Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March Forward

One reason I haven't blogged much lately is that it is difficult to get excited about taking photos outside this time of year.  The snow is so dirty, and even the fact that there is still snow at the end of March is rather dismaying.  It snowed again yesterday.
Even the cows seemed cranky about the snow.
But inside there are significant signs of spring!  My office is now a nursery, with three sets of metal shelves set up, shop lights suspended from the shelves, filled with flats of  vegetable, herb and flower seeds and seedlings just starting to sprout.
Cherokee purple tomatoes...
Genovese basil....
and Hyacinth runner beans, to mention just a few.
I thought I had fond the perfect copper watering can at a thrift store for  watering al these seedlings (holds plenty of water, but has a fine spout for accurate directing of the water) but it turned out that water leaked out of the bottom seam and spilled annoyingly everywhere. Last night Rog taught me how to solder and I repaired it! I am so happy to learn this skill in my old age.
 I am experimenting with starting some bulbs right in bags of potting soil. Calla lilies. (See my repaired watering can in the background.)
Beautiful huge dahlia bulbs. We are hosting a couple of weddings at our farm this summer, so I have added incentive to splurge on flowers bulbs and seeds.  Must spruce up the place!
On Sunday I tilled the beds in the high tunnel greenhouse.  It is all ready to start planting peas, onions, spinach and other early veggies this week.  I am worried that we may go from freezing cold to too warm for the cool season crops, but it’s my best guess.
The sunset glowing through the fish gazebo last evening after working in the greenhouse.
Although I haven't written much about it, we have been working  industriously on the commercial kitchen all winter - designs, quotes,  meetings with plumbers, contractors, electricians, well diggers, inspectors, bankers, and searching out good used equipment and building materials. Here is a drawing of the plan for the front of the barn. The garage door on the south end will be replaced with three French doors, the middle door will be replaced by a bank of windows over the 3-compartment sink, and the huge wood-fired oven will go on the north end where the other garage door currently is. It is going to be so pretty!
Thanks to Craiglist, we have already acquired 5 lovely French doors perfect for our design.
This weekend, all the contents of our good old summer kitchen will begin to be cleared out in preparation for building the commercial kitchen! So scary and exciting!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Eggs A La Pinterest & Other Scrambled Ramblings

 Sunrise through the  suncatcher.
Sunday morning, we started the day out with farm eggs,  fried in sweet red pepper rings (a clever idea I discovered on Pinterest.)
A a little parmesan and some fresh basil...
The ground is still covered in snow, but it has receded by well over a foot and is now hard and crunchy. The little Garden of Good and Evil sculpture’s head has emerged from the snow. A week ago you couldn’t even tell she was under there.
We walked to the Heller farm to check out the new lambs -especially Bucky, the darling lamb with badger markings.  Round trip, we walked over 3 miles - if we do this a few times a week we just might get back in shape after the long, cold, inactive winter.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Cow Escapades

What is wrong with this picture?  Yes, that is not a cowbird at the birdfeeders, it is a cow.

Last night at 3 a.m. the dogs woke us up with frantic barking - the cows were out, snacking at the bird feeders. We  pulled on our coats and boots and  herded the through the deep, crusty snow back toward the gate.  Jitter went back into the pasture ok, but LaFonda squeezed her way though the people door into the barn and  found the grain sack, which she immersed her head into and began to chow down, i was finally able to pull  the sack away and we got her back through the door (amazing she could fit!)

FInally, with the enticement of  fresh hay and cow cookies we lured her into the pasture and closed the gate. I had forgotten to notice whether the gate was unlocked, but we couldn’t see anywhere else they could have gotten out so I reprimanded myself for not securely latching the chain. As you can see from the above photo, the cows have been  very well fed over the winter (they needed the calories; it was so cold!)  and I decided to  reduce their rations a bit before swimsuit season. Apparently they thought they needed a midnight snack.
This  afternoon when I got home from town, Jitter was bawling  unhappily at the gate. Then I noticed suspicious hoof print tracks meandering all over the driveway, going into the garage,  through the patio...and sure enough, LaFonda was munching down at the bird feeders in the back yard again.  She followed me readily back to the pasture and I let her in, noting that the gate was LOCKED, so this was not where she had escaped.
I walked to the far end of the pasture, through the deepest snow, and found where she had gone over the  chain link fence. Apparently she had plowed through the prairie trail and woods west of the house, come back along the north side of the house, through the snowy yard on the east and then  poked around the garage and barn, before entering the fenced patio and passing through to the bird food court.   She certainly got her exercise for the day.
When Rog got home he strung bright yellow nylon electric fence wire above the chain link. There is really no way to electrify it until the snow melts enough to restring the wires - so our fingers are   crossed that she respects the wire.