Spring is the Time for Babies

Here on the farm, we find babies under the very big rhubarb leaves!

We finally have some sun! It’s been a long and rainy couple of weeks, so it was delightful to wake up to sunshine this morning. Johann and I made the rounds of the farm, checking on critters and harvesting from the garden. A well-established perennial garden means you can begin harvesting in mid-May, not July. We grow asparagus and rhubarb, and harvest dandelions (which you could plant if for some reason you didn’t already have them) long before any seeds will have time to sprout and grow. Here on Stonycroft, we do start ahead of time, and my flats of seeds are rapidly becoming starts. It never ceases to amaze me how fast seeds grow once they start to sprout. I will be able to transplant my starts in a week. Not bad for planting in Mid-May!

Just a couple of days ago there wasn't even green showing yet.

We have new little things all over the farm. The phoebe eggs hatched. The baby birds look otherworldly right now.

Brand new baby birds barely have any feathers.

The baby bunnies are growing fast. They jump around in their box and their eyes are just opening. We’ve been attempting to re-breed the other does. It’s not supposed to be hard to breed rabbits! We won’t get attached to these babies, as our rabbits are for fur and meat. The kids have trouble with that, as they are so cute.

Their eyes are just barely opening.

Three of the new hens. Silver Laced Wyandotte, Buff Orpington, and Blue Aracauna

The lilacs are in full bloom, all across New Hampshire. Ours smell heavenly!

Popovers and Chicks

Popovers with Blueberry Jam

My popovers didn’t “pop” but they still tasted awesome, especially with the blueberry jam that we put up last summer on it. I think next time I will use a metal pan, the silicone muffin tins didn’t work well for this!

Chicks!

The little golden ones are Golden-Pencilled Hamburgs, and the black and white ones are Cuckoo Marans. The Cuckoo Marans will lay deep brown shelled eggs. Once they are laying, with the green egged Aracaunas we already have, and the Hamburg’s brown eggs, we will have very colorful boxes of eggs to sell! Right now they are just gosh-darned cute.

Rhubarb Hatching

Ok, it’s not really hatching, but it’s cool to see that leaf crumpled up in the cup that forms the base of the stem. They will grow like mad now, and by May we will be harvesting rhubarb. I plan to make rhubarb jam soon!

Tomatoes in the Greenhouse!

Finally able to take the starts out to the greenhouse. It’s freezing at night outside, but they will stay warm enough in there, and we’ve got a huge head start on the growing season. We are harvesting lettuce out of the cold frames at the far end of this bed already.

Whose Mouth First Puckered?

Rhubarb

This photo was taken last year, but I was talking to Dad about Rhubarb yesterday and it got me thinking. Ever since I was little, I have been fascinated with wild edible foods. I learned what I could eat, what I wanted to eat (not always the same thing!) and how to safely identify those plants. In my Dad’s Air Force Survival Manual, I read about the techniques you can use to identify unfamiliar wild plants. They read something along the lines of taking a bite and holding it in your mouth, then spitting it out and waiting to see if your mouth went numb or tingly. So now I want to know… who, confronted with a lush, lovely rhubarb plant, tasted the stems and decided it would be just yummy cooked with lots of sugar?

The leaves and roots of rhubarb are not at all edible, and I’d be willing to bet a bite of oxalic-acid loaded rhubarb leaf would most emphatically make your mouth both numb and tingly. Only the stems are edible, and eaten raw out of hand will make you pucker like few other substances. Yet they have become a beloved part of our spring ‘fruit’ line-up. I personally make rhubarb jams, pies, and cakes every spring. We have a 60 foot long bed of rhubarb in the garden. I have found old farms that have no standing buildings by the still -thriving clumps of “pie plant” that always grew near the kitchen door. So far as I know there are no records of who first tried rhubarb, or what the results were. Too bad – I’ll bet it was a fascinating tale!

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