Robin Eggshell Find

I always feel a bit like a small child who has found a small miracle when I find one of these. From a just hatched robin nest, no doubt.

Today was a perfect day to be a farmer, and a homesteader, and a business woman, and a human alive on the planet.

Co-brooding Ducks

Co-brooding. They are both determined to sit on this nest, even though there is another available nest RIGHT next to this one.

The weather was lovely. We got up at 6 am to finish loading for the first farmers market of the season, and so I’d have time to take a shower. (Some fellow market friends once commented that you know you are a farmer when the best you look all week is on market days, lol). Soap and toiletries already loaded. Poultry and rabbits fed and watered late last night so the didn’t need any attention this morning other than being let out. Crammed as many flats of plants as possible into the remaining space in the van. Peppers, tomatoes, kale, cabbage, chard, broccoli, lettuce, summer and winter squash, and lots of herbs and medicinal plants all made it to market with no mishaps, which is always a relief.

Buff with chicks

Co-parenting. These two chicks were JUST ready to hatch in the incubator when I slipped them under this Buff broody hen (who was born in April 2011 – she’s OLD for a chicken, and the last of the original 4 I bought). But the hen in the background (a Cuckoo Maran) was also broody, and the eggs I gave her didn’t make it. So they are BOTH raising these two. So they are doubly protected.

Market itself was fantastic. Seeing old friends, making new ones, talking gardening, and selling lots and lots of plants and soap. Managed to only forget a few non-critical things from home, which is inevitable at the first market of the year. I felt like my head was going to explode yesterday, trying to make sure I had it all.

Then, after my husband returned (he helps with set up and tear down, but doesn’t stay for market – Saturday is one of his days off) and we got it all packed back into the van, I felt like I deserved a beer and lunch. So it was off to a Mexican restaurant for a Negra and a chile relleno. Yum. Home to unload plants, and check on animals.

6 week old ducklings

Duck baby brood this year. I sold two, but these eight remain. They went from the brooder to the “duck playpen” in the coop at about 2 weeks (with a warming light) and then were let out into the general population at about 4 weeks. Ducks grow SUPER fast. You should see them when I set up a sprinkler for them to play in. Mixed flock of Ancona with some Rohan and Khaki Campbell thrown in.

A few emails and some Facebook time, a bit of accounting (a banner day), and a nap on the couch (something I don’t indulge in very often, but as an introvert, I often need a break after being “on” for 4 or 5 hours on a Saturday). Than outside to recheck and feed animals. We sat in the field and fed treats to our remaining ram, Kenny, who is a bit traumatized by the fact that his mates have left the farm. Then checked on the 6 week old ducks, who have just recently become brave enough to venture out into the field and graze. They were being chaperoned by one of the older ducks, which I found sweet.

Dogwood Bloom

The first year I visited Walla Walla, the dogwoods were in full bloom for Mother’s Day, which was late. This year they were in full bloom by early April, which is early. We couldn’t grow these in Colorado, so I always just LOVE them. Such a treat.

Mama hen has just taught her two 3 week old chicks to roost with her up on the roost rather than hunkering down in the dog crate with them. Nothing cuter than seeing them all tucked in for the night under her wing, with a small beak peaking out. Then into the back field to visit with the ewes and the 5 to 8 week old rams. Christopher, my bottle baby, is now on his own, with a belly full of grass, but still our buddy when we come into the field. He’s hoping for a resumption of milk delivery, I’m sure. But he likes a good scratch, and sat in my lap for a few minutes. Those babies are growing up fast and are just gorgeous.

Check on the plant babies and water everything in the greenhouse. Put everyone in there to bed for the night too.

A lovely sunset. An almost full moon rising in the east. Good food in my belly. Yup, it was a good day to be alive.

Iris Bloom

Brandywine Crab Apple

Finally figured out that the variety of crab we have is called Brandywine. From Fedco Tree’s write up on it: Very high in tannin. In Cider Digest a few years ago, one grower wrote, “You ought to try planting a crab called ‘Brandywine’. WOW!!! what a real mouth-killer as far as tannin goes….Couldn’t tell you the acidity because my tongue had gone dead.” But oh the blooms.

Brandywine Crab Apple Bloom

I took about 15 pictures of this tree over the course of a week, because it just kept stopping me in my tracks every time I walked by. Spectacular!

Miles Away Farm Blog © 2015, where I’m sure by August, doing Farmers Markets will be a grind, but right now, it feels wonderful to connect with customers and share the products of this farm with the community!