This week brought warm, sunny days and cool, frosty mornings. No hint of rain, and the beds are becoming more and more dusty as we cultivate. The rye cover crop is knee-high, the peach trees are in bloom, and the hillsides are slowly changing color as the trees bud and then leaf out.
We spent three days on our knees on black plastic, punching holes and putting in first onion and then strawberries, thousands and thousands of each. Toward the end of each day, we went loopy, fingers sore from punching through the plastic. But to stand at the end of the day with piles of empty black trays and rows upon rows of little onion soldiers at attention really gives you a sense that you've done something. Something that you thankfully only have to do once a year.
Towards the end of the week, we got our potatoes and leeks in the ground, side by side in a field we're now calling the soup field. We planted our potatoes by hand, laying them out in two staggered rows on the beds and walking over them to punch them into the earth. As the morning grew warmer, we took off our shoes and socks and used our bare feet to punch the potatoes down.
In another sign of spring, our 26 Freedom Ranger chicks arrived in the mail on Thursday, less than 36 hours since they hatched over in Pennsylvania. In a bit of an ironic twist, the galvanized tub in which we set up their brooder sits right under the killing cones nailed to the wall inside the barn. Nine weeks or so from now, they'll come full circle, but right now they are cute little cheeping bundles of spring.
Thinking about: sunscreen, life cycles, cover crop trade-offs
Eating: local grass-fed burgers, purple rice and borlotti beans with roasted root vegetables, balsamic and sweet potato risotto
Reading: The Best American Short Stories 2004, Jeffrey Eugenides' The Marriage Plot