It’s Spring on the Homestead

Reader Contribution by Ginnie Baker
1 / 6
2 / 6
3 / 6
4 / 6
5 / 6
6 / 6

Spring is in full swing on the homestead. I’ve made several batches of rhubarb jam and strawberry jam to enjoy during the winter months.

The asparagus is doing very well. I’ve sautéed it, roasted it and frozen it. We’ve had it sautéed with pork, in roasted vegetable pasta and in pasta primavera. It’s to the point now, I just say, “how would you like the asparagus tonight?” Not that I’m complaining. In winter, it’s so nice to go to the freezer and take out some asparagus from the garden and add a touch of spring to a cold evening.

The tomatoes are planted and the scarecrow is keeping watch. With all the tomato stakes, he looks like he’s in prison but so far, he’s doing his job.

With spring in full swing, it also means the “war” with the critters has begun!

I wouldn’t give up the country life for anything, and every year I try to outsmart the critters and keep them out of the garden.

But, every year they seem to be one step ahead of me.

My plants are finally looking like plants, beans especially. We had so much rain in April and May that I didn’t get the garden planted very early. I’ve been trying to play catch-up by doing succession plantings of beans, cucumbers, beets and squash.

I’ve been putting garlic powder and red pepper flakes on the emerging plants to keep the bunnies away, but a couple of days ago, I noticed that the bean leaves had been munched off so I put some deer mesh over the raised bed, hoping they wouldn’t like to get tangled in it, and then sprinkled the garlic powder and red pepper on the plants.

Today, I went out early to water the garden and sitting in the middle of the row of beans, on top of the deer mesh, was a nice chubby rabbit, happily munching away on the bean leaves. He looked at me and continued to munch. I was close enough to pet him before he took off. I swear, he was laughing as he hopped off!

I mainly use the mesh to cover the lower parts of my apple trees to keep the deer from eating the apples when they’re ready to pick.

A couple of years ago when the early apples were just about ready to pick, I noticed a few on the ground with bites taken out of them. I wasn’t sure who had tried to eat them, the raccoons or some other nocturnal creature but one evening, just at dusk, I looked out toward the apple tree and saw the silhouettes of a doe and her fawn helping themselves to apples.

I couldn’t chase them, they were so beautiful. Now, I just share the apples with them.

A friend of mine emailed me that he’s planted his garden twice now thanks to the deer eating everything in sight.

All seasons in the country have their individual beauty with the wonderful sights and the sounds.

My friend and neighbor has been “making hay while the sun shines,” and always mows and bales our front pasture. With all the rain, he’s a little behind on the first cutting.

Another friend and neighbor who has the farm behind the homestead raises beef cattle. They raise Maine Anjou, Simmental and Angus. My miniature donkeys, Samson and Delilah, really enjoy the cows and calves.

At this time of year, the calves are being weaned. The cows and calves aren’t too happy about the situation and spend all day and part of the evening bellowing to each other from their respective pastures.

Adding to the sounds are the young coyotes and their parents. The howling is something I could do without … it’s a spine-chilling sound.

A friend asked me some time ago, when I was still in the corporate world, if I ever imagined this would be my life.

Honestly, no, I never imagined this life, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Need Help? Call 1-866-803-7096