One of my egg-farm refugees.
It's tough for a blogger in Vermont at this time of year. It's mud season, which means everything is pretty much gray or brown, except for the patches of snow still hanging on. I took advantage of a few sunny moments this weekend and last to make a serious effort to take some non-depressing late-winter photos of blah. A better photographer could do it; I struggled.
Still, I got a few. One of our many towering black locust trees:
Remnants of an old, forgotten clothesline:
Calvin, our rooster, checking out a turkey hen's dust bath:
Another turkey hen about to tell him to stop the damn incessant crowing:
Ed. He's been losing some fights with Bo and Roy, as you can see by the ragged fan:
All three toms below. You can kind of see Bo's fan (the white one) below and how it's just about perfect. I think, though no one has confirmed this, it means he's dominant over Ed. I'm guessing that a hen prefers a handsome clean-cut tom to one that looks like he's been dragged through a knothole backwards, as my husband would say. (From what I can observe, however, the hens aren't too picky.) There's a lot of strutting and gobbling and breeding going on already.
The weather's been pretty crappy overall, although we did dodge the Nor'easter that was predicted for last week. Not to say the snow is gone for the year, but the odds are looking better. For me, this is the absolute hardest time. Money is extra-tight in March and April and it feels like months since I've seen sunshine. I know I'm not alone but it just doesn't get any easier, even knowing that spring will be here soon.
There have been bright spots.
Our own Lazy J ale. I couldn't wait until my birthday to try the home brew, but I don't regret jumping the gun. It's really, really good. I'll be making a second batch in the next couple of weeks.
My stepson went to the NCAA Div III wrestling finals. It wasn't pretty, but he went. He's still a New England champ even if he didn't make waves at Nationals. :-) We got to watch parts of it on ncaa.com, which was pretty cool.
There was also the 11th anniversary of our daughter's adoption, which every year gets more and more surreal to me. How can this pre-teen with the flouncy hair be the same little 14-pounder who used to hook her feet inside my waistband and "stand up" against me at only 8 months old? I am truly amazed sometimes.
My birthday marked one year since my husband and I decided to get serious about getting into shape and losing weight. I'm proud to say I am down 12 pounds since a year ago (it was 15 as of last August, but you know, winter is tough). My husband is down 52 pounds!!! (Winter didn't seem to affect him.) He looks great. We are both still working out consistently and I'm here to tell you: Don't let being over 40 make you think it's inevitable that you will succumb to middle-age spread. It's a myth! Get up and move. (Insanity and P90X work, by the way, provided you stick with them.)
I did a little spinning:
It's 220 yards of a two-ply yarn. One ply is commercial merino. The other is a blend of Romney and angora bunny fiber. Quite luxurious! I'm using it to line the Norwegian mittens I made this winter. For next winter, I guess...
My husband somehow injured his leg or hip or IT band and has been lame the past few days, meaning more of the pig chores have been falling to me (I also cover for him on nights when he has to work late or when he's working out at the gym). It's not bad work, but it's time consuming and kind of messy, especially during mud season.
Fortunately, the pigs and cows are good company, and we've got a nice routine going. This particular batch below is being slaughtered (here on the farm) in three weeks, and I'm sad. But they're bigger than they should be and we do, after all, raise them as food, not pets.
Lucy, the mama, is outside sunbathing:
The one on the left, below, LOVES a good back-scratching. Once she gets grunting and squirming and complimenting me on my fine scratching technique, the others line up like cars at a carwash. That's one reason pig chores are extra time-consuming; and they don't tell you that in the homesteading books.
One other unfortunate consequence of winter:
Clothesline down. Again. The annual shedding of several feet of snow off our porch roof took it out for the second year in a row. But given that hanging laundry is the one and only household chore I actually enjoy, you can bet it won't be down long.
Hey, it's 3:00. Almost time for a bottle of Lazy J ale, don't you think?
Here's to spring.