We’ve yet to take down the buckets but it seems that sugaring season has come to a close, a full week before we had even tapped last year. The grass is greening in front of our eyes now, and the soil thermometer registered 75 yesterday in our sandy field. Even more than the t-shirts and straw hats we’ve all dug out, sleeping with the windows open, blankets torn aside has convinced me this is a strange March. I think it was Taurus peering in my nighttime window last night, low and in the west. I imagine if I knew my constellations I could read the season from this, but instead I felt the warmth of the night coming in the open window and the air so overwhelmingly choked with the sound of frogs that I couldn’t believe it wasn’t mid-June.
We are feeling that an entire month has been stolen from us. The month where we get ready for the season—building and repairing equipment, finishing up the greenhouse, ordering feed and fencing materials, enjoying the last few moments of rest. Instead we are up against the clock, hurrying the cows out of their winter pasture where they are damaging the rapidly growing grass, worrying that we are behind on preparing the vegetable fields for planting and dealing with an unfinished greenhouse that we battened up so tight I worry it is now to hot to germinate delicate seeds, our firewood still in the woods, bucked but only half split.
James built a beautiful, sturdy bridge this week to finally access our far southwestern pasture. This pasture has been fallow since the 80’s, sitting in the crook of a Y formed by two narrow but deep streams. It has been inaccessible and idle, growing tall in weeds and the beginning of woody shrubs and trees, a perfect spring “sacrifice pasture”. Once the bridge was moved into place (a feat of lots of talk and a little craziness) we were able to move the cows in for the first time. They were happy to leave their winter home, always optimistic for fresh grass, but came to an abrupt halt when they hit the bridge. James walked Alyssum across by the collar which convinced most of the other cows it was safe to follow. Only two little guys remained, very unsure of this new contraption which felt and sounded so different on their hooves from anything they have experienced thus far. Annabellee finally followed her mom and then three of us pushed Winston up onto the edge. When he realized it was safe enough he quickly galloped across and back to solid ground.
Don’t forget we are having a work party THIS Saturday, March 24th,from 9 to 1, followed by a potluck lunch. We are planning to thresh and winnow dry beans, flip compost and render lard and tallow for soap. All skill levels are welcome and much appreciated, bring a dish to share and a place setting for yourself. It looks like a beautiful sunny day, a little cooler and in the 50’s.
In the veggie share: parsnips, leeks, carrots, beets, cabbage,
potatoes, onions, shallots, garlic, rutabaga, radish, black, white and red dry beans, sauerkraut and sprouts.
In the meat share: Pork, beef and chicken.
See you tonight between 4 and 6,
Full and By Farm
- Farm Ambiance and Approaching Work Party! (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)