Farm Tales

Breads, Chickens and Rain

Posted by MaryAnn the FarmWife on May 10, 2013 at 11:45 PM

It's May, an incredibly busy month. So why on earth would I schedule three classes in 9 days? Sometimes I just don't think.

Tonight was Bread Class. There were bagels, English Muffins, crumpets, soft hot pretzels, and crullers. It was a nice smaller class and not one of  the overwhelming ones that I have had lately. A really good group of ladies came. It was a nice night.

All done at 10 PM and I only had to start the bread orders for tomorrow's Farm Friends. No big deal, magically it always gets done before I fall asleep. There was plenty of time and sleep was in the plan.

The kitchen had been blazing hot from the oven and boiling pots for the bagels and pretzels so the window was cracked open. At some point I realized that it was raining. A nice gentle rain has such a soothing sound. A glass of ice water and I got to mixing sour dough and starters.

Then, I started hearing a peep. Just one. I know that sound. It was a distress peep. There are a hundred and thirty young birds out there between the broodhouse and the pasture tent. I heard a peep.

There is gooey dough all over my hands so I did the most rational thing and yell for John. That poor man, was rousted from a nice comfy sleep and put his boots on. About fifteen minutes later he came in sopping wet and headed for bed.

About twenty of the young birds, who had only been hatched a few weeks earlier, and had never seen rain before, were simply standing in the rain, in a small wash that the water runs down. He had to pick them up one by one and show them where their shelter was. Somehow they hadn't noticed that the rest of their friends were high and dry about twenty feet away. We would have lost a few of them easily. 

The next thing that popped into my head as I am mixing up the next dough is 'did anyone close up the seedling greenhouse?' I asked John before he drifted off to sleep. I was right, no one had closed it up. 

As soon as I got that dough mixed I got my boots, and threw the apron over my head. I must have been a sight going down the rock stepping stones to the greenhouse. 

The vent window was filled with water and took a minute to drain it out. Of course most of it was drained into my boots. The rain pattering on the greenhouse was louder than you would think it should be. The sooner you get out of there the better. I closed the door and went up the stones to the house. Then I stood there. I just stood there on the walkway to the kitchen. 

The rain was gently falling on the apron over my head, the sound was soothing and soft. The air was almost warm and there was a coolness to the little wafts of breeze. It felt like May. The air was clean smelling. The small drops hitting my face felt wonderful and rejuvenating. Lilacs smell lovely in the rain. The soil, the mulch, the grass all smell clean and good. There is life here, and it is good. 

By the time I came in out of the rain I was soaked but felt anew. I smile at the thought of another day filled with work. There is life here, and it is good.


Finally, Almost

Posted by MaryAnn the FarmWife on April 29, 2013 at 4:10 PM

This spring has been really slow at getting started. From January to now, the daily temperatures are about ten degress below normal. Not crazy cold, but too cold. That may not seem like much to most people but to me it's everything. The calendar for growing things is way off. It is slow. The soil is just a bit too cold for the vegetables to get going. I should have lettuce by now but it's hibernating and so is just about everything. 

The pasture grass is green but not growing like it should. My apple trees are just holding those flower buds tightly closed for a couple of weeks now. The asparagus has only sent up a few shoots. The soil is too cold this year for April to happen. Vegetables didn't sprout. Then two days ago....they showed up.

The barn swallows had been missing. They usually arrive around April Fools and set up their nests on my porches. The weather was too cold for them to come home in April. No bugs to eat. 

It was a subtle thing to notice. It wasn't as obvious as the spinach that has been holding with just 6 leaves for four weeks. The broccoli raab (which likes the chill in the air) never grew either. No lettuce, no barn swallows... until this week

Those barn swallows make me crazy all spring and into the summer. For a few years we had continuously knocked the nests down and waged war with them. It is like have squatters move in. They make a mess on my porches. EVERYWHERE. Finally we caved. They won. The condos are here to stay.

We have become good neighbors as it were. When John mows they follow him on the tractor swirling and swooping and eating the bugs as he goes...If I am out in the gardens they sweep by my face with inches to spare, grabbing mosqitos from the air.

 :) It will be May in another two days, so I guess I will just give up on having April. The swallows will lay their eggs and they will have nests of peeping babies to feed but they will be born the end of May. Just when the lettuce is ready...