Planting Season

This last weekend was our blackberry winter, the last cold snap of th spring that usually hits right when the blackberries are blooming.  We got down in the mid-30's a couple of nights, with frost in the low areas, but the garden looks fine.  It's been so warm, we already planted tomatoes and peppers, since blackberry winter often stays above freezing, and we lucked out.  We had a WWOOFer for about 3 weeks, until last Tuesday, so the gardens and hoop house are in good shape.  She got a lot of weeding done, and with Caleb helping over the weekends, we have tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, broccoli, and kohlrabi seedlings out, and seeded radishes, carrots, beans, and corn.  The WWOOFer also started watermelons and cantaloupes in the hoop house, and okra, which are all up and doing well.  The sugar snap peas have been producing well, as has the asparagus, and just yesterday I pulled the elephant garlic scapes.  These are the best ones - huge, fat stems that pull out from way down in the stem, so there is generally 10"-20" of tender, edible stalk.  The longest stem I got yesterday was 35" to the tip of the seed head, and there were several dozen over 30".  I have probably 12 or 15 pounds of the trimmed scapes in the fridge, hopefully I'll sell a bunch at the market today!  I still need to plant pole beans in the corn, more bush beans, winter squash/pumpkins, and hopefully more carrots and beets if I can find some space somewhere!

In milking news, I am no longer milking goats.  I'm not done for the summer, but it was easier to milk the sheep without the goats there - I wanted to test all 4 sheep, and 6 animals was too many for me alone!  I've now test-milked all of the sheep, and I'm so glad I did.  The first two I was milking, Chestnut and Hickory, were giving me about a quart together, slightly over or under depending.  The other two, Maple and Ginger, are giving me right at or just under a half-gallon!  They are by far the better milkers, and I would never have known if we hadn't gone to the trouble of getting them out and milking them.  So, for the near future, until the garden is fully planted, I'm just milking the two of them - we really like the sheep milk, it makes more cheese than the goat milk, and I get more than from my goats.  Once things settle down (maybe after the strawberries finish?) I'll get a goat or two back in the milk pen, because I do need goat milk for soap-making.  I've got some in the freezer that should get me the next month or so, but I need to both have plenty for soaping all summer, and get stocked up for the winter - I don't want to run out like this last year!


This is the season I love

This is the season I love most in a year. The excitement I get during this season is so high. I start imagining how buy cheap diamond rings these plants will grow through seasons while I am planting them. It is a very happy moment.

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