Latest Spring Happenings...

Wow! Time just won't stand still for us. That's OK, as we have been keeping a steady work in progress around here, preparing for our move. We had zero snow that stayed around, this last winter season, which is a big change from last year's 19 different snowstorm days. The snow stayed at the higher elevations this year. It has been a dry, cold, and windy winter here. We feel, however, that the Lord, has given us this opportunity to work straight though the winter season outside, finalizing the 'Outdoor To Do' list. Last weekend was our fifth week mowing our lawn. We have tilled the growing plots several times already. They are waiting for the cold season crops to be planted. Prayerfully this week I will get them in the ground.

Above photo is of five types of cabbage: Savory Alcosa (last year was our first try with this and it was superb!) Red Savory Deadon (I saw this at the locale food co-op. Beautiful! Can't wait to try it.) Red Express- an early red cabbage, and Evergreen Hardy White Bunch Onions. (These cabbage & onion seeds are from Johnny's Seed).

Along with those three cabbage types, I planted Mammoth Red Rock and Brunswick cabbage (seed from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), two types of beets: Bulls Blood (Excellent beet greens for fresh eating- seed from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), Detroit Dark Red (beet root has excellent flavor, I like it over the Bulls Blood root- seed from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), and kale: Blue Curled Scotch (it is our favorite kale for eating raw- Seed from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds).

These vegetables are a main staple of food for us, year round. There are also 16 lettuce plants growing in the green house. This year I was determined not to be so far behind on getting our fresh produce growing. I try to seed the lettuce every two to three weeks to keep a fresh supply. Fresh, raw vegetables are very important for a person's health.

One day last week, we harrowed two of our grazing pastures. We generally graze our sheep on a pasture for two weeks or just under three weeks, depending the pasture foliage. After grazing a pasture, the sheep are moved to what we call a 'clean' pasture, which basically means the pasture has not been grazed for 60 days.

Dragging the pastures flattens mole hills, distributes manure more evenly, and stimulating the grass regrowth. Ideally, it would be great to run a flock of chickens on this pasture, as they would do alot of the work for you. They do a great job of cleaning up parasites, scattering manure, and flattening the mole hills, not to mention their own contribution of manure for natural fertilizer. However, because we live in a Bald Eagle's flight path, we are unable to do this. We have lost many of our laying hens and ducks to the eagles. If we were home during the day, it would be something we would definitely do again.

The photo below is our flexible harrow. You could pull this with a riding lawn mower, if you did not have an ATV. We purchased this 25 years ago, and used it to drag the riding arena.

Because we farm 100% organically, we do not use chemicals on anything we raise here, animals or crops. We rotate our sheep through the pastures for several reasons. First, some sheep are very susceptible to internal parasites. Mine happen to fall into that 'susceptible' category. By not over grazing a pastures, this helps the sheep to not reinfect themselves. The internal parasites (the worms) live in the digestive tract where the eggs are laid. The eggs hatch out of the manure on the ground. Within three weeks and weather dependant, another set of larvae climb the grass stems, only to be eaten and returned to the sheep. (My general rule on parasites activity: weather warming up, longer daylight (springtime, summer,fall) eggs hatch. Cold weather, short daylight, less issue of eggs hatching and reinfecting).

By rotating the sheep, it also helps prevent over grazing the pasture. If the sheep are left to graze an area too long, they will graze it right down to the roots. Not good. This then can lead to soil erosion, mud during rainy season, and unwanted weeds taking over a pasture.

We give heartfelt thanks for the opportunities we have been given to learn from. We continue to prepare, waiting and watching eagerly for the Lord to move us.

Have a wonderful day!



Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways, you will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Psalm 128:1-2 niv


Mrs. T said...

Welcome back to blog land! It's great to hear your update. You always have so many things happening on your farm!

In my backyard garden, I am starting cabbage for the first time with Copenhagen Market heirloom seeds. They are especially suited to small gardens, so it works for me ~smile~. How great that you have the room for so many varieties!

You've taught me some new terminology...I knew the word "harrow" but didn't know what it meant (blush!). Now I see how important it is to harrow the land.

The Lord has been so merciful to give you a good winter to catch up on your To Do chores! I pray that the Lord will direct your path regarding the move.

Mrs. T

A Farmstead Pilgrimage... said...

Hi Mrs. T!

Thank you for your comments. I enjoy reading other peoples thoughts.

Yes, you could say we always have alot happening. ~grin~

I have not heard of Copenhagen Market heirloom seeds. I'm always interested in hearing how other vareities of vegetables grow in different climates. I will look for an update on your blog about it.

Thank you for your kind words.

Have a blessed day!


Mrs. T said...

Dear Kris:

I'm back to say thank you so much for becoming a follower of my blog. I'm such a stumbling, hit-or-miss gardener, but I'm eager to learn! Thank you for your encouragement!

Yes, I have plans to post about the Copenhagen Market cabbage sometime. I might try one other variety from the nursery, come planting time.

Have a wonderful day...

A Farmstead Pilgrimage... said...

Hi! Mrs. T,

Your 'eagerness' to learn is extremely helpful. Perseverance is another important trait.

When we began, we knew very little. We waded through alot of discouragements, AND even today... we are not through learning.~grin~

The Lord has been our rock and our guidance. Keep seeking Him...

Thank you for your kind words.

Be Blessed!!!

Mr. H. said...

It sounds like you are off to a great start this gardening season and what an interesting variety of cabbages you will have. We will be trying the Mammoth Red Rock for the first time this year.

I look forward to seeing and hearing more about your gardens as the season progresses.

I'm off to look up Savory Alcosa...:)

Hedy King said...

You are always inspiring, Kris. It is good to see you back. Your harrowing "lesson" was beneficial. We do the same with our sheep and plan to get chickens soon. No eagles here to watch for! Blessing. Hedy

A Farmstead Pilgrimage... said...

Hi Mr. H!

Thank you for your thoughts.

I will be looking forward to your thoughts on the Mammoth Red Rock.

I think you will be delighted with the Savory Alcosa. It has actually become my favorite cabbage. Very light and delicate with great flavor. Unfortunately it doesn't 'winter store' very well, or we have just not found 'how to' store it for ourselves.

Thankgoodness, for the other varieties of winter storage cabbage! ~grin~ We'd be lost without it.

Have a wonderful day!


A Farmstead Pilgrimage... said...

Hi Hedi!

Thank you for your compliment.

Glad you don't have eagles to watch for... they are beautiful, but are pesky at times. We are able to secure our chickens and ducks from ground predators, but not 'airborne' predators...yet. ~grin~

Have a wonderful day!

Blessings to you,