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Monthly Farm Update: February 2023

Our Satsuma plum beginning to bloom

February shaped up to be one of the earliest springs on record (in 80 years) for our area. We are over a month early for plants to begin popping up. Tropical migrants like tree swallows showed up to check out the nest boxes, and daffodils are beginning to bloom. The early warming means the early-blooming fruit trees will be even more susceptible to late frosts, so we shall see how this turns out. The warmer days, however, means less firewood is needed to keep warm and reduces my workload. Yet another reason to live in USDA zones 6-11 instead of colder climates. CM and I began working out again, and it's such a great stress reducer and self-esteem booster for us. Once we complete a few construction projects, perhaps we can build a small area outside where we can lift during the warmer months.


Rooster's new bedroom

We noticed some hens having runny droppings and, upon closer investigation, discovered the feces had parasitic worms in them. This propelled us to learn what over-the-counter medicines are best for poultry parasites as well as research peer-reviewed journal articles on effective herbal medicines. The information I found was just compiled in this article in case you wanted to find out more.

The two roosters (George and Thomas) are beginning to be too much for the 14 hens to handle. Even with back protectors, the hen's feathers are still getting rubbed down. The best option, but certainly not the easiest, was to build a small bachelor coop directly next to the main coop to prevent the boys from mating while keeping them close enough to be a part of the flock. The roosters will not be happy, but the alternative is much less pleasant, so they will have to deal.

Egg production was low for several weeks, but the warmer weather and increase in day length have turned the egg machines back on. Now we are getting almost a dozen a day.

Chilling with Sophie

On social media, people were suggesting that the government/WEF were somehow manipulating chicken feed to prevent hens from laying in backyard flocks, but these folks missed the fact that chickens naturally reduce egg production in winter anyway.

I am planning out sections of garden space to mass produce as much herbal medicine- purple coneflower, comfrey, lemon balm, thyme, oregano, garlic, etc. for the chickens and ducks to use for de-worming medicine.


Once the rains finally stop this week, we are going to begin planting carrots, parsnips, burdock, lettuce, and potatoes. I am very excited to focus on such staple crops and cut back on bothering with fiddly greens or lower-calorie veggies. There is so much going on that I need to focus on the major crops this year.

As of right now, we are discussing only growing- sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, burdock, cayenne pepper, peas, sunchokes, yams, pole beans, cucumbers (for canning), and a few other species for our main diet. Reducing the complexity helps us focus on tending these crops and making sure they produce the most instead of growing a huge diversity of crops pulling us in all directions. We will continue to expand our perennial cropping systems but the annual crops will be simplified.

Asparagus seedlings

I was able to extend the sunchoke beds even more which will serve as summer shade for the flock while producing valuable food for all of us to eat during the winter. More fruit trees were planted throughout the 1-acre house site. I am even grafting more fruit and nut trees to keep extending our crop species and save a lot of money. Currently, I am transplanting all the raspberry and thornless blackberry varieties into their own food forest lanes so I can grow them out in mass.

2-year-old Asparagus plants I grew from Baker Creek Seeds were transplanted along two food forest rows. I was able to have 35 new plants this way, and they are already starting to pop up. While trimming a Marge elderberry, I decided to turn the branches into new plants by sticking them in the ground to root. If everything goes right and they root, I will have 230 new Marge clones ready to be planted next Fall.

Marge elderberry cuttings

Marching On

As we head into March, we want to finish the bachelor pad for the roosters and then begin building a small greenhouse off the storage container. Hopefully, we can have good weather to complete that task just in time to start veggie seeds in it. We also want to continue expanding our garden beds to grow more staples and herbs.

Truthfully, the absurdities in the world have made me depressed and uninterested in writing about them. What really fuels me is being outside in nature growing, grafting, and expanding our resource supply while the world goes off doing its own thing. I find nourishment, meaning, and purpose in cultivating more and more food, medicine, fuel, and fiber than I ever do worrying about the parasite class and whatever bullshit they obsess over. Do you feel the same way? Hopefully, you, too, are able to begin planning or planting edibles where you are located. We would love to see what you are up to these early spring days in your neck of the woods.

Ducks helping me dig a new garden bed

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