Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The scale of life.

This weekend we went for a walk together in the woods on a lovely warm Friday. Of course, we turned back relatively quickly when out of the nice clear warm sky hail started, but that's New England for you. Either way, I wanted to share the really lovely photo the Lady of the House got to give some scale to our woods that is often missing from a lot of the photos that I post here. Obviously a lot of the trees around us are young, and most of the oldest trees are no more than 50 - 100 years old just due to the realities of how thoroughly the area had been cleared. Even so, everything around us towers over us and the house which can be really wonderful.

Outside of our environment being impressive, the weather is very . . . March in New England is probably the best way to put it. Snow overnight and in the morning, 50s mid day. This is honestly exactly the kind of weather I expect day to day at this time of year, I just usually expect there to be snow cover on the ground rather than grass and leaf cover.

Right now I'm very glad I didn't succumb to the long warm seeming early spring, and try planting even cold hearty crops. The consistent cold would have killed off just about anything, and probably has killed off most of the things I'd expected to over winter, like the Kale. We shall see what actually comes up, and if this end of winter ends up killing off the plants that got a little over hopeful. At the very least I hope it kills off a lot of ticks. I just have no use for ticks in the slightest.
The chickens do of course, but there are plenty of bugs to eat even if not a single tick survived the winter which is always my hope. It's interesting to me to watch the chickens reaction to the snow now as opposed to early in the winter. Early in the winter any snow was cause for alarm, and staying in the coop. Uncleared snow on the ramp meant it was impassable. Now they stand in the half frozen drainage ditch water, wander through snow up to their feathers, and generally ignore being snowed on, even ending up with snow on their backs as they harass me for food or treats. I do wonder how much of this is that they're expending more energy since they're laying full bore right now, and we're getting 4 - 5 eggs per day. This signals to me that it's time to start baking again, that or making a lot of egg drop soup. I do wonder if one of the hens is going to go broody soon. Either way we're going to need to correct their egg laying behavior since they're laying in the shed instead of the nest boxes most of the time. That may just require closing them in the run for a few days instead of letting them roam. Not the worst thing in the world.
The next time I see a week of over freezing temperatures I'm going to go ahead and risk putting mustard greens, radishes, and the like in the ground. Even if it's just barely above freezing over night. The nice thing about seeds like that is, even if we lose all of them, we'll still have plenty of seeds left. Any of the seeds that are important for us to not lose we're going to be starting inside, or later when we are more certain about how things are going to go. Even with the expectations about weather, things are less predictable than we're used to weather wise, so we are going to play it safe on anything we can't afford to lose. That same weather inconsistency that is giving us a normal end to a hard winter is motivating me to see if there's some way we can wrangle funds, or locate a free frame and material for a greenhouse. The more erratic the weather gets, the more important in our area, having some sort of reliable way to grow even in weird weather is going to be.

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