Now that our first hummingbirds have arrived and our apricot tree has bloomed it is time for real April to settle in here on the Rendezvous: nighttime temps in the 20’s, 20 mph wind, fresh snow in the mountains. Ahhh… I knew spring wouldn’t let us down – the only season colder than winter here! That said, with the lengthening daylight birds, plants, kids and I suppose farmers can’t help themselves.
Each morning I pull away from the fire and brave the back porch for a few sips. I’m always greeted by a chorus: Quail along the creek, grouse hooting on the hillsides, ducks quacking and flying about, geese along the river, robins, larks, bluebirds… and now hummers! The balsam root are almost all in full bloom and the aspen all leafed out. Deer race about the hills and to be sure, our spring -though now slowed down-remains an early one.
The kids have been on their bikes, on the trampoline (what an awesome invention!)and helping with spring chores. The farm crew, off and on, has been in the fields. We’ve plowed some, cultivated some, mechanic-id some and made some trial runs of our seed. Our winter peas are cranking this year with the moist soil and early spring and ground that never froze too deep this year. They are beginning to bulk out and should give us a real good hit of goodies to turn under in another month, so we can follow with our emmer.
This month we will continue seedbed prep on our earlier fields which means cultivation, spreading amendments, packing and yes, we’ll likely get some grain planted. To be sure our spring cover crop will go in and over all, we are still a little ahead of many years. Rain would be nice; it rained at the beginning of the month but April is not known to be particularly wet here. The prevailing northwest winds can take away the top moisture that fast. Particularly in combination with freezing nights.
Unlike many other western states, we do have a decent snowpack here in the North Cascades and I may have mentioned last month how good our soil profile is. All the seasonal ponds up here in the foothills are as full as I’ve ever seen them. Ducks, deer, snipe and butterflies frolic about each one.
Hanz and our new employee Brad Halm have been a good combination in the granary and have continued to streamline operations in there so as to keep up with your orders! As always, we are grateful to you all. The issues we had with some of our crop damage seem to have diminished some and we’ve gotten into a little bit better lot of grain lately. Meaning, we’re capturing more of the whole kernels in proprtion to the splits. Truth to tell, though, I am partial to the split emmer! It cooks fast, tastes yummie and ahas all the nutrition of the whole berries. Because it is split, it won’t hold up for re-use after cooking quite as well, but I love cooking up a cup in some oil and light broth or putting it in soups. OOps – I crowding in on Brooke’s department!
And so, I better get back out to the awakening fields! I hope this finds all of you awakening to nice spring thoughts and soon,the coldest season will be past. Enjoy the fresh Earth. Enjoy re-birth. And watch for kids on bikes!
Yours, Farmer Sam