Spring can show itself if many different ways, despite the snow.
One of the first indications of Spring to me is when the chickens start laying eggs again. Our chickens do many jobs here on the farm. They eat lots of bugs, fertilize the lawn with their droppings, scratch through (aerate) other animal's waste, and give us eggs. I mention the eggs last because this is the job they are currently doing most poorly at. Don't get me wrong. I don't want to sound ungrateful. We love their eggs, especially in the summer when the hens are eating lots of fat bugs and veggies. This diet makes for incredibly orange colored yolks and some wonderful tasting over-easys. (I'm hungry.) But our chickens are lacking in the egg laying department. There are several reasons for this. First, the girls are getting old. Some have been around for several years and are past their prime. Second, we don't "force" the hens to lay beyond their natural season with lights or heated water. We feed and take care of them all year, in hopes they will earn their keep in the summer, as I explained above. Third, because we allow the chickens to roam wherever they so desire, we don't always know where the eggs are being laid. I swear they are hiding them from me. This adds some interest to doing farm chores. And is a fun activity for kids when they visit the farm. But like I said, it leaves me in want of eggs. (Did I mention I'm hungry?)
Now here's some news that will make you smile. Know what these are? TOMATO STARTS! Go ahead, give a shout for joy! I can personally guarantee they have a wonderful tomato aroma. (Boy, I'm hungrier than I thought.) Shain started these seeds on March 11 (see it written on the pop sicle stick?). They will get transplanted out in greenhouse #4 this week, on or about April 15th. Don't worry, this isn't all of the tomatoes we'll be growing. Just an early variety. There are 100's more to come.
Any respectable chef knows the perfect compliment to tomatoes is basil. Here at EverGreen Farm, we follow this line of thinking all the way from the beginning. When we start tomatoes, we also start basil. When we transplant tomatoes, we transplant basil. Why? Well, it's not because Shain knows how much I love to smell basil when I'm picking tomatoes, or vice versa. (Now wouldn't that be a romantic notion.) It's because bugs like tomatoes, but they like basil even more than tomatoes. One could say that the basil is a sacrificial plant. In farming terms, the basil is called a trap plant and this pairing of tomatoes and bail is called companion planting. It works well for us. (Plus, I love to smell tomatoes when I'm picking basil.)
This is one of the funnest signs of Spring! Aren't they cute? These are my three new goat babies. Tula (photo below, left) was born March 13th. April and Fred (below, right) came on my birthday, April 1st. We have a small heard of Saanen dairy goats which provides our family with fresh milk (and goat cheese) most of the year. The goats also provide us with LOTS of compost, as you can see in the pictures.
Don't be alarmed by the small circles on the kid's foreheads or the green tint to Tula's ears. These pictures were taken after the goats were disbudded (to prevent them from growing long sharp horns) and tatooed. The markings will be gone in a few weeks.
Looking forward to more signs of Spring....