Everything says Spring… well except for the falling snow right now.

The Midwest always will throw you a Spring surprise! It is currently snowing outside, despite the fact the lilac bush is in full bloom, and the violets, ground ivy, dandelions, morels, dock, day lilies, chives and more are all up!

This basket was from a few days ago. The day lily shoots, mushrooms, chives, 0regano, hostas, and garlic mustard made for a delicious Spring saute.

This year I plan to do a lot more eating of foraged foods. Last year I surely got better at it, but I did a lot of reading over the Winter and so I am feeling a bit braver in broadening my hunting skills in this area.

The cattle could not be happier. They have been dreaming of this day all Winter. Beautiful green grass and NO mud! Finally clean animals again, the mud was really getting old for all of us. Still no luck selling our young bull. We may end up banding him and finish raising him for beef.

More Spring signs. Our garlic is coming up very nicely!

…and another Spring sign. Last year when Hubby hurried to get the coop done for the birds, we swore this wouldn’t happen again. We also swore it would be the last coop. Fast forward to this year, because of some changes in the way we want to do the poultry here, he is building yet another coop, and once again the birds in the brooder are getting scary large and he is working as fast as he can. He learned about a new resource for materials. When people get new garage doors, the garage door folks pay to have all the old doors hauled away. Hubby has been picking these up for free. This coop will get covered in garage door panels. We will likely put barn boards over the panels, because garage door panels are not so nice to look at, but part of the beauty of the garage doors, is that each panel has insulation inside it, so it will help in the winter to keep the birds warm.

Meet my plants. As I mentioned in a previous post, I wanted to start as many of my plants as I could this year. I seem to do fine at gardening, but I have always worried that I wouldn’t be able to produce those nice sturdy plants that I see at the garden shops, and I opted in the past to buy my starter plants or barter with my neighbor for his starters. I started early this year in the case that there was a fail. Well good thing I did. My first plants never made it, but I started over and feel like a pleased and proud new parent. I have surely given these plants more attention than they needed but I had fun doing it. This Summer I will learn about seed saving, and maybe someday, I will supply my own seed for most things, and start my own plants. This would be a big step forward, bigger than maybe it sounds like to others. Now if it would stop snowing, and sleeting and freezing I could think about planting this little babies.

Foraging finds on a rainy day hunt.

At 12 o’clock, and going clockwise: Pheasant back mushrooms found in the woods, day lilies from all over the farm, radishes from the tunnel, hostas from the front yard, morels from the woods, and in the center are dandelion greens found in the ravine.

Pheasant backs!

Spruce tips that will become Spruce syrup.

This mixture of sugar and spruce tips over time will turn to syrup. All I have to do is leave it in the window and strain it out when done. I have never done this before so it will be fun to see how it turns out.

…and finally, this one was a tough decision

I have mentioned in this blog about my small business that had a goal of helping to support some of our endeavors out here. I’ve just celebrated my 5th year at this small biz, and although I have definitely created something with local following, it just isn’t adding up to a future income as the next years go along. If I wanted to travel our 4 state region promoting it, put money into advertising it, and put enough money into the business that I can approach the bigger venues for selling I could maybe make a go of it. These are not things I want to do though, the last thing I want to do is spend all my time off farm traveling with my wares. It’s time to call it. Hoping to develop the small farm basket CSA I have always thought about and I look forward to exploring this option, but for now everything will be about tightening up the loose ends as I wind up this business. It will be amazing this year while in the farm busy season, to be able to focus on it, without also focusing on my small business. It should make all the food growing, animal care giving, and food processing go a lot easier. So here’s to no endings, just new beginnings.

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