Now that spring has (finally!) arrived we are really in full swing here at the farm. Life is busy and very, very full. We are still working on homeschool and keeping up with the boys’ full social schedule (plus Stephen works full time) but we now have the added layer of LOTS of work to do here on the homestead.
Now that the snow has fully receded we have moved the laying chickens out of their winter home (our hoop house) and up into what is now being called our new fruit grove. It sits on higher land above the veggie garden, and though I’m pretty sure the chickens have no real appreciation of the view, it is our favourite. You can see a good sweep of land from this spot but it is protected from the winds by the rise behind and the trees that border the fence with our neighbours.
The girls have two different kinds of coops to choose from, the movable palanquins we built last year with handy sedan-like handles, or the polytunnel type construction that can be used for chickens or other small animals too. It’s also movable, Stephen built it on runners, and the reflective tarp will hopefully provide some nice shade in the warmer months. The girls are very much enjoying their release from their self imposed winter confinement in the polytunnel (hoop house) where they enjoyed their ability to move and peck without the inconvenience of actually having to go outside. Sometimes I admit I envied them a little. Ok a lot.
Since the snow melted the girls have been out full time from dawn to dusk. They are pecking, rolling and strolling their way around, digging over compost piles, fertilizing the garden and generally making themselves extremely useful.
The area they are in now is what we’ve designated as our own, personal orchard. It will be a mixed orchard that we will prize as much for it’s beauty and blossom as for it’s fruits. Last fall we began the larger farm orchard out in home field that will be mainly apples and pears. But this little grove of trees is to be our own sanctuary. The trees will eventually give us shade and a place to rest in between chores and working on the garden, which is just down the hill a little.
Stephen planted these trees in on Sunday and moved the chickens up there too. What was quite an abandoned area is suddenly our favourite spot. On Monday evening, after feeding the chickens and pigs and doing our companionable evening stroll around the farm, we planted ourselves on 2 comfy chairs and watched the world go by for a while. After a short while the boys joined us, excited to have us at their disposal and full of adventure. As we sat and chatted they ran back and forth, collecting nature specimens, making light sabres out of sticks and finding out what was behind the rocks just by the tree line. The sun began to dip and the air cooled but we all stayed, blissful in the freedom we had to sit peacefully and share this beautiful evening.
The geese have returned at last, bringing spring on their wings and occasionally visiting our pond for a brief respite from their long, long journey. Despite the rain and the mud I couldn’t be happier to see spring arriving. We have burst from our long confinement and straight into the busy work of our farm. Growing, raising, planting, seeding…the work of spring is in full flow. I look forward to sharing it all with you over the coming weeks and months, and for those who venture here to visit, there will always be a bountiful supply of tea. And mud.