summer greens at Mountain Glen Farm

summer greens at Mountain Glen Farm

Sunday, March 31, 2013

No Bunnies


No bunnies, but plenty of turkeys!





Friday, March 29, 2013

No Spring Weather, But Spring Babies

The day started off with a beautiful colorful sunrise.


By early evening, Glenn announced that he saw a black spot in a far field.  Binoculars verified…our first calf had arrived. 


This calf is from one of our older black Angus cows.  Not a red calf, but half South Poll.


Then, as Glenn was leaving to go out, he called me over to see yesterday’s newborn lamb.  He/she (we still have not determined the sex) was right next to the house resting. Its mama was nearby keeping a protective watch.


I observed the little lamb earlier in the day romping around the paddock.  Healthy, for sure…just the way we like them.


We might not have spring weather yet, but we do have spring babies.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The First of 2013

Yesterday, we sold the last of our 2012 lambs. 


And today, the first 2013 lamb arrived…perfect timing as ‘they’ say.



And, as always, the little one is so cute.  This lamb has similar coloring as the mama ewe -  mostly white with  black.  Glenn likes the ‘all white’ sheep and I prefer a bit of contrast.


We have not determined the sex yet. 


We have determined that our lambing season has begun!

Note:  The lambing season was to begin on or about April 9th.  Mother Nature always has her own ideas.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Surprise Spring Bloom

The most recent snow is melting slowly since the air temperatures remain on the cool side.

I went out to fill the birdfeeders which empty daily.  My birds are a hungry bunch. 

As I slipped back into the house, I noticed, quite by accident, that my Rosemary plant was in bloom. My Rosemary is situated right next to the house’s foundation to keep it as warm as possible during the winter months. I even place a square bale of hay in front of the Rosemary to protect it from blustery winter winds. A delicate plant, yet it manages to bloom during the cold and snow of early spring…truly amazing.


Just goes to show that I have to keep constantly alert, my eyes open and roaming, to notice the little things. I love to discover the little things!

Also, not only was I surprised to see this plant in bloom but I was surprised to see ants crawling around the blooms. 

See the ants? 

Yes, ants.  I would have guessed that the outdoors is way too cold for ants.

 And, I would have guessed wrong!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Scenes...HUH?

Bird digging through the snow in hopes of finding
seed under the snow.

All these photos were taken today, March 25th. 
So, maybe spring is STILL just around the corner.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Late Again...What Is It This Time?

Earlier this month, my friend Maryann, who lives in Illinois, sent me some tomato seeds.  She expected me germinate them, nurture them, then plant them in my garden. And, I will.

I still have time. I do, I really do!

I did not have any good soil in which to start the seeds.  Yesterday, I finally got out (you know I am a hermit) with my friend Ann. We went to lunch and a movie, and had time to make a stop for my soil.

Finally, having my soil, I was able to plant the seeds.

I took 12 cups from my stash of nearly a million styrofoam cups (Glenn is an iced tea addict and I am a pack rat) and recycled them into pots.  I cut the cups down, filled them with soil, planted each cup with 3 seeds, labeled each cup, covered the cups with plastic wrap to help retain the moisture and, lastly, laid a newspaper on top.  I believe most seeds germinate better in the dark.

Am I crazy to try to start plants from seeds so close to planting time?  No way…tomatoes like the heat and the real heat will not arrive until June. I have plenty of time to raise hearty and healthy tomato transplants.
What is crazy are the varieties Maryann sent my way: Beefsteak - OK, a regular variety; Purple Russian - an atypical garden variety; and lastly, Depp’s Pink Firefly.  Yep, you read that right. I repeat...Depp’s Pink Firefly.  Yes, I am talking veggies here, not insects.

What the heck is a Depp’s Pink Firefly Tomato?  I have no idea, but when they ripen you will be sure to see them.  And, I will let you know how they taste.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

First Signs of Spring

I have been so busy working inside on a multitude of projects that my outside time has been very limited. (I am sure my regular readers can tell by my lack of blog posts over the past months.)

Today, I made the extra effort to set aside my inside tasks so that I could take the dogs for a short walk. They love their walks and I need the exercise.

The weather was warm and delightful.  I could feel spring in the air.  Within my first two steps, Buddy was already scarce running through the woods.  Jake, as the norm, kept his slow, old-bones pace behind me. Buddy returned with two sticks in his mouth wanting to play fetch.  I am not very good at throwing, but a short fetch is better than no fetch in Buddy’s opinion.

On our return to the house, I took a quick walkabout the gardens.  Boy, do I have a lot of clean-up to do before the growing season is upon us.  And, it will, no doubt, arrive fast and frantic.


The very first signs of spring-around-the-corner in my flower beds are a bunch of daffodils that bloom just beyond my kitchen window.  It is a wonderful place because I can enjoy them frequently as I always seem to be washing dishes.


The second is a small cluster of snowdrops.  I did not plant the snowdrops, but they are growing in a fairly new bed (approx. 10 years old) to the garden.  One early spring day I just noticed the delicate white flowers and I have been on the lookout with excitement every year since.  In fact, it was several years after seeing that first snowdrop that I realized that the snowdrops had the brilliant green centers.  I had read about that interesting little fact in one of my Gladys Taber’s books.  So now, I make a point of getting down on hands and knees to make sure I enjoy those green gems hiding under the pure white petals.

Suddenly, I heard a large rumble in the near distance.  The sunny and blue sky became dark very rapidly.  Within moments of stepping inside the house, the clouds unleashed a terrific downpour complete with forceful winds. 

 I am grateful that Jake and I are taking short walks.   
The sun returned just as quickly as it had left. 
the sun returned,  drops of rain continued dripping from the branches

a puddle in my lawn where there usually is no puddle
because the rain fell so fast 
Spring shower?  I wish...snow is forecast for tomorrow and Monday - ugh!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

30-minute Mozzarella

Two days ago, I decided to make mozzarella cheese.  I had wanted to try this cheese ever since my cheese making class in late February; but, I did not have the crucial two ingredients necessary: citric acid and rennet.


So, I got on Ebay and ordered those two items from Three Oaks Farms in New York, as in state; and within a short two days, I received them.  Immediately, I just had to try this cheese.


I used 1 gallon of store-purchased 2% milk; and, the results were fabulous.  Next time, I would like to try whole milk to see if the flavor increases.


However, the results with the 2% were successful and quite tasty.  I could continue to replicate my first attempt with no changes and be completely satisfied.

just add a label and it would like store-bought
The biggest surprise, to me, is that making this cheese is so easy.  And, I will be making mozzarella regularly.


Glenn and I ate the cheese sliced with and without crackers.  The taste is so good, I would have to think twice about using it in my cooking; somehow, this would seem to be a waste of good cheese.


I will let you know, though, that this cheese took me longer than touted 30 minutes.  Now, remember, this was my first attempt. I was going back and forth between stove and recipe often.


How long did it take?  Well, I hate to admit that my 30-minute mozzarella took two hours; but, two hours well spent!


And, I repeat, I will be making this cheese often…it is that good!

Cheese and crackers, anybody?

P.S. I think I was successful with this cheese because this cheese has to be kneaded and I am skilled in kneading due to all my bread making - not.  In reality,  I think anyone can successfully make this cheese...give it a try!

UPDATE:  I have tried this cheese a second time with 2 gallons of whole milk - again, success.  My family likes this version better than the first.  I did find that working with 2 gallons of milk was a bit more difficult than working with only one gallon.  But, you end up with the twice the amount of cheese with only one clean-up.  And, I was able to cut my overall cheese making time to 90 minutes.  I am improving!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Late Winter Snow

The snow has arrived.  And, just as it stopped falling, it began to melt.  I am guessing the 12+ inches that piled up will not last long.


I did enjoy watching the birds all day hang out in the branches of the  silver maple tree growing just beyond the living room window.  They were also near the feeder, which still contained food, but for hours they seemed content to just take up residence on a branch and chill.


Earlier in the morning, the feeder was surrounded with red-winged blackbirds.  Now, that was as sight as I do not recall this species visiting any time prior.  As I tried to sneak out onto the deck to take a photo, they all fled in flight, leaving the feeder availble to the waiting chickadees, cardinals and a sapsucker or two.  Blue Jays and mourning doves joined the group and all seemed to get along even when those red-wings returned.


Suddenly, I realized I still had my plastic snowflake decorations hanging from each window.  I put these decorations out with the Christmas paraphernalia in December, but these gems continue to grace my living room, dining room and kitchen windows usually through the end of February when the threat of additional snowstorms regularly ceases. 


These plastic snowflakes were one of my Mother’s traditional holiday decorations.  My earliest recollection of them is from home movies; my Mother had hung these snowflakes from the ceiling of the basement for a family gathering.  I do not recall if I was even born yet, which makes these plastic relics nearing 60 years old.  Most still have their original hanging thread which is a very thin wire coated with a thin, green cloth. 


One of the best things about these snowflakes, even though they are plastic, is that they catch the sunlight and create rainbows.  A few days back as I was reading a book, I  enjoyed a full rainbow revealed across the page - each rainbow color (red,orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet) distinct.  A smile was revealed across my face.


However, today Glenn gave an unassuming warning to pack those snowflakes away.  He did not want to pronounce that he would like more snow.  Glenn is ready for spring!


So, once again, I say goodbye to a family treasure as I carefully wrap each snowflake between tissue paper before boxing them up.


And, before long, I will be enjoying them again!