Wednesday, 12 April 2017
Spring has definitely sprung here on Little Red Hen Farm.
The chickens have found all the holes hidden by the snow at the bottom of the fence and they have scattered in all directions - pecking, scratching, sun bathing - what happy chickens do best.
The kids helped me move the chicken tractor - the portable shelter that the laying hens use to be on fresh grass from May - October each year - to it's 2017 pasture the other night. It's a pretty heavy thing. An A-frame on wheels that can be moved easily so long as there are no big bumps or holes to push through.
There is still snow in the woods, but the fields are bare after a few really mild days this week. I am trying to be patient waiting for the frost to leave so I can pound all the fence posts that pop up a few inches with the frost each winter (hence the holes the chickens duck under in the Spring) and for the grass to grow so I can let the restless sheep and mini-donkey out to eat and play at their leisure.
The meat birds have been ordered and will be coming in about a month's time.
Between now and then, there is much to do.
Shearing the sheep and skirting fleeces heading to the fibre mill to be made into luscious yarn; mucking out the barn to the compost pile; back-breaking work to prep the garden followed by planting; laying hens moved out of the coop so I can clean it for the meat chicks to take over for the next few months; a few roosters to re-home or prep for the oven (anyone want a rooster?); etc.
The list is long and there are always new things to add to it each day.
I've been farming for four years now and my confidence in my abilities is growing. There are always opportunities that challenge me; always opportunities to learn. I've gotten better at self-care too. It's always been a challenge for me. I've learned to rest so I don't quit. It's probably been the hardest lesson of all.
I used to be quite athletic when I was younger, but learning and experience lead to other interests and time and responsibility took it's toll on my body. Like anything - if you don't use it, you lose it.
I'm not getting any younger and I am noticing age beginning to set in. If I want to keep farming, I recognize that I need to keep my body strong or it will force me to stop.
I've started running and swimming again and I love it. I have signed up for my first 5k run next month and a 10k trail run at Fundy National Park at the end of September.
I feel stronger and my mind feels clearer. My goals are keeping me focused and better able to keep on top of my priorities. It feels really good.
I'm also really getting a lot out of working alongside some really amazing women in my "Fundy Fibre Artisans" fibre collective. We've been meeting regularly now since before Christmas and have some fun plans to share our love of all things wooly. We will be attending some fairs as vendors and doing some demonstrations of hand spinning, knitting and other techniques this summer.
I've spent a lot of time playing with my new dye kit and am loving the results.
There are so many things I want to do. I'm so grateful to have found something that fills my heart up to overflowing!