Thanks to a wonderful suggestion by my friend Jeanne Oliver, I will be sharing what we are doing on the farm weekly. I should warn you however that this post will not contain pretty photos. I want this post to give you an actual glimpse into what life looks like on the farm right now. And let me tell you, there is very little that is pretty this time of year. The gardens are full of weeds that I have yet to clean out, due to the endless rain. There are leaves covering much of the gardens along the drive and I have so much to cut back that still sits where it grew last summer. Now, however it is brown and dead and needing to be removed. So, the photos below- they are what I see when I walk on the property these days. But not for long- that I promise you!
This week on the farm we are cleaning up the gardens and removing all of the remaining leaves and branches that came down through the winter. With bulbs coming up I want to make sure that nothing stops them from sharing their bright spring color with us. In the pacific northwest we have a lot of evergreen trees but we also have a number of deciduous trees such as maple, poplar, black locust and cottonwood. We try to remove as much of the leaves as possible each autumn but inevitably there are leaves that fall and are soaked by the winter rains which need to be cleaned up come springtime. We use the leaves to cover paths or to add to our compost which will in turn become soil for the gardens. Even the wine barrels that we fill with color in the summer are in need of a cut back and clean out.
I am also pruning back the old raspberry canes. I think that the raspberries are our favorite fruit that we grow. We use them for everything! They make wonderful desserts, jams and jellies, they are great on salads with chevre. The boys love to come out to the gardens to simply snack on them. We started with just a few canes in one row but now have two double rows in the lower garden pasture that we harvest from. The majority of them are red but we have a number of golden raspberry canes as well that a friend gave to me years ago. The grape vines which are just behind the raspberries also need to be pruned. I use them to make wreathes in the winter for the holidays but those that aren’t cut then will need it now.
There is nothing pretty about chez poulet this time of year. With the damp winter months everything is soggy. The door needs paint this summer, as do the windows, but for now we will be cleaning out the coop and filling it with fresh shavings and straw for the nesting boxes. Usually this time of year we are getting ready to add baby chicks, but as we had quite the massacre last Autumn, I added four chicks then, as we lost most of our layers. If I had waited until spring I wouldn’t have had many eggs until this coming Autumn and we really love our eggs. The four new girls should begin laying any time now~
As far as what we are seeing peek through the ground right now, there are the usual spring blooms- hellebores and daffodils. The rhubarb is beginning to show itself- and as that is one of my favorite spring things to harvest, I am coaxing it along at every opportunity. There are buds on the lilacs but no leaves yet. I am hoping to clean out the garden boxes in the garden pasture as they are a mess. As soon as they are clean and I have added some of our compost I will be getting the peas and greens planted. I can’t wait!