Each morning one or more of us tumble out of doors into the coldness to check on chickens and rabbits. Sometimes through snow. Often breaking the ice in their water bucket and replacing it with fresh water. They always seem so grateful for this. We invested in a heated water bottle for the rabbits and it's worked out really well. They always come out of their little den to say hello in the morning.
The hens have been eating layer pellets by Green Mountain that I found at a little feed store just over the MA/RI border. I've been supplementing them with a cracked corn & barley too. Especially on colder days. They get lots of kitchen scraps. Veggie peelings and squash are their favorite. They've enjoyed eating a bit of alfalfa hay too. I've read in a few places that giving them hay during the winter will help keep their yolks bright yellow. I guess we'll know soon enough when we get some eggs. They're nearly six months and could start laying anytime now! We're curious about which breed will lay first. (Easter Egger, Welsummer, or Wyandotte)
Joe built another compost pile & we stopped adding to the huge heap where the garden will be. He turns it often and it is amazing how much heat & steam comes off of it. Even on the coldest of days! This spring the floor of the chicken coop will go into the new pile and we'll be on our way to making good dirt. Everything I've read says patience is key…… in time you will have good dirt. Poop, compost, patience.
This is the month to dream of gardens, right? Swoon over seed catalogs & dream of fruit trees. We ordered our fruit trees & berry bushes from this company & so far all of my vegetable garden seeds are from here. I'm trying to keep things fairly simple, it's so easy to dream bigger than I can manage.
And speaking of dreaming big…… Bee School starts February 11th. I've waited months for this. I'm really beyond excited. If all goes well we should be getting bees this spring. Oh goodness….. this little homestead dream seems to be coming together.