Wow! This week has been something…
The weather has been “interesting” to say the least. We started out with a Winter storm that dropped at least 8 inches of snow. That wasn’t too bad, but it quickly turned into sleet, then freezing rain...then just rain. Lots of rain. About 2 inches of rain. This caused the snow to melt and the whole area was under a flood watch.
|creek paddock 2-16|
Now, it would take a flood of biblical proportion to cause any sort of issues here on the hill. The lower lying areas of the county had some serious problems with road closings and so forth, but we just watched the creek rise (and rise) until the lower paddock, that we refer to as the “creek paddock”, began to look more like a river.
However, by the end of the week, the creek had pretty much returned to its normal size and path. We do still have some snow in the shady spots despite the fact that Saturday’s temperatures reached into the SIXTIES.
|creek paddock 2-20|
After the winter storm blew through, the weather turned warmer. Much warmer. It was the kind of weather that lets you know Spring is truly just around the corner and it is time to get cracking on all those early season projects so we can get back in the swing of things.
|It certainly doesn't look like much this time of year!|
(look closely, there is still snow along the hoophouses)
Because Opening Day of the Market is just 40 days away.
I hadn’t really thought about how soon it was until I typed that.
It is about this time of year that I always find myself panicked and slightly frustrated that I didn’t get all sorts of things accomplished during the “off season” and I feel unprepared for another Market season. My “to-do” list is always incredibly long and more than a little optimistic. The Boss points out that I indeed feel this way every year so just go on with it...because it always works out fine.
So, in the spirit of “going on with it”, I started working on the freezers. I got one completely empty and cleaned out. I inventoried and organized three more and will work on the rest this week. When we harvest the first broilers and lambs, we will need freezer space to store the meat. And, by the time the garden produce is rolling in, all the inventory from last year will be gone and we will be ready to freeze all sorts of things for Winter Sales of ’16-17.
Speaking of Winter Sales, it felt more like spring making our deliveries this week. It was great! Last week, it was 23* inside the trailer and the wind was blowing. It was not pleasant at all. But, our faithful and intrepid customers came out anyway!
|making deliveries 2-13|
It was far more pleasant this week, although sales were off considerably. But, that’s to be expected this time of year. Our inventory dwindles and we have no fresh produce. It's time to think SPRING and focus on Market preparation.
In hopes that we will indeed have fresh produce for the Market, I began seeding. It took me the better part of two days, but both greenhouses are now filled to capacity with flats. There is broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peppers, lettuce, spinach, chard, arugula, mache and kale...among other things.
...and...we have GERMINATION!
|first signs of germination|
That’s always exciting.
While I seeded (and seeded) the Boss worked on some projects that had been delayed by the weather.
First, he re-wired all the cords and plugs for the greenhouses. Over time, they wear out and need replacing (wouldn’t want to have a fire hazard). And, since it can still get cold at night, we need the heaters in working order.
Then, he worked on re-purposing the “lion cage” into a “ram hauler”.
Years ago, he built this little pen-thing to put on the back of the truck to haul Blondie’s show lambs. Since Blondie’s show lambs are now just memories here on the hill, the “lion cage” sat idle out back. (if you’re wondering about the “lion cage”...one of our more colorful friends insisted it looked like it should haul lions for the circus. However, he calls them l-iiiiiiiiiiiiines, it gave us a chuckle and the name stuck). The lion cage is small, secure and can be moved with the tractor.
(it's upside down here)
With the new compact ram hauler, we can get Angus back to his summer home without using the trailer and without having a ram rodeo (which I am certain would end badly for someone).
|Angus in the early morning|
Not that anything is very green this time of year...but, with all the lambs growing so well, it was time to allow the sheep to go out into the Winter paddock. After spending a couple of weeks at the barn, they seemed quite happy to go somewhere...anywhere. There’s not much to eat out there, but it does give the lambs a place to run and the ewes seem to enjoy eating their hay “al fresco”. The warmer weather also meant that I could remove all the lamb sweaters. The little guys are getting big!
|last day of "sweater weather"|
As another sign of the impending growing season, the Boss cleaned out the brooder house. I must say, I didn’t envy him that job at all! After housing the layer chicks for months, it was pretty gross and disgusting. But, he hauled all the waste bedding to the compost pile, hosed everything down and it is all clean and tidy and ready for the first batch of broiler chicks that are scheduled to arrive this week.
That means we are just 8 weeks from fresh chicken!
Time truly does fly. We need to get serious about getting ready for Market season.
Another part of Market season preparation is to gather new recipes for our customers. That task falls to me. The Boss is the official “taste tester”.
The American Lamb Board has all sorts of pretty recipe pamphlets that we offer, but the internet offers recipes from around the world. This week we tried a lamb riblet recipe from Australia that was DELICIOUS! For some reason, lamb ribs are particularly hard to move. So, I am always on the lookout for good recipes to recommend. So far, this is our favorite. Check out Balsamic Glazed Lamb Riblets.
|image credit: Ian Gillespie|
...and that was the week on the hill.
|greenhouse in the early morning light|
The upcoming week will be all about keeping the greenhouses warm, but not too warm...and the little seedlings watered. That can be a time-consuming job...and since my perfect little watering can finally broke beyond repair, I am hoping that I can find something that works as well as the child's toy that has served me well for so many years. I am guessing that the search for the new perfect watering can will become the focus of my life for a while. (I’ve got THREE on order)
Thanks for dropping by!
Hope you have a Happy Sunday!
Come back and “visit” again real soon!