spring on the farm

Rachel Mumau | April 21 2015 | 0 Comments

No other place is quite more exciting during spring than a farm.  And this spring has been particularly enjoyable.  Above is a photo I took of our new baby goats, triplets a week and a half old, born to our LaMancha milking goat.  I had the privilege of helping them into the world- my first experience doing that.  Thankfully the mother knew what she was doing, so I don't have a lot of detail to add there and I will spare you!  Isn't the little guy in the middle especially beautiful?!  Completely white, no spots.

Here are some happy little seedlings popping up.  My mom and my grandmother are both very good gardeners and I am hoping this season that some of that skill will rub off on me!  The idea of a hardened little seed from previous years- all dried out and lifeless, when put in soil and given some water, has the information and know-how to pop up from the earth and not only create a huge plant, but also produce fruit or veggies that are just gorgeous and unique, is really amazing.  There is so much to learn and enjoy there.

And here are our cows lazily snacking in the pasture.  They came to visit me while I was pruning the raspberry and blackberry row next to their fence.  I have actually really been into pruning this year.- my new favorite thing!  The concept is easy to understand but hard to apply.  "Remove from the tree/bush what will not bear fruit- it will only stifle the plant in its production."  But then from there... each plant produces its flowers and fruit differently.  Do you trim it to the ground?  Do you prune it each year?   What time of year?  How do you know what branches won't bear fruit?  Am I going to kill the plant?  What will the tree look like in 10 years if I cut this branch?  So many variables.  I found the best way to go about it is to get a reference book on the subject and refer to it for each individual plant.  In the books they have pictures and diagrams of just how to prune each cultivar.  It's really amazing the depth of knowledge that goes into it!

I guess this is where I will put my plug... I have begun my own project- a weekly newsletter and blog where I write about what I am learning about homesteading, farming, living off the land.  It is my little motivator to keep myself studying and learning and to make sure I am taking advantage of the opportunity I have here to learn on the farm.  It's really a privilege that not many these days get to experience first hand.

I'll be talking about what interests me... following processes from the end to the beginning.  For example: how do you turn milk into cheese?  where does the milk come from?  how do you care for the milk goat practically, day-to-day?  Or another example:  how do you prepare parsnips?  how do you grow parsnips?  when do you grow parsnips? can you store them?   And with everything: is there a lot of waste?  is it profitable?

So you can see where it is going.  I hope that it will be interesting to read even if you don't have the opportunity to take on ideas like these in your own personal life.  I believe knowing how and where our sustenance comes from will help us to appreciate it and care for the systems that produce what we eat and live off of.  And besides that, it is completely fascinating!  So if you have made it to the end of the blog post here, you might want to check out my latest at www.herbswithlove.com.

-Rachel