Well, almost … kind of. The sun’s out and it’s 32° F above zero. When I went out this morning to do my chores, I entered the chicken coop and discovered four new eggs. Four! The “girls” have been surprising me this last week. First I got an egg a day for about four days, then two eggs, then four. I’m expecting six today as I picked eggs early this morning. Wow, this has to be some kind of record for northern Minnesota — chickens with absolutely no evening lighting! I don’t usually get eggs until the end of March for a start. As you can guess, I’m certainly not complaining.

Check out the eggs I’ve gotten in just three days!

I helped Will set out big round bales this morning — which ended up taking until afternoon. First he had to plow the hay yard so he didn’t get stuck. Then, after carrying the second bale out to the cows, he broke one of the smaller side prongs on the three-prong hay spear. Oh oh. So he decided to “limp” one bale down to the horses, then go fix it. Well, he got stuck trying to get through the horse gate so we had a big bale on the ground, a stuck tractor behind it, and several equines milling about behind me, trying to steal a bite of that new bale that had to be so different than the old bale they already had. After rocking the tractor to no avail, I took the ATV up and brought a shovel down and Will shoveled the snow in front of and behind the tires. Finally it came out. Whew! He shoved the bale through the gate, backed out, then discovered the broken prong had totally come off and was somewhere … either in the deep snow or in the horse’s bale. I checked out the hay and Will kicked through the snow, finally finding the prong.

We have one doe goat who will be kidding sometime in the next two weeks — or so — and I’m keeping a careful eye on her. She’s the great granddaughter of the doe my friend in Montana gave me years ago. So you can imagine Bella is special as well as being very beautifully black and white spotted. I’m hoping she has a black and white spotted doe kid. But as luck usually goes, she’ll probably have a blah-colored buckling. As well as all goes well, it really doesn’t matter.

Our doe, Bella, will be kidding this month so we’re keeping a close watch.

— Jackie


  1. Hi Jackie, I am glad your chickens are starting in laying again. I have 11 hens and one rooster here in the High Desert of California. We are getting about 8 eggs a day. These hens are about 15 months old. Today I got 8 regular eggs and one little tiny, about 1″ egg. What would have caused a grown chicken to lay such a tiny little egg at this stage? I also am expecting my Doe to go into labor in the next week or so, first time for both of us and I am pretty excited and worried at the same time. i have your goat book read back and forth many times. fingers crossed, thanks again for all your wonderful help and knowledge.

    • These are “fairy” or “fart” eggs and just sometimes happen due to hormone upsets along the way. They are nothing to worry about at all. We’re still waiting and tonight it’s going down to -30 below so I won’t be getting much sleep. May have a goat in the living room…. Oh well at least it’s not a cow!

  2. I’m curious why you don’t run lights in your coop. Led lights take very little power.we have ours on a timer and get eggs all winter except during their molt.

    • We actually bought solar lights from a “Dollar” type store. We took the tops off the stems, used a hole cutter in the roof of the coop and caulked them in. They were like little crystal chandeliers in the hen house! They never did leak or quit in 5 years. We had about $10 in the little cheap solar lights. I have a question, Jackie. My son adores watermelon and canteloupe. We try to grow it every year, but have fair luck at best. Our canteloupe never seem to get sweet, and are never very productive. The watermelon isn’t much better as it never produces big juicy fruits, and almost never ripens. We’ve grown them in raised beds, open ground, and greenhouses. We have very loose, loamy soil, as we mulch and add compost each year. I can usually dig a hand deep without a shovel! We live in northern Indiana, near a limestone quarry, and have pretty alkaline soil naturally but have heavily amended over the last 14 years. Do you have any suggestions for us to get lovely cantaloupe and watermelon?

    • In the past we haven’t had enough power to run even small lights during the night. Now we do so when we go into next winter, we will have a light on a timer. Jessica has a great idea with the solar lights. Now why didn’t I think of that????

      Jessica, you might try some of our watermelons and muskmelons. We live in a very challenging spot for these and have found the varieties we carry in our seed catalog are VERY hardy, productive and tasty too. The variety you grow does sometimes make a huge difference.

  3. Well I wouldn’t say it’s spring here but it did get up to 24 today and it hasn’t been below zero for a couple days. January only had eight days with the high above zero and five with the lows below -40. Bright and sunny too! Another few weeks before I think about starting anything.

    • You know Howard, when the sun’s out, even below zero temperatures seem nice sometimes. But I’ll admit having 24 with the sun is nicer!!

  4. Always good to hear of your daily adventures, even the ones that surely tax your patience! Mitch says… I’ll bet that Will was cussing a little bit that time! LOL Glad that you’re getting some sunshine and warmer temps! Hope that your weather drifts to the east here in Michigan. Mailed our seed order yesterday! Getting them will be the highlight of our week! Hope that all goes well with the goat birth!

    • Actually, I’m proud to say he didn’t utter a single cuss work. (I’ll admit I was thinking them though!) Your order is on the way!

  5. Thanks for the seeds I got from you. I too have broken off “hay spikes” what a pain. Glad he found it. Weather here in the 20’s but sun shining bright. I’ve been dehydrating onions before they go bad and chopping a freezing them also. Some of them were sprouting and this is earlier than normal-usually end of February. Maybe they know something I don’t know about arrival of spring. My chickens have also taken off on the egg laying. Great, stay warm winter ain’t over yet.

    • Yeah, some of mine are starting too so I’m dehydrating like mad. I so love that onion powder I grind from them! So useful in so many things. Yep, I know winter’s not done yet; we always get some spring blizzards.

  6. Yes, spring is coming right. It’s 19 above zero and bright and sunny here in Oklahoma. Garden fever got the better of me and l started some Bill Bean tomatoes
    Only started four and three of them are up. Just want to thank you for you wonderful seeds. Spring is coming.

    • Thank you. We love sending out our seeds; they’re kind of like our children and always have high hopes we send with them. I haven’t started anything yet but am starting to think about it. Peppers go first. It’s way too early for tomatoes here in the icebox.

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