Today marks the last day of winter, but spring seems to have already arrived to the ranch. Our pond is filling, the lilacs, iris’, sweet peas, and daffodils are blooming, nettles are drying (for tea!), the pigs are growing, bees a buzzing, and the chickens are laying! My sister Aimee is here for her spring break to work…I mean…relax. She has been a huge help with the morning chores and pig wrangling, and is a joy to have around. Although she seems to have brought the spring snakes with her (I was late picking her up from the airport because I was busy killing a rattler that found its way to the dog pen). We are watching where we step and have our fastest route to the ER all planned out.
We traded 180 eggs to a neighboring CSA in Lakeside (each member will receive a 1/2 dozen in their CSA box) and are enjoying the fresh veggies we received in return. My how we’ve missed fresh salads! Eggs for trauma shears, eggs for a loom, eggs for spent grain for the chickens, eggs for Christmas, and eggs for avocados…it is fun to have a commodity to trade and bypass money changing hands entirely.
A loud “hum” can be heard from the orchard, especially from the two blooming plum trees. We like to presume that they are “our bees.” A week or so ago we moved our top bar bee hive from our urban farm in Lemon Grove to the ranch. They haven’t swarmed yet and thankfully we didn’t have any fallen comb after the bumpy drive in the pick-up. My Dad will be here next week and I can’t wait for him to see the bee box he spent hours crafting being put to good use. April honey harvest anyone?! I’m convinced ours is going to be lilac flavored.
The pigs have gotten loose twice this week, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase, “Pig(s) out!” They are really settling into their new job as tillers and we now move their pen twice a day to a new area of pasture, up from every other day. Ramona does an enthusiastic twirl upon arrival to pasture each day. We are thrilled they enjoy their work THAT much.
Each day in the greenhouse something new has germinated and many of our seedlings are quickly getting ready to go out, pending irrigation. With the exception of a mysterious seed snatcher that comes out only at night to dig up and collect all the freshly planted pea and bean seeds, and our tomatoes that just won’t germinate, things seem to be growing well despite our inexperience. We (I) like lists. So far we’ve planted: 648 Tomatoes, 50 Tomatillos, 622 Peppers, 20 Celery , 544 Beets, 1015 Onions, 150 Shallots, 240 Cabbage, 120 Cauliflower, 190 Squash, 40 Brussels Sprouts, 128 Eggplant, 213 Peas, 510 Melons, 226 Cucumbers, 94 Greens, 91 Beans, 56 Leaks, 200 Turnips, and lots of flowers.
There is a lot in the works- drip irrigation, an automatic mist-er for the greenhouse, and a massive worm bin. The warm weather and extra hour of sun has been a big help in getting everything done.
Gardening, and now farming, has helped us to anticipate, give thanks for, and celebrate each season for what it brings. What a gift spring is!