Spring 4









Once again, this week started with preparations for yet another snow storm.  Part of the job is providing bedding for the cows so they can comfortably lie down when they seek shelter.

Snow storms at this time a year are called “sugar snows”.  We’re reaching the end of sugaring season and the temperature dip often stimulates one last sap run before spring arrives.  If you look closely, the uneven results of our recent shearing adventures are still somewhat apparent.


This is also the season of cute. Two young pigs (we’ll eventually get 60!) arrived this week but this was about as much as we saw of them. They’ve been riding out the bad weather and the shock of a new home buried in the straw.



We also had a fantastically practical lesson on knot tying and I was pleased to find out that I hadn’t completely forgotten everything from Boy Scouts. Three of the knots we (re)learned have already come in handy: bowline, truckers hitch and a clove hitch.


The pig cuteness was totally eclipsed by the baby goat cuteness. The kids are 1 week old so we’re getting to bottle feed them. In the last few days however, we have since run out of the stockpile of their mother’s milk and the formula we tried gave them some unpleasant digestive symptoms. But they’re still cute from the front.



Andrew and I spent a frigid afternoon in the barn putting the finishing touches on this year’s timber frame structure. Try not to pay attention to the circular saw Andrew is using. Apparently if timber framing reaches all the way into March, power tools are fair game.



This was the scene as we drove to greenhouse chores the morning of the Spring Equinox. The equinox is the exact midpoint between the lightest day of the year and the darkest.



We also had a blast pruning apple trees on a brilliant day in the town of New Salem. Dina was with us this day, hence me showing up in a photo.



Our cat, Clutch, even got in on the action. (Photo by Dina)



Our teacher was Brad Moloney who “in his hippie days” developed a technique of turning vegetative wood (the target of most of your pruning effort) into fruiting wood by either braiding it or turning it into a pretzel (seen here). The process redirects the vigorous vertical growth at a 45 degree angle and in a few years you will begin to get fruiting buds. (Photo by Dina)



These are some slightly older pretzels that are starting to bud.  (Photo by Dina)



And this is one particularly old braid where the suckers (term for unwanted vegetative growth) have fused together. “They’re for the orchard elves, Lassie,” Brad explained in his best Irish brogue. “The elves keep the trees producing fruit and keep you from falling out of your ladder.” (Photo by Dina)



This is Eliza braving great heights to prune the tops of one Macintosh tree.



Nora and the cows at sunrise on weekend chore.

And a minute by minute accounting of some of the madness is in week’s post: Farmer Midnight.

Single Portfolio Item