Our first calf of the season. 2pm, May 16. Luna’s son.
Cleaning out the barn and came upon this jewel box. Had been wondering where these rogue hens had been laying their eggs…
We like to post pics on this, not a lot of writing, but this is the time of year when folks wonder what’s going on and what’s up ahead. So let’s do it. While it’s spring everywhere else in the country, we woke up to a hard frost again this morning, 20 degrees on the thermometer for the third day in a row. In a way it’s good, keeps the flies at bay, and since it’s been super sunshine on these cold mornings, it takes the bite off the chill. But still there’s a touch of desperation (just a titch)-will this winter end?
Regardless of temperature, time marches on and we know spring is upon us. The grass is growing and the cows are in their last month of gestation. They should be freshening by early to mid May and at that point, they’ll be racing around the meadow on the house side of the road making milk for the newbies and trying to keep up with the fresh flush of grass. The bull has been impetuous; much like the teens I’ve run into in town or on farm visits, he’s sick of “school” and just wants to be out and playing on the pasture. Summer’s coming, don’t worry (and that’s to the teens, as much as the bull). Grownups get impatient too and we’ve got snow pea seed in the ground and starts upstairs under lights, getting primed and ready for the big plant out in May and June.
We sugared for the first time this year and it’s another nice marker for the year. As we’re starting seedlings, we’re collecting sap. We boil in the house (yes, knowing it’s taboo) and made a gallon and a half. Ha, yes, that’s right, a measly gallon and a half. Still, that’s our maple consumption for the year so it’s cool to know we’re covered. Plus, it’s the first harvest. Much gratitude to Mother Nature. Ramps are next, if you’re into wild crafting, really what Marguerite got me into was picking off the tops of the chickweed and digging up dandelions. Absolutely marvelous. The bitterness of both matches the feeling in my soul as I’m anxious for the growing season. Try a bit. The energy will buzz in your mouth like nothing else. I now know what the chickens get so jazzed about as fields turn their cast from winter gold into emerald green.
Birds are in full force, they are super bossy and nosy, up in my grill already, noisy as all hell, it’s great. Like a creature with a little umph. I didn’t build the bird condos I’d intended but it’s something on the list, hopefully next time. Robins are here, doves hanging on the wires, starlings are making a mess of everything (one flew in the house the other night via the woodstove chimney, another is rattling around in one of the gutter downspouts), two owls are out in our woods. Very very coo-ool.
Speaking of birds, our first batch of meat birds arrives tomorrow. And, yes, we send our first beef for harvest in a week. I’d lie if I said I was completely okay with it. I pat the two we’re sending on the head and run along the neck and give little smooches. They look really good and lovable, why wouldn’t they get a kiss? It’s tough: I’ve known them since they were calves and now they’re grown up and ready, they’ve gotten to where we’ve wanted them to be. Still, I sometimes just want to freeze the clock. Every day gets closer. Getting to the processor will be enough of a task, coming back home with an empty trailer will be even worse. So I get to start developing this understanding of what we’re doing here on this blog and hopefully it will ease the intensity of taking animals in. Maybe the feeling never goes away. Catharina Kessler, who’s been doing this for years, tells me that there is profound sadness on the day. But then there’s incredible pride at taking the endeavor to the finished goal.
Excited to show you pics of the new calves and excited to start selling beef this year. If you keep up with this then I probably have your email, so expect a little note in a month about what we’ve got. We’re really proud of how we’ve raised our animals so far and while we’re always tweaking and improving, trying to make things better, what we’ve done with them so far ain’t half bad. Until the next update: stay cool, be safe, and share the love.
Anonymous asked: What is the name of the road your farm is on?
Odell Lake Rd—come visit!
My favorite heifer with the young bull calf. They grow up so quickly—
It’s true, it takes a ton of sap, but by the time you get there, you forget and just wish to take a bath in it. “The season’s first harvest” is what Captain Trips said to me…tears, truly.
I know we’re a couple of months away from this, but it’s a nice thing to look at on a snowy day like today.
We put in four taps today to try our hand at maple syrup.
We think this is the last major snowstorm of the season. Good riddance!
Siesta time. Before all the snow on the ground last week we had a few days of clear ground and the hens went nuts. They scratched here and there and I guess they’re not yet in full condition because I caught a few of them napping standing up around 3, 4pm—