The Wearing O’ the Green

The chickens yearn for green. The sheep dream of green. Even I want to see green again on the farm—but please not all in one rush with pouring rain on all this snow! I had just been saying that I was hoping for a nice slow thaw when…well, let’s just say it didn’t work out that way.
Kara spent nearly seven hours removing the last of the two-foot deep snow on 100-year-old roofs as the rains were coming. I joined her at the end, and we both were completely drenched by the time darkness fell and the last scoop of icy snow was flung to the ground. The chunks were so incredibly heavy and iced on to the aging tin, so there was no way it was going to slip off before becoming even heavier with the weight of the rain. Thank goodness we persevered (safely) and averted the dismal sight of barn and shed collapses experienced by other farmers we know.
By morning, the rain and melt had created a lake around the turkey coop, standing over an inch high amidst the winter-pack bedding inside. Yikes! Good thing turkeys have long legs! Well, at least they don’t have to worry about holes in their boots, as the calf-deep water soon announced to my right sock that the situation was less than waterproof. Yuck. Mom and Steve rushed to M&M Rental to pick up a gas-powered trash pump with over 100 feet of three-inch hose to evacuate the steadily growing lake. The turkey coop occupies land that was once part of the old trash heaps that came with the farm, so it must be just enough lower elevation than the surrounding area to become a bowl for water when the ground is still frozen.
The gravel roads became a near-impassible slushy mess, the dogs went ecstatic over the awakened smells, and the birds in the trees sang even louder than before. Was this spring? Would green return again?
Not quite, but it was a teaser. There is currently a truce with the flooding as the water has refrozen, but we’ll certainly be back at it again when the temps rise. We are now proud owners of our very own trash pump, so we’re ready for the inevitable at this point. And the turkey coop has a fresh layer of straw on top to help keep them cozy until I can wrangle that wet (now refrozen) bedding out. Hmmm…well, all I can say is that chores like that will require some serious chocolate afterwards.
But even though it’s not green outside yet, St. Patrick’s Day reminded us to bring the green inside. We found many ways to celebrate this holiday, with a concert at the Duluth Folk School (in tandem with the needle felting class), a Farm-to-Table Dinner on Saturday here on our farm (complete with lamb stew, colcannon, rustic apple-blackberry pie, and live music), and a Celtic Jam on Sunday.
The jam featured a number of local musicians who were creating a moveable musical feast throughout the region, and Farmstead Creamery was the Sunday morning stop before heading on their way. Kara had homemade soda bread with currants for the crew to enjoy as we stomped out jigs and strummed through waltzes. If you’re a social media person, you can check out the Farmstead Creamery & Café Facebook page for some videos captured at the event.
Due to the overwhelming support of friends of our farm both near and far, we had officially met our fundraising goal for the Farm-to-Patient voucher program, so Sunday was also the very last of our “Share the Bounty Breakfast” events. And it was quite the grand finale too! In anticipation of the festivities, Mom and I had brought out as many chairs and tables from storage as we could muster, and at the height of the jamming, everything was full. (And no, I didn’t get to try lamb stew in a Bismark crepe because they were all sold out by the time I was done playing).
There were guitars and a fiddle, a flute and a whistle, and I added harp and bodhran (traditional Irish drum). We sang and laughed and shared stories—a wonderful way to celebrate the day. Thank you to everyone who came and played, enjoyed breakfast, or donated to the cause. Even in the final throes of winter, we can still come together to celebrate like it’s summertime.
How did you celebrate the wearing o’ the green? Remember that Farmstead hosts a Celtic Music Session on 4th Sundays of the month all year, from 2-4 pm. The 4th Sunday in March happens to be this coming one! So if you’re feeling like you missed out on the magic of the live music, come on over and celebrate the Celtic spirit with us. Delicious farm-to-fork breakfasts will be available as well.
Here’s to the promise of coming green and the joy of sharing the wearing o’ the green together. See you down on the farm sometime.

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