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April 16, 2016
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
As you can see from this picture, we don't spray our lawn for dandelions. This carpet of gold manifested quite suddenly, and at it's appearance our daughter leapt from the car. She only paused a moment to say, "Mama, is it "Dandelion Day?" Yes, I guess it is! Only once a year, and only for a few days, can you see this burst of sunshine in the grass, without one single "wish," the white puffy seed heads. There is something magical about it, tempting one to take a nap in the sun and listen to the buzz of honeybees.
Although many lawn aficionados decry the dandelion as a weed, these prolific blooms provide essential nourishment early in the season for pollinators. Bees and butterflies, beetles and even birds, benefit from the dandelion. Often this plant offers the very first feeding for insects, and so can make or break a colony's successful survival. Instead of jumping on the mower early this season, consider leaving the blooms for at least a few days. Take a little time, and a small person with you, if one is handy, and investigate the life at your feet. Discover the variety of six legged and two wingers that industriously get to work when the blooms start.
, a farm full of apiaries, has a great article
on how we can help save pollinators. In line with my thinking they add a lot of detail if you would like to learn more:
"Most of the important bee plants in the northeast are wildflowers. Of these, probably the single most valuable early spring wildflower is the dandelion. If a hive survives the winter, beekeepers know the bees will be safe from starvation if they can stay alive until dandelions bloom. Dandelion pollen is moderately nutritious and the nectar is abundant. It doesn’t normally produce what we call a ‘surplus’, i.e. enough nectar to produce honey above and beyond what the bees will use for themselves, so you won’t generally see dandelion honey for sale, but it gives the bees a huge boost and adds to the health and wellbeing of the hive."
March 20, 2015
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
Ah, yes. The snow has nearly melted. The robins hop around the wet clumps of last year’s grass. The sun is strong enough to revive the Farmer’s farmer’s-tan. Spring is…wait! What’s that?! Friday’s weather forecast calls for three to five inches of WHAT?!!! Here comes delay number two of the new gutter-connect greenhouse. Crew hustled this week to prepare the site for the project. Having crew back on the fields felt exciting this week. Like the arrival of the robins, the hopped around the field, stretching string, pounding stakes and pondering rented equipment designed to drill the greenhouse posts to a sturdy level. Mother Nature will have us wait a few more days. We hope for better luck on Monday. If successful, I plan to capture some moments of the raising to share with you.
What’s up in the nursery, slated for the first CSA box? Baby onions galore, baby bok choi, kale, beautiful red and green lettuces, and lots more. We have nicknamed the nursery “Florida” for obvious reasons. Take a step inside and the warm moist air will fog your glasses, moisten your dried winter skin and delight your senses with young life. It truly is a magical experience, especially when the north wind blows.
Many old-timers in this area believe that eating early wild spring greens cleanses the liver. You can find sandwich bags of dandelion greens at the local butcher, ready to be paired with hot bacon dressing. These are the very first, small toothed leaves to appear even before the grass is fully green. Compared to the monstrous ones we cultivate for the CSA this seem tough and bitter, but perhaps that is the point. Bitter flavors are reputed to stimulate the digestive powers of the body. Whether any liver cleansing, or enzymatic miracles are occurring, no doubt young bitter greens are extremely nourishing. Rich in minerals such as calcium and magnesium these treasures feel like a welcome change from over cooked, starchy winter foods. Put the hot-bacon dressing aside and make your own vinaigrette. Did you know that acetic acid, aka vinegar, may boost metabolism? Choose a raw vinegar whenever possible to boost the beneficial flora in your digestion as well.