“The rule holds: the first week we hear the spring peepers singing from the pond is the first week the fields are dry enough to work. It has been so every year here and it was so this week. I had my doubts. The weather has been very strange. The pair of beautiful days we had coaxed the grass up out of the ground, dried snowmelt and rain, and also woke the peepers from their long winter sleep. The next day, the poor peepers had to sing through a skim of ice. But they sang. And this morning, the north end of Monument was dry enough for Scott to hitch Jake and Abby to the plow, and turn over a row of last year’s parsnips for an easy harvest. These parsnips are almost sweet enough to put in your Easter baskets. I like them simply cooked with water or stock and a little butter until they are soft and the sugar in them begins to brown. I could also make an argument for parsnip fries, or cubed, boiled and mashed with potatoes and maybe a little rutabaga for a white root medley.
Where else is it happening? The herb garden, for one. We raked leaves and dead stalks out of the nettles, sorrel, and chives this week. The new growth is taller every day. Also, the pastures. Green is the new brown there. We put milking cows and sheep out for the first time this morning. The grass is not a plentiful source of feed yet but cows enjoyed stretching their legs and nibbling the shoots, and they will return to the covered barnyard this afternoon. The sheep are out for the season, but they have access to the run-in and will not move far from the barn until after they are sheared next weekend. The lilac tree outside the kitchen window is budding, which means the maples will be too. We’ll collect the last run of sap today and then it’s time to pull the taps and put a poor sugar season behind us…” Continue reading this Essex Farm Note.
- Essex Farm: Welcome Spring (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
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- Essex Farm: Muddy-Sweet (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Essex Farm: Harvest Home (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- A Local’s Look at The Dirty Life (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)