Sunday, April 18, 2010

With spring comes activity & 181 fluffballs

It is definitely spring around here. My favorite tree the flowering crabapple is blooming, some day perhaps I'll have a dozen of those or so in my yard.
Some of my most recent heritage bulbs are coming up, including this cute little pink hyacinth called "Double Hollyhock" also from Old House Gardens.

Ryan has been in a flurry of activity with the spring, too. Here he is treating boards with linseed oil to help them last. He also re-mulched our swampy rhubarb patch and filled in some holes in the rhubarb where chickens had beaten up rhubarb plants. Perhaps those plants were buggy and they were doing us a favor... The one thing I have learned here is that chickens love mulch. Love it. It is a nest, it is a food source, it is a place of dust baths. Mulch seldom lasts well around our farm, but we do it anyway. Why? Because it is cheap (free!) because I work at Vermeer, maker of many brush chippers; and because it is a chemical-free way to keep weeds down. Not to mention, if chickens are tearing up my mulch they are ignoring my strawberries. Layer chickens are smarter than the broiler chickens, but they do still only have the capacity to focus on one thing at a time. They are just not born multitaskers.

This week we also received our first 181 little yellow fluffballs. The question I keep getting here is: Why 181? Well, we ordered 175. But in the interest of customer satisfaction, the hatchery always throws in a random number of extra chicks in case some don't survive shipping. In our case, I don't think we've ever lost many (if any) in transit, but this way if we do the hatchery hasn't upset us by shorting us chicks. So now we have 181, and they will be this cute for about a week before they start growing and get a lot less cute.

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