Spring Chores are Beginning

Mailbox

First up on my spring chores list was to replace the mailbox post.

I’ve considered writing a rant post about the county plow that took it out this winter, but really, I’m not mad at the plow driver, I’m certain it’s difficult to avoid taking out mailboxes. Especially when the snow was as heavy as it was this year, and they’re constantly trying to get it pushed as far back from the road as they can.

new mailbox post north view

New post, looking south

What’s infuriating is the hassle Kristen was given when she called about it, and the person on the phone just brushed her off.

There is no doubt whatsoever that it was hit.  The post snapped in 2 different places.  The mailbox itself was hardly touched, one little dent, probably where the blade hit the supporting post.  So much so that I just mounted the old mailbox to the new post.  The only issue with the mailbox is that it is old, and a bit rusted, and the door hinges are degrading to the point where it needs to be replaced.

Enough, I really don’t want to rant about it.  The good news is, now that the ground has thawed, I was finally able to get a new one in.

Dog House

No picture for this one, but I’ve moved the dog house back off the deck.

The dog house is actually an old deer blind that’s been modified to be a mobile shelter for Altana.  I simply added some wheels, similar to what’s on the hoop coop, so I can push it to wherever it’s needed to be.  It will likely also do duty as a goat shelter, once we’ve gotten our goats, but that’s as it should be, as Altana is supposed to bond with the goats and be their guardian.

Chickens

I need to start disassembling what I added to the greenhouse, and move the chickens, and their nesting boxes back into the hoop-coop, now that the snow has melted.

egg in nest box

Egg, and fake eggs (golfballs) in nest box

Hopefully the move won’t impede the egg production, which has finally started.  Currently getting about 4 eggs / day.  According to what we’ve read, for our flock we are expecting peak production to be about 14 eggs / day.  That will be just enough for us.

Which brings me to my next topic.

Chicks

I believe Kristen mentioned it in a recent post, but I’ll say it again, we picked up 26 Plymouth Barred Rocks during a recent trip to TSC in Cadillac.  We had already planned on ordering some from the same hatchery where we got out Buff Orpingtons last year, but, at $.99 ea, compared to the $2 ea from the hatchery, it was too good a bargain to pass up.

plymouth barred rock chicks

Plymouth barred rock chicks in brooder with heat lamp

Sadly, we have already lost 2 chicks.  Not completely unexpected.  We were surprised and blessed last year not to lose any. Still, a good deal as long as we don’t lose many more.

Once these chicks have matured enough, and gone through a quarantine period, we’ll likely allow the flocks to combine.  I have the idea of allowing them to cross in the hopes of getting a hardy Windy Woods hybrid.  As we don’t plan on showing these birds or anything, it can only strengthen our flock.  Who knows, if I get good at this, maybe you’ll read of the hardy dual purpose Windy Woods breed in 25 years or so. ;-)

Straw

Caravan load of straw

Caravan loaded with straw

I’m sure you’ve seen the straw in several of these pictures.  That brings me to my last chore, that I need to take care of sometime this week, I need to go get as much straw as we can afford from the farmer we’ve used, now that Mochi can be used again, and I can go collect some with the trailer and not loading it into the back of the van.

We’ve found the straw too useful to not get more.

Ideally, I would love for some local tree trimming company to dispose of some unwanted wood chips on our land, but straw will work too in a pinch.  The only down side to this straw is that it does have seeds mixed in (buckwheat straw).  However, I’m not overly concerned if we start getting some wild buckwheat growing too.  Anything to help choke out the knapweed.

Together Time

I’ve been wanting to write about homeschooling somewhere and Scott said he didn’t mind if I put it here.  So you’ll probably get some non-farm related babble here, unless a school project happens to involve the farm (and many do ;) )  Side note: many pics at the end of this post :D

Tweaks and Changes

I hesitate to give a dramatic title because the changes I’m making are big, but then again, they’re not.  I still feel satisfied with the curriculum choices I’ve made over the past few years.  We’ll keep using that, for the most part.  I’ve just decided that I need to be more involved with the kids, in a sense, and that we need to go deeper into some things. [Continue reading...]