Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sunday Walkabout 3-6

I think I see a hint of green!

With the start of March---the beginning of meteorological Spring---that countdown I mentioned in last week’s walkabout starts to get serious. There is so much to do and so little time.

March is also the time of year when I realize that all those rather grandiose plans I had back at the end of the Market, those plans that had me finally getting “caught up” and “organized” are not happening for at least another year. It always takes me a while to resign myself to this fact. Honestly, after all these years, you would think I would just stop making the plans. Because, as the Boss has pointed out...”ain’t never gonna happen!”

new field pen construction

On the other hand, the Boss is rapidly completing his own “off season” list. After more than a few trips to Lowe’s, the new field pen is nearing completion.  While he was working hard to finish the pen, I had exciting chores like cleaning the utility room floor and balancing the checkbook. (someone has to do the glamorous stuff)
nearly finished

The completion of the field pen is crucial to the success of the broiler operation...which requires a certain succession of events as we progress through the season. Chicks arrive, they live in the brooder for three weeks, they move to the field pen, they live and grow as pastured poultry for four or five weeks and then they are harvested. In the meantime, another batch has arrived and is living in the brooder...before moving to the pen...and…you get the picture. This will go on until October when the last batch of broilers for the season moves outside and layer chicks arrive to live in the brooder overwinter. By the time the layer chicks become pullets and are old enough to begin laying eggs and move in with the hen flock, it will be time for broiler chicks again...and we will continue the cycle, keeping us in eggs and chicken throughout the year.  Check this one out.  Just another example of the cycle of life…farm style.
March in Mbrk

As we get closer to the Spring equinox, you can begin to feel the shift in the intensity of the sun’s rays. That warmth feels SO good and everyone begins to suffer from Spring fever. Even though the winter weather wasn’t severe, EVERYONE I talk to is SO ready for Spring. I even saw a man in Lowe’s yesterday purchasing a large number of garden plants! (Personally, I think that was more than a little too optimistic...but, then, it really isn’t my concern)

baby cabbage plants
The wonderful warming rays of the sun aid in rapid growth in the greenhouses. But, they can also spell disaster. Much of my time is spent watering the tiny plants and assuring that the temperatures are remaining at a warming level and not cooking temperatures. It only takes one momentary lapse of attention and we will have to start all over again. (yep...learned that one the hard way...more than once)
pretty seedlings

Just about the time we started feeling excited about the warm snowed.

snowy choretime

No kidding.

We had four or five inches Thursday afternoon/evening.
morning in Mbrk

 It made for a pretty beginning to the day. 


But, it was mostly gone by afternoon. That’s one nice thing about snows in March. They don’t stick around too long. And, the March winds keep the mud at a manageable level.

It made for some great photos!

The upcoming week promises to be warm...incredibly warm. I am hoping that means that we can get the hoophouses cleaned up and fully planted, although again, that might be just a little too optimistic. But, a girl can dream.

At some point soon, we will need to pick up the seed potatoes, (we are waiting for the supplier to call) and that will require a road-trip of sorts. Despite the tradition of planting potatoes on Saint Patrick’s day, we generally wait until the first of April. Whenever we try to plant too early, we end of with frozen plants. That weakens the plants, setting them up for disease and insect infestation and ultimately affects the size of the harvest. So, we will wait.  Even though patience is definitely NOT one of my virtues.  I will just be glad to know the ‘taters are indeed here on the hill, even though they might not get in the ground right away.

For right now, we are in somewhat of a “holding” pattern.

The chicks are growing.
getting big

The lambs are growing.
soon they won't fit in the feeder

All the seedlings are growing.
Just have to remember to keep them watered!

dewy cabbage leaf

As the countdown to the Market continues, we will inventory supplies and make preparations. After all these years, the anticipation of Opening Day doesn’t have the frantic feel that it did in the early days. (but, then, I don’t have to figure out how to purchase 500+ pounds of flour or where to store it. Sure don’t miss baking for the Market!)

Thanks for stopping by!

Hope you have a Happy Sunday! 

a passing rain shower provided an unexpected rainbow to start the week!

Come back and “visit” again real soon!


  1. Your post is actually making me quite excited about spring and the start of your market. I am intrigued about your chickens Barbara. How old are they when they come to you and how many weeks to they grow before you harvest them?
    Do you sell them on your market stall for eating?

    1. Thanks for the question, Pat!
      The hatchery sends the chicks out as soon as they hatch. We get them within 48 hours. They then grow for about 8 weeks before we harvest them. We process them ourselves and then freeze them for later use. And, yes, we do sell them at the Market. Here is a link to the process.

  2. Everything seems to be chugging along. :) I can't believe how big those little lambs are! Good luck on the weather this week!