It’s nearing the end of January here in the Blue Ridge and things are looking a lot less green. Tractor implements are resting where we left them after seeding cover crop in late fall and the greenhouse is used for keeping people warm rather than seedlings. A butterfly-less ‘Operation Wings’ overlooks snow-dusted pick-your-own fields where strawberries, flowers, herbs, and beans once flourished. But beneath last night’s snow Spring is taking root and we are anticipating its arrival…
We don’t spend much time in the fields this time of year but there is plenty of work to be done elsewhere. Far from being left empty, the greenhouse has been converted into a woodworking shop. The crew has already built a new chicken coop from scrap wood and Sam just started on a feed storage container to keep rodents at bay.
Our laying hens, chicks, and piglets also keep us busy with plenty of beaks and snouts to feed and water. Peek behind the door in the barn with the insulating fleece curtain and you will find 135 freedom ranger chicks snuggled up against the cold under heat lamps and a space heater.
This winter, office time has given us a chance to plan and make our seed order, write up greenhouse and field schedules for next season, make an archive of farm vehicles and implements, work on our new and improved website, research equipment and irrigation systems, watch webinars about the evils of brown marmorated stink bugs, and, last but not least, warm up after spending time in the cold.
Luckily for us on the coldest days, the barn itself is always in need of attention after the chaotic growing season. We not only organized but also labeled the tool area in the barn using our new laminating machine. There are still a few nails in the screw box but apart from that tool world, as it’s popularly known, is flawless. We also sorted through stacks of articles and books to create a small agriculture library next to the office in the barn complete with new bookshelves and freshly stained tabletops.
Although the farm isn’t producing many greens this time of year we are collecting plenty of green eggs from our new multicolored laying hens. Feeding animals and collecting eggs might be coldest and the muddiest winter chore, but eating a hearty, eggy breakfast guards against the chill. So until we see you all in the Spring, here’s to eggs and to all the fresh vegetables in our near future.