Best just to rip the band-aid off quick: we've so far had a very mild and short winter. For those of you still experiencing winter, them's the breaks. That's not to say that we won't get more cold and dreary days before, uh, I was going to say summer but no, that's cold and dreary, too, so how about I just say September. I expect we'll have our April hail event, and maybe another hard frost or two, but the cherry and apple trees are starting to bloom, and I just bought lettuce and chard starts for the garden.
But before I can get those starts in, I have to finish prepping the beds, and there I am totally lagging. Most of the old wood beds fell apart, so I knew I'd have to replace them, but indecision on where to place them (so permanent!) and a serious lack of dollars to spend on 2x12s sent me in the direction of straw-bale beds. Lay 'em down, wet 'em thoroughly, inoculate them to compost, stick plants in them, and you're done. Twenty bales of straw, delivered, for only $168. That's about a ton. My arms still hurt from hauling that stuff all around the yard. But everything's done except the planting, which I did not get to today because I re-arranged the plants out of the broken beds and into their new homes, surrounded by straw. There's Raspberry Island, Potato Island, Strawberry Road, Onion Island.
The other springtime chore is mini-maxing the chicken flock as much as my softie heart can bear. We have a lot of lazy or just downright poor layers, so some folks've gotta go. The Cochins, those fluffy white ornaments, are at the top of that list. I'll keep one at the hub's request, but the other three got Craigslisted, as did our midget Jersey Giant. I would also re-home the remaining Maran, but she's an older hen now, and not laying so well, so, well, the softie says she can stay, as can Pearl Wyandotte, the oldest hen. That'll leave us with 11 hens...so it's back to eating in the living room for awhile!