We’ll be presenting on low-pressure stock water and captured stock and irrigation water at the OEFFA conference next weekend; it’s a good opportunity to learn about new sustainable agriculture ideas, and not a bad antidote to the February blues.
This unseasonably warm weather has us uncertain whether to tap the maple trees or wait until later in February. In our valley it takes pretty warm daytime temperatures to get the sap rising, except in one or two places with several hours of easterly or southerly exposure, but if we wait too long the sap will get dark and ‘buddy’, and make a bitter syrup.
We had a fabulous intern experience over Christmas when Molly J. came and worked with us for a couple of weeks. We’d love to have her back; she integrated seamlessly, even with thirteen other people in the house (on a quiet day) not to mention things with fur. The high tunnel finally got weeded; now if only the voles would meet a hungry snake. The salami we made while Molly was here is hanging in the dry cave (temp around fifty, humidity seventy-something) to cure, and we hope she’s coming back to try it with us.
The lactating cows are getting over to some thin forage stockpiled last summer, when the long delay of the fall rains kept the cool season grasses from filling in as they should, so we carried down a bale to spread on their paddock for supplement and were nearly mobbed — then they girls turned from the sweet hay and left it sitting there until they’d gorged on the stockpiled forage. Guess it really is better cured standing than as hay.
The bear tracks behind the pig pen won’t disturb our thoughts any longer, all four pigs are hanging from the rafters in Barry’s barn. Tomorrow and the next day we’ll cut and wrap, all except the sides and hams; let’s hope the bear doesn’t know where Barry keeps the spare key.
it is a load off our minds to have the high tunnel covered; now the greens can sleep easy even when it does frost. Four gallons of kraut still to can — no fear we’ll forget, the smell reminds us it’s there every time we go into the basement — and all the pintos yet to thresh.
With the warm weather it is difficult to decide just how close we want the forage grazed. If the ground was frozen and all the plants were dormant, we wouldn’t worry about hitting the pastures a little close, but there’s still growth going on — pastures grazed only a couple of weeks ago show little green spears — and we don’t want to scalp them now and then take a hit in the spring. On the other hand, this is extra sunlight we weren’t budgeting for, and if the leaves are growing the roots are too, presumably. At least one forsythia bush out there is showing bloom, obviously mistaking the extended warmth forthe beginning of spring.