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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Spring on our Urban Farm

Trudy--the Jersey Giant who has yet to lay an egg
The grass is getting thick and green, the Currant bush is leafing and the spring flower bulbs all seem to grow 2 inches a day.  Despite the fact that we have had rain, hail, frost and bouts of sunshine for our wacky weather lately, there can be no ignoring the signs of spring on our little urban farm on Cedar Street.

Our easy-going Buff Orpington hen, Hilda, is fluffing back up after a pretty raggedy moult that started after Christmas and our shiny Black Australorp, Ginny, has been laying now since late January. The wild card and severely late bloomer, Trudy, actually seems to be looking like she might figure out she has a hen's job to do pretty soon as well.

Hilda, our Buff Orpington who is on the upside after a late-Winter moult. Her comb and wattle are still a little muted and she's not quite back to laying yet.
 Meanwhile, we've got the brood box scrubbed with vinegar and ready for the arrival of the new babies this week. Brood box=big grey plastic tote! Our plan is to bring home three new ones mid-week so we can start this hen-raising ride all over again and see if we can't round out our beginner's flock to a respectable half dozen. We are choosing three more heritage breeds--although this time, we are going for medium-sized birds (our current girls are some of the largest heritage breeds available--Trudy being THE largest.)

Ginny--our Black Australorp has her shiny new post-moult fluff and she is up to laying about 4 big eggs a week.
Hyssop, Rosemary, Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower awaiting their new home in our garden.
On the garden-growing side of things, we run out between rain showers and hail storms to prepare veggie beds, plant onions and work on the creation of our new herbs-for-bees beds in the front yard.  This time of year is always a mix of excitement, hard work and mud as we fight the urge to stay curled up inside for one more weekend, knowing full well that this really is the time to get a good start on the Brassicas and spring stuff if we want to have a good show of things!

And, in the window sills, our tomato, pepper and eggplant seedlings are, hopefully, getting a solid start.  We are tolerating the boxes and trays as part of our current decor in anticipation of a fat smattering of vegetables this summer.  I'm always amazed how no matter how much planning and plotting I do during the winter, the first of March comes along and I already feel like I'm behind!

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