Mud Season

The Farm in "Spring"According to the calendar, Spring is here. Those of you living in warmer microclimates (like just 15 min. away in downtown Ithaca) may even be seeing all kinds of signs to corroborate the calendar’s claims. But here at Shelterbelt, we’re in that seasonal purgatory where there’s still little to show for the transition to Spring – no snowdrops, no forsythia, just a few songbirds returned. It’s Mud Season, where every step outside goes ‘squish,’ and as we track it all inside, the mud room of our house begins to really resemble its name.

Not that I’m complaining. This is the weather we expect in mid-to-late March. It helps us build up the kinetic energy we need to sustain ourselves through the frenetic activity of Spring on the farm. Last year around this time it was 80 degrees, and while that felt pleasant, it wreaked havoc on fruit tree blossoms, Black Locust tree blossoms (our primary source of Spring honey), wildlife, and farmers. March is supposed to be cold and muddy, right?

Still, now that we have our 2013 farm plan in place, after a Winter of researching and planning, we are anxious for the season to start! Kicking off the growing season will be the arrival of 10 piglets in mid-April, then a livestock guard dog to watch over all our critters, followed by turkey poults in late June, and finally, in July, our first sheep arrive! We’re getting a small flock of Katahdin ewe lambs. The bees have been here all winter, hunkered down in their hives, and so far it seems 3 of my 4 hives have survived the ravages of wind and snow and mites. Perhaps most exciting for us this year is that we’ll resume work on our home on the farm, with a planned move-in date of May 2014!

It promises to be an interesting season, and we’re glad you’re along for the ride with us.

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