Easter Egger and Ameraucna flock in maine early spring mud season april free range in tall grass

Magical Sinkholes

Well, I was fine with the sinkhole that magically drained our driveway. The dooryard looked like a soggy bowl of forgotten Cocoa Puffs for a week. It rained by day and froze at night several days in a row. The overcast sky was pure white, cloudless and blocked out the position of the sun above.

Perfect conditions if you’re duck or a goose. We headed out to town on a grain run and returned to the driveway mostly drained. The brown sludge was being slowly sucked down a drain that had opened up. We are on the top of a small mountain with bald bedrock for lawn. Just along the edge of where the dirt driveway met the rock a small hole had formed. I have no idea where it’s going—and frankly I don’t care as long as it’s not in my dooryard anymore.

When a second sinkhole about 18-inches opened up in the road past the coops and duck pond we found it odd and a little amusing. It was small and not hurting anything. We just drove around it. The next day another small sinkhole, no more than 8-inches wide opened up about 20-feet from the other one in the road. Ok, this whole sinkhole business was getting a little excessive.

When our son, James, called on his long walk down the hill to the bus stop this morning he reported a giant sinkhole. Now, you have to understand, he is a teen and little bit of a drama queen. But when it came time to milk I tucked hay under my arm and my milk pail under the other instead of driving to the coops and little goat barn. He wasn’t kidding. It was big enough to swallow me whole, let alone a tire.

With things still melting and the constant onslaught of rain, freeze and thaw weather, I’m sure we’re in for more sinkholes. I’m constantly watching where I step now. A couple smaller ones opened up last weekend in the driveway. One of them sucked water down in a spinning slurp like a flushed toilet.

With dreams of sewing rows of peas and beans I took a walk through my garden. We plan to double it this year—we as in my good friend Erin Chasson who has taken on the tremendous task of design, layout, organization, seed ordering, and keeping me on task. The last one is likely the most difficult.

As I walked around I found broccoli stalks gnawed down by deer to the woody stump where they meet the ground. The rows were still under ice, only hills poked out where melons, squash and cukes grew. That all seems like a long, long time ago now.

A lonesome sunflower head lay in the ice. It had filed the belly of some hungry winter critter.

As the great Maine thaw changes the landscape I have a few less chores. Water dishes don’t freeze over now. There is no need for a bucket of hot water to set dishes in to release the ice. The geese free range all the time and don’t need a water dish at all. The pond is slowly thawing around the edges. I’ll move the ducks to their summer house beside it soon. 

Our American Buff geese have begun laying. Want to guess where? THE MANURE HEAP. Of course they would. Geese are a pain in the ass and I’m selling them off. Never again. Live and learn—and no more geese. I’m getting an egg every other day now. They are huge, smooth and pure white, aside from them being covered in crap. Each day I paw around in manure, rotten eggs from incubator duds and heavy hay bedding to find them.

Today the wind gusted hard enough to push in the front door. Luckily I was right in the kitchen. I quickly slapped it shut and went back to my egg counting.

The hens have picked up on laying and I seem to have broken the egg eating habit. It took a good week of constantly collecting them and removing any birds with egg on their face to a different pen. I put them back and haven’t had a problem since. Then again, they have had more time to forage since it’s warmed up too.

apple nubian goat doelings for sale in maine wheaton mountain dairy farm

We don’t have a lot of maples here to tap, and I’m too busy this year anyhow. I have found it incredibly helpful to identify when I’m too busy and know when to back off or ask for help.

With two goat kids we are bottle feeding I’m running back and forth to milk 3-4 times daily to ensure their dam’s milk production is high enough to satisfy the two ravenous little doelings. So that is enough lugging pails for me. Maple tapping will have to wait for another year when we are more settled.

mud season maine april march homestead wheaton mountain farm bucksport, maine ME ice puddle how long is winter in maine? So far I’ve cancelled two Open Farm Days. Last Saturday I had folks park just down the hill and shuttled them up. The whole place is rutted up enough without help from visitors. Some people don’t seem to understand it’s not just that we don’t want ruts, it’s that we maintain the road. Some try to drive in anyway completely disregarding my warning.

I pity the fool who tries to drive up here in a Prius. And I promise to laugh heartily when they ask to be pulled out. The ruts aren’t all bad. In the early mornings it’s still cold and the top of the puddles freeze over. The kid in me leaps from one rut to the next crushing the icy skim with every stomp. Let’s face it, I’m always going to do it. Even as an old lady I will smash the ice puddles—or poke them with a cane.

For a while the landscape will look drab and dead. That’s part of the change in Maine. In a month the leave will unfurl, the fiddleheads will push up and I’ll be pounding in fenceposts for the expanded garden. I love the change. I need it.


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