Fiddlehead Season in Manitoba
It is fiddlehead season! Of course it has to be raining while I pick. There is nothing like a cold rain running down the back of your neck to turn a fun excursion in the woods into a “Man, I hate my life” experience. The picking was good though, and we had a spur of the moment fiddlehead feast the other night. The other thing about fiddlehead season is that it happens to fall right in the middle of our spring rush with our regular happenings. When you smoke bacon, plant cucumbers, pick fiddleheads, deliver hogs, and take care of the greenhouse, incubator and animals all in one day, things start getting interesting. And that was just me. Heather has to mind the store, take care of kids (4 plus me), and manage a business. Like I have said before, this lifestyle suits my attention span perfectly.
Here is the fiddlehead recipe I used (made up) for our Sunday night treat.
1. Pick fiddleheads.
2. Get someone to wash them. (A wife is perfect for this.)
3. Open a beer and light the BBQ.
4. Get the same person who washed the fiddleheads to put them in a BBQ safe pan with some butter and sliced garlic. Someone also took the time to slice up some Kurbis Country garlic sausage and throw it in.
5. Put the fiddleheads on the BBQ for about 15 minutes. This is a good amount of time for the aforementioned person to make some pasta or something.
6. Voila! A perfect meal that you can take pride in because you are a hunter/gatherer.
Been a few busy days. We've got our first batch of baby chicks and the fields are caught up with planting. At least they should be after today. The greenhouse is open, fresh lettuce and green onions were picked (from the greenhouse of course) and now I'm loading up the van and heading to the Lac du Bonnet Farmers' Market.
It's sure nice to see the sun shining.
Plan D for Free Range Chicken
Our flock of roaster chicks arrived on May 9. I have been building a new home for our chickens and I was almost ready. But just like every other year I did not quite make it, so they had to wait in the van for an hour or so. The only difference is that we are hoping this setup will last for years. You see, every year I would slap something together – just to get us through till next year. But after three years of wasted time and money it was time to invest in something more permanent. Our flock now has a brand new brooder house to start in, and then shelter and plenty of outdoor space to enjoy.
We have always raised our birds in an open barn with access to the outdoors. However, what most people do not realize is that opening the barn door does not necessarily mean the chickens will go outside. These birds have been bred to gain weight fast, and all they want to do is sit at the feeder and eat. We move our feeders and water outside to encourage them to get out of the barn. But calling them free range still does not mean they have been eating grass and bugs. This is mostly because they sit on their (gr)ass and kill the vegetation, which seems to deter grasshoppers.
Part of my new plan is to grow leafy vegetables right in the chicken pasture. I will fence the young growth off until it is ready, and then let the chickens enjoy the salad bar! I have a few other ideas to try out as well, all aimed towards raising happy, and therefore delicious chickens. Another 20 years or so and I might have it figured out.
May 05th, 2014
So, this was one of those days. The kind where the things you do were not at all what you planned on doing. We are behind schedule and the Ever So Wise Weather Man is calling for rain. So we decided to push our luck and get planting. The onions needed to be out, as well as spinach, lettuce and cabbage. It was the potatoes and tomatoes that caught us off guard. But armed with the latest update from The Weather Man Who Is Always Wrong, we decided to get them in the ground today. Now we get to wait and see if the gamble pays off.
I also managed to sow carrots, parsnips, peas and beets. So all in all a great day!
I should mention that this was all accomplished with the help of my incredibly patient wife and our two new employees. Even the older kids are starting to recognize when their help is needed.
I Couldn't Wait
I managed to plant some cabbage and kale today! It was not what I planned on doing, but I needed to empty some plug trays. Getting the first plants out is pretty much the most exciting thing in my year. (Unless you count tilling the last plants in fall.) This life suits my attention span perfectly. Rick