Local, organic agriculture. Environmental education.

Shoveling Out the Chickens

Jon with new seedsWhile the newly arrived packages and boxes of seeds sit on top of and in snowy mailboxes at the end of the farm driveway, we must quickly find our slippery way to those boxes to rescue the seeds and bring them to a room temperature studio, nee barn now office.  But when will we sow the seeds? At this rate, how will onion and snap pea seeds find their way to the top of the soil? Speaking of which, the soil needs to be unearthed, as those bags were delivered in December. The path to the greenhouse has at least been carved out again, in hopes that a new farmer will be excited to force spring, as long as he and she can find their way. And find the way we must, as there are more than seeds that await our attention.

At the cold Farm, as at cold homes and yards everywhere, the snow falls, is moved to the left and right, blown to the north and south, and piled high on the fields, garden beds and next to wells.  Why not put trashcans full of snow in the greenhouse, let them melt in spring and save for water during the drought?  But the snow will slowly seep into the soil and hopefully drain well and provide good growth for the seeds that sit in their boxes. Kind folks have also come to help lift shovel fulls, so that the horse stalls have double wheelbarrow wide areas to collect the manure (which certainly contrasts the cold snow and air we breathe) and to reach  wood pile. The Farm is fortunate to have thoughtful bobcat drivers and hearty ice pickers.
chickens in snow
Have you seen a chicken peck at the white, frozen, snowy ground? They would not venture out of the coop and down the ramp, for down in the yard, it was all full of knee-high snow. Well, we shoveled that too and inverted a broom to loosen the snow and ice from the chicken wire roof. More snow fell and we seemed not to mind that snow chill down the neck, as we knew it meant happy chickens, who in the twilight of their life can still muster a trifecta of eggs in the depth of winter.  The goats and bunny also have tales of well-shoveled paths, as do the folks of Massachusetts, who plod on, some with machine and most with a long-handled (gas-free) shovel.  Perhaps all we farmers are doing is preparing for the long handled plow, hoe and garden fork come spring.  All year, we will make our way to the chickens, the greenhouse and eventually the fields. The pandemonium of the snow outweighs the pandemonium and excessive attention of the confetti that fell for the local 11, as we have snow to move for the more important causes of animals, food and the delivery of seeds.

© 2015, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm

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