Tag Archives: spring

Photos for research and record keeping

Back in 2012, I decided to take pictures once each month from 6 positions on our pasture as a record.  I was hoping to be able to document improvements in the pasture forage quality.  I think some of that is happening.  It has also been interesting to see how differently a pasture can look on the same day from one year to the next.

I have included May 1st and October 1st here, from one vantage point and through multiple years.  Both of those dates can be quite different depending on the amount of warmth, rain, snow, etc.

May 2012 illustrates the early and warm spring that we experienced that year.  May 2014 shows how long it took to recover from the ‘polar vortex’.  Rain was obviously plentiful in the early fall of 2014.

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Filed under Farm, Natural world, Research, Seasons

Meeting with my Legislator

Back in mid March, I took a day away from the farm to join Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU) in Madison for their Farm & Rural Lobby Day.  It was a great experience.  I carpooled with Linda and Cathy to Stevens Point and then we vanpooled with other WFU members from the central part of the state.  WFU scheduled meetings for us with our Senators and Representatives, in our case, Janet Bewley and Beth Meyers.  Policy staff at WFU had prepared really nice documents to share at these meetings on 4 priority topics: Supporting UWEX, Nonpartisan Redistricting, Rural Broadband and a Well Dispute Settlement Program proposal.  We also had the opportunity to bring up other topics of importance to us.  For Linda, Cathy and me, supporting UWEX was especially important and we each had examples of ways in which UWEX has been extremely valuable to us over the years.

We asked that our legislators let us know when they are in Price County so we could meet with them to continue the conversations.

Not long afterwards, I got a call from Beth Meyers’ staff person asking if she could come to tour my farm and learn about agriculture in Price County.  Of course I was thrilled to host her.  The day when Beth visited here, she also toured Linda and Gerry Ceylor’s Organic Valley dairy farm and had a listening session with a group of farmers in Catawba.

Just before Beth arrived here, a Channel 12 – Rhinelander van pulled in and Ben Meyer asked if he could tag along on the tour.  Turns out this meant with video camera in tow!  Good thing I didn’t have advance warning, I would have had time to get nervous.  Here is his take on my visit with Beth Meyers:  http://www.wjfw.com/storydetails/20160422174529

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Spring Ephemeral Time in the Northwoods

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The Bloodroot right outside my back door is a true spring ephemeral – it emerges while the deciduous tree leaves are not yet shading the forest floor and virtually disappears later in the Spring.

Sanguinaria canadensis

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Ferns may not really be an ephemeral, but they are a lovely sign of Spring, none-the-less.

Osmundastrum cinnamomeum

I spend a great deal of time outside in the Spring, but only a little of that is spent wandering the woods.  We visited my parents at the lake in mid April and enjoyed a couple of hikes.  We spied wild leeks and just the barest beginning of the Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria).

Travel Wisconsin has compiled a number of walks to enjoy the Spring wildflowers.  Maybe you can find one near you: http://www.travelwisconsin.com/article/things-to-do/spring-beauties-10-wildflower-walks-that-will-wow-you.

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Lambing season has begun

Mahlah had a big sturdy ram lamb a week ago.  The other four ewes continue to develop their lambs.  I’m so glad that they waited through the nasty weather we had this last week.  I’ve begun to think of them as The Ladies in Waiting.

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Ladies in Waiting

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1st lamb born this year – Mahlah’s ram lamb

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Happy Spring

I celebrated the calendar reaching the vernal equinox today by spending a little over an hour enjoying 80s and sunshine.  I didn’t travel any further than the yard.  I do love my hoop house!

It is still very messy and weedy in there because winter came so quickly I didn’t get my tidying done last fall.  But it was a joy to dig in the partially thawed soil and bask in the warmth.  I just might get seeds sunk in the soil yet this week!

We’re still surrounded by snow, snow and more snow, though this warm spring sunshine is having a strong effect.  If I didn’t wear snow shoes, I would sink in to above my knees.

Here’s a picture of my winter and current method of bringing feed and water to my sheep.

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Playing in the mud

I must preface this post by saying I really have nothing to complain about, when you compare our weather situation to the devastation that has occurred in many parts of the world.  We have not suffered from wild fires, mud slides or tornadoes.

I’m still going to complain, though.  This has been a trying year.  I’ve been speculating that our new weather/climate pattern is: Frozen Tundra; Standing Water; Scorched Earth.  We’ve experienced variations on this theme for a number of years now.

We are currently in a glorious weather pattern.  Some might complain that it is too dry, but on our heavy ground, the .2″ or .3″ we have gotten here and there have been enough to keep the pastures convinced that they should grow rather than go dormant.  And, it has been enough to fill the rain barrels so I can water the hoophouse and seed beds with rain water, rather than from the well.

But, this spring was far from glorious.  We had standing water in places where I have never seen it stand before.  And, the earth was saturated so continuously by new rains, that even the garlic which was planted in my highest garden beds suffered.  I’m just beginning to harvest that now, and I’m hoping to have sufficient harvest to save for seed to plant in October.  If I have a bit extra to use and to sell, I’ll be surprised.

The “playing in the mud” refers to my many unsuccessful attempts to prepare garden beds for planting.  This year my planting window was July.  I’m very hopeful that we have a long, mild fall so that the potatoes, parsnips, carrots and beets have sufficient time to mature.

I am more grateful for my hoophouse than ever!  While it was still very wet in there in the spring, at least the new rainfalls were not landing directly on those beds and I was able to start seeds there for melons, squash, beans, onions, leeks, flowers and greens.  All of those plants did get alarmingly large before I was able to prepare the beds in the rest of the garden to receive them as transplants, but it did eventually happen with fairly decent success.

Big beans in the wrong place

Big beans in the wrong place

I looked for pictures to illustrate the wet, muddy, weedy mess my garden was this spring, but it appears I couldn’t bear to document it.

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Our first lamb

Noah was the first of our Coopworth ewes to lamb.  She had this little white ewe lamb at just before midnight last night.  Yes, if she was going to have a sleepless night, I ought to lose some sleep as well, I guess.  Noah was smaller than the other ewes, so I wasn’t surprised that she had a single.

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She is a 2 year old ewe and this is her first lamb.  She is being a very attentive mother.  At first, she was reluctant to let the lamb nurse, so I confined them inside a field pen so the lamb wouldn’t wander.  Our melt off from the recent snow has the pastures quite soggy and I didn’t want that little lamb to find a puddle to lay in.

I’m interested in having a multi-color flock and I find it ironic that our charcoal ewe and our silver ram produced this pure white ewe.

We have four more ewes who will be lambing very soon.  I’ll add more pictures as the little ones arrive.

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