Every year it seems winter has only just begun, when suddenly we're only weeks away from the first market and wondering where the time went. Looking around, we have accomplished a lot this winter. Some very visible things-- a full woodshed, hundreds of feet of reclaimed fields and larger brush piles, barn clearing and rebuilding progress, seedling trays full of starts, and fuzzy chicks fresh from the incubator, to name a few. Then there's progress that is less visible-- seeds, plants, and amendments ordered and delivered, equipment and other purchases researched and awaiting the money to acquire, a website in progress (including a recipe section that has kept me in front of a computer screen longer than anything else I've done since college), and a planting and tilling calendar and rotation plan drawn up. Throw in international travel plans for my sister's wedding in June (in Germany) and we've had ourselves a busy winter and start of spring!
We've experienced a few "creature" setbacks in recent months. There's the mouse that ate the tomato and pepper seeds right out of the trays in the seeding greenhouse. And the skunks that have made off with some of our laying hens. And an apparently complacent rooster that didn't do his job very well when it came to fertilizing the eggs we ran through the incubator to start this year's flock of Rhode Island Reds. On the plus side (to help balance things out), our young orchard has been pruned and is looking healthy, and the rhubarb is starting to poke its way up-- a sure sign of spring (in case the mud wasn't enough of an indication). We've cleared quite a few sections of field and barnyard that had been overtaken by sumac, bittersweet, primrose, wild grapevines, and other invasive species, and will be planting them all to a conservation mix for a few years, until they're able to be put into the regular field rotation.
Some new items we're excited to be growing on the recommendation of friends and market customers: fenugreek, fresh shell beans (including lima beans), currant tomatoes, mache (corn salad), asparagus (though it'll be 3 years before we harvest any), spaghetti squash, purple cauliflower, and cumin. We're also planning a bulk and U-Pick section of popular canning and freezing vegetables such as green and yellow beans, English (shelling) peas, basil, pickling cucumbers, cabbage, and paste tomatoes, as well as the possibility of classes/parties to preserve many of these same items.
We're off and running, waiting for the ground to thaw enough for planting. Spring is great, because everything is still possible!
Marisa (and Reed and Kathy)