Gardening · Homesteading

Working On The Homestead

February was a relatively normal February as it goes. A mostly mild winter month, with a couple days of snow and a week of low temperatures to pause nature.

As I worked on setting up the portable pop up greenhouses in the orchard bed, the two dawrf hens (V and Gray Grey) popped in to enjoy the dry and warm climate. Hard to blame them.

If properly staked out and weighted down, these greenhouses work well. You might note we weight ours down with paving stones. Between two of them I set up the potting area.

Density is the game for us – put as much in to an area. You water less and I find get better growth. This also means for us that the orchard (it’s only 6 trees) holds a chicken coop, a small shed and various potting areas/greenhouses. It sits behind good fencing, so the deer stay out (so far). The orchard has been happier it seems as well. The trees were not doing great before I changed this last year. I didn’t weed or water enough – and when we added the chickens, the fencing doubled. Before the trees were getting periodic damage from the deer. Now I remember to water the trees, and the chickens suppress the weeds.

Math work masked as garden time. I had the boys go out and measure every bed to see how much square footage we are using.

Escorting a hen out of the berry bed. She is a good digger and I didn’t want her ripping up plants on accident.

The main greenhouse. The ducks sleep in here at night.

With a winter storm coming, I made sure all the trays got moved into the big greenhouse, and that the ducks had lots of warm new hay on the ground.

The hens were not amused by snow 1.

And the snow came. Sledding was to be had. And the birds decided to stay inside for a few days.

And this is when you know spring is arriving. 11 hours of daylight. It’s the tipping point. Yes, cold weather can still happen, but it won’t be deep and long. The chickens start getting more active and start popping eggs.

The little chicken is growing up. He’s double the size of the other hens. And he’s finally becoming into being a rooster.

The rhubarb is wakening up.

After the now melted, it was time to get trays of pots ready.

Just this past week it was nearly 60* midday! In the pop up greenhouses it was 80 to 90*. Toasty in there if the winds kicked up.

In the picture before you can see the Elderberry tree. It is just opening up its leaves.

When the sun comes out, and the grass is covered in robins, migrating back, it almost feels like spring. I brought the saw horses out, and got them planked. As the plants grow, space to hold them becomes important.

Speaking of roosters, Raven has picked a lady friend. He chooses to be with one of our original hens. She will be a year old soon.

And the first Dandelion opened up.

But of course, spring weather means spring weeding.

Some plants made it over from the fall and winter, so I have let them be.

The garlic is growing on the right. We have some onions planted on the left (not up yet). Soon the beds will be full of lettuce, spinach and kale.

Spring brings egg production back up. That makes me oh so happy!

Here is to spring coming and plants surging.