The First Signs of Spring

It’s going to be 60°F this afternoon, and the first time since Equinox that it doesn’t dip down to freezing overnight. The daffodils are starting to swell, and the dewdrops are already nodding their silvery sleepy heads in the shade of the budding hummingbird vine. It’s a beautiful day to take off from work, move the houseplants outside, and red up the front porch for some summer fun. I’ve got some sugar syrup cooling on the stove for the humming bird feeders for just that purpose.

Last night at dusk I moved my 42 surviving egg chicks back to the barn because they are far too big for the bathtub, need space to run around whilst they go through their second and third molts, and they seem to have been an immediate good influence on my spoiled hens, who all decided to bless me with my first edible eggs of the season, layed together neatly right out in the open just inside the barn door, instead of hidden in a gargantuan pile behind the grain bins in their secret hen-spun brooding nests. 9 fresh eggs, and me on a fast…. Screw it! I’m having some stock and celery juice today, and making a big scramble tomorrow.

I made my first big batch of raw sweet Spring butter on Sunday afternoon, packed it in my 1-quart Fido, and scraped the surplus into a butterbell, then split the whey between me, the hens and the dogs. I will use the bell butter to whip up a few of these eggs with a handful of the chives that have come up, and some dandelion greens.

The hillside will be deep green by my birthday on the 13th, and just in time, too: my friend Mary has sent me a heavy box from Georgia filled with roots and shoots and cane cuttings and a big fat garden spider (R.I.P. +++) that will all be going in the ground before the sun sets tomorrow, and my friend Tonjha is sending me some priceless herb seeds from Washington State to get a good start on my neglected medicinal garden. My tomatoes, peppers and chilis are all around two inches tall in their little origami pots, folded from the newsprint circulars that litter my mailbox every Wednesday and Saturday, and nestled closely in nursery trays on the kitchen table.

The robins that live in my living room wall by the kitchen door have a new brood of babies that all start making an ungodly racket around 5 every morning. I got the ladder out of the spring house so I could peek in, and there are six pissed off little black-eyed fluffballs in the nest, clearly unhappy that I did not bring meat as an apology for invading their home.

The most tenacious of my two remaining Cornish Cross hens, Big Mama, is sunning herself in a hole she dug with her stubby toes under the lilac bush. My Buff Orp egg mama, Carrie, is asleep in my lap whilst I write this, Baby is sitting ever so stately in the middle of the front yard – with his face to the wind – watching over the valley, and Sissy is blissfully scratching her butt all over the base of a pine tree with unbridled vigor, sending out giant plumes of white Winter coat Dalmation hair in every direction.

The wind in the trees is like music….Today is a perfectly glorious day. I think it’s time to get nekkid and lay out for a tan….

Who the hell wants to go to a yob on a day like this? Not I, says this little red hen.

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