Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wednesday Farm Photos: It's Spring!

Jasper is so much help in the kitchen garden. Not.

Spring: The time of year on a farm when it feels like you're already behind before it even begins.

Whew! The weeks of snow and ice finally ended and we went straight up into the 70's. My hunky farmguy Joe and I would actually prefer at least another month of winter—minus the treacherous layer of ice covering everything—but Mother Nature is having none of it.

The birds are chirping, the peepers are peeping, the grass is growing, the daffodils are blooming, and last week we saw at least a couple of thousand geese heading north. The butterflies are out and the rhubarb is up.

The kale and spinach and cilantro (which loves cold weather) and Swiss chard (so easy to grow!) that I managed to keep alive this winter despite single digit temps (some outside in raised beds, some in the unheated homemade greenhouse) are taking off and already finding their way into our nightly salads, along with the first freshly snipped chives.

More photos and story below. . .

Since we still have plenty of homegrown hay left, we'll keep feeding it to the sheep and donkeys for the next several weeks (much to their dismay) so the grass in the grazing fields will have a chance to grow as much as possible. And if the bale spike breaks and the welder is too busy to fix it, just use the new grapple (one of our best farm purchases ever) to grab the hay instead!

Thanks to the snow melt and a few little rainstorms, our wet weather creek, which hasn't run since 2013, flowed for about a week, which is always such a pleasant treat. The garlic has sprouted, the lilacs are budding, and it doesn't get dark until nearly eight o'clock.

Winter in Missouri is definitely over.

Thanks so much for all of your kind comments and emails and concern during the long silence here these past few months. We're doing fine; we've just been spending less time online and more time enjoying life on the farm.

I've been busy perfecting my new sprouted whole wheat sourdough bread, starting several flats of seeds indoors, making raw milk kefir nearly every day, and turning 100+ pounds of organic apples from the co-op into sauce, pies, and butter, along with several bags of dried apples to go in homemade granola. For the record, we thought the Empires and Braeburns made the best pies.

Joe has been spending as much time as he can in his woodworking shop, learning how to make things like mortise and tenon joints, rabbets, and dovetails. This is in between spoiling taking care of all the critters of course.

But now it's time to turn our attention outdoors. There are a few more of my new 4'x8', 12-inch high garden beds to finish building (I hear the cordless drill going now) and then fill, onions and potatoes and four kinds of broccoli seedlings to plant, lettuce and spinach and arugula seeds to scatter, a new sorrel patch to put somewhere, a new strawberry bed to put somewhere else, a messy greenhouse to reorganize, compost piles to turn, and a ton of weeds to pull.

There are fences to mend, sheep hooves to trim, vintage quilts and beacon blankets to wash and hang on the line in the sun, donkeys to snuggle and scratch (they're bored but doing fine), herbs to transplant, and a barn full of aged organic fertilizer that needs to be scooped up and spread around the garden.

For the first time in 14 years we ordered baby chicks (because our hens usually hatch out their own), and there's a lot of coop cleaning, chicken reshuffling and general preparedness to be done before our new generation of 15 laying hens (unless, like last time, a bunch of them turn out to be roosters) shows up peeping at the post office next month.

Meanwhile, our first houseguests will be here in a few days, the next ones arrive two weeks after that, and let's just say that the house isn't exactly ready for company yet.

Ah, spring. I guess I'd better get back to work.

Want a bigger dose of farm life? Check out the popular Friday Farm Fix series here and here.

©, the perennial foodie farm blog where I think we're probably good on apples for a while—and the garden is supposed to be Jasper-proof.


  1. Yay! Glad to see a post, and glad all is well! We got snow the other day which was disheartening, but luckily it is almost melted away, so I hope that is IT for winter! Blech!

  2. Hello Susan,
    I'm delighted to see a post from you. I kept checking your blog and wondering what had happened to you and Joe. Glad you are doing well and just took some time off internet. Please do not disappear on us; I love reading your posts. Your blog was one of the first blogs I started reading in 2006. It inspired me to ditch the high heels, quit my job in London UK and move to the mountains in Italy to live in a small terrible house on a farm.
    All I can say, I'm really glad that I found your blog that ignited that big change and move in my life.
    Keep posting and sharing with us.
    All the best

  3. Wow - you really do have Spring! We are still stuck with 2 foot snowpacks, but the ice is melting, finally. Good to see you back!

  4. Hi Susan, I am very happy to see a post from you. I miss your regular posts from a couple of years ago. The farmer always has plenty of work, I understand that. Keep sharing please!

  5. oh, i'm with you on the braeburns. best pie i ever made was with two braeburns, two golden delicious and a granny smith. i like jonagolds when we don't have braeburns. love reading about your farm and seeing your photos. i'm kinda partial to kitties, and i look forward to hearing about and seeing your garden beds.
    suz in ohio

  6. Hi Susan!
    We miss you and hearing about your days on the farm. I see Bert and Henry are hard at work :). My beagle, Cyrus, used to lie in the position Henry chooses with legs extending backwards (this is not a position you want to see in a pregnant ewe!)---I called it the "Superman position!" when front legs are out in front...he looks like a super beagle and we all know that Bert is out of this world.
    Say hello to everyone there.

  7. Cannot say how much I've missed your updates. Life here on our little slice of heaven is not complete without knowing what you're up to too! and knowing what new vegetables I've failed to try because you've not mentioned them yet. Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back! Rushing off to work now, but will go back later today to reread your antics and explore your new experiments. I've mastered a great new granola mix and am tickled that you're there too. Leek seedlings are up in trays but feet of snow still clearing outside. Cabbages, kale and broccolis to start today, and already not too early for tomatoes and peppers. A bit behind, but that's par. Really hard to say how much I've missed you and worried that something was amiss. Hugs to you both and to the critters, and a huge thanks for checking back in. Ack! Off to work! :)

  8. It's so nice to see a post! Happy Spring! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

  9. YES, so delighted to see a post from you (& Joe).... Truly is nice to have a cyber rest, and enjoy the farm life, no matter what the season!
    We all thank you for posting as often as you can (do), as you are such an inspiration.
    PLEASE post that recipe for your sprouted whole wheat sourdough bread! I will be waiting with sprouted wheat (einkorn) to give it a try!
    Out to plant, plant, and plant some more ~ HAPPY SPRING to you & Joe!

  10. Welcome back, your post makes it feel more like spring to me. You guys are quite the pair and farm family, I so enjoy reading all about the goings on and the pictures. So happy it's spring in MO too! Really hoping we actually get spring before it turns into summer, lol. Take care!

  11. Thrilled to have you back! Happy that all is well.

  12. Hi Everybody,
    Thank you all so much for the warm welcome back. You guys are so sweet. I've missed you! We're heading out (late as usual!) to pick up a used tractor motor we're going to rebuild for the little antique tractor (that's been out of commission for two years) and have 8 hours of driving ahead of us (!), so I'm short on time right now to reply to individually to your comments, but I at least wanted to say a collective THANK YOU! :)

  13. I "get" busy, but like everyone else had been concerned over the long absence Yay, you're back!

  14. I've missed your posts too, and I'm so glad to see your post today!!! I'm not sure which one of your pictures makes me smile more: your orange cat in the garden or the dogs getting some sun…or maybe your beautiful, beautiful rooster. Even Joe's shirts hanging in the sun is great! Happy Spring!!!!

  15. I am so glad to see your new post, Susan! Happy spring to you and your clan. As I type this, 8 swallows are circling the house and shop checking out their old nests from last year - such a welcoming sign!

  16. Happy Spring!!! Glad to hear all is fine on the farm.

  17. Spring in New Mexico, too...dammit! we needed more snow than we got this year and the juniper pollen is intense. I'm working on sprouted wheat sourdough, too. Talk soon?

  18. So good to hear from you! When you get a minute we never had the 2nd beagle update! And how is the doddle bug??? Glad Spring is coming!!

  19. Good to hear how things are on the farm! I love spring!

  20. So good to hear you and yours are well, you were missed. Was just a tad worried, but you were just hibernating! Happy spring!

  21. I've missed you! Glad to see everyone one enjoying the spring sunshine.

  22. So glad that things are good and that you are back!

  23. The cat looks way too pleased. LOL


December 2015 update: Hi! For some reason I can't figure out, Blogger hasn't been letting me leave comments on my own blog (!) for the last several months, so I've been unable to respond to your comments and questions. My apologies for any inconvenience! You're always welcome to email me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.

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