As the days lengthen and warm we shift from feeding hay in paddocks and watching for lambs to moving fence and water to accomodate the rotational grazing of the poultry, sheep and cows. Eventhough our goal of raising delicious meat on pasture remains, the particulars are different each year. This year spring's warming was slow to arrive, especially compared to last year's early heat, lengthening the ruminants' time on hay and off muddy pastures. For the first time we are managing a bachelor pen for Burgess our ram and selecting a wethered lamb to keep him company until December. Blair should drop her calf one month later than last year, therefore pushing back the bull's visit to the farm. And Lilac Hill will host a wedding reception at the end of May, barring the cows from the North field. (Those cow pies that I check, guaging the health of my Belties are just not a welcome addition to the country reception parking field.) It is a juggling act, balancing the present and future needs of the animals without a crystal ball to tell me how the weather wil be later this season.
In spite of a long list directing me to move fence and water , clean barns and plant the garden,home life goes on. A check of the NOAA website can prompt me to do a bit more laundry for the closthesline on clear day or to clear off the desk on a rainy one. No matter the forecast we need to eat, which is especially apparent at around 7PM. After a week of thrown together meals I bought the ingredients for a few refrigerator staples. It is time to prepare the first of the warm weather grilled vegetable/starch/meat or bean salads that sustain us. This early in the season the salads are heavy on greens from the hoophouse and and frozen red peppers, rosemary from the pot near the windowsill and bits of beef. As the season progresses fresh peas, beans, peppers,basil and tomatoes will arrive from the garden and lamb will be featured from the May butchering.