There’s just so much happening on a farm this time of year. It’s not easy to know where to start with all the doings and goings on we’ve been experiencing and enjoying. However, I can try to put some order onto and around the days and cycles to give you a peek at our progress.
The biggest news this week is that the chickens, our Wyandotte flock of 12 hens (and one lone, ill-tempered Lakenvelder rooster), have started laying eggs. Everything one reads suggests that chickens start laying at about six months of age. These chickens arrived via the USPS at one day old on March 22nd. So they’re going into their adult cycle at a very young age. I don’t know if this is a by-product of their healthful lifestyle, or if Wyandottes start laying early in general. But we’ve had one or more eggs a day from our hens for the past five days. This is definitely the real thing and no fluke.
For me personally, I’m beside myself with delight that the clothesline is finally up and functioning. And boy, does it ever. We have a nice, steady breeze running across our plateau most of every day–cloudy or sunny. So the clothes dry in about an hour, maybe an hour and a half. And they took that long in the ancient dryer we have upstairs at the farmhouse. What a treat. If there’s something fresher than air-dried-in-the-country laundry, I don’t want to know what it is.
Our WWOOFers have been earning their room and board the old-fashioned way: they’ve hauled a ton or more of manure up to the new perennials field. Once they’ve got the soil enrichment where they want it, they’re covering the rows with mulch paper and seeding in the 200 Rhubarb seeds and the 500 asparagus seeds we ordered some time ago. We were waiting for maximum soil temperature to assist in germination on these–and if we haven’t got it by now, we’ve miscalculated grossly. Yes, you read that right. In a couple few years we’re going to have five hundred productive asparagus plants. I’m lobbying for strawberry sets to go in early next year, don’t despair.
Cucumbers and melons are beginning to overtake the Scallopini, summer, crookneck and zucchini squash on the productivity curve out in our annuals garden. I found our first ripe lemon cucumber just yesterday–and isn’t it cute. Being as it is yellow, and the size and shape of a large lemon it is an aptly named varietal. The vines from which it came are so bursting with flowers that the bee buzz there is just about deafening. And the same is true over at the pickling cukes and the English cukes. We tried a melon at lunch yesterday too. It wasn’t fully ripe, but it was still a satisfying experience to sit down to one’s own fruit at the table.
Speaking of fruit, our apple trees are beginning to ripen at an ever-hastening rate. I anticipate apple dishes on the table almost every day by mid-August. The pigs are getting primed for their move to the piggery in the woods. This will make space in the barn for the incoming goats–date of arrival yet to be deterimined. And the bees are busy enough that we’ve added ‘supers’ to their basic hive set-up. There will be honey!