Tuesday, April 03, 2007

What's Growin' On: 4/3/07


It's A Good Thing They're So Cute

Realization Of The Day:
Lambing season has taken over my life!

Thirty-seven lambs born on the farm in less than a month, and not a single tomato, pepper, or basil seed started. Last year at this time, I was two weeks away from setting out tomato plants. (If you'd like to see what else was going on last year in my garden, simply click on the monthly archive links in the sidebar of the homepage).

This is usually when I start digging through the chest freezers, pulling out all the sweet peppers and tomatoes I've been hoarding through winter so we can make room for the next harvest (and usually finding all sorts of forgotten stuff in the process). For now everything in the freezer is staying right where it is.

The good news is that at this rate lambing season will be over soon, and I'll hopefully have more time to devote to the garden. I have managed to direct seed several beds with various spring veggies (and I even wrote down what I planted where!), so we won't have to live on just lamb chops and lamb burgers this summer. (Yes, we do eat some our grass-fed lambs. As Joe puts it, "Why go to all this trouble if we're not going to eat them?" And while my garden wouldn't be the same without all that amazing sheep manure--which trumps cow and horse manure by miles--I love the fact that we are able to raise flavorful, all-natural meat for our table, especially since it is far better than what you usually find at the supermarket--not to mention that it hasn't been traveled all the way from the other side of the world.)

I did see clumps of volunteer tomato seedlings poking up in a few of the raised beds the other day. This has already been a year of streamlining and experimenting, so now I'm thinking I might just be able to thin them out, then transplant some of them either into small containers (I use recycled styrofoam cups) or straight into the garden once they're a few inches tall. I have no idea what variety they are, but at this point I'd be ecstatic with anything as long as it's a ripe tomato.

From Garden To Table:
The two dozen Swiss chard plants that overwintered in the greenhouse have gone crazy. I swear they get bigger by the hour. I've been tossing the chopped leaves and colorful stems (use them like celery) into big salads every night, along with the latest crop of volunteer baby arugula (My Permanent Arugula Plot Plan has been a huge success! One of these days I hope to write more about it; in the meantime, click here to read my previous post that tells how you can go from seed to salad bowl in less than a month--no matter where you live).

Swiss chard is a 'cut and come again' vegetable, which means if you harvest just the outer leaves, the plant will keep producing new ones. Just a few of these both heat- and cold-tolerant plants can provide you with plenty of bounty for months.

Beyond The Garden Gate:
The dogwoods are are in bloom, and the steep hillsides of our little valley are full of happy white flowers. Last year I thought we had the best blooming dogwood season ever, but I think we've already topped it this spring.

Weather Report:
Yesterday it was 84 degrees and sunny. This morning started out much the same; by the time I was done feeding hay and doing chores I was drenched with sweat. Now as I type this at two in the afternoon, there is thunder booming overhead, a heavy rain is pelting on our old tin roof, and hailstones the size of fat peas are bouncing as they land on the lawn. Thursday night there is a chance of snow. Whenever I think our weather couldn't get any crazier, it somehow manages to do just that. And now the power has blinked off. I think I'd better go make sure none of those cute baby lambs are being swooped up and carried off by the blustery winds.

7 comments:

  1. i'll never eat a lamb ever again.

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  2. We're supposed to get snow showers here in NY tonight. I have weather envy right now!
    Enjoy your lambs!

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  3. Ok, but seriously, how do you eat your lambs when you have seen them so cute and cuddley? I mean that as a serious question. Not as critizism. I've been thinking about our carnivorious habits a lot lately. I don't see myself ever becoming a vegetarian, but I've been thinking about that sort of thing all the same. Also, I was just wondering, how old are lambs when they are slaughtered?

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  4. Linda Sue in North TexasApril 05, 2007 5:04 PM

    OK - just to give perspective - here near the Dallas/Fort Worth area - the local "la-ti-da" market has "all natural, humanely raised" boneless leg of spring lamb at $8.99/lb. FG Susan - your pictures are exceptional - looking forward to your stories! Praying for a breeze on Saturday night - we have tomato plants covered with blooms and the current forecast is "low 30's"! Oh the challenges of gardening! See - that is a reason you haven't gotten a lot of stuff in your garden as yet - it would get nipped this weekend!

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  5. just found your website and it's fabulous! i am in love with your lambs. thanks for taking the time to share so much of your wonderful farm life and RECIPES with us all!

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