30 April 2015

Spring, all of a sudden

 The weather has just taken a warmer turn, which is just as well, as I couldn't leave it much longer to transplant my peppers, eggplants and tomatoes from the warmth of the house. I spent a happy hour in the greenhouse on Monday, potting everything on. 100 tomatoes, 33 peppers and 12 eggplants are all now in greenhouse beds or in pots waiting to go outside once the soil is warm enough. It will be some weeks before that is true!

On Saturday I was up early for a long drive to Kitchener. I had to stop on my way out of the County to grab this scene: this is at Carrying Place, with the Bay of Quinte in the distance. It was a magical moment, just before the sun came up.

The chickens are really enjoying being able to run around in the orchard again. The older Buff Orpington rooster keeps his distance from the younger one (who is Top Bird at the moment), but the Welsummer rooster doesn't seem to have any disputes with the other two. I usually resist naming the chickens, but this one looks like he should be called Kelloggs, don't you think?

13 April 2015

Ice out

'Ice out' is when a lake is clear of ice after the winter. Usually it happens to 'our' lake at around the time of the Spring Equinox, but last year and this year it's been April before all the ice has melted. We had high winds the other night and they must have been responsible for the huge piles of drift-ice that have washed up in places along the edge of the lake. I've never noticed this happening before, but they are really quite something to see!

05 April 2015

Spring progress report

It is beginning to get warm enough for me to get started on the Spring jobs. Looming largest in my thoughts was the need to empty the chicken enclosure of the accumulation of winter litter. But I couldn't do that until the chickens were willing to spend some time outside. They aren't happy about walking in the snow, so I needed most of the snow to be gone before I could contemplate the task.

Here's the orchard on March 26th:

Still fairly snowy: the Buff Orpingtons were willing to brave the conditions, but none of the other breeds fancied leaving the coop.

By yesterday most of the snow had gone and the birds were spending their time outside. Here they are this morning. There was a light scattering of snow overnight, but not enough to bother them.

It took two hours of shovelling to get the barn free of the woodchips and chicken detritus of the winter. And there was a rat's nest. With baby rats in it. I won't say any more about that...

The resulting chicken manure heap is huge! You can see that there's still quite a lot of snow behind it.

There are some signs of life in the greenhouse. These seedlings are coming up in the bed where I sowed peas. They're clearly not peas, but I'm hoping they are something edible, so I'll leave them for now.

It's suddenly a lot easier to walk up past the barns, with the snow going. There is still a lot of ice in places - this patch along the fence line is a good ten inches thick!

I was actually quite grateful for the continued cold weather, as our fridge went wrong on the 25th of March and was out of action for  a week. I put our cool box into service and stationed it on the porch. Fortunately the weather stayed at fridge temperature for the whole week, so we didn't have any problem keeping things cold.

It wasn't the most convenient location for a fridge, but having all the food out on the porch did turn out to be a very effective deterrent against snacking!