Things are running at full throttle now on the farm.
The meat chicks have arrived and are finishing out their second week with four more weeks to go before Freezer Camp. These birds have morphed from cute, yellow fluff balls to screeching, waddling, gorging themselves on every morsel of food, drinking almost 2 gallons of water a day chickens.
Plants that were started from seed indoors have sprouted and are reaching their tender leaves toward the grow lights in the basement. An assortment of heirloom tomatoes, carnival blend peppers and zinnias are drinking as much water as can be provided to them.
There’s just one problem with both of these items: They are still in my house.
The recent weather trend with temperature highs one day in the 70s and the next barely staying above freezing have caused this farmer to have to wait to get the chickens on fresh grass and the plants into loamy garden beds to begin their new life outdoors.
Though neither item takes up much space in the basement, I think they and I are growing tired of one another and are just needing our own space.
It’s ironic to me that both flora and fauna’s growth rate is double each week. If you have ever experienced raising Cornish-cross meat chickens, you know the difference in size between one of these breeds at two weeks is vastly different from an egg-laying breed of the same age.
The plants have quickly outgrown their little starter soil pods and have needed to be transplanted into larger containers so their roots have space to expand while they are still indoors. The hope is to have some of these ready to sell at the first full farmers market (teaser: that’s May 28), but those that don’t go up for sale need to be in the ground as soon as possible.
Once again, that lovely little word that is so popular on the farm — patience — comes up time and again. It is hard to wait before sending the young birds and plants outdoors, but I also know if they go too soon, they could be zapped by one more crazy cold streak.
If you could, please send some good thoughts the way of the farmers these next few weeks that the weather warms a bit and the rain eases a bit. Planting is just on the horizon, and several of us need to get our animals out and on the pasture so they have as much time as possible in the great outdoors.
I know I’m ready to get my house back.
Until next time…
Stephanie Strothmann owns Purple Shamrock Farm LLC in rural Seymour. Read her blog at whattheclucker.blogspot.com. Send comments to [email protected].