With a couple thousand seedlings germinated and needing a place to go and no functioning greenhouse, yesterday was definitely the time to get the caterpillar tunnel set up. I spent the morning potting up lettuce and broccoli seedlings and my spring intern from Hendrix showed up mid-afternoon to pitch in. Robert and my dad finished putting up the caterpillar tunnel just before dark.
This afternoon Milan helped me finish potting up the first round of broccoli by filling my trays with dirt.
I feel like over the years I become desensitized about a chicken dying. That used to be traumatic for me. Not like dog or horse traumatic, but traumatic nonetheless. It helped when my flock grew big enough that I couldn't tell all of the birds apart and they didn't all have names. Regardless, there are always a few that take it upon themselves to become more like pets and less like farm animals.
This was especially true of this strange little chicken that attached herself to Milan that he called Gray Bird.
This bird waited by the gate for him to come into the chicken yard and stuck by his side till he left.
Yesterday afternoon I saw gray bird in the process of laying an egg in a strange place outside of the laying boxes. I didn't think much of it until Milan and I did chores a few hours later and she was in the same spot. Assuming she might be egg-bound, I searched the web on my phone for what to do about an egg-bound hen while I fed the horses. When I finally got to her, it was pretty clear she had worse problems than a bound egg. I didn't know until last night that a chicken could prolapse but I'm pretty sure that is what happened to her. Unfortunately a prolapsed chicken doesn't have a great prognosis. Her suffering ended when Robert got home from work.
This morning Milan woke with a runny nose and I told him I hoped he wasn't getting sick. He looked at me very seriously and said, "Mom, gray bird sick." I know he won't take this nearly as hard as I do and will forget about this bird soon enough. But tonight I don't look forward to picking up eggs.
I have totally slacked on progress reports about the walk-in cooler. Robert's spent so much time working on it in the last two weeks and it's almost done! We stalled out for a few days while we waited for an A/C unit to arrive-apparently you can't just go to Home Depot and buy an A/C unit in January. It showed up last Thursday and Robert spent the weekend cutting the final panels and standing the walls up.
When yesterday's snow sent him home from work early, he was able to get the roof panels cut and set on top of the cooler. Before the roof is permanently in place though he needs to finish running wires for the light, the A/C unit and the CoolBot (the contraption that allows the A/C unit to reach the lower temperatures that we need).
A few days before Christmas we got the call that our insulated panels for the cooler were in and we needed to come get them. So Milan and I loaded up and headed on a little road-trip to pick them up. A company called Centria down in Sheridan makes these panels and a small company called Sizemore Metal gets their overruns in random quantities and sizes and sells them to the public. We picked up a stack of 10 and 13 foot pieces and Robert has been cutting them down to 8 foot pieces to make them fit in the space we need them.
Almost time to see if they are going to fit together!
A long drive to and from Iowa over Christmas left us with plenty of time to reflect on the past year and we are so thankful for how great 2012 was for our family and our farm. I am so excited for the 2013 growing season and the new opportunities it brings. I need to thank all of our family, friends and customers that make it possible for me to do what I love to do. For tonight I'll leave with a few family pictures from Christmas up north. Coming soon will be a few changes to the website, pictures of walk-in cooler progress and some news regarding our plans to connect our food with our rural neighbors. Happy New Year, y'all!