Mother nature has started to tease us by sneaking in some warmer days, and seed catalogs have been marked up like it's Christmastime. It smells like spring is just around the corner. I love all of the newness that spring offers, this year more than ever. New birth, new growth, and new projects. In addition to the oodles of animals that will added to the farm this spring, getting my garden underway is a major priority. I didn't have a garden last year because of the move, and the year before that I had a pretty lousy one due to location at my rental house. It really has been two years since I've had a garden, and I am chomping at the bit to get digging in the dirt!
I've officially reached that inevitable point of winter where I am 100% over it. It's not even the cold at this point anymore, or the snow (which we've been getting plenty of lately). It's the multiple trips per day to stock my wood racks in the house for the stoves, vacuuming the mess it makes after each trip, and so on and so forth.
Because we closed on our house at the end of July, we didn't have any time to cut or split wood and have it be properly seasoned to burn this winter. So, we bought some, and cut and split some that my father-in- law had that he gave us. Well, with two wood stoves burning around the clock, we knew we were in trouble around Christmastime. Our supply was (quickly) depleting, and with a big old house I couldn't stomach burning oil to heat anymore than just as a backup, or paying for wood again.
Chickens can be vicious animals whether it be to members of their own flock or an outsider. The chicken hierarchy isn't referred to as a pecking order for no reason. They will relentlessly peck, bloody, and gang up on another bird to establish dominance. If you've ever seen it in action it can be painful to watch, and sometimes requires serious intervention. So when I recently purchased a couple of eight month old Silkie hens I was nervous about introducing them to my existing flock of nine hens and two roosters. Every spring I go through the process with chicks, but this would be the first time that I attempted to integrate full grown hens. It didn't end up being as bad as I expected, and much to my surprise went smoother than it typically goes with chicks. Prior to the introduction I read a lot of tips and tricks that seemed like much more work than they were worth. Although I wanted things to go as smoothly as possible, I am a realist and know that no amount of masking will hide the fact that there are a couple of little white hens in the coop that weren't there before. Nature will run its course, but with some patience and common sense you can help the process go a little more smoothly.
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