A Peep Behind the Scenes – Spring at the Farm

Things are starting to happen around here.

I can not put into words how much I adore this time of year.  Everything is resurrecting from the dead.  Even me.  I go into hibernation, build fires, eat potatoes and gain 7 pounds every winter.

When spring arrives I come out of hiding and start doing things like move truck loads of manure and clear acres of land…….. by hand.  It pretty much takes care of the 7 pounds and wakes up all my muscles that disappeared.

Yes.  Hallelujah – It’s spring.

spring peach

The peach trees are in full bloom.

When we bought our property it was pretty much acres and acres and acres and acres (keep saying that) of woods and a peach grove.  The peach grove was approximately 4 acres and had about 180 peach trees in it.  Yes.  If you would like to know about peaches – I’m your girl.

We decided we like cows more than peach trees, so we knocked all the peach trees down and put up fencing.  It was the only open land on our property to speak of, and the grass in the peach grove was a glorious feast for the cows.

If you are like me and knocking down 90 peach trees makes you want to cry – don’t.  The grove was 25 years old when we bought it and that was 10 years ago.  Those trees were on their last leg.  They were dropping like flies and needed to be put out of their misery.  The good news is that our nextdoor neighbor kept their half of the peach grove and they love to share.  The trees are ancient, but still make some peaches (as long as a late frost doesn’t get them).

More good news is that when we bull-dozed the peach trees we added new ones.  Now I have peach, apple and pear trees.

march garden 2

The spring garden is mostly planted and coming to life.  To see what I’m growing go here.  I still have more crops to get in this week.

rabbit spring

The rabbits are mating.

I am here to tell you that Hulk is the cutest rabbit in the world.  If you think you have the cutest one, you are wrong. Hulk crawls our arms trying to get us to pick him up.  He sleeps in our laps.  He would rather be with us than other rabbits.  Hulk is a cool, little dude.

cow spring

The cows are bursting with pregnancy.

I miss milking.  Terribly.  About 3 months before a cow calves (gives birth) we “dry them up” so all their nutrition and energy is spent making a healthy baby instead of milk.  This is pretty much the norm in the cattle world.  Some people take a 2 month break.  Some take a 4 month break.  Ours will be about 3 months.

When we first dried up the cow it was a refreshing break.  I fixed my hair.  I put on make-up.  I drank pots of coffee.

Now that I have had nothing to do in the morning for over 2 months I am a slob.  My schedule is all over the place.

I’m looking forward to some precious calves and gallons of milk soon.

spring duck

The ducks are napping in the shade.

Ping and Filbert are doing fine.  They made it through winter and seem to be enjoying the spring weather.  We are planning on getting a couple more ducks this year.  I am worried that the new ducks will not be adorable and friendly like Ping and Fil.  I hear horror stories about mean ducks that attack chickens.  I have not experienced that…… yet…… which is why getting new ducks makes me nervous.

behold 4

The baby chicks look like they have mange and are turning into big chicks.

It is interesting how our perspective on chickens has changed over the years.  Our first year, the chickens were like a bunch of feathered cats.  We loved them.  We played with them.  When we had our first chicken-death (thanks to a dog) it was traumatizing.  I had 4 unconsolable children.  It was a nightmare.

Then another one died.  And another one.  And another.

It doesn’t matter if they are fenced in or free-ranged or locked in a barn.  In Kentucky, the coyotes, raccoons, opossums, weasels and neighborhood dogs will eventually find a way to get their paws on them.  If the chickens do manage to live a long predator-free life, eventually they will stop laying and at some point die of natural causes (if you don’t eat them first).

It must be faced – one way or another, your chickens are going to die.

Fast forward many years to “now” and we have a completely different attitude toward chickens.  We start the winter with twice as many as we want to end up with in spring.  Loosing half the flock over winter in the woods of Kentucky is pretty average.  When we come out of winter (like this year) with almost every chicken still intact we are pleasantly surprised and pleased.  For more on keeping chickens alive go here.

spring pig

The pigs are enjoying the sun, fresh air and hay.  Aren’t they cute!!  I love my wittle piggies.

I am a happier girl because of my pigs.  I just can’t imagine our farm without the pigs.

If you love pigs – here’s more:

land clear 1

I am Wonder Woman and doing things I would never dream about any other time of year (like clearing 3 acres by hand).

DH is doing most of the clearing….  I just walk around with a chainsaw and chop stuff up get get it stuck in trees….  which is awesome by the way.

Yup.  It’s spring and I never want it to end.

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Happy Spring Everyone,

Candi

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