Today is the first day of the Spring season. It is a time of renewal and rebirth. All around my home, life is returning from its dormant winter sleep. The birds are chirping. Nests are being built. The trees are starting to bud. There is promise in the air of all the things to come. The joy of Spring is felt deeply here at my home. We live in Michigan, where the snow belt squeezes and the winds that form over the Great Lakes blow down from our frosty neighbor in the north. Thank you Canada.
Winter is a time of reflection. It is when we sit down, look back at the year and really think of what worked and what didn’t work. What do we need to do differently? Should be plant more sunflowers? Did what we have get us through the long winter? Will the dachshund puppy that my son brought home ever be fully trained?
Spring around my home is filled with chores, yet I am not overwhelmed by them. Instead it is enjoyable to be back outdoors without all the extra layers of clothes. I am more able to enjoy the work. Breezes are still cool, but the sun is there and it is good. Today we cleaned out a layer of liter from the coop and added it to our compost pile. The snow has uncovered lots of forgotten items around the yard. The ladies are out enjoying the sunshine and the bits of grasses and new shoots that are starting to emerge.
This is also the time of year that we begin to implement all those plans made over winter. We are not adding new chicks to our flock this year. Currently, we have 5 hearty egg laying hens. That is enough for our small town homestead. We are however, making improvements to our coop. The years are starting to show on the 7 year old coop. We will be adding some new roosting polls and roofing the over hang that covers the nesting boxes. We also have lots of fencing that needs to be repaired. We did not get as much snow this year as we did last year, but the winds did do some damage.
Our garden is going to be extended. We plan all winter long on what to add to the garden that will help us winter over chickens. What plants are not only a benefit to our family but also our birds. I have really embraced using more herbs around my home and in my coop. Lavender and Lemon Balm patches that we have along the side of our house are going to be expanded. We will be adding to my small herb garden this year. Sunflowers, always one of my favorites, we will be planting more. The heads dry out well and are great way to keep your chickens occupied when cooped up. I like to plant a variety of squash. There will be zucchinis and yellow summer squash as well as heartier kinds like acorn, hubbard and spaghetti. These store well through out the winter and an added bonus is that the “guts” of the squash are great for the chickens. No dandelion will be mowed over this year. Or at least if I can help it. These are great for bees that are starting to leave the hive, but also for infusing in oils.
Of course, the front porch needs painting and windows need the grime of winter washed off. I can’t wait to hang back up my clothes line. The promise of sun kissed and wind whipped bed sheets is enough to make my heart sing. What are your plans for around the homestead? Fencing down? New chicks? Maybe adding other poultry to your backyard?