Tuesday, February 28, 2012
First Signs of Spring, Broody Java Hens and Volunteers
It has been a mild winter this year...but a long one in many ways other than the weather. This morning the feel of spring was unmistakeable. The air cool, and the sun, bright and crystalline; New tender volunteer shoots of Catnip, Peppermint, and Bee Balm are peeping out of the damp earth in the pasture, and along the rock walls. I tend to leave "volunteers" where they spring up, knowing they will be happy and do well there.
The big seed packets of flowers are waiting on the kitchen bench for the right weather to plant. The old favorites: Cosmos, Zinnias, Larkspur, and Sunflowers, but trying Indigo for the first time, and excited about this link to history, and the potential for dyeing new spun wool.
This year I will be selling nice big cut Farm Flower Bouquets at Whole Foods Market in Cary, NC. I hope these will be available by the middle of April. I will mix together what is blossoming in the gardens, including herbs. These bouquets are what I have cut for my farmhouse for years. English Roses, Hydrangeas, Larkspur, Cosmos, Zinnias, Catnip, Mint, Oregano, Bay...and what ever else is beautiful that day. Seasonal cut flowers, Locally grown, Organically nurtured. I am excited and honored to share what God has given me. Fresh flowers on the kitchen table...it is a way of life.
I have 2 huge rock piles waiting for me to put into the rock walls. This is a several day job, and I will pencil it into my week. "Good exercise", I tell myself when I get tired. And, I do like to see the result.
I have a Old Mama Java Hen who wants to set all the time. She is devoted, and tenacious with her mothering duties. I identify with her, and understand her. She is a Java and a sweet hen. She is setting on 12 eggs. I mark each egg with a pencil X, so I can check the nest daily and take out any eggs the other hens lay in her nest that day. I plan to move her out during the night with her eggs to the "Pullet House" so she will have the necessary isolation to devote to her brood. If left in the main hen house, the hens and the rooster will likely kill the chicks, either by mistake, or with purpose thinking they are a threat. Either way, the hen will be much less nervous, and take better care of her brood if she has a quiet, safe place without chaos....much like human mothers.
The Periwinkle Meadow is awash with violet blue blossoms scattered on the verdant ground cover vines. The honeybees were humming softly as I walked by. Spring is surely around the corner.
I am a steward of this beautiful place. The woods are ALIVE this time of year. This morning the mosses and lichens were ablaze in the barren forests. With everything brown and gray...the bright lime greens, and dusty green shine like jewels as I walk with the dogs through the old growth forest. A Cathedral. A Church.