2005. The snow is gone. The yard is full of daffodils
and crocuses. The grass is green and growing fast. After what seemed
like weeks of rain and snow, we’ve been over 60°F for
a week (Sunday was 74°F). My wife and I spent much of the last
week in bed with a horrible respiratory virus. The birds were singing,
the kids begging to go outside, but we could barely stand up for
more than 10 minutes at a time.
In a couple of bursts of energy we managed to get the cows and
layers out on the pasture with the electric fence. Sunday afternoon
as I was lying on the couch dreaming of all the work yet to be done
outside, I heard a cow bellow. It sounded awfully close so I opened
my eyes, and there was Daffodil, looking in the living room window.
Thankfully, our three cows are very mellow and all I had to do was
open the fence and walk behind them to get them back in.
The state of the fence was another matter altogether...One of the
cows had gone through it and into the woods, dragging the top wire
with her. The wire was now only attached to one of 10 posts along
that side; the rest twisted and knotted wrapped around trees and
bushes and all tangled like an overstretched spring through a brush
pile which hadn’t been cleared away yet. So our “pasture
fed” cow got a few pounds of grain while I picked up the insulators
that had been yanked from the post and were strewn all over the
place, untangled, reattached and re-tensioned the wire, and tried
to figure out why the electric fence had not kept the cows in. With
the fence all in place, I went to check the voltage (there was none).
Check the charger and–aha!–I discovered that it had
come unplugged. In my haste to get something done during the short
bursts of energy, I had I forgot the cardinal rule of setting up
electric fence—always check your voltage.
Out in the greenhouse we’ve been harvesting and eating scallions,
kale, pac choi, tatsoi, hon tsai tai (purple pac choi which is harvested
like broccoli raab), and my favorite edible weed, lambsquarters.
We’ve also started a second batch of these tasty greens to
be transplanted outside and harvested for the market. Most of the
seeds seem to be germinating well despite the apparent unreliability
of the germination box, which I was so proud of last year. I wonder
if the winter damaged the thermostats in the heating cable, because
it doesn’t hold the temperature overnight as well as it had.
I think that a larger chamber with multiple zones would be preferable
in the long run, so I’ll bump that up a couple of notches
on the priority list.
The warmer weather and longer days have had the anticipated impact
on the hens: We are inundated with eggs. While at the moment we
have many more than we are able to sell, the local health food store
has become a very reliable customer, and we look forward to the
opening of the farmers' market and Holcomb Farm CSA’s season,
when we will again be selling out every week. In the meantime, we
continue to force the surplus on family and friends and share with
the local soup kitchen. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks we
will have some pigs, and they can share in the bounty as well.