Ah, spring! It brings the lovely smell of the Viburnum in the morning. And neat rows of weed free cabbages, onions, garlic, lettuce, potatoes and kale in the garden. An image that I’ll need to remember after the inevitable weekend rains wreak havoc on my plans for order.
Baby chicks hatched out underneath one of our hens last night. And both of our English Shepherds are in heat, leaving me patrolling the boundary lines with my pellet rifle looking out for unwanted males. Looking, I’m sure, like either a member of the Michigan Militia or a father greeting his daughter’s prom date.
The past couple of days we spent in Asheville celebrating an anniversary by dining at the terrific Bouchon on Friday night and attending the Mother Earth News Fair the next morning. I sat in on a well-done workshop on butchering mature sheep (mutton). With overhead cameras in place, the presenter, Adam Danforth, broke down a whole carcass in an hour and half. The crowd was perhaps a bit over enthusiastic when he cleaved the skull and removed the brains. Meanwhile Cindy went to a workshop on turning household wastes, both kitchen and toilet, into usable gas.
After the workshops we visited the food trucks and then hit the main event: the vendor hall. A couple of hours later we left with more books than we will ever read, watched a portable sawmill in operation, ate some goats-milk ice cream, talked with some editors from various publishing houses and in general had a great time. I got Adam to sign his book: Butchering: poultry, rabbit, lamb, goat and pork: a photographic guide.
After getting home yesterday evening, completing our chores we turned in early after dinner. Today we will work Ginger on removing some downed trees. She is our Haflinger/Suffolk cross draft horse. After many years of fiddling about with different horses we think she will be the one to help us displace some of the fossil fuel we burn on this farm.
Already she has hauled fencing supplies to remote corners of the farm and will haul logs in our woodlot management program. Hard to convey how exciting it was, after many false starts over the years, to successfully have a horse haul a heavy load without pawing the sky above my head, wrapping the load around a tree or taking off for parts unknown.
So, spring is our season for hope. Whether a randy dog, hopeful gardener or budding teamster it embodies that annual wish to get it right, make a new start.
Reading this weekend: Mushroom: a global history by Cynthia Bertelsen.