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spring

What’s Growing Now

There is maybe a two week time period every spring when all of the fields where we live turn bright purple. To be more accurate I might call it magenta, or fuchsia. It’s real pretty. Some years it is brighter and more wide-spread than others. The little plant that’s responsible for this sea of color is called henbit. It looks like this…

(There are also a lot of these white blooms, but I’m not sure what those are called.) Henbit grows wild, it’s not planted, and it’s really classified as a weed. Here is something interesting – over the course of the past several years it has become really obvious that there is more and more henbit growing in the fields in our part of the world. That’s because most farmers have adopted the no-till method of farming. No-till farming means that instead of plowing the fields each spring, turning over the dirt to prepare it for planting, farmers are skipping that step and planting their crops into soil that hasn’t been disturbed. I won’t go into all the nitty-gritty details of this method, but it reduces the amount of soil erosion, and increases the amount of water and nutrients in the dirt. Both good things. And, I guess one of the side effects is that wildflowers, or weeds, like henbit are more able to thrive and spread. That’s an added bonus, in my opinion. So, now when you see one of those fields covered in tiny purple blooms, you know why!

And, guess what else is growing right now?

Yep, it’s morel season. Morel mushrooms.

They look kind of strange, but roll them in a cornmeal batter and fry them in a little oil, and you won’t care what they look like. They’re good.

Last weekend I went along on a little mushroom hunt at our favorite mushroom hunting spot. I can’t tell you where that is, it’s a secret. Really. A few of my family members may have me taken out if I reveal the exact location. All I can say is that it’s a little bit of a hike. Over some fences, across a pasture, jump a little creek, and you’re there. Wear your boots, because it can get messy.

Morels can be tricky. They have a very short growing season, and you have to time it just right. I like to eat them, but I think the best part is going out to find them. It ended up that we picked a pretty good day. Successful hunt.

:: Carrie ::

 

 

 

Spring

Spring has come a little late this year, but things are finally starting to look a little greener. Here in Missouri spring means it might be a nice warm 75 degrees on Monday, and then on Tuesday it is cloudy, windy, and a chilly 45. You never know what you’re going to get. It keeps us on our toes.

The nice warm sunny days we have had recently have definitely put a little bounce in everyone’s step and have made us all ready for a new season to finally come around. Some things I am looking forward to with warmer weather are…

Seeing pretty things like this growing along the roadside…

Taking the canoe out late in the day on calm clear water…

Getting my hands dirty in the garden, and picking those first spears of asparagus…

And later, when the weather gets a little too hot to stand, fishing for trout in an ice-cold spring-fed southern Missouri river.

Isn’t it great that we have seasons? I’m always thankful for the changes. I don’t know if I could live somewhere where it seems like summer all year long. I guess I just like a little variety. What are your favorite things about the changing season? What are you looking forward to this spring?

:: Carrie ::

Farmin’ With Brett :: Planting Corn

We sure have been working hard inside our studio lately, but it’s nothing compared to what’s been going on outside.  It’s spring, and that means it’s corn planting season here on the farm!  For the past week or so this is what we’ve been seeing right outside our window.  The guys have been busy working the soil and planting all those little kernels of corn.  That’s my cousin Brett driving the big blue New Holland tractor pulling the big sixteen row planter.

And this is my dad and my brother, Mike.  They’re getting ready to take off with those field cultivators to work the soil and prep it for planting so Brett can follow behind with the planter.  It takes a lot of hours, and a lot of trips back and forth across the fields to work the ground and put in the crop for the year.

I decided to take a break from the printing press the other day took a little trip out to the field to see how things were going.  I caught Brett at the end of a row and hopped in the tractor for a ride.

This was my view from the cab of the tractor.  Look at those rows!  Straight as an arrow.  That’s right.

The field right behind the barn where we have our studio is one of the largest fields that we farm.  Some of the rows are a mile and a quarter long!  Brett and I calculated that since the planter drops a kernel every 6 inches that there are roughly 13,200 kernels planted per row.  I said roughly.  Don’t check our math.

And look at this!  There are some real high tech things going on inside this tractor.  I mean, really, this tractor could plant the field on its own.  Brett just rides along to make sure nothing goes haywire.  That’s the truth.

Do you want to see what I mean?  Of course you do.  That’s why I took along my video camera!  Get ready for an education…it’s time for another episode of Farmin’ with Brett!

Here we go!

:: Carrie ::

Living off the Land

I don’t know about where you live, but spring seems to have come early here in Missouri this year.  Actually, the last few days have felt more like summer.  We took advantage of the great weather this weekend to head out into the woods to go hunting for mushrooms.    If you live in the midwest, you know what I’m talking about.  It’s that small window of opportunity, when you hope the conditions have been perfect, to find the elusive morel mushroom.

They’re a midwest delicacy.  When you find one, it’s unmistakable.  Here’s what they look like…

Hopes are always high.  Some years there are a few, some years there are none.  We headed out to an undisclosed location (it’s a secret!) to see what we could find.  This year I guess the conditions were perfect, and we picked the right day, because it was a bumper crop!

Four bags full.  And, we could have brought home more, but we ran out of room.  Successful hunt!

Not only were the mushrooms plentiful this weekend, but the fish were biting too.  On Sunday afternoon Natalie and I spent a little time fishing from the dock on our lake.

We pulled in at least fifteen fish in a little over an hour!  That makes for a fun fishing trip for a five year old.

Toby was loving it too.

Sunday night dinner was fried morel mushrooms and fresh caught crappie.

Can’t beat that.

:: Carrie ::