We like to pretend it’s spring here.

Spring has been here for six days already – not that you can tell from all this terrible, cold, dreary weather.

It’s certainly holding up some fairly important tasks – prepping the fields, direct seeding some peas and other crops, etc. It’s just too wet. But soon enough we’ll be rocking and rolling. As my dairy boss regularly reminds me, there’s no point in being upset about the weather.

In the meantime, there are plenty of other tasks to attend to. You’ve seen the new marketing – things like that are perfect on bleak days.

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I’ve been field planning, attending pre-season market meetings, cleaning, packing, unpacking and watching the babies grow.

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The day the first onions germinated – a few weeks ago now – I stood in the greenhouse and did a seriously happy dance.

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Red Russian Kale Babies!

My friends and family are networking me with restaurants and food hubs looking for local food. I’m working on picking up another Philly market – on a weekday! A little cold weather can’t cramp my style too much.

seeded trays

The greenhouse is toasty enough to feel like the appropriate season for growing. Special Thanks to Teena from Red Cat Farm for the adopted rhubarb and parsley babies. Huzzah!

Nom nom nom. Spinach.

Nom nom nom. Spinach.

 They’re growing a lot slower than they have been. But, hey – they’re growing. And thankfully, I have a spectacular team that likes to proactively seek out tasks at the farm – like seed dozens of trays for hours at a shot.

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Mom Wags and Aunt Susie, killin’ it in the greenhouse.

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Welcome to the jungle.

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Susie placates our needy sidekick.

Strider

Exhausted from a day of greenhouse guarding. Those plants sure do need a lot of protecting.

I’ve had some time to catch up with friends before falling off the grid in another month or so. Steve and I bottled our beer and man, is it delicious. Things like “Belgian tripel” didn’t mean anything to me a couple months ago – I knew I liked IPAs and that was that. But that seems to be changing. On Tuesday we picked up the ingredients for a coffee porter and saw the new Muppet movie. Before 6pm! Success!

And with a pile of organic hops ready to be planted from The Thyme Garden, it looks like we’ll have a fun and thrilling saga ahead of us with that project.

Happy times, hoppy times

Happy times, hoppy times.

My dear friend Sarah can up from Philly for some Lehigh Valley adventures. Armed with a camera and her charming attitude, we drank, we frolicked, we watched Dirty Dancing: Havanah Nights. Sarah is one of the coolest and most collected humans I know, and I’m so grateful and happy to have her in my world.

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Sarah photographs the seedlings – can’t wait to see the pictures.

No, I didn't strategically place this thyme in such a way that you could see the sweet pedicures we went and got. Oh, wait.

No, I didn’t strategically place this thyme in such a way that you could see the sweet pedicures we went and got. Oh, wait.

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We meander through the field on one of the warmer days.

Sarah lounges in a tree at the dairy with her sleepy new friend, Memphis.

Sarah and Memphis the dog lounge while I finish up my dairy chores.

I even had a brief chance to catch up with Stef out in Fleetwood as she preps her spaces for a season of cheese-making. She is setting up shop in a space with amazing potential, and she’s a workin’ girl who has her game plan in place. Listening to her map out where her pasteurizer and her other equipment will be and her plans for this season and in the long-term future is thrilling.

Stef visualizes her cheese room space with Angie from Oley Valley Mushrooms.

Stef visualizes her cheese room space with Angie from Oley Valley Mushrooms.

Beautiful Stef on a swing at the amazing property she'll be making her cheese at.

Beautiful Stef on a swing at the amazing property she’ll be making her cheese at.

I’m about to embark on my last adventure before I’m settled in for the season – my darlingface Elizabeth Adler, freshman year roommate and concert adventurer, got us tickets for Neutral Milk Hotel‘s tour. And I do love me some adventures to Pittsburgh. Hopefully I can catch  up with some other lovelies in the neck of the woods as well.

And even though the weather has been questionable, the plants are ready. I was wandering around the edge of the field the other day, trying to figure out how and where to push back the woods, and I found my thyme, sage and sorrel. It was all mulched naturally with fall leaf cover and survived the winter with next to no help on my end. What an awesome discovery. It’s little catches like this that make all this learning and trial and error so much more exciting.

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Good morning, starshine. The sorrel says hello!

Thyme! How I missed you.

Thyme! How I’ve missed you.

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We’re ready.

I still get to see my cows fairly often, and the lovely folks at the dairy – though I know that time is winding down until the fall. And a couple weeks back I had another round of farm-sitting – hand-milking the cow, drinking milk for every meal, minding the chickens, making cheese with my dear friend Lauren annnnnd checking in on the baby Jacob Sheep!

Lambs are new to me. Thankfully, only one needed real assistance – the lamb Rivel was having trouble nursing so the farmer’s in-laws and I began a bottle-feeding routine. If you know me, you know I like itty bitties, so hanging out with the lamb (and making sure he got fed every three to four hours, and taking it with me on my day-to-day adventures).

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The thing about Jacob Sheep? They are awesome looking. This is Rivel at half a day old.

lamb lap

Lamb lap!

And it didn’t hurt that Strider liked him, too.

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After an initial ear-cleaning, Strider decided he wanted to keep him.

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Strider: “What a strange dog.”

lamb and strider

I can tell that we are gonna be friends.

Willow Haven Farm‘s market will have an adorable addition this year with their tame little Rivel – come out and meet him if you have the chance!

If you haven’t signed up for the CSA but are thinking about it, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I’ve gotten some calls from folks who don’t know me personally – I understand the skepticism of sending a check out into the void if you don’t know the person you are sending it to – and I’m happy to meet up, talk about the farm or give you a tour at any point. Just drop me a line or give me a call.

Sun Dances, Beet Seedlings and Maybe a Market in Germantown(!?),

Liz

Farmer Liz out.

Farmer Liz out.

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