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I love April. It seems every day I go out and find new things to marvel at, from ducklings that seem to double in size overnight, to new plums starting to form on the plum tree, to lilacs filling the air with their heady scent. There are future harvests everywhere!

Young Ducks and Chickens

Chickens born March 22nd, Ducks born March 29th. Now all together in a “brooder” room for another couple of weeks.

Sheep Growing Up

The lambs are growing up. Drew is off his bottle. They like lilacs too. Especially if they are close enough to eat.

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DSC08493watermarkWe’ve been working on a lot of spring projects as we wrap up February and move into beloved March. The break is over. Let the craziness of spring begin.

When we moved into this house, built in 1995, it had a front and back deck. The inspector mentioned in his report that both of them needed to be replaced. Well, not only was that obvious (you could see the wood rotting away in places), but in an effort to bring new life into them in order to sell the house, they had been painted a color that I can only describe as mauve. They were poorly designed, not to our taste, and downright hideous. But…so were a lot of things IN the house. Like every single light fixture, and the 1970’s wood stove, complete with orange and avocado green tiles. So it has taken us some time to get to the decks. But this winter, my sweet sweet husband tore off the old front deck (some of it literally using his foot), put in new piers and framing, expanding it considerably, and when the weather and money permitted, worked on getting the new decking in. This one is even attached to the house with actual concrete anchors rather than just nailed into the siding. Read the rest of this entry »

Hmmmm, lets see. We finished this:
FinishedGreenhouse
Which is good, because I immediately planted broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, Chinese cabbage, spinach and lettuce in flats (all cool season crops) and some if it is already coming up. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy first day of Spring!

Abe Read the rest of this entry »

Violets2013

Yup, that’s a honey bee! Not one of mine, unfortunately.

The calendar says March 4th. The ground says early spring. I’ve got chives coming up, California poppies reseeding, daffodils pushing up flower buds, violets blooming, fruit tree buds swelling, silver maple blooming. There is the faintest tinge of green, if you squint and get the light just right, on the line of “wind break” willows that line two sides of our property. Read the rest of this entry »

FirstHatched

First chick to hatch, about 1:00 pm on Saturday. Not quite dried yet.

Well, the big news this week is that of the 36 eggs I had in my incubator (from my own chickens) 27 of them hatched. I wrote a post about baby chicks last year, so I won’t go into great detail on how it all works. But I started the eggs warming on March 12th, and by March 30th (two days early, which means my incubator was running a bit warm – even with two new thermometers to monitor the temp.) the first chick had hatched. By the morning of April 2nd, the last one was out of the shell.

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ButtersSpringIt’s funny. No matter where you live, spring can not come fast enough. In southwest Colorado, the daffodils bloomed around April 15th, and our final frost of the year often came near Father’s Day in June. Here in southeast Washington, the daffodils will likely unfurl their petals near March 15th, and every day, I go out and check on them, dancing like a two-year old who needs a trip to the bathroom, and chanting “hurry up”.

FirstCrocus

The chicken wire keeps the hens from "scratching" out the bulbs.

And then finally, last Sunday, we had a stunningly beautiful sunny day and temperatures in the high 50’s, and I found my first crocus bloom. I then walked under one of the huge silver maples out near the barn and was stopped in my tracks by the sound. The tiny pollen spewing blooms had burst forth, and the bees had found this critical source of early spring food. The tree was so full of bees that you could hear the buzz, just standing underneath it.

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I could not wait for spring. It’s been a long cold wet overcast winter…since, like, mid November. This Colorado girl was having serious seasonal affective disorder (SAD) sunshine withdrawal. By April, I figured we were out of the woods. And we HAVE had more sunshine. We even had one day where there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It felt like the governor had called in a death row reprieve.

So I broke ground and planted seeds on April 7th. And several rows of chard, spinach, lettuce, spicy greens (mustards), onions, peas, beets, Chinese cabbage, potatoes and¬†radish later, I have a total of four, count them, four mustard greens coming up two weeks later.¬† Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer Kleffner

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