Pearl’s milk production has picked up to 2-3 gallons a day, and suddenly I have to be making cheese. I’m trying to make enough feta to get through the summer, even though I much prefer making it with goat or sheep milk, partly for flavor, but mostly because yellow feta looks wrong to me!

The weather has been so, so lovely, but I can’t get a thing done in the garden, because it rains so often, the ground won’t dry out enough to work!

Baby tomatoes are up, and peppers, and cardoons. And nicotiana.

The girls and I are all burned out on the dairy. There’s too much to do here, and way, WAY too much to do there.

Maeby looks gorgeous. Her sister, Maude’s daughter, just had a calf and it sounds like she’s doing well.

Ok—off to the kitchen.

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The peach tree in front of the house has finished blooming, and is leafing out. The grass and clover in the pastures is belly-high to Joon.  It’s an early, early spring (it was 80° yesterday), and so far, there’s no end in sight. DH took on the miserable task of cleaning out the greenhouse this past weekend, which was a big job after the duckies spent the winter in there, and today I’m starting tomatoes.

The chickens are molting right now, which is pretty late–seems like ours usually molt in August or September—so we’re getting no eggs at all from them. The ducks also had completely stopped laying, though they weren’t molting.  On our trip to Florida in September, my mom gave me a bunch of those little solar garden lights, the kind you push into the ground along paths and walkways. A couple of weeks ago I put them in the greenhouse where the ducks spend the night, and two days later we got three eggs. We’ve averaged two eggs a day ever since! I’m going to look around for a brighter light—but it still has to be solar, since there’s no power up there at the greenhouse—and one for the chickens, too. I would really like eggs this winter!

Our family’s new schedule has been grueling this week! Bernard going to school has everyone getting up much earlier—except me, but now I don’t get my quiet morning time—and falling into bed at 9 at night.

ED and I are holding down the fort, and getting a lot more done for some reason. Yesterday we moved the sheep into a clean pen for lambing, and today we’ll move Dixie into the old sheep pen in preparation for farrowing (though I prefer to call it ‘pigging’).

The snow peas are up outside the greenhouse, and the arugula and lettuce are up inside the greenhouse. Also up, in pots, are 3 kinds of cabbages, 3 kinds of chard and spinach—the brassicas are close to being ready to pot up.

The weather holds for now, but I fear there will repercussions later—in like a lamb…

Inside...

...and out.

Yesterday I planted snow peas—Oregon Sugar Pod II peas from Baker Creek. I soaked them for 36 hours, and coated them with inoculant, and planted them in the bed in front of the greenhouse. That bed is still pretty clay-ey and getting it ready yesterday was some serious labor, though I wouldn’t have been able to do it so early last year. Last year’s manure really improved it, and I’m guessing it will be considerably better next year.

In the greenhouse bed I planted 5 lettuces, and lots of cilantro and arugula.

ED has spent the last several days shearing, especially the Icelandics, who were just starting to rue. February is absolutely the latest we can get away with for shearing the Icelandics—the Cotswolds and crosses can wait a while longer if necessary, though I think she’s going to go ahead and shear everybody now while it’s warm and before they lamb.

We’re really pleased with the two Icelandic/Cotswold crosses. They’ve grown quickly, and have kept condition through the winter. One of them may have gotten bred day before yesterday, so we could be looking at lambs in July. Everybody else is due in March.

The chickens are content in the chicken tractor—we’re getting an average of 2 eggs a day, which should increase rapidly with the day length—which for us is 10 hours and 58 minutes today, but a month from now, on St. Patrick’s Day, will be 12 hours and 1 minute! Yay sun!

It’s just been absolutely gorgeous. 60°s and sunny—windy yesterday, which did a lot to dry out the surface of the soil. I’ve been cleaning up flower beds, moving the chickens from the greenhouse to the chicken tractor, cleaning out the greenhouse, hauling manure, preparing beds in the greenhouse and in front of it, getting sunburned, achy and blistered—and loving every minute of it!

I’ve received some of my seeds, ordered ducks and some of my potatoes, and yesterday made an order of flower seeds. Here are the seeds I’ve received so far:

  • Madras Scarlet Cockscomb
  • Blue Boy Bachelor’s Button
  • Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage
  • Genovese Basil
  • Arugula
  • Ice Bred Arugula
  • Touchstone Gold Beet
  • Perpetual Spinach
  • Caribe Cilantro
  • Zeppelin Delicata Winter Squash
  • Sweet Meat Winter Squash
  • Costata Romanesco Zucchini
  • Early Summer Yellow Crookneck
  • Tendergreen Broccoli
  • Arcadia Broccoli
  • Green King Broccoli
  • Chard, Joy Larkham’s Midnight F3
  • Chard, Bietola a Costa Fine
  • Cucumber, Mideast Peace
  • Poppy, Purple Frilly English
  • Poppy, Papaver Somniferum
  • Corn, Mandan Parching Lavender
  • Radish, Blauer Herbst Und Winter
  • Oregon Homestead Sweet Meat Squash
  • Crapaudine Beet
  • Mammoth Red Rock Cabbage
  • Golden Sweet Snow Pea
  • Oregon Sugar Pod II Snow Pea
  • Helios Radish
  • Jaune D’Or Ovale Radish
  • Purple Plum Radish
  • Saxa2 Radish
  • Arugula

I know it will get cold again (though not in the foreseeable future), but I’m enjoying this so much, and I’m actually getting a great head start on my spring chores!

Barbie Cabbages (aka baby Autumn Joy Sedum)