Time for Rye

We had a huge day on Saturday when we held the annual group-birthday party for all three children.  It was a tea party (Rose’s request) and a cricket match (for Mirin).  There were grain-free cupcakes with three different kinds of cream cheese frosting, sandwiches, sprouted wheat cookies, pork and mushroom pate, salads, and of course tea.  It was lots of fun, even though I thought I must be crazy when I was making the third kind of frosting.

The weather was beautiful and cold over the weekend.  It caught us by surprise and sent us pawing desperately through the cedar chest for sweaters and sheepskin slippers.  The first frost of the year was on Saturday, which we at first thought was unlucky because it was one more thing to do, but it ended up working out well because we had help from the party guests pulling sheets of plastic over the hoops to cover the rows.

Mirin ended up spending the first really cold night camping out at the farm with his best friend Jacques.  He is still tired and very cranky from the sleep deprivation.  We offered to let Jacques and his mom stay at our house – which his mom would have preferred, but the boys were determined to camp out.  I don’t think they realized how cold it was getting that night.  It’s hard to remember what cold feels like after you’ve just been through a season in which frequent plunges into cold water are necessary to prevent heat stroke when working outside any time before dusk.

We are expecting more rain on Thursday, and are trying to get all the rye seeded before then, before it’s kind of too late to have rye in the winter.  We had our neighbor mow the lines we are seeding, which makes the pastures look like a strange place.  It made a perfect Cricket lawn, provided you didn’t fall down and realize how many thorny blackberry stems were all over it.  Mowing should help the rye grow evenly and quickly with the old mops of dead broomsedge out of the way.  And it was so easy to walk in straight lines with all the blackberries gone.  I hope this will improve our chances of having the long-dreamed of lush green rye pastures like we’ve been able to grow in the garden.  I think the cows munching on their dry old hay are dreaming of it, too.

Clothilde had a breakthrough last week when she requested to accompany Ethan to get hay.  She has always been completely terrified of tractors, especially if they are lifting up a bale of hay.  Ethan had to stop bringing her along after the first few times because she screamed hysterically.  I came along once and had to carry her away when our neighbor drove up on the tractor and she began shaking from terror.  This time, she was completely calm and has even been asking to go again, so I guess she has outgrown her fear.  It will make everything so much easier this year.  Ethan won’t have to wait until I’ve finished milking to hand her off and then drive up and get hay.  We are hoping she will also outgrow her fear of golf carts so we can hitch rides in them next year at the Folk Festival.  This year’s Folk Festival was dreadfully hard on my feet.

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