February 20, 2017 FARM NEWS

The usual Monday morning garden view. The snow has gone, the sun shines bright, the mud is quite apparent.

The usual Monday morning garden view. The snow has gone, the sun shines bright, the mud is quite apparent.

This week’s weather has been very pleasant for us and we are much more easily able to get more done.  There is still a good little bit of frost in the ground and it is not yet all out.  A rain with warm temperatures will get rid of what frost still remains.  The downside is that it is now very muddy and will be for another day or two by which time it is predicted to rain.  So likely we won’t be rid of mud any time soon.

the chicken house on the left and the duck hut to the right with the bale of straw between them.  A warmer view than the same view posted last week.

The chicken house on the left and the duck hut to the right with the bale of straw between them. A warmer view than the same view posted last week.

We did some detail work to finish up the green house attached to our house so it is now that much closer to being able to hold all the trays with seedlings growing in them.  But that will not happen too soon as we don’t want to risk having to hold plants too long before setting them out in the garden.  Not too much before March first.

Nell and Marta waiting for more hay and liking the warm sun.

Nell and Marta waiting for more hay and liking the warm sun.

The animals are liking the warm weather of course and we have finally been able to let the chickens out all day with out fear of cooling the chicken house too much.  They are also steadily laying better as the weather warms and the day length increases.  Some of the older hens do not lay well at all during the winter.  We have to do a lot of culling to find out which hens are not laying eggs.  There are some in the older group.  The older hens do lay the bigger eggs though they are often then more fragile. We are giving them crushed oyster shell as a calcium supplement so that may help.  The ducks have adopted to the new location of their duck house without any problems.  They should start laying eggs again soon as there is now a light on in their house and day length increase is also important to trigger their egg laying.

Chickens at the feed trough. The white hens are two of our nine Leghorns, the very prolific white egg layer. Nine leghorn hens have laid nine eggs each day for the past seven days.

Chickens at the feed trough. The white hens are two of our nine Leghorns, the very prolific white egg layer. Nine leghorn hens have laid nine eggs each day for the past seven days.

We will start to work in the garden in earnest once the frost is out and the ground has firmed up.  The spreading of straw mulch and composted manure are going to take a lot of time and that is what is needed along with working the soil and preparing seed beds.  We are suddenly overwhelmed once more but as it is still only mid February everything good grind to a halt with the return of winter weather.

The twin lambs with their mother.

The twin lambs with their mother.

She is checking. Yep, they are all here.

She is checking. Yep, they are all here.

Giving mom a kiss?  No just checking to see if it's mom.

Giving mom a kiss? No just checking to see if it’s mom.

There are two other reminders of spring coming soon.  Twin lambs were born last week, no more since, but these two are doing well.  The sap has started to flow and we began boiling down a small amount yesterday.  We only do a small amount of maple syrup each year as we do not have many maple trees.  Some of the trees that we have tapped in the past are on the river bank and it is very difficult to get to these and even more difficult to carry out a full ( maybe 15+ litres) pails of sap. We also tap Manitoba maple as well as he Sugar maple and that work s alright.

A single tap on the sugar maple by our house. Not the usual sap bucket, this is actually a stainless steel dairy bucket.  Most of our sap buckets plastic.

A single tap on the sugar maple by our house. Not the usual sap bucket, this is actually a stainless steel dairy bucket. Most of our sap buckets plastic.

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