Take the good with the baaaa-d
No matter what hard thing you’re going through, don’t forget how much beauty there is in this world—in part because you’re here, brightening up the space. - Juliet, who likes to take a bite out of all the beautiful things, just in case they’re also delicious.
Here’s What’s Happening At Good Spirits Farm
The tree swallows have arrived! We were trying to lure these little birds to stop and stay awhile as they migrate north from the Gulf Coast. Tree swallows feast on flies, so they’re great to have on a farm. Chris built boxes for them, but the instructions said to mount the boxes on 10-foot high poles. With the wind we get, they were constantly being blown over. So we tried them on five-foot poles and fretted the birdies wouldn’t find the accommodations suitable. Two weeks ago we noticed a pair sitting on a box, and a few days later, another pair showed up. Now the boxes have eggs in them! Success!
I had a holistic grazing management consultant walk our pastures with me last week. It was amazing to listen as he identified forage species and what they indicated was happening in the soil below. His verdict is that 95 percent of our farm is headed in the right direction and we’re managing our land well. We have a couple of little trouble spots to work on, but it was a relief as someone new to grass farming to hear we are not mucking things up!
This weekend is sheep spa (baaa) day! Sheep need quite a bit more care than cows, especially for their feet. We are going to trim hooves and soak feet in a special foot bath to discourage something called “foot rot” [ew!]. We’ll also be de-worming the ewes. Our goal is to use selective breeding to build a herd with natural parasite resistance, but that takes years. One of our girls is struggling to keep her weight up, and although we try to keep the use of dewormers to a minimum, because they can harm the good bugs in the soil, taking the best possible care of our animals is always our first priority.
Here’s What I Loved This Week
We are currently overrun with eggs, which truly are a seasonal product and spring is the peak season! This New York Times recipe for shakshuka with feta was a hit this week in our home. One note: You can finish the dish on the stove, there’s no need to turn on your oven. [This recipe is probably paywalled, but if you don’t subscribe to the Times’ cooking section, I highly recommend it, both because the recipes are great and well-tested, but also because, as one of my best freelance clients, the NYT keeps my chickens fed!] Please tell me about your favorite egg recipes - we need new ideas over here!