Spring’s Free-Flying Fertility around the Cooperative

by Dan Childs

It is a well-founded truism that spring is a time for renewal.  After all, we can all see the snow melting, feel the temperatures warming, enjoy the lengthening day and watch as Vermont re-claims the title of Green Mountain State as the pervasive white first gives way to brown, and then green.

For the farms in the Floating Bridge Food and Farms Coop spring brings many additional pleasures - and a lot work.  The chickens, which have only reluctantly set foot on snow for the past five months, start venturing out into areas where the snow has melted to start looking for bugs in the still-frozen dirt.  At Fat Toad Farm there have been over fifty kid births from the goats that provide the milk for Fat Toad's award winning caramel.  Births started in early March, and continued through the month.  While one goat kid can be incredibly cute as it jumps up on hay bales and nuzzles its mother, the effect of fifty of them in a small area is indescribable.

Newly-born piglets don't take very long to figure out that there is great pleasure in rooting around in the mud looking for apples and other treats that appear as the snow melts.  They run around in circles, squealing with delight as their mother joins in the fun.

Fuzzy lambs hang out near their mothers, but every now and then, if you watch closely, you will see one leap up in the air for no apparent reason.  Perhaps it is trying to get a look at what exists above the backs of the sheep that surround it.

Honey bees are starting to hang out in the sun on the front of their hives.  Until the maples bloom and skunk cabbage appear there is not much for them to find in the way of the pollen and nectar they need to raise the brood that the queen has started laying.  They seem to know that in a very short period of time they will be busy 24/7 making honey.