Although the last week or ten days has been unseasonably warm I don't think it's going to last. The temps and weather forecast looks a lot like the tail end of winter is going to be less than perfect. That's OK; we're used to that. It's quite dry for this time of year and unless we get nailed by snow soon we won't have much spring runoff. There's some snow in the woods but not as much as I thought there would be. There's still plenty of ice on the small ponds; I had two feet of ice at camp last weekend. It's definitely odd though; we're shutting down our wood furnace and going back to using the kitchen cookstove - in February no less. I've seen several places with sap buckets on the trees and I continue to see large flocks of blackbirds. Being there's no frost the runoff will more than likely "soak in".
The wildlife report for this week looks kind of sparse. No deer or eagles this week; the pond was all quiet last weekend and I haven't seen any deer. There were several coyotes down behind the barn the other night howling in good shape. I think two or three coyotes a quarter of a mile away sounds like a whole pack right behind the henhouse on a clear night. I assume they're getting ready to mate if they haven't done so ready. Pups will be born about two months after mating. An interesting side note here - there is some speculation that the coyotes are taking a toll on turkeys around here and why not? A tasty, warm meal and there are plenty of them.
The domestic ducks are gearing up for breeding season. The Muscovies would like to make some noise but end up kind of hissing at each other. There's a great deal of head bobbing now as they meet in the yard every morning like they haven't seen each other in years. The geese honk all night; it's as if their goal is to keep us awake. No predator could sneak into our yard with geese around. Between the geese, the ducks and the guineas there's quite a bit of noise in the yard. I picked up three pair of Call ducks this winter and they're pretty vocal too. It should be quite comical once the ice melts off the pond and the ducks get out there for the first time. The people I bought the ducks from, where they had been raised since they were ducklings, didn't have a pond so these ducks and geese haven't had much more than a wading pool to bathe in.
I've been letting the chickens out into their fenced in yard during the afternoons now and, if the weather continues, will start letting them out into the yard afternoons and on weekends when someone is there. We're getting some eggs now; time to sell off some hens and get some new ones started. I think I'll stick with the fancy breeds and leave the egg sales for someone else.
And on Johnny's farm:
The fertilizer I spoke about last week is rolling in this week. 29 one thousand pound bags and a couple of pallets of 50 pounders. I bought the fifty pounders so we could calibrate the spin spreader a little more accurately than "it looks good". If we want to put 350 pounds of Cheep Cheep on field 4 then all we need to do is grab seven bags. The whole warehouse will smell like chicken manure- yum, yum.
The field planning continues; we are looking to use a field we've owned for quite some time but have yet to use to its potential. It has ~ 12 acres of really good soil, no rocks and an almost unnoticeable amount of slope - it's actually about one foot of slope in seven hundred feet. There are some drainage issues; these are the issues to talk about this spring. It's really a nice field and I'd like us to use it more than we do. I'll keep you posted.
Until next week, enjoy March in February.