It has been a busy week with plenty of jobs marked off on the “to do” list! We were able to plant the balance of hops the other day and we have the sun burns to prove it. All total we think there are at least 1250 hops plants on the farm at present. Certainly we will have our work cut out for us because they have to be put on trellises.
All the bees have been checked over and the queens are laying many eggs. We fed our second batch of sugar syrup and everything looked great. The fruit trees, here in Minnesota, are in full bloom and not only look lovely, but smell even better! You never know if the frost dates are accurate and hopefully we won’t receive any more frosts.
The turkeys are starting to have their poults and on Sunday the guys spotted a hen and her 8 babies, which sent us on an adventure of trying to catch the poults. She was fairly calm and we were able to gather them gently into a pail and moved them to a pen where they will be safe and well taken care of. The turkey hens are not very motherly and tend to take their chicks off into tall, wet grass where the poults become an easy target for our many farm cats, so we made it a practice of taking over her job and feeding them special gourmet food, hard-boiled eggs!! Those eggs are the trick to keeping turkeys alive. The children have informed me that there are 7 turkey hens laying on nests throughout the farm, one being in our strawberry bed. Several are in the quonset, while others are in the long barn.
Yesterday was spent putting in most of the garden. What a job that was. My job was weeding our bed of asparagus, not an easy task with so many thistles baring their sharp leaves. In the end, I had to use a kitchen knife to dig them out. We harvested around 4 pounds of the asparagus and later that night I made a large pot of asparagus soup, which was a hit with the family. This morning I made an asparagus omelette and still have some to freeze. If we have time tonight, we will probably hunt the minimum maintenance road ditches for signs of the first asparagus.
Clayton put a new mower blade on our mower, which was vibrating too much, and Maggie and Frenchy got our long grass mowed down, the weed whip going and the flower beds weeded. They also planted some of the many flowers with more to go in today. The twins burned winter junk, removed silo staves from around the trees in the orchard and planted gardens all day. They informed me that today all the tomatoes, parsley, basil, watermelons and eggplants will be planted, and then we will be done. They plan on transplanting the raspberries after that.
Lambing went very well this year (98 lambs from 60 ewes) and after the kids put the new fences up around the farm we opened up the first paddock. What a lovely sight to behold, with all the green grass and bright yellow dandelions. It is a real pain having to open two gates to get out of the farm-yard, but in another week or two, depending on how much the sheep consume, we won’t have that to deal with for a while. We do have to be very careful not to run the lambs over, as they are slow to move and very trusting.
On Saturday it rained hard but even in that rain we were able to put up the paddock fences and render 5 gallons of lard. All of that pretty much took up the entire day. Sunday, everyone enjoyed a day of rest in the sunshine. We had a nice cook-out, read some books, played soccer, tested out the new tractor mower and went to the slough to spear fish. Thank God for Sundays and much-needed days of rest, which in the end make it all worth while.