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!

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