Around The Farm: Too Warm, A Bit Too Early

A maple tree’s fresh new leaves

It’s a sunny Saturday here on the farm, and it’s been unusually warm. Temperatures yesterday hit 80F and are forecasted to be in the 80s (currently 84F now) for the remainder of the weekend. The combination of high humidity and temperatures makes for some uncomfortable days working outside, a reminder of the real heat and humidity that are just around the corner.

With the early warmth, the trees are budding and leafing out, and the landscape has transformed from monotone austerity to verdant promise. The lavender beauty of the Eastern Redbuds are on full display, and the volunteer growing in the back pasture continues to become more impressive each year.

The dandelions are everywhere, with some having already gone to seed. This has also been a very good year for common violets, and the pastures are dotted with their demure amethyst blooms. Both dandelions and violets are useful “weeds”, so I’m happy to see them flourishing.

The clove currant has been blooming for about the past week. It currently lives on the patio in a container, and its uniquely delightful fragrance is always my first clue that it has begun to bloom – I smell it even before I see its small yellow flowers.

With recent precipitation and the wamer temperatures, the grass has become incredibly lush, providing the geese and pastured poultry with its green goodness. The geese, in particular, gravitate to the tender grass, ignoring their supplemental feed in favor of fresh greens. Watching the geese mow down the grass and forbs – untreated with any chemicals – is immensely gratifying: not only does it reduce feed costs (which have increased rapidly over the past couple of years), but it’s nutritious as well as appealing to them.

Speaking of geese, our gaggle has been producing a prodigious number of big, beautiful eggs. These eggs have yolks that are huge and stunningly dark orange, thanks to the pasture greens they’ve been eating.

While I’ve eaten goose eggs before and found them rich and delicious (and they’d no doubt make an amazing cheesecake!), I prefer to incubate them. I have multiple incubators full of future geese going right now, and managing the specific needs of eggs in different stages of development requires strong organizational skills to avoid making mistakes. I’ll be posting another piece soon on how I manage multiple hatches.

As I was walking out in the pastures earlier today, a bird flew up out of the grass across my path. I glanced in the direction it had come from and saw a tiny nest with four spotted eggs hidden in the grass. I quickly grabbed a branch to try to mark the spot so we don’t mow over it, but in the time it took to walk about four feet to get the branch and turn around, I’d lost the nest. Fortunately, I quickly located it again and placed the “marker” near it, temporarily. I later returned and replaced the branch with a more-visible flag.

This time of year, plants that previously looked dead – like the peonies – have sprung back to life. Soon, they’ll put forth their showy, deep fuchsia blooms. Spring brings new life, vibrant life, and abundant beauty. Get out there and see it!