What the heck happened to spring this year. Here it is mid March and our ice an snow just melted. It sure was nice out today. I even had the patio door open most of the day. So nice to air the house out an let fresh air in after being cooped up all winter. But by this time next week they are giving rain and snow showers again. Crap!! I am so ready for it to be warm and stay that way. Pretty sure things will do better in the greenhouse once it warms to a decent temperature. But I should not complain, my lil cabbages are coming up. I also had a huge flower pot that I filled with soil and sowed some lettuce, kale an spinach in. It has come up rather thick. Really pretty and green. I wanted to get an early start on tomatoes and peppers but I sure don't want to have to keep heat in the greenhouse for the weather we have had. That can get quite expensive after a while. Tomorrow I think I will go ahead an fill my seed starting trays and put them in the summer kitchen so the soil can warm up. Once it gets warm then seed to tomatoes, peppers and a few others things I need to get started early. Most likely those trays will stay in the summer kitchen till it warms a bit more outside and stays that way. Then they can be moved to the greenhouse. Peppers need really warm temps to sprout. My buddy Randy sent me some paprika pepper seeds and I hope to hell I can get them to come up and grow this season. No luck at all last year.
This month has been abnormally cold I think for us. Normally I don't have a problem raising my Cornish cross meat birds in March and April. But dang it, this year has been different. I still have all of em, no losses yet. When our temps dropped down in the teens last week I was just afraid they would chill in their lil building so being the worrisome person I am I moved them into the summer kitchen. Yep you heard me right. I used an old quilt to put on the floor and up the cabinets on both sides of the kitchen, stapled it to the cabinets and pulled up the ends and tacked those down. Imagine a big 4 ft square basket made of a quilt. I put some stray on the quilt to help keep them dry and put them in their temporary home. The had their heat light, food an water and stayed toasty warm without me having to worry about them. Yesterday Rodger and I moved them back to their building where we used an old metal topless picnic table to suspend a quilt to help hold the heat in a smaller area to keep them warmer. All is well. You know chicks are warm enough when they don't huddle under the heat light. It was obvious from the droppings that they were warm enough to be able to move away from the heat. I won that round with mother nature. Depending on how cold it gets next week with the predicted rain and snow, they may be back in the summer kitchen. I don't care if I did spend a couple hours cleaning and sanitizing things in thee. I just cant afford to let those critters get sick or die.
I still don't have any hens setting this season so I finally gave up and loaded the incubator with eggs. So God willing, I should have baby chicks from the standard breeds about April 4th. I thought for a day or so that my incubator was dead. I could not for the life of me get the temperature up to where it needed to be. I kept turning the thermostat up, no luck. Then on closer inspection, being a dummy, I was turning the thermostat the wrong way. Aha! Once I figured that out and turned it up it warmed up to where it needed to be and I put the eggs in on the automatic egg turner. With the still air incubators the temp needs to be about 101 degrees. There are lil indention in the bottom of the incubator that need to always have water in them to keep the humidity up to mimic a setting hen. It is kinda tricky to add water and not pour it on the eggs. I have been using my plant water can that has a long skinny spout on it. Works like a charm. About 3 days before the eggs are due to hatch they get taken off the egg turner and placed directly on the mesh bottom. This is the incubation period where the chicks are turning in the shell and pressing outward with their beak to make a lid they can pop off and get out. Once they turn completely around in the egg they then break thru to the air pocket at the big end of the egg and start pushing till they are free. Once they are out of the shell you have an incubator full of lil critters that very much look like lil dinosaurs. Just another miracle of life.
This weather being first warm then getting cold has made my joints a miserable lot. I has been nice enough for a few days that I probably should have gotten out and finished pruning things in the yard. I got rose bushes that are going wild. Actually both the ones I have are old fashioned varieties and they have the best scent ever. But the smaller one near the cellar is crawling all over the place. I don't think it can be classified as a climbing rose at all. I crawls all over the place. Or maybe I should put up a taller stronger trellis for it. Maybe I can do that. Next nice day we have. I have 2 thornless blackberry plants that my friend Rosie had given me a few years back that are on the other side of the cellar door. They for sure need a trellis to climb on. One has a runner that is about 12 ft long or more. Just lots of lil things that make for a lot of work to care for around here. But I like my roses and blackberries. Thankful only one of em has thorns.
Not much else happening here on the homestead. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.