Our extremely wet and cold spring has sure taken a toll on all the spring growth.
Plants that normally would be strong and vigorous by now are still struggling to break out of winter.
The hay fields are very slow to start growing, if the cold and wet continues hay season may be a week or two late this year.
This sad little salmonberry bloom, a native plant to Northwestern Oregon, sits on a bush that is only about 4 inches tall. Normal years have this plant waist high before blooms start growing. The stunted plants may not have a enough stamina to produce much fruit this year.
On the way to feeding the main herd, trilliums can now be spotted dotting the woods with distinctive white blossoms and three-lobed green leaves.
People in the valley have been seeing trilliums for two weeks already and I was beginning to worry that we would not have a crop of the woodland native.
Trilliums are sensitive to conditions around them and pop up beneath tall firs and thick understory. The plants die down completely after blooming. The blooms last several weeks before turning from a brilliant white to a soft magenta color before dying back, not to be seen again until spring next year.
The daffodils that I have growing out along the road bank are trying to form flower heads. They have been struggling through the snowstorms and the beatings from the snowplow that goes along the county road and launches wet globs of snow at the patch.
Shouldn’t be long now before we see spring in earnest, I hope.
The cats are all goofy. They just act like they have cabin fever and are anxious to get out to explore and create a little cat mayhem.
Seemed like everywhere I turned on this cool late winter day, there was a cat or two in my way. They were all very talkative and I heard meows and purring the whole morning as I went about with the chores.
Maybe those cats are thinking the same thing about me. I do tend to act a little goofy when I can’t get a break in the weather long enough to get the fruit trees pruned in the garden.
Spring should be just around the corner. One of these days, the sun will break out and we will find ourselves far behind in the multitude of spring chores.
We started getting ready for the season to change by making a trip to the farm store in town.
Mike picked up a 2000 lb. pallet of lime to spread on all the grass fields along with two rolls of baling wire. The lime will be sprinkled on the fields to ‘sweeten’ the Ph levels in ground that has been stripped of nutrients through the wet winter. The areas that get the lime practically jump with new growth, the grass is more vibrant and has more nutrients for the grazing cattle.
As for the barb wire, yep you guessed it, fence fixing. The most reliable constant on the farm is the barriers, fences need attention all the time.
This is the time of the year where things change rapidly.
Soppy mud puddles dry to hard-pan soil. Baby calves get out and cavort around the fields, much to the dismay of their mothers, and sending the whole herd into a spring frenzy of running and jumping until they all get tired. The elk in the two herds can be defined easily by the antlers that are growing taller and branching. Birds that haven’t been seen since last fall have appeared, I saw yellow finches, hummingbirds and large flocks of Canada geese heading north for the summer.
Just today, I saw my first cinnabar moth of the season. You may remember the post dated 5/31/15 about the cinnabar being a species that was imported for the sole purpose of destroying the tansy ragwort plants, a noxious weed that can kill cattle and horses.
Spring has definitely arrived on the farm.
On the farm, squabbles are quite usual. The farm family (farmily) doesn’t always follow species rules. Today is was Grandma and Momma cat squaring off, but I have seen tussles between cats and dogs, dogs and calves, calves and cats, squirrels and every other animal.
One-up-manship is rampant, especially during the early spring months. Animals as well as humans, get a dose of spring fever and go all goofy as the temperature rises (remember Valentine’s Day?). Seems like human sparring starts earlier than the rest of the kingdom.
The farmily animals have their own way of dealing with those who spite them. A quick swipe, a swift kick or a head butt is usually enough to calm any of those trying to move up ladder of who is most dominant.
Pretty soon the weather will stabilize as will the natural order of the animals. Then the cats, dogs, cows, squirrels and all other beings will settle back down into peaceful co-habitation again.