February 24th, 2018
Redwinged blackbirds are back as of today. Remind me to check the journals ( I’m sitting downstairs in the kitchen and if I’m not mistaken, I think that they are upstairs in my bedroom and I’m too lazy to get up :), but I can’t remember an earlier arrival. First robin was sighted on the Feb 22nd.
Checked out the frog pond. There is liquid water in it, along with a foot-square chunk of ice, some green plants, but no signs of amphibians.
Grass near asparagus bed is greening ever so slightly.
February 25th, 2018
Just looked through my garden journals. You know they go back as far as 2008? Anyway, I don’t have any other February entries. Only ones that start in March and only on three occasions due I see reference to the arrival of the red winged blackbird. Twice, the arrival is marked in the first week of March and once it is marked in the third week of March (2014…a very loooonng winter). 2009 was one of the years where the spring came quickly. I have an entry dated on the middle of March that says I planted spinach and onions in the lower garden.
Which is similar to what I did today! I planted about 40 sweet yellow onion sets in the parsley portion of the raised beds I have near the house. I have a packet of spinach seeds…what on earth did I do with them though…I just bought them yesterday. Did I throw them in the front of the ATV. Oh God, my memory.
Do you know that I’m getting my rainbow collection of eggs again? The chickens started up the egg machines about 3 or four weeks ago. I went from 1 or 2 eggs every other day to a dozen per day in just 24 hours. Today I gathered at least 15. I love to look at them. I love the finish on the egg shell, I love the rose hue of some of the eggs, the blues, the dark browns. The chickens seem to be genuinely happy and a very complicated social group. There are many roosters. Too many for me to sit here and think about. They are terribly competitive about mating and they gang rape certain chickens. It’s brutal to watch and I’m THIS CLOSE to putting a few on the chopping block, but here’s the thing: I think the roosters:
- Force the hens to develop very fast running muscles…potentially helping them to elude predators (haven’t had a chicken killed by a predator in a long, long time). BTW, they are forcing them to develop running muscles because they chase certain chickens like hell. If they catch them, they mount them and take turns fucking her…sorry to be graphic. I hate when they do it. The screaming is just awful!
- Keep the hens well looked after. There’s a rooster for every 3 hens or so. They fight fiercely over the hens…perhaps they fight off predators with the same ferocity?
Other activities today:
One of the peach tress died this past summer…I’m pretty sure it was a Redhaven, which you know is just the best peach. I chained it to the ATV, ripped it out, and cut it up for firewood. After deliberation, I decided to replace it with another Redhaven. I need my peaches! Another Redhaven peach will bring the total peach tree count to 6, which is what I need to guard against weather and bug disasters, and to share with friends.
Cut down the volunteer maple next to the milk house and cleaned out the bullshit trees next to the cox orange pippin and Jen Gabriel Japanese crabapple.
Mulched the top row of blueberries with the wood chips/chain saw dust that my fireplace log seller delivered ( for only 20 bucks!). The soil in the blueberry patch is about as enviable as the soil in the asparagus patch. Gorgeous tilth and organics. Years of mulch, manure, leaves, grass, straw, and now wood chips…all chewed and rotted down to coffee grounds of earth goodness.
March 24th, 2018
All of the land is still very dormant (not sad about that…just a little impatient for Spring to start). We have had a series of Nor’easters that have dumped a considerable amount of snow on the Northeast, but for the most part Wyalusing has been spared, though it is still, in my humble opinion, unusually cold. Temps have been in the 30s and 40s throughout the month. I don’t know, is that normal?
I’m glad because I want the trees to stay dormant. Not sure if I wrote about this, but I collected scion wood for grafting in February and completed all of the apple tree pruning in March during one week of kind temperatures. Some of the trees, I really whacked back. We’ll see how they fare. I got tired of reaching to topmost limbs for fruit and trying to spray that distance. I tried to bring everything down to reasonable heights. I left the pears alone (cause I don’t know what to do with them) and left the stone fruits alone because Paul Pauliny (the guy up the road who has an orchard…btw…who names their kid Paul Pauliny?) told me that pruning them too early encourages early emergence and I don’t want the little devils to freeze.
Chickens are laying at least a dozen eggs per day. The roosters are fighting bad enough to draw blood on one another and to strip the feathers of at least one poor Jersey Giant hen from her back. I’m this close to butchering some of them, but the lack of predation has me believing that more roosters are better than fewer roosters.
Definitely went out like a lamb. Beautiful sun, 55 degrees. Great day.
Noticed that the wood frogs were awake yesterday, and today, while the sunlight shone upon the frog pond, two dozen or more swam about and chorused. I watched from the top of the hill where the barn is. Loved it.
Put in spinach today along with some weed cloth to control things. Mesclun went in where last year’s parsley grew, a couple of dozen of red onions next to that. Dug out dandelions in a few beds. Roots as fast as you please.
Dug up a few runners from ornamental quince and put them up on the high road where the crabapples are planted. I was heartened to see that the ones I put in last year, with the aid of the willow tea, are alive and budding.
Roosters are riding the hens of the flock hard. I have to cull. This month, perhaps.
Tulips and daffodils are sprouting everywhere. Crocus have been up now for about a week and a half.