Master Gardeners to be on the “garden tour”. I asked if I had to clean my house or provide a porta potty and they said no. Since the answer was no, I said yes! It is June 8. I told them more than likely, my husband and I will be outside working in the garden. They said that is fine, it is a self-guided tour. I’m sure I have to put up signs or something. I say all this to say, I know how excited Grandma would be to know this. Every year for Mother’s Day, she gave me money as my gift to go toward my annual flower bed creations. I have a passion for annuals and perennials and love to do “themed” flower beds. Last year, I didn’t plant anything. Grandma had passed away in March and we were still missing her so badly that I just didn’t have to heart to do anything. After all, she wouldn’t be there to enjoy them. But now, I feel like she would be happy to know that our home was asked to be on the garden tour and of course, I can’t wait to find time to do annuals after the last frost date has passed!

I am late getting this blog post up. I hope you enjoy reading it and I hope you too are enjoying the signs of spring! Happy gardening to all of you and thanks for reading our post!

Paul Trusty