Spring Week 2: Signs of Spring

The first spears of our asparagus patch poking out to greet chilly air. We won't be able to harvest anything until next spring. The plants need all the energy they can get from the aerial parts.

• “Siberian” Leafy Kale
• “Red Russian” Sprouty Kale
• Swiss Chard
• Spring Onions
• Purple Sprouting Broccoli
• Turnip Rapini, or “Broccoli Raab”

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

Pea Shoots
Salad Greens
Beet Greens 

The weather has been beautiful, mostly, for April. Remember last year? Frosty, rainy, even snowy—until mid-May? We couldn’t plant anything on time last year. Last week we got our early crops of carrots, beets, spinach, Yokatta-Na (and others), and peas done! And even the early cut-flowers! I think it’s going to be a good year.

The last windy week ripped the covers off of our first pea crop, planted in early March when it was sunny and dry, then protected with metal hoops and fabric to keep out frost and wind. Early peas this year!

There have been other signs of spring this week. We found our first hatch of renegade chicks. This hen hatches at least one brood every year. She’s very stealthy, we never know where she hides:

Our first hatch of the year! We found three stranded baby chicks by the hay shed, and had to search to find this mama. She had three with her in the bushes, but all were reunited successfully.

The new pullets are starting to gear up for laying, too. When the girls start out, they make a lot of practice eggs. Sometimes they’re funny shapes, sometimes not complete. Here are a couple that survived to be documented:

Sometimes, when chickens are just learning how to lay eggs, they make an egg without a shell. This one has the membrane intact, and is a complete egg inside, just no outer shell to protect it.

There's a tiny pullet egg at the top of the M&M's.

2 responses to “Spring Week 2: Signs of Spring

  1. Stealthy chickens make me smile 🙂 Seeing the phases the pullets go through learning to lay eggs is interesting too!

    Sorrel is my answer to lemon when trying to “eat local” and I was delighted to find it in my box this week. While in one of Seattle’s fancy gourmet grocery stores last week, I had the opportunity to try a lemony garbanzo bean salad. It was being served as a side to their roast chicken, but stole the show. Here’s a version using sorrel:

    Lemony Bean Salad
    2 small cans garbanzo or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
    ½ bunch sorrel, finely chopped
    Handful of parsley, finely chopped
    Pickled red peppers to taste, chopped (I used sweet roasted red peppers, but feel free to use hot peppers if you like heat in your food)
    Olive oil
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Lemon juice, if needed

    In a medium sized mixing bowl, toss all of the ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. This salad should be very lemony, so add a little lemon juice if the sorrel isn’t quite lemony enough. It keeps well refrigerated for a few days, if you don’t finish it in one meal. I find it tastes best if served at room temperature. Makes 4-6 servings.

    Salads have been a large culinary growing experience for me. Growing up, a salad consisted of iceberg lettuce, mealy tomatoes, and ranch dressing. I wasn’t very interested in eating my veggies when they were presented in this fashion! I’ve since learned that I love salads, especially if they have a sweet/tart theme (such as oranges with kalamata olives, apples with blue cheese, or dried cherries with balsamic dressing, yum!). Here’s a great salad I made last week with the Siberian kale. It’s a wonderful make-ahead salad as the kale holds up to the dressing and doesn’t go limp immediately like lettuce.

    Roasted Veggie and Kale Salad
    ½ bunch Siberian kale
    1 to 1 ½ cups assorted roasted veggies
    1 ½ tablespoons mayonnaise
    1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
    2 teaspoons balsamic or sherry vinegar
    Maple syrup as needed to balance the dressing

    Chop the kale into bite sized pieces and add to a large mixing bowl. Toss in a cup or so of leftover roasted veggies. Squash, sweet potato, carrots, onions, beets, celery root, parsnip, turnips, etc would all be good here. I used onion, carrot, and beets.

    In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper, and fresh or dried thyme and whisk to combine. Taste the dressing and adjust seasonings. If it’s a bit too tart, add a little maple syrup to balance it out. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss with your hands. Makes 2 main dish servings or 4 side dish servings. Add nuts, crumbled cheese, or left over roasted meat to make a more substantial salad and serve with good bread.

  2. Thanks, Danielle, for another great recipe post!

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