Spring Update

With the third market of the year behind us, we’re officially running through spring in Montana. Summer is just around the corner (though it feels like it’s already here with the recent hot and dry weather) and we’re really pleased with the season so far.

This week we’ll be planting almost everything in the greenhouse out into the field (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, corn, melons, etc.) and if you’ve been looking for a time to come up and volunteer for a few hours, this is the week to do it. Any day, any length of time. If you’re here during lunch or dinner, we’ll feed you.

 We have a beautiful crop of garlic up and will be harvesting scapes in a couple weeks. There are three varieties out there. The one pictured is the german hardy, great for storage. The others, russian red and spanish red, are lighter in color.
 Finally, salad! Our first salad greens bed was harvested for market this weekend, and we’ll be selling the next harvest to the Western Montana Growers Coop tomorrow.
New chicks! After  an unfortunate Saturday evening, we found ourselves six hens and one rooster short of our original flock. So we bought a few new chicks to replace the ones we lost. Egg production will be dangerously low for a few months while these little ones grow into themselves, but we’re working on it. The little yellow one with stripes in the front is an Ameraucana (blue eggs) and the dark and yellow behind are Marans (dark brown eggs)
 This year in an attempt at an earlier and stronger corn crop, we started it in the greenhouse. These little guys, along with the cucumbers adjacent, will be transplanted out into the far garden this week for harvest in August.
The tomato corral expanded a bit this year to accommodate all our tomatoes. The corral allows the plants to harden off without damage by the strong winds that are common during these months. They’ll go out to the field this week as well, under hoops and row cover.
 Our asparagus came almost  3 weeks early this year, and we’ve stopped harvesting as of last Friday. It’s a good 4.5 ft tall now, enjoying the sunshine. These enormous stalks are already starting to fern out to regenerate nutrients for the roots. Thanks to everyone who helped us weed these beds this year – you made a HUGE difference!
 If you came out for planting day, your efforts were not in vain. The onions look great (if currently a little weedy) and the purple asparagus (above), sunchokes, and potatoes are popping out of the ground. Thanks for your help!
 Rhianna (above) and Bruno are doing mighty well. We’ve been milking Ke$ha each morning and the kids get access to her all day. It gives us some milk for all our efforts without taking much away from the growing goats. (Thanks Robin for this and the following picture!).
 Until this week, we had been taking the goats on short walks around the farm, getting them used to being out and about, acclimating the kids to Lucinda our other doe. This meant that we spent a couple hours every afternoon laying in the grass with baby goats nibbling on hats and using our legs as a jungle gym.
 Huge dork that I am, I now have over 100 pictures of the bees on our lilac bush outside the house. This is one of the best. They’re loving the weather and couldn’t be better. Margaret and I had a brief but scary incident last weekend when I screwed up and accidentally trapped a few thousand bees in one box, making them absolutely irate by the next day. When we opened them up again, they attacked without hesitation and both of us got stung 5-8 times. All my injuries were to my face, which meant that it was extremely puffy and little uncomfortable for a few days. Margaret hardly reacted, lucky. Moral of the story: always approach the hives prepared, preferably with a veil.
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