Spring is definitely in full swing now. Lambs are bouncing around the pastures, green onions are finding their way into everything we eat, and we’re selling at markets.
Six lambs have been born – two sets of twins and two singles – within the past ten days. One last ewe, Zoe, who was our latest lamber last year too, is left to go.
Lambs are cute. It is undeniable. They don’t enjoy snuggling the way baby goats do, but I still give them lots of hugs.
The latest brood of baby chickens hatched this weekend. We have five mama hens with babies of various sizes running about. One more hen is sitting on eggs, and I think that will be the last we indulge this year.
Early May sent us too much rain. The garden was flooded in a few areas, but it seems that we only lost a few potato plants. When the sun came out, though, the whole garden started to grow. It feels like we’re behind in planting – being delayed by wet, wet soil, but tomatoes are in (the most important garden crop!), and I hope to plant other warm weather items this week…peppers, beans, stupid cucumbers.Even though much of the last few weeks was gray and dreary, I was rewarded with the delight of the locust flowers in bloom. Part of our field is covered with black locust trees, and the spring flowers are fragrant and delightful. I love their light, sweet perfume as much as lilacs. One evening, I even saw an Oriole fluttering about the top of a locust tree, enjoying a meal of nectar.
For all its work and rain, Spring certainly has some beautiful surprises.
Bill is in the kitchen making breakfast of farm-fresh eggs with some goat cheese we froze last summer, and a few stalks of asparagus that didn’t notice we tilled up their bed to make room for carrots.
The land is really starting to turn green in a significant way. We’ve been rotating the sheep and goats through a couple different pastures now that there is enough food to keep them busy for a few days. No lambs yet (soon??), but the three goat kids are growing strong.
The main garden is still a bit bare. There are wee cold-tolerant plants (kale, beets, broccoli, lettuce) in a few rows, and many succession plantings of radishes. I hope the first ones will be ready for our first market on May 5! Today I’ll be planting even more radishes and beets, as well as transplanting onions and leeks.
Most of the exciting stuff is currently contained in the greenhouse. Cabbages abound! We’ve been snacking on bok choi for a few weeks (it’s a healthy and yum addition to pizza, eggs, and stir fry, or a delicious side dish). We even have our very first tomato buds! There are only four tomato plants potted in the greenhouse, but as addicts, we’ll take whatever tomatoes we can get!
Finally, all our early potato varieties have been planted – about 150 pounds of seed! We’ve put in some old favorites like Red Norland, and are testing some new varieties as well.
Bill grew up in Central New York and we both went to college in Syracuse, so we both enjoy a regional food called Salt Potatoes. Ask anyone from the Syracuse area and they will get very excited about this local dish, associating it fondly with summer, fairs, and barbecues. It’s not complicated…just boil new potatoes in salty water (1 cup of salt per 6 cups of water) until they are cooked and soft. Serve with a little plop of butter and enjoy!
Salt potatoes originated in the 1800s with the Irish salt miners who brought small, substandard potatoes to work each day and boiled them in the salt brine. Today, over one million bags of salt potatoes are sold annually in the area.
We use our Red Norland new potatoes boiled in salt water to remind us of home. We hope you’ll give Salt Potatoes a try, too!