We've spent two nights with the chicks so far. They are settling into their new home. One is especially flighty and likes to ruffle the feathers of the other three (Hazel?). I'm beginning to be able to tell them apart. We've been taking them outside (per the advice of my chicken-rearing Father) to acclimate them to the wild wild life of pecking and scratching in the great outdoors. Oh, and they are great. All the vines and shrubs are positively showing off in all their blossomed aplomb. Even the blueberry bushes are well on their way to producing fruit. Speaking of fruit! The cucumbers have sprouted (coming in last place after the carrots, lettuces, chard, and peas). We're trying that earthy spudsy fruit for the first time. Dr. Gooch dug up a swath of the lawn next to the boxes and tilled the earth making it easy for me to slip in three different varieties of potato! I'm sorry for all the exclamation pointing, but it really does just get me giddy. The pole beans are lagging still, and may need to replant (I read that they don't like cool wet weather). We relied on our local nursery for our brassicas. They have their own exclusive box: broccoli, cauliflower, red cabbage, and brussel sprouts. The rascals help in true rascal fashion. Seth throws dirt clods of clay up in the air to coat our drive with mini explosions. Avery fills my watering can with tiny gray gravel, Lucy builds fairy house and arranges flowers (from the prolific weeds) sticks and rocks in designs spotting the yard. Hazel hangs as close by as possible until her noise level lures you inside to provide a snack.
Now, a word on soil sampling. Did you know your taxes make this service available "free" to you? You can fill out a form (here is North Carolina's) and send it in with your non-bagged soil sample. Check on the Agriculture website for your state. Just put some dirt in a box and send it in. They will send you back an elaborate report. The only bad part of this is the time frame. It may take up to three weeks to get the report.
We were anxious to get our cold weather seed crops in pronto, so I took the DIY route. Go to Lowe's and ask for a soil test kit. It includes everything you need. You'll feel like a bonafide chemist mixing, measuring, and reading results right in your kitchen. You'll find out the pH of your soil and also the nutrient content (Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) So easy! And fast. Our soil was pretty good, a bit low in the phos and nitrogen so we amended with some Black Kow which is organic matter that also makes for a better draining soil. It's not to late to do this especially if you haven't passed your last frost date.
As for the news? I got a shock by way of mail the other day and found my siblings and spouses and my parents pitched in to get me a new camera!! (Since mine was stolen last week). So, soon, I'll take you on a Spring photo tour of the CC. Do you like your camera?
PS Have you sent in your Census Form? Here's why you should.