We’ve started the seedlings. The barn is full of trays and trays of starts. They spill over the edges and take over every available surface: the cat’s bed, the barn, and the living room. I discovered some footprints between the tomatoes where the cat has walked for lack of leg room. In short, the barn – our seedling area – is now bursting with the new life that will soon miraculously transform into our dinners. It’s a guessing game, knowing when to put the plants outside so that we can start growing the food, but avoid that late frost date which could kill them all.
We’ve begun ‘hardening’ the seedlings: a process of bringing them outside during the day for a few hours to acclimatize to the cold. It makes them hardier so they will be able to survive when we actually do transplant them into rows outdoors.
To start the season off right, we decided to build a large sign to go alongside the road. We made it big: about six feet tall and five across. Boards, which we can switch out, will hang from the side, advertising for our summer farm stand. Tomatoes. Cucumbers. Strawberries. As I began to dig the three foot hole necessary for the base of the sign, my shovel hit solid ice. A ditch runs alongside the farm, next to the road. It collects rainwater runoff, and right now that equals one frozen mess.
I chipped away for a while. After ten minutes I had made a 1 inch hole in the ground for our sign. It was a little depressing. I moved back away from the ditch and toward the house. Better. I got into a rhythm as I lifted topsoil and clay from the ground with the posthole digger, making a very neat hole for the base of our sign. Jen and I carried it over together and plunked it into place. Check it out the next time you drive by.
And finally, what is spring without lambs? Capella Farm has been showered with many of them. Some are strong and growing quickly. A few were born at night when it was extremely cold, and there is a definite difference. They weren’t able to walk, so we kept them inside the house by the fire to keep warm. A lamb should be walking within a couple of hours, but after a few days they were still having trouble. Jen would ask me to ‘Help the lambs stand up’ after lunch to strengthen their muscles. Terra, the dog, has appointed herself the lamb guardian and often checks on and protects them when strangers walk in. Just last week they finally found their sea legs and are up and at ‘em. We were able to transfer them back to the barn with the others and they are doing peachy.
Can’t wait to see what spring brings next!