Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Some very exciting news! The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously on Friday to pass the new chicken rules. That means I no longer need to get the signatures of my neighbors to have chickens. It’s not that I thought any of them would object, it was the bother of it all. Most of my neighbors work and catching them at home and getting them to open their door when it is freezing cold outside is not something Bookman looked forward to doing. So the only thing we have to do now is finish building our coop and pay for a permit. Easy!

Getting ready for babies

Getting ready for babies

To celebrate, Bookman and I went to Egg Plant Urban Farm Store today to gather supplies and talk to the folks there. The authors of my chicken book are not from Minnesota and had no advice about when the chicks would be able to go outside. After talking with the people at the farm store we learned that six weeks is about the right time. Given we still need to finish the coop and spring weather is inherently unreliable, we decided to hold off ordering our chicks for a couple weeks. So instead of having babies the first weekend of March, we have postponed new parenthood until the first weekend of April which also happens to be my birthday weekend.

We did, however, buy the supplies we needed to set up the brooder, that is not something you want to be doing when you have four confused new babies that need warmth and food and water. We got a big bale of pine shavings, a feeder and waterer, and a heat lamp with a red bulb. The red bulb is so the light does not disturb the wake/sleep cycle of the chicks. We will get the feed when we get the chicks. I was worried it might go stale if we had it sitting around for a month.

We haven’t built the brooder box yet. I need to bring home one more cardboard box from work. Then Bookman and I will get creative with the box cutters and tape to make a nursery for our babies.

I admit to being a little disappointed to have to wait until April for the chicks. I wanted so badly to throw all caution to the wind and order them today. But it’s best to make sure we won’t be scrambling to finish the coop and/or have to keep them indoors longer than we should. And okay, I admit, baby chickens for my birthday is a pretty cool thing.

Seed starting also began today. I am trying something new this year. Instead of playing musical seed

Trying something different with seed starting

Trying something different with seed starting

trays on top of the refrigerator, I have placed our mini greenhouse in front of the south-facing kitchen window. The tray of seeds I planted is mostly cipollini onions with a few pots of leeks. I have not had any luck growing either of these to full size because I think I have always started them too late. Maybe this will be the year it all works out.

I continue making paper pots and hopefully next weekend I will have enough ready to get peppers started. We have a couple different kinds of bell peppers and quite a few varieties of hot peppers. Last summer was unusually mild and the peppers did not do well, they like it hot. I hope they do well this year, not because I want a hot summer, but because Bookman is very excited about purple jalepeños. I like spicy but hot peppers are not my thing.

In spite of several days of arctic temperatures last week, it doesn’t seem like there has been much winter at all this year. I feel like I have barely gotten a chance to breathe and rest before beginning the whirlwind of seed starting and early spring. I have all the supplies and plans prepared, now I just have to get my brain and energy focused there. It’s a shift I’ve known I have to make but it still feels like everything is rushing at me. Then again, it feels like this every spring. I’m like a hibernating bear that has smelled spring coming from its den for a few weeks and now that it is imminent it takes a bit of stretching and shambling about to shake off the winter. But it’s all good; just have to stretch a bit and maybe scratch my back on that tree over there…