Tree peepers, that is. I thought I heard them on the other side of town on Monday and I was pretty sure I heard them at the supermarket Tuesday night but I definitely heard them here on the farm this evening. So, it's official: Late Spring has arrived! If you don't know what peepers sound like, play the video.
The daffodils are in bloom, as are the irises in my greenhouse, the witch hazel, and the forsythia bushes. Our daylillies are well up too, though it'll be a while before the first of them come into bloom. Our greenhouse lettuces and beets are ding well. And, finally, it's dry enough to try to till again!
The big news on the farm these days (besides alleries from all the wild things abloom) is a major expansion of the chicken flock. As noted before, the roosters are starting to do some damage to the hens as a result of over-mating so I'm doing the "thing not done" and adding hens instead of eating the roosters. Today I paid for a new greenhouse-coop from Blue Ride Mini Barns (here in Floyd) that will be delivered some time next week. I'm getting the display model so it's quite a bit cheaper than what they list them for online.
Yes, I know... I could have built my own for a bunch cheaper but considering how far behind we are on "DIY" projects and my receint poor luck with anything vaugely mechanical I thought this the more reasonable solution. The 8x8 building has an automatic vent and will be connected to the old 6x6 coop by a breezeway (built by me and utilizing scrap lumber). Heat from the summer sun should not be too great an issue as the location is well shaded by mature oak trees.
To fill this amazing 100+ square feet of chicken palace I have ordered 50 female chicks from Murray McMurray Hatchery. Half are "rose comb" Brown Leghorns and half are Red Star hybrids. Both are standard commercial laying breeds known for excellent production and an ability to forage. I wanted to go all-heritage but the econoomics just don't wash out well. To compensate, I'm thinking of my choices as liberating a few hens from Chicken Barn Hell. That's a picture of the Leghorns over there. Hopefully by hand-raising them I will be able to help them be less "flight" animals. Surely the ultra-mellow Cochin hens will teach them to take it easy?
Why the concern for production? Aren't these animals mainly for bug control and secondarily for eggs? Eh????
That was the original idea but Salvadora has agreed to partner with me and be my spokeschicken / coop manager in a little organic mico-farming egg adventure.