Sights and Sounds of Spring
Here at the Farm, we have welcomed Spring. One could make the argument that it is the best season of the year. For many reasons, we would agree with that. It is after all the season of hope and renewal. It is the time of the year when the farm has colorful blossoms everywhere. And, I do mean everywhere.
Some weeks ago, we had a winter storm in late February that gave everything a thick coating of ice. For days it made the shrubs look like exquisite crystal artwork. But then, shortly after it melted away, the blossoms began to appear. First to arrive were the forsythias and daffodils, followed by the redbud, viburnum, magnolias, dogwoods, fruit trees and the blossoms continue.
We are a little behind the timing of what we did last Spring. Some of reason for that has been the fields being too wet to work. Two weeks ago, given the chance, we had a few days to cultivate and fertilize. And this weekend we cultivated again, as we prepare to under-seed our crops with red clover. .
The crops that we planted last Fall appear to be doing well. Although, there are bare spots where rain puddles prevented germination and areas that weren’t planted because they were too wet. It is too early to think of harvest yields, but it is still Spring and we are hopeful. Here you can see the root development of a typical plant during a recent field inspection.
Recently we added a grain dryer to our arsenal. The idea is for us to control the drying down of our harvested grain, rather than leave it to Mother Nature. Now that it’s here, we are busy building a shed in which to keep it out of the weather. The dryer, we hope, will give us the opportunity to harvest the grain earlier and thereby maintain the its quality. Otherwise, field drying the grain runs the risk of a rain storm diluting its baking potential. It is Spring, and we hope to have the shed finished by the time we harvest in June/July.
Although the April showers are to bring May flowers, we are already beginning to see the blooms on the vinca, and iris, and buds on the roses. The birds are busy too building their nests throughout the farm, and even sneaking into idle equipment. A special delight this time of year is hearing the quail with their distinctive "bob white" call to each other; or the Spring Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) in wet parts of the farm a month or so back announcing their presence. Meanwhile in the woods, ferns are unfurling and the Mayapples (Podophyllum) are beginning to carpet the understory floor.