During their first several weeks on the farm, the chicks are ever present in my thoughts. Are they warm enough? cool enough? Do they have clean water? enough food? Are they healthy?
I check them several times a day. Their house is warm, but windows are open for fresh air and ventilation.
So far, so good... everyone has survived their first week on the farm. You might notice that a couple of the chicks have learned how to fly up onto the rungs of the roosting ladder. They are amazingly athletic.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that one of the tiny reds was running around with a dry glob of poo on her fluffy little bum. "Pasty butt" is what this is called and it is something that one must be aware of when raising chicks. An accumulation of chicken manure on a chick's bottom can cause a blockage and eventually lead to death.
Luckily, I knew what to do - this little chick needed her bottom washed with warm water. I snatched her from the rest of the flock and off to the greenhouse we went. There, I ran warm water and let it run over her bottom until I could gently remove the manure.
Then I wrapped her up in a warm towel so that her bottom would dry. After that, she went back in with her friends. As she walked away from me, she dropped a good long ribbon of soft poop.... a wonderful sign that she is going to be just fine!
I checked on her a few minutes later and she was under the heat lamp... none the worse for her bath.
One thing I have learned after years of this farm-life is: paying attention to details always pays off when dealing with animals. It's much easier to prevent a problem, or intervene early.... than it is to deal with the potential outcome. It saves both the animal and myself unnecessary suffering.
It has been a spectacular spring. Every day new things burst into bloom. Just a week ago, this Baptisia had just pushed through the soil...now it stands a foot and a half tall and is soon ready to bloom.
Yesterday I noticed color on the wisteria. Though it can be extremely invasive, the wisteria is one of my very favorite flowers.
I planted this one several years ago at the base of a post. We have trained it to grow into a tree with the post for a support. This is the first year that we have gotten a significant amount of blooms. I have been asked, in the past, how I keep it manageable. I think because we mow around the base every week, the suckers that might grow out in the grass are discouraged. We also give it a good haircut to maintain its shape each summer.
I spent most of yesterday morning working in the vegetable garden.... planting beets, more carrots, and zucchini and yellow squash. The asparagus harvest has begun. We will be eating asparagus daily for the next month. It's the only time of year that we eat asparagus, so this will be a wonderful daily treat. Strangely, I have found asparagus coming up in other gardens around the farm... even in the front garden of the house. I am not sure how any of these volunteers got their start .. but, if this keeps happening, we may have to change our name to
The extended forecast has just a few nights dipping into the forties in the next two weeks. After those pass, I will get all of the rest of the vegetables into the ground... the cucumbers, herbs, beans, tomatoes, and peppers. We have just entered into that part of the year when our grocery store trips will be fewer, as we enjoy the fruits of our labor. There's nothing like homegrown produce!
My love of gardening started as a young child. When I visited my grandparents, my Nana would dig up Johnny Jump-Ups from her garden and send them home with me to plant. Now my own garden is full of them. Once they are established, they spread and come back each summer. These tiny happy-faced flowers from my childhood bring back so many memories.