Essex Farm Note
Mark and I took a farm walk this morning, and it felt like the launch of the 2012 growing season. Here is what we discovered. This morning’s rain carried the softness of spring with it. The frost is out of the ground now, all trace of snow is melted. The tulips that Barbara planted at the end of the driveway last fall are peeping out of the ground. A bull calf was born to one of the Highland mamas this morning. He was a good size boy, still wet, but he was already up and alert and suckling enthusiastically. The four acres of winter wheat flooded by Irene is turning green and just might make it. The ice is off of both ponds, and the ducks and geese have wasted no time moving in. The bluebirds are busy with spring nesting. A grouse flew through the double-paned window of the lower guest cabin at some point this week, which wrecked both the window and the grouse. In the greenhouse, the onions and leeks are up, and so are the first flats of lettuce. The un-drained stretch of Monument Field is deep in mud and spotted with lagoons but the drained acres are so beautifully firm that Mark and I taunted each other with the idea of working them this week. They really aren’t even close to ready yet but the contrast was striking, and I can’t wait to see what they do this year. The forecast calls for a warm and sunny week, with temperatures reaching the high 70s. It’s impossible to complain about a week off of mud season, even if this blast of warmth is coming creepily early. But given that forecast, it looks like sugar season is over. We may pull the taps during the tour tomorrow. We made about 30 gallons of syrup – less than a third of what we’d hoped for, but something sweet nonetheless. Thanks to Chad and to Ron Jackson for their good work, and also to Sabrina, the Hughes, Wekin, and Trzaskos families for helping collect sap.
So much happened this week I’ll run out of room before I run out of news. Peter Gucker and his crew of good men (Pete, John, Leo and Brian) spent three days transforming the falling-down east barn run-in into a nifty little pole barn. The dry cows and pony are in there now, instead of destroying muddy Mailbox field. The compost pile got turned with Mr. Gucker’s skid steer, too. Jenny gets special thanks for shouldering extra duties in the dairy world. Ashlee and Courtney spent the week visiting draft animal powered farms, including Greyrock and Northland Sheep Dairy. Ryan’s brother Cory was here and contributed more than a one-man share of work. Lindsay has cut loose from Brooklyn and is settled with Jenny and Rob in the White House. Member Mark Bimonte has competed the first phase of installing refrigeration in the veggie trailer – hooray to that. And tomorrow is our spring tour. Please come! See the blog on the web site www.kristinkimball.com for all the details. If a member would like to volunteer to help welcome visitors tomorrow, we would very much appreciate it. And that is the news from Essex Farm for this was-that-wedding-bells-I-heard-a’ringing? 11th week of 2012.