We informed the ladies this morning that another foot of snow might be here by tomorrow morning. I think I heard laughter...or clucking...or something like that.
Meanwhile inside, the chicks continue to grow, grow, grow...and peep, peep, peep...(and poop, poop, poop if we're going to be real about it). They've upsized already to the largest boxes we have and are beginning to play around with roosting. The entertainment factor hasn't dwindled. And besides one sad little casualty, we're going strong with twenty nine (oh my). Soon, once it warms just a little bit more (and it will, I have faith), they'll be moving on out to their next phase of housing in the barn.
Many of you asked last week in the chick post for our favorite books on raising chicks. I've updated our Amazon Bookshop with some of our favorite Farm & Garden books, but alongside some of those older titles and general homestead skill guides on our shelves, Keeping Chickens by Ashley English has been so helpful. It's become Calvin's handy guide as he prepares his own little flock this season, though I've spied my little chicken girl stealing it from his bedside for hers so that she can stare all the lovely hen pictures.
Ashley English is the woman (and Mama!) behind the Homemade Living series, with four books currently in the collection: Canning & Preserving, Keeping Chickens, and two more just released ~ Keeping Bees and Home Dairy. What I love most about this series is how Ashley presents all of these could-be-complicated subjects in a way that's acheivable and encouraging. It all feels totally doable...not to mention fun and fresh in the way she shares it all.
While Keeping Chickens is passed back and forth between those two, Mama and Harper are spending a little bit of time each day in the pages of Keeping Bees. In the fall, I took a 6-week Bee Course, offered by the University of Maine's Cooperative Extention. It was such a great way to learn first hand from not just the experts, but the local experts, who could really speak to the issues in our particular area for beekeepers (it was through many conversations with them that I ultimately changed my intent from top-bar hives to medium langstroths...to start out, anyway).
After the class, though - and before the bees arrive - I searched and searched for a good book to read. The textbooks surely were informative...but less than inspired, shall we say. Or easy to read and approachable. Or full of beautiful photographs of the bees, which, we must admit - make such a book all that more fun and lovely to read, yes? Perfectly timed, for me, was the release of Ashley's Keeping Bees - which is all of those things: comprehensive, up-to-date, informative, approachable, and yes, beautiful. And goodness, flipping through its pages each day has me very excited for the arrival of the bees!
But for right now, we read about it. We read and plan and watch the last (surely) of spring's snow falling outside our windows. And we buy fence posts. And we dream of ricotta recipes made with fresh milk. And we paint beehives. And while we wait for it to be warm enough to bring those bees home, we do our best to keep Mama's veil out of the dress up box.
Though, that's a lot easier said than done.