With the warmer weather, the hens are changing up their habits a little bit, so we hunted around the chicken yard to see where we might find eggs. We found a couple in the little pot bellied stove in the coop where some of the hens lay consistently. We didn't find any eggs in the brooder shed, but then we struck gold when we poked around the feed shed, where the hens have been hanging out in some loose straw left behind from a straw bale. I spied one egg and pointed it out to Ellie so she could pick it up, then she moved a feed bag and let out a little cry of delight, "Aunt Teri! I found a NEST! They must have been hiding these here."
As she bent over and began grabbing eggs and handing them to me, she said eagerly, very proud of her find, "This is kind of like Easter egg hunting, if you think about it."
I love when someone comes to visit the farm and expresses excitement over a discovery or simply the experiences they get to have here in the outdoors with so much freedom -- it makes you take a fresh look around, to see the magic through their eyes and have that warm reminder of what a great, if dilapidated, place this is to live.
Today I felt that wonder and joy and gratitude all day as I worked outside. It is beautiful weather right now and, while I hope winter returns very soon to relieve the drought, I love stealing outside for hours at a time to prepare for spring.
I spent a lot of time with the chickens and the ducks, refilling waterers, searching for eggs, feeding and just moving quietly and slowly among our little flock so they'd be comfortable hanging around me. At one point, I sat on the ground with a scoop full of chicken feed and poured a little in front of me. As I sat watching the ducks paddle in the pool then wander as a group over to the water dish to drink, eventually Wyatt the Rooster and a number of his ladies came sauntering up, pecking at the pile of feed, right up close to me. A few pecked at the pebbles and dirt bits in the tread of my shoes. I stayed still and spoke quietly to them.
Otis, my sweet pup, lay nearby lazily watching the chickens and ducks explore the area, content to leave them be. Unlike some of our previous dogs, Otis doesn't chase the chickens. We took him to the coop from the time he was a several-week-old puppy so he'd think of the chickens as part of his neighborhood rather than food. It's worked out nicely.
In addition to quality time with the birds, I spread some compost material on the garden, moved pallets left over from delivery of our wood pellets to the pallet spot behind the well house, and watered the trees, which are thirsty from lack of snow and rain. I gave the honeysuckle bush a long, slow soak and raked and cut weeds around the place. I picked up stray items that get dragged by the dogs and the wind to the oddest places around the property, and I burned weeds along the side of the house, the first step in preparing the area for seeding with grass. I checked on the peppermint plant by the poplar tree in front of the house, watered the bees and cleaned out and refilled the ducks' pool.
Now, I'm going to look at seeds and hopefully get a little bit of garden planning done, then work on a Sunday school lesson I'm giving tomorrow.
I love days like these, when I remember how wonderful it is to live close to the earth and feel the promise of spring in the world around me and in my very bones.
Love from the farm,