So my trio of Romney crosses seem to be ready for sheering and some possible de-worming. With days hitting the balmy 50's now, and all three of them still wearing their winter coats, it's high time for a trim. I'm quietly thrilled about this. CAF's first ever sheering day is hopefully going to be attended by friends and musicians. I want the day to start with hard work and end with a campfire and friends with instruments. This may not be a possibility, the whole post-fleece shindig, but if it isn't this year for certain it will be in the years to come. My life as a shepherd-in-training has some very specific goals and the annual fleece and fiddle night is one of them.
They made it. My first ever fully-wintered hive of bees survived. I'm proud to say that the whole backyard colony of Italian bees is now flying around the hive and drinking their spring sugar water I already have on tap for them. Come May I'll throw on another super and by late summer I hope to get my first ever backyard honey harvest. This is also a big deal. As you can see, my bar for "big deal" is pretty low. Bee vomit, fiddles and sheep hair and I'm over the friggin' moon.
All the birds made it through this brutal winter save for one. The old Dominique hen died last night. When I walked into the coop yesterday morning she was there on the straw as if asleep. I gently removed her and thanked her for all her hard work. One chicken isn't a big deal, and I certainly wasn't brought to tears over it, but if I lined up the breakfast platters of omelets, quiche and baked goods just one hen contributed too I'd have a buffet. I want every animal here to know they did good.
The goose is still sitting, but I think Saro's egg is a lost cause. It seems like it should hatch any day, but she has left it for hours at a time (I recently found out) and I've already touched it when it was cold. If nothing comes of it in the next few days I'll remove it. Even if her laying was in vain it doesn't mean she won't try again this spring. I hope she does.
I'll be ordering a few chicks from the feed store again, just some Silkies because I miss them. I switched to bigger homesteader breeds when I moved to Vermont to be more serious about production animals. But I miss those quirky little birds. Plus they were amazing at eating garden slugs and I have big plans for that garden in the next few weeks. I can use all the help I can raise.
My breeding pair of Angora rabbits have been mated and Bean Blossom is expecting her kits in mid March. Six weeks after that, early May, they'll be ready for the open arms of you fine people. It's been a long winter for those two troopers. They've been stuck in their hutches for months, riding out the snow and storms. When the weather got really cold I brought them into the furnace room to ward off the bitter—but mostly they've lived their wooly lives outside. Soon the snow will melt in the fenced in garden and they'll be able to hop in there and stretch those long legs. I look forward to that as much as they do.
I've been okay. I think this winter wore me down a lot. I found myself feeling stretched thin between the book, the blogs, the office and the farm. In a way it made me run into the arms of my music, and for that I am beyond grateful. Because of music I have grown closer to neighbors and coworkers, and our little band (By the way, we named ourselves Swearing Hill, after the steep, miserable, Sandgate Road we all know and love) We played at an Open Mic Night, we practice regularly, and this fiddler sleeps happy with that thought. We cover songs right now, mostly things you guys have heard on this blog like Iron and Wine and Old Crow Medicine Show, but we also mix it up with some stuff like Dinosaur Jr and the Cure. It's fun.
I might be heading to Brooklyn for the BUST Craftacular in Williamsburg. I need to figure out if that's something I can pull off, but I hope it is. I have some friends from design school living in that town and I would love to get a drink with them and catch up. Plus, I think Williamsburg could use some old-time fiddling and banjo frailing. I'll tear the place up with a fiddle on my back and a banjo on my knee.