We are not the only ones waiting for the arrival of spring! Our bison spread out more and more across the pasture munching on the old grasses where the bare earth is showing through. They seem eager for something different than the hay which has been their mainstay through the winter. We are still a few months away, but it doesn’t seem too long until the fresh green of new growth emerges and with it the anticipation of new calves. I suppose our lack of snow this year makes it seem like spring is around the corner even though it is only February!
I have started a window box of lettuces in our pantry where the sun comes in strong and where we have a grow light to encourage the seeds. They have begun to sprout and we are eager to watch them grow to harvestable size. By that time we will have started many of our seeds in the basement under lights. One of these days we will have a greenhouse, but for now, Ted has set up a great spot that has worked very well.
We have just finished reading Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan and watching Food, Inc. They were both so enlightening as they brought forward things we hadn’t previously known about our food industry. They also offered us affirmation that we are on the right track with raising our bison and the natural produce that comes from our garden. They are worthy books to read, if you haven’t done so already. Good for us and for our planet.
There are chores for everyone on the farm and sometimes that
means stepping up to the plate to do whatever is needed. Fortunately, our
washing machine is more updated than the one Ted’s grandfather, Charles Hersey
was using in the photo. Ted named it “Matilda” because it waltzed across the
floor as it washed the clothes. We are still trying to figure out where in the
house that picture was taken, not that it really matters. We are just having
fun piecing it all together.
It is wonderful living on the family farm so steeped in
memories. There are so many questions we would love to ask – what varieties of
apples are growing on some of the old trees they once planted here? or how did
they make their root cellar successful? or what pasture rotations did they find
worked well for their dairy cattle? The list goes on. Occasionally, we catch
the glimpses of answers in old books we have discovered tucked away - pages
marked, columns written in – telling a story, eluding to a concept worthy of
note – and in them a window into the lives of those who farmed this land long
before we came along.
As we attempt to fill in the blanks to our questions about
the farm, our bison are equally intriguing to watch and learn from. As the
sun’s rays get stronger, there has been a noticeable shift in their behavior.
Dry old pasture grasses exposed by the melting snow draw the bison to the edges
of the fields to nibble the memories of summer and the promises of coming
spring. They no longer stay huddled around the hay laying on a bedding of the loose
stuff they tossed out of the halo, finding security in their source of food. We
have witnessed them romping through the snow, swinging their huge heads back
and forth as if to shake off winter. Even though it is still only February and
the forecast of snow is on the horizon, their posture tells us that they know
it is not that much longer until the fresh spring grasses return.
Our orphaned calf, Little Warrior, is seen here experiencing
his first winter on one of those bitter cold and snowy days. He is doing well
and always happy to see us when we stop at the gate on our regular rounds.
The snows can and no doubt will fall and the frigid cold
winds blow, but like the bison awaiting the fresh new grasses of spring, there
is a satisfying warmth that fills me as I work up the planting charts for my
vegetable garden and berry patch imagining already their tasty rewards.