Plants and Poultry in the Greenhouse
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Plants and Poultry in the Greenhouse

Now that the greenhouse is weather-tight, we can start using it for a variety of things.  Since our new aquaculture won't be installed until after the last possible frost date of May 21, we can use that space for housing some adult poultry which need to be moved out of the poultry barn for our growing chick population - we get the next round of guinea and turkey chicks in a few weeks.
Saturday late afternoon I had put up temporary shelves in the greenhouse over the 4 north garden beds between the trusses, and set-out larger plastic and peat pots into which I will transplant my seedlings.  Before that will happen later this week, I needed to install a temporary poultry guard along that half of the greenhouse so we could move some adult poultry nesting hens into the greenhouse.
This morning Destiny helped me seed those 4 beds full of dark, rich, composted soil, with spring veggies, aka cole crops.  We companion planted the rows pairing beets with spinach, peas with onions, and lettuce with carrots and radishes.  We thoroughly watered the beds from the big barrels I had filled on Saturday in-between other chores.  It is getting nice and humid in there now, even though another snow storm is blowing in with strong, cold winds from the north.  If you love the tropics, in Colorado you gotta have a greenhouse to enjoy during cold-spells!
Mid-morning Destiny headed back into the house for schoolwork just as Madison finished with her bookwork, and came out to offer help.  Together we staked green plastic mesh with thin yellow metal step-on posts (the kind for electric cattle fencing - but we didn't use any wire) at the front of each bed between the wall truss sections.  Then we made poultry net wire mesh panels to hang above those, slipping the top edge over screws at either end.  This will allow us to tend the beds and the seedling shelves above, by simply lifting off the poultry net panels that are about 8' wide.  Hopefully the plastic and wire mesh combination will keep the poultry out of this area!
We broke for lunch - beef fajitas with guacamole/tomato topping!  Yummy!  Gotta motivate the crew to keep working with good and frequent home-cooked meals.  Praise the Lord my wonderful mother taught me how to cook!  A chicken is in the crock-pot for pesto pasta tonight.  I am usually too beat when I come in at the end of the day of working outside to think about 'whats for dinner?'   If I figure it all out in the morning and get things prepped, I can feed the family without killing myself.  We live too far from town to order pizza!
After lunch the whole crew headed to the poultry barn to get the 2 guineas and 1 turkey that have been nesting down there, and brought them up to the greenhouse along with nesting boxes, bedding hay, and buckets of feed.  I clipped one wing of each bird so they wouldn't fly up over my mesh barrier.  Also, later in the week after these birds realize this is their new home, we'll let them outside during the day to graze on grass, weeds, and bugs.  Their clipped wings will prevent them from flying off into unknown danger beyond the paddock fencing.
Our 4-H leader, Dana, is generously giving us a half dozen adult turkeys and geese.  We will pick them up this week and they'll join the 3 birds in the greenhouse.  Planning ahead, we put 4 nesting boxes - big enough for large poultry - into the greenhouse along the south wall.  The total of 6 nest spaces should be enough for all the birds in there.  1 box is an old small cabinet that is divided into two nests; another is an old dog kennel that at some point lost its door; the 3rd and 4th are old pig water tanks with bottoms that rotted out which we converted into large bird nest boxes.  The larger of the 2 pig units actually had 2 openings, and we made a double flip-door on top so we could check for eggs in both halves.  All of these 'boxes' were filled with old grass hay for the birds to make their nests.
We put a 5 gallon metal waterer up on cinder blocks so the birds could reach fresh water, but not step in it, or kick dirt in while they scratch.  We put a long reel metal feeder filled with a mix of grain and laying feed in the center of the floor area to supplement these egg laying hens.
Another chore checked off my list!  Lots to do in the spring here.  So far we have found a balance of school, chores, projects, meals, sleep, going to town for music lessons and church, and a bit of fun in between it all. 
All of these projects need to be completed to advance the farm, but the push is for much of it to be complete for our first FAMILY HOMESTEAD DAY event on Saturday May 18.  Nothing like a deadline of 120 people showing up at your place to get you going and keep you motivated!  So far, all family members are pleased with how much we are getting accomplished, how good it all looks, and no one has started grumbling - thank the Lord for a hubby and kids with hard-work values!

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