Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sunday Walkabout 4-5

 “with each new day comes new strength and new thoughts”
     -Eleanor Roosevelt
Most mornings I pause on my way to the barn to take a photo, much to the sheep’s outspoken annoyance. Each beautiful sunrise is a promise of a new day filled with possibilities. Even those “not so spectacular” mornings hold potential. Although I must admit, I struggle with gloomy weather. I don’t usually post at those times, partly because I know it’s just a matter of skewed perspective on my part and partly because I’m almost certain no one wants to read a list of all the things that seem to be going wrong at a particular moment in time.  One of the reasons I write the “Sunday Walkabout” is to help myself see the progress from the past week, to focus on the positive and put any struggles and frustrations into perspective. (and to give Tbone the chance to check up on the old folks while he drinks his Sunday morning coffee).

Spring was fully evident this past week.  Flowers are popping out all over, there are birds singing everywhere and if you look closely you can see a slight greening of the trees along the ridge.
I'm pretty sure the bluebirds will be nesting near the garden
again this year

With Spring comes the Market and all that is involved in Market season.  Market activities will define our lives and dictate all of our activities from now until Thanksgiving.

But, I’ll get to that in just a minute.

A lot of people have asked me, and I can only suppose that even more wondered…
This is the face he made after I told him we were having
"awesome burgers" for Uncle Tbone's birthday 

so, YES, GB#1 is home!  

He came home last week and the new family is doing well.  I’m pretty sure I could just sit and watch him all day long.

GB#2 is a very active little guy

Not only did he (finally) come home…but, the very same day I got to “see” GB#2!  Blondie and Tbone invited me to come to the ultrasound appointment when they got to find out the gender of their baby.  And…much to my surprise…it’s a boy!  I do hate to admit that I guessed wrong, but I did.  Here’s hoping that the cousins will be good friends since they will be so close in age. (and that they grow big and strong with a desire to help the old folks on the hill…) 

Two new babies in the family in one year...

 Exciting times here on the hill!

After all that great news, it was just a little hard to focus on the job at hand.  But, focus we must…because like I said... With Spring comes the Market and all that is involved in Market season.  Market activities will define our lives and dictate our all of our activities from now until Thanksgiving.

While I headed into town for feed and supplies, the Boss got the last of the garden spaces plowed and put Waylon in his “summer paddock” out back.  With the garden soil turned for the first time of the season, it really begins to look like spring.

He also got the vehicle maintenance out of the way. And we got the brassicas outside to “harden off” prior to planting. In case you’re wondering…just prior to planting, we expose all the transplants to the elements so that they will not be stressed after they are put into the garden. Our method for this is to put them in our big utility trailer and park it in the backyard. This allows us to move them all to shelter should bad weather be in the forecast. Last year it snowed on them! (keeping them in the backyard makes the job of watering them easier)  Currently, they are in the tractor shed to protect them from Friday night’s thunderstorm and last night’s freezing temperatures.  But, they ARE going in the garden Monday, since it looks like we are in for a week of rain. If the weather turns cold again, we will just cover them up.
moving the cabbage plants to "harden off"

Squeekie stands guard over the brassicas

Then it was back to the hoophouses for lots more cleaning and lots more planting.  The warmer weather means that we can finally leave the plantings uncovered…and this is a good thing.  While the row covers kept the tiny plants protected from the cold, they also provided a cozy, private place for small rodents to have a feast.  I can’t tell you how annoyed I was to find that something had eaten the tops off the scallions! (and chowed down in the kale, too) Despite the rodent damage, the crops in the hoophouses are looking pretty good. We should have them in total production by the end of next week.
rodent damage to scallions


undamaged scallions


early Spring delight
Miner's Lettuce or Claytonia

The rest of the week followed the choreography that is Market season.  We weeded and seeded, planted and harvested. Each day has its prescribed activities in addition to routine animal chores. 

the pullets have assimilated to the flock and are laying well

the sheep are waiting (not so patiently) for fresh, green grass

the "baby" broilers are getting big!

A box of strawberry plants arrived on Thursday afternoon and joined the bags of potatoes in the shop, awaiting drier weather.  We got an email informing us that our order of over 4000 onion plants will arrive on Monday…and the hatchery informed us that batch #3 of broilers has indeed been “set”. 

Yep, it’s definitely Spring!

We were both a little surprised that getting back into the swing of Market preparation felt easy and went off without any complications…and we actually had a fair amount of stuff.

this week's farm goodness
as posted on Facebook

And, then…it was time for Market!

the very dark farm when I left for Market
The weather forecast wasn’t too promising for Opening Day.  First, there was a good chance of rain. (thankfully that blew through earlier than predicted) Then, the weatherman said it would be “breezy”.  You can almost tell just how windy it will be by how many “E-s” one particular forecaster uses when he says the word “breezy”.  And, Saturday…well, it was “breeeee-eeeezy”!  Before the Market ever opened, one vendor’s tent flipped over and would have blown through the parking lot like a giant kite, if it hadn’t been for the other vendors running to the rescue! Yikes! 

Things calmed down somewhat after that.  

Personally, I think wind is the worst weather phenomenon we encounter at the Market.  Bags and signs go flying, the produce gets dehydrated and wilty and it is hard to hear the customers.  Despite the (COLD) wind issues…it was a very good day!  It was good to catch up with folks we hadn’t seen since Fall and meet new people and talk about food and farming.

While this doesn't look like much,
we had LOTS of re-stocking to do...
the freezer was filled with meat
and we had four coolers of eggs

this is all that was left at the end of the Market

We finished just $25 short of a record Opening Day!
I must say, it's always good to get back home

Now, to just keep it up for the next 33 weeks of Market season.

The coming week promises to be busy. We hope to get the broilers  AND the sheep out on pasture (that might require some fence repair), the broccoli/cabbage/cauliflower planted in the garden and the strawberries tucked into the berry patch…just for starters. We should actually wean the lambs, haul some sheep, start some seeds for summer crops and go to the dump as well…then there’s the bookwork, the laundry…and some of the market freezers need de-frosting…

Looks like I better quit typing and get busy.

Thanks for stopping by.

Hope you’re having a Happy Sunday!

Please come back and “visit” us again real soon!


  1. Love your photos as always, and do enjoy reading about your week. I really admire your stall set up. It looks fantastic! And if we were a little closer I would come to buy your produce.

    1. Thanks for the kind words! It would be great to visit with you...if you were a little closer. :)

  2. How I love your post Barbara, especially when market starts; but how hard to have to concentrate on all that when that gorgeous tiddler is home and looking so snug and happy. Glad the market went well. What a good idea to harden off the plants on a trailer so that they can all be put inside at night if necessary - otherwise it would be such a laborious job carrying all the seed trays etc. into their night-time quarters