Some days it is easy to forget it is still February. Such was the case the middle of last week when it warmed up so much that all the frost was out of the ground, and not for the first time this winter. This time we took advantage of this fact to accomplish the earliest harvest of “spring” dug parsnips. It was for sure the earliest in the year I have ever had the tractor out in the field pulling something through the ground. Between that and spending so much time in the greenhouse looking at green and growing things I’d be about ready to take the winter tires off if I didn’t have a calendar to remind me which month it is. But then already now we are back to more seasonal temperatures. Larger fluctuations seem to be the new normal.
CSA this week we have Lettuce, Parsnips, Beets, Carrots, Garlic, and Potatoes.
Part of normal for this time of year is watching the weather and adjusting greenhouse venting as necessary. It’s not that hard a job, or even that time consuming, but you have to be there to do it at the right time, and it is never far from mind. It is worst from February through May, but requires some thought all year. And it makes it hard to leave home anytime between 9am and 4pm because you are always watching for changes in cloud cover or wind or temperature that could change venting needs. This has been our normal for the last 12 years, but change is on the way. Last fall we installed a controller and vent motors in one greenhouse. We are now working on the seedling house which has always been the most sensitive to change, and therefore seemed like our shortest leash. Now most of the wiring has been done, but not connecting to the main power, or to the motor itself. Hopefully by the end of the week it will be running and we can leave on Sunday morning for church without as much thought to the weather. There are a few more to go, but it is more progress since last fall than we had made in over a decade before that.
Recently a friend of ours got out of the pastured pork business after getting a job offer elsewhere that was too good to miss. As part of her winding down the pork business we were able to purchase two pigs that we now have in the freezer available for sale. This means we have new stock of Organic Fed Pastured Pork. Products include Sausage, Bacon, Chops, Roasts, Ribs, and Smoked Pork Hocks, if you want a bulk order let us know. All quantities are while they last. These products will mostly only be available for pre order.
Fresh parsnips this week inspired me to roast some. They are always sweeter when they have been in the ground over winter, so I was excited to try them. And this time I found a new recipe which turned out fantastic!
Olive Oil 1Tbsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Pepper 1/4 tsp
Chicken Stock 1 cup
Butter 4 Tbsp
Garlic 2 cloves
Cut parsnips into sticks. Toss to coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place in casserole dish and add chicken stock. Cover and bake at 400F for 25 minutes. Make garlic butter by combining butter with minced garlic. Add garlic butter to parsnips and return to oven uncovered for 10 minutes.
We served them with roast chicken and mashed potatoes.
This week’s winter project progress report includes assembling the new transplanter minus a few parts that need modification for our needs, and starting re assembly on the manure spreader. The one piece is still at the welding shop so we are held up on that (it was supposed to be ready a week ago) but we’ve made what progress we could. As already mentioned we also made progress on the greenhouse controller install and we got the sheep water bowl installed and operating! Always more to do but it’s progress.
Until next week,
Nathan and Aleta Klassen