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March or Madness?

March can get crazy. Like really crazy in the blink of an eye! This March was a crazy one from start to finish. The weather was crazy. The kids schedule was crazy. Jim’s schedule was crazy. By the end of the month I was crazy. Or more crazy than usual. Ha!

March started out with the Organic Grower’s School Conference for me and a concert for Maleah. All on the same weekend! Yep, that’s what happens when you have a teenager that doesn’t drive yet. You chauffeur them like a job. But without pay. All goes well most of the time and then occasionally everyone gets their wires crossed and you both have somewhere to be on at the same time. Now there’s a conundrum for ya.

Well, the tickets had already been purchased for the concert and Maleah was already bringing a friend. I had already purchased my tickets for the Organic Grower’s School as well. I had tried to purchase Jim’s at the same time with our scholarship through the NC Rural Center but it wouldn’t let me because I’m not Jim, obviously. Duh. That was probably a good thing though because Jim ended up taking all the kids to Franklin so Maleah and her friend could attend the For King and Country concert. Jim stayed at my parent’s house with Maylin and Camden and my Mom took the girls to the concert.

I stayed home and took care of the animals in monsoon rains and attended the classes in Mars Hill each day. While it was a lot of work with a stomach virus thrown in for good measure, I really learned a lot! I had honestly thought about not attending the classes but I’m so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and went.

I will admit that it was really tough, but I met some great people and listened to some brilliant lectures. My personal favorite was a talk on cattle genetics. Did you know that the gene for horns in cattle is a mutation? Horns are also a recessive gene and the polled gene is dominant. I had no idea! I could go on and on but you get the point. It was a great learning experience!! I hope to attend next year and drag Jim with me.

Just 2 short weekends after the crazy weekend of our family going in different directions, we did it all again. Hey, I told you it was a crazy March! Jim took Maleah and her friend to the Winter Jam concert while I took Maylin and Camden to all their errands and a party thrown in for good measure. I honestly can’t remember what Jim and I did on the weekends before we had kids. Did we sleep in? Did we stay at home? Did we go to the movies? I can’t remember. Maybe that’s a good thing? I don’t have the memories of leisure time to make me miss it, I suppose. Yeah…..

At some point in March (and I honestly don’t remember the actual date) we had a consultation with Mr. Moore. He was one of the people that we had met through the NC Rural Center. He is a grazing specialist and was kind enough to come to our farm in March and help us determine the best grasses to plant where and how to graze them. He is a big supporter of rotational grazing and we hope to learn a lot from him.

Back in January Mr. Moore was very kind to sit and listen to endless questions from me about complimentary grasses and dry matter yields. Oh, yes. Lots of very interesting questions that promptly put Jim to sleep. If you want Jim to yawn in less than a minute, just ask me a question about % yields from different grasses in different seasons. He will roll his eyes and start to yawn incredibly loud and might even fall asleep if I don’t hush soon enough. Ha!

Thankfully, Mr. Moore has a passion for grazing management plans, is a great teacher and is a very patient man as well. Jim and I both learned a lot from him in the few hours he was here on our farm. I can’t wait to see his grazing plan suggestions next month!

March wasn’t all work and no play though. Sweet Jessie Wrinkles turned a year old in March! I’ve never actually had a registered dog before so being able to celebrate her birthday was a fun idea for the family. Although, I have trouble believing she is actually a year old…. Obviously, I have more than just memory issues. I have issues with time lapses apparently.

As you can see Jessie doesn’t seem to care that it’s her birthday. Look at that face!
Poor Jessie looks like she’s growling here but she is actually licking her lips in anticipation of eating her birthday cake.
Yes, a birthday cake! We found a dog-friendly birthday cake in a small enough portion that she could eat it. We even bought a second one to split with Rocko and Jethro Flash (you can see Flash’s little nose to the left of the picture. He was trying very hard not to steal her cake! Rocko wasn’t that thrilled with the whole idea and decided to stay comfy on the couch and enjoy the quiet time.

Just after Jessie’s birthday we ordered our new barn. Yes!! We actually ordered a larger size than we had planned to because it was cheaper due to being a more popular size. Well, boy howdy, did that make me happy! Our barn should arrive sometime around the first of April and be put up just after that. I’m so excited I can barely think straight. Oh, the possibilities of how to fill all that space with animals. Oh, la, la….

I spent a weekend in March digging up daffodils and irises growing along banks, in ditches and other weird places and transplanted them into our empty flowerbeds. I should have been doing paperwork but that can always wait, right? Right. I mean, after all, the flower beds look great now. So, it was worth it. That’s my logic anyway…

The kids have been selling 3 dozen eggs a week for a while now which doesn’t leave us any eggs to eat. That’s a bummer since I really like fresh eggs for breakfast. We have had a few other people ask about buying eggs from us also, so we knew we needed to buy more chicks. The kids saved their egg money and we set off to buy some really good egg layers.

Jim told us not to come back without Leghorns but he was out of luck. The only Leghorns they had were straight run, meaning they weren’t sexed. Straight runs are supposed to be 50/50 male to female ratio. Well, my luck would prove to be 75 or 80 % male at least and we would have roosters everywhere. So, I passed on the Leghorn bin and went to the Pullets only section. At least my chances are a little better when someone else has already checked them. It’s not perfect but so far we have never gotten a rooster from a pullet bin. (Knock on wood.)

We brought home 3 Black Sex Links, 3 Isa Browns, and 3 Sapphire Gems–all of which are supposed to be good to great egg layers. Jim was so disappointed that we didn’t bring home his Leghorn chicks though. Poor fella.
But that face! These are the Sapphire Gems which is a cross breed and fairly rare but they are hardy, docile, great foragers and lay exceptionally well for many years. I hope so because they are so pretty!
Hearing the tiny chirps makes me fall in love pretty much right away. All these little ladies are so sweet!
This little lady is tiny. Like Thumbelina tiny. Anna, as the girls named her, might be the tiniest of all but she is also the sweetest AND the spunkiest of them all depending on the moment. She is an Isa Brown which is the top producing pasture raised Brown Egg layer in the US right now. Let’s hope so because the kids absolutely LOVE Anna.

When we picked up the 9 little future egg layers at the feed store Maleah found a heritage breed of turkey that she has been looking for. We had to special order them for her but it didn’t cost extra and they told us to expect a call in about 3 weeks when the babies come in. So we will be adding more turkey poults to these guys soon. That sounds crazy doesn’t it? We might be on our way to the being the crazy farm people. Oh wait, we are already there!

I think I mentioned that Jim wasn’t thrilled that we didn’t bring home his preferred Leghorn chicks. So, when he was in TSC oneday he saw Leghorn Pullets and Rhode Island Red pullets. He only asked for 6 but then another guy wanted only 2 and Jim didn’t want to leave any by themselves. Somehow that meant that Jim had to get 12 instead of 6. I’m not really sure how that math adds up. Couldn’t he just leave 6 there for someone else? He has assured me that he could not. So, crazy “chicken math” aside we now have 12 more chicks in a differnet coop on the front porch. Yes, 2 coops on the porch. The other chicks are almost 3 weeks older and need to stay at a different temperature until their feathers start to come in. They other chicks are also quite a bit bigger, so we felt like we needed to keep them separate for a while. By the time they are a few months old we should be able to put them all together. I hope….

Meet Jim’s new chicks that he graciously gave me to take care. There are 9 White Leghorns and 3 Rhode Island Reds. That brings our total to 26 birds! I have officially became the crazy chicken lady! Please at least try to act surprised!!!

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