“This week the snow pulled back to reveal the winter-ravaged world. Muck, ruts, bones. A dead frog suspended in the ice at the edge of the pond. Also, a pollywog, alive and swimming in the meltwater. Water gaining against ice. Rye that was a mere suggestion two days ago now stands an inch tall. In the perennial field, there is a row of confident red and green rosettes rising from the cold mud. Love you, rhubarb. The ground is still frozen but the frost is loosening its grip. Water is moving everywhere we look. The tiled fields are starting to drain from below. The wind and the sun are doing their work from above. We’re still waiting for the first spring peepers, still waiting for the first chance to put steel and hooves in a field. Meanwhile the greenhouse is filling up with flats of healthy young plants. The animals, still indoors, dream of grass.
Remember the rat problem and the barrel trap? The barrel trap caught exactly zero rats. Yet the rat population has regressed to its usual low simmer – what passes for normal on a farm. Why? Possibly because of the mink. When Travis hauled the bedding pack out of the east barn run-in, he found thirty or forty rat bodies buried in it, which puzzled him.
That evening, Aubrey was trying to catch an escaped piglet in the same area, and saw a slender, sleek brown creature about two feet long drinking out of a puddle of melting snow. Minks kill rats and bury prey in their dens. Go, mink, go. They also kill poultry so we will keep a close eye on the hens and chicks and meanwhile send the mink our thanks…” Continue reading this Essex Farm Note.
- New Essex Farm Stand Open Daily (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Essex Farm: Rat Patrol (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Essex Farm: Dog Charades (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Essex Farm: Big Harvests (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Essex Farm: Carrotfest (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Sheep Invade Essex Farm (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)