The Weekly Bleat: Spring Forward!

  Green Hill Farm is wonderful this time of year.  I truly love living here in the springtime.  It’s as if the whole place just comes alive:  trees budding out, pastures greening up, and bits of lavender, yellow, and pink from blooming flowers and trees dotting the landscape.  It’s just so uplifting. We’ve had gorgeous weather, and today, I noticed my asparagus is coming up.  It’s really exciting to have something nutritious and delicious just show up in the kitchen garden every spring. It’s such a treat!  Of course, there was a lot of work initially to establish the asparagus, but that’s another story plus an asparagus recipe you may want to read about here.  Anyway, we’ve enjoyed some beautiful days and serene evenings on the farm this week.  Here’s a little of what we saw.    

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Eggs, Eggs Everywhere!

Growing up on a farm as a child afforded many wonderful experiences.  Meaningful experiences that shaped my values and inspired me.  I remember when I was about 6 or 7 years old, Dad decided that it would be nice to have fresh milk and eggs.  So, he bought a Holstein cow named Bessie and ordered chicks.  I remember sitting in our living room early in the morning before school with an old towel on my lap, carefully cradling a warm, fuzzy chick in my hands–marveling at its tiny body and feet as well as the soft, little sounds it made.  Every morning over the next 2-3 weeks, I would hurriedly get dressed and eat breakfast so I could hold one for a few minutes before the school bus came.  I loved those little chicks! As the chicks grew into hens, they free-ranged all through the pastures and even around the house; but, for some reason, though, they didn’t like to lay their eggs in the coop.  Much to my surprise and joy, while walking along outdoors, I would just FIND an egg laying in the yard or under a bush. It was like an Easter egg hunt!  After making the discovery that the hens were laying eggs all over the place, I remember enthusiastically running into the house and searching for my Easter basket.  “This is going to be fun!” I thought.  And it was. The hens free-ranged and laid their […]

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The Weekly Bleat: Boogie With Ewe

Farmgirl with Scottish Blackface sheep   A while ago, I wrote a post about having the “winter blahs” and various methods that help lift my mood.  A couple of these mood enhancing strategies included music and dancing.  I even joked about installing a disco ball in our sheep shed, especially since I enjoy bee-bopping to radio tunes as I do farm chores. Well, Farmguy surprised me last week with not one, but two disco balls:  one for the the sheep shed and one for the house.  🙂 Here’s the thing:  Feeling down?  Sometimes all you need to do is “get down.”  So, go ahead, put on your boogie shoes and come on over to Green Hill Farm.  Because, the disco ball is up, and this farmgirl is ready to dance her way right into spring!            

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A World Class Wine from Virginia

  The dream of a world class Virginia wine began with Thomas Jefferson.  Although Jefferson knew that Virginia had the weather and terroir for grape growing and winemaking, he never saw his dream come to fruition.  This is, in part, due to Phylloxera–an aphid-like insect that feeds on the roots and leaves of grapevines.  However, Virginia grape growers now understand that to successfully grow European grapes, they must first graft the vine onto phylloxera resistant American rootstock.  This was the first major hurdle to realizing the dream of a Virginia wine, the next, proving the viability of grape growing as an agricultural endeavor. Officially, the wine industry in Virginia began in 1976 with the Zonin family.  One of Italy’s largest wine producers, the Zonin’s bought Barboursville in Orange, an area near Charlottesville, with the hopes of starting a vineyard.  Underlying this decision was the belief that European grapes could thrive in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  After the purchase of Barboursville, the Zonin’s invited Gabriele Rausse, an Italian winemaker, who is currently the Director of Gardens and Grounds at Monticello, to assist in making the dream of a Virginia wine a reality.  Today, the Commonwealth boasts hundreds of successful wineries and vineyards, many producing award winning wines–including Barboursville Vineyards, Virginia’s first commercial winery.  And, Gabriele Rausse is partially responsible, having consulted on 40 vineyards and 10 wineries in the Commonwealth, including his own.  He is considered the “Father of Virginia Wine.” […]

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Friday Farm Favorites: Sudeley Castle Gardens

Whenever Farmguy and I visit the Cotswolds, we always make a point of spending the day at Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe in Gloucestershire, England.  The present structure was built in the 15th century and has nine individual gardens.  These lovely and historical gardens are associated with four of England’s queens—Anne Boleyn, Katherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey, and Elizabeth I.   […]

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Waiting for Spring

It’s been so warm and sunny here lately that daffodils are blooming and the pastures are turning from dull brown to vibrant green. So, this past weekend, Farmguy and I decided it was a good time to gather our sheep to administer their yearly vaccines and attend to other routine care practices like trimming hooves and de-worming.  After we finished, […]

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Something to Ponder

Before Christmas, I read an article along the lines of self-empowerment and jotted down some highlights that made an impression.  I know I’ve heard much of this advice at one time or another, but seeing it all together resonated.  I looked for the article the other day, but unfortunately, I misplaced it.  I did, however, manage to find my scribbled notes.  I thought they were worth sharing.   —Be Bold. Go for what you want and don’t be afraid of hearing “no.”  Embrace your choices and own them.   —Know when to walk away. Cultivate a no-B.S. attitude.  Never invest your time and energy into something or someone who isn’t offering respectable returns.   —Communicate your needs and set boundaries. Never sit silently in front of someone who disrespects you.  Set a boundary right then and there…and move forward.   **–Bounce back from problems. Look for a solution.  Learn the lesson, apply it to the future, and move on.  Don’t waste time regretting.   —Actions speak louder… Never rely on words.  Only through actions can we gauge the true motives and feelings of others.   —Know when to say “no.” Don’t be a pushover.  And, NEVER apologize for doing things that make you happy.  Never bend yourself backwards, forward (and backwards again) to please people who wouldn’t do the same for you.   **–Don’t play the victim. You’re in total control of how you react to a situation.  When things […]

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