Tuesday, April 07, 2009
We are in for a very wet and cold week here in western Massachusetts. Yesterday, it was one of those raw days when it was impossible to feel warm. There's even a chance of snow later in the week. We need the rain for the grass to grow. Until there is a bit of length to the pasture, the sheep aren't let out to graze. We're counting our bales of hay - hoping we have enough to make it until the grass kicks in.
I love this time of year because of the subtle changes I get to watch. This field is close to our house and I pass it several times a day, whether on foot or in my truck. When I left for Connecticut to teach at Marji's on Friday afternoon, there was barely a hint of green. Yesterday, it looked like this.
To an non-farmer's eye, you may not notice anything much about this landscape. But to my eye, I see the very green section in the center of the field - that's where our sheep spent lots of time last year, eating and fertilizing the pasture. Amazing what a bit of sheep manure will do to make the fields kick in earlier. The upper part of the photo has just a hint of green. The sheep never got there last year and so the grass isn't as anxious to get going. If you look closely, you can see a curving line on the right side of the photo. That's a sheep path. I love how these little paths develop over time as the sheep follow each other to find a new patch to graze. We have sheep paths all through our woods and fields, made over time - they always follow each other, no matter what.
We've brought The Jumper up to our pig pen to live with the growing bottle lambs. We want to make sure she gets some extra food to feed her sweet little babies. So far, so good - she hasn't escaped the hog fencing and the babies are growing a little better. She is doing a fabulous job mothering her little brood.
My chickens have been laying up a storm - I get almost a dozen eggs every day. It's hard to use them all but I try to be creative - frittatas, popovers, puddings. I get out my egg cookbooks and look to see what else I can whip up. The chickens look so droopy and uncomfortable in the rain. I know they are anxious for heat and dustbath season. It's almost time to get my annual order in for baby chicks. I've got to dig out the Murray MacMurray catalog and see if there's any breeds that I haven't tried which will add more color to the coop.
And what are you doing this lovely spring day?