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A tentative spring

April 6, 2009

Snow on Friday, and sunny, springlike weather on Saturday.  We never realize how much we have been hibernating until we get an actual sunny day.  It isn’t the cold, it is the lack of light.  Dogs that have been happy to nap in the house all day, and reluctantly get up to supervise chores, have now been outside, and panting from the sun’s warmth and looking for shade.  Wonderful, after the dreary month of March with only 4 days of seeing the sun, it is finally here for a brief stint.  Each day though, reminds us we still have one foot in winter and one foot in spring.

The hummingbirds are here, but there is nothing in bloom yet, so they are fighting over the feeder constantly.   Saturday morning we saw the first Violet-green barn swallows,  a sign of warmth since they are insect eaters.  But Saturday afternoon I also saw a Bald eagle, which is also a sign of the transition – we only see them in the winter.  It is nice to know that my daughter has grown up seeing bald eagles every winter – it is still a big deal to me, since I was 30 before I saw the first one here on the farm.

The Pacific Tree frogs have been quite raucous at night, another sign of spring.  But, mornings bring  puddles with ice still, and the frog eggs will just have to wait for more temperate weather to hatch.


Another spring harbinger, the turkey vultures!  Finally!  I was worried since the hummingbirds showed up alone, usually these large fellows show up the same day.  This year, it was a week between arrival of the two.

Since the weather was cooperating, one of our dry-day jobs was to salvage a large enough piece of greenhouse plastic to re-cover the brooder greenhouse.  It always amazes me how hard it is to maneuver the large pieces of the heavy duty greenhouse plastic.  It is even worse, when it is attached to a smashed frame.  Navigating this obstacle course was difficult, since we had to be careful not to tear any holes in the salvaged piece.  Which I have found when you want to rip this stuff, it won’t budge, and if you are trying to be delicate, it will find every screw head and mangled piece of pipe it can.  This is not a job for a married couple – so Ruthless and I did it, without too many ruffled feathers.


We let HD do the rest of the prep.  We had cut off the main cover last week, but he wanted to do the final inspection of the frame, to see if there was more damage than we thought. 

Our greenhouses use the channel with spring lock method of attaching the plastic to the frame.  So the spring lock was removed from the top, 


 and the bottom, with the supervisors keeping a close eye on the job. 


We had a little wind, so the “new” cover went on easily.  This is the hardest part, but once it is in place, you can start securing the cover with the spring lock.  Every time we do one of these it reminds me so much of sewing, it kind of makes me chuckle.  I can’t decide if this would like putting a collar on a shirt or like adding a binding to a quilt.  Either way,  it needs to be straight! 


 HD was commenting that he wished he didn’t know how to do this as well as he does.  These projects were not on the list of things to do this year.  Now we are almost back to square one again.  Hardly any time to do the regular things, let alone dismantle these greenhouse structures.


Luckily the dogs gave us a break – all they know is that the sunshine feels good and we are all outside in shirtsleeves.


 I knew it was too wet, but I couldn’t resist the temptation to check the garden soil.  Take a handful of your garden soil and squeeze it, if it stays in ball, it is still too wet to work.


 Back to work, securing the bottom edges.  The spring lock goes in quite easily by hand, but several of the sections needed a little more help. 


 Almost finished, time for another doggy break.


 All done, now all I need to do is let this dry out inside, add fresh bedding, and we will be ready for the chicks arrival the first week of May. 


Whew, that was hard work, all that getting in the way supervising!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2009 11:31 am

    Too true, husband and wife should never work with large sheets of plastic together! *lol*

  2. April 6, 2009 5:10 pm

    Good call on the dirt. I worked some this weekend to get in the broccoli and lettuce starts that desperately needed to get out of the coldframe. And then a bit more to seed onions, radish, scallions and spinach. Shouldn’t have pushed it as it’s finely clodded on the top. Oh well, I’ll rake them off tomorrow and then make myself wait some more…

  3. April 6, 2009 6:36 pm

    I like the “supervising” jobs the best too!

  4. April 7, 2009 1:28 am

    The picture of the hummingbirds, very nice. I like the trick about the soil too – though its been so rainy here the past few days (with no end in sight per the forecast) so I may never be able to get in those seedlings! Its hard to stay patient with the fickleness of nature.

  5. April 7, 2009 5:27 am

    Wow, that was a big job but it came out good. We are going to look at and get prices on some greenhouses today (see the post at my site) and we hope to get a couple if the price is right. One for chickens and the other for plants. We will see.
    Love your dogs. My next dog will be a farm dog for sure, long hair and all.

  6. April 7, 2009 7:18 am

    I loved this visit! I got to see so many things about your farm! Thank you for sharing! I love your supervisors, those are the best kind.


  7. April 7, 2009 4:19 pm

    You and HD did a great job on the green house. I can’t wait to see your baby chicks! The dogs look happy. Hope all of you are enjoying the nice weather.

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