This is the time of the year to peruse the slew of catalogs that descend upon us. Yesterday, Lorraine and I were reading all about the melon offerings. We decided to steer away from the heirlooms and focus on varieties that “do well on farm stands or farmers markets.” In other words, they do not like shipping long distances in trucks. The furthest any of ours travel to you is the Bay Area. Our nice, ultra low-emission and smooth Sprinter delivery trucks driven by Kiki and Jason can handle these ripe melons nicely. Next up: chickens! Which breed? The chicks I order now will arrive in March and April. They will start laying in August and September and provide us eggs through next winter. The demand for eggs is high in the winter, as many other pasture-raised egg producers do not bother much about this time of the year. Our demand is year round so we put a great deal of effort into having eggs every week. This means selecting the right bird. A heavy bird such as a Rhode Island Red does not like the heat of the summer because it has a hard time keeping cool. We have misters on the house, but even so they are not happy. The Leghorns are a light bird that do well in the summer but have no bulk to keep them warm in the winter. So, we need medium-weight birds that will work in the heat of the summer and the relative cold of our winters. Last year we tried California Whites for the first time. The lay lots of white eggs, are very lively, and love our pasture. They do like to escape, but we have a plan to beef up fencing this year. We will be getting 1,800 more of these this spring. They will come from Welp Hatchery in the Midwest, as it is the only hatchery I can find that can supply the numbers we need at the same time.