As I last posted in, “Can You Feel It”, things are changing more rapidly here in the mid-Atlantic region of Maryland. The bees are flying and looking for whatever can be found. Lucky for me, my dear father planted Leatherleaf Mahonia at least 18 yrs. ago. It is one of the first plants to flower and attracts the honey bees on a warm day on my homestead. If you do not know these plants, let me tell you a few things I enjoy about them. They have a holly look (and feel! ouch!), but more in an asymmetrical way. The plant tends to lean this way, then go that way, open here, then close up there. You have the picture. It’s interesting to look at. A very broad leaf that is smooth and glossy. My favorite part, that only lasts for a short time, of about 3 weeks in the early spring: the tiny lemon, yes lemon, scented flowers. What a treat in the dull, dreary times of February! And as I said, the honey bees just love them.
Initially, I thought it was 2 of my orginal chicken coop hatchlings of 4-ish yrs ago, that where setting. It appears that one of the triplets isn’t ready for the grueling 21+ day challenge. And, that is if the eggs don’t break. If you are wondering what I am talking about it’s the old girls that are setting, a.k.a, wanting to be Mommas, trying to hatch out eggs.
This process is not for the wimps for sure. 21+ days of sitting on the eggs. Setting is actually the “proper” term. And I do mean “sitting” on the eggs. These girls only get up 1x a day. Really, 1x!! Can you imagine?! They get up to eat,drink,stretch there legs, and defecate. During their tiny time off the nest a funny thing occurs. Other hens lay eggs in the box. I do not know for sure, because as of now I do not speak chicken fluently, but it appears that it’s a “hot spot” to lay eggs. Could it be, that as I have witnessed from years of experience, that there is the mentality of, “hey! there are other eggs here, here’s a good spot!” ? Or, do the other hens knowingly feel that there is life starting here so lets try to get our eggs hatched? Can’t say, just know they are silly like that.
Tending to all that needs -to -be-done around here is different for all seasons. Sometimes it’s messy, sometimes just cold. So what to do when they meet? For me, dress for both. Trust me, I would not go out in public dressed like this unless I was going to the farm store. They all understand there. But I live very close to the D.C. Metro area, and they really don’t understand here! So I take off the boots that are just under my knees and take off the canvas coat, which is great for repelling water etc., and go out to do my “regular people” things. Kinda like a secret agent, huh?!