Grackle & Sun

Vernally Obliged

Happy day after the vernal equinox!  Here are some perky and punctual jonquidils that opened up just yesterday.  Even though the world still seems half asleep, everything is stirring.  The sap is rising, metaphorically, and circulating literally. I feel this in me, too. A few weeks ago, I was compelled to visit my favorite local herbal shop for some spring tonics. I’ve been drinking blood cleansing teas made of nettle and burdock, red clover and violet leaf.  I am craving all green things, to eat all the green. I often eat according to what colours I’m hungry for.  It’s a fun and pretty darn informative way to get intuitive feedback on what one’s body needs. Just listen. It will tell you. This year is all about listening.

Usually, I notice spring first with the change in the angle of the sun and the restlessness of the breeze. This year, though, spring has rung in with sound.  The frogs are out in mighty chorus—the spring peepers, pickerels, and southern leopard frogs—announcing that spring has arrived. The toads will be next, and then later the bullfrogs will add their baritone to the summer sound.  A pair of barred owls have been conversing like love struck teenagers every night for the last week.  Wild ducks have been visiting the lake, and just today, we saw a blue heron circling above.  And what else has come to roost at the farm this spring?

Chicks!

Meet the 4 Buff Orpingtons. Question. What do you do when you spend several years dreaming about raising chickens and reading books on raising chickens and deciding that the perfect chickens to raise would be Buff Orpingtons, and then one day you go into the local farm store for some Sav-a Lam and see that they’re stocked with all manner of poultry and waterfowl—which you are, of course, obligated to peruse—and amongst the countless pens of countless Leghorns and Rhode Island Reds and sex-linked this and thats, lo and behold there are four lone Buff Orpington chicks tucked in a tub in the corner?  This is not a trick question.  Clearly I was meant to take them home.  The end.

I will go back for some Leghorns.  Lol.  In a week or two, they will go live in the chicken house with the rest of the flock, but for now they are in their cozy box in the front porch where I can listen to them peeping as I work on various projects. What else? Gardeny goodness. I planted a millionty seeds and am curious to see how they fare starting indoors.  I will bore no one with photos of a table full of little cups of dirt. Garden plans are being tilled in the fertile fields of my mind. These plans involve raised beds, fencing, and part-time garden-wandering chickens… If I’d been here in time, I would have prepped the garden in the fall. As it is, I am very late and will have to make do with what I can get done in the next month. No need to feel bad about it though—something will grow.

The sheep are enjoying the first nibbles of spring grass.  Here you can see a very chubbeh Phillip in the forefront. He is such a pet.

We are very seriously considering adding a couple wool sheep to the farm to try out. (By which I mean for me to play with their wool). I’m looking at Clun Forest, Romney, and Cheviots, but am listening to any and all advice from those with wool sheep raising experience.  A shepherd/spinner friend has also recommended Montadales and Coopworths.  I am unfamiliar with both.  So far, I am most interested in the Cluns as a hardy dual purpose sheep, but have never seen or felt Clun wool.  Anyone?

Finally, Ronin is a happy farm dog.

Be well and listen hard.

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19 thoughts on “Vernally Obliged

  1. Told ya!

    I was just talking to someone in Maine about her BFL – they seem like a nice choice overall, personality as well as fiber. If they can survive there, they can survive at your place?

    • Btw I would have never guessed that Cheviot was a fiber sheep….. Just sayin. I guess for crewel they’ll do alright, I’m going to spin my batch for tapestry.

      • Everybody loves the BFL, and I understand why. The wool is lovely. I’m not sure if they’re easy keepers or not. I’ll have to look into them more. My concern is the need for good, hardy sheep. The Katadhins do well here because they are pretty goatish for a sheep. Many of the good wool breeds require a lot more careful care, if you know what I mean. I want nice wool to play with, but I also want animals that can handle the roughs of the Ozarks without too much hand-holding. And I do like to eat lamb, which was part of the dual-purpose thought.

      • Gotlands are very good eating I’m told. And the fiber is interesting.

      • I’ve never heard of Gotlands (runs to Google…)

      • They are and old Swedish breed, hair sheep. Curls in variations of black and grey, very lovely.

  2. Scott Porter is a spinner, spinning wheel designer, and knowledgeable sheep person. PorterThreads

  3. I forget to say, that Scott is in Jefferson City.

  4. Good to hear you are getting on so well with all your projects. Wow, Phillip sure has grown, handsome fellow!. Our kids carried the fresh chicks around in woollen socks – they are so cute, they couldn’t put them down. Update on my gardening – FINALLY some seedlings hatched, I was overjoyed, until I poured plant killer instead of plant food on them… it will take a LONG time for my horticultural confidence to recover…

    • Oh no!!! I’m laughing and horrified for you at the same time. I think the best boost for your horticultural confidence is to plant some more seeds. :D
      Am loving the mental image of chicks in woolen socks.

  5. Beautiful pictures. My Vash is a chicken whisperer. He just loves chickens and they seem to know it and will climb in his lap and snuggle. He fell in love with your chicks. I am so happy you found your way to the farm. It feels like contentment.

  6. I’ve washed two Clun Forest fleeces and they were both very interesting to work with. Not like most wool at all. They are short stapled but carded up into lovely bouncy batts that spun well. I made a pair of thrummed mittens using the Clun for the outside and a softer Corriedale for the inside and I love them. The Clun was easy to wash and took dye beautifully. For cold weather outerwear it’s great stuff.
    You can see my adventure here: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/araignee/sochi-2014-thrummed-clun-forest-mittens

  7. You’ve motivated me to finally get myself in gear planning and making raised beds! Your homestead looks wonderful.

  8. Happy Spring! It’s amazing how palpable and immediate the change of the air was after last week’s equinox! I love the idea of listening hard and all the ways you are transitioning into the new season. Pretty magical to get in sync with the country rhythms.

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