Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Springtime flowers

Spring is always a delightful time here on the farm. Chickens are laying colorful eggs,
Little banty hen, Peng (short for Penguin) has been
on the nest being broody lately. She lays beautiful tiny eggs.
the wheat and alfalfa are greening up, and the trees and flowers are all in bloom. Ah. (That’s a very small rendition of the roaring winds we hear every day…that’s Central Illinois for you.)
Lilacs smell incredible right now!
Our hoophouse plastic is hanging in there, barely. It is still windy most every day but we keep patching it until we get the quotes for the new plastic. Inside the hoops everything is going pretty good. We’ve been harvesting quite a bit of spinach for chefs, lettuce for ourselves, and sold all the early green garlic. The potatoes that Marty planted between the garlic are looking good and we’ll be mulching those this week. Can’t wait for our regular potato order to come in so we can start them sprouting in the sun!!

We were having baby rabbits in the hoops eating all our bok choi. Argh!! Needless to say, we relocated them (not to the oven tho as they were too small). We mulched around the hoops in hopes of keeping the rest of the bunnies out! Also in the hoophouses we have some cilantro and arugula that we harvested the leaves from. Now they are setting flower heads so we hope to harvest the flowers soon.

And that leads me to flower season. We harvest a lot of “wilds” on our farm. They are some of the specialty items that we are known for. Wilds include some “weeds” that are highly nutritious and edible, wild plants from the woods, and also the wilds in our yard which include redbud blossoms and violets.
Redbud blossoms
Also edible are the apple blossoms. All of the apple trees are loaded. We taste tested them and found that each kind of apple had a different flavor of blossom also! The red delicious were somewhat sweet. Some of the others weren't as sweet but had more of a floral taste.
Red delicious apple blossoms are sweet.
Every tasted a turnip blossom? Tastes a little like turnips. How about making dandelion tea? Or trying some colorful tulip petals on your salad? There are lots of edible flowers. Make sure you know which ones are edible and which are poisonous tho! Some...like asian daylilies are NOT edible. They are Poisonous! However, the other kind that are in our yard are.
Daylilies we harvest the flowers and buds from.
I love harvesting the flowers. I get to spend time with the wonderful smells, beautiful colors and textures, and also with the little bee ladies that hang around. The bees are busy on all the trees and flowers in the yard. They are working on the apples and even on the weedy Creeping Charlie in the grass. It’s nice to see them so busy. And they never sting me as we are friend harvesters.

Harvesting in the woods right now gives us some early mushrooms and wild onions. We have some sweet cicely coming. It has sort of a licorice flavor.
Sweet Cicely
Lots of work to do outside, and it’s good to go out and enjoy the great springtime weather (except the wind!). We’ve  all our spring root crops and many of our leafy crops in. Now for some rain so they germinate!
Super dry for us lately. The rain has been skirting around us. We are really hoping we get a good shower tonight…really need it!!   Well…off to work outside!!