Spring Updates

Notice the bright green pasture behind the steer we are feeding out for butchering.

There are plenty of splendid things that spring brings. I thought I would ruminate on them on this fine April day. 

One of the things we appreciate about springtime on our farm is we can finally slow down, and eventually halt, having to provide hay bales for the livestock. Our main group of cows would go through a 5’ by 6’ round bale that weighs about 1,500 pounds in a matter of three days. At one point, we had our herd split into three different groups and pastures, so we had to feed hay in all three. Let’s just say, we are thankful the grass is growing again!

The next great thing is to see green return! Green grass and leaves replace the ugly brown that has been in their place all winter. The greening up of the pastures is not only much more aesthetically pleasing, but, as I said, it provides the needed nourishment our livestock crave. The grass has boosted Sienna’s milk supply so much that I had to return to twice-a-day milkings. She’s now giving me nearly four gallons a day. 

Sienna’s udder looks quite full before I milk her.

Spring signaled the start for us to start feeding out one of our steers to be butchered as well. He’ll receive twice-a-day feed rations to fatten him up and create “marbling” in the meat he’ll give. For three months, we’ll feed him out until we take him to the butcher in June.

You can see my tomato plants in the middle are still very small. My collards to the right are growing nicely. My daughter likes to “water” the plants in the greenhouse.

Spring also means more hours spent in the greenhouse. I’ve already learned the hard way that I have to be diligent about raising and lowering the sides of the greenhouse to keep the temperature from getting too hot or too cold. We’ve already experienced temperatures in the high 80s this spring. When that happens, it will get too hot and humid in the greenhouse for some of my plants. Sadly, some of my young plants expired when I forgot to put down the greenhouse sides during one of these hot days. 

Here you can see kale, arugula, lettuce, and peas growing, and, of course, weeds!

Although my plants are not as prolific in the greenhouse as I’d like to see, some of them are coming along nicely, and I look forward to when I can reap their produce. Another lesson I learned along the way was that I should have started seeds for many plants earlier than I did. I started all of my pepper plants and tomatoes too late. They are slow growers and were not nearly as big as I would have liked them to be when I was ready to transplant them into the greenhouse.

Although spring means we can stop feeding hay and burning wood in the furnace, we do have to start mowing, weeding, and battling the bugs again – not to mention weather the wind and storms that inevitably come with the change in season. Of course, each season has its blessings and challenges. Wishing everyone more of the former this spring!  


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